1969.07.18: Apollo seen as issue of national priority (UCLA Daily Bruin)

1969.07.18 - Moon Landing - Daily Bruin

UCLA Daily Bruin, July 18, 1969

Apollo seen as issue of national priority

By Liza Madison
DB Staff Reporter

The scheduled lunar landing of Apollo 11 astronauts this Sunday has drawn reaction, ranging from enthusiastic to unfavorable, from faculty members and students here.

Supporters of the space program view the moon shot as a “remarkable achievement of American technology” and a “tribute to our scientific prowess.”

Political Science Professor Bernard Brodie, director of the Securities Studies Project here, said that the journey “really is a tremendous accomplishment. I’m very exhilarated by the fact that we’re going to the moon. I’m nationalistic enough to feel pleased though I’m not delirious.”

However, the moon flight has its detractors here also. A number of faculty members and students question the ultimate value of the space program and would lower it several notches among the national priorities.

Height of absurdity

Philosophy Professor C. Wade Savage, a member of the liberal faculty group, Committee of Concerned Faculty (CCF), believes that “space exploration ought not to be undertaken until the problems of this planet have been alleviated. It is the height of absurdity to undertake exploration of space at the present time.”

Among some students opposition to the program was even stronger. Coalition member Dennis Rubenstein said that “when 10 million people are starving in the United States, and we can’t even solve the problems of our cities, it is wrong for America to devote her energies and money to stick an American flag on the moon.”

Steven Harwood, a law student, said that “it’s too high up in our priorities, compared to the fact that we’re not spending a penny on the proposed Department for Peace and less and less each year for education.”

Perverse heirarchy of values

Professor Leon Letwin, another CFF member, said the moon program “illustrates a perverse heirarchy of values.”

“We’re going to the moon for all the wrong reasons,” Letwin said.”We’re spending vast sums on the wrong thing in pursuit of the wrong goals.”

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