Those who had Hved some portions ofrntheir lives before the advent of the ColdrnWar and those of us who grew up inrnits closing throes seemed less likely tornget worked up by John Glenn’s “triumphant”rnreturn to space, and there’s arnreason: The space program screamsrn”Cold War boondoggle.” Its one justificationrnwas that the Soviets were doing it,rnand so we had to do it, too. (Tang andrnthe free/e-dried ice cream that thernSmithsonian sells in the gift shop at thernNational Air and Space Museum are onlyrnjustifications ex post facto.) But nowrnthe Soviet Union is gone, and the Russiansrnare “borrowing” money from us torncontinue their (mis)adventures in space.rnA week or so before John Glenn’srn”heroic” return to space, a Chicago radiornshow host interviewed a spokesboopsiernfor NASA. (One of only six political appointeesrnat the agency, she had previoirslyrnworked for Vice President Gore.) In arndisplay of true heroism, the host triedrnto get her to answer a simple question:rnWliy have a space program at all? Well,rnshe replied, we need it in order to buildrna permanent space stafion. But, the hostrnpersisted, why do we need a permanentrnspace stafion? Well, obviously, in orderrnto conduct long-term experiments inrnspace. But wh do we need to performrnexperiments in space? Because the technologyrnthat went into the tlubble Telescopernis now being used to provide usrnwith clearer mammograms. (Sorry,rnTang, breast cancer is the ncv’ flavor ofrnthe nronth.) But if we needed that technology,rncoiddn’t it have been developedrnwithout a space program? Well, yes, butrn. . . So, the exasperated host concluded,rnisn’t the real reason we go into space simplyrnbecause it is there? Well, yes, ofrncourse, and isn’t that exciting?rnI called a friend and colleague whosernlatest book deals largely with the destructionrnvisited on America by school consolidation,rnthe Interstate Highway S’stem,rnand a large standing army—all centralrnprojects of the Cold War —and askedrnhim what he thought of John Glenn’srn”historic” return to space. Well, he demurred,rnI have a soft spot for the MercuryrnSeven astronauts. But that’s thernwhole point: With the fall of the SovietrnEmpire, major mistakes such as thernHubble I’elescope, and charges of mismanagementrnin the early 90’s, NASA realizedrnthat its days were numbered, andrnit has been searching wildly about for arnjustification for its continued existence.rnIt has finally found one: satisfying thernnostalgic yearnings of Baby Boomersrnwho long for a return to the familiar daysrnof their youth. Cape Canaveral is ourrnnew circus, and we can look forward to arnstring of celebrity space flights that willrnbeguile ns with visions of a future straightrnout of Star Trek, while taking our mindsrnoff of the ‘ery real future that is dawningrnall around us, a future of national dissolution,rneconomic collapse, barbarism,rnand the potential end of our civilization.rnIt’s a future that we’re unwilling—andrnincreasinglv, unable—to face, which isrnwhy we’ll gladly sit, glued to the TV, likernso many demoerafic Neros, fiddling withrnour remote controls while the FourthrnRome burns.rn—ScottP.RichertrnCAMPAIGN 1998 was the dirtiest inrnrecent memory. The bottom of thernslime-pit was reached by Al D’Amatornand Chuck Schnmer, who got into a spittingrncontest to determine which was thernsleaziest politician in the history of thernU.S. Senate: Schnmer won. Elsewhere,rnleftist Democrats pulled out all the stops,rnblaring the message: A GOP ictoryrnmeans more churches burned. In Illinois,rnthe Senate race between CarolrnMoseley-Braun and Peter Fitzgeraldrnwas no exception. In the closing days ofrnthe campaign, Senator Moseley-Brannrnrepeatedly denounced Fitzgerald forrnpolitical extremism and for his relationshiprnwith an “avowed white racialrnsupremacist.”rnThe evidence? Fitzgerald supposedlyrnattended an extremist political rally inrnRockford that had been arranged by thernpresident of The Rockford Institute who,rnso the stor)’ ran, was affiliated with a racistrnneo-Confcderate organization calledrnThe League of the South. Every detailrnin this indictment is false, beginningrnwith the fact that it was our executivernvice president, Chris Check, who organizedrnboth Rallies for Rockford and notrnthe infamous “racial supremacist” denouncedrnby Carol. Even though reportersrnfrom Channel 7 in Chicago andrnriie Chicago Tribune, after interviewingrnme, concluded that there was no story,rnthey did not hesitate to “print the legend,”rnespecially when master race-baiterrnJesse Jackson and family-values advocaternHillary Rodham Clinton came to townrnto repeat tiie charges.rnI was not surprised when the Tribunerndid not publish my response. The Tribunernhas had an ax to grind againstrnChronicles ever since wc exposed the paper’srnextreme liberalism: The then-editorrnand later board chairman was angryrnenough to write me to complain personally.rnSince no one else in the Chicagornmedia appears to take much interest inrnquesfions of fact, I have to waste space inrnChronicles on this trivial issue, if only torngo on record.rnFirst, my relations with the Republicanrncandidate, Peter Fitzgerald. I havernnever supported Mr. Fitzgerald and didrnnot vote for him. I met him on one occasionrnonly, when he came to my officernseeking my support. We disagreed onrnvirtually everything, and I told him candidlyrnthat it was free-trade and openbordersrnglobalists like him who werernalienating the blue-collar workers andrnReagan Democrats that represented thernreal future of his party.rnMoseley-Braun misrepresented thernfacts in saying that I was in any way associatedrnwith Fitzgerald. But Fitzgerald,rnwhen asked about the charges, knowinglyrnlied in denying that he had ever metrnme. Even a glad-handing politicianrnwould remember the hour and a half hernspent in someone’s office in the presencernof several witnesses. The campaignrnworker who brought him to see me certainlyrnremembers and has said so on thernrecord.rnSecond, there is the Rally for Rockford.rnIt was a public forum to discussrnjudicial taxation, not a protest againstrndesegregation. A senatorial candidaterncould hardly be faulted for going to anrnopen forum attended by nearly 700 public-rnspirited voters. The only trouble isrnthat Fitzgerald, after promising to come,rnturned out to be the little man whornwasn’t there, but this did not stop thernabuse. One of Fitzgerald’s campaignrnworkers (who later got shafted by the candidate)rnhanded out literature outside thernlecture hall.rnAs Carol’s numbers rose, Fitzgeraldrngave into pressure to “renounce” (read:rn”denounce”) the president of The RockfordrnInstitute, and he declared that hernwould never have had anything to dornwith me if he had known of my connectionsrnwith The League of the South. Ofrncourse, his campaign staS did knowwellrnbefore the rally—because my associationrnwith the League was publicized inrnthe Rockford paper. This knowledge didrnnot prevent one of his staffers from showingrnup at my office, with another candidaternin tow, a good seven months afterrnthe local Gannett paper devoted twornfront-page stories to the League (and lessrn8/CHRONICLESrnrnrn