Why Should Anyone Care About Space Politics?

Cry havoc, The Space Review

"Did you know that NASA is a fascist organization? How about the Constellation program--did you realize that it was fascist too? Or the Apollo program? What about the philosophical/spiritual observation that Arthur C. Clarke defined as "the Overview Effect" whereby from space, Earth's political borders and squabbles disappear? Did you realize that this philosophy--perhaps even Arthur C. Clarke himself--is fascist?"

Editor's note: I can't find a thing in this article that I disagree with. The inmates are indeed trying to seize control of the asylum via the blogosphere and Dwayne Day has caught them red handed.

There are many people who proudly claim to know how to do space exploration/utilization etc. better than NASA. Fact is, its probably not that hard to do. I just wish that all of these so-called experts would stop waving their arms, throwing incendiary political labels around, and arguing with each other, and instead, put their brains to work DOING the things they talk about.

If they did this, then perhaps some of the space community (whatever that community is these days) could make some tangible progress. And tangible progress is something you can build upon and point to as a way to do things better. Yet right now, when they all start talking at once, especially when they invoke goofy, revisionist, and paranoid politics, the resulting cacophony generates one thing: noise.

And boo hoo hoo the political candidates won't listen to the space community. Would you if you were them? Where do you start? Who speaks for whom? How do you interpret this noise?

I try not to ascribe any political labels to NASA's behavior - if for no other reason than the agency is a hodge podge of policies left over from a dozen presidencies and many more Congresses. None of these policies has ever been fully realized - or implemented. Instead, I apply functional descriptors: NASA is slow, ponderous, out of touch, stuck in a rut, breathing its own fumes, clueless when it comes to how the private sector actually works, incapable of understanding the real world outside its gates, and living on borrowed time.

NASA is also one of Earth's greatest collection of inspired space explorers, scientists, and engineers who would, at the end of the day, simply like to explore space - by whatever means possible and DO SOMETHING with out a bunch of political nonsense determining what they do - and how they do it.

There is no conspiracy. There is no fascistic cult in command of NASA. NASA is just broken. Fix it or replace it. Just make up your mind and then do it.

Anyone who invokes fascism, Nazi's or their Germanic catch phrases, or other totalitarian nonsense to describe NASA, has a screw loose. Make that a bunch of screws. Nor are these people part of any reasonable solution when it comes to NASA and space exploration. Rather, they are part of the problem - indeed, they are the worst part of it.

Curiously, the very same people who would have you think that NASA is "fascist" readily seek NASA contracts and/or derive their income as consultants or employees of companies funded by NASA. If you folks are going to apply extremist labels such as "fascist" to NASA then you need to deal with the fact that your acceptance or search for NASA funding, in your own twisted logic, makes you a "collaborator".

Hmmm ... hadn't thought about that aspect of your name calling, now had you?

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on July 3, 2008 12:03 AM.

Astronauts and Astrobiologists Dive In Deepworkers was the previous entry in this blog.

NASA Watch at Smithsonian Folklife Festival is the next entry in this blog.

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