The conservative case for big science

Conservatives have likewise largely maintained their zeal for military spending while detesting all other forms of government-financed scientific endeavor. But make no mistake: The weapons that make America the greatest military power in the history of the world are designed around fundamental scientific principles. And the nuclear fission process that paved the way for America’s atomic bomb also drives the civilian nuclear power industry.

And yet, the antagonism persists.

Is it possible that conservative ire toward big-government science has nothing to do with money after all? Absolutely. After all, some future discovery could greatly conflict with the commonly held religious beliefs that the Republican Party’s enormous evangelical base hold so dear. Just the same, such a discovery could potentially reinforce those beliefs, too.

Whatever the case, opposition to government-funded science is simply antithetical to true patriotism, at least the kind popular among much of the Republican Party.