'Reach for the Stars' now becomes 'Retreat to the Past'

Guest post by Viv Forbes

The deaths of Steve Jobs and Neil Armstrong could signal the end of a remarkable era of scientific and engineering achievement that started about 200 years ago when James Watt and Robert Stephenson managed to harness coal-fired steam power to drive engines and locomotives. This was followed by technological innovations like electricity, diesel engines, nuclear power, the Model T, Colombia and the Apple 2.

During that era of innovation, we progressed from horse and buggy to supersonic flight; from semaphore to smart phone; from wood stoves to nuclear power; from the abacus to the PC; from flickering candles to brilliant light at the flick of a switch; and from wind-jammers sailing to the New World to rocket-ships landing on the Moon.

That era brought prosperity, longevity and a richer life to millions of people while creating the surpluses that allowed them to take better care of their environment. It also gave the free world the ability and tools to defend itself from aggressive dictators in two World Wars and the Cold War.

We are now living in the after-glow of that era, relying on past achievements and investments while Green doom-mongers are allowed to scare our children and reject our heritage.

What will today’s “Green Generation” be remembered for?

Already they have re-discovered wind power, wood energy and electric cars that were tried and largely rejected a century ago; they now encourage the production of once-banned ethanol corn whiskey, but waste it on cars; they spurn the energy potential of nuclear, coal, oil and gas; and they would close our airports and lock up our resources whilst developing computerised spy-ware to record, regulate, ration and tax our usage of everything.

And one branch of NASA, the once-great risk-taking body that put Neil Armstrong on the moon, is now supporting an anti-carbon cult that advocates the closure of the whole coal industry from mine to power station.

The legacy of today’s doom-mongers will be measured by the number of dams not built, the number of mines, factories, farms, forests and fishing grounds closed and the number of humans living in poverty.

Like the emperors of the Nero era in ancient Rome, they celebrate their destructive achievements by staging expensive Climate Circuses, while behind closed doors they plot to destroy the last vestiges of the freedom and property rights that allowed past generations to “Reach for the Stars”.

The slogan of the coming era should be “Retreat to the Past”.

So vale Neil Armstrong and Steve Jobs – we are losing far more than most people realise.

Viv Forbes,

Rosewood    Qld   Australia

forbes@carbon-sense.com

I am happy for my email address to be published.

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Jungle

Most true

Steve R

I remember as a young man in the 70’s, when such a deep depressing pessimism of the future seemed to permeate everything. We were bombarded by negativity of all types. Global famine, nuclear war, Arab oil embargo etc etc etc.
The world will shake off this funk just as it did then, I have confidence.

Doug Huffman

“Green doom-mongers are allowed to scare our children…” This redounded for me as Green Gom jabbar. “I hold at your neck the gom jabbar … the high-handed enemy. It’s a needle with a drop of poison on its tip … It kills only animals.” (Mohiam to Paul, Dune (1965), Frank Herbert)

Power Grah

I remember that funk. Back then, though, there was still plenty of upbeat, happy music that refused to be dragged down in the dumps to wallow in the dregs. Sammy Davis Jr would probably be burned at the stake if he dared to sing People Tree nowadays!

michaeljmcfadden

Well written!

Wiglaf

Of course, the system of government that allowed NASA to survive is the same system that feeds the green doom-mongers’ agenda. It’s the same system that Frank Herbert demonstrates as the not so ideal system; where government keeps us safe from ourselves by taking away our freedom and coercing from us a large portion of our labor. Power corrupts.

wiglafthegreat

It was theft from citizens to send someone to the moon back then. Today, they steal money from citizens to build windmills and solar panels. It’s all the same system. Pride comes before destruction. Can we truly approve of a system that used the coercive power of the state to support trips to the moon and then say it’s wrong for them to use funds to build windmills? Just because landing on the moon sounds like a cool, manly, adventurous thing to do, doesn’t make it right to take people’s money under threat of force in order to support the effort. It’s the myth of science as a public good; the tyranny of good intentions. It’s theft.

@Steve R says: August 27, 2012 at 12:39 pm
As a fellow young man of the 70s, I have to add to your list that we were all going to freeze to death. Sigh.

j ferguson

What utter nonsense. We live in an astonishing epoch. I am collaborating on a project with people in Australia, New Zealand, Germany and France, not to mention several in the US. It is public domain code development. The final product may be useful but will not be earth shattering.
I don’t doubt that similar groups are evolving things which will revolutionize the next 20 or 30 years as much as the innovations to which you refer.
Nothing like this was possible much before 1980, given that our’s is a pick-up gang of people who happened to be interested in the same thing.
You would have to be totally out of touch to surmise that the quality and extent of communication today will not enable astonishing and rapid development in many areas.

Jim Clarke

I just read this essay to my 17 year old son, then set him the task of restoring humanity to a noble race of achievers and reversing the thinking that humans are a virus that needs control or eradication.
He said he would do it.

BarryW

Yes, but NASA’s new mission is Muslim outreach isn’t it? You can see how well that’s been going. /sarc
And just think of what this generation has accomplished in the technical realm: Facebook, Twitter, et al.

Big D in TX

Wiglaf says:
August 27, 2012 at 1:06 pm
wiglafthegreat says:
August 27, 2012 at 1:15 pm
*******************************************
Let me see if I understand you correctly. You prefer to ignore the government, not pay taxes, stay humble, abstain from technological improvements and scientific understanding?
It’s always nice to hear a word from Amish country. I won’t tell Jebediah about your internet blog post if you won’t *wink* 🙂

PaulH

I agree with “Steve R” above. The nattering nabobs of negativity are with us always. Fortunately they are frequently wrong, and proving them wrong provides added bonus to the forward-thinking innovators. 🙂

Ray

Steve Jobs… yeah it is business model such as Apple that is killing innovation… from someone that did not even anything but did very well innovating on other people’s ideas… and now they sue anyone that will innovate based on the same inventions on which the i-products were based on.
It is not with people like him that we can dream of a better future.
Neil Armstrong made us dream… Apple is give us nightmares.

Jim Clarke

Wiglafthegreat, I agree with you. It was theft. The government really has no right to force people to give up their money to send men to the moon. But of all the things the government steals our money for, the space program was perhaps the best.
First of all, not a dime was spent in space. It was all spent here on Earth, promoting innovation, expertise, exploration, discovery, knowledge and accomplishment. Now consider all the other things government takes our money for: war, nanny-state programs and fear-mongering. Most of our tax dollars are now spent on fostering individual dependency, and as a consequence…despair. Our government is using our tax dollars to cultivate the seeds of its own destruction and Atlas is about to shrug.
If we must pay taxes, isn’t it better that our government does something truly marvelous with those dollars?

polistra

I’d say the death of Neil goes with the death of Big Science. And it’s a well-deserved death.
Big Science turned away from useful and understandable goals (which were mainly military), and now works on utterly pointless Quantum crap and utterly murderous Gaian lunacy. The sooner it dies, the better.
Little Science is coming back, especially in biology and software; and the good new stuff is coming from Little Science.
The death of Steve China-Jobs doesn’t really mark anything, because his Big Corporate spirit is still growing, still ripping up America and sending our jobs and treasure to China.

Jim Clarke

J. Fergeson…Yes, we are in a marvelous age of communication, and that is the one thing that can reverse the cycle of collapse of Western Civilization (besides my 17 year old son).
All attempts to tax and regulate such communication must be fought tooth-and-nail to avoid the collapse. It is in this freedom of speech that our salvation rests.
I love that you are a part of such innovative collaboration, but how willing are you to defend your freedom to participate.

Ann In L.A.

I would add medical advances and antibiotics to the list of past glories, and to the list of diminishing advancement. A paltry few medicines are being approved each year now, and many of those are for cosmetic use, not illness.

Myron Mesecke

Power Grah says:
August 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm
I remember that funk. Back then, though, there was still plenty of upbeat, happy music that refused to be dragged down in the dumps to wallow in the dregs. Sammy Davis Jr would probably be burned at the stake if he dared to sing People Tree nowadays!
Probably so since he would have to come back to life to sing it. (sarc)

A Lovell

Steve R says:
August 27, 2012 at 12:39 pm
I’m with you Steve!
I had two small daughters in the early 70s and was young and inexperienced enough to be somewhat terrified on their behalf. Fast forward to today, and nothing (that I can think of) that I was afraid of then has happened. Thanks Paul Ehrlich et al for those fearful years (not), but also thanks for the fact that I don’t believe a word you or any of your ilk say now, and haven’t for the last 25 years. Human ingenuity is still our greatest asset.
(I still have two daughters, plus a son, but bigger now!)

Mike M

No one knows how to use their own brain anymore because we now let machines do all the “hard” work; it’s no different than our muscles atrophying from lack of exercise. Is it any wonder that students are poor at math and science when we put a computer on every classroom desk to make them totally dependent on the machines for every calculation?
Take away all the computers and calculators from classrooms, (excepting computers for learning programming languages and a few in the library for research). Force children to use their own brains to do math and science again – just like those people who invented them used to do back in the 50’s & 60’s.
If we do not do this there will ultimately be very few people who can understand and do the calculations these machines can do and there will be even fewer capable of understanding how they work let alone capable of designing better ones.

derryman

In an unforeseen way the Apollo programme sowed the seeds of destruction for the age of progress which had started with the industrial revolution. The view of earth as a small blue marble in the vastness of space was a powerful inspiration to the upcomming enviromenal movement and its “fragile earth” meme. In particular the Apollo 8 photgraphs provided the graphic backdrop for many of the apocalyptic visions of the seventies. The irony was of course that if the environmental movement was as strong in the sixties as it is now the Apollo programme would literally have never got off the ground. Can you imagine trying to build the Kennedy Space Centre today?

j ferguson

Jim Clarke, “defend my freedom to participate?” are you kidding?
My take is that many of the people who are depressed about the present have absolutely no idea what is going on. They are the same type of people who thought the end was on the horizon in Macaulay’s time.
To be blunt, my appraisal of the folks who think our peak of accomplishment is behind us are people who contribute next to nothing themselves to what is happening now, and likely little to what happened in the past. They think because they aren’t doing innovative things, no-one else is. Again, total nonsense.
More, the number of people who have time to do things which don’t directly put bread on their tables is increasing exponentially worldwide. It may be that future innovations will come from people one or two generations from subsistence survivals.
Doers are NEVER pessimists. BTW, why do you think this freedom of communication needs to be defended? I don’t see how it can be prevented except maybe sporadically and briefly.
I’ve never had so much fun in my life. 50 years ago I used to have a terrible time finding anyone who knew anything about the things I was working on – even in Chicago. I knew they were probably out there, but they could be very hard to find.
So i say nuts to the pessimists ignorant, unimaginative drones that they are.

Inventions require Axemaker Minds and the official global education push is to try to prevent those from arising.
We are in for a bumpy ride as long as the UN and many of the governments around the world are determined to integrate the social sciences and the natural sciences into a single unified science.
That’s called a state against its people and it has a tragic history.

Berényi Péter

The lust for safety is the most destructive power in life. It deprives us from freedom first, then knowledge, finally the volatile dream of safety itself is gone.

cgh

Polistra: “I’d say the death of Neil goes with the death of Big Science. And it’s a well-deserved death.”
Utter drivel. The cutting edge of science for the last 100 years has always been Big Science. Without it we would still be living in a pre-Steam age technology. And if you think that biology is Little Science, you have another think coming. You seem unaware of the scale of cancer research and the Human Genome Project, just to name two. And I assume from this that you therefore believe that nuclear power, the Hubble Telescope, AC electricity, modern antibiotics and vaccines, telecommunications, plastics and polymers, and the agricultural Green Revolution are all irredeemably evil.
If you wish to crawl back into a cave and scratch fleas in dirty rawhide, you are welcome to, but don’t expect any of the rest of us to join you.

Gunga Din

Wiglaf says:
August 27, 2012 at 1:06 pm
Of course, the system of government that allowed NASA to survive is the same system that feeds the green doom-mongers’ agenda. It’s the same system that Frank Herbert demonstrates as the not so ideal system; where government keeps us safe from ourselves by taking away our freedom and coercing from us a large portion of our labor. Power corrupts.
=================================================================
The best of man-made systems are only as good as the men who are in it.
Remember that this November.
(More for US readers but holds true for the rest in wahtever month you vote.)

Peter Miller

If we believe in and support the venture capital culture, with its all its many faults, then we shall be all right.
On the other hand, if we place our faith in the ‘science’ of government bureaucrats, then we deserve everything we get.
How can we possibly debate the cost of constructing a modern nuclear plant, with safeguards making a Three Mile Island and recent Japanese disaster impossible. with the alternative of constructing gazillions of unreliable, ugly windmills at ten times the price to produce half the amount of energy and that’s only when the wind blows at the correct speed?
A solution to this problem? All those alarmists who believe in CAGW should buy all their electricity at ‘renewable’, unsubsidised rates. That should thin their numbers out a bit.

davidq

So, far a few interesting points, however disjointed. Big science might have a bit of a hard time with more encores, as some of the low hanging fruit are gone.
How about nano-technology, robotics, bioscience. Those are some massive fields of innovation yet untapped. I tell my kids that the next hundred years will see greater innovations than the past hundred. The last hundred was amazing, however some of the earlier technologies did cause some major headaches in the form of pollution or over use. Much is well understood today and, with or without alarmists screams, we are solving them.
One more example, the massive effort to understand the human immune system. I give it many more years, but already there has been some experiments here is one that is just out of blue:
http://news.discovery.com/human/hiv-used-to-fight-cancer-110914.html
That is simply amazing. Much more to come!

Big D in TX

Jim Clarke says:
August 27, 2012 at 1:57 pm
Wiglafthegreat, I agree with you. It was theft. The government really has no right to force people to give up their money to send men to the moon. But of all the things the government steals our money for, the space program was perhaps the best. […]
If we must pay taxes, isn’t it better that our government does something truly marvelous with those dollars?
*******************************************************
Are you serious? What country do you live in? It can’t be the USA.
First of all, try to wrap your head around this fact: we acquiesce to pay taxes. We voluntarily contribute to the system that in turn provides for common good. The attitude you espouse is that of a teenager who gets their very first pay check and, having cleverly calculated their hourly wage times their worked hours, is shocked when the amount they get to cash out is lower than expected, because of this awful thing called “taxes” (and social security, medicare, maybe more).
Don’t want to pay taxes? Fine, don’t. You can go live in the woods, or join a commune, or whatever is hip these days. But don’t drive on paved roads. And if your house burns down or you get robbed or are critically injured – don’t call 911. And unless you live in a completely deregulated and privatized area, don’t use utilities. Pump your own water, make your own electricity, verify for yourself that everything you want to eat is actually safe for consumption, the list goes on…
Secondly, the government has every right to enforce the law. In fact, that’s the only right it really has. In the movie The Fly, Jeff Goldblum’s character quips that “Computers are stupid. They only know what you tell them.” In a system like ours, the government only has the rights that we the people grant it through law (as opposed to our God and/or nature given, unalienable, human rights). I can’t think of a single thing that our government truly FORCES people to do (even conscription must be congress-approved).
Don’t like what the government is doing? Fine, let’s change it. But instead of having a bloody insurrection, we prefer to peacefully vote out the people we don’t like every few years. Even the most powerful position in our government (most powerful seat in the whole world, I think most people will agree) is kicked out after only 2 (two!) terms.
So how about we take a step back now and have some respect for a magnificent system that WORKS and is PROVEN. I don’t know what’s worse: the I-hate-government-they-ruin-my-life-and-make-me-do-things-I-don’t-want-to-just-like-mom-and-dad crowd, or the suckle-up-on-the-welfare-teat-enjoy-all-the-benefits-of-the-system-without-contributing people.
/high horse
Too many kids on the internet these days (which may I remind you, began as a TAX-FUNDED, GOVERNMENT RUN project for our military).

As the father of a son…who I constantly attempted to convince him on understanding how his car engine worked… how to change his own car oil…how to let him pause from playing video games…and tell him how robotics works, how there are twenty-layer circuit boards in cell phones and how they fix NAND flash memory erosion and details about the mp3 players he takes for granted… I have often felt sad to be one of the few engineers in the world, now retiring, with knowledge very few of us now hold dear.
There will be billions of people not understanding why they have the Internet and what it took to go to the moon and how to truly conquer physics in many ways. Many of us are gone or retiring.
But they are out there (new brainiacs). There are minds that understand. For our older generation, it is just that some of us are tired, and grew up in a cold war of surival which required us to invent in such a hard race. But THAT does not infer that brilliant inventors are gone. “They just bin a bit lazy of late”, per my Texas cousin.
It is time to hand over the keys to some dreaming young minds that are just now figuring it out. Late comers for sure, but they are out there.
I am an older dad, but my son, at the age of 24, is now waking up after he saw “MoonShot” and “October Sky”. It is kinda like climate change : it goes in cycles.
Don’t give up Anthony. ET is out there. Cycles are cycles. You know that better than anyone.

manicbeancounter

Whilst agreeing that the Green Agenda is putting technological advance in reverse in energy production, I would disagree that it puts it in reverse in all areas. It certainly will not in the miniaturization of computing and technology that Steve Jobs lead the world.
However, economic growth is closely linked to replacing human with inanimate energy. The early stages of economic growth are closely related to the increase in energy per capita. Case study any developing nation from Britain to China to see the relationship. The emphasis on more expensive (and less versatile) forms of energy production will slow growth in developed countries, but could stifle development in the poorest nations. We will still get (most) of the technological advances, but the benefits will fail to trickle down to the poorest.

daveburton

Viv, I recommend that you NOT put your email address out there in plain-text. That facilitates harvesting of your address by spammers’ ‘bots. Instead, use some form of obfuscation: a word description (e.g., “Forbes (like the magazine) at carbon-sense.com”), or a picture, like I use for mine:
http://www.burtonsys.com/email/

wesgeorge1

Oh, come now, Viv. 😉
It’s true that our current rash of eco-luddites is nasty, but it’s not much more than an outbreak of hives on the ass-end of big progress which continues lumber forward unimpeded.
Today the march of technological evolution is continuing grow rapidly and spread to all corners of our planet. The scientific advances of the past 40-years — leading to massive productivity increases and the creation of a vast global middle class out of 100’s of millions of people who a generation ago were living in the dirt with no electricity, running water, no vaccines or access to information — would have gobsmacked the prophets of 1971, who almost to a man thought that we were near the end “of a remarkable era of scientific and engineering achievement.”
Wrong.
Nothing was further from the truth then or now. Scientific and technological evolution has hugely accelerated since the moon landings and will continue to accelerate into a future that we are ill prepared to imagine.
The story of accelerating scientific, technology and cultural evolution has been going on since before the caves paintings of Lascaux. Early human cultural evolution is measured in millennia. After about 4,000 bp it is measured in centuries…then after James’ Watt (circa 1780) the scale shrinks to single generations. And after 1890 we have to talk about decades.
There is no evidence that the rate of technological evolution is slowing, only that our capacity to absorb and utilise novel innovations at even higher rates of change might at some point become saturated. Perhaps the popularity of climate millenarianism is in some respect a symptom of technological novelty saturation. This would explain why climate derangement syndrome only infects urbane rich Western centres, while the developing world has a natural immunity to CDS.
In the end, modern eco-luddites can no more stop the advance of our technological civilisation than the hippies derailed it in 1968. The future is a big place and there is still plenty of time to build those dams and colonise the solar system. If Nasa doesn’t want to lead the way any longer. No worries, some one else will.

davidgmills

I had that feeling too until I heard about thorium as an alternate fuel for nuclear power. We developed thorium nuclear power in the sixties and it was ultimately rejected because it did not make a good source for atomic weapons. But liquid fluoride thorium reactors,developed at Oak Ridge by the same inventor of the dominant nuclear technology used today (Alvin Weinberg) could have been what nuclear power was dreamt to be: safe, cheap, and non-polluting. Had we developed thorium power, there would have been no Three Mile Island, no Chernoble and no Fukisima. But the thorium age may be just around the corner.
Watch the video on a power source that is just too good to be true and may in fact be the only feasible way of getting rid of all the nuclear waste.

davidgmills

Kudos Big D in Tx.
The people who believe in “small” government for the most part advocate anarchy, a la Somalia.
If people don’t like paying taxes, they should examine why we have to pay them in the first place.
The first big lie about the federal government is that it must run its fiscal operation like a household or a business. Total nonsense. Why? Because households and businesses can not print money. Neither can state or local governments. I have never heard of a Texas dollar (not since it joined the union anyway) or a NY dollar.
The second big lie about the federal government is that it prints too much money. Actually, I wish it just printed money and spent it into circulation. If it did, it wouldn’t need to tax. Instead it borrows the money into existence and taxes are then necessary to pay back the borrowed money (to the banks who we borrow it from). As Henry Ford said, “If Americans ever figure out their money system, they will be rioting in the streets the next day.”

j ferguson

Big D and davidgmills, It’s encouraging to read your comments. I had thought I might be the only one who thought along those lines here.
On Thorium, there’s another important Alvin, Radkowskiy. He worked for Rickover and designed the power plants for the early Nukes, but also designed Shippingport which went on line in Dec 1957 and ran until 1982 – on Thorium. supplying kw to the good folks of Pennsylvania.

michael hart

Doug Huffman,
Your quote from Dune is a good one, but I think there is a better one, also from Helen Mohiam:
“Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.”…
…and that’s how modelling in climate-science achieved it’s current status…

gallopingcamel

davidgmills says: August 27, 2012 at 5:57 pm
“The people who believe in “small” government for the most part advocate anarchy, a la Somalia.”
There you go again! Those of us who revere the US constituion with its concept of limited federal power are not anarchists. We believe that certain powers should be the province of the federal government (the powers designated by the Constitution of the United States) while all other powers should be exercised at the lowest possible level. See the 10th amendment:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
To take just one example, education is not one of the designated powers and yet Washington seeks to control it. Like so many other things education is better run “bottom up” rather from the “top down”.
“Where the control of education is taken out of the hands of the family and the community, and schooling gets further and further away from the people who have a direct stake in it, the quality suffers. It is that which accounts in the largest part, for the deplorable state of American education today. Yes, the government now controls education…but is it worth controlling?”
…………………………………………………..Human Scale, page 127, by Kilpatrick Sale,

gallopingcamel

davidgmills’
While I am offended with your attempt to brand us small government people as anarchists I applaud your comments on Thorium power. It looks like a good bet to me. Even if a Thorium reactor project fails it will improve our understanding of practical power sources as opposed to impractical ones like wind or solar:
http://energyfromthorium.com/2011/05/03/nuclear-power-innovation/comment-page-1/#comment-1555
http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/05/15/solar-power-in-florida/

Eric Dailey

The real lesson of this post will be lost on 85% of the commenters and 50% of the readers and 100% of the moderators of this blog. It is not a failure of leadership. It’s a success of leadership in the wrong direction. It is failure “by design”. Most folks are only followers, they will never get it. Too bad.

Gunga Din

“You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot lift the wage earner up
by pulling the wage payer down.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man
by inciting class hatred.
You cannot build character and courage
by taking away people’s initiative and independence.
You cannot help people permanently by doing for them,
what they could and should do for themselves.”
Abraham Lincoln

Robert in Calgary

Davidgmills writes….
“The people who believe in “small” government for the most part advocate anarchy, a la Somalia.”
One rather ignorant comment followed by…
“The second big lie about the federal government is that it prints too much money. Actually, I wish it just printed money and spent it into circulation.”
One rather silly comment. Add this to your reading list.
http://www.amazon.com/Economics-One-Lesson-Shortest-Understand/dp/0517548232

Jonathan Smith

Jim Clarke says:
August 27, 2012 at 1:41 pm
An inspired approach Mr Clarke. It is very easy to get depressed thinking we live in a decaying age when the opposite is true. By any measure, humankind’s lot is better now than it ever has been. The only thing that has changed is that there is now a vociferous minority (and it is a minority) that tries to shout down human achievement and believes that we don’t deserve to be on this planet. Meanwhile, quietly in the background, scientists and engineers go about their research coming up with ever better ideas and inventions. Those same people that want to send us back to the stone-age don’t see themselves as the problem , it is the rest of us. Also, they fail utterly to see the hypocrisy of enjoying the benefits of the modern cheap-energy age whilst demanding we give it all up.
I teach my children to question everything when being preached to (which can backfire in a way every parent will understand but its a price worth paying) and ask the simple question,”How do you know?”. Coming from a 5 year old it is very effective.
The future is bright, we just have to shout down the doom-sayers.

Larry Ledwick (hotrod)

davidgmills says: August 27, 2012 at 5:57 pm
“The people who believe in “small” government for the most part advocate anarchy, a la Somalia.”

Sometimes when I see statements like this, I am truly astonished where or how someone could come to a conclusion that is so far out of whack with reality.
Your comment conflates, avowed anarchists on the extreme left with the small government conservative who believes in the strict interpretation of the constitution. Those two philosophies are about as far apart as it is humanly possible to achieve.
Small government advocates DO NOT want anything even remotely close to what you believe. We want a government that only performs the tasks and responsibilities it has statutory authority “from the people” to perform.
That means it does not legislate through the back door with unelected bureaucrats and rule making authority with the force of law. It does not interpret the commerce clause so broadly that it can intervene in any activity a person engages in, including the decision not to buy a product that is not suitable to their needs. It does not arbitrarily decide not to enforce laws to serve some political agenda in one location, and then vigorously enforce the same law elsewhere to punish someone (or group) that has a different political philosophy. It actually protects our border and attempts to prevent (in an effective manner) illegal immigration. It provides for the national defense. It does not arbitrarily surrender its sovereign powers to outside organizations who have no legal standing to govern the citizens of the U.S. Its first duty is to protect the life liberty and pursuit of happiness of the citizens of the U.S. all other considerations are subordinate to that objective.
In short we want a tight, efficient limited government which provides a safe place to live and equal opportunity to succeed, not a guarantee of success, for all who are willing to pursue it.
A Federal Government that understands it is by its very definition a “limited Federal government” and that many activities of government are not the business of the federal government but the local government. That the States and the people grant them certain limited powers to the Federal government and not the other way around. The Federal government serves at the pleasure of both the People and the States, and has no power that is not specifically granted it by those two entities.
We do not want riots in the streets or yahoos wearing masks throwing chairs through windows like the anarchists in Seattle, we want the Federal government to most importantly Get out of the way of the peoples efforts to build a better world.
Larry

DaveA

You gotta break eggs to make an omelette. Now that our safety obsessed guardians have outlawed egg breaking expect fewer omelettes.

Gunga Din

Gunga Din says:
August 27, 2012 at 8:05 pm
“You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot lift the wage earner up
by pulling the wage payer down.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man
by inciting class hatred.
You cannot build character and courage
by taking away people’s initiative and independence.
You cannot help people permanently by doing for them,
what they could and should do for themselves.”
Abraham Lincoln
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Sorry everyone. After I put that up I did a search and found out that Lincoln didn’t actually say that.
I stand by the words and sentiment but I can’t say they are something Lincoln said.

Power Grab

@ Myron Mesecke
Yes, I know Sammy Davis Jr is no longer with us. Geez. Just imagine…or look it up on Youtube…or order a CD.
My kid (16yo) and friends of my kid enjoy “Candy Man” by Sammy Davis Jr. I ordered a CD sometime in the last year and found “People Tree” on the same disk, obviously made by the same crew. I vaguely recall hearing it on the radio back then, but it received nowhere near the airplay as “Candy Man”.
When I think about how far entertainment technology has come in the last 40 years, but how far the standards of entertainment have fallen – it’s just mind boggling.
I read on a blog once the theory that today’s nihilism is motivated by the desire of the most powerful among us to stop having things change. They are afraid they will lose all the wealth and power they have acquired if the developing countries and poor among us continue to improve their lot, I guess. That’s just plain pitiful, IMHO. Who do they think made them rich?

Gunga Din,
That’s OK. It is the message that is important. Thanks for posting it.

Daniel M

wiglafthegreat says:
August 27, 2012 at 1:15 pm
It was theft from citizens to send someone to the moon back then. Today, they steal money from citizens to build windmills and solar panels. It’s all the same system…Just because landing on the moon sounds like a cool, manly, adventurous thing to do, doesn’t make it right to take people’s money under threat of force in order to support the effort.
Spoken with such an AMAZING grasp of the big picture! You think that all NASA was trying to accomplish was something “cool” and “manly”? As investments go, NASA was, and in many ways, still is one of the biggest bang for buck programs. Who do you think helped lay the groundwork for the solar panel and wind turbine industries in this country. You got it – those thieves from NASA.
The only thing that separates us from cattle, where each generation lives a more or less identical and meaningless existence is our ability to dream, to be inspired to accomplish something unique and significant. If the government wants to use that money to fuel dreams, then I find that a better deal then doling out foodstamps for folks to buy over-processed foods that take them one more step toward morbid obesity or diabetic coma.