3 thoughts on “Tomorrow’s Press Conference

  1. Dale Amon

    I’ve been hearing a lot about it and passed a few names on to Alan for invites… I’m on the wrong side of the ocean so I’ll miss it. Break-a-leg!

  2. JohnFornaro

    From the Executive Summary of the Homesteading paper:

    “Many believe that the 1967 Outer Space Treaty implicitly prohibits private property in outer space, but under another conceivable interpretation, it only prohibits declarations of national sovereignty. A proposed law requiring the United States to recognize land claims off planet under specified conditions offers the possibility of legal, tradable land titles, allowing the land to be used as loan collateral or an asset to be sold to raise funds needed to develop it.”

    The premise of the paper is fatally flawed. Not only does the OST prohibit private property ownership off planet for all time, it provides no mechanism for the creation of new political governments, because it spells out that for all time, only terrestrial States now existing can ever control the development of outer space. There is nothing but empty theory behind the “conceivable interpretation”.

    Should the US quit the OST, then the “proposed law”, or a variant thereof, could be considered, since private property ownership is the key factor to producing individual wealth. As the paper continues,

    “Property rights are a ‘sine qua non’ of wealth creation and a reason why America and other Western nations are rich and others are poor. Moreover, they lie at the heart of liberty. Their current absence off planet partially explains why we have not developed the next and, in a sense, last frontier — space.”

    First, consider individual freedom as the “heart of liberty”, particularly as embodied in the right to own property. From the Preamble of the OST:

    “The States Parties to this Treaty, …

    Recognizing the common interest of all mankind

    in the progress of the exploration and use of

    outer space for peaceful purposes,

    Believing that the exploration and use of outer

    space should be carried on for the benefit of

    all peoples irrespective of the degree of their

    economic or scientific development, …

    Have agreed on the following:”

    In an idealistic sense, outer space should indeed benefit all peoples. However, the benefit itself is subsequently defined only as an income stream for the State, combined with a subjugation of peoples’ freedom and individual rights for all time and all space.

    From Article VI:

    “States Parties to the Treaty shall bear international responsibility for national activities in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, whether such activities are carried on by governmental agencies or by non-governmental entities, and for assuring that national activities are carried out in conformity with the provisions set forth in the present Treaty. The activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty.”

    In other words, you can go up there if you have permission from the State, and not otherwise. In order to get permission, you must subvert your actions to those which conform to the provisions of the Treaty. In addition, you can’t own the land that you landed on, and while you maintain a sort of fictional title to your personal property, the pragmatic control of your property is vested in the State, as outlined below.

    From Article VIII:

    “A State Party to the Treaty on whose registry an object launched into outer space is carried shall retain jurisdiction and control over such object, and over any personnel thereof, while in outer space or on a celestial body. Ownership of objects launched into outer space, including objects landed or constructed on a celestial body, and of their component parts, is not affected by their presence in outer space or on a celestial body or by their return to the Earth. Such objects or component parts found beyond the limits of the State Party to the Treaty on whose registry they are carried shall be returned to that State Party, which shall, upon request, furnish identifying data prior to their return.”

    In other words, I maintain ownership of my lunar hotel that I landed up there, except that I forego any jurisdiction or control over the hotel, or over my employees. This is a serious departure from the thousand year old “common law” understanding of what constitutes property ownership. Worse, if there is to be any economic profit to be gained from your hotel, you must the consider the interests of other States Party to the Treaty in having a share of your profits, as it is carefully and obliquely outlined below.

    From Article IX:

    “In the exploration and use of outer space … States Parties to the Treaty shall be guided by the principle of co-operation and mutual assistance and shall conduct all their activities in outer space … with due regard to the corresponding interests of all other States Parties to the Treaty. States Parties to the Treaty shall pursue studies of outer space … and conduct exploration of them so as to avoid their harmful contamination…”

    The State has always had a “corresponding interest” in other people’s profit. This clause was not clear enough in this Treaty, so it was clarified by the explicit compulsion of profit sharing in the later Moon Treaty. Today, there is a growing meme that proper governmental taxation, meant to support a properly restricted government is insufficient. It was not a new idea even in 1967, but now, it seems that mandatory income redistribution is seen as a vital porpose and function of government. It is no longer merely a safety net for unfortunately poor individuals who would, but for circumstance, have the ability and desire to gain their own wealth. It is becoming a wealth redistribution policy with no apparent larger purpose. An underclass of voters is being grown; this proletariat has no desire or motivation to rise above their circumstances by their own effort. By ensuring that this group is undereducated, the State can consolidate its power; the OST would forbid individual opportunity for all time and all space.

    The Homesteading paper continues:

    “However, the expense (of space) remained, and for many, including Assistant Secretary of State Henry Owen, part of the goal of the Outer Space Treaty was to make space of sufficiently low value — either militarily or economically — as to remove the incentives for racing to get there, and thus shift resources from
    NASA to the State Department. So far, the treaty has achieved that goal, by reducing the incentive for governments to send humans into space in significant numbers.”

    The cancelling of Apollo has resulted in no development of a lunar base and thus no beginning steps of creating a new lunar economy and quite possibly a new form of government. These results are the functional equivalent of there having been deliberate intention in not
    proceeding with this effort. The embodiement of human intention is the achieving of a goal. It is difficult to rationalize the functional equivalent of staying on planet in spite of historical technical abilities as anything but
    the achievement of a deliberate goal.

    That goal may have been thought valid in 1967, but now it is time to embark on the intentional creation of a new economy, if it should be medically possible, and to embrace the possible establishment of a new off-world government. A legal system which does not create new precedents for liberty, becomes a tool for political oppression of liberty.

    The US should withdraw from the OST, and take a position of global leadership in developing the framework for a new society. Recognizing individual rights to titled property ownership, regardless of the terrestrial political affiliations of the new property owners, would be a good place to start.

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