Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


China and Russia sign agreement to build moon base

The new colonial movement: Yesterday China and Russia announced that they have signed an agreement to jointly work together to build a base on the Moon.

The link above is from the Chinese state-run press, stating:

In a joint statement issued at the conference, the CNSA and Roscosmos said the moon station will be open to all interested countries, international organizations and partners in terms of planning, design, research, development, implementation and operation at all stages and levels of the project.

The Russian state-run press made a similar announcement.

The new Cold War in space is beginning to shape up. On one side will be free enterprise, led by the United States and the many private companies working independently to make their own profits in space, and on the other side will be the former communist nations whose cultures require all such efforts be controlled from the top by the government.

And like the Cold War of the 20th century, the big question will be the actions of third parties, like Europe, India, Japan, the UAE, and other new space-faring nations. Will they join with the U.S., or join China and Russia to gang up on private enterprise? Right now I will not be surprised if all these countries eventually join the Chinese/Russian effort. Worse, I have great doubts about the U.S. government’s commitment to the capitalist path it is presently taking. If enough pressure was applied by these authoritarian regimes we should not be surprised if our generally authoritarian present government decides to join them as well, using their combined power to squelch freedom and private enterprise in space.

The battle is drawn, but the forces for liberty and freedom are sadly outnumbered.

Readers!
 

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.


Your support is even more essential to me because I keep this site free from advertisements and do not participate in corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook. I depend wholly on the direct support of my readers.


You can provide that support to Behind The Black with a contribution via Patreon or PayPal. To use Patreon, go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation. For PayPal click one of the following buttons:
 


 

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


 

If Patreon or Paypal don't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
 

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

50 comments

  • Icepilot

    NASA is paying (& helping) SpaceX build the infrastructure to exploit Lunar resources. SpaceX will own the 1st “gas station” in LEO & whatever assets they eventually leave in Lunar orbit & on the surface. Nothing stops SpaceX from partnering with whoever to build the 1st hotel, ice extraction/processing facilities & a Lunar mass driver. In 10 years, Elon could just sell fully-fueled Starship ‘Explorer Models’ in HEEO for $1B each (Weekend special – free initial delivery of up to 6 crew, *some restrictions apply).

    *depends on space/mass availability on regularly scheduled monthly Starship Lunar route.

  • Lee Stevenson

    This is not an easy subject to either parse, or indeed comment on here, given the right wing population. I firmly believe that China is going to have the advantage regarding “SLS” class missions in the coming years… They are able to put a boat load of money behind their projects, and are immune from policy change. Russia is broke, but finds a natural ally in China given their communist history, and Russia, while broken and broke has a huge amount of knowledge regarding space stuff. They have been doing this as long as you guys over there. The vector of space exploration has shifted massively in the US in recent years, and all for the good! We are now living in a world where private space exploration is the norm… Capitalism wins! Except it doesn’t. The smart thing to do would be to absolutely join in with the Chinese/Russian program. Instead of a race, make it a joint collaboration where everyone wins, and the one that wins the more will be a guide for the rest. Unfortunately, given all the sanctions on the Chinese and Russians right now, I’m not even sure if it would be possible for working together. What I am sure of is, is that an isolationist view will probably be a losing view in the long run. Better to hold your enemy close than push him away.

  • Mike Borgelt

    Lee Stevenson
    April 24, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    Is that some kind of sick joke?

  • Lee …

    1> The value of cooperation hinges upon the trust you can invest in those you cooperate with … and trusting authoritarian regimes that dominate their own people is an imprudent investment, for their demonstrated lack of respect for others removes any guarantee that they will not turn cooperation with you into exploitation of you. We have already seen that with China and American investment there.

    2> Yes, China can throw a lot of money at space – as does NASA. The question is the same for both – what can they deliver with all that money?

    Bureaucracy-driven (let alone authoritarian) entities tend to limit the amount and quality of distributed intellect – and its derivatives of both inspiration and perspiration – applied to the problem, because the bosses insist on top-down control/lock-step conformity that discourages inspiration/perspiration/outside-the-box thinking from all the others involved. That leads to suboptimal performance, if not outright failure.

    Private-sector entities operating freely can’t afford to place such limits on those derivatives – they lack access to a money-printing press to subsidize continued failures in schedule and performance – so they are more open minded to outside-the-box thinking as well as listening and leveraging the ideas of those actually involved in the work. That leads to higher performance, in shorter time … and quick abandonment of what doesn’t work vs. using it to build bureaucratic/political empires.

    The key, of course, is maintaining their ability to work freely … which is threatened by politicians and bureaucrats that think they Know Better.

  • David M. Cook

    This is good news! China adopting Russia space-wise is like hooking an anchor to China‘s space program. All astronauts will need to learn a difficult language, hardware will need to be redesigned, ect. This will slow down an already slow program, and only Jeff Bezos has a slower program!

  • Edward_2

    Mike Borgelt, Lee Stevenson is a troll.

  • Edward_2: You are now warned, I do not tolerate name calling. Do it again and I will suspend you for a week. Lee Stevenson has been commenting here for years in a civilized manner. I and many disagree with his socialist beliefs, but he has almost always expressed them without rancor. If you disagree with him than explain why. Just calling him names will get you banned.

  • Jeff Wright

    I like Lee…to Lee. The biggest threat to any nation’s space effort comes from within.

    Here in the USA Le May and Rickover got blank checks while NASA was underfunded.

    Russia started off the opposite, but space gets a pittance now. China looks to want fighters and carriers—-and their space advocates might wound up being shouted down yet. Here, we have Greens who hate Musk and libertarians who would shutter NASA centers. With friends like these…

    All space advocates should have each other’s back.

  • mpthompson

    In my mind, the best possible thing for U.S. space efforts is for China/Russia to demonstrate substantial capabilities in space in the coming years. I mean seriously give us a run for our money. For better or worse, American history has shown tough competition helps bring focus to areas that would otherwise be neglected. For instance, suppose the Soviet Union/Russia continued development with the Buran shuttle to the point it was launching more often than the U.S. shuttle and demonstrated some superior capabilities. This probably would have spurred the U.S. to an earlier shuttle replacement program that would have been much more serious than the pathetic Constellation and SLS programs of the last 20 years. The only thing that has saved our bacon was the fortuitous rise of SpaceX and perhaps Rocket Lab — serendipitous events that can only happen in a free market system where private capital can be applied to take risks that government, by its nature, normally avoids.

  • mpthompson

    This is good news! China adopting Russia space-wise is like hooking an anchor to China‘s space program.

    Agreed. Despite a common communist heritage, I don’t see Chinese and Russian’s being natural allies. Rather, more like allies of convenience against the U.S. which tends to not work over the long run. I believe Roscosmos will discover the Chinese will be much less diplomatic over who is calling the shots in the relationship than NASA was.

  • Edward

    Lee Stevenson wrote: “… Capitalism wins! Except it doesn’t. The smart thing to do would be to absolutely join in with the Chinese/Russian program. … What I am sure of is, is that an isolationist view will probably be a losing view in the long run. Better to hold your enemy close than push him away.

    Capitalism is having some amount of trouble because of the current government monopsony. Once there are enough other free market capitalist companies investing in space, then commercial space will have the upper hand.

    Joining with the enemy and handing over all your technology is not the smart thing to do under any circumstances. It is better to keep him away from your armory, treasury, and personnel.

    Lee,
    The reason you have trouble with your arguments on this site is because your arguments don’t hold up to any reasoned thought.

    ’There is far more capital available outside of NASA [for use by commercial space marketplace] than there is inside of NASA.’ — paraphrased from an interview with NASA Administrator Bridenstine on the Ben Shapiro radio show on Monday 3 August 2020

    As it becomes obvious that space can provide a great deal of benefit to mankind here on Earth, even more investment will be forthcoming. The problem with having governments such as China, Russia, or even the United States government run space projects is that these projects will only reflect what those governments want, not what We the People want. It is why socialism has failed everywhere it is tried, even here in America. Workers under socialism do not benefit from their labors, only the government does, so people do not work hard.

    Now that We the People are starting to run some aspects of space, we are beginning to get some of the things that we want.

    Jeff Wright,
    You wrote: “All space advocates should have each other’s back.

    This does not mean that every idea from every space advocate is a good idea and should be followed. Otherwise you would have to have my back when I suggest that NASA could save money by consolidating centers and eliminating expensive administration costs. By the way, why don’t you think it is a good idea to save money to spend it where it will do more good?

    Edward_2,
    Lee Stevenson is not a troll. He honestly believes that socialism works, but that belief comes because he has benefited from the system. His country has not yet run out of other people’s money and is even starting to move away from socialism before it is too late.

    Lee may not be thinking through his arguments very well, which may explain why we don’t understand his statement “Capitalism wins! Except it doesn’t.” I honestly have no idea why he thinks that capitalism doesn’t win in his scenario, and it seems phrased more as humor than argument. Nor do I understand why he thinks that a free market capitalism view is an isolationist view. Perhaps he does not understand free market capitalism.

    It may be difficult to convince Lee that he is wrong, but that does not make him a troll. It just means that he is emotionally involved with his socialist society and that a greater emotional counter argument is needed. Pointing out that socialism fails and that it has killed tens of millions (including half the Plymouth Colony here in America) is not emotional enough, as it does not affect him personally. Ponting out that we Americans subsidize his medications does not work either (he doesn’t even thank us for supplying the “other people’s money” for his medications).

    However, he is an excellent foil for us to hone our rational arguments. Perhaps someday we will even learn what emotional arguments work on socialists.

    Robert,
    I am beginning to worry about where the limits are on name calling. If we were to call out an actual troll (a person who makes a deliberately offensive or provocative online post) as a troll (we get them here on occasion), would that be acceptable? If not, we may need a list of what are considered insults and name calling. Some of us may be getting warnings on words that we did not expect to be insulting, and now are concerned that we may face suspension and banning on other words that we didn’t think would be considered insults.

  • Edward worries about my rules for name-calling. The rules remain the same. If all you do is come here to call someone else a name, then you will be warned, suspended, or banned. Even trolls deserve rational or at least civilized responses. However, I will certainly allow commenters to call someone a troll, if (very important!) you back that up with detailed evidence. All Edward_2 did was spew out the accusation. Not good enough.

    When a troll eventually gets out of hand, that’s when I step in, as I did recent following the election. We had one particular person who clearly could not resist being insulting. He broke the rules enough times he is now banned.

  • pawn

    How Starlink and very importantly, it’s imitators, play out is going to be telling. It’s the only real non-government sourced income stream right now. Watch what happens when real money starts showing up.

  • Cotour

    The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    What is militarily essential? Controlling the high ground.

  • eddie willers

    Here, we have Greens who hate Musk

    I was unaware of this until yesterday when it was announced on Twitter that Musk would host Saturday Night Live. Talk about people having a hissy fit!

    I haven’t watched SNL since this century arrived, but I’m tempted now.

  • Lee Stevenson

    Well, I expected to stir a few pots of stew…. But not to this extent! And thank you Bob.
    Just to explain my “except it doesn’t” comment .. It has nothing to do with my opinions on socialism, which are closer to the American model than China’s… ( Which if people actually read my entire posts instead of getting triggered by a single phrase and throwing the baby out …etc, ) My point is that if China decides to throw a huge amount of money at the new space race, it will beat a free market approach. Full stop. Have a think about it guys, was the race for the moon was won by good ol’ capitalist ideals, or by a central government throwing a load of money at the mission? If China decides it is going to the moon before the US goes back there, no amount of pontificating about the advantage of capitalism is going to stop them beating you. My point was that perhaps it would be a good idea to join them, and then perhaps lead by example. And just a FYI… My opinions on the role of the state in social care does not make me a commy. I have absolutely no problems with a free market, I just believe in a higher rate of tax, and a wider scope of social care. I am not a communist, nor a Troll, I am not misguided, and indeed, unless you have experienced life in the majority of European countries, you have no right to tell me I am wrong. As Bob Dylan said, “do not criticize what you don’t understand”.

  • Lee Stevenson

    ( ok, that last bit of my last post could be considered trolling, but I do actually mean it… There are other systems of govenence than the US model, and they tend to be condemned out of hand here. This is unfair to myself, and to the many, many millions of citizens of countries with a more socialist model than the US. We are doing just as well over here as you are over there right now. My feelings about US social care are well known, but I don’t bang on about how I feel. I really don’t understand why you guys feel the need to bang on about my situation at every opportunity? Love and light ;-)

  • pawn

    Mr. Stevenson,

    Oh yes China can do exactly what the US did in the race to the moon. And the end result will be the same. They made it, now what?

    National prestige doesn’t pay the bills.

  • mpthompson

    My point is that if China decides to throw a huge amount of money at the new space race, it will beat a free market approach. Full stop.

    Please cite your source for this statement. “Full stop” doesn’t quite cut it.

    Oh yes China can do exactly what the US did in the race to the moon. And the end result will be the same.

    100% spot on.

  • mpthompson

    If China decides it is going to the moon before the US goes back there, no amount of pontificating about the advantage of capitalism is going to stop them beating you.

    Depends on what the goal is, doesn’t it? If it’s flags and footprints, the US did that 50+ years ago. Why should we get suckered into a race that was already won long ago. The recent decision by NASA to choose a SpaceX Starship variant for the lunar lander demonstrates that at least some people at NASA want our next steps on the moon to be sustainable and lasting. Something that SpaceX is committed to making happen, even if it’s just a stop on their long-term goal of colonizing Mars. Simply getting into a chest-thumping contest with China (or worse, thumping our chest along with China) isn’t going to create anything lasting or sustainable and in another 50 years we’ll wonder why nothing happened in space.

    If free-market entrepreneurs can get a toe-hold on the Moon, then the real race begins.

  • Zimriel

    That might not be a sick joke. Here’s a sick joke: “On one side will be a communist nation whose cultures require all such efforts be controlled from the top by the government…. and on the other side will be Russia and China”

  • Dick Eagleson

    Lee,

    Being an authoritarian regime does not render the PRC “immune to policy change” any more than was the Manchu Dynasty or Czarist Russia or the Soviet Union. When an authoritarian regime suffers sufficient reverses and internal stress, it eventually suffers a brittle fracture. China is facing exactly that as it population ages more rapidly than even those of your supposedly “successful” high-tax welfare states in Western Europe, while the total number of Chinese stalls for at least four decades and the number of working-age Chinese plummets.

    Nor is Russia going to escape a comparable, if only modestly slower-rolling, fate more comparable, though swifter, to those now manifesting in most of the nations of Europe.

    China, unlike much of Europe, has no real tradition of government-provided social welfare institutions – that has traditionally been the job of individual families anent their members. Four decades of the One Child Policy have left hundreds of millions of rapidly-aging Chinese couples with only a single child to look after them. In the not too distant future, a “lucky” Chinese will be considered one who has already lost one or both parents. Complete reliance, in the traditional fashion, on family as the main social welfare institution in China is rapidly reaching an elastic limit. Once it snaps, things are going to be ugly indeed. The PRC has sown the wind by messing very fundamentally with the Chinese family for decades and is now in the early stages of reaping the whirlwind that was completely predictable before this major effort at social engineering was undertaken. So much for the allegedly superior Chinese ability to “play the long game” as many seek to convince us who seem to share your admiration for authoritarian regimes you don’t personally have to live under.

    As for why I refer to Europe as “successful” in quotes is that nations like the one in which you now reside are, in essence, eating the seed corn stored up by a millennium of ancestors during times when both their fortunes and populations were on the rise. For some time now, your fortunes have been, at best, treading water and your native populations have been aging and declining. The Italians, once the paradigmatic “Latin lovers,” seem now to have entirely lost their former knack. The population of native Italians is tumbling and the age of the average Italian is now at least a decade higher than the age of the average American. Muslim immigration in recent years, in contrast, along with their birthrates, that are significantly higher than even in their native lands, can only make one wonder exactly when it will be that St. Peter’s is converted to a mosque as has long since been the case with the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul. Before this century is out, the Pope could well be as much a religious refugee as the Dalai Lama is now.

    Nor is Sweden any exception to this general trend. Your high-tax welfare state model seemed to work, for awhile, when Sweden’s population was still rising due more to inertia than anything else, and was about as racially and ethnically diverse as a Ku Klux Klan rally. But the recent and rapid influx of Muslims from the Maghreb and elsewhere has made it obvious that Sweden, as we have known it, is living on borrowed time. The Islamic Republic of Sweden may well be an actual thing, as opposed to its current status as a snarky punchline, before mid-century. Depending upon how old you currently are, you may well expire before this transition occurs, but you should advise your children to do some advance planning for a sudden departure.

    Bob Z.,

    We certainly live in troublous times, but we are not without friends and it is far from clear that the current extra-Constitutional putsch will remain in power. Anent space, The nascent Russo-Chinese alliance will, if history is any guide, prove about as durable as the Hitler-Stalin Pact and could well retard both the dying Russian and the problematical Chinese space programs rather than advance either. The Russians have descended into penury and mendicancy, but have failed to abandon their traditional arrogance. This is not a combination that will wear well in a China that is already beginning to realize that the bill for the last 45 years is now coming due, both economically and demographically.

    The Japanese are not going to join Russia and China in space or in anything else of consequence. Both nations are major military foes of Japan. Should the current U.S. putschists prove too wobbly in opposing these two regimes, Japan retains the ability to self-develop nuclear weapons in extremely short order – over a three-day weekend, perhaps. Given Japanese behavior when previously backed into a corner, neither the Russians nor the Chinese would be well-advised to push Japan too hard.

    The same is also true of India. The Indians are especially not going to buddy up with China. And why would they? India’s economy continues to grow – apart from its current Covid-related difficulties. By mid-century, it will have both a far larger population and, quite possibly, a comparable or larger economy than will faltering China.

    Europe will, as always, play footsie with any regime it thinks can provide it with a net advantage through doing so. The degree to which China can be such is going to stall and diminish once its near-term space efforts come to fruition. Meanwhile, a SpaceX-led U.S. will be the source of almost all consequential advances in spacefaring and space settlement. The Euros will as usual, tuck in behind us and be pulled along in our slipstream.

    Nor is the UAE a likely taker of Chinese space-related blandishments. The Chinese interest in the Middle East and Africa is mostly to rope poor nations into long-term debt peonage. The UAE is not such a place. It is, in fact, busily shifting its astronaut training arrangements from Russia to the U.S. It will likely be among the purchasers of seats on New Shepard – should it ever enter service – and also charter missions on Crew Dragon 2s in the near future.

    In short, I foresee no stampede toward China and Russia by nations looking to go to space.

  • Jeff Wright

    I am surprised why the Saudi’s and other shell-fare states haven’t been bitten by the space bug yet.

    Dubai and Brunei have wads of dough that could do a new space company a ‘solid

  • Lee: I really don’t understand why you guys feel the need to bang on about my situation at every opportunity?

    First, don’t read mine and others skepticism as hate … our nation cared enough to put many European and Asian nations – including two defeated enemies – under the American nuclear umbrella during the Cold War; something that is rather personal to me, as two of my great uncles farmed their fields next to Minuteman II silos (aka bullseyes) for thirty years. Of course, deterrence was also in our interest, so we were not purely altruistic in extending that umbrella.

    But do re-read my second point in my earlier post, for it (1) applies to far more than just space exploration and (2) it speaks to the fundamental problem behind our various societal dysfunctions, in nations around the world … and why I, for one, am willing to (hopefully) respectfully confront you on these threads.

    A century-plus of what you would call “social democracy”, and I now call “social technocracy” because it more accurately describes the operation of the paradigm, has led millions to replace individual responsibility and initiative – in my view, the essential precursors to all human advancement short of Divine intervention – with near-total trust in the elite few to make their decisions, direct their resources, and solve their problems for them. The same holds even more true in full-on socialist societies … and in authoritarian regimes, it becomes compulsion and not trust that drives deference to the authorities.

    I call that level of trust “Flounderian”, after the hapless fraternity brother in the movie Animal House who got a graphic one-line education from one of his frat brothers about trust (I’m sure many here know the quote, but I also know Robert’s Rules of Linguistic Order here and will not repeat it.)

    Frankly, I see those who lean towards socialism, and its view that government is to be the caregiver and problem-solver of first resort, as extending that level of trust to their “experts” and “leaders” … and remaining vulnerable to the errors, delusions, greed, and mendacity of even elites who act as what is seen as “non-profit” actors. For example, I see the push towards reliance upon renewable energy in Germany and other nations, followed by making them dependent upon Putin by tying them into Russian energy-delivery systems so heavily, as the blind leading the blinded, potentially off a cliff in a manner reminiscent of Wile. E. Coyote.

    But there is another effect of such trust: it can make a society vulnerable to being stuck in a rut, and missing out on new ideas that could go farther than the experts to better our lot.

    Yes, the American successes in space exploration of 50 years ago were based in a government program, that was driven not by altruism, but by distinct defense and foreign-policy concerns – matters that directly pertain to the primary, legitimate mission of our government: securing life and liberty – that kept it focused on the goal JFK set out for it. When that goal was met, those concerns were no longer there at the same levels to drive it, and the government agency that put us on the moon gravitated towards today’s inefficient and less effective elite-dominated, political/bureaucratic Big Space way of doing business.

    But I also note that, in its early days, NASA was heading towards being stuck in a rut, regarding the use of direct ascent for Apollo. It took a stubborn mid-level engineer – John Houbolt – to vigorously question the prevailing wisdom, going around his management to make his case to NASA leadership that (as I understand it) lunar-orbit-rendezvous was not a way to accomplish the mission – not the best way to accomplish the mission – but the ONLY way to accomplish the mission. Eventually, NASA came around to his way of thinking, and the rest is history.

    In a society where authority is seen as more worthy of compliance than challenge by an individual, would he have even been heard?

    Under an authoritarian regime, would he have been “canceled”, perhaps even in a kinetic manner, for challenging the prevailing wisdom of those over him?

    My confrontation of your societal paradigm as benign is not based in tribalism or jingoism. For I see the same flaws in American society and its governance today, and I don’t want either of us to remain stuck in a rut … especially one that might have us headed off a cliff.

  • Jeff Wright

    To Edward
    “By the way, why don’t you think it is a good idea to save money?”

    Boeing’s executives who thought they didn’t need as many engineers said the same thing. I remember a letter to the editor about 15 or so years ago where one writer lamented how engineers with his company for decades were still in their dilbert cubicles while kids half their age in legal had rooms with views. Musk himself admits that he relied too much on automation in Tesla.

    Both public and private entities have problems with deaf leadership. Imagine this: a libertarian shuts down half the radars to save money. A twister shoots the gap and kills dozens. And what does mr libertarian do but say—‘that’s why you can’t trust gov’t’ and then wants to turn off more! That’s Lee’s point. Now with Greens it is all carbon this, footprint that. Then with COVID shut downs, you have folks who damage the economy.

    This is what happens with ideology-first purists.

    The Left & The Right are BOTH guilty.

    And when that next asteroid has our name on it, when Musk and NASA centers both have the life wrung out of them…nobody will be left alive to say “See? I told you so!”

  • Edward

    On the topic of China and Russia getting together to build a moon base, it is notable that an American company has plans to build a colony on Mars, but two communist countries believe that they have to collaborate, pool resources, and invite additional countries to add their resources in order to build a base on the Moon. Yet another indication that free market capitalism is far more efficient than governments, especially socialist and communist governments.

    Lee Stevenson,
    You wrote: “My point is that if China decides to throw a huge amount of money at the new space race, it will beat a free market approach. Full stop. Have a think about it guys, was the race for the moon was won by good ol’ capitalist ideals, or by a central government throwing a load of money at the mission?

    It would’ve been nice if you had made that point the first time around. It got lost somewhere in the rest of text.

    Since government squanders a lot of money and other resources, I don’t agree that China would do better than commercial space. Indeed, if China could do that well then they wouldn’t need the Russians or anyone else. SpaceX has not yet invited any national space programs along to Mars colonies, probably because they have noticed how much government interferes with the efficient use of resources.

    If the race for the Moon had been done by commercial space companies, then they would not have been able to afford to spend that much money. They would have had to find less expensive ways to get the job done. Like NanoRacks, Rocket Lab, and SpaceX are doing now and like Bigelow did while it was still operational.

    NASA has since been constrained by government funding to do less with more. We are not quite a decade into commercial launch operations and yet these launch companies are putting up a surprising amount of assets with plans to do far more than government has ever planned to do.

    If China decides it is going to the moon before the US goes back there, no amount of pontificating about the advantage of capitalism is going to stop them beating you.

    How old is China’s space program, yet SpaceX, alone, inside of a decade is as far along as China. Jester Naybor is right, that money does not equate to progress.

    And just a FYI… My opinions on the role of the state in social care does not make me a commy.

    No one on this thread has made any such suggestion that you are a communist.

    indeed, unless you have experienced life in the majority of European countries, you have no right to tell me I am wrong. As Bob Dylan said, ‘do not criticize what you don’t understand’.

    I have lived life in a free society, and now I live life in a society that is trying to emulate European countries. I understand socialism far more than you think, Lee, and it is far worse than the free society that I used to have. Far worse. Before socialism came to American medicine, we could afford insurance and medical care. Now we have to sell our houses in order to afford to live despite not even having contracted the Wuhan flu. That is what your brand of socialism has done to us!

    We are doing just as well over here as you are over there right now.

    Except for those high taxes and your dependence upon government for your very life. You don’t have the freedom that we Americans had a decade ago. So, yes, right now we here are as bad off as you are there. Please come take your socialism back. We don’t like it and we don’t want it here. It is expensive, restrictive, and prevents the pursuit of happiness.

    Jeff Wright,
    You wrote: Boeing’s executives who thought they didn’t need as many engineers said the same thing.

    Except none of what you described was the same thing. You failed to describe consolidating resources and reducing administrative overhead. Instead, you described eliminating necessary resources. That is a huge difference. This is what happens with ideology-first purists responding to thoughtful suggestions.

    Thus I conclude that you do not approve of saving money or the efficient and effective expenditure of resources.

    Robert,
    You wrote: “I will certainly allow commenters to call someone a troll, if (very important!) you back that up with detailed evidence. All Edward_2 did was spew out the accusation. Not good enough.

    I’m not so sure that context and evidence are enough. My experience differs from your explanation. Mine was not a spewed accusation. You knew how I meant the word that I used, and I had presented a case and context, but I received a warning anyway. I did not expect that word to be considered an insult rather than a descriptor.

    https://behindtheblack.com/behind-the-black/points-of-information/maricopa-county-election-board-defies-state-subpoenas/#comment-1099823

    After being warned, I looked up my word, and it turned out to have a secondary meaning, which you apparently used to give me a warning. It also has a tertiary, backup, meaning, in the context of grand juries. These days, I look up a lot of the words that I use before I use them in a comment. I will have to increase this scrutiny, since seemingly innocuous words are subject to warning. Not only do I need to make sure that a word means what I intend to say but that it does not have a different, insulting meaning.

    Edward_2’s word also has a secondary meaning, in the context of song.
    https://www.dictionary.com/browse/troll

    It also has a tertiary, backup, meaning, in the context of fishing (or carefully searching for something). There is a quaternary, emergency backup, meaning, in the context of a homeless person who sleeps in parks or under bridges. Finally, there is a quinary, double secret probation emergency backup, meaning, in the context of a mythical ugly giant or dwarf from folklore.*

    My point about my worry on the limits on name calling is that I am now losing or lacking a sense of clarity on this issue. Troll did not seem as bad as the secondary meaning of my word. I am becoming concerned that we have a reduced ability to use the English language.

    Is it really an insult to call out someone as a person who makes a deliberately offensive or provocative online post? Because I am pretty certain that no one mistook Edward_2’s comment to be calling anyone a mythical ugly giant or dwarf.

    What is regarded as an insult? Although I might be insulted to be called a socialist, would Lee Stevenson? In another thread, he said that he thought we on BTB think he is a communist, and he repeated it in this thread, but I don’t think many here really think that. Does he think being called a communist is an insult? I might not be insulted to be called a free market capitalist, but would Lee?

    Which words are safe, which are dangerous? What had seemed straight forward now seems subjective. How do we avoid being accidentally banned when it is not clear what is considered an insult? I like responding to comments here, but if I may accidentally get into trouble then perhaps I should cease and only make comments on the original content of the posts. After all, Lee has expressed displeasure because he feels that someone regards him as a commie rather than a socialist.

    * Unfortunately, I found an additional meaning, to walk or stroll (chiefly British), but I have failed to find the word for the sixth rank, the “-ary” word.

  • Edward: As to the question of what words constitute an insult and what words do not, I think you are splitting a few hairs. You are usually very blunt with your criticisms of those you disagree with, but you almost never cross the line, because you back up those blunt criticisms with explanations about your reasoning. This is what I want from people, always.

    Think of it this way: If you were face to face with the person you are attacking, would you say it exactly as you are, or wouldn’t you make sure you speak to them civilly, even as you bluntly tell them they are wrong, and why?

    If everyone (and not just you) were to use that criteria, this problem would vanish.

  • Robert wrote:” Think of it this way: If you were face to face with the person you are attacking, would you say it exactly as you are, or wouldn’t you make sure you speak to them civilly, even as you bluntly tell them they are wrong, and why?”

    The lines of civil discourse have dramatically shifted the past four years, when nearly half the country ignored the social contract, and good sportsmanship, by vehemently {complaining} about their loss in the 2016 election. Like many others, my BS tolerance flatlined in 2020. Yeah, I’ll go there, face-to-face. But not on this site.

  • Edward

    Robert:
    An interesting perspective, but blunt criticism didn’t seem to equate to insults, before now.

    At least my long-winded comments are now justified. I have received complaints.

  • Dave Walden

    I have found this article informative and enjoyable.

    I agree with both Jester and, to some extent, Lee.

    Specifically, with respect to Jester’s initial comment, two authoritarian communist regimes “agreeing” to a joint venture, will survive only as long as both determine it is in their interest to continue it. Then, it will be decisively “terminated” – in the only manner philosophically (morally!) consistent with their “ideals.” By force!

  • James Street

    A couple things our side has going for us:
    1. Centralized economies always collapse.
    2. Most Marxists (American, Chinese, Russian, whatever) are corrupt idiots.

  • wayne

    Personally, I enjoy Edward, and I like Lee, even when he’s mistaken.

    Audio From the Past
    WW2 – Avro Lancaster bomber-crew radio chatter
    https://youtu.be/MF5_hvE4WEA
    9:44

  • eddie willers

    Far worse. Before socialism came to American medicine, we could afford insurance and medical care.

    As P.J. O’Rourke said: “If you think health care is expensive now, just wait ’til it’s free!”

  • Lee Stevenson

    Well, there is an awful lot to chew over here, so while I enjoy a glass of wine after cooking an ironically apt Chinese egg fried rice, I will try and address as many points as I can. Many of you seem to have completely missed my point, stated twice here, quote. “My point was that perhaps it would be a good idea to join them, and then perhaps lead by example.”, I understand that communism doesn’t appear to work, who would have thunk it? I believe it would be a good idea to partner with China and Russia in exploring and exploiting the moon for many reasons, but showing that the US privately owned companies are leading that cooperation can hardly be a bad advert for capitalism can it? Much has been said about “how did that turn out” regarding the Apollo project being a government money pit of flags and footprints. My answer can be found above. Regarding being called a Troll, well, I’ve been called a lot worse in my time, but I do ensure anything I write on the internets within the bounds of what I would say over a beer, of course this is dependent on the bar, and quantity of beer. ( Enough said that I’ve rarely been butthurt in either! ;-) Finally I will return to the “sigh” subject of the socialist country in which I live. Can anyone tell me exactly which “freedoms” I have given up by living here? I can’t carry a gun. Good. I pay high taxes, indeed I have been a net contributer for 13 years now, since I took the last of my 6 months paid paternal leave for my second child, and she finished her govenment paid for daycare. I still claim a small amount of rent rebate as a single parent, but on the whole I pay a lot more than I directly receive. I also live in a clean, fair, and relatively crime free democracy. And I am free to do what I wish.. I am free to start my own business, to fly my own kite, to protest on the street or to mind my own business and go about my day. My kids are getting a fantastic education, which will not leave them, or me with a legacy of debt, I have access to fantastic healthcare with a price cap, and yes, I pay 33% income tax, but I am happy to pay, what has helped me earlier, will help those before me.

  • Lee Stevenson

    And one final point…. It’s all well and good saying the history of socially leaning systems of govenence is not great in the long haul, Perhaps it isn’t, but the history of the democratic contitutioncy ( I may have got that wrong… But I mean the system you guys have ) is very young also. Monarchy is a historically much more successful regime. As is dictatorship. On one more final point, it was mentioned about the massive influx of immigrants into Sweden. It is true this has been a problem, but I have seen this before, in the UK 40 years ago. The first generation are thankful, the second generation are bitter, and cause trouble thru teens to early 20s, the 3rd generation are almost 100% completely integrated, and will be as Swedish as my kids will ever be. We have never spoke about building a wall…. Indeed in ( to missquote the last Priminister) “we are a cold country with a difficult language, we need immigrants”.. he was referring to the rapidly aging population. With an eye to the future, this is our future, and I have no doubt that whatever the views of the grandparents, whatever culture these 3rd generation kids come from, after seeing how it works for the rest of the kids, they will aspire to different goals. Which kind of brings me around to my point about why the US should partner with China.

  • Which kind of brings me around to my point about why the US should partner with China.

    Been there, did that for over 30 years, from the demise of Mao and Maoism, when it came to commercial activity. And it looked like it was working as you infer … pulling China slowly towards free-market capitalism, which can be growth media for individual freedom.

    Then Xi Jinping came along – and he sowed the weeds of exploitation. From IP theft to the implicit threat of losing access to the Chinese market keeping American CEO’s – and public officials – lips sealed in the face of what China is doing to some of its own people.

    Which brings me around to my original point: The value of cooperation hinges upon the trust you can invest in those you cooperate with … and trusting authoritarian regimes that dominate their own people is an imprudent investment, for their demonstrated lack of respect for others removes any guarantee that they will not turn cooperation with you into exploitation of you.

    But there is a more banal form of misplaced trust, that is prevalent in the West. You trust that the comfortable, fulfilling life you live today in a social democracy will remain the same for all time. What is your work-around if/when your nation’s leaders get stuck on some form of stupid, perhaps to the point they paint you into corners that are painful to exit, the way our leaders over here have been doing for decades?

  • Jeff Wright

    Russia never really got over WW II. So there’s that. I’m just glad this site welcomes robust speech. We used to burn people in effigy!

  • pzatchok

    I like the idea of China and Russia building a Lunar base.

    It would be good for them to lead the way for a bit and the US to follow along. Not far behind though.
    Let them make the first mistakes and figure out the hard stuff.
    We have spies just like they do. Believe me we do. And we can steal just as much from them as they have from us.

    To put a ,military presence on the moon would take a LOT more than just a small colony. Think of all the support a military base gets from the close by civilian population. Plus all the support a base gets from its own government.
    I fear a military presence on the moon less than I fear an Iranian or even a Chinese Aircraft carrier passing the US coast.
    They are easy targets with little support from home.

  • Russia never really got over WW II.

    Twenty million of your own people dead at the hands of others has a way of inducing such thinking.

    Twenty million of your own people dead by your own hands is another motivating condition to lower an Iron Curtain.

    We used to burn people in effigy!

    That’s a relatively benign practice, given that we also used to engage in dueling to resolve disagreements.

  • Jester Naybor noted: “. . . given that we also used to engage in dueling to resolve disagreements.”

    Huh. And we don’t, now?

    “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet; . . . ”

    ‘Romeo & Juliet”

    Some 16th Century White dude

  • bkivey, you might have a point there …,

    … though dueling is a far more formal, protocol-guided practice than drive-by shootings and teenage knifings … as Obi-Wan Kenobi might describe it, it is the difference between the use of a lightsaber and the use of a blaster.

  • Edward

    Lee Stevenson,
    You wrote: “Can anyone tell me exactly which “freedoms” I have given up by living here?

    You listed a few freedoms that you don’t have. You don’t have to exercise every freedom in order to have it, so just because there are freedoms that you didn’t want to exercise does not mean that you haven’t given them up. The society that you described seems similar to Germany in the 1930s. The Nationalist Socialist German Worker’s Party made things look prosperous, but they did so using other people’s money.

    the system you guys have … is very young also.

    Yet twice as old as socialism, and we were doing just fine until the Fabians started to socialize the country, a hundred years ago. Indeed, the Great Depression was created by applying socialist ideas to the free market capitalist system that we had.

    Monarchy is a historically much more successful regime.

    Really? There was very little technological or societal advancement under monarchies for millennia, Monarchies might be successful at protecting themselves, but once individuals were free to do their own thing, then many new things were tried and invented. Reusable booster stages are a recent example. Did they happen under central leadership? No. It was under the leadership of We the People. Government leadership had no interest in making such improvements, even though commercial companies were begging for cheaper access to space since at least the 1980s. When the Space Shuttle failed to provide it, government didn’t care and kept up with the inefficient launch systems anyway.

    So why would commercial space want to partner with the technology-stealing Chinese when they will only bog down the process and the progress? The Chinese are not about to let U.S. companies lead by example, because they are a central-control culture. They are the ones who know best, otherwise they would let their own people run the country.

    The only way for U.S. companies to lead by example is for commercial space to remain as independent from government as possible so that it can advance the technology as much as possible, as well as the exploration and use of space. We saw what happened when U.S. companies took money from the Air Force to develop launchers for them; progress was delayed by a year. The same happened with the Commercial Crew Program, except that delay was more like three years.

  • Lee Stevenson

    @Edward, Way to go at avoiding my question “Can anyone tell me exactly which “freedoms” I have given up by living here?”… You have no answer to my question. Sweden is a leader in tech and pharmaceuticals, the government actively encourages new and innovative business. Yes by tax breaks, etc, paid for from what you could call the ” social fund “, those successful will return the favour by contributing to that “social fund” with a high rate of tax. They will still make a handsome profit, the workers get paid a living wage, and as R&D gets a good funding from govenment investment, they will continue to invent and innovative. A rising tide lifts all ships. Describing our situation here as anything like 1930’s Germany is nothing short of ludicrous! We have checks and balances in place, no hatred for Jews, ( indeed, Sweden is WAY more secular than the US), and a transparent and honest electorial system. I’ve experienced no claims of vote rigging in the 20 years I’ve lived here. I only used my “monarchy” example to point out that the US “experiment” in constitutional democracy is just that. ( If you believe that socialism is also). Google Iceland’s governmental history for a real look into the subject. And finally, I ask you again, “Can anyone tell me exactly which “freedoms” I have given up by living here?”. Your turn.

  • Lee Stevenson

    Oooops, sorry, I missed “So why would commercial space want to partner with the technology-stealing Chinese”….. Well, 1, like I said, if you can prove, ( which I actually believe you can ) that free enterprise is the way to go regarding space exploration, it tips the balance a little over to OUR side, and secondly, if you were a lunar explorer with a leaky suit, wouldn’t you like to knock on a Chinese door and be welcomed in? ” SORRY, OUR AIRLOCK IS NOT CONFIGURED FOR YOUR NEEDS”.. (said in either Chinese or Russian, obviously”.

  • wayne

    Iron Sky (2012)
    -opening scene cut-
    https://youtu.be/uX2cS8wvQHI
    4:32

  • Edward

    Lee Stevenson,
    You wrote: “Way to go at avoiding my question ‘Can anyone tell me exactly which “freedoms” I have given up by living here?’… You have no answer to my question.” [Ellipsis in original]

    Way to go on your comprehension skills. Or maybe you ignored the answer because you didn’t like it.

    Describing our situation here as anything like 1930’s Germany is nothing short of ludicrous!

    It was your own description. Then you continued to describe NAZI Germany. There were no claims of vote rigging there, either.

    if you were a lunar explorer with a leaky suit, wouldn’t you like to knock on a Chinese door and be welcomed in? ” SORRY, OUR AIRLOCK IS NOT CONFIGURED FOR YOUR NEEDS”..

    First, I would rather use my own door, as it would be closer. Second, why would you think that a Chinese airlock would be unusable? That presumed incompetence on their part adds even more justification to not join in with the Chinese/Russian program.

    Well, 1, like I said, if you can prove, ( which I actually believe you can ) that free enterprise is the way to go regarding space exploration, it tips the balance a little over to OUR side

    Whichever side you mean by “our side,” since your side is the side that joins with the Chinese program.

    Since your parenthetical phrase tells us that you already know that free enterprise is the way to go regarding space exploration, no proof is necessary. In addition, since you have disregarded what I have already stated on this topic (and other topics), to you no proof is possible, at least not coming from me.

  • Lee Stevenson

    @ Edward, this will be my last post on this thread as it is now roughly a million finger swipes down on my phone, but I’m sure we will continue elsewhere! ;-) , even though I have blatantly said in English words that I am neither Communist, Nazi, or indeed Mormon or Hindi, you continue to accuse me of being at least the first two. Let me get something straight with you. I live in a free market driven country. It happens to have much better social care than your country. It has a policy of trying to leave no one behind. The same cannot be said for the US. I pay higher tax than you, which subsidies my fellow citizens healthcare, housing, and general well being. I am happy to do so because I care about my fellow citizens. I also reap the benefits in the education of my children, we are not wealthy and I work hard, but they will get an education which will see them do well in the world without bankrupting me or them. I like the democratic system I live in. And I think that anyone that tells me I am foolish, a communist, a stooge of my “big” govenment, or just plain wrong in my thinking, should get out of the house more… Indeed Edward, you should get out of the house and board an airplane, and visit a few other countries. Take a European tour! Go and open your blinkered eyes and have a look how the rest of the world, which you criticize so frequently, actually lives. We are doing just fine. And without all your beloved “freedoms”… Indeed, just a FYI… The rest of the world ( and it’s a big world ) looks at you guys and the freedoms you hold so dear… And we hang out heads in shame that a people so close can be so blind.

  • Lee Stevenson

    Oh, before I leave… I have an issue with your statement here Edward … “Way to go on your comprehension skills. Or maybe you ignored the answer because you didn’t like it.”…. Now I consider myself to be reasonably intelligent, with half decent comprehensional skills… But even after reading your replys to my post several times… I still find you give me no answers to my questions. Specifically… “Can anyone tell me exactly which “freedoms” I have given up by living here?”. This is the third time I have asked, if you don’t have an answer, well .. it’s because you have no answer :-)

  • Edward

    Lee Stevenson,
    You wrote: “even though I have blatantly said in English words that I am neither Communist, Nazi, or indeed Mormon or Hindi, you continue to accuse me of being at least the first two.

    I have absolutely never made any such claim for any of the four in any thread, much less this one. This just shows how poor your comprehension skill are. You read what you want to read, not what is written. I know what these four are, and you are none. You are a socialist and have proudly said so. I know what a socialist is, too.

    But even after reading your replys to my post several times… I still find you give me no answers to my questions. Specifically… “Can anyone tell me exactly which “freedoms” I have given up by living here?”. This is the third time I have asked, if you don’t have an answer, well .. it’s because you have no answer :-)

    I have given an answer, you just don’t read or comprehend what you disagree with. Repeating my answer would be just as futile as the first time.

    You visited the United States, but you failed to understand that it is a large and diverse country. Much larger than yours and much more diverse. You may enjoy paying taxes in order for non-workers to play X-Box all day, but the United States is a meritocracy, rewarding those who work and letting those who don’t care to go where the work is to live the lives that they choose. We take care of those who are unable to work, but you didn’t see any of those people. All you saw were people whose jobs went away (due to the socialists) and were unwilling to move to where the jobs are.

    The real problem that we have here in the U.S. is that the more socialist we become, the less we are able to care for those who are unable to work. Obamacare is a classic example of socialism making everything (more than just healthcare) worse.

    It is too bad that your high taxes keep you too poor to afford anything better than a phone for viewing web pages. Here in the U.S., we have libraries (except during this lockdown, shutdown, smackdown, Great Oppression, Obamacare failure), where those who can’t afford computers or internet can use both for free. I have done so, on occasion. My country’s lower taxes still give us more benefits than your country’s high taxes give you.

  • Edward

    Lee Stevenson,
    How did your description of your own adopted country become me calling you a NAZI or communist? You are the one who described your country that way, not me, and I didn’t even say that you described yourself as a NAZI, communist, Mormon or Hindi. If anyone was calling you a communist or NAZI, it would have had to have been yourself.

    I have said that the U.S. is becoming much more like NAZI Germany or the Soviet Union (California is certainly approaching these regimes), but that is not calling myself a NAZI or a communist, either, just the place I live and those who rule it.

    I really don’t know how you think, but you certainly take things personally, even if they are about your adopted country. You even attribute to me things that you say yourself. I’d ask what is up with that, but I really don’t care.

    Oh, I’m sorry. It isn’t you thinking, it is you feeling. If you thought about things then you would have a better time comprehending them. Instead you just feel things, and that lets you conclude whatever you want to conclude. Even to conclude that things that aren’t insults really are insults, just because you feel like being offended.

    Or are you accusing me of calling you things while hoping that I will give an emotional response? Are Mike Borgelt and Edward_2 correct after all? Perhaps you have better comprehension skills than you seem to have but are just pretending so that we will continue to have a pointless discussion. This would be contrary to your previous discussions, but then this discussion is contrary to previous ones, too.

    The difference between thinking and feeling is large and important. Unfortunately, here in the U.S. we are no longer allowed to discuss what we think; we are only being allowed to repeat the Democratic Party’s line: to toe the party line. Just like every other socialist country.

Readers: the rules for commenting!

 

No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.

 

However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.

 

Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *