THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 716, April 14, 2013
The "Don't ask, don't tell" style of concealed carry
The IRS Will Never Find Us in the Asteroid Belt
Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
Freeman Dyson should be a Tea Party Patron Saint!
I had come to that conclusion a little before a friend sent me this link:
Physicist Freeman Dyson in addition to being an intellectual heir to Albert Einstein in the field of quantum physics is also noted for some very esoteric ideas; like the concept of a "Dyson Sphere"—the hallmark of an advanced interplanetary civilization which might build a sphere around its home star to capture the maximum solar energy output and the Dyson Tree—a genetically engineered tree that would take hold on a comet or asteroid and grow its own greenhouse in the form of a transparent airtight cuticle in which it and companion lifeforms including human colonists could survive and proper.
He also advanced the concept that the easiest way to find life in the ice bound seas of Jupiter's moon Europa might be to look for freeze dried fish and seaweed or what ever lifeforms that might exist there in a torus of water vapor and other matter along Europa's orbit around Jupiter that has been ejected by impacts on that moon.
And if that's not enough; he was a true space pioneer. In addition to his work on Project Orion (the atomic spaceship that was canceled in the 1960s) he was also the dude who said that the IRS would have a hard time finding us in the Asteroid Belt and not so long ago suggested that a $40,000 price tag for a ticket to the asteroids—would make the investment equivalent to a transatlantic voyage in colonial days. If I sold everything I had I might be able to go. That's what people did back then risking it all to reach a strange unknown new world with no guarantee of survival, let alone success.
You never hear much about Freeman Dyson unless you are a hard core SF fan or science geek. In addition to being a scientist who is also a climate change skeptic, many of his ideas for space colonization and other things are dangerous to a political establishment that has been working very hard to sell us on "limits of growth" to everything under the sun except government of course! Robert Zubrin; author of: The Case For Mars—declared Malthusianism; the ideology calling for a authoritarian system to limit human activity and population growth—"scientifically and morally bankrupt"; "but in the context of a closed system"—meaning a society dominated by ill informed 'low information voters' being spoon-fed propaganda about government caused economic crisis and resource shortages by a sympathetic media—"it takes on the illusion of self-evident truth". The farther we get down that road the more difficult it is going to be to get back on track for the stars—which I have often wondered: could this be a significant variable in the Drake Equation created by scientists searching for extraterrestrial intelligence to explain the deafening silence when it comes efforts aimed at detecting radio signals from other advanced civilizations in the universe. Where are they?
Some speculate they may die with a bang in a nuclear war or whimper when they deplete the allegedly finite carrying capacity of their home planet.
Could it be that they were just over stabilized and stymied by political interests that shut down the kind of freedom and economic growth that would make space travel or the kind of civilization that could communicate or be detected over interstellar distances possible? I have noticed that the left—despite their claim to being "progressive" has a long history of being opposed to new technology. Such as their knee jerk reaction of America's retreat from the moon after the spectacular success of the Apollo missions. This led to the Nixon Administration going to great lengths to dismantle the production lines so that to this day—building anything equivalent to the Saturn 5 rocket is as daunting as it was in the day when JFK made his pledge to go to the moon in a decade. If not more so given the demagoguery that painted any proposal to spend money on space as diverting limited resources away from more pressing problems on Earth. So stifling this was—that even the Reagan Administration was timid in that regard. And NASA itself has long lost the vision and can-do spirit of its early years. When the idea was floated during the George W. Bush Administration for a return to the moon—the brass at NASA shrugged and said "Maybe by 2030".
Talk about a major loss of mojo! It doesn't get much more pathetic than that!
I have always found it amusing how politicians who care nothing about spending the people's money suddenly become deficit hawks when criticizing projects they don't like. Walter Mondale for example. Most who have been around long enough remember him as Jimmy Carter's vice president and the democratic presidential candidate who challenged Reagan in the 1984 Election and lost. It was interesting how he was so concerned that what was then the beginnings of today's International Space Station might cost more than the proposed price tag—in retrospect he was right but the grounds for opposition were likely more ideological than fiscal. Going back to the 1970s when anti-technology sentiment was all the rage. It was then that he fought tooth and nail against the space shuttle program. His concerns—then shared by many democrat partisans and some on the right as well—was that the shuttle was just a foot in the door commitment for a mission to Mars which would bankrupt the nation for sure. Considering the cost of such ventures then in terms of today's outrageous spending and lack of concern for trillions in debt, it becomes obvious that it was never about fiscal conservatism but about opposition to new technology and a desire to keep humanity confined to "Only One Earth" by blocking any possible exit to another one.
Like Freeman Dyson said: The IRS would have a hard time finding us in the Asteroid Belt.
Or as Marshall T. Savage in the Millennial Project suggested: that the one thing more frightening about the grandeur of space to some people is that someday humanity might grow to match it. If you happen to have built a political agenda for greater government control of society around the notion that we are running out of stuff—that is even more true. Probably scares the living bat crap out of anyone who desires a command economy or seeks refuge in the politics of scarcity.
Who in their right mind is going to put up with the shortages and sacrifices inherent in the kind of rationing economy that progressive ideologues have been trying to impose on us since the early 20th Century if there is another way out. In time of war the American people tolerated it , maybe grudgingly (my grandmother told me plenty of tales about black markets and cheating the rationing system in WWII) but overall they have rejected it up until recently when it has become possible to buy lots of votes with a welfare state supported by borrowed money and borrowed time and pandering to the worst craven vices of the plebeian class.
According to the classification schemes for technological civilizations advanced by Dyson—we are still at the class I level which is defined as a society that utilizes the resource base of a single planet. If we can survive the perils of government we have a chance of advancing to the next level which is the interplanetary civilization that utilizes an entire solar system. And then the next step beyond—which is interstellar and eventually galactic. Dark as things look now—there are still a couple of bright spots. Recent discoveries of extrasolar planets numbering in the hundreds—which seems to indicate that most, if not all stars in the universe have at least a few and there are said to be an estimated 100 billion habitable planets in our galaxy alone!
And while the government space program seems to be foundering, the private sector has been slowly picking up the slack with satellite launches and resupply missions to the International Space Station. There are companies like Virgin Galactic that are competing for the commercial passenger market and others like Planetary Resources that are eying up the potential for great fortunes to be made mining asteroids. One platinum group metal rich space rock could yield tons of precious metals—perhaps even more gold than has been mined on Earth during the 5,000 year recorded history of human civilization! That estimate may turn out a bit rosy in reality but once extensive mining operations are underway all over the solar system—we will probably mine enough gold to pay down the debts of every nation and we will probably be using metal based currencies again.
I am sure the powers that be will naturally fear this as it amounts to a loss of centralized control that being in charge of a finite planet with limited resources entails. Along with the option to opt out that cheeper access to space would afford. The Asteroid Belt would make the ultimate Gault's Gulch in this day and age because the IRS would have a hard time finding us out there and it's so vast in scope that any effort mounted by the U.N. Space Fleet to bring it under heel would be like fighting the Seminole Wars back in the 19th Century. With mobile habitats and abundant resources scattered far and wide, the space colonists could just keep moving. The Seminoles which waged a guerrilla war from their refugia in the swamps of Florida were the only Indian tribe that was never officially conquered by the U.S. government.
Like Freeman Dyson said: the IRS or the UN will never find us out there. But I'm sure some of their minions will die trying.
Was that worth reading?