In his recent blog post: Agreement! At least I think so… Bill stated the following:
But I don’t see how theme park spaceports can hurt provided we do not expect too much from them
They can hurt in one very obvious way: financial. You may not have an issue with governments expropriating taxpayers’ money on these white elephants, but i do.
Some within the alt.space community chafe whenever the “wasting of tax dollars” argument is made, responding with the “well, they waste money on [insert program name here] so why shouldn’t we spend it on space projects?” This is flawed for the very basic reason that two wrongs don’t make a right. Note that they don’t actually explain why it is *not* a waste of money, but rather try to use the tired “but they’re doing it too” line which seems to be a justification for just about anything these days.
If someone wants to build a privately funded space themepark, a la Disneyland, i say good luck with that. But even in that case, there is a moral flaw in the argument made by most spaceport enthusiasts – the ones who sell the spaceport on its own merits (as a port) – to the non-space-savvy financial investors who may put $$$ in those spaceports.
Let’s not kid ourselves, the vast majority of space tragics do not have the financial wherewithall to finance their own small space projects, much less a hundred million dollar plus spaceport. That money comes from other sources – be it rich people who are sold the kool-aid of a space idea (and why do they always seem to go for building rockets, anyways?) or investment funds which are slowly duped by the repeated articles in the mainstream media (hardly a critical bunch these days anymore anyways, but that’s a whole separate blog in itself).
The moral flaw is this: when you sell someone kool-aid, they usually are buyers because they like the flavour and want something sweet to drink. But if it’s sold as a nutritional supplement that is good for building strong healthy teeth and bones, it’s a lie. When you sell someone on the concept of a spaceport as an operating port that will make money through the large number of repeat flights from yet-to-be-built vehicles, it’s no longer a dixie-cup filled with kool-aid for 10c from the kid with the stand, it’s buying the entire Kool-Aid company.
And that just isn’t right.