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An American On Mars By 2030

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Daedalus
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I must say I'm surprised to see so many people disagreeing with a position that Ayn Rand, herself, advocated.
Not critical, but she did not advocate it; not in the sense being proposed.

Suppose I say to a murderer, "If you are going to kill me, give me a sedative first". Will you then come to a thread about sedatives and say "Ayn Rand was in favor of sedatives. I'm surprised so many of you are against using sedatives."

Some might read this thread and think, "Hey! maybe these guys are not just copying Ayn Rand". If so, I'm sorry to disappoint, because we are. Except that we are not copying the concretes. For instance, we might say "we're going to copy what Alexander did with Persia", but that does not mean we will use horses and swords. If one is objective, one does not agree with conclusions as such, one agrees with conclusions because of their antecedents.

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4. As I have said repeatedly on this thread, this is not a debate about the voluntary funding of government. If every government project must be morally judged by how it is funded, then we’d have to call our absolutely essential War on Terrorism an attack on “the rights of its citizens to keep their money.” I’ve vowed no longer to quote from Ayn Rand’s essay “Apollo 11,” but she makes it clear in that essential work that it is proper to judge a government project apart from the way it is financed.

The truth is, stolen money cannot be put to a legitimate use by the government. The best we can do is try to prevent as much harm from being done as possible. However, I fail to see how the space program is a better alternative than more military spending or something the public will see a direct benefit from (relative benefit... the greatest benefit would be if they hadn't had their money stolen in the first place).

From what I understand, your essential point is that space exploration falls under the government's jurisdiction for the reason that it is essential to national defense, so that it is as justifiable a use as any alternative.

Like the North American continent, once space is opened up for colonization, an infinite number of possibilities will arise.

What are these benefits that we will get that we cannot live without? How do these so-called benefits make the program essential?

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The exploration and colonization of space is a critical part of our national defense. Any country occupying the moon has the capability of exerting a death grip on Planet Earth.

Space exploration as a way of protecting space for free nations is a valid point.

However, a giant laser gun costing every last penny in the US might also ensure our security. Should we do it? And if so, how? Should the government take the money? Should it be privately funded? If it can be shown that this is the only sensible defense strategy for our country, then that would warrant giving it the same status and funding that we give to defense in other areas.

Tell me, how effective is your limited government going to be at protecting your rights when the entire continent is toast?

Tell me, how effective do you think it's going to be to question limited government on an Objectivist online forum? Not very. I would choose a different tack.

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I'll make this simple for you; do you think involuntary taxation is morally just? Do you think taking money involuntarily from people is morally justified by a majority vote or by a "good" cause?

Ok... just for this post, I'll go off topic for you and discuss rolls of governments, taxes, and democracies.

I know the US isn't exactly a democracy, but I do support democracies. So yes, if the majority votes for a tax, then it is morally justified. If elected representatives determine that a program is in the best interest of the country for it's long term survival and competitiveness, then yes, it is morally justified. I do not, however, support any form of welfare. I do support a strong defense.

Our defense is 18% of the budget. The government will have to impose a tax to receive that. Social Security is 22%. That can go. Medicare is 12%. That can go. Education is 4%, and in the best interest in the country, that can stay. Transportation is 3%. That funds the maintenance of a necessary infrastructure that most everyone uses, so it stays. Everything else is in the 1% range. Anything that is welfare related can go. General Science, Space and Technology is 1.04% and is required to stay competitive, and/or bolster our defence capabilities, and/or ensure the long term survival of our country.

That's my answer. I know you don't agree with it. Consider it noted. Classify it as one of your 'fallicies' if you will. That's enough of this off-topic discussion (I believe that makes 2 more mentions of "off-topic"... make that 3). While you may not agree with me, at least follow forum etiquette and stay on topic, which is the discussion of the manned Mars mission plans proposed by Bush.

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So yes, if the majority votes for a tax, then it is morally justified.

Thank you for answering the question. In the future, you need to recognize that this kind of legally sanctioned robbery is counter to Objectivist Ethics, and the only appropriate place to demonstrate support for it is in the debate forum (if you can find an opponent). Supporting ideas contrary to Objectivist Ethics is not permissible in the general forum areas.

I'm guessing you either don't know or don't understand Objectivist Ethics, or you disagree with them. Either way, it's important that you understand the purpose and function of this forum. For your convenience here is a link to the Forum Rules.

Classify it as one of your 'fallicies' if you will.
Fallacies are not "mine". Fallacies belong to the realm of reason and logic. Your position indicates that you do not mind abandoning reason to fund the government, so that serves as an indication to me as to why you don't understand fallacies and their applicability to reasoning.

at least follow forum etiquette and stay on topic

I have, but thanks for your concern. I have demonstrated the relevance of my responses so if you continue to deny that, I can only assume that it is due to evasion on your part or a serious inability to use critical reasoning. If it's the later, there are a few books on critical reasoning I can suggest if you are interested. Either way, I would recommend improvement on your part as there is a low tolerance level for each of these issues on this forum.

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Thank you for answering the question. In the future, you need to recognize that this kind of legally sanctioned robbery is counter to Objectivist Ethics, and the only appropriate place to demonstrate support for it is in the debate forum (if you can find an opponent). Supporting ideas contrary to Objectivist Ethics is not permissible in the general forum areas.

Great! Now back to discussion of the manned Mars mission plans proposed by Bush...

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Okay, now you have established that you have at least two opinions. This does nothing to bolster the validity of your opinions.

Review the entire thread for my defense of NASA and its planned mission to Mars. You'll find that I've offered not just my opinion but strong reasons to support it. I will also refer you to Ayn Rand's important essay, "Apollo 11," which explicitly and passionately calls for NASA to explore Mars and even Jupiter.

Your argument is, they couldn't do it 100 years ago, so they won't be able to do it 100 years from now. This would only be correct IF we assumed the government hasn't learned anything about the control of money and or taxation in the last 100 years, and that they won't learn anything more about in the next 100. This is an exceedingly weak argument, at best.

On the contrary, I'm absolutely convinced that the goverrnment is even more knowledgeable about the control of money and taxation than it was 100 years ago. The goverrment has proven itself quite adept at manipulating the money supply and squeezing more loot from its citizens.

It's not fruitful to engage in "what if the past were different" scenarios as they have no reflection on the reality of today.

Fine. Let's take the past as it is (was). It certainly does not provide us with any precedent for private corporations undertaking the colonization of the moon and Mars.

Whether or not you feel guilty about the things that happened yesterday has nothing to do what you should feel or think today or with the effort you should put forth to address the injustices of today and tomorrow. Your argument here is, we did it yesterday so we should continue doing it today.

As I've said (ad nauseum), I'm not challenging the Objectivist principle that governments should be financed voluntarily -- nor was Ayn Rand challenging that principle when she praised the space program in "Apollo 11." The issue of whether NASA should go to Mars or whether we should continue the War on Terrorism is quite separate from how those projects should be financed.

Good, stop giving the government the sanction of the victim then.

Ayn Rand made it clear that the voluntary financing of government is one of the last steps we take on the road to a laissez faire society. So no one here is providing any sanction for immoral behavior.

Not critical, but she did not advocate it; not in the sense being proposed.

Rand explicitly calls for NASA to explore Mars and Jupiter in her Sept. 1969 essay, "Apollo 11."

The truth is, stolen money cannot be put to a legitimate use by the government.

If that is the case, then putting rapists behinds bars is not a legitimate use of tax money.

The best we can do is try to prevent as much harm from being done as possible. However, I fail to see how the space program is a better alternative than more military spending or something the public will see a direct benefit from (relative benefit... the greatest benefit would be if they hadn't had their money stolen in the first place).

I'm not arguing for stealing money. I've already made that quite clear. This is about better and worse expenditures by government. Ayn Rand argued that NASA was the cleanest and best government project. I agree with her.

From what I understand, your essential point is that space exploration falls under the government's jurisdiction for the reason that it is essential to national defense, so that it is as justifiable a use as any alternative.

What are these benefits that we will get that we cannot live without? How do these so-called benefits make the program essential?

See the thread above. I've already discussed the military necessity of seizing the high ground. He who controls the heavens contols the earth.

Space exploration as a way of protecting space for free nations is a valid point.

However, a giant laser gun costing every last penny in the US might also ensure our security. Should we do it? And if so, how? Should the government take the money? Should it be privately funded? If it can be shown that this is the only sensible defense strategy for our country, then that would warrant giving it the same status and funding that we give to defense in other areas.

This is a matter for scientific and military experts to decide. In the case of colonizing the moon and Mars, I believe that President Bush has acted on wise counsel

Tell me, how effective do you think it's going to be to question limited government on an Objectivist online forum? Not very. I would choose a different tack.

You misunderstand me. The question I tried to raise was how effective can a government be in defending your rights if all its planes and tanks and ships have been destroyed by a rather large meteor striking North America?

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Review the entire thread for my defense of NASA and its planned mission to Mars.

Yes, I reviewed the thread and you said quite a bit of "Your entitled to your opinion, but Ayn Rand said...'

First, I know I'm entitled to my opinion, and I don't need anyone telling me as if they have some control over that to which I have a right. Second, you are using the "Ayn Rand said..." part so much, it's beginning to look like argument from authority. However, Ayn Rand also said many other things applicable to this situation including what has been discussed regarding stolen money.

Ayn Rand also talked about values. Much of your position is based on how much YOU value space exploration and colonization. This does not mean everyone shares those values even though everyone is helping foot the bill. However, even valid military purposes (and law enforcement purposes) are should to be paid for by voluntary funding so that's still not an argument to morally justify the theft of taxpayer money. However, since you state the government stealing money, I guess I needn't harp on that further.

It certainly does not provide us with any precedent for private corporations undertaking the colonization of the moon and Mars.
No, the success of private business in general today versus the success of government in business-like ventures provides all the evidence we need to know that private industry can do a better job. We don't have to look back 100 years ago to see that.

So no one here is providing any sanction for immoral behavior.

Well, I think it can be morally appropriate for the government to fund a space program.

http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.p...ndpost&p=108435

So that we're clear, in light of the first quote above, I assume you mean in the second quote it would be morally appropriate for the government to fund a space program IF it's voluntarily funded?

Edited by RationalCop
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Daedalus, maybe I haven't made my point clear.

I'm for private space exploration for two reasons:

1) no money is stolen.

That's something you have agreed with (repeatedly :thumbsup: ).

2) the project serves a worthwile purpose.

And my point is that sending a single man to space, as difficult as it may be, serves no purpose and is of little value compared to the money paid. Dropping the fact that the money was stolen, I would still advocate against a space program.

What good is it to build a golden stairway leading nowhere? What good is it to keep scientists from doing work that serves purposes that actually benefit people?

And to make it a bit clearer: Sending a man to space is like getting a place in the Guinness Book for standing on one foot for the longest time ever. It may be some sort of an accomplishment, but it sure lacks any purpose beyond that. It is an empty accomplishment, simply for accomplishments sake.

There are better ways to spend even stolen money.

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If that is the case, then putting rapists behinds bars is not a legitimate use of tax money.

The protection of individual rights is quite definitely the first and foremost proper function of government. None the less, it is still being funded by stolen money. I could throw an "Ayn Rand said..." in there, but I don't think it's necessary.

Yes, I am a cop and I work for the government. I value the one of the few legitimate functions that it performs in protecting individual rights, but I strongly disagree with the manner in which it is funded. Whenever possible and appropriate, I try to use reason to persuade those who work around me that there is a more proper way for us to do our jobs. Whenever possible and appropriate, I use reason to persuade those who work around me that it is immoral to enforce certain laws (drugs, prostitution, etc.) It is my opinion that rational people are needed on the inside of government in order to facilitate the type of monumental change that is needed in our government. I really have no delusions that such change will occur in my life time, but I can always strive in that direction.

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Another of Rand's essays that I think is worth mentioning is the one (can't remember the title) where she addresses the question of whether or not it is moral to accept government scholarship and research grants.

Her answer is "Yes!" The reasoning is that it is not the scholarship/grant applicants fault that the country is in the state that it is today. This is why it is moral for someone to be a cop, a soldier, a terrorism analyst, or even a government-funded medical researcher. The first 3 are performing one of the proper roles of government. The third, while not performing a proper role of government, is nevertheless performing an important societal role.

Her conclusion, as I recall, was that it is moral to accept government money for such purposes, just so long as the acceptee opposes the means by which the government came to possess the money. Another qualifier was that the acceptee is not performing an action that would be immoral in the private sector, such as the DEA.

NASA fits quite well into this last qualifer. Although not one of the proper functions of government, space exploration is also not "immoral," in and of itself. As long as we oppose the method by which the money was obtained, there is nothing wrong with supporting the space program. And I, for one, would much rather see the American flag on Mars than to see the Hurricane Katrina welfare monkeys spend one more day in a hotel with FEMA footing the bill.

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Yes, I reviewed the thread and you said quite a bit of "Your entitled to your opinion, but Ayn Rand said...'

First, I know I'm entitled to my opinion, and I don't need anyone telling me as if they have some control over that to which I have a right. Second, you are using the "Ayn Rand said..." part so much, it's beginning to look like argument from authority. However, Ayn Rand also said many other things applicable to this situation including what has been discussed regarding stolen money.

Look, if the discussion were man's rights, the nature of government, or government financing in a free society, there is no question that we would be referencing Ayn Rand all over the place. Although I've stated the case for NASA as best I could, Rand argued for it much more eloquently. It is for that reason that I've quoted from her extensively and referred readers to her "Apollo 11" essay. If you've read the essay and remain unconvinced that the space program should continue, then there is probably nothing I could say further to change your mind. By the same token, if someone had read her essay "Patents and Copyrights" and still believed in downloading "free" music, there would be nothing I could say at that point to convince him otherwise.

Ayn Rand also talked about values. Much of your position is based on how much YOU value space exploration and colonization. This does not mean everyone shares those values even though everyone is helping foot the bill. However, even valid military purposes (and law enforcement purposes) are should to be paid for by voluntary funding so that's still not an argument to morally justify the theft of taxpayer money. However, since you state the government stealing money, I guess I needn't harp on that further.

Yes. I've already acknowledged that no one should be forced to contribute to any part of the federal budget.

No, the success of private business in general today versus the success of government in business-like ventures provides all the evidence we need to know that private industry can do a better job. We don't have to look back 100 years ago to see that.

I'm certain that private industry in the 1960s would have done a better job of going to the moon than NASA did. There's only one problem: no private corporation went to the moon then or any time since. Given the enormous importance of space colonization to our survival as a nation and a species, I argue that we can't wait around for some private company to start a moon colony. Or worse: for a government hostile to America to get there first.

So that we're clear, in light of the first quote above, I assume you mean in the second quote it would be morally appropriate for the government to fund a space program IF it's voluntarily funded?

I share Ms. Rand's belief that space projects involving military aspects are not only proper but mandatory.

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And my point is that sending a single man to space, as difficult as it may be, serves no purpose and is of little value compared to the money paid. Dropping the fact that the money was stolen, I would still advocate against a space program.

What good is it to build a golden stairway leading nowhere? What good is it to keep scientists from doing work that serves purposes that actually benefit people?

And to make it a bit clearer: Sending a man to space is like getting a place in the Guinness Book for standing on one foot for the longest time ever. It may be some sort of an accomplishment, but it sure lacks any purpose beyond that. It is an empty accomplishment, simply for accomplishments sake.

There are better ways to spend even stolen money.

I couldn't disagree more. Mastering the art of spaceflight and establishing permanent settlements elsewhere in the solar system is critical to man's survival for these reasons:

  • Human freedom has always prospered on the frontier. Tyrants incubate in areas of high population density, not where vast distances separate men from one another.
  • A missile shield in the outer solar system against earth-bound asteroids is essential for the long-term survival of mankind's home planet.
  • Control of the moon will be a key component of America's national security. Any nation that rules the moon will rule the earth.

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Another of Rand's essays that I think is worth mentioning is the one (can't remember the title) where she addresses the question of whether or not it is moral to accept government scholarship and research grants.

Her conclusion, as I recall, was that it is moral to accept government money for such purposes, just so long as the acceptee opposes the means by which the government came to possess the money. . .

NASA fits quite well into this last qualifer. . .

The essay is "The Question Of Scholarships" (The Objectivist, June 1966)

Your post was beautifully reasoned. Thank you.

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Look, if the discussion were man's rights, the nature of government, or government financing in a free society, there is no question that we would be referencing Ayn Rand all over the place.

Not necessarily. We may be citing the principles of the philosophy she developed, as well as the reasoning that leads to those principles, but that doesn't mean that we would be citing her applications of her philosophy. There's a difference.

There's only one problem: no private corporation went to the moon then or any time since. Given the enormous importance of space colonization to our survival as a nation and a species, I argue that we can't wait around for some private company to start a moon colony. Or worse: for a government hostile to America to get there first.
I'm already aware of what your position is. Restating your position does not change the principles involved.

I share Ms. Rand's belief that space projects involving military aspects are not only proper but mandatory.

That's an answer, just not to the question I asked. Can you answer the question I asked?

Do you tell them that on pay day?

If I did I'd be talking to a small plastic box (that my direct deposit slip comes in) that has no capacity for reasoning. That wouldn't be very effective.

Beyond a sarcastic question, do you have an argument to present?

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I'm certain that private industry in the 1960s would have done a better job of going to the moon than NASA did. There's only one problem: no private corporation went to the moon then or any time since.
Name a company in the 60s who had expertise in rocketry similar to the German rocket scientists and could have funded the research and and development and a mission to the moon. Not only did they not do it. I doubt they could do it on thier own.

Beyond a sarcastic question, do you have an argument to present?
If you see the sarcasm, the argument should be obvious. Certainly you must see the hypocracy of working for the government, getting paid stolen money so you can catch theives. Not to mention harping on 'might makes right' when you are part of that 'might'.
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If that is the case, then putting rapists behinds bars is not a legitimate use of tax money.

That is correct. The government should have the goal of putting rapists behind bars. But not with money stolen from me or anyone else. I'm glad that rapists are behind bars. But I'm not glad that the government steals money to do it. In this sense, it is not justified.

If someone forced be to buy a nice car, I would really like the car. But it would not be a legitimate use of my money.

I'm not arguing for stealing money. I've already made that quite clear. This is about better and worse expenditures by government. Ayn Rand argued that NASA was the cleanest and best government project. I agree with her.

How can you support any project? If all of the world leaders were terrorists, would you support the "cleanest" one?

See the thread above. I've already discussed the military necessity of seizing the high ground. He who controls the heavens contols the earth.

The only explanation you have provided, that I can find, is:

Like the North American continent, once space is opened up for colonization, an infinite number of possibilities will arise. ... Well, it will be even more difficult for Uncle Sam to keep tabs on every nook and cranny of the Solar System in the 22nd century.
What is your reasoning behind this? How are "an infinite number of possibilities" going to arise? What kinds of possibilities and how do they justify spending all of the money?

Making analogies to the past does not validate your argument. Analogies are good for getting ideas across, but they cannot prove an argument.

Name a company in the 60s who had expertise in rocketry similar to the German rocket scientists and could have funded the research and and development and a mission to the moon. Not only did they not do it. I doubt they could do it on thier own.

If they did do it, would their venture have been profitable? Do you think the risks associated with doing such a thing would have been justified to a private company?

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That is correct. The government should have the goal of putting rapists behind bars. But not with money stolen from me or anyone else. I'm glad that rapists are behind bars. But I'm not glad that the government steals money to do it. In this sense, it is not justified.

So, knowing that the government is not going to stop taking your money, is it the next best thing for the government to stop using it for otherwise legitimate purposes?

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Not necessarily. We may be citing the principles of the philosophy she developed, as well as the reasoning that leads to those principles, but that doesn't mean that we would be citing her applications of her philosophy. There's a difference.

If you would prefer not to discuss Rand's applications of her philosophy, very well. I find her work in this area most illuminating.

I'm already aware of what your position is. Restating your position does not change the principles involved.

And I'm aware that you disagree with my position. So where can we go from here?

That's an answer, just not to the question I asked. Can you answer the question I asked?

I did: funding space projects involving military aspects is not only proper but mandatory.

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If you see the sarcasm, the argument should be obvious. Certainly you must see the hypocracy of working for the government, getting paid stolen money so you can catch theives. Not to mention harping on 'might makes right' when you are part of that 'might'.

Then next time, make the argument and skip the sarcasm. I've already requested you review the forum rules, so I won't warn you again for any other violation.

Seeing sarcasm, does NOT equate to making a legitimate argument.

Certainly you must see the hypocracy of working for the government, getting paid stolen money so you can catch theives.
Hmm, I thought you disagreed that the money was stolen? Are you playing devil's advocate now or are you stealing concepts?

What I see is that policing is the first and foremost proper function of the government. The only way to be involved in law enforcement is to work for the government (as well it should be). Space exploration on the other hand (while in it's infancy) can be pursued privately. Space exploration is not, in and of itself, a proper function of government.

Thus, since I passionately value law enforcement AND it is a proper function of government, the choices as I see it are; leave policing to irrational people who will not make any attempt to change the way things are (if not make things worse), or have rational people inside government who can try to change things from the inside by influencing people on the inside. There's not much I can do to change the minds of the older folks, but generally the younger people coming in are more open-minded. By my rank, I'm in a perfect position to influence them, when it's proper and appropriate.

If I had the power to change the way it was funded, I would, and as much as I can, I will. However, changing minds on funding is not the only purpose. Changing minds on the enforcement of immoral laws is also important. In so much as I can avoid it without breaking the law myself (abuse of office, malfeaseance, misfeasance, etc.), I do not actively seek to arrest people for drugs, prostitution, and other crimes that do not involve the violation of another person's rights.

Aside from all that, since MY tax money is being stolen from ME, I'm paying part of my own salary, thus I'm recouping what is being taken from me.

Not to mention harping on 'might makes right' when you are part of that 'might'.

Now we can add context-dropping to the list.

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Although I've stated the case for NASA as best I could, Rand argued for it much more eloquently. It is for that reason that I've quoted from her extensively and referred readers to her "Apollo 11" essay. If you've read the essay and remain unconvinced that the space program should continue, then there is probably nothing I could say further to change your mind.
Excuse for being late to this thread, but I must, absolutely most correct this. (Note that I am an aerospace engineer, a PhD student in the field in fact, and share excitement for space travel with those who've expressed it. Nevertheless I am opposed to almost every opinion you've expressed in this thread.)

I'm surprised no one has corrected your misuse of Ayn Rand here, "Daedalus". You have been using the following as your "premission slip" to excuse and advocate further funding for NASA (let us set aside the fact that you seem to have not engaged in a single line of independent reasoning for your argument):

We do not have to have a mixed economy, we still have a chance to change our course and thus to survive. But if we do continue down the road of a mixed economy, then let them pour all the millions and billions they can into the space program. If the United States is to commit suicide, let it not be for the sake and support of the worst human elements, the parasites-on-principle, at home and abroad. Let it not be its only epitaph that it died paying its enemies for its own destruction. Let some of its lifeblood go to the support of achievement and the progress of science. The American flag on the moon—or on Mars, or on Jupiter—will, at least, be a worthy monument to what had once been a great country.

Yet, you completely twist it to meet your own ends. Her message is very clear and somber: If America is to die, let us, the men of the mind that are left, not fuss over NASA, because here, in this moment, it has provided America with a glorious tomb-stone--an American flag on the Moon. The significance of this message is that it is a statement of priorities, assuming America's death to be certain.

She is not, as you have repeatedly made it seem, advocating the existence of NASA, or pushing for more funds for it, or engaging her reader in a state of glee over the prospect of America dying, just so she can see NASA get more money. She is saying, in essence, if America's death is certain, let's not make a fuss over NASA, because it is providing us with some last spurts of greatness.

You, on the other hand, are not saying *if* America's dying, let's fund a mission to mars. You are saying, basically, "America's death *is* certain, therefore let's fund a mission to mars!" Evidently, you are using Ayn Rand to justify your twisted priorities: you are spending significant time defending the existence and furtherance of NASA, on the grounds that America's death is certain, rather than discovering whether or not this very gloomy premise is correct, and if it isn't, discovering how to bring America back to greatness. In your excitement for a mission to Mars, you pray at night that America's death continues to be certain (since you already think it *is* certain), so that you can use Ayn Rand to justify your desire to see NASA great once more. But her's was not a prayer for America's death, it was an eloquent eulogy were her death to be certain.

Quite frankly, I am disgusted by your premise. I would rather spend all my energy fighting America's demise, until the very last second I know her death is uncertain, than spend a single ounce of it trumpeting how NASA should get more money in spite of the fact that America's death *isn't* absolutely certain.

And, if one day I were to come to the conclusion that America's death was certain, I seriously doubt I would be on a forum gleefully advocating more money for NASA.

In conclusion, stop making it seem like Ayn Rand advocated the existence and furtherance of NASA. She didn't. She made the following eloquent tribute to the Apollo program: If America is to die, let's not fuss over NASA, for it has shown us to be a noble beagle call at her funeral. Today NASA consists of a bunch of bungling engineers trying to appease politicians for the most part. So, not only is America's death *not* certain, but NASA today has shown that it isn't even capable of doing what it did in Ayn Rand's time.

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And I'm aware that you disagree with my position. So where can we go from here?

I did: funding space projects involving military aspects is not only proper but mandatory.

Nowhere, because you won't answer the question as asked. If you have a problem with the way the question is asked, then explain why. However, repeating the same response that does not answer the question STILL doesn't answer the question.

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That is correct. The government should have the goal of putting rapists behind bars. But not with money stolen from me or anyone else. I'm glad that rapists are behind bars. But I'm not glad that the government steals money to do it. In this sense, it is not justified.

I want to make sure I understand you. Should there be no cops on our streets, no radars scanning our skies, no prisons housing predators -- unless those activities are voluntarily funded?

If someone forced be to buy a nice car, I would really like the car. But it would not be a legitimate use of my money.

If someone forced you to contribute money to the hunt for bin Laden -- the use of force would be illegitimate, not the hunt for bin Laden.

How can you support any project? If all of the world leaders were terrorists, would you support the "cleanest" one?

That's a stretch. NASA scientists are not the equivalent of terrorists.

The only explanation you have provided, that I can find, is:

What is your reasoning behind this? How are "an infinite number of possibilities" going to arise? What kinds of possibilities and how do they justify spending all of the money?

I’ve already addressed this point. The opening up of the New World with its rich opportunities for prosperity and escape from tyranny was the result of government-funded expeditions. What we ultimately got from the Spanish crown’s grant to Columbus was the greatest experiment in freedom in mankind’s history. Well, guess what, the new New World is just beyond our atmosphere.

Making analogies to the past does not validate your argument. Analogies are good for getting ideas across, but they cannot prove an argument.

If we cannot reference political proposals with cases from the past, then discussion is virtually impossible. It would be like asking Congress to approve an agency’s budget without ever examining that agency’s past performance.

Nowhere, because you won't answer the question as asked. If you have a problem with the way the question is asked, then explain why. However, repeating the same response that does not answer the question STILL doesn't answer the question.

Not true. I answered in the affirmative and gave a reason for my answer.

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