Lionell Griffith says:
From a private exchange of emails about a proposed Greenhouse Effect thought experiment on Friday, 04 January 2013, 12:20 pm
It seems there is a long tradition in academia for "pure" research. Like "pure" math or "pure" theoretical physics, it is not supposed to be contaminated by any part of reality. Especially by not having a hint of or intent for practical usefulness. The grubby and dirty thing called making money by providing a useful and valuable product at a price a customer is willing to pay is to be unthinkable and kept hidden as a dirty secret.
Yet, the "purity" of their "pure" discipline must be supported by Government Grants that are extorted from all those evil people who actually invent and produce the products that everyone needs and wants to live and thrive. Absolutely no value is to be returned to those evil ones. Their purpose is simply to be slaves of the sacred academic "purity". They are to pay dearly for their crime of actually providing what others need and want.
However, by that extorted, evil, and dirty money going though the hands of Government, it is made pure. It then becomes a noble effort to search for knowledge (aka grants) simply for the sake of knowledge (aka grant money) and to publish peer reviewed (aka pal reviewed) papers endlessly citing each other in scholastic pretense of things no one either wants nor needs nor can make any use of (except to attain tenure and to gain more grant money). Oh but do they ever and always remain "pure" at everyone else's expense.
The modern "scientist" equivocates between "pure" (without purpose or payoff other than still more grant money) with "basic" (having purpose but with an unpredictable payoff). The politicians like the "pure" research angle because it gives them unlimited power to spend without having to be accountable for the consequences. After all, "science says" and "it's for the children!" We makers get hit from both sides by the takers and are not to have a say in the matter.
My bottom line is that if an activity can't be sustained by private voluntary funding then it should not exist. If that were the case then roughly 98% of academia and Government would be out of a job and likely unemployable. However, the rest of us would be wildly more wealthy and productive. More importantly, we would be free to live our lives without the overhead of and interference from all the academic and Governmental parasites. Imagine, actually implementing respect for the individual owning HIS life, HIS liberty, and HIS pursuit of happiness.