Space Philosophies

versus political philosophies.

I have some problems:

I very much doubt that anyone in the space community rejects Obama’s position purely out of hate for the man or his other policies or even his political party. Indeed, it often seems as though on the one issue of space Republican and Democrat positions are switched around completely.

This might be due to the fact that there are so few people – and in particular so few Congressmen – who are actually interested in space in general or NASA in particular. Those outliers might be swaying the majority that doesn’t care about space.

Similarly one cannot say that all Boomers are nostalgic for Apollo, nor are the “Homers” simply looking out for their own district at the expense of the country and its future. The categorizations just don’t match reality.

I disagree. Few people fall neatly into one of the three camps, but they do capture the reasons for opposition, at least from conservatives. And as I understand it, “Boomers” and “Homers” are nostalgic and parochial, by the definition being used here (i.e., “boomers” doesn’t mean baby boomers in general, but rather those specific ones with an Apollo nostalgia). And while “Haters” isn’t a very nice label, there are in fact people who are opposed to this policy for no reason other than it was put forth by this administration (just as there were a lot of Democrats who would have cheered the VSE had it been offered by someone other than the evil Buuuuuush). As I wrote in April (where does the time go?):

The so-called conservative opposition to this new direction in space policy seems, at least to me, to come from three motivations: a visceral and intrinsic (and understandable) distaste for any policy that emanates from this White House; a nostalgia for the good old days, when we had a goal and a date and a really big rocket and an unlimited budget (what I’ve described as the “Apollo cargo cult”); and, in the case of such politicians as Senators Shelby, Hutchison, Hatch, et al., pure rent seeking for their states. Of course, these aren’t mutually exclusive: For some, all three apply. But none of these reasons addresses the problems with the status quo or the wisdom of the new policy.

But the bigger problem is trying to map the three space visions onto the two-dimensional Nolan chart (which is itself oversimplified — for example, it doesn’t usefully distinguish between legitimate concerns about national security and jingoism). I don’t know how to do it, myself, though I have to confess that I haven’t tried. But then, it wouldn’t even occur to me to do so. I have in fact written a 4000-word essay on what a conservative space policy might look like, that I’m shopping around right now, though I may just distribute it at the FreedomWorks BlogCon next week in Crystal City, and publish it here. But it’s complicated.

Treasury Bonds

They’re not a bubble — they’re just “frothy:”

How much foam is there on top of this fiscal frappe? Treasury bond yields are down about 40 percent in the past six months, as Gross also notes — a frothy market indeed. But I do not think Gross is showing much guts in his proposed wager: True, the U.S. government probably is not going to default on its debt in the near future. (Probably.) And, sure, he’s right that the values of the bonds will fluctuate but “won’t double, and they won’t go to zero.” But here’s the thing: They don’t have to. The government doesn’t have to default, and the value of the bonds doesn’t have to double or go to zero to cause all sorts of havoc in U.S. finances. Interest rates are very, very low — but even as low as they are, we’re still piling on debt so quickly that any serious uptick in the government’s cost of borrowing — and no, it does not have to double — could send us into a Greek-style fiscal crisis, especially if it should coincide with, say, the second and even more painful decline in a double-dip recession. Or a financial shock caused by an international crisis in, oh, Iran. Those are the kinds of risks that the Leviathan-on-a-leash guys never really account for: “Oh, everything will be fine, so long as everything is fine.”


The Glenn Beck Rally

Instapundit has a roundup of links, including a good sampling from ReasonTV. I have to say that, not being religious (in either worshipping God or the State) it’s not my cup of tea, and I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to attend, but neither can I imagine that I would have felt in any way uncomfortable there.

I agree that it was Tocquevillian. Much as my fellow non-religionists want to get upset about it, the fact is that this is a fundamentally (though not fundamentalist) Christian nation in its history and culture, and when the political class pushes too hard against those core values — the golden rule, thrift, virtue, self reliance — there’s going to be a revolt. That’s, finally, what we’re seeing this year. I’m sort of glad that McCain didn’t win, because he wouldn’t have turned up the heat under the pot anywhere nearly as quickly. With Obama, Pelosi and Reid, the frog finally noticed that things were getting a little too warm.

[Update a few minutes later]

Commenter “John” has it right:

That is most of America. Most of America is not attractive or cool. Most of America is white and older. Most of America is patriotic and religious. Unless and until Libertarians figure out a way to talk to these people, they will always be a fringe movement.


[Monday morning update]

I can see November from the Washington monument.

And it’s not a pretty sight, if you’re a Democrat and/or statist.

Stand Up For Your Rights

I just don’t get all this hate on uncovered boobage and Alan Simpson. If rights to seeing and saying tits aren’t constitutionally protected, what are? The very word is enshrined and embedded right there in the middle of “consTITution.”

In fact, I think that this invention, while not the worst one in the world, is right up there, and clearly unconstitutional (audio may not be safe for work).

[Via Burge on Facebook]

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!