Eisenhower: Has Public Policy Become “Captive of a Scientific-Technological Elite?”

In his 1961 Farewell address President Eisenhower's eye-catching remarks on the "military industrial complex" would be remembered for generations. Less widely noticed was a second interconnected 'threat,' which he believed could upset the delicate 'balance' upon which American democracy is based.

Eisenhower: Has Public Policy Become “Captive of a Scientific-Technological Elite?”


In his 1961 Farewell address President Eisenhower’s eye-catching remarks on the “military industrial complex” would be remembered for generations. Less widely noticed was a second interconnected ‘threat,’ which he believed could upset the delicate ‘balance’ upon which American democracy is based.

This threat was the role of ‘money’ in undermining the role of the university as “the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery.”

More specifically, Eisenhower feared the potential of federal financing to engender a closed technological elite, shaping policy not by consensus, but by fillip.