Into Plowershares Into Space Leftovers
To some extent civilized, that is. There are many motivations of people. perhaps part of the "bully" ongoing phenomenon gets "civilized" into many forms, including team sports like football, resonating to deep instincts of "us vs them" "bullies battling for supremacy", and "territory taking over" types.
Exercise of those motivational forces excessively, is at risk of affecting choices of usage of technology to harm instead of nurture, a "back and forth swords into plowshares into..." kind of thing. Some technology that was sponsored development for warfare programs, has gotten later also used for civilian usage, such as aircraft development for warfare uses, includes changes that are later usable for mostly more functional commercial airliner aircraft. The "space race to the Moon" in the mid to late 1960's 's "Cold War" environment was not for science and exploration adventure, but to get to the Moon as a potential high outpost for launching nuclear missiles at the "other side". Along the way the "space race to the Moon" found both the difficulties and the usefulness of space activities, and the "International Space Station" brings former adversaries to work together in a place they might otherwise be assaulting each other, overwhelmed by bully urges; but instead have truce in mutually beneficial high-effort activities.
If space were truly seen as opportunity for civilization to expand responsibly for betterment of all people and the world environment, the focus of space development would have been upon (and still intensely be upon) space access structures. Instead, the mid-1980's concepts such as Lofstrom's "Launch Loop" (a circulating belt between two points on the ground that would lift rockets to the fringes of space for more efficient launch from 90 miles or so up), and Hyde's "Starbridge" vertical tower for electrically lifting up by electromagnetic drag technology vertically to stability height limits (90 miles?), and Smith's concept of an iron belt circulating between ground at Texas around the planet up to some high earth altitude, would have been researched to better forms even back in early 1990's.
The "KESTS to GEO" concept utilizes parts of those concepts, re-formed to eliminate the earlier conceptual design's difficulties and errors, into a form much closer to feasible high volume electrically powered space access structures that could provide transportation of the efficiency and magnitude enough to enable construction of the solar power satellites in GEO, and vastly much more from then on, such as total recycling plants of giant mass spectrometer separation systems solar powered in zero gravity and hard vacuum up in GEO, high spaceports for large scale efficient manned access of Moon, Mars and beyond, and construction of high quality living space in GEO related to the Stanford Torus passively shielded design of 1976 (except using ice for passive shielding, a safety feature).
This addresses major issues we face even now, particularly those of need for clean low cost abundant energy delivered worldwide and into the distant future too; coping with toxic byproducts of technology by solar powered conversion of it back to pure materials for re-use; room to build homes, grow food and live well yet not leaning hard on the earth ecosystem thereby; and even high efficiency spaceports in GEO for exploration and resource collection.
But no, we did not elect to do this. It shows that the stimulus for large scale projects is not driven by desire for betterment of all in ever-improving overall civilization, long-term, but instead is mere leftovers from the squabbles of people over what is already there. Leftovers from the romp of bullies who are rewarded by reproductive choices of best mates, and goodies of life such as fine homes and glory in the public, thus it is their ego-and-pomp-and-clever-bullying kind that increases as it has for eons even in the mamallian herd arenas; and to heck with the rest of us. Wasn't America's balance of power government supposed to get around that problem? It seems that the semi-civilized bullies are still showing who is boss around here, who it is who chooses what happens, using mudslinging and cunning accusations and sabotage if needed, to grab more power for themselves, not for civilization, ever obscessed with "control or be controlled" issues instead of survival of the world environment civilization upon which even they depend upon for life... along with the rest of us.