L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 245, November 2, 2003
Daniel Conan Weiner, R.I.P.
Jettison the "Commercial Space Act" (HR 3245)
Exclusive to TLE
A coalition of wonk farms and aerospace corporadoes is leaning on the Congress to pass the Commercial Space Act of 2003 (HR 3245). Introduced into the House by Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Ralph Hall (D-TX) and Bart Gordon (D-TN), this bill will further muddle an already over-regulated and uncertain suborbital space flight industry.
HR 3245 directs the Secretary of Transportation to establish a regulatory agency for commercial human space flight. Basically, it will be the Post Office or the FAA writ larger in the sky. In clear violation of the U.S. Constitution, and in particular the Tenth Amendment, the bill confirms the federal government as the sole authority to license launch vehicles.
Proponents of the measure cite precedence in airflight, radio, medicine, and education, but I must remind my readers that these were all unlawful federal usurpations of individual sovereign authority that would have been applauded by Benito Mussolini.
Property on land, property at sea, property in the air and in the airwaves, and property in space all derive from the same principles of finding the claim, working the claim, and proving the claim as establishment of ownership.
Private property, personal responsibility, and commercial liability will lead us farther into space and closer to the stars than one more top-heavy centralized government bureaucracy.
HR 3245 is a callous side show which will only serve to keep us penned up for another generation before any real progress is made. If space fans want to lend their support to opening up The Final Frontier, they'd do better to work for real deregulation and market reform than giving Star Fleet all the marbles, who will boldly go only where policy permits.