Clothesline in Winter

Clothesline in Winter

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Beating Our Swords into Ploughshares?

Quick:  What would today be like for you without – 1. the Internet, 2. personal computers, 3. fiber optics, 4. lasers, or even 5. silicon chips?   Well, for starters, you wouldn’t be reading this, but if you could, your secretary would have had to mimeograph it for you. (Mimeograph?  Secretary?)
It’s amazing how much we rely on innovations almost entirely unknown just a few decades back.  And what do many of them have in common?  They were developed with research funding from the U.S. Federal Government.  That’s right: the hated Big Government.  Every one of the five “essentials” listed above.
But today, budgets are tight, and we’re looking everywhere to save money from government spending.  This had us wondering, how much is the government spending to help develop alternative energy and break our dependence on fossil fuels?  Well, it turns out, not very much. 
As the chart above shows, we increased energy research back in the 1970’s when long gas lines and the OPEC oil embargo had us briefly worried.  But since then, there’s been precious little Federal support.   You’d think that energy wasn’t all that important to our country, wouldn’t you?
But then we got to wondering: Where do all the Federal research dollars go?  What we found was shocking.  While the energy research spending has flat-lined, we’ve poured Federal money into developing new weapons for the military at exponential growth rates – pushing $80 billion by 2006.
We can't help but ask: How many of our brave young men and women would still be alive today if we had committed ourselves to finding safe and sustainable energy sources here at home, rather than sending them all over the globe to protect our vulnerable trade routes and energy supplies?
The prophet Isaiah foresaw the day when we would reverse our priorities:   
“They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (Is. 2:4) 
Sovereign Lord, we pray for that day to come soon.

Thanks for reading, and may God bless you.

J. Elwood

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