Unfortunately I think that the greatest threat to Chemistry, Chemists, and the Chemical Profession is nothing to do with Chemistry, but is the rise of anti-science, and the authoritarian trends towards forcing science to submit to politics. I hate politics as much as the next scientist and have ignored it most of my life. I engage in it now not because I have changed in some way and now like it, but because I am now afraid to turn my back on it. These trends if allowed to proceed could destroy science itself as well as the environment, and the freedom of our society. I am very encouraged by the fact that the editors of C&EN are not afraid to take sides on issues that would be considered political and by the favorable reception that these editorials seem to be receiving. I think that the ACS should seek to build partnerships for political action with other professional societies to leverage our effectiveness. I think we professionals should be prepared to use all the influence at our disposal to protect other scientists from being forced to bend scientific conclusions to fit political agendas, even if it means engaging in union-like activities such as work stoppage. We have the power to steer society if we are not afraid to use it.
I think it is laudable that the ACS advocates for the freedom of foreign scientists. I am sure that we all realize that we can hardly do this without advocating for freedom for everyone, and I think this is good. I think that as educated professionals we have an obligation to society not just for good science, but also ultimately for a just society, because science cannot survive in the absence of truth and freedom.
Whether I like it or not, I now agree with Dwight Eisenhower that “Politics ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people . . .” and I would add to protect inherently truth seeking endeavors such as science.