Re: Star wars

Sean Morgan (
Sun, 30 Mar 1997 22:39:12 -0700

My version of the thread so far: Guru George claimed that a starfaring
civilization would have to capitalist, and not socialist or fascist. I
claimed that fascists can be capitalists so that distinction is confusing.
Furthermore, it seems to be that any of these three types could develop a
spacefaring civilization. wrote:
>On Sun, 30 Mar 1997, Sean Morgan wrote:
>> GG, your email address is in the UK, so it is odd that you need reminding
>> that it was fascists who made the big advances in rocketry in the middle of
>> this century.
>You forget the Ziolkovsky/GIRD/Katjusha/Andrjusha product line, which,
>while certainly less spectacular, and distinctly more low-tech than
>Vergeltungswaffen (propantrioltrinitrate-gellied nitrocellulose rather than
>ethanol/LOX), were great for target saturation, both psycho &
>physiological target. First crude "fire arrow" rocketry has been
>invented in China, and used in India against the British occupation,
>albeit in minor skirmishes, and to little effect.

I also skipped Goddard. But there is no denying the "big advances" part of
my claim regardless. But your Soviet examples help make the point that
spacefarer need not be capitalists, thanks.

>Interestingly enough, the most efficacious weapons

I was discussing rocketry in the context of space exploration, not weaponry.

>> Also, the Nazis were capitalists (despite the name 'National Socialists').
>> They didn't steal technology from capitalist, they *were* capitalists -- and
>> they developed a lot of it themselves.
>They were not. Nazis were a grand-scale planned economy

I'm borrowing from Pournelle: I don't deny that they had a planned economy,
but that the capital was privately held (and therefore, capitalist). The
alliance between Hitler and Stalin is not so bizarre when you realize that
they had planned economies in common, even though they were at odds over
whether to have private or public property. Hmm, the American space program
to date has been as a result of central planning.

[Aside with respect to 'Socialists'. I met a 'liberal' in Vienna a couple of
weeks ago. I was surprised to learn that this is what a North American would
call conservative, or in this fellow's case, libertarian. Must have
something to do with the difference in voltage you use.]

>> The collectivist aspect of the United States has a much better developed
>> space program than any private industry initiative.
>Yet. I think soon dramatically falling LEO launch costs (and privately
>funded LEO-autoassembling autoreplicator missions to Luna may desert the
>barren realm of scifi) will cause a flurry of activity in low earth orbit
>missions, which will render NASA uncapable of action, since entirely broke.

I hope so. The railroad and aircraft industries in the US needed government
support initially, but then were able to cut the apron strings.
Sean Morgan ( | "The chances of anything coming from Mars
| are a million to one," he said. | "The chances of anything coming from Mars
| are a million to one--but still they come!"