January 20, 2020 Zimmerman/Pratt podcast

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Several people asked and Robert Pratt of Pratt on Texas has delivered. If you want to listen to my half hour appearance on his radio show on Monday, January 20, 2020, just go to this the link. The focus of the discussion was my essay, The long term ramifications of SpaceX’s crew Dragon on the future of the human race.



  • Lee S

    Unfortunately it seems the podcast has been taken down, and was for the most part excellent listening…. But Bob, it actually made me giggle whilst listening to it at work today, and also made my co workers chuckle when I played your comment ( I paraphrase… The podcast is gone )…” Every other country wants to be like the US” / “everyone wants to live in the US” or along these lines…
    It’s not actually true… Just as you guys shake your head in bewilderment at Europe, we do the same about the US.
    I have never met a European that would rather live over the pond, We are quite happy here, and consider some of your policies, and I guess basic morals to be similar to ours, and yet a world apart.
    I know I’m going to get 2 barrels for saying this, but it needs to be said, for factual accuracy.
    I have said many times, I’m pleased that it’s working out for you guys, and your happy…… But it’s not working out too bad over here either.
    I can understand people from 3rd world, or even 2nd world economies wanting the American dream… But honestly, the majority of Europeans would rather live over here than there.
    To differ is not to imply anyone is wrong, but to tell Texas that the whole world would rather live in the US is a little bit of BS too far…
    I will now don my hard hat and await the hailstorm of posters telling me I’m wrong…

  • Lee S

    I apologise… The podcast is still up…. I obviously have fat thumbs….

  • Lee S

    “and made this a country that everyone in the world wants to be in”…. I got the quote…
    We don’t Bob…. I cannot argue that free enterprise is the way forward regarding space access, and indeed many other endeavours, but please don’t fool yourself that everyone wants to live in North America, like I have said so many times… I’m happy you all like it over there…. Good for you, but we like it over here…. And good for us. Remember that democracy was founded in Iceland 1000 years ago… All our data points are invalid over such timescales.
    I am so very happy that your about to be launching astronauts from the US, From the US… And with room to spare for the occasional astronaut from elsewhere… It’s about time…. This is the stuff you guys excell at!
    I’m all about competition, the free market and it’s only logic that the company that can provide a GOOD service at a lower cost will win the contracts…. All thumbs up.
    Almost everyone I know would still rather live in Europe than the US.
    Your turn.

  • Edward

    Lee S,
    Remember that we are a republic, founded a thousand years before Iceland’s democracy. We try to learn from all the data points, not just the recent ones, so there is a difference between European thinking and American thinking.

    Almost everyone I know would still rather live in Europe than the US.

    Of course you guys prefer there to here. Your culture is based upon monarchies that consider you guys their property and their responsibility to protect in every way, which means that they need to have the ability to tell you what to not do or what to do, how to do it, and when. It is very restricting.

    We don’t want everyone to come here. What we would prefer is for those who want freedom to do as the Statue of Liberty is suppose to represent and do freedom and liberty the way America does them.

    Just as you guys shake your head in bewilderment at Europe

    We probably understand you better than you think.

    Living with the parents is comforting, even ersatz parents, such as a government. Millions of Americans are doing it now, too, thinking that maybe it is better to be more like Europe than America, but the reason why we are more prosperous than Europeans is because we are free to try new things without getting permission first. Our rights belong to us, but most of the rest of the world believe that their rights are granted to them by their respective governments.

    Every other country wants to be like the US

    Robert seems to mean that many countries have tried to emulate America’s freedoms by declaring that their people have rights. Even the UN has a Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but it only grants rights to people and has a provision to take them away again. If only the United Nations didn’t think of itself as the all powerful grantor of rights and thought of itself as the protector of everyone’s natural rights, unable to take away those rights, then the world’s attitude would be far more like America’s, and the world would prosper much more than it does.

    And we wouldn’t think that everyone wants to come here, where freedom, liberty, and rights are guaranteed by our founding documents, not granted by subsequent documents.

    Here in the United States, our Declaration of Independence acknowledges that our rights have always belonged to us and were not given to us by anyone else or any government. The Bill of Rights is also acknowledges this, declaring not the rights that we have but that that government may not infringe upon our natural rights. Government is not allowed to take away our rights.

    Obama declared our Constitution to be a document of negative rights, because it limits and takes away the rights of government. Obama has European thinking, not American thinking.

    In America, We the People are in charge, not the government. It is for this reason that Americans are able to use NASA and Air Force property in order to launch our commercial rockets. It is for this reason that we have commercial rockets. It is why we are able to excel at this stuff.

    It is too bad that your attitude allows your government to keep such a tight rein on your ability to do similar great things as we get to do here in America.

    But then again, you do not have to worry about making bad decisions, because your faux parental units are there to save you from your mistakes, which often means not letting you try things that could lead to failure, and all things that lead to success can also lead to failure.

    SpaceX is a big success, but it could have failed. Fortunately, no one in government prevented SpaceX from developing reusable rockets, Falcon Heavy, or the BFR class of rocket. However, they did discourage propulsive landings for Crewed Dragon. On the third hand (The Gripping Hand), government also encouraged commercial transportation to the ISS, which should soon expand into commercial transport to future commercial space destinations.

    The United States is not perfect, but it is still better than most or all of the emulators around the world.

  • wayne

    Podcast is still up at the link.

    Gordon Sinclair
    “The Americans” (A Canadian’s Opinion)

  • Lee S

    @ Edward..
    “Remember that we are a republic, founded a thousand years before Iceland’s democracy”…..
    Ermmmmm…. Unless your making some sort of metorphoric point, this is just wrong.

    “the reason why we are more prosperous than Europeans is because we are free to try new things without getting permission first.”
    There is WAY more poverty in the US than here in Sweden… It might not affect you personally, but it is there. We don’t subscribe to the “I’m alright Jack” mode of thinking that you guys do… A belief in social welfare for all works. Come and have a look for yourself. And believe it or not, we are also free to try, and succeed or fail, in our own endeavours… Just our taxes are higher, and if you live or die does not depend on your ability to pay.
    “In America, We the People are in charge, not the government.”
    If you honestly believe this, your not as intelligent as you appear… We are all slaves to the system, the whole crux of this argument is you believe your system is better. I believe my system is better…. You just shouting at me that I am wrong does nothing to change these beliefs. I have never said that the European model is perfect, it’s just different to yours, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel to cherry pick faults in both systems. I still prefer to live here.

  • wayne

    The Failure of LBJ’s Great Society and What It Means for the 21st Century
    Amity Shlaes / Reason TV
    January 16, 2020

  • Edward

    Lee S wrote: “Ermmmmm…. Unless your making some sort of metorphoric point, this is just wrong.

    That was supposed to read that the concept of the republic is a thousand years older, not that the United States is a thousand years older.

    Let’s change that to: “Remember that the republic form of government was founded in Rome a thousand years before Iceland’s democracy.”

    Yet another example of brevity in writing leading to confusion and lack of clarity.

  • Lee S

    Let’s change that to: “Remember that the republic form of government was founded in Rome a thousand years before Iceland’s democracy.”

    How did that work out in the end?
    Imperial Rome lasted over 1000 years, if you count the Eastern empire, compared to a little over 500 years for Republic Rome.
    On a side note, I collect ancient coins, from the very first coinage from around 600BC, ( Greek ), and my “youngest” coin is a UK Elizabeth the first, from around 1570AD, ( UK Monarch), not long before the first Europeans set foot on your soil since the Vikings landed half a millennia previously.
    The Romans collected “Ancient” Greek coins.. you guys collect silver dollars with the most valued being at most a couple of hundred years old…. It’s very dangerous to presume you live in a perfect system, especially when looking thru the lens of history.
    Bill “the science guy” Nye talks about the “PBJ” of space explanation, ” passion, beauty and joy”… Until my last visit to the US I had no idea it’s a bit of a pun on a particularly nasty sandwich filling you guys enjoy… it’s all relative.
    Your doing great on space exploration, light years ahead of any other country… But nothing lasts forever, and what you guys think is perfect might not be for the rest of the world.

  • wayne

    quick babble….
    –Ancient Coins eh?! Personally I have a nice assemblage of 19th & 20th Century American dollars, 1/2 dollars, and quarters.
    –Bill –The Ultra-Fake Science Guy– Nye; he knows less than nothing. I’d match my MS degree in applied behavior analysis with his BS degree in mechanical engineering, any day of the week.
    (Like Schiff, he has a “#2” tattooed on his neck, like the pencil-neck geek he is.)
    [Some people like PBJ, never one of my favorites however– too sweet.]

    –Minor quibble– the United States is a representative republic. The separate & sovereign States of the Union caused the Federal Government to exist, not the other way around. Except for President and Vice-president every 4 years, we don’t have “national” elections, and even then it’s the Electoral College that determines the winner.

    Preamble to the United States Constitution
    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

  • Edward

    Lee S,
    You asked: “How did that work out in the end?

    Here we are, a republic into which far more people are eager to come than to leave. It is working out pretty well.

    Of course, you don’t feel this is true, considering that you like it where the government looks after you even though you aren’t likely to have a robust commercial space industry.

    what you guys think is perfect might not be for the rest of the world.

    Despite my insistence that we know that our system is not perfect, you continue to mischaracterize our system and what we think of it. No wonder you don’t feel that you want to live here, you don’t understand it at all.

    Then you keep trying to make us feel as though your country is so much better than ours, with statements such as: “There is WAY more poverty in the US than here in Sweden,” and “A belief in social welfare for all works.” We think otherwise.

    The current poverty rate in America is a result of Obama’s socialist policies, but under free market capitalism poverty is a motivator for people to do well. It is when social welfare rewards the non-productive that we discover why the per capita GDP is higher in the U.S. than in Sweden. Once again, you lack understanding of both the free market capitalist and the socialist systems. You just feel like socialism is the system for you.

    We in America have seen and experienced both. Each decade we become more socialist, and with that transformation we understand how much worse socialism is. It is exactly this that swept Trump into the presidency. Voters compared Obama’s America with Reagan’s America and thought that we need to make America great again. Hillary Clinton was in favor of socialism and welfare, and much of the country is against it.

    Lee S, the town you visited in America is the result of Obama’s America. He said that his socialist policies would destroy the coal industry, and that town is the result. The town you use as an example of how bad America is, is an example of how bad socialist policies are.

    I don’t know about the rest of the world wanting to be more like America (although many places in the world have generously granted their citizens the same rights that we Americans have naturally), but we Americans of 2020 sure do want to be more like America in the 1980s. Obama’s America gets criticism from Sweden and other countries, and for good reason — tens of millions of Americans ended up impoverished and on social welfare. Reagan’s America prospered even as it spent a fortune ending a decades-long cold war that threatened the world with annihilation.

    You’re welcome.

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