Thank God for Curious Billionaires

(Niall Carson/PA Wire(/PA via AP)

If you had more money than you’d know what to do with, what would you do? Would you buy up a mansion on a tropical island and let your money work for you in the markets while you sip mai tais? Would you begin a massive car collection that would make Jay Leno blush? Would you give a lot of it away to charity in an attempt to help the needy?

Or would you do what other billionaires have done recently and begin trying to solve the mysteries of the cosmos or obtain a better understanding of the world around us through exploration?

I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but think I’d be sitting somewhere among the latter group. If I was a billionaire sitting on piles of cash, I’d want to do what Elon Musk did and design a better rocket or help invent a stasis system for crews of long-term space voyages. I’d try to invent a new type of engine that relies on far more powerful and less consumptive fuel. I’ve always had a fascination with space travel and if I can bring sci-fi to reality then that’s probably what’d I’d end up doing.

The billionaires of today’s age can get up to some really incredible stuff. You can do a lot with a lot, and billionaires have a lot to do a lot with. It’s my honest opinion that when it comes to the advancement of the human race, a curious billionaire is the soil from which progress grows. They’re willing to create businesses and assemble teams in order to snag manifestations out of conceptual air.

But not everyone thinks like this.

As I wrote when I tackled this subject previously, there are people who believe that billionaires shouldn’t be trying to bring the future to the present when the present has enough problems to solve as it is. I think this a pretty foolish view as nothing solves the world’s current problems quite like futuristic thinking. To highlight this, I compared United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres getting angry with billionaires engaging in the space race to people getting angry with humanity’s first farmers:

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.

As RedState’s Streiff previously reported, a few curious billionaires decided to take a submersible craft down to the wreckage of the Titanic to see what they could find. As of this writing, that submersible is now lost and a search is now underway to find them.

The reaction to the news that a submersible full of rich people has been lost has sparked some heinous responses on Twitter, with some people celebrating that some rich billionaires are getting what they deserve for being…rich billionaires?

One of the more tame responses came when the Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh professed to have respect for people that engage in dangerous attempts at discovery and said he was perplexed at people’s “reflexive contempt” for the people trapped in the submarine. It’s a confusion that I share myself.

Someone responded that they shouldn’t even be exploring the Titanic in the first place since it doesn’t do anything to advance mankind’s understanding at all at this point. Walsh’s response was a good one.

“We know almost nothing about the depths of the ocean,” responded Walsh. “Every trip that deep can advance mankind’s understanding of the world. They certainly have a greater chance of discovering something than you’ve ever had or ever will have in your life.”

What people seem to misunderstand is that there are no broken threads when it comes to events. Every cause has an effect and every effect spurs another effect. At some point, something caused Musk to look up at the stars and he’s been trying to get to them ever since. Now we have reusable rockets. Likewise, some guy from the 13th century BC in modern-day Turkey wondered if he could make something harder than iron and eventually discovered steel.

A billionaire’s trip to the bottom of the ocean might seem like a wasteful venture meant to amuse a rich guy for a minute, but that trip might spark an event. Sure, he might not discover anything new that we haven’t already discovered before in the wreckage of the Titanic, but he might discover an idea that he can then turn into a solution or a new method of exploration. He may develop an obsession that causes him to assemble top minds for a project that takes us to new depths or maybe something completely different.

Exploration is not a waste and if it takes billionaires to go where people typically don’t for us to get to the next leap in our technological evolution then that’s what should be happening. We should be encouraging these billionaires to do these things, not cursing them every time they do something we can’t because it’s too expensive.

If we listened to the naysayers, we’d still be languishing in the technologies of the past.


Trending on RedState Videos