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.


FAA’s space bureaucracy chief touts desire to limit his agency’s regulatory fist

Wayne Monteith, the man in charge of the FAA’s office of commercial space — which is tasked with regulating commercial space — revealed in a speech on August 25, 2021 that his goal is to speed that industry’s growth, not hinder it with odious regulations.

Wayne R. Monteith, a retired Air Force general who served for years in space billets in Colorado Springs is now the FAA’s associate administrator for commercial space transportation. He told a Space Symposium crowd at The Broadmoor Wednesday that to a large extent, he’s trying to keep his agency out of the way of the rush to space. “A regulatory agency can either be an accelerator or an inhibitor of industry,” he said. “We choose to be an accelerator.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Don’t be so sure. While right now Monteith noted that the agency is taking a laissez-faire approach to anyone who wants to fly in space, acting only to make sure space accidents will not harm “the uninvolved public,” he also said this in his speech:

Monteith warned, though, that mishaps for manned space flight that escalate to what he called “catastrophe,” have consequences. “The worst case is a catastrophic failure,” he said. “Then, we will regulate.”

In other words, he recognizes that if he tried now to impose his bureaucratic will on commercial space, it would not fly politically. What he really needs to expand his power is some space accident, a crisis you might say, that he can then use to convince others that he should be controlling things more.

Based on the response of the press, public, and American culture in the past half century, his thinking is quite sound. Routinely since World War II, as soon as something goes wrong in any field of endeavor the American public and political class has repeatedly wanted the government to move in and take greater control, under the false premise that somehow the government can prevent further failures.

Instead, we have accomplished less, and fueled the rise of an all-powerful bureaucracy capable and quite willing to squelch achievement. This is the pattern that Monteith is relying on, and based on recent history, he is entirely justified in believing so.

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6 comments

  • Jeff Wright

    Too early to tell. Deregulation also has a checkered past. Depots and refueling worry me…but he seems a centrist. There will always be deaths-that should not be the deciding factor. I’m torn.

  • Edward

    Robert wrote: “Routinely since World War II, as soon as something goes wrong in any field of endeavor the American public and political class has repeatedly wanted the government to move in and take greater control, under the false premise that somehow the government can prevent further failures.

    This reminds me of why we haven’t had any passenger fatalities on any major U.S. airlines in almost 20 years. (Three died on a foreign airliner in San Francisco in 2012, and there have been a couple of commuter plane crashes with fatalities.).

    Back around 1980, the U.S. airline companies realized that at the rate of airline accidents and the increasing number of daily flights, if they didn’t do something significant then there would be weekly headlines of accidents. The result was to become serious about safety (the opposite of what critics of deregulation had warned) and to go beyond the one-at-a-time problem solutions of FAA regulations. The airlines made the entire mission a safety issue, from design of aircraft and human interaction, to operations of aircraft and human interactions. The result was designs, technologies, and processes that greatly improved passenger airliner safety.

    When the attitude was that the government (FAA) was responsible for safety, we had some amount of safety. Once the airlines took on that task for themselves, we had much, much greater safety.

    Too many people think of government as the solution, but it is not.

  • The result was to become serious about safety (the opposite of what critics of deregulation had warned).

    Because it’s not good for business, to kill off your customers.

    But those who view people who admit their intent to make an honest buck, as threats to be scrutinized and restrained … while viewing the “non-profit” (which includes our government) as inherently virtuous and trustworthy … have an outsized voice in our social technocracy.

  • Jeff Wright

    Wind shear was a big factor in those. Microbursts even flipped the SCItanic flat-bottom paddlewheeler with a runaway roll vortex…

  • Thanks, Edward, I was not aware of that. I knew the airline industry was deregulated, but that was “before my time”. For my entire aware-of-these-things life, it has been safer to fly than drive. Is/was that a marketing slogan? If so, it’s a good one.

  • Edward

    markedup2,
    It may have been safer to fly than to drive even at that time, but automobile crashes are not an hourly news item outside of the commute traffic updates on radio. “And now for traffic on the eights: …” Airline accidents are big news, so the airlines got far more serious about safety than we drivers have been.

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