Apollo 11

Today is the fortieth anniversary of the magnificent achievement of landing a man on the moon, on July 20, 1969.

There are many important and weighty lessons that we can ponder as we look back at that historic day.

One that is certainly appropriate is to remember that during the 1960s, the space program was very much seen by the entire world as a contest between two nations with very different views about the best way to allocate limited resources.

One of those nations believed that the best way to organize society and reach goals was through centralized government planning.

The other believed that the best way was to enable individuals to make their own choices, through free enterprise, the rule of law, and respect for private property.

During the 1960s (and even afterwards) there were many who believed that the first notion -- the organization of resources by central planning -- was the wave of the future, and that any society that failed to get in line with this new reality would be left behind.

The history of the twentieth century should have put that fallacy to rest forever. The ability of the United States, a country whose economy and resources were reliant upon free enterprise, to place a man on the moon before the end of the 1960s was a clear sign that the centrally-planned state was not the real wave of the future.

The successful landing on the moon by the Apollo astronauts was a very visible sign of the strength of a free country. We would probably do well to think about that more often.

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