While 99% of you are stuck here on Earth like a herd of disgusting millionaires – or worse, actual poor people – a bunch of billionaires have spent their summer preparing for jaunts into the inky black beyond.
Honest question: who cares?
I love space as much as the next person. And I think it’s amazing that humans have managed to ascend beyond the clouds and into the very stars we’ve gazed upon from the moment our ancestors slithered out of the primordial ooze and began developing the iPhone.
Oh, and today (20 July 2021) marks the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing – the first time humans set foot on the Moon. That was impressive.
You know what isn’t impressive? Being the first billionaire to make it to space. And even less so, the second or third.
Mad Mike Hughes, a private citizen who wasn’t filthy rich, nearly made it to space on a homemade rocket he built in his back yard. Had he succeeded, instead of tragically dying, that would have been impressive.
But what pride can we take in knowing that billionaires have ventured beyond the clouds? Tens of thousands of small businesses had to go bankrupt in order for Jeff Bezos to enjoy a few minutes of weightlessness.
It’s the same for each of these billionaires: you can’t become a billionaire without exploiting people.
A lot of people would love to visit space. Only a handful are ruthless enough to do it the way Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos have or plan to.
The billionaire cashtronauts will argue that they’re inspiring generations, but what’s the message? If you’re a billionaire or a country you can start your own space program?
It feels macabre to view the exploits of billionaires as inspiration. These are things 99% of us will never access, but each of us has somehow paid for.
Excuse my (mostly) incurable optimism, but could two successful private space launches in 9 days be something all Americans rally around together?
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) July 20, 2021
What, exactly, are we supposed to rally behind? There are people living on space stations conducting important scientific work. And I’m supposed to cheer a billionaire for wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on the galaxy’s most elite tourist venture?
Richard Branson‘s space adventures come on the heels of one of Virgin‘s most “challenging” times. He wrote an email to his 71,000 employees last year explaining that he wasn’t as rich as they thought he was and the company was struggling to make money.
Oh, times are tough are they? Seems like maybe frivolous ego trips to the edge of space might be something you’d cut before salaries and jobs. But billionaires are going to do what billionaires always do: whatever’s best for themselves.
Let’s not even mention the hundreds of millions that Jeff Bezos has spent fighting to ensure his 1.2 million employees don’t get decent pay, can’t unionize, and spend their careers pissing in jars so they don’t fall behind.
And do we even have to get into Elon Musk? Do we really have to go there? There’s been hundreds of articles written about the horrific working conditions, torrent of safety violations, and Apple-under-Steve-Jobs-esque productivity demands at Tesla‘s factories over the past decade.
All of the billionaire cashtronauts have long, detailed, proven, histories of worker exploitation.
And that’s why the least they could do is reserve a few seats aboard their vanity flights for passengers who could actually benefit from the trip: flat-Earthers.
Sure, it might sound like awarding the lottery to the most ignorant people on social media (arguably). But we really shouldn’t be glorifying or supporting the cashtronauts anyway. The cost of admission to their little inspiring display of capitalism in the cosmos is too high, if you ask me.
At least if we forced the world’s leading flat-Earthers aboard the billionaire tourist rockets, they’d come back to the planet with a 3rd-grade education.