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.

The Democratic Party platform’s position on space and NASA is one sentence long.

The Democratic Party platform’s [pdf] position on space and NASA is one sentence long.

President Obama has charted a new mission for NASA to lead us to a future that builds on America’s legacy of innovation and exploration.

This is even worse than the Republican Party platform, and is more inexplicable. Considering how much support the Obama administration has given to private commercial space, this was a great opportunity to sell Obama as supportive of private enterprise. Sadly, they do not, which suggests again that Obama and his party really aren’t that interested in it.


My July fund-raising campaign for 2021 has now ended. Thank you all for your donations and subscriptions. While this year’s campaign was not as spectacular as last year’s, it was the second best July campaign since I began this website.

And if you have not yet donated or subscribed, and you think what I write here is worth your support, you can still do so. I depend on this support to remain independent and free to write what I believe, without any pressure from others. Nor do I accept advertisements, or use oppressive social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook. I depend wholly on the direct support of my readers.

If you choose to help, you can contribute 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


  • Joe

    Obama wanted to destroy the existing HSF program. At the same time he wanted to maintain a stance that would allow him to campaign in the swing state of Florida. ‘Commercial’ Space was a way to do that and at the same time pass money to his campaign contributor Musk. Should Obama win a second term, we will all get to see what his real space position is and if that happens I do not think ‘Commercial’ Space supporters will be very pleased.

  • I fail to understand why space advocates suddenly think they’re important enough to deserve more than one sentence on space policy.

    No-one cares.

  • Patrick

    But this is exactly like every Obama promise.
    Long on wind and hope and short on real facts or a real plan.
    If he keeps it short and sugary he can wing it like everything else he has ever done.
    With no specifics given he can NEVER fail.
    He and the modern Democratic party are more corrupt than the Republicans ever were. They dance to ANY tune ANY lobbyist sings. And I mean ANYONE with cash.

    It doesn’t matter if some people don’t care about America leading the world in SOMETHING.
    Some of us do care. It doesn’t cost much to keep us in the game and only a little more to keep us ahead.
    We just have to restructure the system we have now.

  • libs0n

    “Obama wanted to destroy the existing HSF program. ”

    Ending the space shuttle program was already policy prior to Obama being elected, it just occurred under his term.

    Constellation had de-evolved to spending the rest of the decade building Ares 1 and Orion. Ares 1 was a bad program and deserved cancellation. In all my exposure to your writings, you have always tiptoed around the Ares 1 and never addressed its merits or that it was indeed the program of record and would have continued had it not been cancelled.

    If something is bad, then you cancel it and move onto something that is better. The “existing HSF program” as you put it would have been just the Ares 1 during Obama’s term. Ares 1 is not something that should have been continued. It’s cancellation was justified and appropriate policy.

    Commercial crew is the best and and more affordable way to return American’s to space. You deliberately ignore that SpaceX has received only a portion of funds under it, and there are other credible systems coming online under it, and that SpaceX offers a compelling vehicle that should receive funding on its own merits, as it will probably be the first system to return Americans to space using an American human spaceflight system and for the lowest expenditure to bring online and cost to procure.

    I am a commercial space supporter. If I am displeased with Obama should he be reelected it will be if he continues phenomenally bad programs like SLS instead of a commercially based human exploration program, just like I am displeased with him now for doing that.

    What’s funny is that just a week or so ago you were lambasting us that we should not attribute bad motives to politicians for policies they pursue that we dislike, yet here you are again doing the very same and painting Obama as having a personal vendetta against human spaceflight and only pursuing policy to favorably award monies to donors, and not for the merits of the polices themselves and an honest support of them. Do you ever look at yourself in a mirror, Joe?

  • Joe

    Thanks for the link. It is a good article and predates my beginning to read your articles, so I had not seen it.

    From our past discussions we obviously disagree on the first part of your analysis, but the important thing (in the current situation) is the second part and there we are in complete agreement.

    Regardless of what Obama’s motives may be (and I would not pretend to know), what he is doing is obvious.

    The man is (by his other programs and policy positions) a believer in central state control of important (to him at least) functions, why he would suddenly become a libertarian on this one issue is grounds for skepticism.

  • Edward Wright

    Political platforms are where policies are expressed, not created.

    The Space Frontier Foundation’s demand that Romney draft a space policy before the election is foolish and childish. Any policy a candidate puts together In his spare time, between now and the election, is likely to be a bad policy. It’s much better to wait until after the election, when he will have more time and more resources to study the problem (assuming he’s elected).

    The only issues that matter before an election are those that affect the vote in a substantial manner, and space policy is not among them.

  • Kelly Starks

    space advocates often can’t comprehend that there are far bigger issues, and the public really doesn’t wake up dreaming of funding Manned Mars missions.

  • Chris L

    Some of us just assumed that he went that way because he wasn’t all that interested in the topic to begin with. Still, flexible path (in theory anyway) made sense from a political stand point as no administration is going to waste political capital trying to turn another administration’s space dreams into reality. That he was simply using it as a way to not make any choices (and thus avoid paying a political price for making a bad one) is besides the point.’

    Now the question of what he’ll really do if he gets another term is the big question. As he isn’t really interested in space exploration (beyond wanting to look “visionary”) and there aren’t any big projects doable in time for him to take credit for them, I suspect NASA will die the death of a thousand (million) cuts. American prestige doesn’t mean anything to him if it doesn’t involve him, so there is no reason to keep funding something like NASA when the money can be better spent sending it to campaign contributors in the form of government “investments”. Yeah, I’m that cynical.

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 *