January 29, 2012

The moon base is to conservatives what high-speed rail is to liberals.

It's an extremely expensive project that springs out of a man's boyhood passions. You're begging for a toy, and I'm one of the smart, grounded mommies who know how to say no.

96 comments:

Writ Small said...

Newt liked the high-speed rail, too. Make your own jokes.

mesquito said...

I have to agree.

Besides, nobody told Newt that NASA is phasing out space exploration and adopting new missions, like berating us for our SUVs and boosting the self-esteem of Muslims.

Maguro said...

Any reason to think this moon thing is popular with conservatives in general? I think Gingrich is just pandering to a specific set of voters in Florida, where the space industry is big.

narciso said...

Newt has been for continued space exploration for 28 years, since he wrote 'Windows of Opportunity, the difference is we've actually been to the Moon a few times, there are minerals and other materials, namely Helium #, we could mine, and refine for fuel, Now Newt has been opposed to NASA as currently constituted, so it wouldn't entail
a necessarily large federal role.

Now if Stewart had been opposed to the 'clean energy' boondoggle. then he would have grounds to talk, but he is one of those 'early adopters' for Obama,

John Smith said...

I just don't know any conservatives who would force the spending of tens of Billions of dollars on a moon base. But Liberals are already forcing the USA to spend tens of billions on medium speed rail. Read the latest forced spend in California is up to $98 Billion.

tim in vermont said...

Ann,
I think you are right, but the difference is that we can do the math and see that we can't afford it.

Amexpat said...

..the Earth is very sick–and now he wants to leave it for a younger planet!

Ouch!

gerry said...

You are correct.

Furthermore, if space travel is practical, let's wait until aliens succeed. We can deal with it then as vassals. It will be cheaper.

TWM said...

The problem with Obama, and many other politicians on both sides, is that they are stuck in the old mindset of "we must do something grandiose" to get things right. But that's old thinking and it is not where the majority of the electorate is right now. Sure we want grand things but NOT until we fix our financial house. We want, and desperately need leaders who are going to make the hard choices and cut things. Balance the family budget. And THEN once that is done we can start talking about buying a new car.

narciso said...

Then they will conquer us, haven't you see ID-4, Battle field LA, V,


http://www.spacepolitics.com/2012/01/26/gingrich-offers-new-goals-but-same-philosophy-in-space-speech/

TMink said...

I really wish I could argue the point. But I cannot.

Busted, I am.

Trey

Amexpat said...

But Liberals are already forcing the USA to spend tens of billions on medium speed rail.Read the latest forced spend in California is up to $98 Billion.

Seems like there's some rethinking on that. A few days back, The NY Times had a panel of "experts" discuss this and most were negative about the cost or priority.

Pogo said...

What a massively stupid idea.

Criminey, this is why I hate modern Republicans.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

And no, it's not what conservatives like. It's what statists like.

And statists like to spend on big things. The GOP has its share of statists, like Newt and Mitt, Bush and McCain before them.

As I've said, we're in deep trouble, but other people's money is far too enticing, even when it's just debt and not real money at all.

Shiny!

Bill S. said...
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Bill S. said...
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Bill S. said...

It's great to dream and have lofty goals, so I don't blame Newt for what he said. Unfortunately, the days where we can spend on "dreams" are long gone. Our fiscal situation is an absolute train wreck---much worse than most realize. Going forward, we will have to do some big time prioritizing on our spending choices. I don't think that a moon base will pass muster.

Ann Althouse said...

"I think you are right, but the difference is that we can do the math and see that we can't afford it."

Conservatives are even more obligated to say no to things like this, because it's a key theme for them that we need to be frugal and live within our means. There's a lot more hypocrisy here for conservatives.

At least with Obama's high-speed rail dream, he was committed to speeding money lavishly. It was his thing. It was supposed to save us.

Conservatives need to be able to critique that, from a principled position.

narciso said...

The NSA budget is less than 1% of the budget, and the possible prize would be 1/10 of that. You don't listen or pay attention, you must have voted for Obama.

Joe Schmoe said...

Why is it all or nothing? We can do more space experimentation without building a moon base.

I say experimentation because I think a good short term goal is to figure out how to do things in outer space, not just explore. For example, robotics will be a key for building or mining. Not a lot of illegal aliens hanging out at Home Depot on the moon waiting to build a space station. So let's do smaller experiments with robots to prove out our ability to make stuff in advance of human colonization. And let's try to do it on the cheap.

Trains, on the other hand, are an all or nothing venture. You can't have 100 miles of high-speed rail, then a break for a few miles before it picks up again. You need the whole enchilada. We know the costs, and they outweigh the benefits.

Maguro said...

Conservatives are even more obligated to say no to things like this, because it's a key theme for them that we need to be frugal and live within our means. There's a lot more hypocrisy here for conservatives.

Again, I think you're overstating conservative enthusiasm for this project in order to make a point. It's nowhere near the article of faith that HSR is for liberals.

I doubt anyone will even mention it after the Florida primary, where it looks like Gingrich is going to lose big despite his pandering.

Big Mike said...

Conservatives are even more obligated to say no to things like this, because it's a key theme for them that we need to be frugal and live within our means..

Professors, when you say "conservatives are" then you are making a huge mistake. There are many -- wa-a-a-a-y to many social conservatives who are every bit as spendthrift as liberals. Meanwhile there are fiscal conservatives, such as myself, who are very much in favor of Roe v. Wade.

Surrounded as you are in Madison by liberals, who are very conformist in their views, you might be forgiven for thinking of conservatives as being conformists who are the mirror image of liberals.

But you'd be wrong.

At any rate this moon base thing has me beginning to think that Newt is not a fiscal conservative after all, and I'm backing off of my support for him.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

I reject the premise that Newt is a conservative. So, the hypocrisy charge should be adjusted and attributed to typical elitist grandiosity, nothing more.

Establishing a moon colony; high-speed trains; living in a desert; living in Antarctica; a deep-sea trench casino.

And wings, made of wax.

Marshal said...

This isn't even close to analogous. Newt's the only candidate pushing for it and I don't sense general support. Do you see conservatives talking among themselves about how this is good policy? The way libs discuss trains as the solution to global warming?

Bill said...

My initial reaction was (facepalm) "Oh no. No way."

However if you could really make a compelling case that the minerals and energy creating potential would make it cost effective, and if it were definitely not another big-government boondoggle (ie: defunding NASA, pocketing 90% as savings and using the rest as prize money for private investors), well then maybe.

But barring that, no probably not.

Bill said...

Also, just anecdotally, general enthusiasm for space exploration, and especially big-government-funded space exploration, is more popular among my liberal friends than among my conservative friends.

Jay said...

No Ann, no it is not.

I am not for a "moon base" and I think that NASA needs massive budget cuts.

The federal government should not be in the HSR business at all either.

Michael said...

There is no market demand for high speed trains and there is no compelling reason to deploy people to live and work on the moon. Out of the former nothing would be learned, out of the latter;who knows?

It would be better to call for deep sea exploration on a much larger scale than has been done before. Cheaper and would likely yield important discoveries.

Jay said...

Marshal said...
This isn't even close to analogous. Newt's the only candidate pushing for it and I don't sense general support.


Exactly. And Newt isn't going to win the nomination either.

This is like saying conservatives support Ron Paul's foreign policy views.

DaveW said...

The moon base thing doesn't have anything to do with conservatives. Why in the world would you think that?

It's about a presidential campaign currently focused on Florida.

ricpic said...

Funny, feminist mommies never objected to the huge costly intrusive state needed to make discrimination against the male half of the population work. But I forgot, "fairness" covers that, er...inconsistency.

Phil 3:14 said...

what conservatives want a moon base? The guy making all the noise isn't a conservative.

ic said...

The rest of us would be so lucky if Jerry Brown could ride his high speed moon beam to stay with Newt in his moon base.

Roger Sweeny said...

The NSA budget is less than 1% of the budget, and the possible prize would be 1/10 of that.

As Everett Dirksen may have once said, "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money."

edutcher said...

Milton basically accused him of porkbarrelling. as bad as earmarking and it would appear he nailed it.

Big Mike said...

Conservatives are even more obligated to say no to things like this, because it's a key theme for them that we need to be frugal and live within our means..

Professors, when you say
"conservatives are" then you are making a huge mistake. There are many -- wa-a-a-a-y to many social conservatives who are every bit as spendthrift as liberals. Meanwhile there are fiscal conservatives, such as myself, who are very much in favor of Roe v. Wade.


This is not something emblematic of social Conservatives, although some - Santorum - do it.

This is more a moderate, i.e., RINO, thing. Part of the Go Along To Get Along mentality and why there's such a fight going on right now for the soul of the Republican Party.

The Crack Emcee said...

What's wrong with you people? The point, from leaving Africa (or wherever we come from) is to keep moving. Now that means to get off this rock. For those of you with children, it means the survival of the species - what happens if we blow ourselves up (a very real possibility)? That's it:

Humans - life as we know it - is gone.

Space is no "high speed rail" project. It's the continuation of the species, and dominance over the Earth (you can shoot down on it). It's untold riches in minerals, etc.. It's exploration and further knowledge. It's the complete destruction of illiterate religious nonsense (There's no "God" in sky? Whoda thunk it?) AND - according to every episode of the original Star Trek - green bitches galore! Are you people nuts? I'm talking GREEN BITCHES!!!

To compare space exploration to high speed rail is ignorant. We don't need high speed rail - we have airplanes. But we NEED to get off this rock - NOW!

This focus on our economy - exclusively - as though the presidency is a one-issue proposition is stupid. The presidency never has been and it never will be. Money comes and money goes - it'll come again, but we need the vision to make things happen and the balls to risk a few rolls of the dice. That's, also, how it's always been and always will be.

The lack of imagination exhibited here is one reason why we're in the state we're in. The entire 90s was dominated by the phrase "think outside the box," when the truth was you bastards were coaxing the rest of us to do so as you were closing the lid behind you.

Obviously, it's awful dark in there, ain't it?

bagoh20 said...

I don't know enough to know if we should do the moon, but other than both being expensive, they have very little in common. Think what they do in terms of history, how they affect people and you'll see what I mean.

edutcher said...

Agree with Crack, up to a point.

I disagree space exploration is the end of religion. If God created the heavens and the earth, He is out there as much, if not more, as He is down here.

But Crack's point misses a larger reality, one voiced by Stephen Hawking. The earth will run out of resources one day and eventually will go spinning into the sun, so man's future, exploitation or settlement aside, really is Out There.

Dark Eden said...

The impression I got was that this was an example Newt used of 'big things Americans used to do and now sound crazy to even try.'

From the reaction of this blog, it seems he was exactly right. Moon Base! Only a crazy person would even think we could do something like that.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

Entertaining post Crack, but without sarc tags and such it just leaves too much room for you to nuance the hell out of it.

That's the thing about science fiction, there are no limits, really.

Tim said...

"The moon base is to conservatives what high-speed rail is to liberals.

It's an extremely expensive project that springs out of a man's boyhood passions. You're begging for a toy, and I'm one of the smart, grounded mommies who know how to say no."


Seriously? Do you have any citation besides the notoriously distracted by the bright, shiny idea de jure Gingrich and the notoriously anti-conservative Jon Stewart (despite him not so accusing conservatives in the linked article) for this insane notion that conservatives support a moon base anywhere near the ratio liberals support high speed choo choos?

And how the hell does one who voted for an affirmative action beneficiary, the least experienced, least qualified man ever nominated by a major party for president, a law school instructor bereft of any legal scholarship, a back-bencher in the Illinois State Senate, get the chutzpa to call herself a "smart, grounded mommy?"

One's vote for Obama is immediately disqualifying for "smart," let alone the right to lecture others about their infinitely stupid political ideas, such as this idiotic moon base.

Sorry for the bilious comment, but really, this is too, too much.

Tim said...

I'm fairly familiar with conservatives, being one myself, and until Gingrich made his "Lost In Space" proposal, I hadn't heard or read of any conservatives clamoring for a moon base.

Not one.

But I can't get away from all the idiot liberals trying to indebt my children to their wildly irresponsible high speed choo choo dreams.

Tim said...

Not that this insane charge warrants the time or expense, but I'd bet that if anyone did a statistically sound poll, the fraction of conservatives who support Gingrich's moon base folly wouldn't even be one-tenth of the idiot liberals who support high speed choo choos.

And that same poll would show that all Obama voters still thought themselves "smart and grounded," despite all obvious evidence to the contrary.

PackerBronco said...

Grew up a huge science fiction fan, dreaming of space bases. However as a "sober" adult (and Conservative Anne!) I have my doubts about the project. Proponents liken the moon to the new frontier and treat it like colonizing the new world (but without worrying about any native inhabitants.)

That it may be, but it also may be more like the peak of Mount Everest: an amazing place to go and a great achievement to get there, but not a place where you're going to live.

David R. Graham said...

Bingo, boyhood toy indeed it is. Foolish waste of time money and energy.

richard mcenroe said...

Ann, yes, we conservatives would like more active space exploration. I remember the cheers in my neighborhood when Armstrong first set foot on the moon in 69.

But we also know WE CAN'T AFFORD A HUGE PROJECT LIKE THAT... right now, anyway. It's just another example of Newt's grandiosity and lack of attention to detail.

If he wanted to make a real offer to the space industry, a practical offer, he would have gone to them with a plan to restore manned orbital capacity using existing commercial and government tech; something we have the infrastructure to implement quickly and much more economically.

The Crack Emcee said...

GREEN BITCHES!!!

As far as I'm concerned, if you guys aren't up to playing Captain Fucking Kirk on Alpha Centuri, you're outta your fucking minds:

"Yeah, baby, we HAVE to do this - for both our species - because, if not us, who?"

Sheeit, I got the interstellar mack down,...

Original Mike said...

"To compare space exploration to high speed rail is ignorant. We don't need high speed rail - we have airplanes."

Crack is on the right track.

I know the government can't fund this because of the fiscal disaster our politicians have foisted on us (though there are interesting ideas about the private sector doing it) but the human drive to reach new goals has built our civilization. Whole new challanges would need to be overcome to do this. It's impossible to foresee where our newly developed abilities would lead. To equate a moon base to high speed rail shows a lack of imagination.

Andrea said...

Liberals: "We need more trains so people will stop driving cars! We need them now! Raise taxes to collect the funds!"

Conservatives: "Gosh, remember the days when we used to do big things like go to the moon? Sigh."

Liberals: "Ha ha ha! You're just like us! You want to spend huge amounts of taxpayer's money on expensive projects with unknown future utility!"

Conservatives: "Wha-- We didn't say anything like that! But thanks for admitting your choochoo plans don't have any practical purpose."

Liberals: "..."

Bruce Hayden said...

I know the government can't fund this because of the fiscal disaster our politicians have foisted on us (though there are interesting ideas about the private sector doing it) but the human drive to reach new goals has built our civilization.

The private sector is doing this, and will continue doing this. There is money to be made out there, and someone is going to make it.

And, they do it at a fraction of the cost that our government would spend, and, indeed, has spent on technology that was obsolete before it ever flew (i.e. the space shuttle).

It is really rather exciting right now, in terms of space exploration. A lot of different things are being tried, and many of them appear more viable than what NASA has done in the past.

Bruce Hayden said...

And, yes, I to think that Gingrich was pandering to the large space-industrial complex in Florida. After all, what are all those NASA employees going to do there in Florida, when space craft are being launched and recovered in New Mexico?

Dante said...

I think there is some misunderstanding of Newt's plan. First of all, what a lot of people do not know, is that US launch sites were shut down to private enterprise to keep the stupid space shuttle idea going. That's one of the reason for Sea Launch: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_Launch

Second, Newt is talking about encouraging private space exploration along the lines of the DARPA projects, and the Ansari X-prize (s). The point is to free up the ingenuity of the American people.

What could be more captivating to a young mind than a lunar base? Forbes thinks the project would cost $7.4B/year to keep going. Who is to say what Americans can do when they can race towards an objective?

It sounds to me like this is more of a goal he has for himself, to make the moon base practical. Get NASA out of the way is what he said. I think he is considering there is a role of government to spur things like this, and he has said so, for instance the GI bill, etc.

Let's put it this way. I would rather have the government providing prize money for space exploration than buying lapbands for my on welfare drug using brother in law, or my welfare queen sister in law whose heart is so damaged they don't know why she is alive (plus, she isn't losing weight).

Original Mike said...

Now, equating the Space Shuttle to high-speed rail is entirely apt.

Ann Althouse said...

"What could be more captivating to a young mind than a lunar base?"

I don't want the government to captivate us. I want it to leave us alone.

mariner said...

Bullshit.

Most conservatives think a moon base is a distraction from our real problems.

Rusty said...

Ann, I think Gingrich has in mind offering prizes-much like DARPA does- to individuals to solve the problem rather than having the government fund the whole thing.
The ten million dollar Xprize was won by a company spending many times that to win it. As a result we're going to have a private company sending personnel and supplies to the ISS.

mariner said...

Crack Emcee,
I'm talking GREEN BITCHES!!!

I can avoid environmentalist feminists in space as easily as I can on Earth.

Chip S. said...

Althouse, there's a whole thread on one of my favorite blogs where a bunch of people who are mostly conservatives are arguing about this.

I don't see any factual basis for your assertion. Most of the people in favor of lunar development condition their support on its being mostly privately funded, and the opponents basically think either it's not worth even the limited amount of public funds or else it's just a stupid proposal from a strategic political perspective.

Original Mike said...

"I don't want the government to captivate us. I want it to leave us alone."

I know it's a constant refrain here, but you voted for Obama.

bgates said...

I don't want the government to captivate us. I want it to leave us alone.

This statement from you is as credible as "I'd like to buy the world a Coke" sung by Osama bin Laden.

davis,br said...

@Crack Emcee got it right, kudos, dude. You're now the go-to only-opinion-that-matters for space at Althouse.

Ann? - Your bias is showing.

The lunar "colony" would be a science base. Like the bases in Antartica. Studying scienc-y things. Not some glam tourist destination for people with entirely too much money and time, and the need to show off in spectacular fashion the latest way to have wasted their money to their equally self-indulgent friends.

(Although if that ego-driven public display by the wealthy helps pay for the science, I have no problem with it, and gawd bless their little self-indulgent souls into the bargain.)

A lunar base would be an appropriate expenditure in ways that big-ticket trains to nowhere could never be, because humans study such things as oceans, and climate, and biology, and planets, and the stars even. It's what we humans do, at our finest and best.

And out of those science projects which become the fertile pressure cookers of imagination and technology, often come unexpected advancements that evolve into the commonplace of our daily lives.

Hey, like PCs and the Internet.

Where even the most appallingly ignorant voices now get an equal timeshare in wasting our attention on subjects of which they are profoundly lacking any depth within.

All you did, by proclaiming your "serious mommy hood" Ann, was identify yourself to be among those Luddites who used to loudly proclaim the earth was flat, and make silly maps with oceans whose limits were bounded by Here Be Monsters.

Ferdinand and Isabella, you're not.

Your unbridled lack of imagination leads you to proclaim that which does not reveal what you think it reveals.

If you can only see the difference conceptually between a high speed rail project and a manned science base on the moon in financial terms, your lauded self-opinion of your cutting edge intellectual acuity exhibits some surprising gaps in your self-identified Solomonic wisdom, with the public perception thereto.

Clue: it's about the science.

Thank God, that when it comes time to make the call to spend the money, your opinion will have meant absolutely nothing.

Mom!



(NOTE: I can see the argument being made for robotic vs. human exploration. That I get. Robotic exploration has the current edge financially. But viz that argument is the versatility of humans on scene to draw inferences, to "notice things", to quickly react, to do those things that humans do best, if you will, that will eventually trump the use of clever robotics.

(But to "not" do this at all: that is the short-sighted anti-science position of small people with smaller yet imaginations. Just get out of our way: we'll take you along with us to the future in spite of yourself, and your children, at least, will be grateful to us.

(To illustrate and embellish...if medical science keeps you alive longer, through the current gerontological advances that are even now being made, I'd just bet you're not going to be proud to tell them that you would have blocked those advances if you could have, either.

(Luddites. Indeed.)

Methadras said...

Please, even leftards in california are rethinking their high speed choo-choo when it turned out to be a lie and cost three times more than they were lied to about its initial cost to begin with. To try and pin a big government gig like a moon base on conservatives to serve as a straw man dichotomy on how leftards love high speed choo-choo's is a moronic leftard reach of ideological equivalence.

Steve Koch said...

"The moon base is to conservatives what high-speed rail is to liberals."

Haha, first step is for Althouse to prove that her statement is true, then we discuss. Most likely her statement is false, so discussing her statement s a waste of time.

Newt proposes going to the moon to grab some votes in the Florida primary.

NYTNewYorker said...

Maguro said-"Any reason to think this moon thing is popular with conservatives in general? I think Gingrich is just pandering to a specific set of voters in Florida, where the space industry is big."

Exactly.

The Crack Emcee said...

mariner,

I can avoid environmentalist feminists in space as easily as I can on Earth.

LOL!

davis,br,

@Crack Emcee got it right, kudos, dude. You're now the go-to only-opinion-that-matters for space at Althouse.

Shhh - I get attacked for that kind of noise around here - and I'd like to hang out awhile longer before somebody depresses me again.

But thanks:

To infinity - and beyond!

Scott M said...

I'm a man and a conservative, AA. I would like nothing more than have the country linked with vac trains and multiple permanent moon cities. However, I know that these things are not currently possible because we've allowed culture to rot from the inside out. The country's finances followed suite.

The post-WWII boom years could never go on forever because those turned to rubble subsequently rebuilt and, ironically, learned critical lessons from we, their occupiers. Now we're being competed with in every sector, beaten in some actually, and all because we've mutli-cultied ourselves in the foot and still allow the wound to bleed.

Coagulation must occur. The wound must be cleaned, and the toxin purged from the body or we're going to limp along for another few decades before reality's inertia overcomes our union's political bonds.

davis,br said...

@crack emcee

Sorry to have blown your cover.

...these are people who probably aren't aware 1) that there's water in huge quantities on the moon, and 2) there's implications for that fact which have already obviated a ton of the financial objections.

Pun intended. IYKWIMAITTYD.

Bender said...

If a moon base is comparable to high-speed rail, please tell us, Mommy, how much Gingrich or any other conservative have actually spent on a moon base as opposed to merely musing about it or as opposed to the actual billions spent and wasted on high-speed rail?

And, Mommy, while you're doing that, please also tell us about how Gingrich would have government "leave us alone" on the project by having private enterprise voluntarily provide 90-percent-plus of the financing, as opposed to libs wanting to simply take money from taxpayers to have "government" pay for their wet dream of high-speed rail.

John said...

Yeah, this is why we should elect Newt. We are 15 Trillion in debt and he wants to spend more to go to the moon.

I have no problem with private companies doing this. I have no problem with them doing it for profit or for donations.

The govt does have a role to play: 1) Stay out of the way 2) Make available all data and research by NASA to date (subject to reasonable national security classifications)

And pretty much nothing else.

As others have mentioned already, I've not seen any conservatives jumping on board. Nothing like the way progressives jump on the idea of HSR.

If Newt or Romney are the candidate, I am going to support Obama. There is not a nickle's worth of difference between what the 3 would like to accomplish if Prez.

The only difference is that Romney, and to a lesser extent Gingrich, are competent enough to accomplish them.

A pox on all three of them.

I might support Romney or Gingrich if Paul were their VP. Imagine Paul A/K/A "Dr No" up there on the podium presiding over the Senate every day. He might not be able to get much done but he sure as Hell could obstruct everything.


John Henry

John said...

Two books that all should read before taking part in this discussion are both by Heinlein:

"The Man who sold the Moon" about a private venture that established a permanent and thriving colony on the moon.

"The moon is a harsh Mistress" about what happened when the Earth govt tried to impose excessive taxes.

Earth is at the bottom of a gravity well and the moon has plenty of rocks. They wound up throwing rocks at Earth.

Both are excellent on a number of levels.

John Henry

John said...

Edutcher says that the Earth will run out of resources some day.

Really?

How?

Where do they go?

The only resources that have been added to Earth for the past gazillion years is the odd meteorite.

The only ones we have lost are the odd satellite that we have set on one way missions out of Earth's orbit.

Resources change form and location but they are conserved, neither created nor destroyed.

John Henry

Phil 3:14 said...

TO INFINITY AND BEYOND!

Don't Tread 2012 said...

Someone apply the Vulcan nerve grip to Crack already.

Synova said...

It used to be that space exploration was something only government can do because it is soooo huge and soooo expensive.

Now we're in terrible debt.

Newt suggests taking 10% of NASA's budget, which is what percent of the US federal budget? It's tiny compared to just about everything else. So Newt suggests taking 10% of an existing, small (relatively), budget in order to fund prizes for private companies.

And our lizard brains are so programmed to view space as impossibly expensive that we can do nothing other than say, "oh, well, life sucks, we can't afford it, lets all just give up and die?"

Synova said...

Also, I object to the assertion that there is more hypocrisy involved in the conservative who would like to see us promote expansion into space, since conservatives are about fiscal responsibility, than the liberal pushing high speed rail because liberals never promised anything other than spending huge amounts of taxpayer money on grand projects.

High speed rail (like green energy) is sold to the people as an investment in future frugality. It will cost to set up, but it will pay off because it will be self-supporting, self-funding, cheap and easy for everyone to use, and will replace cars. (And green energy is really cheaper than oil once it gets going. Save money and create jobs! Win, win.)

So yes, the promise is that rail will cost a lot, but the *sale* is made squarely on frugality. Government can do it better, cheaper.

Encouraging private investment in space is the opposite of that, and not at all hypocritical from a conservative fiscal responsibility standpoint.

Dante said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dante said...

Ann Says:

"I don't want the government to captivate us. I want it to leave us alone."

No schools? (I want to write "No schools either, but I don't see how schools can be effective if they do not motivate).

larry scheib said...

It's all about survivability, electability and context. Just like conservatives criticizing ethanol and shale production under Carter, but praised them under Bush so to will Republicans criticize HSR under Obama. A republican president supporting it would have led it to be considered the national salvation to our transportation woes.

Ginrich is playing to his audience whether it be the "contrived" Palestinian speech in New York for the Jews or the moon project in NASA country. Newt goes with the flow and will support whatever is in vogue, a la Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac. That's politics for you.

Firehand said...

I've got no problem with building a base on the moon: get the effing government out of the way and let people like Rutan do it.

Believe it or not, it wouldn't require the government being in control, or handing out OPM to get it done.

larry scheib said...

Why all the cynicism about gov involvement? We wouldn't have companies like Intel if it wasn't for the fruits of research that came out of gov labs such as the transistor. Much technology adapted and marketed by the private sector has its roots in government labs. The gov has allowed us as a society to go beyond what the private sector dare try to because of such factors as cost and jurisdiction impediments.

Synova said...

"Just like conservatives criticizing ethanol and shale production under Carter,"

I wanna call bs and the shale thing. Although, shale is only been recently made reasonable for extracting fuels because of new technology, am I wrong? When was hydrolic fracturing developed? Certainly not as long ago as the Carter admin.

Ethanol? What I remember from the Carter administration was my folks buying a few shares because that was the next good thing. I believe we forget the gasoline crisis and honest to god lines and shortages. Ethanol never paid off, though, except for those who collect the subsidies. Pointing that out now, isn't even remotely proof that anyone opposed it *then*.

So actually, I think I'd like to call bs on both claims, that conservatives in the late 1970s, were in opposition, particularly, to either shale or ethanol.

I'd be happy to accept links to evidence otherwise.

larry scheib said...

Read your heart out and learn how it was the conservative agenda that tried to stamp out shale and ethanol production.

http://stoft.com/p/109.html
http://www.thepresidency.org/storage/documents/Calkins/Mitchell.pdf

FYI, over 10% of gas used in this country is made of ethanol with higher percentages coming in the future. Sure it wasn't economically viable during the 70's but it is the governments responsibility to invest in the technologies that make it so. We wouldn't have laptops or the internet if it wasn't for government investments. And fracking has been around before the 70's.

Synova said...

The first appears to be an article claiming that Carter did some things that were not economically reasonable after the economy improved, so the programs were ended.

This does not prove contemporaneous conservative opposition to shale or oil sands production during the Carter administration.

The other appears to be a poorly written college paper.

It does not even attempt to prove contemporaneous conservative opposition to ethanol production during the Carter administration.

Again... if Reagan or Bush ended some programs it was because the economy improved. And they didn't end mandatory ethanol requirements, since they are still in effect.

The statement that conservatives opposed shale oil production or ethanol production during the Carter administration is not supported by either document.

larry scheib said...

You are correct: Carter's policies on oil shale, ethanol and other alternative energies ended because Reagan conservatism ended them because of the monetary cost. The cost of energy is always going to oscillate with the mins always increasing. Conservatives believed that as long as we spent a lot of money on a military (expensive alternative to money for research and subsidies) to keep tyrants at bay then we shouldn't have to worry about our energy needs. Carter realized that better than supporting the Saddams and Shaws of the world we should plan for a future of energy independence hence the Department of Energy. Note the word "plan". Conservatives of the time didn't see it this way and went with spam and velveeta instead.

Electric cars batteries, in the short term, are not economical, but they offer other societal gains besides economics and the economical returns will come later. That's why they call it investing in the future. Look at how well Intel has done thanks to the government investment in transistors from the 50s and 60s. This wasn't done for free.

John Lynch said...

Let's just colonize Antarctica. It's a lot closer, almost as hostile, and all the people who like to talk about going to space can book passage. It has almost as much land area as the moon, too.

Synova said...

And liberals have been opposing absolutely everything to do with fossil fuels ever since, Larry.

I'm at a loss to what this has to do with space exploration or what point you're attempting to make.

Conservatives, as far as you've shown, did not oppose what Carter did, and they certainly do not oppose domestic production now.

Jay said...

Sure it wasn't economically viable during the 70's but it is the governments responsibility to invest in the technologies that make it so

Huh?

According to whom?

Jay said...

We wouldn't have laptops or the internet if it wasn't for government investments.

Hilarious.

Government investment has nothing to do with laptops.

The assertion we wouldn't have an internet without government investment is silly.

Nathan Alexander said...

This is one of the reasons I try to not discuss/critique liberal vs conservative politicians, but rather critique liberal vs conservative policies.

As a conservative, I am not obliged to embrace everything a GOP politician proposes. I claim the right to criticize liberal policies proposed/enacted by supposedly conservative politicians just as much as those proposed/enacted by liberal politicians.

Thus, it is immaterial that TARP was signed under President Bush. It was a typical liberal (Keynesian) tactic, and it failed. It didn't fail because a conservative President signed it, it failed because it was ignorant of sound economics.

In the same manner, the whole comparison of debt/deficit under Obama vs under Bush is ridiculous. Anyone who advances that argument is dishonest, stupid, or both: when the President/Congress enacted conservative policies, the economy soared and the deficit/debt shrank. When Congress enacted pork barrel/earmarks/Keynesian techniques (mostly post-2006), the economy tanked.

Crediting Clinton for the 1998 economy does not mean we have to embrace any economic proposal by a Democrat from now on...we just should embrace any economic proposal that has the same elements as what Clinton did (or did not) do to bring about the hot economy: no sales taxes on internet activity!

In that same manner:
I'm a conservative. I want a moon base and Mars colonization & terraforming.

But as a conservative, I recognize that the govt is the worst entity to do that, because of out of control, big govt/nanny state regulations.
As a conservative, the best way to have a robust space program that returns new technological advances that improve lives is to invest in it.

And because I'm a conservative, "invest" means: tax moratorium.

So put your money where your mouth is, liberals. You always fund boondoggles that fail to achieve their stated goals: public transportation, green energy, welfare, etc. We aren't asking you to fund this one, just shut up about taxing something that isn't returning any tax revenue right now anyway.

Original Mike said...

Larry confuses basic research with industrial subsidies.

EMD said...

Crack is right.

Dream big (as a society, not a government) or go home.

Peter said...

I think there is little support in the science community for manned (OK, the PC term is 'crewed') space missions.

Because, those who are interested in what's out there know that far more can be done at much lower cost by using robotic spacecraft.

Since 1970 the technology of space rockets has not really improved all that much. At the time, there was a sense that if it took 33 years from Wright Bros. to DC3, and about the same from DC3 to 707, then a similar improvement could be expected in space vehicles.

This has obviously not happened. For example, the cost per pound to low earch orbit is not much less than it was 40 years ago, and large space rockets still have a catastrophic failure rate in the order of 1-in-100.

To state the obvious, the DC3 would have failed if the chance of death was one percent per flight.

Most of the improvements have been in electronics. Although this has somewhat improved boosters (by improving their guidance and control systems), mostly improvements in electronics have made robotic spacecraft smaller, lighter, and far more capable.

In the end, sending people into space seems to be primarily for the purpose of national prestige. Which (I suppose) is why China is persuing it. That is, it's sort of a latter-day potlatch.

larry scheib said...

Jay read the history of the transistor. It was created at the government run Bell Labs. Here, I even added a site for those who are search engine challenged. http://inventors.about.com/od/tstartinventions/a/transistor_history.htm.
Unix, TCP/IP and many other critical internet components came from government labs and research institutions.

Jay, the republican president Lincoln said that Government should do for man what he can not do for himself. Lets see, we would probably still be living in caves if we didn't collectively deal with issues.

larry scheib said...

Mike not sure what you mean "Larry confuses basic research with industrial subsidies." All I'm saying is that Carter created the department of energy to spur the development of alternative fuels such as oil shale and ethanol so that we may become more energy independent. Reagan turned around and nixed funding for the dept thus relying more on a military ideal of protecting shipping lanes and Arab dictators. Bush did a 180 after experiencing a war or two and renewed the dept of energies objectives. If HSR would have been included with the Bush plan there isn't a republican who would have voted against it. But now that Obama wants HSR it all of a sudden becomes an evil thing. Colonizing the moon is no different.

MrEddy said...

Can you believe those idiot Chinese? They been listening to Newt? No one ever accuses them of taking the long view and for good reason. Just look at this. "China also plans to launch manned-vessels and freighters into space during the coming half-decade, according to a government white paper. The country's eventual goal in the longer term is a manned lunar landing." Of course, the US is much smarter than that. Only a dip-wad thinks space exploration makes sense. http://articles.cnn.com/​2011-12-30/asia/​world_asia_china-space-program_​1_space-exploration-jiao-weixi​n-space-program?_s=PM%3AASIA

Synova said...

larry, if you are trying to prove a general behavior... supporting things your own party does, and opposing the same thing when the other party does it, your example of Carter then Reagan then Bush does not show the pattern you wish to show.

Indeed, shale and tar sands and even simple drilling or building a pipeline that just might encourage someone else to develop oil shales is opposed by all right thinking Democrats.

Some things change over time.

There was a whole lot that changed between Carter's administration and Reagan's. For anything, anything at all, about the sequence of differing energy policies to provide even a single data point for your argument, you'd have to show opposition to the development that Carter supported *while* he was president, that turned around just as soon as Reagan was president.

And even then it would be a single data point and not proof of a sure habit of favor and disfavor.

High Speed Rail, like green energy, is economically unsound. Supporting it (as we're asked to do) because it will save so very much money and work out so well is irrational. If a Republican stepped forward and said HSR was wonderful, conservatives would not automatically support it any more than they all supported GWBush's liberal notions about illegal aliens.

You're trying to claim that it's all only a matter of who says it, and it's not.

Supporting crewed space exploration or a station on the moon or mars isn't a "conservative" thing. Everyone has their own opinion, even in this comment thread.

And while Althouse is right that HSR and Moon colonies are similarly economically irrational, they really aren't two sides of the same thing.

larry scheib said...

Isn't rescinding every energy policy put in place opposition enough? Action before attitude? That makes no sense to me unless your saying Reagan wasn't a thinking man.

"I'm often amazed by the way that Carter was criticized for speaking against Reagan policy during the Reagan presidency. After all, Reagan made a living off of repeatedly distorting Carter policy and blaming Carter (and sometimes even Nixon and Ford) for many of America's ills."
Reagan went as far as to remove the Solar panels Carter had installed on the White House. Reagan's attitude I remember oh to well growing up during as a kid.

Ayatollah in power in Iran, Reagan bombing Libya/Kadafi, Iran fighting Iraq, Soviets occupying Afghanistan, dictators ruling every other middle eastern country, yep all sound like ligit reasons to eliminate alternative energy research. My ggggooooodddd!

And yes the sheep would follow Bush for HSR. They followed him for Solar panel and ethanol subsidies.
Conservatives have always been proponents of rail, just ask LaHood.

California subsidizes highway maintenance to the tune of 30 billion a year, Acela runs at a profit and owns 40% of air/train travel in its region.

And no I don't believe space exploration to be a political thing. Like anything else larger than life, I think the government has to subsidize it before private sector can take a footing into it. If Newt wants to act like he's making some earth shattering statements that's just Newt doing his usual grandstanding.