David Berlinski Writer, Thinker, and Raconteur

Spending the Public’s Money: It’s a Tough Job


Seeking relief from the demands of geschaeftThe Washington Times reported recently, senior officials at the National Science Foundation routinely spend a great deal of their time (and our money) visiting pornographic sites on the Internet. 

Just possibly, I suspect, they spend all of their time on stress relief and none on the public’s business, stress relief so striking as to cancel its cause entirely.

“The problems at the National Science Foundation (NSF) were so pervasive,” the Times reported, “they swamped the agency’s inspector general and forced the internal watchdog to cut back on its primary mission of investigating grant fraud and recovering misspent tax dollars.”

These are points that might be kept in mind the next time senior members of the scientific establishment appear in public, their begging bowl clasped firmly in hand, and a suppliant froth just crusting on their lips

They are points to keep in mind, as well, the next time the NSF issues some solemn and idiotic diktat about Darwin’s theory of evolution and its enthusiastic endorsement by the scientific community.  

A scientific mandarin may spend his time wandering around the Internet corridors of Sophie’s House of Pleasure, or he may spend his time trying to think of something intelligent to say.

It is remarkably difficult to do both.