The United States vs. China: Who Will Win the 21st Century’s Outer and Inner Space Races?

The writing is on the wall, Nebuchadnezzar. This little tidbit was in the Washington Times late last year:

The median age of NASA’s manned space engineers is now over 55. Over a quarter are past retirement age. Meanwhile, China’s average lunar probe engineer is about 33 years old and the Shenzhou manned-space program engineers average about 36.

China’s space program also seems to have all the funding and resources it needs, partially due to the fact that seven of China’s nine most senior leaders – the Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party Politburo – are themselves engineers.

And here’s a bit more from the same article:

China may already be the second-largest manufacturing power on Earth and possesses a highly advanced industrial infrastructure. It now has more than $2.3 trillion in excess foreign exchange holdings – adding another $300 billion just in the past nine months, equal the entire gross product of Argentina. And China’s top universities are rolling in research money, possess the latest laboratory equipment, and have their pick of the most brilliant students.

In 2005, China produced 351,537 engineers, with at least a bachelor’s degree, nearly double the United States figure of 137,437; and a healthy chunk of China top engineers get their doctoral training at American universities. For example, of the 99 doctorates in engineering awarded by the University of Virginia from August 2007 to August 2008, one-third – 33 – went to scholars from Chinese universities.

The atheist leaders of China will probably lead their country to the moon before the end of this decade. And those same leaders are not just setting out to explore and master outer space. They’ve got their eyes on the exploration and mastery of the holy of holies: the still unmapped territories of the human body’s inner spaces—most specifically, the details of its genome.

To what purpose?

For the directing of human evolution.

Don’t imagine they won’t go there. They already are. Neither traditional monotheistic religious taboos about playing God nor Western Enlightenment deism or humanism (with their core respect for individual rights and the integrity and dignity of the individual) are in operation in Chinese decision-making.

The leadership of China consists of atheists of the pragmatic Machiavellian and Nietzschean variety. They are ethno-nationalist atheists buzzing with ideas gleaned from Leo Strauss and Carl Schmitt. And you’re not going to stop them.

Oh, and your national debt obligations are being financed by them.

So now what do you want to do?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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6 Responses to The United States vs. China: Who Will Win the 21st Century’s Outer and Inner Space Races?

  1. Paradigm says:

    “So now what do you want to do?”
    Get more stuff like this:
    http://store.makerbot.com/makerbot-thing-o-matic.html

    And engineers who aren’t entrepeneurs will not pose a threat to USA or anyone else. It’s all about ideas.

  2. conservative says:

    “The leadership of China consists of atheists of the pragmatic Machiavellian and Nietzschean variety. They are ethno-nationalist atheists buzzing with ideas gleaned from Leo Strauss and Carl Schmitt. And you’re not going to stop them.”

    Your description of them is only halfway accurrate, I would say. They are Machiavelian and dangerous. However, they are not so much ethno-nationalist as they are socialist internationalists. I mean come on Santi, you should know that much, that the Chinese Communist leaders are not advocating a Chinese world state, but a Communist world state. They have done everything to destroy the ethnic and national identity of the Chinese, ever since Mao. They have closed down or destroyed Buddhist temples, they demonized all religions and they replaced all that with loyalty to the Party and State. You should at least know that much, for God’s sake.
    It’s true that they can use nationalism in this whole scheme but only to get the support of their masses.

    You always try to link any form of totalitarianism to nationalism and traditionalism. And that just ain’t so. And your statement that they got their ideas from Leo Strauss and Carl Schmitt. How about Karl Marx? I mean they are a left wing dictatorship after all. Marx had the same totalitarian ideas, he advocated children being taken from their families and raised by the State. He believed in evolutionism and said “the destruction of the burgeoisie family” is an important step to Communism. In a “progressive” communist society, you don’t need a family. Family and marriage are forms of ownership, Marx said. They are remnants of an old and evil society. Naturally, this hatred against traditional society included hatred of God. If you take God out of the equation, then you are left without a foundation and a justification for family, marriage, private ownership, human dignity, pretty much everything. You say that human dignity is a product of the Enlightement. That maybe so, but it’s actually the biblical starting point that sets forth human dignity because it says that we are created in the image of God, and that makes us unique and important. If you are an evolved animal, there is no such thing as human dignity. Again, try to connect the dots and see the connection between evolution, humanism, and totalitarianism. You have no rights as an animal, other than the rights defined by the State. This is the scary trend these days, and many people just don’t see it.

    You think the Chinese leaders are dangerous. So are Dawkins and other “internationalist humanists”. They have the same mentality. They don’t have to eliminate people through eugenics in the name of nationalism. They can do it in the name of saving the planet because of limited resources. Dawkins is an anti-Christian fanatic who compares people that don’t buy the theory of evolution to Holocaust deniers. You can admire and adore him all you want for his scientific research and IQ, but all that doesn’t guarantee that he’s a good and decent person. Dawkins and other proponents of eugenics offer no guarantee that they will respect individual freedom when it comes to the size of a family.

    • santitafarella says:

      Conservative,

      Contemporary Chinese ideology is Marxist, but I don’t think it’s imperialist in the way that the Soviet Union aspired to be imperialist. The Chinese, like the Nazis, are embracing nationalism and state supported capitalism. They’re not international humanists in the way that Dawkins is. And, curiously, one thing that characterizes their contemporary foreign policy is a disinclination to interfere in the national affairs of other countries. I don’t think the Chinese leadership much gives a shit how other countries govern themselves.

      I do think the distinction between Western humanist atheists and Chinese Herderian atheists is an important one. One of them will own the 22nd century. The religious model, much as you like it, is historically defunct (as the Islamic civilization model demonstrates).

      As for evolution and the Holocaust, the comparison is inflammatory, but accurate. One has no more basis, intellectually, for rejecting the fact that the earth is old and plants and animals change over time than one has for rejecting that the Nazi killed 6 million Jews. Both evolution and the Holocaust are supported by converging lines of evidence from multiple disciplines, and only those who reject academic conventions of evidence and rationality can plausibly dismiss either of these things.

      But notice that the Holocaust-evolution analogy is only being applied to young earth creationists, not IDers. I don’t think it is at all fair to compare IDers or theistic evolutionists to young earth creationists.

      —Santi

  3. Colin Hutton says:

    Santi – In your above response to Conservative you say of Western humanist atheists and Chinese Herderian atheists that “one of them will own the 21st century”. I think that is the view of an optimist who sees continued human progress for the rest of this century.

    On current trends the global population, 100 years from now, is predicted to be 9b. I think that is a low probability eventuality. It presumes the availability of sufficient of the essential commodities (water, food, clean air, power), which are to be shared equitably enough to maintain global political peace and stability. I predict that one or more of the possible constraints on those availabilities is likely to eventuate, resulting in some pretty nasty Darwinian selection between political and racial groups and nationalities. Under this (in my view, more likely) scenario Western humanist atheism (and Conservative would probably agree with me) would be doomed. It will prove to be a sub-optimal survival strategy in a show-down with either religious fundamentalism or Herderian nationalism.

    So I think the 21st Century (and the following few centuries) will belong to either the religious fundamentalists (Islam more likely than others) or the Herderian atheist nationalists. If I had to choose between the two I would infinitely prefer the latter! And (here you might agree with me!) the Chinese would then represent the best chance of that happening!

    Colin

  4. mary says:

    Another perspective on China, from an Indian point of view:

    Napoleon had once said, that the world must let China sleep, for once it wakes up, it will shall shake the world! China apologists view this as a compliment and limit its scope to the economic domain, but I view this as an ominous warning by a great leader with remarkable vision.

    The world has not really understood the characteristics of this fast-rising power that keeps on desperately pleading that it will “rise peacefully”, but no one seems to believe them.

    The Chinese state has the following attributes:

    Like we in India “tongue-in-cheek” say that Pakistan is an Army that has a country attached (and not the other way round), China is a political party that has a country of its own. The way the world experiences China is the way the Communist Party of China wants it to experience China (please read the story of Village Potemkin in Czarist Russia)! Never before in modern history has such a small cabal of people enjoyed so much power, over such a large area/populace, and not be accountable to anyone for it.
    The PLA is becoming increasingly assertive and now driving foreign policy in China, and hence becoming more and more like Pakistan, and also retain plausible deniability (a best practice they share with Pakistan).
    China is one of the oldest, largest, unitary (Han Chinese), exclusivist cultures in the world, with the possible exception of Japan (though not the largest).
    China has a deeply internalized superiority complex about itself, its culture, intellect, its place in the world (the Middle Kingdom, i.e. centre of the world).
    It has a very very long memory and does not forget slights to its honour (both real and perceived), whether individual or collective (i.e. by a country)
    It has a very deep-seated anger against the western world and Japan, that for the past 250 years, it has been denied its place in history (as the de facto leader of the world) by a combination of factors (be it the forced Opium Wars by Britain, or the brief but violent colonization by Japan).
    Even its “short-term” strategic thinking is probably over a timeframe of 50 years, and therefore thinks and acts consistently, and with a single-minded focus, over very long periods of time (Mao’s “Palm-and-fingers” strategy is just being played out in Nepal and Arunachal Pradesh now)
    China is a “hyper-expansionist” power with an insatiable lust for land, and extremely dismissive about the people that may just happen to be living on that land – example the “breed-them-out” programme in Tibet and Xinjiang.
    China currently only fears US’ military power, which is holding it back from unleashing a campaign of violence against (at the very least) – Taiwan, Vietnam, India, and even some Japanese and Russian interests. It is waiting for the day that it is convinced that it has caught up with the US in terms of military power and/or the US has lost its gumption for a fight (both of which seem to be scheduled to happen sooner rather than later)
    The one-child policy and societal bias in favour of the boy-child has distorted the gender ratio very adversely, with millions of Chinese men unable to find partners. Historically, such ‘testosterone-crazed’ populations have only led their nations towards war and eventual destruction (the Huns and Mongols of the past, and some analysts’ also point to the “need for Jihad” in Pakistan to be caused by this very same reason).
    China’s secretive and relentless drive for building up its military muscle (given that no nation in its right mind would attack China), only raises concerns in neighbours about its intentions, and this can cause the “law of unintended consequences” to go haywire (many expect Japan to soon give up its policy of “defensive restraint” of more than 60 years and go in for major arms upgradation, only due to apprehensions about China’s intentions).

    http://rightwingdian.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/india-firmly-in-china’s-crosshairs/

    • Colin Hutton says:

      Mary : Your “Indian” perspective on China is interesting, and quite challenging to my “Australian” one.

      I think it would be fair to say that you view China less favourably, and as more personally threatening, than I do. (My personal experiences of professional and social contacts with Chinese people, visits to Chinese countries and observing the integration of Chinese immigrants into our society have all led me to a favourable view)

      Thinking about it, and leaving geography out of consideration, I wonder whether some of the difference would perhaps be that your Indian perspective sees China as a rival in a contest for future economic pre-eminence/dominance. By contrast, Australia’s ambition, population of 20m, (perceived by Asians, I have been told, as lazy white trash) would realistically be limited to remaining the prosperous coal and iron ore quarry for both!

      Your statement in parenthesis “(given that no nation in its right mind would attack China)” reminds me that another thing biasing me in favour of China is its atheism. I think that promotes rational, and hence predictable, behaviour. Nations run by Jihadists and Crusaders are not in their right minds and quite capable of precipitating Armageddon in the name of allah or god.

      Colin

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