A lot of things happened at the United Nations this week, the vast majority of which gives us no reason whatsoever to care about it. The UN is largely a symbolic organization that now spends a good deal of its time hating on Israel and supporting movements filthy with social justice advocacy.
Among the things that we actually should care about is the ire that seems to be thrown at the billionaire space race currently happening among the uber-wealthy. It’s a sentiment that I’ve seen pop up from time to time, usually amongst the leftists who think billionaires are only fit for guillotines, but also among those who think that all that spending could be better used for things happening terrestrially.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was one such space-race naysayer who went so far as to denounce the activity in his opening remarks. According to the Associated Press, Guterres complained about “billionaires joyriding to space while millions go hungry on Earth” and spread a “malady of mistrust” among the starving.
This is a really foolish position to take and you’d think that after thousands of years of human technological development we’d have learned a very simple lesson about what does and doesn’t benefit humanity.
In order to make my point, I’m going to go all the way back to make a scenario taking place at around 10,000 BC where some genius and his followers were burying seeds in the dirt. Up to that time, animal domestication had allowed for a reliable food source to travel with them in their nomadic lifestyle, but why settle for some food when you can have more?
Our hero, whom we’ll call Brichard Ranson, worked out that seeds, when planted under the ground and watered, would sprout more food-bearing plants, and settling on a nice plot of land, he began to do something no one had done before, sow seeds.
“It’s a waste of food!” cried one of his detractors, Gantonio Auterres. “You’re taking the berries and seeds we painstakingly gathered and are throwing them into the ground when you could be out there helping gather more or taking care of the animals!”
However, it wasn’t long before Ranson was proven correct and plants began springing up out of the ground, sprouting more food in one place than they had gathered in a week looking all over. Soon, they expanded the operation, bringing forth a surplus of vegetables and fruits benefiting the entire tribe. The next thing the tribe figured out is that nobody should ever listen to Auterres.
Various people throughout humanity’s existence would do exactly as Ranson did. They would use materials they acquired to conduct experiments that seemed strange or wasteful at the time, only to develop technologies and methods that would shape and mold humanity as a whole, benefiting and growing it beyond the scope of what many imagined.
Ben Franklin would put a key on a kite to attract electricity, Samuel F.B. Morse (my relative) would use stored electricity and two pieces of metal to send messages across wires, Alexander Graham Bell would improve on it by finding a way to send his voice over these wires, and we can move it up and up and up until we arrive at Steve Jobs making it possible to press a glass screen a few times in order to make a pizza show up at your house. We’ve come a long way from burying seeds in the ground, though we still do that too.
My point is pretty obvious.
It may look like billionaires are launching themselves into space for the fun of it, and indeed they partly are, but these billionaires aren’t much too dissimilar from our neolithic seed planter. It looks like a waste, but in reality, it’s the baby steps in advancing the human race toward being a space-faring species. Once we’ve mastered the art of traveling through space, and doing so quickly, we can begin resource gathering, and I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s a lot of resources to be gathered out there that would go a long way in benefiting humanity.
And who knows what kind of technologies we’ll discover as a result of our experiences? With the right application of technologies, world hunger may actually become something of an issue of the past and medicine may advance to the point where 90 is the new 30.
Some may consider these billionaires flaunting their money wastefully, but I see the future. I see these billionaires doing more to improve the lives of humanity far more than these naysayers in suits ever could.