Category Archives: Weird

Writing A Constitution

for Mars.

They seem to be a little confused about positive versus negative rights. You may have a right to leave, but you can’t demand that someone else pay for it. A “right to oxygen”? Not obvious how to handle that one. The solution to how to overthrow a tyrannical government is, of course, a Second Amendment.

[Wednesday-morning update]

Can a democracy exist on Mars?

…naive, wish­ful think­ing seems to under­pin all of the very hard ques­tions about what gov­er­nance and daily life on Mars might pos­si­bly look like. One rea­son could be the par­tic­i­pants: the orga­nizer of these events is an astro­bi­ol­o­gist, and they seem to have got­ten their insight into pol­i­tics from writ­ers like Stephen Bax­ter. This is not a dig against either men — astro­bi­ol­ogy is an incred­i­bly inter­est­ing sub­ject, and I love Baxter’s books — but they are not experts in gov­er­nance or nation-building (which is what a colony will be). There is, luck­ily, an entire field of aca­d­e­mic study devoted to these ques­tions: aca­d­e­mics who have spent decades under­stand­ing how and why regimes can be resisted, how to build new nations, and so on. They don’t seem to have been included in this discussion.

Instead it looks like most other efforts at imag­in­ing space colonies: well mean­ing but ulti­mately naive tech­nocrats imag­in­ing a west­ern tech­no­cratic soci­ety as the best struc­ture. And just like with Musk’s con­cept of a Mars colony, the seri­ous eco­nomic issues at play here, which are a big deal in design­ing any soci­ety, are ignored. They assume it will be a mostly-deregulated lib­er­tar­ian eco­nomic sys­tem, again despite the inescapable fact that any space colony will have to con­cern itself pri­mary with gen­er­at­ing enough air and water to keep every­one alive. It is utterly baffling.

As he notes, tech people aren’t necessarily the best people to design a functional society.

Scientology

I admire this woman’s sentiment, if not her approach:

After officers realized McMurtry was the hit-and-run driver, she admitted to her dangerous ride and asked if anybody was hurt, police said.

When cops told her there were no injuries and she smashed through the church’s lobby and nursery, McMurtry replied, “That’s too bad.”

McMurtry tried to justify her religious fender bender by claiming Scientology was evil because its members blackmail people, cops said.

You don’t say.