Obama has done one decent thing and moved to cut funds to the space program. Neil Armstrong has condemned Obama for it. There are two thoughts that immediately come to me as a result: 1. “So what?” and 2. “Who cares what Neil Armstrong thinks?”
Arguments in favor of the space program are based on two things: sentimentalism and militarism. The militaristic argument is the more sophisticated one. The space program, behind its veneer of civilian purpose, has always been a military program founded to improve rocket technology, and eventually, to provide the United States with military superiority over space itself. The sentimentalism is the rationale that most Americans subscribe to as they get misty eyed over fantasies about “the human spirit” and “destiny” and all those other concepts from Hollywood adventure films.
From a pragmatic point of view, the space program is nothing more than a massive socialist spending program with militaristic intent, but which benefits handsomely from hysterical and maudlin appeals to hope in the government’s ability to accomplish anything provided enough time and taxpayers’ loot. [Keep reading…]