by Brad Nelson 7/23/14
What was the defining event in my life? Burning my bra (assuming I had one)? Occupying Wall Street? Community organizing (aka “rabble rousing”)? In truth, there may not have been a defining moment, but Apollo XI came close.
A nice pictorial review on National Review reminded me that July 20 marks the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and the first steps of mankind on another world. Kudos to whoever at National Review put together that nice retrospective.
Given that my birthday (July 24) is the day that they returned to earth (splashing down within 12 miles of the Hornet), that was one of my most memorable birthdays as well. I was eleven years old. I was old enough to know that something extraordinary was occurring and young enough to have my imagination fully fired by it.
No, this did not then spur me on to become a Navy aviator. But many did gain that kind of inspiration. For me, my life went on, fully terrestrial. And with all cautions regarding finding one’s meaning through the government, this was one instance in which only the most cranky libertarian (meaning all of them) could object to this government program.
Still, NASA has never been the same since then as bureaucratic sclerosis dampened what used to be a focused and driving purpose. Now the purpose of NASA, at least according to Obama, is to make Muslims feel like they are not as backward as they are. Good luck with that.
By the way, a good movie to help capture the enthusiasm of that time is The Dish, starring Sam Neill. The review is by yours truly.
When I was growing up, the rocket shots were a common occurrence. Starting with Project Mercury (1959-63), then Project Gemini (1965-1966), and clear through the Apollo program (1961-1972) it seemed as if there was a major rocket shot every three months. For the benefit of modern audiences, that’s the equivalent of a new version of the iPhone being introduced by Apple every week.
The space program was a time before the pussification of American culture, when the idea of being bold, strong, and a world leader was not considered “imperialist.” I look back on that space program as a great age. Many libtards lament “We should have spent all that money on the poor.” But we have spent all that money — and much more — on “the poor” and have nothing to show for it.
It’s funny how actual progress (which the space program unequivocally was) tends not to be the type of thing embraced by “Progressives.” But then, so much of “Progressivism” is actually Ludditism. They’re against most modern technologies (other than iPhones) for one silly and regressive reason or another. This pussy culture believes in wind mills and unicorns rather than technology (such as fracking) that actual works and is of benefit to mankind.
Frankly, we are no longer an America who could produce these great men who risked everything. And more important than just risk — for even fools take great risks — is that they accomplished something. And the goals they set were impossible goals by any fair standard. We can’t even build a simple pipeline from Canada — and we already know how to build pipelines. But these guys built stuff that no one knew how to build. They were doing what had never been done, and they pulled it off.
And given the pollution and poison that “Progressivism,” Leftism, Communism, secularism, and socialism have dumped into Western Civilization — where anti-Americanism is now the reigning fashion — it’s worth noting that at the time, Apollo 11 was a world event. And although it was indeed the American flag that was planted on the lunar surface (and rightfully so), a plaque left on the moon attached to the lander read, “Here men from the planet earth first set foot upon the moon, July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”
Imagine the Soviets having the humility to do such a thing. Imagine the me-laced speech our Narcissist-in-Chief would have given if he were president at the time. Not only were our astronauts (and the program execs) brave, but they had some class as well. Certainly Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins had proven that over the years.
Cynicism and self-doubt are not our birthright. We should remember the great things accomplished before the rot of Leftism crippled our goodness and our resolve. It is not wearing rose-tinted glasses to say that the American space program was a worthy and important effort, especially when contrasted to the equivalent of the moon program today: the attempt to eradicate soda-pop fizz as some supposed dire threat to the planet.
Honor those men and that time. They deserve it. And they gave us many fond memories of an America before the hippies and their ilk destroyed it.
Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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