As a follow-up to my previous post, Screwing the Poor in Matrimony, I wanted to further discuss the idea of Mars colonization; which I had so clearly mocked. For the record, I support the idea of space exploration and the eventual colonization of Mars and beyond. But we’re not anywhere even close to such a thing. In his article on The Mars Society, John Tierney compares this with the exploration and colonization of the Americas. But there is no comparison, because we’re not even close to that stage. The only thing stopping people in Columbus’ time was ignorance. But they certainly had the capability to travel around the world. They just didn’t think it was such a good idea. And when you consider that it took almost 130 years between the discovery of America (1492) and the eventual colonization by the British in Plymouth (1620); it still didn’t seem like such an obvious idea.
But we’re nowhere even close to such a thing. Right now, it’s still expensive and risky just to send people into our own orbit. Our ocean equivalent isn’t the huge ocean-worthy ships of Columbus, but the tiny fishing boats that were in danger of sinking if they lost sight of land. And sure, it’s likely that people did travel all the way to America in ships that should not have gone there; just as we made a few trips to the moon. But you couldn’t start a colony with such things. Hell, I don’t even see us as having the spaceship equivalent of what the ancient Greeks used. They didn’t have to worry every damn time they launched a trading ship; canceling each time things didn’t look quite right. And yet for us, even launches of unmanned probes and satellites require excessive expense, worry, and risk. We’re making the most of it, but we’re still at the early experimental stage; the equivalent of when man had first discovered that you could tie logs together and float on water.
I’m sure that someday we’ll have mastered space-travel enough that even trips to deep space will be considered routine and boring. But that’s unlikely to happen in our lifetimes, or the lifetimes of our children. It took thousands of years before man’s shipbuilding capability was good enough to colonize the world. And while our advanced science will surely cut down that leadtime, it’s still far enough off in our future that the futility of crafting a legal system for the Mars colony is a tad premature, to say the least.
Our ships are too slow and dangerous and we haven’t a clue as to how to actually transport people over such a long distance. We had a big headache just getting a handful of our best trained men to the Moon for a few weeks, and Mars is at least 150x further away and poses far more dangers for even a short trip there. And yet here we have Tierney all ready to pack his bags and start humping those multiple Martian wives of his. But again, I’m certainly not against the idea of sending him there, even if the practicalness of it still hasn’t been entirely established. Just as long as the time delay dissuades him from continuing to get that pap of his published.
And to burst his libertarian bubble, I have absolutely no faith in the idea that libertarianism will be possible on Mars. It can’t happen. Not in a world with such hazards, complications, and expenses. A Mars colony will require an even stronger government to control things, and will be dependent on earth governments for a long long time…earth governments that will want much oversight over where their money is going.
I could see such things as polygamy being used for population growth, but even that would be highly regulated. And things like building codes and environmental regulation would be, by necessity, strictly enforced with a fanatical adherence. A Mars colony will most certainly be governed with the equivalent of martial law, with personal liberty being an often unaffordable luxery; and will require heavy taxation. That Mars could be governed with a libertarian mindset is strictly fantasy. Even the American colonies required strict rule, and they didn’t nearly have the complications of being millions of miles away on a hostile planet. Of course, the idea that the libertarian “free-for-all” laws will ever work in reality is the biggest fantasy of all.