Sharing Knowledge to Overcome Possible Future Enemies

Buried in chapter 5.2 of the famous 1945 report to the President (“Science The Endless Frontier”) by Vannevar Bush, under the heading “Security Restrictions Should Be Lifted Promptly”, is this sentence:

Our ability to overcome possible future enemies depends upon scientific advances which will proceed more rapidly with diffusion of knowledge than under a policy of continued restriction of knowledge now in our possession.

A similar sentiment is found in chapter 4.5 under the heading “Remove the Barriers”

Higher education in this country is largely for those who have the means. If those who have the means coincided entirely with those persons who have the talent we should not be squandering a part of our higher education on those undeserving of it, nor neglecting great talent among those who fail to attend college for economic reasons. There are talented individuals in every segment of the population, but with few exceptions those without the means of buying higher education go without it. Here is a tremendous waste of the greatest resource of a nation – the intelligence of its citizens.

If ability, and not the circumstance of family fortune, is made to determine who shall receive higher education in science, then we shall be assured of constantly improving quality at every level of scientific activity.

Ability instead of family fortune, diffusion of knowledge instead of restriction. America clearly was in a different, far more logical, place at the end of WWII.

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