This article appears in the August 9, 2019 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
First published in EIR on July 26, 2010
‘Why Do We Go to Mars?’
The following is an extract from Lyndon LaRouche’s keynote address to a June 26, 2010 LaRouche PAC webcast from Northern Virginia. The meeting was chaired by his national spokeswoman Debra Hanania-Freeman. His keynote was followed by a nearly three-hour dialogue with participants. Click here to watch the entire webcast or click here to read the entire webcast.
This Republic is the most precious thing, that the world has seen in a very long time. And it’s now being destroyed. And it’s being destroyed in part, because our own people do not know, and understand, the legacy which they represent, which they embody. They don’t know what kind of education system we require to be citizens, really—not to qualify for voting, that’s important; but to be citizens: that is, to embody this legacy from many generations before us, a legacy of humanity’s progress, which we, in particular, established with the creation of this Republic. We have allowed that to be taken away from us, and destroyed!
Mankind Needs a New Dimension
And this is a question of physical economy. And all the other aspects of economy are essentially appendages of that mission. We’re now at the point, that, if this nation is destroyed—as it’s being destroyed under this President [Barack Obama] and that pack of scoundrels and fools and cowards and prostitutes who represent our Congress today—if we allow this to happen, this will be a calamity for all humanity, for generations to come.
Therefore, we have to go to Mars, not because we want to get there, but we don’t want to fail to get there! Because, what does this mean? We’re going to a new conception of basic economic infrastructure, which started with the space pioneers in the 1920s, and into the United States. We began to realize that mankind needs a new dimension, beyond railroads, beyond old water systems, needs a new dimension for the expression of humanity in the Solar System.
This is not just for “getting there.” This is for giving man a mission, a natural mission for mankind, on which we will base the culture which increases mankind’s options, and also the security of humanity. That is, by developing ourselves, instead of sitting on one planet and depleting that planet and doing nothing else, and becoming fat and lazy—instead of that, let’s take on a mission!
Let’s look ahead 75 years, three generations. And let’s take what we have now, with these—we’ve got young people under 25 who are in a disastrous state of education in life. They’re going no place, unless we do something for them. We’re going to have to give them a mission, and an opportunity, which inspires them, so that their children will not be so damned stupid. And therefore, by three successive generations of development, I’m satisfied, from the work that we’ve been doing in the Basement, and similar kinds of things, I’m satisfied that we could develop the scientific and technological capabilities, in three successive generations—all the time, bringing our people up to a higher level of productivity—to make up for what we’ve lost, and to go beyond that. And it’s certain to me, that there are the technologies available to us today, which, if we continue to develop them, will enable us to do that.
There are monstrous problems in trying to get to Mars! That’s not empty space out there. Mankind needs a gravitational system or the equivalent to live. You get away from Earth’s gravitation, and Earth’s protection of our environment, you’re in trouble! We faced this, in going to the Moon, and with the space work generally. This is largely in the medical/biological area, among other things. But we know we can solve the problem. What the solution is, precisely, we don’t know: So, we’ve got to find out!
We know we have to develop the Moon, which is accessible to us, readily, with technology already developed by us. We know we can develop an industry on the Moon, because you don’t want to take off from Earth, and lug a lot of things up from Earth; there’s just too much effort involved. Go to the Moon, take your technology to the Moon, develop industries on the Moon: You can build the spacecraft and other things you need, to go to Mars!
Which has been the mission, ever since the 1920s, when the landing on the Moon was first planned by some people in Germany! That got diverted into a different purpose of course, under Hitler. But, we revived that, after the war, and we went in that direction, on a program which was not designed to make weapons. It was designed to enable us to go to the Moon, and by going to the Moon, to be able to go to Mars!
Why do we go to Mars? Because it’s the nature of man to do so: The nature of man is expressed by the fact that we are not a fixed species, with fixed behavior. We’re a species that must develop, as mankind has developed, despite all the setbacks. Mankind has greatly improved, since our first evidence of what mankind was on this planet. Improved through technology, through intellectual development, stimulated by technology; by improvements in culture, especially Classical culture.
And the purpose of man, is to find his place in the universe.
Don’t worry about what the destination is. We’ve got to find our place in the universe: We must develop! Mankind is creative. Mankind must create! Mankind must develop!
And if we do that—the space program, as we would develop it—my estimate is, that it will take three generations to develop the capability to actually put human beings safely on Mars. To solve the problem of gravitation in interplanetary flight and that sort of thing. We can do it! We don’t have a population which is trained, yet, to undertake that mission. But we have a population, which is ready to be uplifted from despair, now, and plan that the grandchildren of people today, of young people today—the grandchildren of young people today will solve that problem! And it should be our mission to dedicate the United States, in particular, and the planet as a whole to that mission, to give mankind a sense and a determination of a future which should belong to mankind.
Mankind was put in this universe for some purpose. We’re not always too sure what that purpose is. But we’re sure of one thing about that purpose: It requires, as history has shown us, the development of the intellectual powers of mankind, the intellectual powers of man’s progress. The future, if it means anything to have children and grandchildren, is to ensure that the children and grandchildren have made an upwards step, beyond what’s impossible now. And to do as we’ve done before, from our past experience, in making the kind of progress, the changes in behavior, and progress, and increase in the power of mankind, to solve great problems, problems of disease, all kinds of problems.
The Mars Mission and Immortality
We know that is a requirement for man. Therefore, we have to put a name on it, and the name we put on it for the short term, is the Mars Mission. And we say, that within three generations, we’ll take this wretched nation, this poor, broken-down, ruined, betrayed nation, and, in cooperation with other nations on this planet, we will develop a technology and the people capable of carrying it, which will, step by step, bring man to his true dignity, to recognize the place of man in the universe. Not to what we’re going to do in the universe, ultimately, but to know we’re there!
And we need that.
You know, people talk about immortality and so forth—what’s it mean? Just another person being produced, to replace the one that died? No. Immortality is the certain understanding, that you are living today, because you are doing something, which is going to lead to the development of man’s power in the future. Your immortality lies in your grandchildren, and your great-grandchildren beyond that. Your immortality, your purpose of your life, is what comes out of it! That you’re a permanent part of the universe! Because, by developing within the universe, you’ve demonstrated that you’re not just a drop on the planet: You are part of the universe, forever!
And that should motivate you.
Now: This kind of thinking, requires some changes in economics. So therefore, back to the point: infrastructure. What we shall do, is, we shall take what we have of our technology, now, what remains of it, and what we’re getting, and what we can share with other nations—we’re going to take that technology, and we’re going to build the infrastructure needed to develop the industries, and other things we need. So what we do, is, we take a project like a transcontinental rail system, and transcontinental water system, other similar kinds of systems, which are global in effect, but for ourselves, for the inside of the United States.
We must now, since we’re going to be short, the banks are going to be short of money, we have to do this reorganization, which means we’re going to save some banks, but they’re not going to be able to carry themselves on their present level of activity. They will be banks in bankruptcy reorganization.
Now, what’s your plan for banking reorganization of these bankrupt banks that we have saved, which now conform to a Glass-Steagall standard? You’re going to have to say, “Well, we don’t owe any more of this debt. Most of this Federal debt just died! We killed it, before it took us over.”
What we are going to do, is, we are going to take these great infrastructure projects, which we know desperately we need today; we are going to use these infrastructure projects as a way of rebuilding the skills and attitudes of our own population. We are going to educate them for this mission. And then, as we do that, we’re going to say, “Wait a minute! But, how do we develop this infrastructure?” Oh, well, we’ve got to build an industry.
Ahh!! So, we’ll build an industry to make the infrastructure projects work! We will make many industries. We will build water systems as part of the infrastructure. That will also stimulate more work.
So, now we will take this population, which is halfway cast off, and abused, and we will give it work! What kind of work? We will give them the work of developing the infrastructure. We’ll give them the work of the industries, which at various parts and localities in the United States, are industries which are going to supply what is necessary to build the infrastructure! We are going to put the nation back to work.
And we’re going to take Federal credit, under the U.S. Constitution—having cancelled this phony debt!—we now are clear to utter new credit, under our Constitution. We’re capable of reforming our Federal banking system, as Alexander Hamilton would have done, and generating credit, which is now going to go, number one, to these infrastructure projects, and next, also, to the industries and agriculture which is necessary to support the infrastructure projects.
Now, we have an employment plan.
We have to have a technology driver, a long-term technology driver: The space program becomes the conception of the spillover—because we had spillover before, with the Kennedy program—the spillover of technology and science from the space program, will be the stimulant for the progress in the quality of performance of our rebuilding of the economy.
So, now the Federal government, with its power, having cancelled all this worthless debt, will now fund the banks. It will go to our commercial banks, within the Federal system, and their spinoffs in the states and localities, and they will now get Federal credit, to pass through to the banks, to go to support and fund the local industries and other things that go with the infrastructure, and the industrial and agricultural development. All we need, is the ability to pay the interest on that debt.
And where does that come from? It comes from the gains in technology, science and technology: You increase the productive powers of labor. What you’re investing in, is the increase in the productive powers of labor, including turning people who are not productive at all today, and showing them how to become productive, and giving them the opportunity to become productive.
So therefore, we are not concerned about “money,” as such. There’s no magic in money. Money is simply an arrangement which is necessary, to coordinate a flow of credit, within a diversified economy. That’s all. It’s a way you pay people, a way you buy, and a way you sell. And you have to have a system which is reliable. But it’s for that purpose: the same thing as the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s system of scrip. And that worked fine! For two generations, it created miracles! And Europe was shocked by it, astonished by it—and frightened by it.
So that’s all we have to do, is have a reasonable interest rate, a basic 1.5% interest rate in the Federal system and the international system. A fixed exchange rate among nation-states, which are sovereigns. And that’s all we need! But we need the imagination and the devotion to make it work.
So therefore, don’t worry about the money. We’re going to cancel most of it! As Franklin Roosevelt would say, “Winston! We’re going to cancel your system! And we’re going to bring back the American System, which worked just fine, until you got your paws on it, you ol’ bum!” That’s the matter.
Now therefore, the questions which should concern us, are questions, issues, which I touched upon, in what I said so far: We need mission orientations which are physical. Now, physical does not mean just, you know, sweat. Physical means you have a conception of man’s relationship in the universe.
There Is No Such Thing as ‘Zero Growth’
Now, we have had a great help from a Russian, and he had great help from a lot of other people, like Pasteur of France, things like that: Vernadsky. And Vernadsky was probably the greatest scientific thinker, in terms of his actual concrete achievements, in Russia, during the first half of the last century.
What Vernadsky did, with a prompting, in large degree, from the example of Louis Pasteur, was to recognize that the physical universe is composed of three primary sub-elements, things which are not living processes, nor products of living processes as such. Then you have living processes in general—animals, plants, and so forth. Then you have mankind. Now, all living processes are anti-entropic, that is, they are, intrinsically, as processes, they tend to grow: They have a principle of growth in them. Growth and development. The entire history of paleontology and so forth shows that the nature of living processes—and this is even true of the non-living process—grow. There is no such thing as zero growth in the universe! There is zero growth in some minds, and also retrogression, but that’s a different question—and behavior.
But in principle, nature does not dictate zero growth. We’re not in a zero growth. There is no such thing as a principle of entropy: Everything grows.
Look, you have the evolution of the planet, you’re dealing with this petroleum mess in the Caribbean. What is this? Well, the Earth—hey, buddy, the Earth makes petroleum! And it makes it down there, deep! Deep wells, gas, and all that gunk, it makes all this stuff! Which is not living, but it is being created.
Then you look at animal life. You say, where does animal life start, in our account? Well, it starts with kinds of things you wouldn’t even recognize as life, today. And then you have the development of new species, one after the other, layers and layers of species, increasing their power over the planet, changing the character of the planet. Wonderful! And then, you get man: And the difference in man is, we are capable of conscious creation! Animal life itself, all animal processes, the development of higher species, from lower species; the development of planets!
Where’d the planets come from? They came from the Sun. The Sun, one day, began shedding, like a disk-like formation around itself. And it began to slow down a little bit, because it kept throwing this material off, which sort of slowed down its rate of rotation. And then, inside this layer of material, this disk-like formation, the Sun irradiated this, and caused a process of development, where you get the famous thing which you used to get in chemistry about the 92 elements of the Periodic Table.
And you have in the planets, forms of matter which do not exist in the Sun! They were developed, by the Sun, in this process of synthesis. This created a gaseous state, as Gauss said, and, because of certain characteristics of the orbit, as Gauss observed, these layers worked like fractional distillation. The different planetary orbits began to condense, and form planets and moons and other such stuff. And suddenly, we had the 92-element Periodic Table presented to us—at my age, in my youth. Things have grown since that time. I didn’t do it, but it’s grown.
So the universe itself is inherently creative! The Solar System is a creation of the Sun. The process of the Sun creating the Solar System is a product of the characteristics of the galaxy! We are simply—and our Sun, our Solar System, is on the edge of our galaxy. Our galaxy is one of many galaxies. These many galaxies form a universe, beyond what we even know—we have estimates now, but it’s there. Everything is creative. Naturally creative! Every state of nature, defined by Vernadsky, is creative. The animal kingdom is creative; life is creative, inherently! And life is everywhere.
Humanity is consciously creative! Only mankind can willfully generate a higher state of organization within the universe, willfully, by an act of will, an act of knowledge. Our mission is that. And that’s what should guide us; that’s what should be our mission.
That’s what we’ve lost! Because all the greatest scientists and all the greatest thinkers of mankind have always thought in that direction, and have always moved in that direction.
So therefore, the task is this, and that is the essence of physical economy.