Just Plain Stupid About Space

Some times a piece comes in that is just mind boggling in it’s stupidity.  Like this one.

At this rate, would-be space travelers will be able to choose their favorite tech company, find its richest guy and buy a ticket on his craft of choice. Why does everyone who achieves economic dominance over the planet immediately turn around and try to get off it?

The “boys and their toys” explanation is the obvious one – once you’ve bought all the cars and boats and planes you want, why not buy a rocket? (We don’t have a “girls and their toys” ethos yet because the cards are stacked against women getting to this level of obscene wealth, but I suspect a lot of us would want to buy rocketships, too.) Space is inherently cool, and even if it weren’t, space is inherently other – which matters a lot to the man who has everything terrestrial. By the same token, someone who already has a watch that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars can buy a watch that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars but comes from space.

Of course, uber-wealthy tech entrepreneurs aren’t just buying rockets for their personal amusement. They’re founding or investing in space travel – they want to get you off-planet, too. Well, not you-you, but someone like you with much, much, much more money.

And that’s where the vogue for billionaire space travel magnates gets a little weird –and maybe even sinister. It’s already very true that money expands your world; the person with the funds to have a car is less restricted in her movements than the person without one, and the person with a huge plane and the money to fly it is less restricted still.



I’m going to take it as a given that Laura Ingalls Wilder was never part of HER childhood.  It’s just not a Brooklyn thing.The people in Brooklyn are the people who came after the pioneers built a comfortable environment after somebody else “built that.”  At least Jess’s community is.  She’s the child of people who live off the things that other people came before and built.  For somebody like her it’s easy to say “you didn’t build that,” because her ancestors didn’t.  They came over from Poland and Germany in the earliest part of the 20th century and settled in doing the same kinds of things that their ancestors did in the “old country.”

When the pioneer spirit has never been part of your culture I imagine that you have a hard time what drives people to look beyond the next hill. My family, way back, had to do that, at least twice.  Once to cross the Atlantic in a ship that was just a bit smaller to a Massachusetts where the Native Americans and woods were still the prevalent part of the landscape.  They helped to found the town of Roxbury, or I should say the little wooden hut village of Roxbury.   About the only thing Mass. had going for it was that it was far away from the king.   When things got rough in New England, members of the family pioneered again and moved to Ohio, where I imagine that things still weren’t a bed of roses, at least in the beginning.

That’s the way it’s going to be, at least in the beginning, in space.  The first settlements,  are going to be rough and crude, well at least relative to a Park Ave apartment or a Bel Aire Estate. The wealthy can already afford to separate themselves from most of the consequences of tyranny.  The people who will pioneer space are going to be the people fed up with how the government is screwing things up. It’s government that creates the ecological disasters, unleashing the poisons on the unsuspecting  populace. You only have look at the ruins of the Former Soviet Union to see that.

It also doesn’t look like the Billionaires are planning to leave any time soon. If they are planning to leave, it’s not going to be the toxic environment, but the toxic culture that they would be leaving.  Jerry Pournelle used to write stories about that.



It’s always been intolerable toxic cultures that people leave, toxicity created by people like Ms. Zimmerman, who cannot see what they are doing.  Always demanding that life arrange itself around them, rather than building better lives for themselves. That’s what people leave.  When things get too toxic, the pioneering and the troublesome get going and build new places to live for themselves.  Here’s a few posts I’ve done on how to do it.  I’m working on more.





In the end it’s people who lack any degree of vision or tolerance that drag us back.  People like Ms. Zimmerman can only selfishly see what they want and don’t really care how many bodies they have to walk over to get what they want. They are incapable of admitting reality or seeing beyond their own bloated self interest. They have no sense of art, culture or vision and go through life with only a crude appetite to drag everyone to their level and destroy everything they touch. That’s the great tragedy of the SJW.

Here’s some space station pics to keep it happy.


  1. Bryan Lovely · August 4, 2016

    Oh, wow, those Galaxy scans are a trip — I was 11 years old and had a subscription to the magazine and those issues were near the beginning of my run.

    I vividly remember the plot of “Exiles to Glory,” and seeing all of those Fabian illustrations just now for the first time in forty years made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. I remember the “Rattrack” story, too, and how much I disliked it and skipped reading it after about two pages. 🙂

    I remember vacuuming up every word of the “A Step Farther Out” columns, and I still have my dog-eared and cracking original copy of the book. Along with just about everything else Dr. Pournelle wrote.

    Thanks for incidentally reminding me how it felt to be a kid reading science fiction for the first time when everything was new and amazing and full of wonder and possibility, before I got old and jaded and my hack threshold got too high.


  2. MishaBurnett · August 4, 2016

    I don’t believe that human beings will ever colonize outside of the Earth precisely because I don’t see the kind of pioneer spirit that has allowed us to spread throughout the Earth ever overcoming the lack of a survivable environment. No amount of ingenuity and hard work will create oxygen from nothing. The problems faced by colonists in space aren’t simply more difficult than those in even the harshest terrestrial biome, they are of a completely different order.

    I could be wrong, of course, and I hope I am, but I simply can’t buy the idea of homesteaders in orbit. I think that the infrastructure needed to make life possible is too irreducibly complex.


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