I’m pleased to announce that this Friday, my Space Humanities program finally lived up to some of its promise. The Departmental activity started with us watching a documentary about a group of American anarcho-capitalists who had attempted to rent-out the Mir space station during the late 1990s for their own personal goals; I admit, that, while I mostly enjoyed the film, I had to roll my eyes mercilessly at its hagiography of convicted tax cheat Walter Anderson*.
Afterwards, the class was broken into groups for a debate: Be it resolved that government bureaucracy should get entirely out of the space industry and leave it to the private sector. As luck would have it, I was given the task of defending the bureaucracy.
Needless to say, my team won the debate. This was probably due in large part to the fact that I had been mentally thinking of such arguments for more than a week, and in larger part to the fact that it is easy to defend a correct answer.
*That doesn’t mean that he has never done anything praiseworthy, mind you, but if you’re going to praise him for his rugged individualism then it is intellectually dishonest not to point out that his crimes are rooted in the same ideology. And yes, I do consider tax evasion to be a form of theft from the public.