Neil Armstrong's Legacy – We Need It Now More Than Ever … Neil Armstrong, the first man to step on the moon, died last Saturday … The Republican convention, hurricane Isaac and many other issues dominated the news, even though Neil Armstrong represents something that had far more impact on our lives than this hurricane, or anyone attending this convention. Neil Armstrong represents the adventurous spirit of an innovator willing to lead from the front. Advances in flight, and space travel, might have happened without him – or maybe not. Neil Armstrong was willing to see what could be done, willing to experiment and take chances, without being overly concerned about failure. Rather than worrying about what could go wrong, he was willing to see what could go right! What Neil Armstrong told us all, and practiced with his actions, was to never stop setting crazy goals. Even when the immediate benefit may be unclear. The journey of discovery unleashes opportunities which create their own benefits – for society, and for our economy. Losing Neil Armstrong is an enormous loss, because we need leaders like him now more than ever. – Forbes
Dominant Social Theme: NASA's space program in the 20th century was among the most important chapters of human civilization.
Free-Market Analysis: A recent article over at Forbes, above, gives us a jumping off point to evaluate the legacy of America's manned space program. After all, the legacy of the space program is deeply ingrained in America's collective heart and mind.
We've run articles in the past questioning the entire NASA space program. As believers in directed history, we tend to find there's much about NASA's behavior in the 20th century that seems questionable.
But even assuming NASA did all it said it did, the debunkery of NASA itself doesn't seem to have stopped. On YouTube it seems more active than ever. Polls show that increasing numbers of young people are skeptical of NASA's claims.
Thus, now that NASA's most iconic figure has died, let's revisit NASA from the standpoint of power elite dominant social themes. Our argument is these themes are being gradually undermined by what we call the Internet Reformation. The power elite's fear-based promotions are being exposed for the falsehoods they are.
The NASA promotion was set up in the 20th century to take advantage of the Cold War. The idea was to use the fear of the Soviet enemy to create monstrous bureaucracies that would make clear to people that only fedgov could provide a counterweight in a dangerous world.
NASA, in other words, was a metaphor for omnipotent leviathan. We can tell that it was a promotion because like so many promotions it surges and pauses, depending on how the powers-that-be want to use it.
But it is not what it was. And in this article we ask why not … and more importantly, why NASA hasn't been able to stamp out the debunkery that is rife on the Internet.
Granting that NASA did all it said it did, the continued upsurge in skepticism is notable and may have fairly serious implications for the future and the ability of the power elite to continue to provide a believable narrative on any one of a number of fronts.
The Forbes article is a good example of NASA meme-building as it as been practiced for decades. It explains that Armstrong's legacy "represents the adventurous spirit of an innovator willing to lead from the front … Rather than worrying about what could go wrong, he was willing to see what could go right!"
The article elaborates on this perception. "His history of try, fail, test, improve, try, succeed is an example for all leaders." It also provides specific advice generated by America's space triumph:
Firstly, know what you are talking about. Have the right education, obtain data and apply good analysis to everything you do. Don't operate just "from your gut," or on intuition, but rather know what you're talking about, and lead with knowledge.
Second, don't be afraid to experiment, learn, improve and grow. Don't rest on what people have done, and proven, before. Don't accept limits just because that's how it was previously done.
Constantly build upon the past to reach new heights. Just because it has not been done before does not mean it cannot be done.
The article concludes with an impassioned, desperate plea for a "bigger, better funded NASA." It is positioned in economic as well as historical terms, as we can see from this statement:
It was, without a doubt, the most successful economic stimulus program in American history – even though politicians have been moving in the opposite direction for nearly 2 decades!
The very last part of the article bemoans the lack of aspiration in the United States when it comes to manned space flight.
Nobody seems to care about going to space any more … But … [w]e have barely begun understanding the implications of growth created by exploring space. Only our imaginations are limited, not the opportunity.
But as we have pointed out, these sorts of exhortations are losing their effectiveness in the 21st century. When one examines the NASA legacy, one increasingly has to deal with debunkers and accusations of a hoax.
Debunkers claim that if scenes of walking on the moon were properly prepared in advance, then only a very few would need to know. What if those who WERE in on the secret believed what they did because they were convinced it was a national security issue. In other words, these individuals lied out of patriotism. Here's the conclusion from one debunking website, ApolloAnomolies.com:
If NASA actually sent men to the moon six times, then why did they find it necessary to fake photos and film clips shot during the Apollo missions? Some people believe that NASA faked the moon landings upon learning that it wasn't possible to overcome the technical difficulties in going to the moon – that if they couldn't make it, they'd fake it.
Others, including myself, believe that it was NASA's intent to defraud the American people from the outset as they knew all along that it wasn't a goal that could be achieved. The reason they did this is hinted at by what was undoubtedly accomplished: each Apollo Saturn V lofted a payload into Earth's orbit.
We've been told that this payload included a functioning lunar module and command module and that they were later sent on a trajectory to the moon, but if no moon landing actually took place then it's a pretty safe bet that no lunar module or command module capable of functioning as advertised was ever onboard a Saturn V rocket during lift-off. That being the case, one wonders just what payload was actually placed into Earth orbit during each Apollo mission.
Could it be that these payloads were of a military nature? Lacking congressional support for their plans, perhaps NASA and the Pentagon found another means of achieving their goals. If legislators wouldn't support their vision, then NASA and the gang had only to dress their vision as one that would be supported.
By igniting the public's imagination with a vision of landing men on the moon and returning them safely back to Earth (a goal which conveniently encompasses that of placing a military payload into Earth's orbit), NASA and the Pentagon easily obtained the thirty billion or so funding they sought from the unwary American taxpayers.
While we TV viewers were unknowingly watching pre-recorded film footage of actornauts performing on a moonscape, in reality, a crew of NASA employees were busy sending a shiny new military or spy satellite on its merry way…
Sounds implausible you say? Bear in mind that following in the wake of this so-called "greatest achievement of mankind," the entire emphasis of the American space program suddenly shifted from heady "space exploration" to the ho hum development of a better "space" delivery vehicle that could do no more than simply achieve Earth orbit!
Add to that, hardly more than a decade had passed following the final Apollo mission before Reagan was seen announcing his controversial Star Wars program! Was Apollo really just about space exploration as we were told, or was it a clever deception employed in pursuit of the unauthorized, unilateral control of space?
The argument, then, is that people could maintain a sense of conspiratorial purpose if they felt or were told that the reason for their connivance was a patriotic one. Additionally, debunkers claim that those who would not go along with the conspiracy (mostly astronauts) met with grim fates and died untimely deaths.
The debunkers point to literally hundreds of anomalies and alternative realities when it comes to what they consider the flawed narrative of landing men on the moon. This debunkery then extends to the larger debunkery of modern history which conspiratorial historians claim is entirely artificial, from the staged depressions, to the unnecessary wars, to the other fear-based propaganda about running out of food, water and energy. The idea is always to celebrate the state and advance toward world government.
Here are some statistics from a CNN article entitled, "Could the Moon Landings Have Been Faked?"
A 1999 Gallup poll found that a scant 6 percent of Americans doubted the Apollo 11 moon landing happened, and there is anecdotal evidence that the ranks of such conspiracy theorists, fueled by innuendo-filled documentaries and the Internet, are growing.
Twenty-five percent of respondents to a survey in the British magazine Engineering & Technology said they do not believe humans landed on the moon … And a Google search … for "Apollo moon landing hoax" yielded more than 1.5 billion results.
This is the real legacy of NASA's moon landings. It may be one of inspiration and courage but it is also one of massive incompetence and inept public relations. Instead of properly combating the "debunkers," NASA has allowed the debunking to continue with up to 25 percent of some informed audiences now believing men did not go to the moon.
It is a legacy of bitterness, distrust and resentment about unconvincing scenarios that paint government achievement in an increasingly dubious light. The more NASA contemptuously stonewalls by not explaining about "petrified" moon rocks and why it would secretly retouch the most important historical video footage ever made (men landing on the moon), the more people will have doubts about the larger credibility of the narrative.
In the Internet era one needs to fight such evidence with facts, not just lofty pronouncements.
See also, "Wagging the Moondoggie."