The Latest Misanthropy

I posted this on Twitter, but not here. But Glenn picked it up.

[June 26th update]

Bob Zubrin has read the book, so we didn’t have to. His review is sort of…excoriating.

[Bumped]

19 thoughts on “The Latest Misanthropy”

  1. On the plains of hesitation lie the bleached bones of thousands, who on the dawn of history lay down in fear….and died.

    Thank goodness we had no such people making decisions in the age of exploration…

    No, Marco Polo! Your plan frightens me so you can’t do it!

    1. Actually, many, who could have done otherwise, did just that. The 13th century nobles could have, with the rents from their lands, sent 1,000 Polos out as merchants. But that would have handed control over to filthy merchants! Most, simply would not.

      The same attitudes in academia are quite explicit in Deudeny’s writings. In the 13th Century, the sneers at merchants came from an aristocracy by grant of inherited land. Today, the sneers come from an aristocracy by grant of university certification. Both are focused on “who’s on top”, to the virtual exclusion of who is most productive. Class bigotry is an old habit, since at least the early days of the agricultural revolution. The industrial revolution will be incomplete as long as it is a standard behavior.

  2. Having governments regulate individuals’ travel on Earth is already a common idea among the Green left. Just think of how many net carbons the Berlin Wall saved! Fortunately for everyone, the USA is the spacefaring country most resistant to this kind of thinking.

        1. To paraphrase Samuel Adams:

          “If ye love safety better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

  3. Some people just want to control everything, including the future. Folks like Sagan thought space was only for government funded academic types. Elon Musk believes it’s for anyone who can get there.

    The author of the original article sides with Sagan and company, in the mistaken belief that such things can be contained. In Sagan’s day that was true, but not now. Beyond the numerous private companies now entering the arena, you have just about every country with a high tech capability also with their own space program. Space is going to be settled by someone, as soon as the technology allows.

    1. “Some people just want to control everything, including the future. Folks like Sagan thought space was only for government funded academic types.”

      The late Carl Sagan like allot of Scientists in his day like Van Allen resented the greater accolades that manned spaced got (and funding) over unmanned robotic probes. They perceived that with the limitations of the technology of the time that you got more bang (data) for the buck from unmanned probes then with manned space. Elon Musk is obviously permanently (hopefully) soon changing that dynamic. I believe that in one of Sagan’s last books (Pale blue dot I think) he finally came around to the idea that the point ultimately of manned space was colonization. Increasing our long term survival odds by expanding our resource base by moving out into space; establishing colonies/mines/etc. Too bad he never (likely) talked much to someone like J.E. Pournelle or Gerald O’Neill or Robert Heinlein. Fortunately for us all maybe both Musk and Bezos know all about space colonization; they only argue for planetary colonies like the Moon & especially Mars (Musk) versus O’Neil inspired space colonies (Bezos).

    2. Let us recall too that this is the same Carl Sagan who once said, “We live in the middle of a shooting gallery with thousands of asteroids in our path that we haven’t even discovered yet. So, let’s be at least a two-planet species, as a backup plan.”

      A somewhat inconvenient witness for Williston’s enforced terran safe space, at the very least.

      Granted, Sagan had a touch of the look-but-don’t-touch mindset that has fairly overrun some of the Planetary Society’s membership; but he was unquestionably *for* human space colonization. He might or might not have opposed Elon Musk’s or Jeff Bezos’s particular efforts, but we’ll never know, because he died long before they ever took shape.

      1. “We live in the middle of a shooting gallery with thousands of asteroids in our path that we haven’t even discovered yet. So, let’s be at least a two-planet species, as a backup plan.”

        Yes. And let us not forget that given the premise of colonies on the moon, Mars, free orbiting space colonies and/or asteroids mining etc. the likely side-effect of such. There would almost inevitably be many pairs of eyes (human & mechanical) watching for things like Asteroids on a collision course with earth, mars moon etc.; after all they would be as much if not more of threat to people living off-planet as us on earth. People off-planet above the murky atmosphere of earth with the right equipment could detect such with considerable lead time making dealing with them easier. Furthermore, given mature space development there would be multiple assets in place in space that could be used to divert said asteroids if they proved to be on a worrisome trajectory. Asteroid miners would be quite practiced at such maneuvering as a matter of course. I have also heard of plans to deploy some kind of super-conducting cable(s) in space to generate electromagnetic fields to deflect incoming solar flares from intercepting the earth; no more “Carrington event” civilization shocks to contend with.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrington_event

        1. “…There would almost inevitably be many pairs of eyes (human & mechanical) watching for things like Asteroids on a collision course with earth, mars moon etc.; after all they would be as much if not more of threat to people living off-planet as us on earth.”

          Right.

          The advantage of having a space-faring civilization is that it’s far easier and cheaper to generate the capability of doing such monitoring; and indeed, to simply have it as a byproduct of the kinds of awareness capabilities that must necessarily come with being such a civilization.

  4. They are terrified that the productive people are going to go to space and leave them behind. Kinda like crabs in a bucket, pulling down those that are escaping.

  5. the need for space colonization must be argued for, not assumed

    It’s an idea which fails when it eats its own dog food (much like the precautionary principle). Why should activities that you don’t like be required to justify their existence via argument? Why isn’t “It’s not your business” an adequate argument?

    Now take the same rationalizations for meddling and apply them to the original idea of requiring justification. Shouldn’t you be required to argue the idea first, before wasting our time?

  6. “But the risks to Earth security posed by even minimal expansion—say, establishing a fully independent Martian colony—is just as dire. Earth will be extremely difficult to defend from hostile galactic groups since we Terrans are stuck at the bottom of a relatively deep gravity well. Rockets must achieve an escape velocity of 25,000 miles per hour to break free of Earth’s gravitational pull, which is why almost all the rocket’s fuel is burned in this stage of the flight; getting back is comparatively easy. So, unfortunately, is lobbing weapons down at us from the elevated height of the Moon, a nearby asteroid, a space platform or Mars itself (whose gravity well is shallower than ours). We might suddenly find ourselves occupying catastrophically low strategic ground vis-à-vis our Martian (or other interstellar) enemies.”

    Because almost certainly the military(s) of the major powers on earth (China, USA, Russia) etc. would have their analogs in space. Precursor to this obviously being Trump’s Space Force. They would protect earth’s national (& global) interests from any threat in the distant future a hostile space colony(s) could pose. The high ground argument favoring the space colonies only makes sense if you assume Earth doesn’t realize the threat and act preemptively.

  7. I read the article (a poorly reasoned waste of time) and then (perhaps to expiate my sins) read a few more on the same website. Typical lefty envirotrash with the usual socialist bent. Just scanning through the list of titles on the front page should have been warning enough…

  8. “Another reason is that once there are Martians, they, alongside other, allied extraterrestrials, would attack Earth. “If the expansion of space continues,” Deudney says, “the day will inevitably come when Terra is reduced to a marginal player, at the mercy of its gargantuan, and probably monstrous, off-spring.””

    Deudney is right about humans taking their humanity into space but fails to notice that you can’t expunge the humanity from humans if they stay on Earth either. So, there will be conflict, just as there always has. Even the marxist utopian commune CHAZ had conflict.

    He does hit on some interesting ideas about speciation but doesn’t get into it too much. Earth is the best place for humans to live that we know of and some humans that live somewhere else might not ever be able to visit due to time and physical restraints. It is interesting to think about.

    Zubrin could have flushed out how progress happens through the cycle of discovery and how more people means more people solving problems. Maybe he thinks that is all too obvious but that kind of complacency is how progressive marxists were allowed to take over the education system.

    1. but fails to notice that you can’t expunge the humanity from humans if they stay on Earth either

      I think the lesson of the 20th Century is that you can do that quite easily on Earth with merely groupthink and other basic psychology.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *