Ken Thomas notes the president's invocation of Eisenhower in last night's SOTU address. It's worth mentioning Ike's Farewell Address in this context as well. Last year I wrote a very short piece for the newsletter of our Masters in American History and Government program regarding how everyone remembers Ike's warning about the power of the "military-industrial complex," but ignores what he said about the danger posed by a "scentific-technological elite." I'm pleased to see that Pat Deneen has addressed this, in far more depth and detail, in the current issue of the paleocon journal The American Conservative. He writes:
No section of Eisenhower's address gives more compelling witness to this fear than his warning that the military-industrial-scientific complex's demands would require the transformation of the university. His prophecy--which has become history--not only portended the death knell of "free ideas," but the demise of the university's historic role in providing reflective cautions about the pursuit of forbidden knowledge. Instead, the academy has given itself over to forms of inquiry with the ultimate aim of overcoming human nature.
Read the whole thing, keeping in mind Heather Wilson's recent lament regarding the narrowness and superficiality of even today's best and brightest college students.