You know, even soldiers fighting actual wars where there is immediate and imminent danger to their comrades are given leave.
Kern has lost the plot; he’s forgotten that the main reason we want to cure cancer is so that people can lead fulfilling lives. If you Kern’s argument to its logical extreme, nobody should be doing anything besides work, ever.
As Robin Williams put it in this scene:
And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
To paraphrase from another piece of pop culture, “(I)f we behave like them, then what is the point in winning?”
Kern SE. 2010. Where’s the passion? Cancer Biology & Therapy 10(7): 655-657. DOI: 10.4161/cbt.10.7.12994