Another Planet

The losers in elections often take the loss badly. Just as some Gore supporters in 2000 shouted about moving to Canada, some Romney supporters have taken the loss particularly badly too:

And perhaps the most poignant:

All the Republican rage made me think about the origins of America. So much emigration out of Europe to America came out of political and religious or ethnic friction and disagreement with the regimes in Europe (and later, the rest of the world). Many, many Americans are the descendants of Europeans who came to America to practise religion or politics the way they wanted to, and not the way that their nation, or the Catholic church, or a Feudal lord wanted them to.

That same independent-mindedness and the hunger for self-governance was the force that gave the Founding Fathers the chutzpah to finally sever ties with the British Empire in 1776 and strike out on their own as an independent nation.

For those who want to strike out into the unknown in the pursuit of self-governance, such options don’t exist anymore. There is no great sparsely inhabited continent spread out (except perhaps Antarctica which is already claimed-for) for those who want to strike out on their own. Those of a libertarian temperament and with a hunger for self-governance used to come to America. But in the modern, globalised world, where can they go?

Where is the next America? Where is the next land that people seeking self-governance can emigrate to?

One prospective answer has been seasteading — moving out onto floating cities in international waters. Perhaps that will satisfy the desires of a few in the coming years, but not everyone wants to live at sea. It is another frontier, but there are many challenges to overcome. For one thing, governments have navies, and may lay claim to successful floating cities near their waters, seeking new tax revenues. Pirates may pose a similar challenge.

In the much longer term, the answer will almost certainly be leaving the planet. The only uncolonised great new continents left are the ones up in space, on other planets.  There is no more effective or complete way to depart. So it is rather poetic that in the past couple of days a new Earthlike planet in a star’s habitable zone has been discovered.

Via the BBC:

Astronomers have spotted another candidate for a potentially habitable planet — and it is not too far away.

The star HD 40307 was known to host three planets, all of them too near to support liquid water.

But research to appear in Astronomy and Astrophysics has found three more – among them a “super-Earth” seven times our planet’s mass, in the habitable zone where liquid water can exist.

Many more observations will be needed to confirm any other similarities.

But the find joins an ever-larger catalogue of more than 800 known exoplanets, and it seems only a matter of time before astronomers spot an “Earth 2.0″ — a rocky planet with an atmosphere circling a Sun-like star in the habitable zone.

The hunger for self-governance led to the birth of America. It seems highly likely, in the very long run, that the hunger for self-governance will be the force that leads not only to local space colonisation (near-earth asteroids, Mars, asteroid belt, the moons of the gas giants) but ultimately deep space colonisation. The private space industry today is already driven by libertarian-leaning individuals like Bert Rutan, Robert Zubrin and Peter Thiel.

Powerful central government drives nonconformists to find ways to escape it. If the only road to self-governance left is up into space, then that is the road that will be taken. In the end, fury over a lost election may be the thing that drives humanity to the stars.

36 thoughts on “Another Planet

  1. I certainly wouldn’t want to move to a planet 7 times more massive than Earth. I bet the gravity there is too much for humans to handle without extensive augmentation

  2. John, I think you’re watching too much late-night television.

    You need to take a step back and view things with a little more temporal perspective. If you consider previous empires, they did not just go away overnight. They slowly [more or less] lost power and new empires took their place.

    There is no doubt that it appears that China might be next in line, but who knows? You sell America short. I know things really suck here now [I live in a California economy that is seriously on the ropes], but, and as I have pointed out in the past, the fundamentals of the United States are still pretty darn good.

    As you well know, this system has failed and is getting worse by the minute. The time will come when it must be fixed. Think about what the United States has in terms of natural wealth. The debt will be dealt with [in whatever fashion] and things will move on.

    The whole world is not going to sit around forever and allow thee bankers to completely destroy the world. If nothing else, you might see a military coup in the U.S. if the political system fails to respond. Who knows?, but one thing’s for sure, it will NOT last forever.

    So, don’t worry about having to live out in the middle of the ocean or blasting off into space. I guarantee you that you will enjoy a prosperous life 10-15 years hence. As a matter of fact, I’ll put a case of beer on it!! :)

    • Sure I am sure America will have its ups as well as its downs. But not in terms of pure self-governance, which is what drove the early European-Americans out of Europe, and is what is driving people toward seasteading. Self-governance is a powerful ideal.

      • Here is where people get really confused. People say, “THIS is the way it should be, but they base THIS on romanticized fairy tales. This is why I say that times like these are VERY instructive, as if you look with clarity, the Truth is right in front of your eyes.

        There is no doubt that the planet is moving into a new era. This should be obvious to all, but you must take heart in the fact that THE great lesson of the 20th century is that authoritarianism DOES NOT work [for long]. This foray back into the authoritarian jungle will not last either.

        Intelligent people [in the Elite] will realize that they can not have it all and will once again settle for most of it. This is the history of the world.

        It is a different world and the same rules as applied in the 18th century can not longer apply today, but this does not mean that life will not be good. It is in the interests of everybody to live in a world that works a hell of a lot better than this one [at the moment].

        Have faith that mankind will survive this period and move forward. And, if for some reason we don’t, oh well.

        • From a purely psychological perspective, the Elite (CEO, President, Prime Minister. Governor, General) are psychopaths. They crave power and influence. None are benevolent. The benevolent want to make a difference but don’t have the psychological power to get to a position of power.

          Basically we are in trouble, unless, a system is put forward that recognises these psychopaths and avoids them being put in positions of power.

          That is my final position and I will leave others reading this to discuss these matters. There is no hope unless we stop the psychopaths.

      • I don’t think you are watching too much late night TV, Aziz.

        Blueseed is making Seasteading a reality right now. And colonies in space (probably first for resource mining Luna for He-3, or asteroids for anything else) would most likely provide the emphasis. Not science fiction at all. In fact it is inevitable, and as long as you stay healthy you’ll probably see it happen.

        As for Republicans getting super angry, they are idiots rooting madly for one team which is not unlike the other team. Obama and Romney are almost the same. A vote for one was essentially like a vote for the other. Its like Yankees vs Red Sox. The outcome of this election made me shrug.

        Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” lays out plainly that elections are a wonderful release valve for the elite to loose the unhappiness of the population. Very little change occurs from them. Politicians routinely lie to get elected. If voter’s haven’t realized this by now then … ah well.

        In short the US is headed to a massive USD devaluation, and Robamney will not change that result one iota. Confidence will be shaken in the Anglo-Americans. China and India will try to profit from this, and they will… but they have their own equally bad problems.

        In 50 years, we will look back and say “The small countries with low debt and small Statist bureaucracies were the place to live and profit. The Blueseeds, Chile, Switzerland, Estonia, iceland, Andorra, Isle of Man nations. The large nations impoverished themselves in their drive for power.”

        Maybe Scotland soon (temping place to move to if that happens…)

  3. The only place anyone is going soon, is to Heaven, and those are few, and most are already there. If you knew anything about the Ionsphere, you would know for a fact that no man has been out of earths’/hells’ atmosphere.. that is the purpose of this secluded {from all other contacts} planet. True freedom of thought and movement are exclusively heavens citizens, and all others will find out their fate very very soon. God told everyone His ultimate plan… few believed HIM. They will soon. Very very soon.

  4. The United States didn’t die on Tuesday. The Constitution has been dead for at least a century. Abraham Lincoln killed it – if it wasn’t dead already

    • My feelings about Lincoln are mixed. It might have been opportunism, but at least the institution of slavery was ended. Slavery was a very great evil, and the absolute antithesis of libertarianism.

      • Lincoln is definitely a mixed bag. I know its fashionable to look down on Lincoln within the Libertarian community. But it may be because the Libertarian community is almost completely Anglo-American.

        American’s have been indoctrinated to cherish the idea of the 1785 Constitution from the day we are born. On the other hand, the history and idea of the Articles of Confederation are essentially tossed into the dustbin. It is a true shame.

  5. I’m with you John, the stars is the next great adventure, nothing left here. People always talk about rebuilding this country, but what will people want to have built first, the Welfare or the Warfare state? Oh the choices. :)

  6. Young people, technology is not going to save you. Going to another planet nor becoming a sea urchin isn’t going to save you either. Fixing what’s going on here is the only answer. And this is already happening.

    If you study history, you will find that transitory eras are not particularly pleasant, but it’s the human way of moving on. If you go back just a couple of generations, they were facing much greater challenges then are we. Ours is simply a massive book-keeping/counterfeiting error.

    How would like having a Hitler attempting to take over the world, or the English creating millions of opium addicts in your country, or Spanish crossing the ocean and wiping out tens of millions of native American people, so on and so forth?

    Although your generation is getting royally screwed at the moment, every generation takes their turn assuming the position. You guys will most likely enjoy a much nicer retirement than will the tens of millions of baby boomers that will be eating Old Roy for dinner nightly.

    Try to look beyond the present and imagine yourself in a system which encourages productive behavior. This will return. The apocalyptic scenario is possible, but highly unlikely as it is not in anybody’s interests. The elite are only interested in stealing as much of your labor-value as is PRACTICAL. Their system no longer functions well, and they know this better than anyone.

    When the debt is dealt with, government is made workable once again, a great deal of economic efficiency will be re-introduced and another era of prosperity will ensue. Why would it be any other way? If you were one of the Elite, wouldn’t you want the entire world to be doing well? After all, the Elite simply take a cut of the action, so they want the action as large as is possible [maximum economic productivity].

    Again, they will fix their system, one way or another because these bankers are now hated by everybody, even their own. One of the most outspoken public critics of Wall Street has been the IMF. The problem is that the only thing they know [centralization], is what’s making it worse.

    Eventually, they will figure it out, because these people [as is plain to see] will do EVERYTHING for money, even fix the problems.

    • ‘The apocalyptic scenario is possible, but highly unlikely as it is not in anybody’s interests’.

      @ impermanence… you ought to look up the word, before it is misused.. like everyone who misuses the word. We are IN the age of the Apocalypse now. The tribulation {which comes next} is NOT the apocalypse. ‘ Apocalypse: The revelation of hidden truths. {To uncover the common lies}’. Just proves one should check out the truth for themselves, and not trust others to ‘tell’ them what ‘truth’ is. Most likely, it is ALL lies/deceit.

      • You are correct [as are all women :], as I was using it in the colloquial. Be that as it may, the Truth is visible for all to view. Unfortunately, most people were asleep during the first 95 years of this crisis, waking up only after the 2008 meltdown.

        And, as aside, the vast majority of people are not interested in the truth, only in getting their share of the “something for nothing” economy.

        • @ Imp..

          You are so right about the above.. something for nothing is the norm…. one day they will have to pay the price.. it will be ugleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

          On the subject of acknowledging the truth… most people are still ignorant on the issues that really matter.

        • Something for nothing seems to define contemporary humanity, be it the boss extracting labor-value from his/her employees, the investor desiring a “return” on their investment, government as overseer of all things, organized religion extorting billions from the spiritually challenged, and every other organization using their unique skills to, again, separate people from their labor-value earned.

  7. http://www.bartleby.com/73/1593.html

    In response, create a new one.

    I have traveled all over the world. The USA is an awesome land mass. Best beaches, mountains forrests and desert scenery I have seen.

    Just choose a few States that have strategic importance, resources etc. uproot and migrate, annoy the locals so they leave, then secede from the USA. Libertonia!

    Peacefully. Unlike these dudes.

    • BR, if you kind of look at things in context, I believe you will find that we are at the end of a 100 year period of central bank insanity [at least in the U.S.]. Whereas most people finally see what’s going on and it kind of freaks them out, this has been going on for a long, long, time.

      This is how it always is. The crisis has been going on for ONE HUNDRED YEARS!! We are now to the point where they have completely trashed the system, yet we are still alive. The night is darkest just before the dawn, so the saying goes, and this applies to this crisis too.

      Nobody listened to Charles Lindbergh’s warning in the teens and twenties, and to the succession of people after him who warned, and warned, and warned, and warned, and warned about what would happen.

      Personally, I have been aware for the past three decades and have seen my profession go up in flames. I make less money now than I did three years out of school. That’s just the way it is. It is now time to pick up the pieces and rebuild each nation’s economy based on de-centralization principles.

      The pendulum is beginning is swing the other way. The first step in simply the realization that the current system is unsustainable. Don’t allow to fear is get in the way of productive behavior, as even in the worst of situations, what’s the worst that can happen?

      • The masses on uncover the truth when everything collapses. They start to talk about their problems and people explain why it happened. There will always be a lag, and a lot of pain before a new system.

        • When has it been any other way?

          Relatively speaking, though, most people are not starving, so this is a good thing. One of the best ways to consider these sorts of things is to imagine that you are already dead [not you personally, everybody]. This way, you take the fear out of looking at the situation rationally.

          We all have and are going to suffer until this debt bubble is dealt with, and it will be. In the meantime, why mourn for lost material wealth when the essence of contentment in life has little to do with such things.

          One great thing that will come out of this depression is that people will once again re-prioritize. This is always a good thing, as [more or newer] stuff is rarely the answer.

  8. Pingback: Another Planet | My Blog

  9. WE need this guy (ANglo Hondo from Zero Hedge) on our team. very bright and witty. From zero Hedge http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2012-11-09/fiscal-cliff

    Anglo Hondo

    Further on Europe and the German study on France’s economics (courtesy of Scott – East Anglia):

    What European war? That was what the war neurotics who started the EU wanted to stop.

    Then I remembered this lot.

    “The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.”

    Soon,though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out.

    Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to a “Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588 when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

    The Scots raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let’s get the Bastards.” They don’t have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

    The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide”. The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France ‘s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country’s military capability.

    It’s not only the French who are on a heightened level of alert: Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”

    The Germans also increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbour” and “Lose”.

    Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual, and the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels .

    The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

    Americans meanwhile and as usual are carrying out pre-emptive strikes on all of their allies ‘just in case’.

    Canada doesn’t have any alert levels.

    And in the southern hemisphere:

    New Zealand has also raised its security levels – from “baaa” to “BAAAA”. Due to continuing defence cutbacks (the airforce being a squadron of spotty teenagers flying paper aeroplanes and the navy some toy boats in the Prime Minister’s bath), New Zealand only has one more level of escalation, which is “I hope Australia will come and rescue us”.

    Australia , meanwhile, has raised its security level from “No worries” to “She’ll be al’right, mate”. Three more escalation levels remain: “Crikey!”,”I think we’ll need to cancel the barbie this weekend” and “The barbie is cancelled”. So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.”

  10. This was posted on NNT’s page on Oct. 07. I don’t know if you saw it, but it’s quite relevant to this post :

    “I want to caution against harboring illusions of space as the answer to our collision course of growth on a finite planet. We live at a special time. We have enjoyed spending our inheritance of fossil fuels, and are feeling rather heady about our technological prowess. For many generations now, we have ridden an exponential growth track, conditioning ourselves to believe that our upward trajectory is an eternal constant of our existence. We’ll see. When we cross to the down-slope of fossil fuel availability—beginning with oil—we’ll see how timeless the growth phase seems to be, and whether we can afford a continued presence in space. We should be mature enough to admit that we have no context in which to evaluate how successfully the human race will navigate this unprecedented transition.”

    Tom Murphy

    http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/10/why-not-space/

    • Taleb seems to be open to both ends of the Malthusian debate. I am not really pushing the idea of space as the solution to a population crisis, because there are many solutions down on the ground, e.g. arcology, alternative energy, synthetic fuels, agricultural science, atmospheric management, etc. I see going into space more permanently as something much deeper in the future, certainly a long way after this era has passed.

      • Pandora or Endor is my idea of a planet. I hate the concrete jungle, rust, and decay of urbanisation. It is akin to a bird fouling its nest.

    • Tom Murphy’s math is horrendous. Every freshman aerospace student knows how to patch conics and the Oberth benefit. Sophomore aerospace students have likely heard of aerobraking and 3 body mechanics as practiced by Belbruno, Lo and others.

      I agree with Murphy’s over all message to conserve our resources and live within our means. But “Why Not Space” and “Stranded Resources” are very poorly done. They damage his credibility.

      To see a more detailed critique of Murphy’s arguments see

      http://hopsblog-hop.blogspot.com/2012/02/in-his-blog-stranded-resources-tom.html

  11. Pingback: » Another Planet – by John Aziz

  12. There is no great sparsely inhabited continent spread out … for those who want to strike out on their own.

    North America wasn’t actually all that sparsely populated before the European conquest. Estimates differ widely, but they all suggest that the population in the Americas wasn’t orders of magnitude less than that of Europe (whether that means it was 20% or 200% depends on who has the right estimate. I doubt we’ll ever know).

    So by that standard, to recreate the American experience those of us seeking the freedom of wide open spaces should just find a nice continent, exterminate the population via biological warfare, and then settle in :-)

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