Garry Trudeau has made more than a comfortable living making fun of conservatives as illiterate morons in his syndicated political cartoon Doonesbury. The comic is typically featured above the fold on the front page of the funnies section of liberal papers U.S.-wide. Its ubiquitousness has ensured the cartoonist has a built in audience of choir members for which he can spill his screed. That his screed has long stopped being funny is besides the point. The comic is a convenient bully pulpit for far-left ranting that somehow avoids the opinion pages of the paper. Still, I was quite surprised when Trudeau used his strip to attack the manned Mars mission at NASA.
That the New York-blue blood and Yale-educated Trudeau’s politics are firmly in the American liberal-apologist camp is really no surprise. After all this is the cartoonist that blamed Charlie Hebdo cartoonists for their own murders in having the temerity for making fun of the hypocrisies of extremists. That the innocuous-seeming manned Mars mission would come under his baleful gaze is perhaps a little surprising.
Or maybe it isn’t. After all it was the Obama administration that gutted NASA’s manned missions (1) and ended the Space Shuttle program. Of all the Democratic administrations in power since Trudeau was scrawling his Bull Tales predecessor of Doonesbury in the late 1960’s, the Obama administration was one the one administration that was most aligned with his politics, even more so than the Carter administration.
Now the Republicans are in the White House, and manned space missions have received more priority at NASA. Which must mean less money for liberal-apologist priorities. Or so Trudeau appears to imply. That technologies developed for NASA’s myriad programs have resulted in tremendous benefits for U.S. citizens of all economic statuses is besides the point. Funding for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are under assault (2)!
Trudeau says that robots can perform space exploration at a considerably cheaper cost and without the risk of life that crossing interplanetary distances would represent. Conclusion: people that plan and fund manned missions are morons.
Space exploration billionaire entrepreneurs like Elon Musk would beg to differ. And thank goodness for that. Investing in wonder and discovery rather than in squatting in government-sponsored squalor while presumably being able to fund more artists feeding off the federal trough to bleat more tunes and scratch on more canvases would, for most reasonable people, present more of a forward-looking vision than Trudeau’s.
No, I’m not calling Garry Trudeau an illiterate (or perhaps, more accurately, a literate) moron. But maybe a whole lot of somebodies should.
(1) Funding for NASA was actually slightly increased under the Obama administration, but its focus was turned towards jobs-generating (vote-getting) more liberally palatable scientific missions with little forward vision.