This post at Spaceflight Now about the possibility of the IIS space station going unmanned in November sparked this side commentary on The Other McCain delving into the deterioration of America’s commitment to win the science and technology race, and the federal task of providing for the national security.
The offshoot post by Chris Smith ( aka Smitty , aka @smitty_one_each ) is a short and sweet case for why the current state of the space program is a failure of Progressive politics and he may well be right on that point. What I found noteworthy ( and note, I did here), was the introduction of a supposition about “purely libertarian” opinion on the validity of the space program.
Smitty was kind enough to make a small change in his post after our exchange on twitter, but I did ask him if he would mind an answer of sorts to his query on libertarian views.
I have no idea if his use of the small “l” in libertarian was intentional, which begs the question about the term “purely libertarian”, but I will just assume he literally meant libertarian ( not Libertarian) and go from there. I re-read the post several times, and was really confounded at a reason for bringing in libertarians at all. Why not moderates or independents? The comments below the post answered my question. Most GOP variety conservatives don’t have any idea what the answer would be. They certainly don’t know WHY the libertarian answer is what it is. Most can’t see past the “provide for the national defense” any more than the Left can see past the “provide for the general welfare”. (please send hate mail directly to me and save my editor a lot of heartache, please.)
You see, a purely libertarian viewpoint on the space program would be relatively straightforward: Turn the space program into a REAL race for the top and let it be funded by private businesses. Let the funds come from investors and the jobs go to the massive range of employees possessing the hugely encompassing range of skills needed to launch a viable ( and profitable) program of exploration into space. National security? Well, currently the federal government has managed to launch a forty year long , ghastly expensive serious of failures to produce. Now, there is no doubt that space exploration is a worthy expenditure. I will even concede that there are likely legitimate national defense concerns with our ability to position ourselves as the forerunner in space exploration and technology development. Which begs just one last question from me: Since when is the federal government the leader in ANY race to efficient, productive, and profitable expansion of anything, except itself?
Please follow Smitty on twitter. Despite my response to this particular statement, I have found him to be insightful, dedicated, and an excellent source of information and wit!