Ever since President Trump ordered the creation of Space Force earlier this week, I’ve read a lot of snarky Facebook posts and the like mocking the idea.
Some of these posts consist of the usual arm-chair analysis: “Trump did it to distract from the child separation crisis!” and the like (if you look at the timing of the child separation crisis issue, though, it seems like something Democrats ginned up to distract from the IG report released last week).
Much of what I’m reading, though, consists essentially of, “Wow, what a stupid idea. Like we need to have a military in space,” or the more bleeding-heart, “Why do we want to dominate space. LOVE TRUMPS HATE!” That latter one is usually followed up with a link to the Wikipedia entry for the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, as if some Gene Rodenberry-style, early Star Trek-esque treaty is going to keep the ChiComs from building a death laser on the moon (don’t laugh—the Chinese are just wily enough to do it). I’m tired of people using the name of a meaningless treaty in lieu of an actual argument.
When did we stop dreaming? What happened to that Gene Rodenberry-style, early Star Trek-esque drive for space exploration? I realize much of this animosity toward the idea is knee-jerk partisanship: bearded hipsters who probably still sleep in Star Wars pajamas hate Trump so much that they can’t get behind this amazing idea. If Obama had ordered it, they’d be throwing craft beer tasting parties sponsored by Blue Moon.
But I also suspect that Americans aren’t dreaming big anymore. I read a little bit by National Review‘s Charles C. W. Cooke some years ago in which he talked about how great his WiFi-enabled gadgets were, and he essentially argued that we needed to appreciate the future we have instead of the sci-fi rock opera vision of the future we want (R2-D2 playing the bass guitar, taking summer vacation on the moon, using lightsabers, etc.).
While I am incredibly thankful that I can find clips like the one above in mere seconds (even if it is in another language)—and to have vast storehouses of human knowledge mere keystrokes away—does that really mean that’s all there is? Is it ungrateful to say, “Hey, this is incredible—how about even more cool innovations?”
Space is the final—and endless—frontier. As such, it will be the next battleground of human conflict. Instead of laughing at the idea of Space Force, let’s figure out how to make it an efficient, effective fighting force to ensure that liberty endures beyond the 21st century—and our pale, blue dot.