Words to Ponder

The readers of this blog and the fans of the Foundation as a whole--at least the ones I've corresponded with--represent a pretty broad range of political views. Indeed, if anything, I'd guess that a particular breed of libertarianism is probably substantially overrepresented in this community versus the population at large. As such, I imagine that those of you reading this post may have had wildly variant views on today's events in Washington, DC, and the swearing in a of a new President of the United States of America. A large number of you live outside of the USA, and therefore may not have cared much at all.

But regardless of one's political leanings or nationality, I think that we can appreciate the sentiment behind these words from President Obama's first speech after taking the Oath:

We understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

I add my small voice to the President's in praise of "the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things." Among them, surely, are the members of every team competing for the various X PRIZEs and for literally dozens of other incentive prizes out there.

(What, you were expecting "We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders..."?)

Edit: I see Mike and I were thinking along the same lines. Glad we wrote about different sections of the speech!

William said...

I enjoyed the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder's thoughts on this paragraph. "Call this Obama's axis of heroes: the 'risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things' -- a direct contrast to those who seek material gains and celebrity, who have 'carried us' -- note that Americans are being carried in this metaphor -- up the 'rugged' path towards prosperity and freedom. By 'rugged,' we're reminded that the path isn't like an exponential curve. These Horatio Algers served causes greater than themselves 'for us' -- Obama repeats this three times -- more anaphora."

"Axis of heroes" indeed. Also, I learned a new word.

1: repetition of a word or expression at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, sentences, or verses especially for rhetorical or poetic effect (Lincoln's “we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground” is an example of anaphora) — compare epistrophe
2: use of a grammatical substitute (as a pronoun or a pro-verb) to refer to the denotation of a preceding word or group of words ; also : the relation between a grammatical substitute and its antecedent

mike fabio said...

I'm not really sure it's safe to say that "a particular breed of libertarianism is probably substantially overrepresented in this community." Mostly I think that's something largely unmeasurable, especially given the typical tone of conversation on this blog, which I would almost describe as apolitical.

That said, I'd like to join you in saluting "the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things." Although it sounds vaguely like a certain well-known candymaker (via O'Shaughnessy):

"We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams."

William said...

Mike -- I'm basing that comment less off the commentary here on the Launch Pad, and basing it more off of correspondence I've had with fans, team members, et cetera. Certainly among our teams, I've seen a disproportionate amount of Randian objectivism (and a number of Ron Paul web icons). One team member for one of our conversations told me "I make Milton Friedman look like a socialist," which I found amusing.

mike fabio said...

I would say I've had very different observations of the community. In fact, if I had to nail down any one belief system, I'm not sure it would be possible. Our community is incredibly diverse (apart from a common love of space). Politically, I've seen everything from the Milton Friedman types you speak of (I even know who you're talking about) to straight up communists. And that is exactly what I think is most valuable about this community, and the space community in general.

William said...

Hear, hear! I agree. I definitely wasn't trying to say that "we" have a common political bent by any means. Rather, I was trying to point out that we're not all bleedin' lefties (using our above-normal distribution of libertarians as an example), despite the fact that we have back-to-back quotes from President Obama on this blog!

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