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?