Taking a few days off. Some sharp guest posts coming next two days. Be back Monday.
The FAA whined that SpaceX launched its Starship without a “safety waiver” last December. According to one source, there will be an “investigation” into this.
In days of yore, before the cult of Safety First fully took over, the key word of that paragraph would have been Starship. Holy moly! A private company is launching star ships! Mars, here we come! Where do I get my ticket?
Those days are long past. It’s clear which are the most important words now: investigation and safety waiver.
Investigation needs no explanation. It is the lifeblood of our bureaucratic managerial state. Safety waiver needs some fleshing out, though.
It appears to mean that dangerous activities might be carried out, but only with government permission. If that’s so, then it must be that our current government knows more about space ships and their dangers than SpaceX, and since no civilian firms knows more about spaceships than SpaceX, our current expert-staffed government must know more than anybody.
So why isn’t our expert-laden government launching passenger rockets to the outer planets by now?
Something has gone wrong. The moon landing was half a century ago. Not much has happened sense. There are no Mars bases. We seem to have lost our spark. SpaceX is still vigorous, but they are in the minority. And hampered by having to file safety waivers.
That spark was there at our beginning, as it was for all empires at their start.
Glubb Pasha, the famed leader of the Arab Legion, charted the decline and fall of world empires in the essay “Fate of Empires.” He, like many historians, discovered that all empires begin in a vigorous phase, an “outburst”. The reasons for this are many, but one common aspect shown through.
No safety waivers. And no “experts”.
“These sudden outbursts are usually characterised by an extraordinary display of energy and courage” by conquerors on the outside of the current regime. “Fearless initiative characterises such periods,” he writes.
Other peculiarities of the period of the conquering pioneers are their readiness to improvise and experiment. Untrammelled by traditions, they will turn anything available to their purpose. If one method fails, they try something else. Uninhibited by textbooks or book learning, action is their solution to every problem.
The phase that follows the outburst is the nascent formation of the new empire, in which.
…the daring initiative of the original conquerors is maintained—in geographical exploration, for example: pioneering new countries, penetrating new forests, climbing unexplored mountains, and sailing uncharted seas. The new nation is confident, optimistic and perhaps contemptuous of the ‘decadent’ races which it has subjugated.
The methods employed tend to be practical and experimental, both in government and in warfare, for they are not tied by centuries of tradition, as happens in ancient empires. Moreover, the leaders are free to use their own improvisations, not having studied politics or tactics in schools or in textbooks.
Perhaps you will see in this brief description from Glubb parallels in America’s history.
After the peak comes the decline, in which is found, says Glubb, an increasing defensiveness. Safety waivers are a recent invention, a clear sign our youthful vigor has passed.
America is indeed well past its outburst phase, well past its peak, and into, what appears to be anyway, its decadent (woke) period.
We’ve entered the Safety First long decline, which is characterized by fear of how everything might harm us. This is a period where safety becomes the overriding criterion with which to judge every activity.
Safety is the slow death.
There was some snow in New York City recently. Bit more than a foot. Nothing historically shocking, or even painful, given most have grown used to hiding in their wee apartments this past year in fear of a disease they might catch.
The reporting on the storm, as in all reporting, was hyperbolic. Yet there was more than the usual fear-mongering click-baiting behind it. Some of the reporters were near tears warning just how awful this storm might be. Wear boots! Wear gloves! You might slip! You might freeze! Oh hu hu hu hu!
New York City doesn’t have a lot of accessible hills for sledding. But in many areas that do, sledding has been banned. Kids might get hurt.
We all have to wear masks, even double masks, maybe more!, because somebody might get hurt. We have to hide from other people because somebody might get hurt.
That somebody might get hurt is why evidence showing masks are useless in preventing the spread of respiratory diseases is ignored. Evidence can’t eliminate that might, not here, not anyway.
Elon Musk’s rocket might have caused harm. Indeed, it blowed up on landing—twice. The missing safety waiver didn’t prevent these explosions. It was there to allow bureaucrats to hide behind something in case somebody did get hurt.
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