Herman Kahn

Herman Kahn

Biography

Author Profession: US Scientist
Born: February 15, 1922
Died: July 07, 1983
Birth Sign: Aquarius

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Herman Kahn quotes

Only those who are ideologically opposed to military programs think of the defense budget as the first and best place to get resources for social welfare needs.

World War I broke out largely because of an arms race, and World War II because of the lack of an arms race.

From a scientific perspective there is some indication that a nuclear war could deplete the earth's ozone layer or, less likely, could bring on a new Ice Age - but there is no suggestion that either the created order or mankind would be destroyed in the process.

Projecting a persuasive image of a desirable and practical future is extremely important to high morale, to dynamism, to consensus, and in general to help the wheels of society turn smoothly.

In 1960 I published a book that attempted to direct attention to the possibility of a thermonuclear war, to ways of reducing the likelihood of such a war, and to methods for coping with the consequences should war occur despite our efforts to avoid it.

The widespread diffusion of nuclear weapons would make many nations able, and in some cases also create the pressure, to aggravate an on-going crisis, or even touch off a war between two other powers for purposes of their own.

Nuclear weapons are intrinsically neither moral nor immoral, though they are more prone to immoral use than most weapons.

For some years I have spent my time on exactly these questions - both in thinking about ways to prevent war, and in thinking about how to fight, survive, and terminate a war, should it occur.

To the extent that these advanced weapons or their components are treated as articles of commerce, perhaps for peaceful uses as in the Plowshare program, their cost would be well within the resources available to many large private organizations.

Nuclear war is such an emotional subject that many people see the weapons themselves as the common enemy of humanity.

Failures of perspective in decision-making can be due to aspects of the social utility paradox, but more often result from simple mistakes caused by inadequate thought.

Because of new technologies, new wealth, new conditions of domestic life and of international relations, unprecedented criteria and issues are coming up for national decision.

Hopefully, nations will refuse to accept a situation in which nuclear accidents actually do occur, and, if at all possible, they will do something to correct a system which makes them likely.

Deterrence itself is not a preeminent value; the primary values are safety and morality.

A healthy and fully functioning society must allocate its resources among a variety of competing interests, all of which are more or less valid but none of which should take precedence over national security.

My guess is that nuclear weapons will be used sometime in the next hundred years, but that their use is much more likely to be small and limited than widespread and unconstrained.

Anything that reduces war-related destruction should not be considered altogether immoral.

Human and moral factors must always be considered. They must never be missing from policies and from public discussion.

I'm against fashionable thinking.

I'm against ignorance.

The success of our operas rests most of the time in the hands of the conductor. This person is as necessary as a tenor or a prima donna. Giuseppe Verdi

I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well. Alexander the Great quotes

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