Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Virgin’s crash tragic but inevitable

Virgin’s crash tragic but inevitable

(My Clovis News Journal column for November 7, 2014)

Being a fan of spaceflight, especially manned spaceflight, I was saddened by the breakup and crash of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo.

I hope the problems which caused the loss of the vehicle, and the death of her pilot, are quickly found and solved. Even in the shadow of this new disaster, I'd book passage on the first flight if I had the money.

The truth is unfortunate: tragedies and disasters are not only inevitable, they are necessary. It's how the technological chaff gets winnowed away. Each disaster makes the entire system better, and, as long as the bureaucratic inertia is manageable, shows those building the dream where the changes must be made. It would be great if these problems could be found and fixed some other way, but the evidence of technological history seems to show they can't.

Back in the days when the NASA space shuttles were just beginning to fly, I knew a fatal failure was inevitable and wondered whether the first would occur during a launch or a landing. My fear was that once it did happen, bureaucrats would lose their nerve. It happened, and they did. There will always be plenty of people who understand the risks and are willing to face them. Commercial spaceflight will expand, even if governments continue to erect barriers. Most people are simply more brave than politicians and bureaucrats can imagine.

It seems ridiculous that governmental agencies believe they are uniquely qualified to investigate accidents such as these. When a government spacecraft accident kills people, government investigates itself; when a private spacecraft accident kills people, government once again investigates. That's as silly as having government investigate wrongdoing by its own employees as well as by freelance bad guys. Oh, wait...

I prefer private space efforts over governmental ones, but whether any corporate project is truly "private", due to the nature of corporations and their relationship with the State, is debatable. Unless you can hide your project while in development, launch without warning, stay ahead of the obligatory military pursuit, and have an off-world destination so you won't need to come back into any government's claimed territory, I suppose government interference is unavoidable for now.

Once off-planet, the IRS won't be able to sniff out all the voluntary acts of commerce between consenting individuals, among the asteroids or beyond. It's called "Liberty"! That's part of the reason for the heavy-handed control being exerted. If government notices you, they will insinuate themselves into your business one way or another. Therefore I understand the concessions being made by the commercial space entrepreneurs, even as I wish they'd rebel. The future belongs to the free.

Use it or lose it- be an outlaw

(Previously posted on Patreon)

Every day, in thousands of little (and not so little) ways, you and I are being trained to be obedient and compliant. Being molded into Mundanes.

From the tightly choreographed dance with the TSA's "special" idiots at the airports, where the smallest misstep can result in being fingered for "extra attention" or being barred from flying, to the way cops demand you grovel in their presence or risk being murdered, our immediate unquestioning obedience is expected.

It will make it easier to make people open their homes for gun confiscation or to convince them to climb into the cattle cars if they are already in the habit of obeying cops and politicians. 

It takes a lot of practice to train people to to betray their own best interests for the benefit of compliance to false authority. 

I understand how it is sometimes fatal to be seen as being defiant- you have to pick your battles. That gang is large and aggressive and just looking for an excuse to punish you. 

However, as long as you are going through the motions of being obedient when you must, are you also practicing defiance when and where you can? 

Just as obedience takes practice, so does outlawry. 

If violating an arbitrary or harmful "law" can make your life better, and the benefit is greater than the risk of being caught, do it! Yes, I am advocating YOU "break laws" when you can. Not to do wrong things like initiate force or violate property, but to enhance your life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. It is right to violate bad rules. Often, it is even right to violate harmless but worthless rules. For practice. 

Exercise those outlaw brain cells and muscles. Get in the habit of doing what's right rather than what "laws" order you to do. Look for opportunities to break "laws" whenever you can, in small but meaningful ways. Get good at defiance and thinking for yourself. 

Have fun.

It's elementary. Once you eliminate the impossible...

(Previously published on my Patreon page*)

Understanding liberty comes somewhat naturally to me because it is who I am. That doesn't mean I don't make mistakes. But I want to be better. I want to always be improving. So I read what others have written concerning liberty, and then once it gets into my brain, I digest it, take it apart, and see what makes it tick. Without even really trying- it's automatic. Then I try to make it part of me, and share it with you when it is ripe. That's where this blog comes from.

I want to be able to dig to the very foundation of liberty in every situation. I want to recognize it from every angle under any condition. I'll pull out a magnifying glass and look at all it's nooks and crannies and warts and worn spots. I want to be the Sherlock Holmes of liberty- without the bad personality parts (some of which I may share with the character anyway).

I think that will make me a better person- or at least minimize any bad. And everything I have learned has shown me that respecting liberty in others is necessary to being a decent human being.

But, I have to put more work into the other aspects of my life. And some of those come much less naturally to me. I know I can be unemotional. I also know I can be overly emotional once triggered by something I deeply care about. I know I can be too quiet in person, and I know I can overshare. I know I can be too cold, and I can be too passionate. Balance is a good thing. Through it all, I know if I keep Rightful Liberty as the goal, I'm heading in the right direction.

* I haven't decided how to do this. I will probably have some that stay "subscriber only", and others I will publish here at a later date. As I have mentioned, all Paypal subscribers will also get the "subscriber only" blogs in an email. I feel a little bad holding some things back, and will not let the "quality" of the blog suffer for Patreon. I really do need to increase my income, though. Feel free to chime in with thoughts about this development.