I am not a Newt Gingrich supporter. I find his public persona extremely abrasive and find the vast majority of his policy ideas misguided at worst and dangerous at best.
Recently, Speaker Gingrich (hang on...should he still be called Speaker when he was forced to resign after ethics violations? Those who dislike President Obama's policies routinely omit the term "President" from his name, so why does everyone still call Gingrich "Speaker?" He was kicked out) made a proposal/promise involving a moon colony.
You know what...it's better if you hear it yourself.
He also goes on to say that with enough residents, the colony could apply for U.S. statehood and be the 51st state.
Now I agree with those who say Gingrich's proposal is nothing short of crazy. To say that we will not just begin this in 8 years but COMPLETE it is wildly naive. It took the Apollo Program just over eight years to even REACH the moon, and Gingrich says we can get there again (we haven't had a mission to the moon since 1972) and build a colony and staff it in less than a decade.
There are plenty of domestic and foreign issues demanding our attention and which should probably be tackled before we establish a moon colony.
However, the attacks on Gingrich's idea aren't really cogent. Rachel Maddow, ordinarily a very competent and thorough reporter of matters political, simply reduced his idea to a sight gag. Others have essentially said, "a MOON BASE? Really?" as their criticism. I am slightly put off by these attacks.
For the sake of argument, why not try to build a moon colony? Instead of simply laughing at the idea, let's look at the reasons NOT to do it.
1. It would be prohibitively expensive and not make a return on our money.
Yes, it would be expensive. Yes, we would not see a direct return on our investment soon, or perhaps ever. But we really can't know what indirect effects the colony would have on the economy, nor can we truly predict what the future of the colony would do for the earth. We won't know until we do it.
2. It would be dangerous.
Yes, it would. Very real risk of loss of life. Apollo 1 suffered a fire that killed three astronauts, for example. Other things that we do are very risky, too. Wars, for example, are rather dangerous. We seem to have little problem having those.
3. There are better things we can and should be doing with our resources.
This one is hard to refute. When we have people starving, dying because of lack of proper medical care, not receiving the best education possible, and so on, a mission such as this is difficult to defend. But surely we as a nation are capable of doing more than one thing at a time. I don't think anyone denies that we could feed, clothe, house, and care for each citizen in the U.S. if we felt like doing so. The rather clear fact is that we simply don't want to. There are significant forces in the country (Gingrich being one of them) who aren't particularly incensed at the vast and growing income inequality in the U.S. Sadly, I don't think a moon mission would take away funds from the poor and needy. We don't do a great job of helping that segment out as it is.
What I am saying, essentially, is that while I agree that the moon colony in eight years proposal is a bad one, I dislike any such proposal being pooh-poohed by others. I am no Gingrich supporter, but the idea deserves the dignity of a thorough and systematic destruction rather than a sneer and a wave of the wrist.
Be seeing you!