The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

How About That Commitment To Mediocrity

Posted on | August 29, 2011 | 25 Comments

by Smitty

Update: crossed out a word, added a couple to the first sentence of the second para to avoid a friendly fire incident.

Insty links discussing the possible abandonment of the International Space Station. The Russkies are having lift problems, which puts them ahead of the U.S., which currently ain’t got no sack whatsoever.

This is why I’m not sure it’s good not to be purely libertarian on the topic of space. I don’t know what the libertarian argument in favor of a space program is. As a conservative, one can ask if, unlike ObamaCare, space flight can be argued as a federal task. Space actually has significant national security impacts, and falls neatly under the federal task to provide such.

And have a space program we should. Its one of those national inspiration things that are cool, without explicitely making other countries look bad. We all benefit from the technology trickle-down, like the integrated circuit for the Apollo program.

Instead of pushing the edge, we get ObamaCare. Managing individual health is not a federal Constitutional task, irrespective of the mental gymnastics of the lawyers and judges. Beside being wrongheaded, and wasteful, socialist programs like ObamaCare insidiously divert resources from inspirational programs like space flight, and pour them down a mediocre money hole of health care. Instead of motivational pictures of the stars-and-stripes on the moon, we get a pallet of generic cough syrup that does little but provide jobs to some paper-pushers. Certainly doesn’t improve anyone’s existence.

Set low goals; fail to meet them. Thanks for nothing, Progressives.


25 Responses to “How About That Commitment To Mediocrity”

  1. Anonymous
    August 29th, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

    Space flight is necessary because a) it is our moral duty to get our genome off this planet before Pamela Geller turns out to be right and somebody launches or releases something we can’t take back and b) it is our spiritual duty to physically enlarge the human experience, to leave our kids something in some measurable way grander than ourselves.  (I remember the cheers when Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface; I believe it a literal sin against our kids that they have no equivalent).

    I still hope to see white boots on red sand in my lifetime.  But I believe it will be private ventures that give space to mankind.

  2. Matt Lewis
    August 29th, 2011 @ 4:12 pm

    I’d say I’m fairly libertarian.  I’m not convinced that the ISS is a good public space program, but I definitely think we need space capability vis a vis the military.  Either way, it seems pretty clear that the Space Shuttle was a long term boondoggle that’s held us back, and external (to the space program) circumstances have required reprioritization of resources, leaving us with our pants down.

    I think a lot of the “libertarian concept” of space would be more oriented towards organizations like SpaceX, with the government contracting stuff as required (though again, personally, if the USAF maintains some independent capability, I’d probably be for it), just like government employees use commercial air travel currently.

    Just think, a NASA focused on the military might not have room for a James Hansen!

  3. Anonymous
    August 29th, 2011 @ 4:38 pm

    The libertarian space flight program would be funded by voluntary contributions for whatever element of the program that was not needed for national defense or that part of scientific research which is deemed a national priority.

  4. AngelaTC
    August 29th, 2011 @ 4:46 pm

    If you’re really interested, I can say that there’s no set “Libertarian” position any anything, ever.

    Personally, I agree that it falls qualifies as national security and as such should be rolled into the Pentagon’s budget. If they deem the ISS program worth saving, then so be it.

  5. Quartermaster
    August 29th, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

    Glad to see you blogging after the gotterdamerung of Irene. How are things up there in the Yankee wastelands?

    What used to be NACA should be spun off NASA, so what’s left can concentrate on Space. The agency needs a substantial shke up as well. Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy has taken hold in NASA and has nothing of the spirit that gave us Apollo and the moon landings.

  6. Daily Pundit » A Libertarian Perspective on the Value of the Federal Space Program
    August 29th, 2011 @ 12:55 pm

    […] How About That Commitment To Mediocrity : The Other McCain This is why I’m not sure it’s good not to be purely libertarian on the topic of space. I don’t know what the libertarian argument in favor of a space program is. As a conservative, one can ask if, unlike ObamaCare, space flight can be argued as a federal task. Space actually has significant national security impacts, and falls neatly under the federal task to provide such. […]

  7. cas6039
    August 29th, 2011 @ 5:30 pm

    NASA, as such, was really a propaganda agency in answer to the preceived Soviet lead in the “Space Race.” Both countries were actually using any and all technology and science developed for their military applications.
    I have long thought that a “libertarian” space program (think  Heinlein’s vision of the future ) would never work in reality. But it is in work now, with private industry developing reusable lift capabililty.
    If we were going to claim the moon, perhaps we would have developed bases / colonies / mining operations there…it would have spurred all other space development!
    But I agree that NASA as currently configured is set up only to fail, regardless of the caliber of the bright people working there.

  8. Shawn Gillogly
    August 29th, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

    I agree that at least the core of the Space Mission is, clearly a Federal concern, given National Defense.

    I’d also say this is pretty much the Progressive Way. Neglect real duties of Federal Government to feed the Nanny State.

  9. Joe
    August 29th, 2011 @ 5:43 pm

    Obama are is just pissing money away, while the space program is an investment in the future.

  10. Steve in TN
    August 29th, 2011 @ 6:18 pm

    I’ve been skeptical of “true” libertarian ideas after having lived on the southern border for decades while listening to them advocate for “open borders.”

    There are things that government should do.  Advancing in space is one of them.

  11. Adjoran
    August 29th, 2011 @ 6:21 pm

    Yeah, the Treasury is already weighted down by all the voluntary contributions . . .

  12. Adjoran
    August 29th, 2011 @ 6:24 pm

    SSSSSsshhhhh, dude!  The libertarians, especially Ron Paul, don’t like to brag about “open borders” being one of their founding principles which they screamed for until illegal immigration became a serious issue with the conservative-oriented Americans they hope to lure into their sick, perverted cult.

  13. Adjoran
    August 29th, 2011 @ 6:33 pm

    There ARE “set Libertarian positions” on most issues – the party has been running nationally since 1972 or so with the same basic platform.

    The reason there APPEARS to be no “set” LP position on many issues is that libertarians HATE to be pinned down and forced to defend their own professed philosophy, so the second they begin feeling cornered they cop out with “I’m not THAT kind of libertarian” or “Of course no one actually believes THAT” but positions are positions and political philosophies need to be at least somewhat consistent.

    LIBERTARIAN DISADVANTAGES:  Being specific, defending LP positions, regular bathing.

    LIBERTARIAN ADVANTAGES:  Criticizing, packing online polls, rolling fat doobies.

  14. Anonymous
    August 29th, 2011 @ 7:04 pm

    Isn’t making all but the enlightened cadre leading us, mediocrities the basic goal of Liberalism in all areas of society?

  15. Anonymous
    August 29th, 2011 @ 7:20 pm

    Laurie Jo Hansen, where are you when we need you?

  16. Anonymous
    August 29th, 2011 @ 7:35 pm

    Libertarianism is the most coherent political philosophy there is. The fact that noobs who call themselves libertarians have no idea what they are talking about is a separate fact. Few (if any) other political philosophies have a doctrinal answer to almost any political question or quandry imaginable. The fact that this leads true libertarians to take some silly positions, like isolationism, or positions that many people think are silly, like legalizing all drugs, does not change the fact that the libertarian political philosophy of personal freedom, embodied in a wealth of academic material, from books to scholarly articles, is completely consistent. People? Not so much.

  17. Anonymous
    August 29th, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

    Right on

    Because it’s there- what other reason do we need

  18. Tennwriter
    August 29th, 2011 @ 10:58 pm

    Congratulations. Excellent smacking down of the the Half-Clever Cousins.

    Libertarianism: A Philosophy for Adolescent Minds in Search of Cheap Certainties.

    Libertarians: The only group more schismatic than Baptists!

    There is only one True Libertarian. Me.  The rest of you are Statists!!!

    Libertarians: The Barking Chihuahua that helps the RINOs keep the Real Conservatives from taking over the GOP.

    Libertarian: Because you’re against imposing morality, except for private property laws, gun rights laws, free speech laws….

    Libertarian: Because You’re not Smart or Humble Enough to be a Conservative.

  19. Mike
    August 29th, 2011 @ 11:29 pm

    Hey…don’t forget the greatest thing to ever come out of the space program….Tang. 

  20. Quartermaster
    August 29th, 2011 @ 11:32 pm

    If it were working, I’d agree. It isn’t, however, and hasn’t since the 70s. The Space Shuttle was a half-hearted attempt at getting reusable craft, and the cost of using them was enormous, in money, material, manpower, and advancement.

  21. JeffS
    August 29th, 2011 @ 11:46 pm

    If NASA stops going to space, they always have that Muslim outreach program to fall back on.

  22. JeffS
    August 29th, 2011 @ 11:48 pm

    Plus…….freeze dried ice cream!   Num!

  23. Anonymous
    August 30th, 2011 @ 12:18 am

    Oh, c’mon, do you really have a problem with giving the likes of Drake and Hawkins KEW’s?

  24. Libertarians In Space : The Other McCain
    August 30th, 2011 @ 8:23 am

    […] 'wpp-261'; var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true,"ui_language":"en"};by SmittyYesterday I wrote a post generally lamenting the fact that the U.S. space program is languishing. That we’ve traded […]

  25. Bob Belvedere
    August 30th, 2011 @ 1:15 pm

    Libertarianism is, like Leftism, an ideology – a system developed in the sterile laboratories of it’s thinker’s minds and has very little relationship to the Real World.  That is it’s fatal flaw: once one sets the train of logic in motion there’s no stopping it reaching absurd [and dangerous, if applied to real life] ends.

    As Russell Kirk wrote: …libertarianism is a simplistic ideology, relished by one variety of the folk whom Jacob Burckhardt called “the terrible simplifiers”.