Police vehicle accidents and the impact such crashes have had on communities across New York State are the focus of a new data journalism project involving Newhouse School students working in partnership with reporters from the USA Today Network and Central Current….
‘Nasty, Brutish and Short’
David Driesen, University Professor in the College of Law, authored an opinion piece for The Hill titled “Nasty, Brutish and Short.” Driesen is an expert on environmental law and economics.
In the piece Driesen explains that before government use of modern science to help society, life was often “nasty, brutish and short,” a phrase attributed to Thomas Hobbes. Driesen argues that during the COVID-19 pandemic the government has retreated from modern science, threatening a return to that awful state.
Driesen outlines how the early 20th century was filled with death and disease, but as the century progressed and scientific advancements were made the dire conditions of daily life greatly improved. It was not only the work of scientists that improved life but the support of the government in these advancements to distribute them to the people.
Referring to the end of the polio epidemic, Driesen writes that the government worked with public and private health care providers to create a successful vaccine. Driesen argues that this collaboration between the government and healthcare sectors has weakened, as demonstrated by the current pandemic.
Driesen believes that to best rescue society from the pandemic the government must once again turn back to science. “If our leaders do not use science in this way, we might as well return to the dark times, when science was scarce and advances were buried,” Driesen says.