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NASA-funded study promotes collectivism

NASA-funded study promotes collectivism

I used to feel sad that NASA’s budget was being cut, dashing mankind’s dreams of returning to space.  Now I fear it’s long past time to zero out the agency completely, before they waste any more of the money looted from American taxpayers on stupid crap, such as a new study that promotes totalitarian collectivism – in essence, as the Daily Caller puts it in their headline, communism – as the only sustainable model for civilization:

“Two important features seem to appear across societies that have collapsed,” the study adds. “The stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity and the economic stratification of society into Elites and Masses.”

The NASA study uses a Human And Nature DYnamical (HANDY) formula “to provide a general framework that allows carrying out ‘thought experiments’ for the phenomenon of collapse and to test changes that would avoid it.” In other words, the model only takes into account general characteristics of fallen civilizations, and not the specifics.

What did the study find? That collapse is hard to avoid in unequal societies as “[e]lites grow and consume too much, resulting in a famine among Commoners that eventually causes the collapse of society.”

Limits on resources harm the working class, while the wealthy are largely insulated from the problem, meaning resources continue to be used without regard to the cost to society. For example, “an increase in vehicle fuel efficiency technology tends to enable increased per capita vehicle miles driven, heavier cars, and higher average speeds, which then negate the gains from the increased fuel-efficiency.”

The only way to avoid calamity is to adopt egalitarian methods of resource distribution if resource consumption is limited and distributed equally — eerily reminiscent of those who champion population control or communism.

“Collapse can be avoided, and population can reach a steady state at the maximum carrying capacity, if the rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed equitably,” according to the report.

Of all the things we might ask NASA, or any other part of the federal government, to do, this sort of dorm-room B.S. about population control and command economics is pretty close to the bottom of the list.  Combine it with NASA’s role in pushing the global-warming scam, and you’ve got an agency doing more to push mankind back to a more primitive state than build a bridge to the stars.

The last thing we need is public money frittered away on pseudo-intellectual pornography for “population bomb” cultists:

Arguments made in this report are similar to those made by White House science czar John Holdren, who has suggested that government should limit the size of the population in order to keep the Earth from becoming unlivable.

Holdren used to collaborate with fellow scholar Paul Ehrlich, who wrote the controversial 1968 book “The Population Bomb.”  One such collaboration resulted in a textbook passage that argued that coercive population control methods could be permissible under the U.S. Constitution.

“Indeed, it has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society,” Holdren and Ehrlich wrote. “Few today consider the situation in the United States serious enough to justify compulsion, however.”

Paul Ehrlich, the guy who’s always been wrong about everything?  That’s the kind of “science” we need at NASA!  And if even the chief gurus of this lunacy concede nobody thinks the situation is serious enough to contemplate their dark fantasies about sterilization and suicide booths, why are we spending tax money to indulge more of their science fiction?  On second thought, that’s really not fair to actual science fiction, which could at least have an exciting plot in which interesting characters are declared superfluous by the People’s Glorious Council on Sustainability, and struggle to escape from solar-powered organ-harvesting people-mulching Ehrlich-worshipping doombots.  Heck, three whole chapters of the book formed in my head while I was typing that sentence.  Send me a NASA grant and I’ll write it up.

To the extent this NASA-funded “study” on the joys of collectivism merits any direct response, let me just ask: Has anyone over at Starfleet Command ever actually looked at what a real collectivist system is like?  They are not sustainable ecological wonderlands.  The disparity between workers and the ruling class is invariably greater in a People’s Republic.  And to address a specific point cited in the excerpt above, increased fuel efficiency technology might be bring us higher travel speeds, but it’s also bringing lighter cars, not heavier, and we’ve got the traffic fatality statistics to prove it.

No system of political control or resource allocation approaches the actual real-world triumph of free-market capitalism, a point that should have been made clear to the no-growth crowd when their guru Ehrlich lost his famous wager over projected resource shortages to economist Julian Simon.  The productivity and creativity unleashed by economic freedom are far superior to the parlous and threadbare results of central planning, which never works nearly as efficiently or honestly in practice as it does on paper.  Among the many reasons for the superiority of economic freedom is the simple human truth that people take care of what they own, but tend to be careless with what they are given.

There are also the sad deficiencies of even the most honest central command to consider.  Even if every trace of political malevolence and greed were somehow factored out of the equation – and history has yet to bring us a single collectivist society ruled by an order of impoverished monks – there is no centralized system that will ever be able to detect changing conditions and respond to shifting opportunities as well as the distributed intelligence of an ownership society.  The disparity in performance grows as the size of the society in question increases, reaching proportions that are horrifying on the scale of a large nation, let alone the entire planet.

Every attempt to organize humans like a colony of ants is doomed to failure, no matter how many academic studies are funded in support of arrogant fantasies to the contrary.  It’s not only a waste of resources to support these fantasies, it’s actively dangerous, because it sustains a mindset that causes terrible grief and suffering every time it gains even a tiny bit of power.  It only takes a few quotable lines about the “equitable distribution of resources,” from documents infused with the prestige of the U.S. government, to get certain dark hearts beating faster.

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