October 18, 2013

Einstein’s Dialectics: Were his ideas responsible for nuclear war?

"My opinion of the human race is high enough that I believe this bogey [patriotism and war] would have disappeared long ago, had the sound sense of the peoples not been systematically corrupted by commercial and political interest acting through the schools and the press”. (The World As I See It, 1931)


"Einstein’s stand against US militarism, his views on the global economy, his defence of left-wing activists and involvement in socialist circles would prompt US Senator Joseph McCarthy, a vehement anti-Communist, to denounce him as an enemy of the state. While he considered the Stalinist bureaucracy a stark betrayal of the socialist cause, he was nonetheless targeted for investigation by the FBI, and was long held in suspicion of supporting the Soviets.

While his increasingly vocal critiques led to a falling out with the American establishment, Einstein continued to enjoy immense popular support from the public.

Toward the end of his life, he would devote considerable energy in support of the newly established United Nations, in accordance with his vision of an international system that would put a final end to the roots of human conflict and destitution.

As with a great many other thinkers, Einstein’s radical views were ultimately diluted in favour of a depoliticized image of him – a harmless old genius with fuzzy white hair – that fit the status quo. Many other scientists have gone down that same path, seeking to detach themselves, in the name of a false “objectivity”, from the socio-political implications of their own discoveries.

The consequences of such an attitude are profound, as proven by Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the irrationality of a “scientific” economy hooked on competition and endless growth, and the manipulation of science itself by a self-destructive profit system that has put the future of the planet itself at stake.

It is only right that we restore the political legacy of a man who not only shaped our views of reality, but was shaped by it. Einstein saw all around him the anarchy and violence of a society that had lost its way, but did not give up on the human prospect.

The man who championed the theory of relativity was no relativist. He saw the progress of human history, however bleak, as containing within it the seeds of radical change.”


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