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I had a conversation with a co-worker today, where this topic came up, as an example of "wasteful government spending." This co-worker is a limited government, pro-corporation, let the market decide, old-school conservative. On occasion we discuss politics and current events.

When I brought up the Apollo Program as put forward by JFK, as an example of a Government Program (NASA) that was definitely "worth the investment" -- my co-worker's predictable reply went something like this:

Well the Apollo program did have some "cold war" spin off benefits, so in that way it was worthwhile. Otherwise if the free-market doesn't want it, then our Government has no business, making us go there.
To which I replied well look at all the larger spin-off benefits that NASA program ultimately brought to the economy, spinning off businesses and products from their research (Tang, Velcro, Space Blanket, Satellite Communications, Weather Satellites, Advanced Electronics, etc, etc.)

Mr Free-Market was unphased by my economic argument. He simply asserted:

Show me in the Constitution where it says the Government has a right to invest in stuff like this? With our Tax Dollars?
To which I was momentarily stumped.  (Then he quickly switched the topic to 2nd Amendment rights, and it was down another seemingly endless rabbit trail.)


Which leads me to the title question of today's post.  What say you:

"Our Government has no 'Business' in Space."
True, False, It Depends;  Discuss not-so-quietly among yourselves.


(And thanks for helping me out of this "free-market" government-investment maze.)



The main problem with Outer Space,

is that there is so much of it ...

-- Anonymous



Poll

Our Government has no 'Business' in Space.

5%4 votes
85%68 votes
8%7 votes
1%1 votes

| 80 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Here's Where It Says It In the Constitution: (18+ / 0-)

    1. A foundational purpose of the Constitution:

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
    2. Government is empowered to tax to pay for promotion of the general welfare.
    Article. I.
    Section. 8.

    Clause 1: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States....

    The small gov, rw and libertarians are absolutely against government promotion of the general welfare, but the Constitution was chartered in part to do exactly that.

    It's hardly the only part of the Constitution the right opposes.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon May 06, 2013 at 06:12:17 PM PDT

  •  Sounds like you blew a golden opportunity (6+ / 0-)

    went he went down the second amendment rabbit hole

    Because, the main impetus behind the second amendment was that the founding fathers didn't want a standing army (hence, the need for an armed population, you know, in case Canada invaded . . . ).  

    So, if this guy was irked by the space program, based on his mindset, you'd think he'd be rendered absolutely catatonic by the MIC

  •  Besides: Who Says Anyone Went to the Moon? (10+ / 0-)

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

    More than a few of this ilk think it never happened in the first place.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon May 06, 2013 at 06:15:03 PM PDT

    •  I was expecting him to say that, (7+ / 0-)

      but at some level the guy still "believes in science"

      -- up until Newton anyways, lol.

    •  kool pix btw (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roger Fox, PeterHug
    •  A bit OT, but I've a response for those quacks (8+ / 0-)

      that usually shuts them the hell up. It doesn't really convince them, most of them are too far gone for that, but it does make them think about what they're really talking about.

      The Soviets would never have let us get away with it.

      They would have noticed something was up. They were watching very closely we can be sure, and probably among other things looking for fakery. They would've loved nothing more than to declare to the world on the front page of Pravda that we were frauds.

      Instead they were praiseful of the Apollo 11 mission. Calling Armstrong the "Tsar" or something like that.

      Of course they may have been in on it too.

      If that is true then the Cold War never happened, and much of 20th century history is false.

      That's what you're really saying.

      A long time ago I found out in conversation that a long-time friend thought the moon-landing never happened. He was very adamant about it, and I was extremely disappointed and angry because I had respected this guy. We were going back and forth and eventually I thought of that meme and threw it down, in probably a more divisive and disdainful tone than I should have. But he shut up immediately. Just said "huh" and didn't say another word about it. When two minutes before we had been pretty much yelling at each other playing CT evidence-whack-a-mole about ongoing laser experiments and moon rocks and such, we moved on to other things and that was that. We never talked about it again, and I haven't seen him in years. I wonder sometimes if he still believes that. I sure as hell hope not.

      The same thing has happened with a few of my co-workers over the years. I make no secret that I'm uber-interested in space and talking about space and thinking about space. Plus I'm in a position of some authority so most of them wouldn't dare talk about it around me if they were "moon-truthers". But there were three that did, and they met my wrathful and immediate response about how they are basically saying that the superpowers of the world spent as much or more energy covering up the moon landing as they would have actually going (which they fucking did dammit). They shut up very quickly and didn't talk about it again.

      Felt fucking great I'm here to tell you.

      "Every book is like a door"

      by Hammerhand on Mon May 06, 2013 at 07:37:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Our" business (10+ / 0-)

    meaning the sane, curious, awed "our"

    nasa picture

    beauty and questions.  Two most perfect aspects humans have the capacity to understand if they wish.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Mon May 06, 2013 at 06:15:59 PM PDT

  •  I'd like to send Congress into space (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, ivorybill

    That's a third of our government, if memory serves.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Mon May 06, 2013 at 06:30:19 PM PDT

  •  I'd rather he was asking what business the govt (10+ / 0-)

    has financing a military establishment that dwarfs NASA and most of our allies combined.

  •  Did Ferdinand and Isabella (8+ / 0-)

    have the support of the people to fund exploration into the New World?  Many of their subjects still believed the world was flat and Columbus would simply sail off the edge - what a waste of Iberian gold!

     -- I suspect your co-worker may be equally suspicious of any government supported scientific research.  Or maybe science in general.  

    The truth always matters.

    by texasmom on Mon May 06, 2013 at 06:37:50 PM PDT

  •  So if we put a gun in space , (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, happymisanthropy, BusyinCA

    what would he say then ?
    How about if we let the military take over our space program ?
    Would he be ok with the space program if it was all about winning wars ?

    Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11 + Trusted Users have a responsibility to police the general tenor... Hunter 5/26/06

    by indycam on Mon May 06, 2013 at 06:41:30 PM PDT

  •  What ever you do , don't mention that (6+ / 0-)

    the space program has been good for the military .
    The satellites that are up there are doing things for the military , sat nav , communications , reconnaissance etc etc etc .
    I'd ask him why he hates the good red blooded fighting men and women of the greatest nation on earth .

    Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11 + Trusted Users have a responsibility to police the general tenor... Hunter 5/26/06

    by indycam on Mon May 06, 2013 at 06:46:24 PM PDT

    •  he's A-OK (0+ / 0-)

      with those kind of investment,

      Reagan is another of his heroes

      -- heard all about the fall of the Berlin Wall today too,

      all thanks to Ronnie.

      •  Keep it on the down low , (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jamess

        Nasa was just a cover company for the CIA .

        http://www.nasa.gov/...

        President Reagan's boundless optimism about America manifested itself in many ways. Among them was his energetic and unbridled support for NASA's space exploration program. Less than three months after he took the oath of office, on April 12, 1981, the Space Shuttle Columbia launched on its first mission, and after a six-year hiatus, Americans were back in space to stay.
        We shall never forget them nor the last time we saw them, as they prepared for their mission and waved good-bye and slipped the surly bonds of Earth to touch the face of God. - Ronald Reagan

        Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11 + Trusted Users have a responsibility to police the general tenor... Hunter 5/26/06

        by indycam on Mon May 06, 2013 at 07:15:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm reminded of Robert R. Wilson's quote (10+ / 0-)

    when asked in 1969 how the proposed National Accelerator Lab at Argonne National Lab would contribute to national defense.  "It has only to do with the respect with which we regard one another, the dignity of men, our love of culture. It has to do with: Are we good painters, good sculptors, great poets? I mean all the things we really venerate in our country and are patriotic about. It has nothing to do directly with defending our country except to make it worth defending."

  •  Does the goverment have any business in air space? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, JeffW

    My civics teacher had a good example about how the Constitution had to be reinterpreted as times change. His example:

    The Constitution says:

    "The Congress shall have Power To...make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces"

    So:

    Is the Air Force constitutional?

  •  Until we get a Delos D. Harriman, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, JeffW

    (and who knows, we might) I'm all for government investment in space.

    Whether it has any business in space is a whole other question - of course it doesn't. Fortunately, the prospect of winning a pissing contest with the Russians without actually going to war was too tempting to turn down at the time.  So, I suppose you actually could call it a military investment, all things considered.

    At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

    by serendipityisabitch on Mon May 06, 2013 at 07:18:26 PM PDT

  •  your "friend" is a typically ignorant (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Roger Fox, PeterHug, Hirodog

    faux libertarian stooge who is probably not worth arguing with. However, if you're so inclined, ask him if he thinks that the federal government made a mistake in giving millions of acres of western land to the 19th century railroad magnates so that they would sell off the land in order to get the $$ to build the railways. In other words, it was a direct subsidy to the railroad interests.

    If the rail magnates never got that subsidy, the entire system of transcontinental railroads never gets built. Which means in turn the building of our mighty industrial base is severely stunted. Which means in turn that we don't have the capacity to build the mind-boggling numbers of aircraft, tanks, and naval craft necessary to defeat the Hun in WWI and the Nazis and Imperial Japanese in WWII. Which means that the Germans are able to subjugate Europe and control the Atlantic, the Japanese effectively control our western offshore waters, and we are neutered. Your friend is in effect a treasonous bastard and an effective anti-Semite as well. Fuck him.

  •  and tell your idiot friend (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, JeffW

    that it doesn't matter to the rest of the solar system whether it's American companies or Russian or Chinese companies that take advantage—and de facto control—of the resources that are out there. The potential is too vast for it to be unexplored forever. The libertarian response amounts to "hey, my cave is just fine, and my fire works pretty well as long as I have dry firewood."

  •  Our government has no business NOT being in space. (7+ / 0-)

    Your conservative co-worker is a parochial cretin who would cut off his own nose for being too far ahead of his face.

    Knowing the future is easy: Today's trivia becomes tomorrow's sacrament, and vice-versa.

    by Troubadour on Mon May 06, 2013 at 07:33:01 PM PDT

  •  Would he have opposed the Space Race? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, texasmom, JeffW

    One of the reasons that we went into space was the spectacle of having Sputnik spinning overhead, with the implication that the Soviet Union or any other nation might own space before we could even get up there.

    Eisenhower sure saw the value of putting national resources and skillsets to work on meeting the competition.  Kennedy saw that as well, as a member of the younger generation of the time that saw a new frontier opening up.  He even called his Administration that.

    No one would have been taken seriously back then opposing the investment and the commitment of manpower that went into the effort to get to the moon.  

    Competition with the Soviets may not be the point anymore, but what about other nations and their interest in space?  Are we supposed to think a second rate status with respect to leading edge science and technology is acceptable?  

    These Tea Party types sure are wimps.

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Mon May 06, 2013 at 07:37:09 PM PDT

    •  Among the Tea Party types here, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jamess

      I'm certain science is not their forte.  And yes, there are people under 50 who believe the moon landing was a government sponsored farce.  

      The truth always matters.

      by texasmom on Mon May 06, 2013 at 07:53:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A lot of people were there for the take offs (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jamess

        The Saturn V rockets went up.  the earth throbbed for tens of miles around and this was not some Hollywood special effect.  

        The dividends from space exploration are real.  Just check out what you can do with graphic software like PhotoShop.  It was derived from digital methods for rendering images that came out of interplanetary exploration.  

        Of course there are people who are not literate enough to spell correctly.  Those tend to think the use of language to address different demographic groups, as in most marketing, is magic.

        hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

        by Stuart Heady on Tue May 07, 2013 at 02:33:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  We need a military space presence anyway (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, JeffW

    unless we want to give all space mining to China and India.

  •  My response would be flippant (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess

    and would channel Andy Dufresne:

    Get busy livin', or get busy dyin'.
    Not sure if it fits or not but that's what I would say.

    "Every book is like a door"

    by Hammerhand on Mon May 06, 2013 at 07:46:57 PM PDT

  •  Space has no business being between the ears (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, Eric Nelson

    of members of congress....

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Mon May 06, 2013 at 07:49:15 PM PDT

  •  We must explore space (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, Roger Fox

    ...after all, think of all the private property we can claim as the exclusive right of America! New world, indeed! Thankfully we haven't located any life forms to kill yet.

    I'm going to be in dissent here and question this a bit. As long as people are starving, and without homes, and without healthcare, it seems completely lacking in compassion to ignore them and go into space. Now, if we turned all that funding to the purpose of combating climate change and developing renewable energy sources... that would be better.

    We're pretty good at developing technology, not so good at directing it to our real needs.

    But, I don't expect agreement here, in fact I expect ridicule, and I think this space exploration meme has caught up Democrats to the point there will never be any real discussion.

    But I say let's take care of mother earth first before we go fuck up the rest of the universe.

    "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

    by ZhenRen on Mon May 06, 2013 at 07:53:29 PM PDT

    •  that is a reasonable argument to be made, ZhenRen (0+ / 0-)


      I would assume you are against ALL Govt Investments,

      just callous, narrow-sighted, profit-based ones.

      •  ... aren't against ... (0+ / 0-)
      •  I would abolish the concept of private ownership (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jamess

        of the means of production. Then everything will be the people's investment.  

        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

        by ZhenRen on Mon May 06, 2013 at 08:33:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  on paper sure - in reality - the same old (0+ / 0-)

          same old.  There will be no communist revolution in the US, we've been far too well indoctrinated that sharing is not how we do things and the winner takes all.

          And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

          by Mortifyd on Mon May 06, 2013 at 09:48:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That cystal ball you have... (0+ / 0-)

            Must be worth a fortune.

            I don't think we're going to have anarcho-socialism (and with that I've really lost you) anytime soon, but it's rather extremely important to know what the best model should be if we're going to have any idea of what to strive for, and how to compare the value of other ideologies.

            That's why I spend time studying alternatives to capitalism. Even if I won't experience my preference while I'm still alive, it is of enormous value and usefulness to understand how I would prefer my world to be organized, and to have something to measure the existing world against.

            Yeah, I know... to you I'm an idiot, and of course, so is Chomsky, and so was Zinn, and so are a bunch of thinkers who tower above dkos denizens... we're a bunch of fools to you.

            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

            by ZhenRen on Mon May 06, 2013 at 10:10:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  wow, chip on the shoulder much? (0+ / 0-)

              Talk about who is using the crystal ball here... you don't know anything about me or my political leanings, but you've managed to be completely wrong about all of it.

              I know what all those fancy big words mean and who those authors are - and I've read them too.  I'm just more cynical and less of a smug prick about it.

              And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

              by Mortifyd on Mon May 06, 2013 at 10:55:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I do get tired... (0+ / 0-)

                of the rather narrow thinking around here. I apologize if I seem smug. I'll admit to being irritated around here as of late. People are hurting in the world, there is a lot of injustice, and people seem to be content with their heads in the sand.

                I'm outgrowing this place... I should probably leave. It is not helping me to stick around, and yet I do.

                "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                by ZhenRen on Mon May 06, 2013 at 11:53:28 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  don't let the door hit you on the way out (0+ / 0-)

                  if you expect me to be butthurt you're "outgrowing" the place.  There are a lot of things I don't agree with here and I certainly get frustrated from time to time - but it doesn't affect what I see as the positives - there are people who share some of my ideals and want to make the world a better place.  Maybe not in the same ways I would - but we aren't clones, we're individuals with our own needs, biases and concepts.  I have to take that into account, no matter how much I want them to just agree I'm right.

                  Humanity - it's like that.

                  And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

                  by Mortifyd on Tue May 07, 2013 at 12:30:29 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Pure class (0+ / 0-)

                    Exactly what I expected, and you didn't disappoint. I suppose it would be hard for you to outdo your use of "buthurt" but I've got a feeling you actually will.

                    "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                    by ZhenRen on Tue May 07, 2013 at 02:02:12 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Looking at this today (0+ / 0-)

                    I will apologize again for my testy attitude. I could have articulated my point of view better than I did.

                    My point isn't that going into space is absolutely wrong, only that when our government ignores poverty, unemployment, climate change, peak oil, and the need to develop renewable energy sources, but keeps spending so much on other programs (the national security state and other military spinoffs, and space programs, etc), it strikes me as unethical.

                    I realize you disagree, and you've explained your reasons, but more must be done about these crises we are faced with, and that is a fact.

                    But there is no need for us to be rude to each other, and for that I apologize.

                    "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                    by ZhenRen on Tue May 07, 2013 at 11:00:53 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  Too late. We've fucked it up and will get (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, Batya the Toon

      shaken heavily back in population and technology sooner than we think.  Hence it is VITAL we consider ways to avoid the potential extinction or second dark ages of our species by pushing space exploration and STEM education all the harder.

      And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

      by Mortifyd on Mon May 06, 2013 at 08:17:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If we don't change (0+ / 0-)

        We will fuck up any place we go. I don't think it is too late, but I'll admit that once people figure out where we're heading, it likely will be. So, who's going to have a nice new home on Mars? The wealthy class, of course. The same ones who are fucking up our planet. Shall I make a list of who will be on that flight?

        No, let's push to save the earth so that our less fortunate and not so wealthy offspring will have something to look forward to.

        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

        by ZhenRen on Mon May 06, 2013 at 08:31:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  well, not really - mars isn't comfortable (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Batya the Toon

          You can't just use up the air - there's not enough.  You can't just make air or import an atmosphere.  So the people who will actually LIVE on mars will be the construction workers, miners and the scientists trying to develop the tech to make the nice mars cushy homes when the rich really have no where else to go because earth is shaking them off and uncomfortable.'

          Space will be colonised by nerds and the working class, paid for by the rich.  So make sure your kid is a nerd or a specialist in underwater construction or mining science and technology today.

          And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

          by Mortifyd on Mon May 06, 2013 at 09:29:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Good luck with that plan (0+ / 0-)

            Bottom line is most humans are goners if we don't make an effort to save what we have.

            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

            by ZhenRen on Mon May 06, 2013 at 10:03:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  all humans are goners at some point (0+ / 0-)

              we're mortal.  Agreed, we should do what we can to reverse the damage we've done, but to assume that rich people are actually going to ditch us and build a colony with their own hands and no fun stuff for them to exclude other people from shows me you don't know anything about rich people.

              They are NOT about to build and live in early mars habitats - that's for people to build them things they will live in and to have people to exclude when there is enough to entertain them.  

              They have to be SAFE first - so Chaz can't slam the airlock and kill everyone on accident because the keys to his space car got taken away.  So Mumzy can't accidentally kill them all blitzed out of her mind on booze and boredom because there are no exclusive stores on mars.  Because Poppy can't play golf when there is no country club to show off how rich he is to the other rich guys.  All that has to be built first - THEN the rich people will move off world.

              Until then, it's just gated communities in more remote places on earth and bodyguards to keep the riffraff away as society collapses around the rest of us - those that cater to them already will be fine because they will be high enough on the food chain as suppliers of "necessary goods" from a Rich POV to be reachable from their guarded mountain estates.

              And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

              by Mortifyd on Mon May 06, 2013 at 10:20:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  And now you instruct me (0+ / 0-)

                about rich people.

                One way or another, elites (perhaps not all wealthy, but still nevertheless most will be well connected) are going to be the ones who end up colonizing space... if we live long enough to see that happen.

                Neither you nor I know the future. The bottom line is most people aren't going anywhere, and we should be doing our best to keep human habitats on this planet, the one most people are stuck with, from being destroyed by climate change.

                That's a no brainer. And that's where we should be putting our greatest effort, and spending our research dollars.

                "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                by ZhenRen on Mon May 06, 2013 at 10:33:33 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm not "instructing you" so you can put that away (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Batya the Toon

                  I'm just extrapolating from pretty much all recorded human history that the wealthy do not dirty their hands building their paradise - they hire people to do that for them.  So insisting they are going to bum rush off to mars and live in tin shacks trying to remember to check the greenhouse and close the airlocks because they are one accident from death is just patently ridiculous.

                  As I stated, I AGREE that we need to do what we can to keep earth habitable - but without looking outward we WILL die out as a species eventually - either by our own hand or some delightful chunk of rock slamming into our planet because gravity works.  Either situation is bad for the human race as a whole.

                  So why not work on both earth and colonies for the sake of our species now, before we are so scientifically illiterate that rockets become a myth and we just slowly choke here in our own shit?  Why would you rather doom us all to potential extinction because there's been  no worldwide peoples revolution?

                  And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

                  by Mortifyd on Mon May 06, 2013 at 10:42:23 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Oh my... (0+ / 0-)

                    Off in the weeds.

                    I don't mind your star trek dreams. But the way things are going we may not get that far, since some of the world's most brilliant scientists think we may have only another hundred years before there are only a few survivors left as a consequence of global warming. I don't know if that will occur, but it seems wise to focus on what is more certain to happen, rather than worry about meteorites killing us off, which is actually a known element -- we know what's out there and what is coming our way in terms of orbiting bodies.

                    We should focus on saving our species, and the species of hundreds of thousands of other life forms, before worrying about colonizing other planets. But here we are blithely ignoring that, and a host of other things, while spending money on space technology.

                    Even if we were doing both at once, that would be better. But to do one while virtually ignoring the other is... stupid and insane.

                    "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                    by ZhenRen on Mon May 06, 2013 at 11:50:12 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  so nice you don't mind... (0+ / 0-)

                      the fact that I give a shit about our species.

                      We mostly know what is coming our way.  We don't at this time have the capacity to do anything about it should a little gravity tweak put us in the path of something nasty that puts chimps in shoes with the dinosaurs.

                      I think we have to do both - and not all of anything will survive.  That's how life works.  Just because we live in a bubble and refuse to recognise our own potential mortality doesn't mean we should just ignore the drive some of us have to reach beyond this world.

                      We spend almost nothing on space technology.  Less than a nickle per dollar goes to NASA.  Enormous gains in knowledge have come out of that shoestring budget - things that benefit humans here and now on this planet - that's hardly a waste in my book.

                      But hey, if you want to pretend that is draining our budget and has no value because you choose not to see it - knock yourself out.  No one is going to stop you - certainly not me.

                      And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

                      by Mortifyd on Tue May 07, 2013 at 12:15:13 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  So far... (0+ / 0-)

                        that "drive" you speak of has been, in the long view of history, killing us due to the hubris of men playing god with the universe.

                        A little less machismo and drive and a little more nurturing and caring for the earth would be nice to see right about now, to balance out the destruction of the last century.

                        Not saying you're 100% wrong, but overall, my point is a valid one.

                        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                        by ZhenRen on Tue May 07, 2013 at 02:10:16 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

  •  Lincolns land grants to railroads (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, JeffW, PeterHug

    Railroads didnt see much purpose building west past the Mississippi River. Lincoln did. Those 6 railways to the Pacific Ocean opened up resource development that helped win WW2.

    Ultimately your co workers so called market economics might have seen Hitler roll over most or all of Europe.

    Market economics is real, it is something to be taken advantage of. But one shouldn't base a nations economic policy on market economics, because you wont get transcontinental railways and you may not single handedly beat Tojo & Hitler.

    .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Mon May 06, 2013 at 08:02:19 PM PDT

  •  Our resources are finite. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, JeffW, Roger Fox, Eric Nelson, Mortifyd

    At some point we either go off planet for our needs or we perish. The only question is when?

    And if there is a true planet-buster lurking out there, humankind better have a rabbit hole ready.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Mon May 06, 2013 at 08:21:35 PM PDT

  •  Consider NIH...you might ask him (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, Eric Nelson

    how much he likes having the current medical options available to him and those he cares about.

    NIH (both intramural and extramural) research has been the central driving force in creating and developing modern medicine.

  •  Space - the last tax haven. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess

    Weren't named "Atlas" rockets for nothing ...

    Conservatism is an obsession with the past ... with little regard for the future.

    by RUNDOWN on Mon May 06, 2013 at 09:43:06 PM PDT

  •  Whitey on the moon (0+ / 0-)

    We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

    by RageKage on Mon May 06, 2013 at 11:23:28 PM PDT

  •  'Our government' is ... us. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, Batya the Toon

    Government is not some alien entity.  It is SUPPOSED to be the expression of our own desire to band together to grow and thrive safely in cooperation.

    If you say 'government has no business in space', then you're simply saying your country has no business in space.  Now from the context, maybe he actually does believe that, but if so, he's foolish.

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