From Benches to the Stars

I believe that the best way to get to the stars is by working together freely, via voluntary co-operation or a private business, and not by a government bureaucracy (no more wildly overpriced space shuttles!)

My main inspiration is from this article, on students working together to build benches for buses. The Detroit government hates it, of course, but it’s far too bankrupt and lazy to do a thing about it. In the meantime, the students are openly ignoring the bleatings of the bureaucrats, and doing what they need to do to care for the oldsters.

This is what life is all about: initiative, love, imagination, hard work, and brushing away evil like the petty triviality it was always destined to be.


While 3D printing, agelessness and very cheap energy is on its way, I don’t think that I will live to see it. But if there is any possibility of FTL travel (doubtful) for STL travel, then the kind of power tech we will have in 2220 or so will make some kind of STL travel possible.

A century of advances before we have the power we need, at the current rate of technological advancement? Should be plenty. By 2300, a private, DYI project by a few hundred volunteers should be able to pick out a starsystem, map it out, and terraform it. By that time, the main cost is going to be time and risk, not money or material or R&D.


(I personally don’t believe that Faster-than-Light travel is possible, as FTL travel implies time travel, and casualty – time’s arrow only pointing one way – is critical to the administration of justice, divine or otherwise.)

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2 thoughts on “From Benches to the Stars

  1. The “overpriced government space programme” has become a bit of a trope of late. Having a memory that reaches back to the late 60’s, I see a rewriting of history to justify the gutting of what was once the science programme the world envied.

    Too many fiddles for black budget operations (your “over priced shuttles”), and too many political deals to spread the “taxpayer joy” around (booster rockets built too far away from launch – requiring a specially built railway to transport them to site), too much carping about safety costs, and then evisceration when safety costs were cut with budgets and pretty, blond, teachers got sprayed across the Florida sky. Too many (mainly Republican) lawmakers bemoaning “wasted trips to the moon for ROCKS”, building a collective mindset that RESENTS the tiny amount of money spent sending a robot rover to Mars while being quite happy to buy enough bombs to shatter all the mud huts in a middle ages middle eastern country.

    And then smug folks turn around and say “private enterprise will get us to space”. I think not, if there isn’t a buck there. Private enterprise has basically picked up some of the ideas that the public system spent forty years and billions of dollars testing and perfecting and says “look how clever we are”.

    Collectively, we will get to the stars, but we need to clean up our political act, or we will take all of our shite with us.

    • At the end of the day, the Space Shuttle was just another overpriced government program, based on lies, that ran far longer than it should have.

      In a post-scarity environment, I doubt if there will ever be a need to go into space: why will ageless people in a post-scarcity environment take the immense risk to do this, when they can satisfy their every physical need right here on Earth? Just on the surface of the earth, we can easily support a trillion people: something that I doubt we are going to get anywhere near for a very long time, as wealthy near-immortals have little need for the risks and trials of children.

      So, without economic drivers pushing us into space, there will be just explorers and cultural separatists. I doubt if the deified God-State is going to last much longer than 20 years: it can no longer wage war effectively, it is clearly demonstrating its failure to manage an economy, the welfare states will default on their political promises soon enough, and it’s ability to either define crime, or fight it, is rotting away. And the government space programs of today are dying rapidly, as money is desperately needed to fund the welfare state fantasy.

      Most crucially, the State’s ability to control information is disintegrating before our eyes. When you can no longer keep people ignorant, you can no longer take their money with a lot of honeyed words. You must turn to guns and torture chambers instead, and those things are far more costly than political power – in money yes, but even more in legitimacy.

      Summary: if you want to go to space, you can’t just steal other people’s money. You’ll have to plan it out and pay for it by yourself or with some friends & allies – in a voluntary association, or in a for-profit venture. In the coming world where anyone can just print up some warbots, when both money & knowledge enjoys widespread encryption, tax collectors aren’t going to be of much use. And skepticism, even contempt, for politicians and the State will only grow as their promises crumble into dust, regardless of the assorted conservative or liberal pieties they are sure to wave about.

      I won’t live to see the fulness of the process. But that’s OK – I was here at the start of the process, I can see the mountains approaching in the distance, and that is enough.

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