50 years

It’s 50 years since Gargarin orbited the planet. In the 20 years after that, we sent men to the moon, started a long-term space station, landed on most of the planets in the inner solar system, and made the first reuseable heavy-lift space vehicle. In the next 30 years…

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that space stalled in the ’80s. Our national psyche changed in the ’70s and ’80s. First we centered on the individual – self worth regardless of the approval of the community. Then we decided that “greed is good”, and made selfishness a virtue. Even religious conservatives have, rather than “denying your father and following Me”, that everything centers on an individual’s family, regardless of the rest of the community.

In the two decades after that, we decided that even a non-binding responsibility of the individual to think of the good of the community was equivalent to Soviet communism. No more pledging “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor” to everyone else in the country – what a bunch of hippies must have written that. I’ll get mine, thank you very much.

We need to get back to thinking that we can do great things as a society for the benefit of all mankind.