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A Case For Mars

June 12, 2010

A new symphony of science video!

One guy in the comments section said he wouldn’t mind a 90% tax rate to fund science related projects.  I think that’s excessive myself.  Even so, if I were in charge of the country, scientific research projects would increase many many times.  All the money now spent on wars and making weapons would go into science research and space exploration.

I have some major concerns about the future of mankind.  First off we haven’t learned how to live in harmony with nature.  Our society is completely out of sync with nature, and we can’t have that.  I think our research needs to be focused less around going to Mars and more about harmony with nature.  We need clean energy sources.  We need to stop using plastics and things which can’t biodegrade.  We need to change how we live and be far less wasteful.  Cruelty to animals needs to end.  Deforestation needs to end.  Nuclear disarmament is imperative.

I worry about the millions of people around the world who don’t have medical insurance.  I think secondary education, especially related to science and engineering, needs to be completely funded and free.  I think celebrities need to get behind scientists and shed that aura onto them so kids want to grow up and be engineers instead of rock stars.  That stereotype that if you’re a physicist you have to be some nerdy guy with big glasses, no social skills, and incapable of getting a date has to go.  That’s scaring kids away from the very career paths that benefit humanity the most.

I worry about all the people who are falling into poverty under this tyrannical financial system we have.  We have the Federal Reserve and their cartel going here in the USA.  Other nations have their central banks exploiting all of them.  On the international scale we have the IMF burying all these poor countries in debts they’ll never be able to pay off.  We still have third world countries living in abject poverty.  I don’t think we can have a world with such disparities in lifestyles and expect to have a stable and safe world.

I don’t feel I can ethically endorse expensive Mars research programs when problems of such gravity exist here at home.  We need to fix these things first.  Things like carbon emissions need to end entirely, so we don’t destroy our environment and ecosystem.

I hope one day someone comes up with a brand new economic system that works a lot better than capitalism.  Sometimes I think some sort of resource allocation mechanism using computers and the internet might be possible.

But for now we need capitalism.  I just posted a set of lectures on Austrian economics, who are very strict capitalists.  I don’t find capitalism very beautiful, but I think it’s the only thing we know of that actually works, despite its cruelty. Like Friedrich Hayek (1976 Nobel Laureate in economics who held the Austrian economics perspective), I worry that socialist programs simply don’t work.  Freedom and socialism are simply incompatible.  You’ll have to read his book Road To Serfdom to hear the arguments, which I find very convincing.  You can see a short illustrated version of the book here.  It contains a vague sort of outline of what’s in the book.  You can buy the book here.  The store link I gave was from mises.org, which is the central hub of Austrian economic thought.  Buy it from there so you can support those guys!

What F.A. Hayek saw, and what most all his contemporaries missed, was that every step away from the free market and toward government planning represented a compromise of human freedom generally and a step toward a form of dictatorship–and this is true in all times and places. He demonstrated this against every claim that government control was really only a means of increasing social well-being. Hayek said that government planning would make society less liveable, more brutal, more despotic. Socialism in all its forms is contrary to freedom.

Nazism, he wrote, is not different in kind from Communism. Further, he showed that the very forms of government that England and America were supposedly fighting abroad were being enacted at home, if under a different guise. Further steps down this road, he said, can only end in the abolition of effective liberty for everyone.

Capitalism, he wrote, is the only system of economics compatible with human dignity, prosperity, and liberty. To the extent we move away from that system, we empower the worst people in society to manage what they do not understand.

I couldn’t believe that it’s became a #1 best-seller on Amazon.com.  I was beyond happy.  I heard that Glenn Beck had some guys from the Mises Institute on his program one night and millions of people started buying the book.  I’m not a fan of Glenn Beck, but I’m happy he’s promoting something good!  Milton Friedman (another Nobel laureate in economics) wrote the introduction for the 50th anniversary edition.

I read The Road To Serfdom years ago.  It’s a great read.

It seems the majority of our last century’s history has been over how to implement an economic system that doesn’t suck yet still can utilize our scientific methods of mass production and the division of labor.  Communism has shown itself to be a terrible failure.  The cruelties of capitalism have led many nations to implement middle grounds between pure capitalism and communism — the welfare state.  Hayek argues in detail how these sorts of programs can’t work in the end.  They’re incompatible with liberty.

Even so, I still want science and medicine degrees to be funded for all students.  Maybe it will distort the price mechanisms and cost way more than it should.  But then I consider how making science degrees free gives incentive for people to go and learn.   I’m for funding all secondary education really.  I also believe in protecting our environment, even if the government has to build big fences around it and post “Keep out” signs.  Our capitalist system and lifestyle today will ravage and destroy the biosphere and most every species on this planet if left unchecked.  Just look at this BP oil spill.  Geez.

I don’t see more regulations fixing future oil spills.  I think this was an accident.  Obama can act tough and look for whose “ass to kick”, but the real ass kicking should be his own for promoting offshore drilling months prior, getting us entangled in more wars, and wasting our money bailing out banks, which should’ve went to better things.

Too many problems here on Earth.  I took another walk outside today.  I saw trash littered all along the roadside.  I sighed and walked on.  I get so tired of picking it up.  Miller Lite beer cans.  Another look up into the sky staring into the stars!  *Dreams of levitating off into space*

I’m not going to end on that sad note.  Watch this video of Neil deGrasse Tyson, talking about the Hubble Deep Field.  🙂

Astrophysicists must certainly live in a state of bliss while doing their observations.  I’m sure those big telescopes suck them in and they lose themselves.  Happiness always seems to come when you lose yourself in your work.  I know that would happen to me.   I lose myself when I study quantum mechanics, pondering the Hall effect and currents in superconductors.  It’s such a shame that science research costs so much money.

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