Transcript of speech at Livermore Laboratories, May 5, 1979

Ellsberg’s ability to connect with a range of people is clearly shown throughout this speech, given outside Lawrence Livermore Laboratories in 1979. Livermore was the second nuclear weapons laboratory in the United States and produced thermonuclear weapons for nearly four decades. Ellsberg connects with people through the theme of fatherhood. He addresses the role the idea of fatherhood played in nuclear arms productions, the role of father figures in cults, and connects the two to highlight the error of blindly following leadership. Drawing on his audiences’ own experiences as either a father or, in a more broad sense, someone who can understand the caring role of a parental figure, Ellsberg argues that we must “break from that hypnotic obedience.” More than three decades later, Ellsberg words still ring true.

Tianna Darling