Space Liberation!

Don't let naysayers fool you. Richard Branson's space flight is a boon for society.


Matt Welch, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Peter Suderman, and Nick Gillespie break down why this weekend's private space flight is ultimately good for society, and then discuss President Joe Biden's executive order, the antitrust push, and social security. All this and more on this Monday's Reason Roundtable.

Discussed in the show:

1:00: Richard Branson's space flight.

22:23: Biden's executive order is trying to put nutritional labels on the internet (among other things).

34:21: Weekly Listener Question: If you look at the U.S.'s COVID response, the moralistic core was that those of very low risk from it (healthy people under 50, kids) were expected to have their lives derailed to protect those who were of higher risk (the unhealthy and old). This tradeoff came with significant consequences to the livelihoods and education of primarily younger Americans and largely went unquestioned in media. What lessons can we take from this as we stare down the barrel of entitlement insolvency? Will then unquestioned morality be the young must pay the taxes or higher interest rates to make sure retirees maintain their standard of living?

49:22: Weekly media recommendations.

This week's links:

Send your questions to Be sure to include your social media handle and the correct pronunciation of your name.

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Audio production by Ian Keyser
Assistant production by Regan Taylor
Music: "Angeline," by The Brothers Steve

What are we consuming this week?

Peter Suderman

Nick Gillespie

Katherine Mangu-Ward

NEXT: Abigail Shrier: Trans Activists, Cancel Culture, and the Future of Free Expression

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74 responses to “Space Liberation!

  1. It wasn't a space flight. And because it doesn't go into space, there's no commercial use for it other than joy rides.

    There's actually a similar thing called Pegasus to launch rockets from a plane into low Earth Orbit. But that's been around 30 years.

    1. It was a space flight, in that it crossed the boundary of what most people have called "Space". It was not ORBITAL space flight, true.

      When SpaceShipOne won the Ansari X Prize for getting into space, it was a cheerful moment for me. Unfortunately that was 2004, and it would take 17 years for them to turn this into a working business. In the same time, SpaceX already has an orbital launch product.

      Back of the envelope calculations are that you can get 4 private passengers to 10 minutes of "space" for $1 Million ($25,000 per person per minute) with Virgin Galactic. Or you can get 7200 minutes of space (5 days) for 4 people on a SpaceX Crew Dragon for $160 Million ($5500 per person per minute). If you are rich enough to drop $250,000 on a 10 minute ride, wouldn't you want to do the 5 day trip?

      1. 53 miles is short of the 55 miles NASA uses. The rest of the world goes by 100km or 62 miles.

        1. NASA says 50 miles, I believe.

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    1. In space, nobody can hear you scream about the wage gap.

    2. Black Holes Matter!


    JUST IN - Biden allied groups, including the DNC, plan to engage fact-checkers and work with SMS carriers to "dispel misinformation" about vaccines that is sent over social media and text messages (Politico)

    1. Yeah I found the linked article from WSJ about Trump's big tech lawsuit pretty interesting. A lot of the precedents cited seem pretty relevant. And your link is yet another example of big tech operating as state actors by colluding with the ruling regime .

  3. Welcome to the present.

    BOSTON (AP) — The longtime organizer of Boston’s Pride Parade is shutting down after 50 years.

    Boston Pride announced its decision to dissolve with a statement posted to its website on Friday. The group had recently been accused by some within the LGBTQ community of excluding racial minorities and transgender people.

    “It is clear to us that our community needs and wants change without the involvement of Boston Pride,” the group’s Board of Directors wrote in the statement. “We care too much to stand in the way.”

    The group’s executive director announced last month that she would resign in response to the complaints about inclusion.

    Boston Pride had organized several virtual events in June to honor Pride Month but was forced to cancel the annual parade because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    The advocacy group MassEquality called the dissolution a loss for the community, but predicted that a new organization will take over the work of organizing the parade.

    “Boston Pride is bigger than any organization,” MassEquality said in a statement.

    1. That article, like most of the blasé MSM coverage, doesn't do the "eating their own" angle justice. Here's a more comprehensive look.

      Money quote:

      “We wrote in that statement, ‘We stand with Black Lives Matter. We stand against police brutality,’” Casey Dooley, the former chair of Boston Black Pride, told the Globe. “The communications team then gave that letter to the board. The board then proceeded to take out Black Lives Matter and police brutality.”

      So the MSM story of excluding racial minorities and transgender people is just bullshit narrative repeating. The real story is that they held to their mission of gay pride and didn't involve themselves in the expanded worldview of the left. For that, they were tarred as racists and transphobes and ultimately driven to complete collapse.

      It would all be so very delicious if it wasn't for the fact of how insanely corrosive identity politics is.

    2. So Euro Cup 2020 (they insisted on calling it Euro Cup 2020 despite it taking place in 2021) wrapped up yesterday with Italy defeating England in London.
      Couple of storylines here:
      -England hasn't even been in a major tournament final (in World Cup or Euro Cup) in more than 50 years (Spain, Germany, Italy, and France have won multiple during that span).
      -England was loudly booed as they took a knee "tO protest RaCiSm" prior to kickoff every game... and they played every game except one in England.
      -Only 1,000 Italians were allowed to travel to London for the game (about 65,000 total attendance for the final) with the condition that they leave the country within 12 hours.
      -England scored a goal 2 minutes into the game. Italy tied it in the 67th minute. It ended 1-1 after regulation and extra time, sending the game to penalty kicks to decide it. Italy made 3/5, England made 2/5, so Italy wins.
      But here's the kicker (...): all 3 of England's misses were from black players (the 2 white guys made theirs) so the story today is, of course, "all the racial abuse the players are suffering" because of it. London police are investigating
      ESPN won't shut up about it, though the only thing they've specifically mentioned is a mural for one of the players being vandalized in some unspecified way.
      "BuT tHiS iS wHy ThEy WeRe KnEeLiNg!"
      Oh, so when you make skin color the primary identification of people others might use it when criticizing those who fucked up?
      Man, who could've seen that coming...

      (For the record: the misses had nothing to do with race - England's coach subbed 2 of the guys in for the express purpose of taking the kicks despite them not playing at all the previous 120 minutes, and one of them was freaking 19 years old)

      1. If you had been paying attention you would have known this is all Trump's fault.

        1. Never seen Reason cover soccer.

          1. Trump's complicity in every evil or even unfortunate event is indisputable. Reason has explained this phenomenon on a daily basis for years although granted, not in the context of soccer.

      2. I literally wasted two minutes reading that and I’m slightly ashamed to have read about soccer.

        Just kidding. Good write up.

    3. Pride goeth before a fall.

    4. When the changed from gay pride to include lesbians, that was the downfall. Soon they included the bisexuals and they had GLB pride. Fine.


      Most of the bisexuals were gay, just clinging to a facade, and the lesbians were cool enough.

      But when they included the trannies and wimps (queers) to the parades, it became a mockery of manliness: lgbtq. No longer about men, corporate sponsorship became more common, diluting the pride of Pride.

      Now the “movement” has completely morphed into a mockery of gay pride. It’s not surprising to see the founders of the gay rights cause say “we accomplished our goal and don’t need to put up with these new jerks.”

  4. So what do you do with space anyway? Sure billionaires in space or upper earth atmosphere is interesting, and they can sell rides. Beyond satellites and robotic exploration what next? Is anyone honestly jonesing to live on the moon or Mars? Mining asteroids? After that the outer planets are functionally worthless to us. We will never leave the solar system ourselves, although robotic craft might somehow make it to a nearby star system. Even then what will do with that information? Humans are basically stuck between here and the asteroid belt.

    1. This sounds like an opinion piece from 1491.

      1. Correct . Substitute oceans for space.

        1. “This mad Italian will bankrupt the Spanish crown!”

          1. So which of the billionaires meets Columbus’ end?

            1. Maybe none of them. We live in an imperfect world.

    2. If you have a moon base (or asteroid base for that matter), you basically control the world. You could destroy anything on Earth just by dropping a rock on it and there's nothing anyone can do to stop it.

      1. The Moon is a harsh mistress.

        1. Glad to see I'm not the only Heinlein fan. "The Man Who Sold the Moon"

  5. "Don't let naysayers fool you. Richard Branson's space flight is a boon for society."

    These expensive joy rides for millionaires and celebrities emit massive amounts of carbon (probably more than most Americans emit in a year) and many other air pollutants.

    I'm all for new technology, but not environmentally harmful technology that significantly increases carbon emissions (just to pleasure millionaires).

    After Biden banned economically beneficial oil and gas pipelines, natural gas drilling on federal lands, and calling for economically disastrous cutting of US carbon emissions in half (as China doubles its emissions), it makes no sense for the federal government to promote (or even allow) this massive increase in carbon emissions.

    I also find it outrageous that many billionaires and millionaires (whose carbon footprints are 100-10,000 times more than most Americans) continue to tell the rest of use to reduce our carbon emissions (as they travel the world in private jets).

    Even more hypocritically, Branson has proclaimed himself an environmentalist (to impose rules on everyone else, but not his space rides).

    Unfortunately, Democrats and their left wing news media refuse to expose or criticize this outrageous hypocrisy

    1. Bill Gates, who owns four private jets and just invested $4.7 billion in a private jet company, is also a total hypocrite on climate change

      1. Yes but you don't understand, they're very important people and by necessity can't be held to the same standards as a plumber from Duluth.

    2. These expensive joy rides for millionaires and celebrities emit massive amounts of carbon (probably more than most Americans emit in a year) and many other air pollutants.

      Imagine the bitcoin he could have mined with that energy and then distributed to the world's less fortunate.

    3. Last century it was billionaire Howard Hughes joyriding that helped establish air travel.

    4. Men like this will be the ones who change propulsion systems.

  6. Here's video of Trump holding a rally over the weekend.

    Oh, wait. That isn't a Trump rally. It's the Conor McGregor fight!

    You might think it was a Trump rally the way the crowd reacted. It appears to me that Dana White is a Trump guy. I believe that's him seating Trump and Melania at ringside. The crowd started a USA! USA! chant later.

    Trump is clearly running for the Republican nomination again, and he'll probably get it. Whether he goes up against Joe or Kamala, he has a good chance of winning, too. Libertarians who want someone else to win the Republican nomination in 2024 should start making the case for those other candidates sooner rather than later. And I hear there's a senator from Kentucky with some really good ideas.

    1. After watching Trump's speech yesterday (which Fox News aired), I'm convinced that he's running again, and he's also working to defeat RINOs in 2022 GOP primaries. It was his best speech yet.

      1. Evicting the RINOs is even more important than fighting the Democrats for the GOP. The Democrats are like wolves at the door, while the RINOs are a deadly cancer.

        1. The Democrats are enthusiastically totalitarian and socialist. Defeating them is why I'm so enthusiastic about backing the Republicans at this point. The Democrats have control of the entire government. Libertarian and capitalist issues can't be furthered until the Democrats are defeated.

          I feel like the French resistance under Nazi occupation. I wouldn't want to support the communists, but if they're the only people left to help us fight the Nazis, we need to use whatever resources are available. And we can't make France a libertarian and capitalist paradise until the Nazis are chased out of France.

          1. Except that the RINO’s aren’t actually opposed to the left.

            1. And nobody is doing any real fighting

              1. There's nothing they can do without control of the House, the Senate, or the White House. Blaming the Republicans for not fighting when they're powerless to do anything is absurd.

                The only reason Biden and the Democratic leadership sought the Republicans' support for the infrastructure bill was so the Democrats could hide behind the fig leaf of bipartisanship come November of 2022, but the Democrats can pass all of that spending without a single Republican vote.

                If a volcano erupts in the south Pacific tomorrow, and wipes out a small village, the reason it isn't my fault is because there isn't anything I can do to stop it from erupting. We need to come to terms with the fact that the Republicans are, in fact, powerless. There isn't any way for them to fight, and there won't be any way for them to fight until they win control of at least one of the chambers of Congress in November of 2022.

                1. You're still not talking about real fighting.

            2. Control of the House, Senate, and White House are what's really important, and not only can we not do anything to progress while the Democrats control all three. We also can't stop them from making things worse. Replacing a nominal Republican like Susan Collins with someone more conservative isn't anywhere near as important, at this point, as replacing a Democrat, somewhere in the Senate, with a Republican--RINO or not.

              If Susan Collins won't help us cut Medicaid, slash corporate taxes, and defend the First Amendment against charges of "misinformation", "conspiracy theories", and hate speech, that doesn't matter anywhere near as much as preventing the Democrats from spending another $10 trillion on the Green New Deal, raising corporate taxes, and forcing speech codes on social media through antitrust and consent decrees.

              Long term, if we're going to save this patient, we'll need to get him to stop smoking, eat right, and exercise, but before do that, the Democrats keep stabbing the patient in the chest with a kitchen knife, over and over again, and if we don't deprive them of the ability to do that, quitting smoking, eating right, and regular exercise aren't going to matter.

              Right now, the only thing stopping the Democrats from eliminating the filibuster, passing the Green New Deal, and packing the Supreme Court is moderate Democrats. That may not be enough and may not last through the fall. Libertarian and capitalist policies cannot progress while totalitarian socialists control both chambers of Congress and the White House, but, even worse, we can't do anything to stop them from making America more totalitarian and more socialist until more Democrat seats turn Republican--whether they're RINOs or not.

          2. Dogs, fleas, some saying...

            The Dems are defeating themselves at this point.
            Doubling government spending, jacking up taxes, unleashing inflation and turning 87,000 new IRS agents loose on the citizenry are all electoral losers. Even Californians and Washington-staters hate higher taxes.

        2. ???????
          Republicans are winning now because they had a good plan and controlled the state legislatures, including redisticting. But their numbers are going down because the majority of their base are older conservatives and they don't want disparate opinions;. i.e no big tent. The Religious Right drove me away in 1992 and have gotten worse since. A diversity of opinion is actually better, providing a conflict of ideas which leads to a new synthesis and possibly a leap forward. What you have now is mainly posturing on "the culture war" to incite fear in their base and no real plan on actual governance.

          1. The idea that the religious right is worse now than it was in 1992 is absurd.

            Gay marriage is no longer a serious issue, and neither is teaching intelligent design, or prayer in public schools.

            Meanwhile, Trump is a total repudiation of the religious right. Republican voters are lining up behind Trump in spite of the Religious right--not because of them.

            Meanwhile, religious Americans today have largely evolved. A solid majority support things like gay marriage. Some people still picture the Westboro Baptist Church when they think of Christians, but contemporary Christians are often about as scary as Chip and Joanna Gains.


            Social justice warriors are the new religious right, and if anyone needs more diversity of opinion, it's them.

      2. The best thing to do would be to run candidates in each parties primaries. dems and reps. It wouldn't matter which one wins They can coalesce into a seperate bloc once sworn in.

      3. "After watching Trump’s speech yesterday (which Fox News aired), I’m convinced that he’s running again"

        He said something to the effect of, "We're going to defeat the radical left. We're going to defeat the Marxists. We're going to defeat Critical Race Theory. We're going to restore fair elections. And we're going to make America great again".

        Who's "we" if not Trump?

        And if saying "We're going to make America great again" isn't an announcement that he's running in 2024, what is?

        Everything he's been doing lately has shown it. His trip to the border. His suing Big Tech on behalf of the American people. He's in full campaign mode. And the election is only three years away!

        That's like 21 years in the political cycle. Who knows what will happen between now and then? But if it were July of 2023 right now, he'd be announcing his candidacy officially right now. He's definitely running again if he answered the question right now.

        1. Yeah but in 2024 he'll be as old as Biden is now, and could be that far gone by then.

          1. That's a serious issue.

          2. He could have a heart attack or a stroke between now and 2024.

            I still hope the Republicans nominate someone even better on the issues, but the nomination is probably his if he wants it--whether we like it or not.

            Let's not pretend things are only likely if we want them to happen.

    2. Yahoo news said he received a “mixed reception”.

      1. See the link I posted below.

      2. If it was a mixed reception, it's because some of them were chanting, "USA! USA!" and the others were chanting, "Four more years!".

    3. For what it's worth, here's the USA! USA! chant.

      Who here thinks Joe Biden would have gotten the same response?


      Would Joe Biden dare to even show his face in that crowd? Assuming he were awake that late, Biden doesn't want to be booed on camera, and that crowd would almost certainly boo him.

      It should be noted, I believe that event was in Las Vegas. Those aren't locals. Those are Millennial UFC fans from all over the country. Those are Joe Rogan listeners.

    4. Libertarians who want someone else to win the Republican nomination in 2024 should start making the case for...

      ...why Libertarians should give a shit about the candidates of either of the two major parties.

      1. Hey, I voted for Jorgensen too, but that doesn’t change the fact that only one of the two old white guys was going to win. Or the fact that Democrats are about 10x crazier and worse for just about every libertarian issue (based on action not rhetoric).

      2. Because that’s who controls the government.

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      3. You can vote pure principles and feel good about losing, or you can vote pragmatically to move incrementally freeer. Trump sucks, but less than Biden, so pragmatists should hold their nose and vote for Trump if they are in a state where it will be close.

        I live in California, so I vote against incumbents and new laws, and for libertarians. If I lived in, say, Georgia, my vote might have mattered. I don't, and it doesn't.

    1. It's like they want us to join the EU.

  7. It doesn't matter if it's a boon to society or giant waste of cash. It's his money to spend, and his decision.

  8. "Dildos in space!"

    Both the rocket and the passenger.

  9. last month Gwynne Shotwell, president and COO of SpaceX, gave the commencement speech at Northwestern's graduation. I was pleasantly surprised such a loony university would recognize one its engineering graduates
    SpaceX is sending astronauts to the ISS and giving a new generation of engineers thrilling, fulfilling careers on the cutting edge of their field. bravo

    1. and another thing. if the Dems wanted fewer big companies they should stop bailing out big companies!

      1. Why? between them and the Unions, that's where they get their money.

  10. Geographically, jury is widely used all over the world and has one hundred and fifty kinds of colors and shapes. Historically, rose cultivation was known 35 million years ago and its remains were found in ancient Egyptian tombs.