The Military is Good For Space Exploration

The experience of space exploration gives no unique philosophy; to some extent, each group tends to see its own philosophical view reflected, and not always by the soundest logic: Nikita Khrushchev stressed that in the space flight of Yuri Gagarin no angels or other supernatural beings were detected; and, in almost perfect counterpoint, the Apollo 8 astronauts read from lunar orbit the Babylonian cosmogony enshrined in Genesis, Chapter 1, as if to reassure their American audience that the exploration of the Moon was not really in contradiction to anyone's religious beliefs. But it is striking how space exploration leads directly to religious and philosophical questions.

I believe that military control of manned space flight – in practice in the Soviet Union and a subject of current debate in the United States – is a step that supporters of peace should back. The military establishments of the United States and the Soviet Union are, I am afraid, establishments with vested interests in war. They are meticulously trained for war; in time of war, there are rapid promotions, increases in pay, and opportunities for valor that are absent in peacetime. Where eager readiness for warfare exists, the likelihood of intentional or accidental warfare becomes much greater. By virtue of their training and temperament, military men are often not interested in other sorts of gainful employment. There are few other ways of life with the perquisites of power of the military officer. If peace broke out, the officer corps, their services no longer as necessary, would be profoundly discomfited. Premier Khrushchev once attempted to cashier a large number of senior officers in the Red Army, putting them in charge of hydroelectric power stations and the like. This was not to their liking, and in something like a year most of them were back in their old jobs. In fact, the military establishments in the United States and the Soviet Union owe their jobs to each other, and there is a very real sense in which they form a natural alliance against the rest of us.


The competition against other militaries unites them against the public. Space flight would move them into a peacetime occupation.

Folksonomies: space exploration peace military space race

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Soviet Union (0.961895): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Russia (0.748628): website | dbpedia | ciaFactbook | freebase | opencyc | yago
Space exploration (0.714542): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Nikita Khrushchev (0.657591): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Cold War (0.592123): dbpedia | freebase
Red Army (0.589895): dbpedia | freebase | yago
World War II (0.588137): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Joseph Stalin (0.539170): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago

 Carl Sagan's cosmic connection
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Sagan , Carl (2000-10-23), Carl Sagan's cosmic connection, Cambridge Univ Pr, Retrieved on 2012-01-01
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  • Folksonomies: science