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.
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.