Graduation '82; Call for traditional values in a nuclear age
In recent months, we have seen things happen in our society which call into question who we are and what we are about as a nation and as a people.Skip to next paragraph
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We have watched some Americans arrogate to themselves both morality and majority and assert their right to judge who is a patriotic American and who is not, who is a child of God and who is not.
We have seen widespread disrespect for the law and disregard for the rights of others. . . .
We have witnessed the growth of the kind of factionalism in this country which our Founding Fathers feared was the danger most apt to bring this nation down. . . .
Some of you have registered your protest and concern on an issue close to you - that of student aid. A number of you have also spoken out about the need for better answers than military conflict and many of you have joined the tide of protest against the ever-spiraling nuclear race.
I suggest that the time has come for you to raise your voices as committed, responsible citizens on a wide range of other issues that threaten the fabric of our society and challenge our leadership in the world.
The time has come for you - all of you - to make known what kind of a society and what kind of world you want, because it is your country, your world. It is time for you to respond to the bigots, the prophets of doom, the demagogues, the breast-beaters. It is time for you to assert your faith in reason rather than dogma, in rationality rather than inevitability, in the free rather than the shuttered mind. Dr. Edward E. David Jr. President, Exxon Research & Engineering Company University of Florida
Most of you probably are well aware of the technologies that will impact on your working and private lives in the decade ahead. Advanced computing and communications technologies are coming together. As John Pierce has said, ''Soon people will travel for pleasure and communicate to work.'' Industrial robots are coming into wide use, keeping people away from hazards in the workplace and even creating jobs aimed at making robots do the right things. Biotechnology -- that is, gene splicing and other techniques -- may yield astounding benefits in everything from the cheap production of drugs and disease-fighting agents like interferon, to self-fertilizing food crops with boosted nutritional value, to microbes that will help in extracting minerals and petroleum deposits. And toward the end of the century we are likely to see synthetic fuels made from coal and oil shale beginning to relieve our dependence on scarce supplies of oil and natural gas. Moreover, the nation has at its disposal the knowledge and experience to ensure that these technologies are introduced with far more sensitivity to human factors than was ever possible before.
But all this will not be accomplished without some cultural displacement. . . .
This illustrates that new technology is not the answer to everything. We are all aware that new technologies create their own set of problems. I am not just talking about the threat of nuclear war or environmental pollution. New technologies like the auto, the telephone, television, and the computer have changed the way we are human. They have changed the way we perceive and think about the world. They create ethical challenges so simple and personal as whether we Americans should spend such a large fraction of our leisure watching network programming, or playing ''Pac-Man.'' And they create profound problems of public policy. . . .
Future connection . . . implies . . . competence in regard to science and technology, those most powerful instruments of our will. For you personally and for the nation, much depends upon how knowledgeably and wisely they are used. Austin Kiplinger Editor, the Kiplinger Washington Letter Bryant College