Today I received the latest Spacefaring Web (3.12: “Closing the Final Frontier”) from John Carter Mcknight.
Sorry, no link…because, of course, his website is still a useless mess.
It’s mish-mash of paranoid handwringing:
Now, in an age of bioterrorism (a term unrecognized by my Word 2000 spellchecker, amusingly enough), preventive war, recession, and that sense of dis-equilibrium that precedes collapse, those days of the cyberspace frontier do seem like a lost golden age.
…dire and overwrought warnings of impending enslavement:
What was once the American military-industrial complex has become the infrastructure of global empire. Within a lifetime, it could spread through the Solar System, and any future space colony could look an awful lot like occupied Iraq: the steady flow of resources to the shareholders back home ensured by the legions, with neither the employees nor the wogs having the freedom to criticize management.
…anti-military and anti-corporate cliches:
But these companies have an established way of doing business, one built upon unaccountable power. In Iraq, the symbiotic relationship between army and contractor yields a logic of repression: threats to the nominally-civilian contractors, or the economic assets they control, lead to repression of civil rights by the military occupation, which exacerbates resistance, and on. Given that guard duties are performed by contractors, with a different set of rules of engagement than the publicly-answerable Army, even civilian inquiry into management practices may be met with threats of deadly force.
…handwringing over the dreaded Military Industrial Complex™:
There will be space hotels, and orbital O’Neill colonies, and science towns on Mars. But they won’t be built by the plucky entrepreneurs with tables at space-advocacy conferences. They’ll be built by companies like Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), Bechtel and Booz Allen Hamilton. Companies that are effectively wholly-owned subsidiaries of the US Department of Defense – or vice versa.
I used to really enjoy reading his essays. Unfortunately, they’ve steadily turned to crap…from interesting perspectives on different avenues to and social and political aspects of space settlement, to venom, histrionics, and paranoia. It’s disappointing.