By L. Neil Smith, The Libertarian Enterprise
Many thoughtful observers believe that the most significant thing that Donald Trump has accomplished so far is his appointment of dozens of federal judges who share his philosophy of governance and I, amateur historian that I am, am inclined to agree with them — with one exception, that is, a little item that just might prove to be a thousand times, a million times, a billion times more important than anything else the Donald — or anybody else, for that matter — has ever done.
Most of us have become aware of the way that a relatively small piece of rock — an asteroid approximately the size of Manhattan Island or the Matterhorn — changed the course of life-history on this planet. It struck the Earth at 40,000 miles and hour, hitting what is now the northern coast of the Yucatan, generating a titanic explosion that ignited every plant standing above the ground, raising a tidal wave that swept over most of North America, and opening a chain of deadly volcanoes on the other side of the world, near India. The esteemed Bob Bakker to the contrary, the late, lamented dinosaurs, I believe, died from smoke inhalation.
Three quarters of all life on this planet, plant and animal, land and sea, was brutally exterminated by this “Cretaceous-Tertiary Event”, and apparently not for the first time. There was a much worse die-off between the Permian and the Triassic eras. The important fact, for you and me, is that there are thousands, if not millions of other lethal asteroids still out there, with which our vulnerable little blue marble is still playing a murderous game of roulette. It is only a matter of time before another “extinction-level event” occurs, possibly wiping out every last living entity on Earth. We can see plenty of evidence of that kind of phenomenon, that magnitude of destruction, elsewhere in the Solar System.
Take your precious carbon footprints and stuff them where the sun don’t shine, Greta. It is Donald Trump who has made the historic first move to prevent this very real cataclysm, and probably to extend the life of the human species indefinitely (an idea environmentalists hate), by calling for the organization of a United States Space Force. At this moment it still isn’t clear exactly what methods will work best to destroy or divert asteroids that threaten our home-world (I mention possibilities in my 2010 Ngu Family Saga novel _Ceres_), but it is something that must be done, sooner or later, probably by manned spacecraft.
The other important task for which we need a Space Force is to clean up the tens of millions of items of orbital debris that NASA and other agencies have very sloppily left circling over our heads. Remember when the Gemini astronauts simply threw those expensive Hasselblad cameras out the door? These objects range in size from particles of dust to cast-off booster stages which endanger satellites and spacecraft. A hunk of junk the size and shape of a small screw can damage solar panels, pressurized living and working spaces, as well as helmeted individuals in spacesuits, to whom that flying screw would be like a bullet through the head.
All of this rummage belongs in one of only two places I can think of: in space museums all over the planet; or spiraling down-system to the Great Solar Incinerator. An American Space Patrol could clean up the sky on a regular basis, benefit from what they find that’s salable, and bill the Russians, the Europeans, the Chinese, and anybody else guilty of space-littering.
I vividly remember the Libertarian Party national convention of 1977 (I believe it was), during which the National Platform Committee met to debate and determine the Party’s official positions on a wide variety of matters. Many of us, especially readers of Robert A. Heinlein’s cautionary tale _The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress_, were deeply concerned about these space-related issues, but when we introduced planks about them, we were mocked and ridiculed by “older, wiser heads” and accused of trying to make the Party look silly.
That greatly over-rated intellect, Professor Murray N. Rothbard, laughed at us and called us “space cadets”, a moniker that we proudly adopted (I still have my button) much like today’s “deplorables”. Murray asserted, in his grossly embarrassing and abysmal ignorance of history and human nature, that there was no good reason for human beings to travel into space (which he seemed to think was a closet full of perverts in New Jersey), and that space-related issues were irrelevant.
A little while afterward, NASA’s clunky SkyLab space station awkwardly fell out of orbit, chunks of it crashing onto Australia. Probably the only reason that human beings weren’t killed or injured is that the Island Continent is so sparsely inhabited. Hardly irrelevant, though, hunh, Murray? But, as with many of the great man’s seat-of-the-pants pronouncements and prognostications, we never heard him manfully acknowledge that he had been wrong.
Speaking of _The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress_, a properly-equipped United States Space Force could prevent a country like communist China, for example, from using a base on the Moon to blackmail the human race into bowing to its Marxist-Leninist-Maoist demands. As Heinlein’s great novel clearly shows, the Moon is the ultimate military high ground. Remember you heard it from me: whoever controls the Moon controls the Earth.
A lot of “disappointed”individuals have written to criticize me the last couple of years for supporting a President whose style and personality they hyper-fastidiously don’t happen to approve of. “Impeach the bastard because he doesn’t stick his pinkie finger out when he drinks tea!”
As a lifelong libertarian, I have thrown in with a man who is clearly trying to change the course of human history. Keep what you earn, no more endless war. As a veteran science fiction author, who has made many accurate predictions, I think the future we have always looked forward to is possible under a Trump Administration and its successors. If he is not re-elected, however, what I have seen of Pelosi, Schumer, Schiff, and all their rotten, scabrous, collectivist ilk has convinced me that the only future we can look forward to is death and destruction.
Award-winning writer L. Neil Smith is Publisher and Senior Columnist of L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise and author of over thirty books. Look him up on Google, Wikipedia, and Amazon.com. He is available at professional rates, to write for your organization, event, or publication, fiercely defending your rights, as he has done since the mid-60s. His writings (and e-mail address) may be found at L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise, at JPFO.org or at https://www.patreon.com/lneilsmithHis many books and those of other pro-gun libertarians may be found (and ordered) at L. Neil Smith’s THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE “Free Radical Book Store” The preceding essay was originally prepared for and appeared in L. Neil Smith’s THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE. If you like what you’ve seen and want to see more, he says, ”Don’t applaud, throw money.“
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.