On A Magic Carpet Ride

Byron York at The Washington Examiner:

In a far-reaching restatement of goals for the nation’s space agency, NASA administrator Charles Bolden says President Obama has ordered him to pursue three new objectives: to “re-inspire children” to study science and math, to “expand our international relationships,” and to “reach out to the Muslim world.”  Of those three goals, Bolden said in a recent interview with al-Jazeera, the mission to reach out to Muslims is “perhaps foremost,” because it will help Islamic nations “feel good” about their scientific accomplishments.

In the same interview, Bolden also said the United States, which first sent men to the moon in 1969, is no longer capable of reaching beyond low earth orbit without help from other nations.

The Jawa Report:

.A couple goals missing from Obama’s new International Social Justice Department (formerly NASA) is anything to do with the atmosphere, space, or aeronautics. This makes sense, especially when considering job creation efforts don’t create jobs and economic stimulus comes closer to invigorating the rear sphincter valve than the economy.

Ed Morrissey:

Hey, maybe that’s why Obama hasn’t taken the Iranian effort to build a nuclear bomb all that seriously until now.  He just wanted Iran to make the Muslim world feel good about their achievements in science!  And it’s hard to do to that unless you talk a lot about outstretched open hands — and ignore a freedom movement that wants to depose the brutal tyrants who are trying to give the Muslim world a new “historic contribution.”

Actually, Muslim nations should be insulted by the idea that the US pays NASA to provide them with paternalistic and patronizing validation and self-esteem boosts. And they probably will be.

The problem Byron uncovers goes farther than just the Muslim outreach, though.  NASA has always inspired children and even bolstered international relations, but not because that was its mission.  It did those things by pursuing solid goals of exploration of space, which is why Congress funds the agency.  Those esteem-boosters came as a secondary result of actual achievement, not as an end in itself.  The Obama administration wants to turn this over onto its head by making NASA a bureaucracy dedicated to self-esteem which might at some point have a goal that has to do with exploration of space.

This is a recipe for failure on an expensive scale.  Congress needs to either get the White House to redefine its mission for NASA or cut off its funds until the self-esteem party is canceled.

John Derbyshire at The Corner:

That’s why we have a government space program! For the kiddies! (Which means, when uttered by a Democratic politician, for the teachers’ unions and ed-biz lobbies.) For our international relationships! (Heaven forbid we should keep to ourselves, for our own nation’s benefit, the technological wonders we develop. We must share them with the whole world!) To help Muslim nations feel good about themselves! (The Muslim world’s self-esteem is in tatters. It’s up to us to repair it! All those centuries of stagnation are probably our fault anyway.)

I had supposed that there were two different approaches to government-funded space exploration.

● There was the Gene Kranz view, as stated above. In this view, it is legitimate to use government money, even in large quantities, to enhance national prestige and pride.

● And then there was the Derb view, expressed to considerable reader outrage on this site here and here. My opinion is that beyond a few legitimate military and meteorological applications, government-funded space exploration is pointless extravagance and folly (even when “a glorious, soul-stirring folly”). Leave it to private enterprise.

Now I see that there is a third view.

● Our government-funded space exploration, as embodied in NASA, can serve the great Obamanian cause of infantilizing and feminizing us. Government funds are wisely and properly used in turning us into obedient elementary-school tots being lectured at by our wise, benevolent moral superiors on the wonders of “diversity,” sensitizing us to the feelings of different-looking peoples in far-away places, softening and erasing our gross brutish impulses to inquire, discover, explore, achieve, master (!), conquer, and win.

American history was, for a couple of centuries there, a contest between the frontiersmen and the schoolmarms. Well, that’s all over. The schoolmarms have won.

Flopping Aces:

What, pray tell, has space technology advancements got to do with Muslim and Islam in general, I ask myself. Why should our federally funded agency specifically reach out to Muslims for our space endeavors? And why should that magically improve relations? Are we assuming that they have a leg up on this technology, strictly because of their religious choice? Well.. yeah… that is if you’re interested in advancing ways to exploring to ways to pray in zero gravity, or eating space meals under Islamic rules, that is.

But then, in a more honest vein, we have the more stellar example of Ahmad Mahmoud, the son of immigrant Eqyptian parents who attended public schools in New Jersey, went on to major in Aerospace Engineering at Rutgers University. Mahmoud was awarded first place for his design project, Multi-surface Adaptable Touch Sensor, from Rutgers. He went on to a NASA internship, and then offered a full time position with the Cryogenics department.

Because he’s Muslim? No… because he’s exceptional in his field.

Scientists of all faiths and nationalities bond together, across the span of political BS, because they share common goals. And, in fact, Islam Online has their own webpage devoted to Muslims and space. There has been no barrier to their contributions in the industry, and indeed their presence in space itself, since man’s first foray’s into space. The first Muslim to crew the Discovery was in 1985 – Prince Sultan bin Salman AbdulAziz Al-Saud from Saudi Arabia, who acted as payload specialist to deliver the ARABSAT 1-B communication satellite into orbit. He was not only the first Muslim in space, but was the first who was royalty.

Why? Because he’s Muslim? Again, no. Because he’s exceptional in his field.

Gee… now how did that happen without this POTUS, exercising squatting rights in the people’s House? sigh… But still, this POTUS persists in playing the class warfare/”social justice” card, as if this is a pressing problem in our world’s aeronautical society. Yet how has this pathetic ploy of bowing, scraping and proffered olive twigs played in the Muslim world? Not much better than it has with our allies, whom this POTUS is busy alienating at every turn.

Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit:

Charles Krauthammer on Obama’s new NASA strategy:

“This is a new of fatuousness. NASA was established to get America into space and to keep us there. This idea of ‘feel good about your past’ scientific achievements is the worst kind of group therapy, psycho-babble, imperial condescension and adolescent diplomacy. If I didn’t know that Obama had told him this, I’d demand the firing of Charles Bolden.”

Don’t hold back, Charles.

Rory Cooper at Heritage Foundation:

Of course, the Democrat Party establishment, via their Media Matters outlet, were quick to point out that this hullabaloo is merely right-wing noise about the word “Muslim” which of course misses the point entirely, and merely tries to drown criticism of Obama with the age-old liberal mantra that everyone who doesn’t share their worldview is a racist. Substitute the word ‘Muslim’ for any other group, ethnicity or religion, and President Obama is still failing to comprehend that this is not what most Americans view as an appropriate role for NASA.

Congress should demand that President Obama and Administrator Bolden directly address questions on the future of NASA and his vision. President George W. Bush’s clearly laid out Vision for Space Exploration is obviously not a part of it. Under President Bush, NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale was charged with ensuring Bush’s vision would achieve his goal of transcending presidents and politics. She failed. Politics has never been more evident at NASA. We’re left with an agency in chaos and a president whose vision of America’s greatness lies in our humility, rather than our shining example.

NASA deserves better. America deserves better. All of mankind, who NASA has inspired for fifty years, deserve better.

Tom Maguire:

In other news, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in an interview with Popular Science, explained that chief among her priorities was helping Barack achieve his vision of putting a man on Mars.  Assuming, of course, that Dick Cheney is willing to go.

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