Stuck in a rut

I’ve been reading and re-reading the works of Larry Niven recently — and more importantly, reading the things Larry Niven had to say about his works.

Much of this was outdated. (The discussion in N-Space is twenty years old, after all.) But I was struck by two things: his rejection of libertarianism and anarchy, and his enthusiasm regarding the space program.

The anti-anarchism I can accept as using one word to refer to very different things. The term has taken on a different meaning than its original one, and there’s very little desirable about the state current terminology labels. The space program, though?

Even in 1988, there was more than enough data to indicate that nothing much was going to be happening in space in for humanly-foreseeable future. Moreover, there were plenty of reasons to think that nothing much could happen in that timespan.

Exactly what benefit could any reasonable person expect from manned space exploration? The complaints about such a program are usually from people who want to use the money and resources for other things (read: socialism and welfare programs), which I have no particular sympathy for, but there’s very little that could be accomplished by sending people into space.

More and more, the political and sociological views of authors look… quaint… to me. They’re almost as bad as the views of actual ‘experts’, whose opinions often strike me as moronically shallow. I should probably spend more time digging into actual discussion amongst experts and not listening to those trying to wind propaganda for their position.


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