Tonight I was confronted with an idea that I’ve never heard before – that the government should not fund programs like NASA. Those sort of programs should be funded by private interests. If they are not economically viable for private interests then they shouldn’t be happening.
My gut instinct is that this is wrong. I’m much more of the mindset that the government should pay for the things that are for the good of society but that don’t yield immediate benefit. Who knows what good landing on the moon can provide? I feel we do not know until we do.
But is this the government’s place? Is the government setting the right priorities? Should we get the fundamental needs of our society met before we spend on extravagances – feeding the hungry and educating the less fortunate? I could argue for that too.
I think my fear is in de-prioritizing science. I believe that NASA is contributing a great deal to science and I think science needs all the help it can get. But is there a way to do that without spending tax dollars on it?