NASA no longer knows the whereabouts of the original tapes of man's first landing on the moon nearly 40 years ago, an official of the US space agency said. "NASA is searching for the original tapes of the Apollo 11 spacewalk on July 21, 1969," said Ed Campion, a spokesman for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, a Washington suburb. The tapes record the famous declaration of Apollo astronaut Neil Armstrong (pictured left), the first man on the moon, as he set foot on its surface: "That's one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind." The original tapes could be somewhere at the Goddard center or in the archives network of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Campion said. The search for the tapes began about a year and a half ago when the Goddard Space Flight Center's authorities realized they no longer knew where they were after retired employees asked to consult them. Armstrong, the first human to walk on the moon, was the commander of the first US lunar mission aboard the Apollo 11 capsule, with astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. – AFP
Dominant Social Theme: Oops, another snafu.
Free-Market Analysis: NASA's admission that it has lost the original footage of men on the moon will not sit well, of course, with the conspiratorial crowd. But there are other issues involved, and they have to do with a flood of skepticism that seems to be overtaking the worldwide Web. The longer this sort of electronic communication takes place, the more skeptical viewers seem to become. It is hard to quantify such skepticism of course, but one simply needs to read the articles and feedbacks on the ‘Net to see the trend – and it is likely growing.
But to specifics … The trouble with this latest snafu is that it comes on the back of others that empower a level of conspiratorialism. Only a few days ago, a US military man refused to go to war based on his belief that Barack Obama was not a legitimate American president because he had not been born there. Even worse: The very next day the army granted his request without comment and has since been on the defensive.
The military seems to have a reasonable explanation – leaders decided to grant the man his request because he would have been a drag on morale if he'd been sent. And NASA has a good reason why it can't find the man on the moon originals – they've likely been erased. But despite such reasonable explanations, the tide of conspiratorial notions – and believers in them – is evidently expanding.
The Internet allows conspiratorial theorists to share information and reinforce each others' belief systems. But there are other reasons, most specifically the size and secrecy of Western Governments. The European Union (see other article this issue) long maintained that it had no ambitions to be a United States of Europe, yet that is what it now seems intent on becoming. The financial crisis has revealed the awe-inspiring powers of central banks that create trillions of dollars out of nothing and then provide even more when that's not enough.
Here at the Daily Bell, we've documented the ongoing collapse of support for the American Federal Reserve, but it is becoming obvious now that something else is happening as well. What has begun with a lack of support for the American central bank is spreading out into a generalized lack of support for the belief structures upon which Western governments are built.
Almost any claim that Western – and especially American – governments make immediately is drowned in scrutiny on the ‘Net. And like a vast echo chamber, previous controversies return again to the forefront, embellished and with new information and potential scenarios. Even the assassination of President John F. Kennedy continues to provide a deluge of books and Internet articles that seek to debunk the official story. But an increasing number of Americans question whether men ever walked on the moon, whether 9/11 was entirely the work of Al Quada, or even that President Barack Obama was born in America.
The long-ago Gutenberg printing press in its later incarnations left a trail of destruction behind. The Catholic Church, the divinity of Kings, the entire structure of medieval Europe was eventually blown up by the books and pamphlets that poured from the printing press. Sooner or later, it does not even matter whether the information being presented is true or not. The ongoing flood of information from a new communications' venue gradually chips away at the state's credibility until people instinctively respond with cynicism rather than patriotism, with visceral disbelief rather than tolerance.
A state without a viable and controllable information methodology is eventually a failed state. There must be believable memes that are subscribed to by the majority of citizens. When, over time, a nation's dominant social themes come under increased scrutiny, the result is eventually a splintering of the citizens' consensus about how they ought to be led and by whom. A theme that is currently under attack in the Internet age is central banking — and such attacks may eventually lead to a gold or silver standard within the larger Western world. But that may only be the beginning.