Space X: Greed Makes Stupid

One can be smart, without being really intelligent. A crocodile can be smart, but it is not really intelligent. And this true not just of individuals, but of civilizations.

We live in the age of stupid. A major freeway which I know all too well, has proclaimed itself “smart”, according to the giant, very bright LED panels along it. Those “smarts” involve red lights on access ramps. By smoothing the flow in, they are supposed to make traffic smoother. And they do. On the freeway. The freeway flows a tiny bit better, but traffic jams on the streets and roads leading to said access ramps extend now for miles, and the global gridlock is worse than ever, because those blockages in turn block streets and roads parallel to the giant freeway (those secondary thoroughfares used to carry traffic parallel to that of the freeway plus local traffic; now they are parking lots).

When Obama climbed on the throne, he proclaimed that everything would get “smart”, just like He is. Example: the “smart” electric grid (as if grids had not been maximally smart before). It is true that Obama became president with what, in retrospect, were smarts tricks… rather than substance (as the ongoing crash of Obamacare demonstrates… accompanied, as it is, with the crash of nearly anything Obama touched; OK, today China’s president Xi shamed Obama into signing the Paris climate accord, COP 21, so maybe I should say thank you for consenting to save the planet a bit).

The productivity in the US, (and other leading Western countries) keeps on going down. Why? Education has been going down. We enjoy the age of stupid. We wallop in stupidity. And it shows:

Space X Sept 1, 2016 explosion. Not an accident, a system where greed has replaced expertise..

Space X Sept 1, 2016 explosion. Not an accident, a system where greed has replaced expertise..

The age of stupid was inaugurated by Ronald Reagan, a remarkably stupid B movie actor whose first claim to fame had been to make the PUBLIC university of California, which had been specifically founded to provide FREE topmost education to the students of California, into an institution which only the rich could attend. Why? Because the stupid Reagan thought that was smart that only those who have money would have the keys of the world. (Then they would give careers to uneducated losers such as himself.) Reagan’s career started as a sport announcer on the radio: he was always owned by bosses full of money, and reacted to rich masters as dogs do, salivating, wagging his tail, barking in their defense.

Now, Reagan’s obscene mentality has conquered the world. It has become smart, hip, fashionable, to proclaim that Reagan was great. Even the French press views Reagan as a great president (for doing what he did not do, namely bringing the USSR down). And modest people, the non-rich, get as good an education as Reagan did, learning increasingly nothing, and most of what they learned, strictly by serving the rich.

Obama has proclaimed himself an admirer of Reagan, and a devout follower of the Financial Times. His presidency was under the sign of this doubled headed vulture.

Reagan, a creature whose fate barred him from higher mental pursuits, extolled instead the base notions of profit and greed. Profit and greed, said Reagan, were the highest, ultimate, most lofty, and most motivating pursuits of man. And a magnificently programmed Obama bleated faithfully behind. So Obama, smartly following orders, set-up Obamacare. Obamacare is characterized by insufficient spending control: so that healthcare vultures can prosper with ever more profits and greed. That, according to Reagan, Obama’s guru, will insure better health care, because greed and profit are much motivating than care (Reagan and company claimed). That’s all very smart, makes us all smart, because it is such a deeply flawed logic: greed and care do not apply to the same modes of brain operations. When one provides with care, one is not spurred by greed. These are antagonistic modes of mental operations.

Obama also decided to apply profit and greed to space: surely, that would be smart (his guru Reagan had said so). If there was profit and greed in space, space would open up, prosper, get smarter. Thus, instead of two private rocket launching companies contracting with NASA, the smart Obama fostered the creation of several others. Not understanding that the number of rocket scientists and technicians is limited.

This flurry of new space enterprises was the case of “private” companies, founded and funded… by the government. Bezos’ Blue Origins is government subsidized, because Bezos’ business, Amazon, does not pay taxes (a tax exempt status the worst of terrible men, Donald Trump, has proclaimed he would change, in his mental imbalance).

Space X, led by a self-taught engineer, Musk, smells even better: Obama gave him direct and indirect subsidies, and that was it.

Tall, telegenic Obama signed with tall, telegenic Musk a Space Act Agreement (SAA) “to develop and demonstrate commercial orbital transportation service“. (Notice the stupidity: with whom do you “commerce” in space? You set up space stations for plutocrats, thanks to their tax-exempt status?)

All this makes Musk very profitable. Penniless when Obama ascended the throne, Musk, propelled for years by billions of Obama dollars, was soon worth more than 12 billion dollars, all by himself. Let’s hope Musk is grateful and remembers who made him, after Obama retires.

In 2011, SpaceX estimated that Falcon 9 v1.0 rocket development costs were on the order of $300 million. Cheap. Investors were thrilled. Indeed, NASA evaluated that development costs would have been $3.6 billion if a traditional cost-plus contract approach had been used. (Indeed development of the new Ariane 6, which uses existing French military rockets for boosters and the existing Vulcain Hydrogen engine, will cost at least 4 billion Euros.)

Let’s stop here for a moment: Space X is supposed to be a private company. However, it develops rockets miraculously at 1/12 of their real cost, says NASA itself. Explanation? NASA has got to be making the difference (it’s helping Space X is in myriad ways). Obama invested 12 times more public money in Space X than the extremely wealthy private individuals who profit from it. Jesus turned the water into wine, Obama turned NASA into a cash cow for his friends. Mooo. Honni soit qui mal y pense.  

Can the USA do with four, five, or more rocket companies?

No.

Why not? Because launching chemical rockets is a flimsy business. In the Sixteenth Century, a Chinese inventor has been rumored to have strapped himself to a rocket propelled kite, and gaily went out in a puff of smoke. The fundamentals have not changed since: we still use chemical propulsion.

Space X uses primitive propulsion: RP1, rocket grade kerosene, basically the same as civilian jets. The more sophisticated US and European rockets use liquid hydrogen.

The flimsiness of space rockets and their engines presents the same problem as it did eight centuries ago: it requires minute attention to detail to make it work. If we had enormous power at our disposal, we could insure wide safety margins. But, for that, one would have to have more than chemical propulsion. Musk has claimed he could divide by ten the cost of launches with re-usable rockets. Experienced US companies, the Russians and Europeans aerospace engineers, beg to differ: they have long pondered the re-usability of flimsy rockets.

(Ariane Espace has now ‘project Adeline’ to recover the expensive parts of Ariane 6, mostly engine and electronics, using drone technology, in the long run; but that completely different method from recovering the entire fragile, heavy rocket would use only 1/17 of the fuel of Space X fuel stage recovery, with much fewer stresses…)

The Russians have launched more than 1,700 Soyuz, with a failure rate of 1/39. Ariane 5 has launched successfully more than 70 times in a row, putting a record 11 tons in GTO (Geostationary Orbit, 36,000 kilometers up) in August 2016.  Space X had two total losses out of 25 commercial launches… making it even worse than the notorious Space Shuttle.

Not all is bad about Space X. Musk’s notoriously bold technological spirit is refreshing, a bit like Donald Trump is refreshing. It is actually the sort of spirit which animated the Nazi engineers who developed the V2 (and then Saturn 5 in the US). There is little doubt that, to relatively little cost, one could fly heavy duty missions to Mars of Enceladus (a satellite of Saturn which has a huge ocean of water, and may harbor life, as the Cassini spacecraft, flying through plumes, found them laden with organics).

If anything, Space X forced Ariane Espace to decide cutting its launch cost by half (by scaring the French into developing Ariane 6, while forcing the Germans to give up on Ariane 5).

Yet, fundamentally, the ecology pushed by Obama of having many rocket companies cannot work. The serial explosions of Space X, in spite of its massive NASA support, demonstrate it.

At this point, rockets are too flimsy: they require great expertise from enough technicians and engineers. Say the total mass of these ‘rocket scientists’ is M. Obama decided to divide M by 6, on any specific rocket project. However, suppose one needs M/2 to operate one rocket project safely. Then Obama’s naive strategy of the more, the merrier, will lead to serial explosions, as observed. Obama, never an expert, does not seem to understand the notion of expert. Greed does not grow experts, education does.

Instead, one should go back to the strategy of the 1960s, as led by president Kennedy: big private-public projects, with clear state exploration goals. This actually built up on a strategy launched by president Roosevelt, and pursued by Eisenhower. Massive public spending on education, infrastructure, science, technology, and associated defense projects.

Efficient, large scale Space colonization, ultimately, will rest on new science, thus new education. Ultimately commuting to LEO (Low Earth Orbit) safely, efficiently, will require completely new propulsion and, or, material science (futuristic material science would allow to deploy enormous wings, and de-orbit softly, cooly and thus safely).

As I have long argued, i is clear that, to go to Mars, we need nuclear fission engines (because of radiation away from Earth’s magnetic shield, we cannot stay in space the 18 months it takes now; a nuclear fission engine could get to Mars in just 6 weeks). Space X cannot develop this: it does not have the expertise. Yet, the US has operated nuclear fission rocket engines before, and now NASA, following Russia, is warming up to the possibility again. Nuclear propulsion is what needs to be financed, instead the musky greed of eight century old technology.

The philosophy that greed does it all, is deeply flawed: otherwise crocodiles would have inherited the Earth. It is a philosophy by imbeciles, for imbeciles.

History shows that imbecility is what kills most civilizations. Imbecile leaders, though, favor imbecile followers, and an imbecile mental ecology. Nowadays, though, there is just one civilization, on one planet, and, if it dies, there is no replacement. That is why it is so important to deconstruct the planetary, Reagan-Thatcher inherited mood that greed can replace expertise.  

… While it keeps on festering, NASA’s internal watchdog, Paul Martin, called out his federal agency’s decision to allow Space X to lead the primary investigation of Space/Greed X explosion in 2015, observing it raised “questions about inherent conflicts of interest”. It is telling that the US administration, which has invested more in Space X than the private investors who stand to profit from it, is not interested by what happened to the public’s money.

Space X’s waste of taxpayer money similar to that of big banks. Both are protected by complexity so great, it escapes (according to plan) the understanding of the Commons. When the government gives your money to plutocrats, no question stands scrutiny. All the billions given to Space X, a dubious tech company, is as much money not given to fundamental research (where government is irreplaceable).

Our spaceship Earth, mismanaged by our stupid and greedy leadership, threatens to get completely out of control. All the ways out involve much more advanced technology (whether we opt for world war, or peace and concertation). Hence it is important to realize that the role of government is that of leader in matter of science and technology. And that the mood which shall lead cannot be just greed, but the most noble aspects of the human spirit.

It is the present oligarchic system which is the source of the present pandemic of stupidity. Because, given the same level of education, few brains think less well than many brains. For example, now in the US it’s down to just two minds: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, both of whom have been associated to extremely unsavory characters over the years. Anyway, how come those two are supposed to think and debate for us all? Well, for the same reason that Space X got many billions of public money. Greed. Not the honor of the human spirit.

Patrice Ayme’

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37 Responses to “Space X: Greed Makes Stupid”

  1. brodix Says:

    Patrice,

    Go to the source. Money is not a commodity to be privately accumulated, but a social contract and economic circulation system. Essentially the epitome of a public utility.
    All the rest is detail.

    • Paul Handover Says:

      Loved the post, and your response Brodix!

      • Patrice Ayme Says:

        Thanks Paul, it’s always reassuring when you like an essay here, I know I have found some balance. ;-)! The nature of money is front and central for today’s governance, and thus world ecology. Money literally transmit power, but it’s also created, ex-nihilo. “Austerity” means, de facto, at this point most people don’t get it. It is the exact opposite of “austerity for plutocrats”.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Indeed Brodix, indeed. There lurk the devils. Money is also, in a sense, our money, and not something only a small oligarchy can do as it wishes, with total local of transparency: Obama has an industrial and technological policy, decided by Himself and Him. For example he opted for electric cars (Musk) and scuttled fuel cell electrics. The latter are privately deployed by Asian manufacturers now, something impossible, because establishing a hydrogen economy can only be a public-private government program (although Paris and California are somewhat helping).

  2. Paul Handover Says:

    At the risk of this relatively new, legal, resident of the US of A making himself ‘persona non grata’ I applaud your post. I have just read it out aloud to Jeannie who remarked that she could actually hear you thumping the keyboard as you composed your essay.

    When I look back over my (too) many years there is one aspect that has intrigued me. It’s not whether governments of the left or of the right have the best answers for society, it’s why there have been so, so few good governments. I fear that greed, power and control are practically endemic in modern cultures. I fear it will not end well. I hope I live sufficiently long to be proven wrong.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Indeed, Paul, I think “right” and “left” means nothing anymore. For example Brexiters, Marine Le Pen, or Alternatif Fur Deutschland have actually embraced very important traditionally LEFT themes (as Chris Snuggs would enthusiastically agree!). Reciprocally much of the left, when in power made the bed of plutocracy (contemplate Blair, Mitterrand-Balladur, or the entire European Commission system). The same holds for Trump versus Clinton. Or even for Putin. Or Xi.
      The case can be made that Trump is more LEFT than Clinton. It can be made so much that, actually, it’s Trump’s main support (although the MSM insists the Trump supporters are just racist white redneck on their way out, like dinosaurs…)

      The reason we have so few good governments is that the present TYPE of government puts too much power in too few hands. That’s not democracy, but, at best, OLIGARCHY. It is intrinsically evil, in other words. We need to change the way democracy works. (For example the SF Bay works better, because it’s a local government of 110 cities within the local government of California, which the former heavily influences, etc…. and that the whole thing is 2,500 miles, an entire continent away from Washington: under GW Bush, the Bay Area often took decisions Federally unlawful, and stuck with them…)

  3. De Brunet D'Ambiallet Says:

    So it is Colbertism all over again, but it needs to be done just right? In the USA, it’s too corrupt? Which countries are practicing Colbertism? USA? China? Russia? India? Which European countries indulge in it? Britain? France? Who else? Sweden?

  4. SDM Says:

    How is Trump more left than Clinton? Trade, perhaps? His tax policy? Ending the”death” tax? Three tax brackets with lower taxes for “everyone”? Deregulation? Very hard to find on his campaign website how he is left of anyone. Healthcare proposal is a market based one and not a single payer system. Trade policy revamp with China may be the only example.
    Trump has a knack for tapping into the racist anti-Obama people and the sexist element that do not see a woman as president. He is a fear monger as well with his xenophobia. Yet his vetting of Muslims could be applied to root out radical fundamentalist Muslims and even those who do not denounce certain verses of the Koran.
    Otherwise he appears to unhinged to act rationally. The least slight sends him into a tirade.

    • De Brunet D'Ambiallet Says:

      @SDM: I think Patrice accused the globalization to be how plutocracy gained control of the world. ‘Law is local, plutocracy is global’ she said. So attacking NAFTA and TPP can be viewed as left wing policies Clinton now claims she adopted.

      Trump also said he would make big US corporations pay taxes. And the financial titans of Wall Street too.

      Trump long supported Canadian or Scottish health care systems (and also the Clinton Foundation).

      By knocking out low taxes on the wealthiest, and corporations, one could lower taxes on others.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      SDM: The problem is that Clinton claims to have embraced some Sanders policies. However, personally, I know Obama, and I also know that, had I known that his presidency would turn into a right wing policies festival (including ObamaCare, which is super right wing with enough disguise to allow the PC crowd to claim otherwise), I would have never helped him get elected (I made a huge personal effort for that, contacting opinion makers to tell them He was not Muslim, and writing a book about that, and Obama’s childhood from witnesses…)

      Thus, I don’t believe her: I would not have supported Obama, knowing what I saw. Ambiallet wrote a few of the points I made before about Trump. Globalization, as done so far, has been how to globally plutocratizatize. Clinton now claims she understands some elements of that. Even if she does, she is greedy, and would rather listen to Bill Gates, and the like. Granted that Clinton is a woman is a plus (we need one). I am not saying that I am for Trump. I am not. But depicting Trump as Hitler and Clinton as Mother Teresa, as much of the pseudo-left does, is a misreading of history.

  5. brodix Says:

    Patrice,

    The money is not created from nothing. It is put into circulation by the Federal Reserve buying government debt. Ultimately we owe it to ourselves. It’s a big feedback loop. Every asset has to be backed by a debt, or it does quickly become worthless. The fact that virtually all this debt can never be paid back means it will eventually be worthless.
    Yet the fact that everyone, rich and poor, is taught to think of it as a commodity to be collected, then everyone is entitled to full control over their own pile. Much to the advantage of those with the truly large piles. Who will trade it for tangible assets, such as currently public property, like roads, parks, mineral rights, etc, long before it becomes worthless.
    The government doesn’t even try to budget. They just put together enormous bills and add enough goodies to bribe all the right people. Then it gets spent on everything from welfare to warfare.
    People think welfare is the government being benevolent, but that’s as much a fiction as everything else. For example, if there was disaster in some other country, the Red Cross wouldn’t say we’ll feed you forever. They would give them enough to get the local economy back up and running(though often leveraged to benefit corporate interests). While in America there is no effort to rehabilitate local economies. Just give them enough money to keep the local Walmart, big processed food companies running and the prison industrial complex full of warm bodies. So basically these people are nothing more than a straw for corporations to suck money out of the public. Now if they actually wanted to help these people become self sufficient, then they would have to develop local sources of food and local industries and retailers. Which would compete with the big guys, so it isn’t going to happen.
    As for war, who cares if we really do anything more than run up the deficit, so the Fed has more debt to buy. The bankers are happy, cause they have more money to play with and the generals are happy because they have more toys to play with.
    The only bright spot is that no one is really looking to the long term, other than lining their own pockets. As was said of the French and Russian Revolutions, “Power was left laying in the streets.”

    • De Brunet D'Ambiallet Says:

      If I read Patrice correctly, there are two ways to create money: through the Central Bank (for example by buying bonds). Or through the private banks, through credit.

      • brodix Says:

        Whether to private entities, or the government, it is the same device.
        The difference is that private entities are assumed to spend it in ways which increase capital value and thus can pay it off with a profit to themselves. The government, on the other hand often spends it in ways which only benefit private sector profitability and just add to the the public debt.
        Prior to the creation of the Fed, it was largely just a private banking system, with all its ups and down, but with this system, that makes the risks public and the rewards private, it has been mostly just up, with an eventual very big down.
        As risks and rewards have to balance each other, in order to function over the long term, either we have to go back to a fully private system, or forward to banking as a public utility.
        Finance is the economic circulation system, much as the heart, arteries and blood are the body’s circulation system.
        The problem is that we try to treat money as both medium of circulation and store of value, but a medium is dynamic, while a store is static. So as blood is the body’s medium, fat is its store. You can’t store very much fat in the circulation system, or you have clogged arteries, poor circulation to the extremities and high blood pressure to compensate. Which describes our banking system, with a bloated financial sector, poor circulation to much of the economy and QE to compensate.
        Money is an enormous voucher system and just like blood in the body, you need just about the right amount. So if the government was to threaten to tax excess money out of the system, rather than borrow it, people would quickly find other ways to invest and store value.
        Most people save for the same general reasons, from housing, to raising children, to retirement. If they couldn’t save individually, then they would have to save communally and invest in stronger social relations and environmental health, otherwise known as the “commons.”
        Not drain value out of everything to stick in a bank and live in an atomized culture, where no one is very dependent on those around them, just on that umbilical cord of a bank account.

  6. Gmax Says:

    If Trump becomes president do you think Space X will go bankrupt?

  7. Edgar Says:

    You are as ignorant as you are poorly-spoken. Stick to nonsensical political bullshit instead of delving into rocket science of which you clearly know nothing of.

    By the way, if a republican President had initiated Commercial Space instead of a Democrat, you’d be brown-nosing them so hard they’d get a prostate massage out of it. Go fuck yourself.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      I am not a registered Republican, nor a Republican sympathizer. I do not support Donald Trump (whom I have criticized decades before he stopped giving millions to the Clinton Foundation). My preferred candidate would have been Sanders. I worked hard to get Obama elected in 2007, 2008. I know Obama personally, we have held each others’ shoulders, he is a personal friend. My spouse is a childhood friend of his.

      By the way, I have a much higher degree in physics than Elon Musk, after attending three of the most prestigious universities. Thank you for worrying about my sex life.

  8. Gloucon X Says:

    Yet another incredibly good essay. ThanX

  9. picard578 Says:

    Reblogged this on Defense Issues.

  10. picard578 Says:

    Just a comment on topic:

    Greed and stupidity are intrinsically connected. Stupid people are greedy because they do not know how to identify what they truly lack, and thus try to compensate for that lack with material goods. Greedy people are stupid, because greed – as explained – is a form of stupidity. And today, we are seeing the death of humanity.

    At first, humans stared at stars in wonder. They were motivated by awe. In Galileo’s time, they were motivated by curiosity (and scientists, at least, still are). But today, main motivator is greed. This reductionalism of motivation is merely a consequence of reduction of humanity itself.

    Nietzsche has said, “God is dead”. Today, it is correct to say that “Humanity is dead”. There may be seven billion individuals on the planet right now, but it is hard to find a human among them. Thanks to rampant materialism and other ideologies, human is no longer seen as a spiritual being, a creator, worthy of respect because he is a human in his entirety. Instead, human being is being torn apart. Capitalism sees humans merely as expendable tools for production of profit, to be discarded once broken. Progressivism sees human merely as a mental patient, someone who must not have his own thoughts, but merely ones approved by the progressivism itself (this characteristic is inherent in all totalitarian ideologies, from Islam to Nazism – if you can control human thoughts, no other control is necessary). Socialism goes a step further; in human, it sees a sick person, incapable of life in every way. Islam, despite its status as a religion, is no different from other ideologies: human beings are expendable, their only purpose is to spread Islam, and if they do not accept Islam, they are killed. Islam is a completely wordly ideology, despite its status as a religion: there is nothing spiritual in it.

    All these ideologies negate human spirituality as well as human completeness, reducing human being to merely one of various aspects of its existence, just like blind men trying to describe an elephant. This is why they are so similar, and so helpful to each other. Just like Communists and Nazis cooperated in fighting the establishment until one of said groups got to power in a certain country, today progressivism and Islam cooperate in conquering human mind and establishing totalitarianism of thought. Globalization is a tool of this totalitarianism of thought: humans are tribal animals, and new ideas appear at rate that is proportional to number of tribes. Having large tribes means that no new ideas appear easily, and if they do, they are easily destroyed. This is one of reasons why Islam – where loyalty to “religion” is more important than loyalty to state – is so regressive (or “progressive”, in the politically-correct dictionary), and dangerous. Today, this effect of supranational tribe, or more accurately of a supranational Borg Collective-like hive mind, is being emulated in the West through supranational institutions of European Union, NATO, World Trade Organization and similar. Tribalism does lead to conflict, but it also leads to progress, as new ideas more easily find healthy ground, and tribes (nations) can look to each other to see what works, and what does not. In fact, progress without conflict is impossible.

    But stupidity is profitable to those in power. This is especially in problem, as those in power tend to have sociopathic and psychopathic characteristics which, in fact, are the reason why they have acquired the power (unless inherited, but in that case they typically inherit the pattern of thought as well). So those in power favor the integration and globalization, to more easily propagate their stupidity across the globe. At the same time, their stupidity makes them invest into projects that are, in the long term, destructive to humanity. Milton Friedman and Ronald Reagan are claimed as great people, because their stupidity was profitable to plutocrats controlling this world. Intelligent they were, but stupid, as repeated failures of neoliberal model show. Profit and greed are pushed as being driving forces of advancement, by the stupid, for the stupid. Yet history, the ultimate teacher, shows that greed has destroyed every civilization that has come to rely on it, just as is happening today with the Western civilization. NASA has a budget of 18 billion USD; Pentagon has a budget of 600 billion USD, to protect the plutocrats, and make profits for the defense industry. Profitable stupidity has destroyed the Roman Empire, as plutocrats had undermined its social and economic basis (a process which started during the Punic wars, with large landowners increasing their latifundia, and destroying the small landowner caste which had provided the Roman Republic with soldiers). In the end, stupid greed is what will destroy the human species, long before some piece of space gravel happens upon the Earth.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Witnessing the end of humanity? That’s beautifully direct, Picard! And correct. One way or another. It will be either through total durable destruction of human civilization (it could happen by rendering industry unfeasible), or through “transhumanism”.

      It’s true that greed and stupidity are connected. I did not look at it that way. I guess, I am too greedy…

      I will not go as far as asserting, Nietzsche like, that the last man has already perished (did not he have something like that in ‘Also Spracht Zarathustra”?). First there would be my daughter, and quite a few people I know, including you and me.
      However, I can see what you mean. Right wing Nazism, Fascismo claimed actually to be left-wing, and so did Sovietism, Maoism, Khemr Rougeism, etc. In truth all were variant of fascism, like the Japan imperial model.

      There are two extreme types of societies: at one end, the OPEN SOCIETY extolled by Pericles (Karl Popper grabbed the title). At the other end, the fascist society.
      Both reflect not just two opposite social models, the open one, and the fascist one. They reflect two opposite brain modes.

      Openness enables curiosity: it’s the equivalent of the wavy quantum looking everywhere.
      Fascism enables reduced mental instructions, the concentration of all behind the one, creating a superorganism, best for fighting.

      I agree with your observations in general.

      The destruction of Rome was, no doubt the product of extreme and increasing inequality.

      The failures of Rome were, first, internal (the rise of fascism, hence intellectual fascism, hence stupidity; the generalship/consultship system of Republican Rome was much superior relative to the latter system of simply smacking an emperor at the top; the municipal government collapsed from lack of funding, the curiate crisis; tax evasion by the middle class brought tax harassment by bureaucracy; austerity collapsed research, including military research, and all of defense, etc.)

      We are following the same drift. Just faster, thanks to faster tech.

      • picard578 Says:

        “I will not go as far as asserting, Nietzsche like, that the last man has already perished (did not he have something like that in ‘Also Spracht Zarathustra”?). First there would be my daughter, and quite a few people I know, including you and me.”

        I did not say that. I merely said that “it is hard to find a human”, not impossible. Out of people I know/knew, only a few care about things such as morality, history, ecology… or anything beyond their immediate concerns of sleeping, eating, taking a shit and similar. Most of said people happen to be university professors.

        “However, I can see what you mean. Right wing Nazism, Fascismo claimed actually to be left-wing, and so did Sovietism, Maoism, Khemr Rougeism, etc. In truth all were variant of fascism, like the Japan imperial model.”

        Fascism can be both right-wing and left-wing, and tends to have characteristics of both… in fact, I would assert that all ideologies are inherently dangerous, because they provide a preset pattern of thought instead of allowing people to create their own worldview through experience. Such preset patterns unavoidably lead to thought-reality disconnect, and well… when ideology and facts collide, that worse for the facts. Ideology makes stupid, even when it is a relatively benign ideology such as humanism.

        Basically, if you want an ideology, you should create your own.

        “The failures of Rome were, first, internal (the rise of fascism, hence intellectual fascism, hence stupidity; the generalship/consultship system of Republican Rome was much superior relative to the latter system of simply smacking an emperor at the top; the municipal government collapsed from lack of funding, the curiate crisis; tax evasion by the middle class brought tax harassment by bureaucracy; austerity collapsed research, including military research, and all of defense, etc.) ”

        It is the large landowners that evaded the tax the most, meaning that most of it fell onto middle class (which again evaded some) and the low class. Now, there were barbarian invasions… but you see, barbarians did not actually want to destroy the Empire (unlike the Muslim invaders later); they wanted to live in it, as unlike Muslims, they had nothing to counter to it (most said barbarians were already Christians). All barbarian “kings” emulated the lifestyle of Roman Emperors and patricians, and their soldiers settled on the land by following the “tertia” rule. So the average person did not even notice that the Empire “collapsed”, and barbarian rulers accepted the primacy of Constantinople. The reason why this happened so easily is because the average citizen had no stake in the Empire’s survival. They did not participate in the government – either at local or imperial level. They had no military experience, as the military was entirely professional, and they had only hate for the Imperial tax collectors. For them, barbarian invasions and rule were a relief. The middle class was actually largely destroyed by the rich through unlimited acquisition of land (“latifundia”), which is in fact what collapsed the military system of the Republic, and tax evasion was easy for the higher class (as it is today). This in turn led to appearance of a professional military, which means that the appearance of the Empire was a symptom of a plutocracy, not a cause… it also means that the Empire was doomed from the onset, as it was nothing but a symptom of a disease. Interestingly, 9th-11th century Roman Empire went back to the military of small landowners (the Theme system), and it proved far more capable than either earlier professional military or later feudal military systems employed by the Empire, likely in part because it limited plutocracy.

        “We are following the same drift. Just faster, thanks to faster tech.”

        Indeed we are. The history repeats itself, every time more quickly, and each time it hurts more than the last time. Yet many people I have talked to over the Internet believe that history is irrelevant because “things are different”, when they really are not. Studying the collapse of Rome has major implications for the modern society… especially since modern society is largely based on that of Rome (even modern administrative practices are merely a slight improvement over those introduced by Diocletian in the late 3rd century).

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Dear Picard: I see that we agree to basically everything. The plutocratically induced collapse of Rome explains everything readily, and applies to many other societies, say the Mayas. A society affected by plutocratic disease cannot be well defended against foreign aggression as seen in Rome, and nearly all societies destroyed by the Mongols: the Abbasid Caliphate, China, Xia, Khwarizm, etc. This is also how, ironically both the Yuan and Ming collapsed. The same applies to the Bronze Age collapse of the G8 in 1150 BCE… (More on that in today’s essay…)

          The ignorance of history, and, worse, the gullible acceptance of the grossest lies, is, fortunately, perhaps the second most important driver of history. I say “fortunately”, as it can be fixed. Should youth learn the notion of truth.

          • picard578 Says:

            “The ignorance of history, and, worse, the gullible acceptance of the grossest lies, is, fortunately, perhaps the second most important driver of history. I say “fortunately”, as it can be fixed. Should youth learn the notion of truth.”

            It can be fixed, but will it? In my experience, people absolutely hate the truth, especially if it is bad news. Most will rather die than admit their mistakes. Even I have trust issues… I do not believe anyone unless a) I can idenpendently verify it on my own or b) said person’s claims are supported by history… preferably, both conditions would be fulfilled. This means that I have hard time changing my opinions, which is not a good thing… but on the other hand, I also tend not to easily believe the myths commonly sold to the gullible. Pros and cons. But thanks to modern neoliberal slavery system, many if not most people have no time, energy or willpower left to verify things. So they are easily fooled, by necessity. And this is not even going into emotional issues. So I am rather sceptical of youth ever learning the notion of truth “en masse”. We are on a highway to Hell, and someone has just strapped a jet engine to the bus’ rear end.

            • Patrice Ayme Says:

              Well, perhaps. The downdraft in the Occidental educational system no doubt played a role. Thick French history textbooks became thin cartoons laden PC summaries of bias, for example. Why was it so? Deliberate manipulation, or mood of the times? Mood of the times.
              Long story: the anti-“colonial” mood was greatly fed by lies, as the USA had interest to call “colonial” the powers it wanted to replaced, whereas, in truth no country is as much a colony as the USA.

              So the domineering system had interest to foster the mood of ignorance, as plutocracies, nascent or not, always do. I am more optimistic than you: the “Populist” revolt spreading all over may well seize the system, or, then, the reaction to it. In France one of the presidential candidates, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet is campaigning on my suggestion to OUTLAW SALAFISM.

              Outlawing Salafism would just be the start of a lot of outlawing, such as tax evasion by plutocrats and their evil corporations, etc…

            • picard578 Says:

              Well, hope dies the last… I’ve just learned not to expect much, especially not from the politicians.

  11. Lanister Says:

    I’m glad that jew spy satellite was destroyed.

  12. Blade RunnerUP Says:

    The Space Program was created out of the Cold War, which began, for all intense purposes, at the end of WW2.
    It (Space Program) wasn’t created because Kennedy wanted to do it for the betterment of ALL mankind, it was done for reasons:
    1./ military and defense.
    2./ In a dramatic sense to win the hearts-n-minds of the world, to help galvanize them against “communism”, blah, blah, blah.

    But eventually good things sprouted out of it, (thanks to the intelligent realaization of “mutual destruction”), the main ones being NASA, the Space Station, the great Soviet Space Program, …,and many, many other world-collaborative efforts, being allowed to piggy-back onto them. -even though this didn’t last long.
    Then, as fate would have it, along came Bonzo, in the 80’s, with his Reaganomics, which obliterated all space programs budgets, and instead, diverting those into huge, and utterly wasteful Defense budgets.
    …and when the Soviet Union collapsed, in the 89/90, so to did the great Russian Space Program, there was no need for the great Space programs like NASA, …, instead, they became a small shell of what they used to be, which is where we still are now in the present.
    Bush(Senior), Clinton, Bush(Junior), and Obama have all FAILED miserably.
    These things had (purposely) set in motion the seeds of Privately-Owned Greed Space programs -SpaceX.
    They have NO intentions of doing anything good for human kind.
    For these private Corporate-GREED types, they only have one present agenda. -to get their mining equipment up there as fast as possible, to secretly reap any immediate mineral rewards, …, and mark my words, “they”, and only they will own and control it.

    …and hitherto, if they eventually find a human-habitable planet, then it also won’t be for the betterment of human kind. -Instead, it’ll be so that a future Bill Gates can own the Planet himself, and then sell sea-side resorts to his oligarch buddies.

    They will do this and more, given the chance, while LYING to the world of about doin it for the betterment of humankind. LoL.
    Do we finally see now, how “Capitalism” truly works ? -’cause it’s definitely not for you, or me.

    Needless to say, NASA,… and it’s ilk, although smaller, are still alive-n-well, and that’s a tremendously good thing, that I hope grows into a much more “world-collaborative” effort. -And I don’t mean this horrid oxymoronic thing called “globalization”
    Also, as has been obvious lately, the Russian Space Program/Industry has been recovering in leaps and bounds, with collaborations with the USA, and many other countries. Is it all for the world’s benefit? -who really knows?

    Maybe, one day, (wishful thinking), when we finally get rid of “money”, ’cause we won’t need it anymore, then programs like these SpaceX-Greed Inc., will dwindle away, into the abyss where they belong, and then ALL humankind can finally, and justly reap their benefits.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Sorry I was slow to approve this comment, I was doing other things than accessing my site…

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Thanks for the comment, Blade Runner Up. I do believe JFK, president Kennedy, was genuinely interested by the New Frontier (his overall label), besides the reason you gave. It’s Nixon, an anti-commie fantic, who chose the Space Shutlle and its big useless wings, because he was told he could land on lake beds, and help to fight nuclear war with the USSR this way (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) After that, it weas all downhill, although the Shuttle taught a few tidbits about hypersonic flight…

      Otherwise i pretty much agree with what you say. If Trump became president (probably won’t), SpaceX would be toast in months.

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