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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Defining Metafederalism: Libertarians and NASA

Kahlesste kaase, motherfucker!
In libertarian circles I often see an uncharacteristic affinity for one government program in particular, an affinity which I too hold. That program is NASA, and I think it has a place in the world where people start making sense on issues of individual liberty and limited government.

Yes NASA, the American space program that, despite being a terribly inefficient and to some an unnecessary organization, has yielded some serious pioneering in both real space and scientific discovery.

But in the era of private space ports and the end of the shuttle program, many have questioned the viability of the space agency.

As I have stated, libertarians are not anarchists; the government has some role to fill. Two future roles for NASA are, in my view, completely consistent with libertarian philosophy.

First of all, there exists things like this:
On May 31, an asteroid as big as nine cruise ships will sail past Earth. There is no cause for concern, however, as the asteroid is expected to miss the Earth by approximately 3.6 million miles, which is about 15 times the distance between Earth and the moon.
The government has the right, or more specifically, the duty to defend its citizens. And I consider defending humanity from an apocalyptic strike from Near Earth Objects, or NEOs, fits well within the definition of defense.

We have had two rather scary near misses over the last year, and one hopes NASA can work with the burgeoning private space industry to combat this problem. We can quibble over unfair government contract assignment of the anti-asteroid batteries once they are in place.

Secondly, someone will have to step in to play traffic cop if the future does hold for humanity the ascent from our home world. It may sound like sci-fi, but someone is going to have to manage trade regulations* and traffic routing and what not. (As you may have noticed, I am not convinced of the practical applications of the old private road saw of the more extreme wing).

So there. Not exactly a libertarian view in the strictest sense, but fitting of this term metafederalism, that is, moving beyond that which is unattainable in order to effect real libertarian change. Public roads are not going anywhere soon, but with outer space, the sky is no longer the limit...

*As I mentioned, regulations will always exist in some form for markets, at minimum in order to prosecute fraud, etc. I feel libertarians realize this, and want both limited and even application of the least amount of regulation possible.

For More Information, Here is the NASA NEO website.

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