When John F. Kennedy spoke of Americans taking themselves to our planet’s closest celestial neighbour, he did so to invoke an image of America’s will-to-power and, most importantly, to orient the entire nation towards an ethics of the new frontier.
In a 1962 speech given in Houston, Texas, Kennedy would declare: “We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people.”
By speaking of the project in these terms, JFK made scientific and technological progress innately sociopolitical issues of which a new collective consciousness was required because the very project of scientific progressivism had “no conscience of its own.”
Similarly, for many an accelerationist, it is our very dogged fixation on that which seems to exist over the horizon of established reason and knowledge that will help us get there. However, any call for the reestablishment of an ethics for a new political frontierism — particularly one oriented towards communism rather than capitalism — requires considerable caution.
We must ask ourselves: what, if anything, might we bring with us on our journey—inadvertently or otherwise?
In seeking to enter new lands and climes, we must be wary about what we erase and perpetuate as we enter them, such is the necessity of an ethical dimension towards which we consider our horizons. Speaking still of the Space Race, JFK tellingly continued: “Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man,” and not just man but an American and capitalism man, implicitly in opposition to their space race rivals: the Russian Communists.
For JFK, the United States had to occupy “a position of pre-eminence” if the nation was to “help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war.” This is likewise the sort of wishful thinking employed by left-accelerationists, containing many of the same misfortunate undercurrents.
When attaching your project to the state, you must be careful what you wish for. Bootstrapping — whether nationalism to space colonialism or communism to capitalism — is a dangerous game.