NYT, May 12, 2012 — If the capsule, the Dragon, reaches the space station, it will be first commercial spacecraft to dock there. All previous vehicles, like NASA’s space shuttles and Russia’s Soyuz capsules, were government operated.
The space agency… wants to turn to commercial companies for the launching of its astronauts. SpaceX hopes an upgraded Dragon will capture at least some of that business. …NASA astronauts currently must ride on Russian Soyuz rockets to get into space.
I remember JFK’s pronouncement that WE would put a man on the moon within the decade. Despite all the nefarious military, political and business interests that schemed and profited from our national effort, our race to the moon was something we felt WE the people actually owned. And the perception around that world was that WE the People were exceptional because we were willing and able to dream beyond pecuniary self-interest. The people of the United States were willing to do good.
Who are WE the People today?
We have come so see ourselves as an assemblage greedy self-interested individuals. Our government funded national space program was the last vestige of a shared sense of purpose that was born during and after WWII, in which the people of America came to occupy the moral high ground as a beacon of hope for the world. The privatization of space, along with all the rest of what had once constituted the great American enterprise, is now dead.
There’s simply no truth to the idea that what’s good for corporate interests is good for America. History will mark our national demise as the outcome of our belief that greed can do good.
History has rendered its verdict on the subject of goodness from greed. Christian Europe’s voyages of discovery are a case in point. The genocidal consequences of those voyages speak volumes.
We like to believe that in today’s age we have learned to temper the negative effects of the greed that has wrought ever-increasing mayhem upon the people of planet Earth in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, but the numbers argue otherwise.
Is greed doing more good now than it did back then? Is the prognosis for the people of planet Earth better today than it was back then?
The efficacy of greed is certainly a matter in need of vigorous debate. Sadly, serious debate along these lines is strictly verboten in today’s America.