Citizen Open Thread — Saturday

Yeah, sorry, but I’m not buying it as the kind of incontrovertible truth that you seem to consider it to be. By “wishy washy bullshit” I’m making the assumption (pls correct me if I’m wrong) that that’s equivalent to “frivolous” or something not really necessary.

My problem is that what one person decides is frivolous is what another might deem essential, or at least desireable and beneficial. There are religious traditions, for example, that forbid music, theater, any kind of non-utilitarian clothing, etc. They would certainly say that such things are not essential and would consider them wishy washy bullshit (although they’d probably skip that last word).Those who adhere to such creeds most definitely view them as truth. But if others choose different priorities, that doesn’t necessarily make them (the others) wrong.

In the same way, a parent who wants the best for their child might insist on a course of study that avoids anything frivolous and steer them toward more practical things like a trade or profession that’s in high demand. But what if that child has musical or other creative gifts? Should there be no musicians, artists, or other creative types because those are wishy washy things?

If your answer to the above is that they’re unequivocally frivolous, then I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree because I can’t imagine a world without Shakespeare, Tchaikovsky, Monet, etc. And if there was such a world I wouldn’t want to live in it. If your answer is that I’ve stretched your argument too far, then I’d simply point out one thing – Where do we draw the line and who gets to make that call?

If practicality is important, however, consider that we’ve benefited greatly as a society from discoveries made through the space program. Would some have been invented on their own? Perhaps, but that’s not a certainty. And who knows what new things remain to be invented and discovered? Columbus and Isabella took a huge gamble and it gained them a New World.

One final note, the space program under JFK was funded 100% by the government but that’s no longer the case. With the involvement of private industry the competition has driven down costs dramatically and we’re now reusing launch vehicles. If you’d said that to an astronaut as little as a few years ago they’d have told you you’re crazy.

I worked for govt for a LOOONG time, and there’s plenty of frivolous and wasteful spending that certainly deserves to be cut. The private-public space program, even on a practical cost-benefit basis, is not one of them, IMHO.

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