Some things are supposed to end. Well, most things, really. But it’s how things end, when they end, and why they end that matter. Allow me to illustrate this point.
Things that end well:
- Harry Potter
- A summer spent abroad
Things that don’t end well:
- Funding for the James Webb Space Telescope
- Human space exploration
And to harp for a minute on the lattermost point, here is a lovely excerpt from The Pain Comics. (note: some NSFW language)
I know a lot of people will raise the objection that the space program is a pretty frivolous and costly enterprise; shouldn’t we be spending that money on health care/education/poverty, etc.? To these well-meaning people, who do make a valid point, I would respectfully submit that you please go take a flying leap off a low-gravity planetoid. We weren’t ever going to spend that money on health care/education/poverty, etc. because no one in power in this country actually cares about those things. And as long as we’re not going to spend it on that stuff, why not spend it on science? So what if manned space exploration is frivolous? It’s harmless and beautiful and inspiring. It contributes to human knowledge and elevates our estimation of our own species. At least it’s not lethal. The Department of Defense, on which we blow a fifth of our Federal budget, is a gigantic and inefficient engine designed to kill people. So how come we always hear this argument made against the space program instead of the military? It’s like picking a fight with the class geek instead of the class bully. As my instructive chart shows, we’ve blown like three times more accomplishing it’s not clear exactly what in Afghanistan than we spent putting men on the Moon. I am not even counting Iraq, for the cost of which we could probably build a floating pleasure-dome on Io. So how about knock it off with the why-are-we-spending-this-money-on-space horseshit already and do something useful with your pipsqueak pious outrage instead?