Thursday, July 16, 2009

Could We Even Do a Moon Shot Now?

If the race to the moon were to happen now, instead of 40 years ago, can you imagine how NASA would select its astronauts?

Would the best and brightest candidates be named to the nation's astronaut corps, or would placement be weighted for minorities, gender identification and calculations as to who would "look better" on TV?

Tom Piatak, who recently visited Cape Canaveral, has some observations on what has changed in our society.

Although Americans are still capable of great achievements, they no longer seem part of our birthright. How many watching as Armstrong took his famous step would have believed that, 40 years later, America would essentially be broke, deeply in debt to a country whose citizens spent 1969 adulating history’s greatest mass murderer and actively trying to destroy their country’s traditions and culture? And one of the reasons for this stunning reversal of fortune is the American cultural revolution that was raging even as the Apollo astronauts were landing on the moon.

Those men grew up in a country that believed that most obstacles could be overcome, and that those that could not be overcome should be accepted with quiet dignity; that valued excellence; and that saw its own history as preeminently a story of achievement. All of this was called into question in the ‘60s. The contrast between the stoicism and resolve of the Apollo astronauts, and the tawdry emotionalism so prevalent today, could not be more stark: those men were interested in solving problems, not in getting in touch with their feelings. Since then, we have seen a lowering of standards across the board, from grade inflation and the dumbing down of tests and curricula in schools to a widespread acceptance of low standards, loose morals, coarse manners, slovenly dress, and trashy entertainment.

They were selected to go into space for the simple reason that they were the best men for the job, a criterion that today is often no longer enough, as Frank Ricci discovered. Today’s NASA seems as interested in trumpeting its commitment to multiculturalism and diversity as in the exploration of space, a commitment that would have struck the men who actually planned and achieved multiple landings on the moon as simply irrelevant to what they were doing.

I remember the 60s perhaps a bit more than Tom, who is younger than I, but he is spot on. I'm not sure, even with today's technology, we could do a moonshot and make it work. We have the tools and the potential, but we don't have the will nor the sense God gave a goose when it comes to getting things done.

We'd have so damn many environmental and sociological "experts" demanding this and that; safety would be compromised because political correctness is the top order of the day at all levels of our government and too much of society.

Labels: , , ,


At 7:47 PM, Anonymous Tom Piatak said...

Thanks very much for commenting on my piece!


Post a Comment

<< Home