The Long View 2005-09-20: Holy Libertarians on the Moon

Lunar Moon Base David A Hardy

Lunar Moon Base David A Hardy

I've benefited from programs in the state of Arizona that allow tax dollars to be redirected to Catholic schools by individual taxpayers, but I get what John Reilly is saying here about the dangers to churches of becoming dependent on public funding.


Holy Libertarians on the Moon

 

Regarding the use of public funds to support religious schools, I have long believed that the United States has overdone the restriction of the practice, both as a matter of policy and of what the Constitution actually requires. On the other hand, sometimes I read statements like this, and I wonder whether I should have thrown away that last solicitation letter from the ACLU:

Archbishop J. Michael Miller, secretary of the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education, said Europeans "are absolutely amazed at the situation in the United States," one of the few nations in the world that provides little or no public funding for the education of children in religiously run schools. That policy puts the United States "in the company of Mexico, North Korea, China and Cuba," he said.

Citing "the enormous contribution to society made by Catholic schools," he said providing public funding for that service is a matter of distributive justice. The right to a Catholic education "is so fundamental to the life of the church that this struggle cannot be given up," he said.

The most interesting thing about this statement is that Archbishop Miller is a Canadian. He comes from a country where religious denominations of all sorts recently faced bankruptcy because of law suits resulting from their long tradition of accepting public money to perform social-service functions. As for Europe, of course, the state-subsidy model for religious institutions has done a remarkably thorough job of turning church pastors into museum curators.

Reasonable people can argue about whether students at denominational schools, or at any schools, should get tuition vouchers from the government, or whether the state should pay for textbooks, regardless of where children go to school. The assertion that the state must do these things as a matter of "distributive justice" is too stupid to discuss.

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There is such a thing as no-government religious conservatism. This is not a position I find congenial, but it's not new, as we see here. In any case, President Bush's New-Deal-like plans for the reconstruction of the Katrina Zone seem to have energized its proponents, if we may so judge from this essay, The Coming Conservative Collapse, by one Vox Day, who styles himself "a novelist and Christian libertarian":

Real conservatives now understand they have been betrayed – badly – by this fraudulent man. Compassionate conservatism, as it turns out, is simply another name for Great Society liberalism, and not even the Texas swagger is original. Genuinely conservative Republicans are dismayed by the president's unveiling of his core liberalism and rightly fear for the future of a party which has likely seen its high-water mark already.

This is the opposite of the problem in the Republican coalition that Ralph Reed described some years ago. During the Reagan Administration, it was values voters who suspected that the Republican Party wanted their votes but not their ideas; now it is the libertarians who feel defrauded.

Mr. Day's essay begins with a lament that has a lesson to teach:

The turn of the century was supposed to be the triumph of the conservatives. From the dark era of the Democrat-dominated '60s and '70s, conservatives began their protracted march toward electoral power, culminating finally in the long-awaited capture of all three branches of the federal government. The Reagan Revolution was finally to be realized in earnest!

The lesson is that the Left and the Right of every era are linked opposites, like a pair of particles with positive and negative charges. When they collide, one does not survive the other. They cancel each other out.

* * *

Seriously interested in disaster studies? This may be the magazine for you: The Journal of Risk and Uncertainty. This area of study may become an academic growth industry. The important point is that it seems to be a reaction against environmentalist hysteria.

On the other hand, if you like your apocalyptic straight, do not neglect The Temple Institute, a Jerusalem-based organization dedicated to building the Third Temple. These folks seem to be connected with the settler movements, but the material on the site is all very measured and informative. There is a FAQ which answers such questions as "Why do we leave out the "o" in G-d?" and "Where is the Ark of the Covenant?" The answer to the latter does not cite II Machabbees 2: 1-7.

It is entirely possible I am missing something here, but the images and descriptions of the Temple on this site seem oddly pastel. Wasn't the Temple, at least in large part, an abattoir?

* * *

Does anyone at NASA not take drugs?? What possessed these people to unveil a $104-billion lunar exploration program just after Katrina drowned the Bush Administration's fiscal policy; and such a program!:

Robert L. Park [is] a physicist at the University of Maryland and an official at the American Physical Society, which has opposed many piloted space programs as scientifically unproductive. "This is a poison pill."

Dr. Park noted that in 1961 Kennedy promised a Moon landing "before this decade is out" and that the nation did so in eight years. By contrast, he said, Mr. Bush's goal is to redo the same accomplishment in 14 years, nearly twice as long.

"We went to Moon because of the cold war and won hands down," he said. "Now there's no political reason to do it."

There is political support for NASA because there is diffuse but persistent popular support for human settlement in space. In point of fact, the only way to seriously explore the terrestrial-type planets of the solar system is by having people live there who do geology in their spare time, but scientific research is a secondary motivation.

We have already been to the moon. We know that a ship that lands there will not sink into an ocean of dust or be attacked by space bats. The return to the moon should, at the first instance, involve the founding of a base that will always be manned. Don't bring the astronauts home all at once; rotate them out one at a time and replace them.

* * *

Space colonization requires an expanding population, and the New York Times knows just where to get one, if we are to believe this frontpage article: Many Women at Elite Colleges Set Career Path to Motherhood:

At Yale and other top colleges, women are being groomed to take their place in an ever more diverse professional elite. It is almost taken for granted that, just as they make up half the students at these institutions, they will move into leadership roles on an equal basis with their male classmates.

There is just one problem with this scenario: many of these women say that is not what they want.

The flipside of this, of course, is that you need a corresponding uptick in the number of young men who are are keen to be young fathers, and who can be trusted in middle age not to take trophy wives. My impression is that more such people are on offer, but I have no statistics.

In any case, we can expect institutional support for reproductive rights to collapse if people try to use them to reproduce. Watch.

Copyright © 2005 by John J. Reilly

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