We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Puritans IN SPACE!

H.L. Mencken defined “puritanism” as “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy”. Meet Nathan Robinson, editor of a journal called Current Affairs, Guardian contributor, and a man who has almost certainly named his kids “Fly-extravagance”, “Sorry-for-misgendering” and “If-carbon-had-not-been-offset-for-thee-thou-hadst-been-damned”. He writes,

Why Elon Musk’s SpaceX launch is utterly depressing

There is, perhaps, no better way to appreciate the tragedy of 21st-century global inequality than by watching a billionaire spend $90m launching a $100,000 car into the far reaches of the solar system.

Musk said he wanted to participate in a space race because “races are exciting” and that while strapping his car to a rocket may be “silly and fun … silly and fun things are important”. Thus, anyone who mentions the colossal waste the project involves, or the various social uses to which these resources could be put, can be dismissed as a killjoy.

But one doesn’t have to hate fun to question the justification for pursuing a costly new space race at exactly this moment. If we examine the situation honestly, and get past our natural (and accurate) feeling that rockets are really cool, it becomes hard to defend a project like this.

A mission to Mars does indeed sound exciting, but it’s important to have our priorities straight. First, perhaps we could make it so that a child no longer dies of malaria every two minutes. Or we could try to address the level of poverty in Alabama that has become so extreme the UN investigator did not believe it could still occur in a first-world country. Perhaps once violence, poverty and disease are solved, then we can head for the stars.

Many might think that what Elon Musk chooses to do with his billions is Elon Musk’s business alone. If he wanted to spend all his money on medicine for children, that would be nice, but if he’d like to spend it making big explosions and sending his convertible on a million-mile space voyage, that’s his prerogative.

But Musk is only rich enough to afford these indulgent pet projects because we have allowed gross social inequalities to arise in the first place. If wealth were actually distributed fairly in this country, nobody would be in a position to fund his own private space program.

68 comments to Puritans IN SPACE!

  • Stephen K

    “one doesn’t have to hate fun”

    But it helps!

  • Ed Turnbull

    There’s not much one can say to Mr Robinson’s article. Well, ok there is, but I won’t waste keystrokes on what’s patently obvious (plus I’ve yet to have a cuppa and a bacon sarnie). Suffice it to say: Nathan Robinson is clearly an evil individual. A pox on his house, and on the houses of all those like him.

  • Frank

    If wealth were actually distributed fairly in this country, nobody would be in a position to fund his own private space program…

    … and we’d have to leave it to governments to do it, at ten times the cost.

  • Shirley Knott

    If wealth were ‘distributed fairly’ we’d all be back in the caves trying to figure out fire — and killing those who do.

  • …or the various social uses

    Meaning political uses, within a system presided over by people like the dismal Nathan Robinson.

  • JadedLibertarian

    It’s a shame “puritan” has become an epithet, because the actual puritans (as opposed to the caricature we have of them) don’t deserve it.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    JadedLibertarian,

    Yes, fair point about the Puritans. Did you know that the guy whose dad gave him one of the most famously eccentric Puritan names that I parodied in my post, If-Christ-had-not-died-for-thee-thou-hadst-been-damned Barbon /Barebone, son of Praise-God Barebone, ended up as an early proponent of free trade?

    But as the link on names said, “for some inexplicable reason” he preferred to go by the name Nicholas.

  • Bruce

    “… and we’d have to leave it to governments to do it, at ten times the cost.”

    And that does not include the human lives.

  • bobby b

    “If wealth were actually distributed fairly in this country, nobody would be in a position to fund his own private space program.”

    And ice cream! How can we allow the rich to eat ice cream while starving kids in Alabama are forced to buy cheap Android phones instead of the Apple phones they deserve?

    Come the revolution . . . .

  • the other rob

    First, perhaps we could make it so that a child no longer dies of malaria every two minutes.

    If cunts like the dismal Nathan Robinson (© PDH, used without permission) hadn’t lied through their teeth in order to get DDT banned, perhaps we would have. Decades ago.

  • djm

    Whilst agreeing the spectacle of launch & landing of the Musk rockets is truly impressive, the pity is that the whole show is designed to distract from the fast coming bankruptcy of his disparate empire.

  • John B

    ‘If wealth were distributed fairly…’

    Who decides, by what standard? Who does the distributing?

    Or put another way, who do I bribe to get my ‘fair’ share Comrade?

    Normally an experimental rocket carries a dummy payload because, being experimental, first time launches are a ‘test’ and often fail.

    Musk’s rocket was a test so like all first time launches had a dummy, albeit gimmicky, payload. Any thinking person who has been paying attention during the Space Age, which excludes Mr Robinson it seems, would know and understand that.

  • Elon Musk is a parasite sucking on the government’s teat. He is no different than the myriad layabouts on the dole, with the exception being that Musk’s government supplied EBT card has a much higher spending limit.

  • JadedLibertarian

    He is no different than the myriad layabouts on the dole

    John, that’s total bullshit for the very demonstrable reason that Musk is very clearly producing things.

    Does Musk get a libertarian purity badge for his dealings with government? No, but I doubt someone with as many government contracts as him could behave in an idealised AnCap fashion.

    He’s found a way to work in a broken system while producing things the world needs. Despite a number of things I’d take issue with, Musk is very much one of the good guys.

  • Alisa

    Despite a number of things I’d take issue with, Musk is very much one of the good guys.

    Especially compared with creatures such as the writer of that article. Nobody’s perfect, but some are much more imperfect than others.

  • Jaded, Musk may be producing things, but would the things he is producing be able to be produced with his attachment to the government teat? It is not the market stimulating Musk to produce, but rather the government subsidies he takes which artificially stimulate Musk’s productions. I do not share your admiration of the man.

  • JadedLibertarian

    John, kindly describe how you could build Mars capable reusable rocket system without without having the government on board?

    At worst Musk is a government employee. An employee who charges you 100 million for something that works, where those that went before charged a billion for something that didn’t.

    I’m struggling to see how this is a bad thing.

  • CaptDMO

    From the US…
    What is a bacon sarnie ?
    Mindful that cigarette is ONE usage for fag, Is there a brit connotation for whiny little male bitch ass that grew up, and is, awkward in the social graces, and is generally disagreeably contrarian to ANY established social pleasantry, even at the risk of gobsmackingly bold purposeful ignorance (and certainly NOT limited to
    prissy, drama queen, poofter)
    Well, ASIDE from Puritan, or perhaps fanny.

  • rxc

    These comments about not going out into space until our earthly ills are solved started during the Apollo program in the USA. There was a protest at the lauunching of the first manned landing mission, in 1969, by people who said that the money should be spent on them and their suffering supporters, instead of on frivolous stunts.

    I can imagine that they might have said the same thing before Christopher Columbus left Spain – “Lets clean up the ports and eliminate poverty and hate against the Muslims before we spend any money to see if the earth is round”.

    Well, if they had followed that advice at that time, Columbus would never have left Spain, the poverty would still be there, and the enmity with the Muslims would still exist, as it currently does.

  • CaptDMO

    OTish.
    Am I the only person on the planet that saw the picture of the REAL “car with astronaut”, and didn’t immediately think “Heavy Metal” magazine?

  • Vinegar Joe

    Nathan Robinson should be kicked out of the nearest airlock.

  • bobby b

    “Elon Musk is a parasite sucking on the government’s teat.”

    I think I’d place the blame elsewhere.

    If I were trying to develop the next windmill, or the next generation of energy storage, and I had some longshot ideas that regular financiers wouldn’t support, and some politician came to me and said “here’s $100 million, because we believe in this”, I don’t know that I would have the strength of character to refuse the money.

    And if I were broke with a family, I doubt that I would turn down the EBT card benefits.

    If we’re to place blame for a system that confiscates our money and parcels it out to causes favored by empowered politicians, I’d place it on those who empower such politicians, and on those who spread the idea that such a system is moral and productive.

    I’d place blame on the Solyndra’s of the world – people who actively steal public funds and then mysteriously go bankrupt – exercising government loan guarantees to the max even in the face of sure financial ruin for the sole purpose of mining the guarantees.

    I don’t know that I’d necessarily lionize Musk as many do – but I’d place him well down the list of thieves and con-men.

  • JadedLibertarian

    rxc, to reference Isaac Arthur, these technological developments are precisely the sort of thing that could usher in a “Post scarcity civilisation”, in which socialists would of course be totally fucked. They can’t let that happen.

    It’s an interesting spin on the Fermi paradox: technological societies are eventually destroyed by whining socialists in pussy hats…

  • Darryl Watson

    If one is depressed by the event of launching a Tesla into a billion-year orbit, perhaps one is not on the winning team.

  • the other rob

    Am I the only person on the planet that saw the picture of the REAL “car with astronaut”, and didn’t immediately think “Heavy Metal” magazine?

    Real headbangers read Metal Hammer. It was published in Germany, with an English translation. Just try pronouncing the title in Big Arnie’s voice.

  • Zerren Yeoville

    CaptDMO: ‘Bacon sarnie’ is simply a slang abbreviation of bacon sandwich, a popular breakfast delicacy: http://www.thesugarhit.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Bacon-Sarnie.jpg

    And re: “Is there a brit connotation for whiny little male bitch ass that grew up, and is, awkward in the social graces, and is generally disagreeably contrarian to ANY established social pleasantry, even at the risk of gobsmackingly bold purposeful ignorance.”

    Yes. It’s “Owen Jones” 🙂

  • William O. B'Livion.

    @CaptDMO: No, I didn’t think about the magazine. I thought about the opening to the movie.

    @OtherRob: He’s talking about late 70s/early 80s metal. Specifically the opening scene to the movie “Heavy Metal”.

    As for the writer, F*k him, he’s a relic.

  • Wow, that’s a persuasive argument for not distributing wealth “fairly,” isn’t it?

    Many years ago, when I was in a friend’s pirates=based roleplaying campaign, I named my character Fornication Jones. “Me da named me ‘Fly-Fornication,’ him being a Puritan, but the ‘Fly’ dropped off while I was in the army.”

  • John, kindly describe how you could build Mars capable reusable rocket system without without having the government on board?

    Jaded, without a doubt, such a rocket as is economically required to achieve what is posited in your question cannot be built without the State. The actual question we should be asking, though, is, does the State belong in the business of space exploration? Should not the State’s defined role be protection of its citizens rights and freedom, as originally outlined in the U.S.’s constitution, rather than meddling around in business enterprises? The consumer market is not spending its dollars clamoring for space exploration and trips to Mars, only dreamers are. When one reviews all the myriad challenges, problems and expenses associated with space travel, and they are many and far from being overcome, I think the dreamers are selling a Field of Dreams. It has entertainment value, but not any practical value. I do not see Mars, or any other space planet or moon, becoming a terraformed safe space for humans.

  • JadedLibertarian

    John, it’s not just Mars that Falcon Heavy and the BFR open up. We’re on the cusp of being able to colonize low Earth orbit. This could be the beginning of a new frontier. Now, if you’re a dreamer today and your want build stuff like this you have two choices:

    1) Work with the state and all the compromises that will entail.

    2) Go home and whine about how the bad government men won’t let you build your dream.

    There is no mystery option 3.

    It’s not a question of funding. Even if money wasn’t involved, they simply aren’t going to let a private individual build what is essentially the world’s most powerful ICBM without their involvement.

    The good news is the New Space revolution means the compromises involved in working with the state on space travel are smaller than they’ve ever been.

    I believe this is a good use of money. You don’t. In an ideal world you shouldn’t have to pay for things I want, and vice versa. If ever I’m in a position to affect the issue, I’ll gladly advocate for your liberation from the space exploration tax burden, and of course exclude you from any benefits that arise.

    But right now we don’t live in an ideal world, and I’m going to call this a good thing.

  • Schrodinger's Dog

    I might have some sympathy with Nathan Robinson’s point of view if I didn’t see the welfare system as a bottomless pit – or, sticking with the space analogy, a black hole – capable of swallowing absolutely everything society produces and still not ending poverty.

  • Jaded, while I agree that many things/information of use have been garnered from the forays men have made into space. They’ve showcased mankind’s ability to achieve and man’s reasoning capabilities, but I still find the colonization of space ideas, even near Earth orbit colonization ideas, as so far presented and imagined, mere dreams. Sure, the ISS has shown that men can live in space, but, are they really living in space, or simply surviving due to massive expenditures of support? They’re like exotic fish in an aquarium, which, without constant care and expense, and quite perfect conditions, end up being flushed down the toilet, which is how I think the dollars being spent by the State and Musk and the dreams of space colonization are being flushed away. There is no ideal world, here on Earth, or in the stars.

  • once violence, poverty and disease are solved, then we can head for the stars.

    Because Mr Robinson’s plan for solving that trio, socialism, has worked so well everywhere it has been tried.

    Musk is only rich enough to afford these indulgent pet projects because we have allowed gross social inequalities to arise in the first place.

    Is this in comparison to the 1930s, when ‘we’ were mostly not alive, or to the 1830s, or what? When exactly was this ‘first place’ at which Mr Robinson imagines ‘we’ foolishly allowed this (to him) undesirable and easily-preventable state of affairs to arise?

  • staghounds

    I live in Alabama, and my work lies among the poor. Who toil not, neither do they spin, and yet have treated at public cost what our grandparents knew as the diseases of wealth and sloth- obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. They converse on cell telephone and internet in housing we pay for.

    I have been to poor places. People there are thin, desperate, have nothing, and die young from conditions unwitnessed by doctors in this state.

    I wish I were clever enough to get the UN to send me to someplace nice to reporton conditions. Gloucestershire maybe, or the Loire valley, where I am confident I could find conditions as bad as any here.

  • Its just a guess, but I think Oliver Cromwell would have approved of Musk.

    “I took Jamaica, and now Musk is taking Mars, Glory Glory.”

  • Alisa

    1) Work with the state and all the compromises that will entail.

    2) Go home and whine about how the bad government men won’t let you build your dream.

    I think that no. 2 is wrong, it should be: ‘Go home, and watch the government doing the same thing, for much more money, with inferior results’. And I agree, there is no mystery option 3, and that’s why Musk taking it on is on balance a good thing. However, one’s dreams, as important as they are, should not come into it, and that is where I agree wit John. You don’t turn to the government just because you have a dream and the government is the only one who can help you make it come true – unless the government is going to do it anyway, with you or without you.

  • JadedLibertarian

    Well indeed Alisa. This is why it bothers me that Musk takes government money for Tesla. I mean, it’s basically the car from Knight Rider: a 7 seat family car faster than a McClaren F1. It really shouldn’t be that hard to sell! I know I’d buy one in a heartbeat, if they weren’t several times my annual income…

    But the way he’s doing the rockets is the only way they’ll let him do it at all and I say more power to him. Well actually that’s not quite true. He could have gone down the “government contractor” route and spent billions building white elephants. I’d say this is better.

  • Dom

    I wonder why he wrote this article instead of solving world poverty and disease.

  • Alisa

    Actually JL, what I meant was that without Musk NASA would be doing something similar anyway (except maybe for the fancy-car part, which I imagine to be small change compared to the bulk of the cost). I could be wrong.

  • JadedLibertarian

    Ah, yes. NASA would be working on reusable heavy lift even without Musk (indeed they are). And it sucks.

    He’s actually giving the taxpayer good value for money. If you accept that this is going to be built anyway, what would you rather: cheap and good or expensive and bad?

  • Alisa

    The car itself though is an entirely different matter.

  • Fraser Orr

    If wealth were actually distributed fairly in this country, nobody would be in a position to fund his own private space program.

    Well, in fairness to the author, at least this one sentence is undoubtedly true. Or course, perhaps not in the way he was thinking…

  • Julie near Chicago

    Well, the “new route to the Spice Islands” was widely (though not uniformly) considered to be just a “dream.” Until C.C. tested the idea. That the test miscarried does not show that either the dream or the test was worthless!

    Great, productive enterprises often start with what most would call a “dream.” (Others call it a Vision.)

    So “only a dream” is not, in itself, disqualifying of effort, time, and — if the dreamer has the moolah — money put into realizing it.

    The question — in this discussion, anyway — is, whose money?

    .

    One other thing. bobby writes (I add the boldface),

    “If we’re to place blame for a system that confiscates our money and parcels it out to causes favored by empowered politicians, I’d place it on those who empower such politicians, and on those who spread the idea that such a system is moral and productive.

    Hoo boy. So that would include Mr. Gates, Mr. Jobs, Mr. Branson, yes Mr. Musk, and many many others, before we even get to the likes of Mr. Soros*.

    Presumably it would not include Mr. Allison and some others less well-known.

    bobby, did you see the UT of Richard empanelled with Mr. Soros and one or two others? I must report that subsequently Richard alluded briefly to that particular discussion. He landed a short but amusingly disparaging blow to George’s (economic) chops. Unfortunately, no URL; the first is on UT, but the second might have been EconTalk. Or not, of course. ;>))

  • Laird

    I am immensely pleased that Mr. Robinson is depressed. I hope his depression continues, and worsens.

  • Eric

    One thing we’ll never have a shortage of is people who know to what use the other people’s money should be put.

  • Gary K

    If ‘wealth’ were distributed, rather than ‘earned’, there would be much less of it around.

  • Somewhere in my collection of memorabilia is a job application for the position of cargo specialist on the space shuttle. The education part starts off by asking where the applicant got his or her FIRST bachelors degree, and extends to asking about any post doctoral work. When whitey was walking on the moon there were a whole bunch of us less educated crackers cheering him on from back down here. If this blues singer is bummed that he didn’t get to go, all he had to do was go back to school, major in engineering, learn to fly a plane, preferably jets, and work his way up the hierarchy of test pilots to the position of astronaut. It’s easy and I guarantee you don’t have to be white.

    To paraphrase a man who shall remain nameless, “There are those who go to space, and there are those who pay doctor bills. You pay.”

  • the other rob

    To paraphrase a man who shall remain nameless, “There are those who go to space, and there are those who pay doctor bills. You pay.”

    I recently threatened to read Jordan Peterson’s new book and possibly report back. I am, in fact, reading it and this is the first of my reports.

    He writes “But Jesus Christ was the archetypal perfect man. You are you.” Billll’s comment brought that immediately to mind.

  • bobby b

    “He writes “But Jesus Christ was the archetypal perfect man. You are you.””

    (Channeling Cathy Newman): So you’re saying that JC was just a dominant high-serotonin lobster?

  • Thailover

    Perhaps Mr. Robinson (I say “Mr”, I have no idea how Nathan self-identifies), could explain to me what exactly is “fair” about “re-distributing” wealth to those who have not earned it, nor achieved anything in relation to Mr. Musk’s resources. I’m not aware that Mr. Musk’s fortunes were the product of “fortune” nor distribution to begin with.

    Secondly, perhaps Zer Robison might bring zerself to explain what zim doesn’t understand about private property or how said wealth would be CREATED if America were the socialist utopia we see in Venezuela.

    I might have identified some of ziz misunderstandings, as in, key concepts Leftists invariably don’t understand.

    1. Earning. It’s not that they understand earning in a wrong way, but rather it’s not in their working or psychological vocabulary at all. This is why they believe insane things, like everyone having an equal share of all wealth is, somehow, “fair”.
    It would be instructive to hear a Leftist explain how standards are unfair and arbitrarily subjective, and yet they’re able to determine what is “fair”. Fair by what standard?

    2. Self-responsibility, as in being responsible for one’s own development once one becomes a legal adult. It’s simply not in the collectivists’ universe. In their world, everyone owns everyone else, which means that everyone is everyone else’s slave including the product of their efforts.

    3. That wealth is created, not simply hunted, scavenged or the stolen booty of aggression.

    4. That self-esteem is how one self-estimates oneself. They see pride as “wrong” if all one’s material and spiritual wealth is from “providence” from the good graces of either owner/father gods or paternalistic government. Only in a universe where one can strive honestly and achieve by one’s own effort can pride be a badge of honor.

    5. Pride does not mean arrogance, nor does humility mean lack of narcissistic hubris. The root of humility is the Latin humilitatum, meaning lowliness, unworthiness, insignificance. “Humility” is self-humiliation, self immolation. It’s the self-abasement worldviews (yes, there are a lot of them) that tout concepts like humility is good and pride is evil. Pride is the rational response to achievement and hard work.

    6. Convincing people that they’re entitled to what they haven’t earned is at least as harmful to that individual as not granting them what they’ve rightfully earned. This is why I don’t “auto-tip” wait-staff. I respect a waiter’s right to NOT earn a tip.

    7. Private Property. To understand private property, they first must understand the concept of earning. To understand the concept of earning, they must first understand that each owns their own lives rather than being collectively owned by everyone.

    It’s imperative to remember that slavery is their ideal, for the ownership of other people and the product of their efforts cannot be truthfully termed anything else.

  • Thailover

    “He writes “But Jesus Christ was the archetypal perfect man. You are you.”

    Ohoooooooo…’Very hard to “not get started” on THAT one. Lip biting is not my strong suit.

  • Thailover

    P.S. I should have added to my list that Leftists don’t understand poverty. Lack of money is only a symptom of poverty. Poverty is not lack of money and certainly not a lack of OTHER PEOPLE’S money. It’s not knowing how to (or not caring to) create and keep ones own wealth. But that relates back to concepts like earning, private property, self ownership and self responsibility, etc.

  • Runcie Balspune

    But Musk is only rich enough to afford these indulgent pet projects because we have allowed gross social inequalities to arise in the first place.

    Says whilst employed for a media organization who advertise for unpaid “interns”. Social inequalities eh? How many nurses would have been paid had Robinson not written drivel like this?

    Be part of the solution not part of the problem.

  • Thailover

    “Elon Musk…”

    ‘Seemed like a decent fellow when I talked to him on Kwajalein.

  • Thailover

    “I can imagine that they might have said the same thing before Christopher Columbus left Spain – “Lets clean up the ports and eliminate poverty and hate against the Muslims before we spend any money to see if the earth is round.”

    Ah, the disinformation of common wisdom. Cristoforo Colombo, isn’t about an alleged flat earth. No one at the time believed the earth was flat at that time anyway. Colombo was about conning a foreign queen into paying for multi-voyages to “India”, searching for a new spice trade that didn’t have to go around the southern tip of Africa. In Colombo’s three trips, he managed to remember to bring back “Indians”, but somehow forgot to bring back Indian spices. Funny that.

  • Thailover

    Staghounds, indeed. I’ve seen REAL poverty, i.e. naked sun-baked beggers that look like they’ve escaped from a nazi starvation compound. Meanwhile the six biggest health risks to America’s “poor” are all obesity and smoking related diseases, both of these risk factors they “suffer” from far above any other national demograhic.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Tally Ho! Jorrocks’ Jaunts and Jollities. And so perish all Puritans. Puritans always had a pretty thin time of it; but then they enjoy that. So pull up your socks and chase the fox, a hunting we will go.

  • Lee Moore

    If wealth were actually distributed fairly in this country, nobody would be in a position to fund his own private space program.

    As a couple of other commenters have noted, this is the money quote. Because you can substitute almost anything for {private space program}

    Such as motor cars, televisions, mobile phones, internet searches, electric toothbrushes, microwaves, passenger jets, cosmetics and so on more or less ad infinitum. The rich pay silly prices for new stuff that funds the R&D that provides new cheap consumer goods for the middling and poor fifteen years later.

    No rich people = Soviet consumer goods. And even the Soviets had Western innovation to copy.

  • Natalie:

    Names like “Praise-God” are actually a thing in certain Slavic cultures. All those names with the Bog- or Boh- root, such as Bohumil, Bogoslav, and the like, come from the Slavic word for God.

  • Deep Lurker

    But Musk is only rich enough to afford these indulgent pet projects because we have allowed gross social inequalities to arise in the first place.

    No, not social inequalities. Economic inequalities. Bill Gates, Elon Musk, George Soros, Warren Buffet, et. al. are not my social superiors. They are not “my betters.” They’re just people who happen to have a whole lot more money than I do, and who belong to a different tribe in consequence. And that attitude puzzles and outrages the Left.

  • Dr Evil

    What Musk has done will one day help mankind, yes that’s MANkind eventually get to the stars. Saving some poor kid in Africa saves one kid. Musk has a hand in saving our species. You utter, utter, arts graduate (obviously) KNOB!

  • Paul Marks

    This post is a bit unfair – on the Puritans.

    I am not on their side politically or theologically – but they were not (in the main) anti wealth, or anti science or anti adventure. Indeed the New England “Yankee spirit” of hard work and technological advance in the 19th and early 20th centuries owes a lot to the Puritans.

    What the post does show is the utter evil of the Guardian – it is utterly vile (seeking to rob “redistribute” people of their income and wealth) and hypocritical. Hypocritical because its managers are highly paid and anything but Puritan in their personal conduct.

    Mr Musk is a man of achievement – Guardian types achieve nothing, they are just looters.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    These comments about not going out into space until our earthly ills are solved started during the Apollo program in the USA. There was a protest at the launching of the first manned landing mission, in 1969, by people who said that the money should be spent on them and their suffering supporters, instead of on frivolous stunts.

    Let’s be honest about it – the protesters were usually black people. Here’s one from 1971.

    https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=JRYuAAAAIBAJ&sjid=QDMDAAAAIBAJ&dq=apollo%20protesters&pg=2825%2C3885130

    I read somewhere that for the amount of money spent on welfare for African-Americans, the US could have an expedition to Mars already, or maybe even working orbital facilities. Perhaps not spent efficiently, but nonetheless still an achievement.

  • “These comments about not going out into space until our earthly ills are solved started during the Apollo program”

    “the protesters were usually black people (The Wobbly Guy, February 12, 2018 at 6:05 am)

    My memory is this propaganda was mainly pushed by the usual suspects, intellectuals without intellect (mostly white) who were as depressed by this US achievement (completed under Nixon, to add insult to injury) as Mr Robinson is by Musk. I’m sure ‘radical’ blacks demonstrated their rejection of white culture by echoing the idea. It doubtless indicates appalling racism on my part that I suspect they did not originate it. 🙂

  • Thailover

    Wobbly Guy. Yes, as percentage of race, American Blacks, (I refuse to say “African” since a continent is not a freakin race), are disproportionately “represented” on the dole sign-up sheet, but in absolute numbers, not so much. So it would be unfair to say x amount of dollars sucked up by the black dole demographic could have done this or that.

    Another point bears pointing out too. For every dollar slotted for “welfare” (actually 80+ programs), 83 cents goes for “overhead”. Yup, 5/6 of the money slotted to help “the unfortunate” isn’t actually received by those in supposed need. The government doesn’t tax us to help others. The government taxes us in order to grow.

  • Ronald F Whitehead

    If wealth were actually distributed fairly in this country, we could call it Venezuela.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    There is a great segment in Hayek’s Constitution of Liberty where he talks about how much innovation comes from the supposedly idle rich indulging in luxuries that, eventually, become more affordable as economies of scale kick in. But to innovate on things and services some may regard as frivolous, one needs rich, eccentric people (like Elon Musk) to take the first move. That is something that the author of the quoted item does not understand. No doubt instead he or she prefers that innovation comes from the State. Well, apart from the plodding nature of much State innovation, one can be sure that those who get to take advantage of it will be the party cronies and specific public officials.

    The history of innovation down the centuries bears my point out, I think.

    John Venlet let’s the mask slip in his attack on Musk when he writes: I do not see Mars, or any other space planet or moon, becoming a terraformed safe space for humans.

    In other words, he disagrees with the point of the launch, because he does not agree with the science. It would have been better to state that originally.

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