Slipping the Surly Bonds of Wokeness

I recently wrote that the Apollo space program would probably have no chance of succeeding today. Looking back at the green-left campaign to pre-empt the (as it turned out) stunningly successful Cassini program, I wrote that the whole program today would be run through the wringer of intersectionality: it would be one small step for a trans…Our future now is not the hopeful, beaming faces of men like Neil Armstrong, but the grim glower of ignorant inquisitors like Greta Thunberg.

It turns out that I’m not the only one to notice. A few days later, Australian columnist “The Mocker” made the same argument.

The lead-up to the 50th anniversary should have been a time for all Americans to unite and reflect, but I suppose it was too much to ask that those on the lunar left could, just for once, not usurp the occasion. “If we do not acknowledge the gender bias of the early space program,” wrote author and puppeteer Mary Robinette Kowal in The New York Times last week, “it becomes difficult to move past it”.

Kowal was referring to the predecessor of the Apollo program, Project Mercury, the subject of Tom Wolfe’s book The Right Stuff and the film of the same name. NASA had mandated candidates be test pilots, which effectively excluded women from the program. There is a time and a place for raising these grievances, and the 50th anniversary of the moon landing was not it. Also joining in to diss the commemoration was The Washington Post, which bemoaned that “The culture that put men on the moon was intense, fun, family-unfriendly, and mostly white and male”.

Sounds like a culture that gets things done.

Then, of course, there’s the left’s precious obsession, “diversity”.

“Cosmonaut diversity was key for the Soviet message to the rest of the globe,” gushed author Sophie Pinkham last week as she noted the USSR had been the first to put a woman, an Asian, and a black man into space. “Under socialism, a person of even the humblest origins could make it all the way up.” Diversity was also key for the 10 million Soviet citizens sent to the gulags, but putting a few token minorities into orbit is a good enough reason to overlook socialism’s most heinous crimes, surely?

The Soviet program might have been more spuriously “diverse”, but the Americans got to the Moon. Take your pick: “diversity”, or results.

As for NASA’s supposedly discriminatory selection criteria, we should be grateful that it rigorously assessed its candidates. If left to the affirmative action and social justice zealots, the rockets would never have got off the ground, and the applicants would have been graded according to the principle of intersectionality. Unlike Mercury’s requirement that candidates hold a STEM degree, only those who had successfully completed gender or sexuality studies would be eligible.

Then there’s the problematic design of the rockets.

The misandrists of today would have angrily insisted that a philosophy of phallus-worshipping inspired the design of the rockets, the anything-but-white crowd would shriek upon seeing the shade of the spacesuits, the hardcore feminists would argue the laws of physics are based on patriarchal constructs of logic, and the disability advocates would complain the space capsules did not provide for wheelchair access…

That said, it is not inappropriate to acknowledge what NASA could have done better in the Apollo 11 project. My beef is the design of the Saturn V rockets, each of which had five F-1 engines capable of generating 3.4 million kilograms of thrust. As powerful as these rockets were, they are incapable of escaping the pull of wokeness, that powerful and parasitical force which drags everything back to Earth.

Feminist rockets don’t “thrust”. Unless they have strap-on boosters.