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The Needless Frontier Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Sean Joseph McNeill, Canada Oct 9, 2004
Peace & Conflict , Human Rights   Opinions
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In a world ravaged by destruction and conflict both domestic and abroad, it is a wonder to me why we care to explore any further then our own atmosphere, set aside populating and arming this vast space which lays above us. With its roots set in the heart of the Cold War, the exploration of space has never been conducted at a period of any significant peace. This suggests to me that global leaders are more interested in a very large vacuum which may or may not contain "stuff", for lack of a better description, then they are interested in feeding their people, conserving their resources and working towards global unity. From this, I can conclude two possibilities, either we're really not getting just how cool this vacuum with possible stuff in it is, or leaders are not getting what their purpose is. I would like to think the second suggestion is closer to the truth.
I should first define the purpose of a true leader before I point out the failures of those who hold such positions. The purpose of a true leader is best broken into three parts, to ensure human rights, protect (borders, safety etc.), and promote trade both domestic and internationally. A leader must ensure that human rights of all people are protected, because to deny one person their human rights is to deny every human of the innate right to these humane treatments. This does not suggest that a leader who refuses to acknowledge the atrocities done to humans outside of his/her rule is certain to do the same to their people, but it means that they accept that human rights are a thing to be granted to a person, not an essence which resides in every human at birth. Therefore, a leader must do what they can to uphold the rights of all humans and in doing so will form a nation that promotes global unity. Secondly, a leader must protect his/her people so they can maintain their cultural identity and prevent foreign people from impeding on their personal interests within their own homeland. This is not to suggest that nations should be isolationists in nature, but it is important to realize that each nation is unique and therefore each must be granted the same rights to protect their people from assimilation, invasion or less direct methods of purging cultures. Finally, a leader must promote trade for the simple reason that trade is the means for the world to advance itself in knowledge. Trade spreads ideas and culture so that the whole world recieves an understanding of each other and can form a better world out of its understanding. Trade also promotes federal wealth, which raises living conditions and funds research to help people live better lives. A true leader accomplishes all three of these requirements, accurately and without uncertainty. All three areas must come together in harmony in order for a state to run smoothly, and have its citizens live prosperous, safe and educated lives.
The question is then, do leaders fit this description? While the leaders of today are quite interested in protecting their borders and promoting trade, they fail to accomplish the most crucial task set before them, the leaders fail to ensure human rights to all people of this world. Their failure is largely due to this idea that global unity comes through exploration, and from this they can justify spending billions of dollars a year on such ventures. Not only is this an extensive waste of money and time, it is a direct insult to organizations which help bring peace and aid to war-torn nations. The message that comes from these space ventures is that they (the participating nations) value territorial expansion over the health, peace and security of suffering peoples. While advocates would argue that such exploration is for the further growth of knowledge, it is clear that the true intension of participating nations is for their own territorial interests. If this is in someway hard to believe, I wish to point out that upon stepping on the moon, Armstrong placed into the soil of the moon the flag of the United States of America. If this case still remains arguable, allow me to point out the more recent issue of the armament of space by the U.S.A. Such actions are quite clearly attempts at claiming the regions which lay outside of our atmosphere as entities within an earthly empire. I do not wish to point the blame completely on the United States simply because they have been successful in most of their imperial claims in space (the moon, the space station, commercial and government satellites etc), so let us not forget that other countries such as Great Britain, Canada, Russia and China have and are making attempts at claiming their own "chunks" of space. Every research vessel, satellite and addition to the space station is each contributing nation’s territorial mark and a sign that they are still in the game.
It is apparent that these nations are aware of the growing realization that space exploration is unnecessary, and they are taking steps to prevent this knowledge. The recent "X-Prize" contest is a testimonial to these attempts of silencing the issue. In the contest, private companies where challenged to create a passenger ship capable of reaching the border of space. Hailed as a revolution in tourism, space exploration and aviation, the contest has received much publicity and approval. However, its true intension lies beneath its glamour and success. As interest in space exploration has declined, participating nations have been looking for a means to "jump start" interest once again so that citizens could justify tax money which is being spent in its research. The answer is space tourism; giving people the chance to witness what their tax dollars pay for, quite an experience I can well imagine but still as impractical as always. This new tactic threatens to be quite successful if made cheap enough for the middle class population to enjoy, settling their suspicion of wasted taxes and imperialism. I only pray that such a feat is not accomplished and the whispers of uncertainty become screams of injustice and through its [space exploration] destruction comes success on the fronts of peace and global unity.

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Sean Joseph McNeill

I am a Canadian citizen currently attending my last year of highschool. I am not as involved in my community as I wish I was, but by posting my articles on TIG I hope to find the initiative I need. This is a great website because it brings a massive planet together through mutual interests and helps us stay informed about the opinions of those who we normally do not get the chance to hear. Organizations like this prove that everyone can [and does] have a voice.
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