We Can’t Rely on Jeff Bezos

We Can't Rely on Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos’ next rocket, New Glenn

I almost want to say freedom is the goal of the universe. I have often asked myself if the universe is not, in fact, in pursuit of freedom…Can it be denied that the flutter of the bird in the cage is a flutter for freedom?

Abdullah Ocalan, The Sociology of Freedom: Manifesto of the Democratic Civilization, page 27

Riding the ferry into Manhattan this morning, I glanced up at the Statue of Liberty and thought of the millions who passed by it, were fluttering their wings, fluttering for freedom. Did they find it?

We ought not to find fault with Mr. Bezos’ dream of escaping Earth’s gravity. Humanity needs entrepreneurial visionaries. Our quest for freedom will certainly lead us to explore the universe. Can space exploration renew our chances to make a better world possible?

We can’t rely on the innovative dreams of billionaires.

I was disturbed by the media coverage of the Blue Origin flight. Both CBS and MSNBC praised American exceptionalism. The term is used to imply that the United States is inherently different from other nations. We are not special. Such thinking leads to conflict. True, Richard Branson and Elon Musk lead American companies devoted to space flight. But Richard is English, and Elon is South African. Stephanie Ruhle, of MSNBC, then went on to say we have always needed wealthy pioneers to push us forward. She didn’t walk to Texas to cover the launch, she flew in an airplane. By that she meant it was wealthy individuals who created the airline industry. It was actually the Post Office, who started using airplanes to deliver mail, in 1918. The pilots were US Army pilots.

The Blue Origin flight was beautiful to behold, a masterpiece of execution. And Jeff Bezos has always mapped out the next steps to save the planet and make money. Earth needs a backup plan, he says. I agree.

I don’t think privatizing the resources of the solar system is the way. Besides, Russia and China have other reasons for moving into space:

President Xi Jinping has declared that China’s ‘Space Dream’ is to overtake all nations and become the leading space power by 2045.

Arjun Kharpal, “China Once Said It Couldn’t Put A Potato in Space. Now it’s Eyeing Mars” , CNBC, June 29, 2021

The Chinese plan on colonizing Mars by 2033. The Russians already offer space tourism. And NASA? NASA is planning manned missions to the Moon by the late ’20’s. But they have contracted with Elon Musk’s company, Space X, to do it.

The emerging rivalry is ominous. All we need to do is look at the history of 19th century imperialism, culminating in World War I. Will Jeff create another Amazon in the sky? Will China object? As China seeks to colonize and militarize Mars, will Elon Musk become another defense contractor for a militarized NASA? As we colonize the Moon and Mars, will we fight the Russians and Chinese over their resources?

2 thoughts on “We Can’t Rely on Jeff Bezos

  1. Dear Mr Kim Broadie,

    Hello! I concur with you. The language and stance adopted by those billionaires are very much that of a technoutopian. Despite years of flashing out the (conceptual, philosophical, ethical, practical and/or social) framework in examining the possibility or plausibility of environmentalism meeting the needs and expectations of all humanity to help us to survive as a species, fundamental progress is still far too slow. There may be no hope for humanity on Earth as we continue our wasteful and non-sustainable existence plus over-population. As for the future of humanity and migrating to other extra-terrestrial world(s), I have the following to add. Let me quote just a paragraph from one of my fellow bloggers by the name of Robert Elessar as follows:

    Of course, as physicist and pioneer of quantum computation David Deutsch argues beautifully in his book The Beginning of Infinity, we humans—and our descendants, whether biological or technological or both—have the potential really to become significant on a cosmic scale. As he also points out, there is no guarantee that we will do so, but there appears to be nothing in the laws of nature that prevents it. It’s up to us** to decide.

    Furthermore, I would like to add that the culture of expansion and exploitation as well as the ever-burgeoning population seem to be both the crux of, and the bottleneck to, our becoming significant on a cosmic scale.

    Since the human species has not (always, adequately and/or consistently) been a good custodian of the environment and the Earth (not to mention countless wars, atrocities, resource depletions, species extinctions, environmental degradations and so on, plus an area of rainforest as big as 100,000 football courts is being cleared or destroyed everyday), there is no assurance that once the human species migrates to another planet, the same problems would not again surface and plague us, perhaps at an even quickening and/or devastating pace as a result of better and greater expansion, production and technology. We would indeed export our baggage and problems to other worlds!

    Another blogger, Matthew Wright, commented to SoundEagle on 16 July 2013 at 11:39 pm as follows:

    I think if we went to Mars, we’d deal to it the same way we’re currently dealing to Earth. Richard Attenborough summed it up when he referred to us as the ‘scourge’ of the planet. Caused an outcry, but it seems to be true. Jared Diamond has published a good analysis of it, if a little deterministic for my liking. The reason would seem to be a faulty survival mechanism – hard-wired techniques for maximising resources that worked when we were on the ragged edge of extinction in the ice age, but now serve to create problems.

    Perhaps we could also liken humans as cancer cells on the petri dish that is Earth.

    Extinction is a euphemism for extermination, considering how many and the manner in which members of many endangered species have met their fate and untimely end.

    More than 99% of all species that ever appear on Earth are already extinct since life began.

    The average lifespan of a species is one million years. The human species (counting the early hominids) has lasted six million years. Extinction is the rule; survival is the exception.

    Even if humanity were to survive and later conquer other planets, there will be no guarantee that humanity will not repeat its mistakes and export its problems to other extra-terrestrial worlds.

    As you probably already know, we are already in the midst of the Sixth Great Extinction. If you are interested, the main issue is twofold: speciesism and anthropocentricism. Until we critically deal with the main issue, even environmentalism in all its diversity may not suffice to turn things around, as discussed in my multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary post entitled “SoundEagle in Debating Animal Artistry and Musicality” at http://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2013/07/13/soundeagle-in-debating-animal-artistry-and-musicality/

    Being simultaneously witty and serious about a number of outstanding issues, the said post actually ventures far beyond whatever its title may suggest or mean to any reader, especially in the very long “Conclusions” section. Please note the ISEA Model that I have devised to analyse and describe the Instrumental, Spiritual, Pro-Environment and Pro-Animal/Plant perspectives.

    May you find 2021 and the rest of the year very much to your liking and highly conducive to your writing, thinking and blogging!

    Yours sincerely,

  2. Thanks so much for starting this discussion. Your thoughtful comment greatly expands our thinking about how to move forward. I would hate to think we are on an irreversible course to planetary suicide

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