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A Depressing Comment

Over at Samizdata, Jonathan Pearce wonders if freedom seekers will be heading the other way after the election:

Occasionally, whenever one of us Samizdata scribes writes about events in the UK, such as loss of civil liberties, or the latest financial disasters perpetrated by the government, or crime, or whatnot, there is sometimes a comment from an expatriate writer, or US citizen in particular, suggesting that we moaners should pack our bags, cancel the mail and come on over to America. Like Brian Micklethwait of this parish, I occasionally find such comments a bit annoying; it is not as if the situation in Jefferson's Republic is particularly great just now, although a lot depends on where you live (Texas is very different from say, Vermont or for that matter, Colorado).

But considering what might happen if Obama wins the White House and the Dems increase or retain their hold on Congress, I also wonder whether we might encounter the example of enterprising Americans coming to Britain, not the other way round. The dollar is rising against the pound, so any assets that are transferred from the US to Britain go further. Taxes are likely to rise quite a bit if The One gets in, although they are likely to rise in the UK too to pay for the enormous increase in public debt, even if the Tories win the next election in 2010.

For a number of reasons stated over there, it seems unlikely, but this comment stood out:

I think the general message here should be that the whole western world is on the same trajectory, and shopping around for liberty is going to be ultimately futile. In a sense, we all need to be "liberty patriots" and do our best in our own countries to reverse the rot, because wherever you flee to, it's happening there too, if at a different pace or in in slightly different ways. The anti-liberty movement is operating in every nation, and trans and supra-nationally, and everywhere it is winning. There is nowhere to run.

Well, as I've long noted on this blog, that's what space programs are for.


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MarkJ wrote:

Tomorrow's headlines...TODAY!


Dare I mention the last time Mexico had an "illegal American" problem, it eventually lost Texas? ;)

Stewart wrote:

If the hope/change administration decides to shut down private space efforts in the name of "fixing things down here on Earth first" we are well and truly screwed. Heinlein warned us that although the human race will expand into the solar system, there is no guarantee that the language spoken will be English.

As Jerry Pournelle keeps reminding us, despair is a sin.

Brock wrote:

This is exactly the same thing I was just posting about over at Protein Wisdom. Mainly that political dissidents facing oppression used to flee to the USA. But where do we flee to if things do go truly south?

Mind you I don't actually think that Obama is going to start setting up camps and purging his political opponents (no matter what Bill Ayers might fantasize), but it did get me to thinking that having only one nation safe for all basic human rights ain't a great way to run a planet. I've been genuinely upset by how Canada and the UK are swirling towards Oceania, but it didn't really hit me until recently that the USA could go the same way.

And space programs have a LONG way to go before they help alleviate this problem. At $10,000/lb. it would cost $2,250,000 to put me into orbit, let alone my plow & mule. Even a 10x reduction is more bank than I can scratch together easily. I don't mind buying a one-way ticket, but it needs to be a price I (and the middle class generally) can actually pay.

Anonymous wrote:

Would you be willing to sell a futures contract on your time? I.e. you scrape together a downpayment and then once you're up there the company that did it gets your exclusive time and effort for the next 20 years at the cost of simple room and board? Colonization has used that method for centuries...

Brock wrote:

Heh. I was about to say "No, but I wouldn't.", but I went to law school, and those loans amount to pretty much the same thing ... :)

But I get your point - take out a loan, or whatever. There are plenty of contractual methods of handling high costs, but there's a ceiling to how much debt one person can responsibly bear. $2M is way above that, for most people.

I guess you could call it a loan, but in this case its more of contractually guaranteed indebted servitude. Just an idea that was used during other periods of colonization...


Robert wrote:

Another way is to create the "super-empowered individual". It is ridiculuously easy to annihilate government enforcers with homemade biological and nanite superweapons. Such enforcers cannot enforce their will on you if their logistical infrastructure can be easily dissolved. Of course having desktop fabricators that can enable individuals to construct such weapons in their garages can also be used to build very cheap space hardware.

Kill two birds with one stone.

ken anthony wrote:

Once there is a toe hold on space colonization, the vastness would seem to guarantee that government will not be able to police it effectively. Arguably it wouldn't even have the right to. This would allow freedom to grow again. Company towns of some sort would then be the limiting factor.

After the first metal asteroid is parked in Earth orbit the new gold rush/land rush might be on! Even if there is no place to file a claim doesn't mean assets will not be claimed.

ken anthony wrote:

I can also see religious migration. New Jerusalem?

Eric J wrote:

I've been playing around with an idea for a novel where a Blackwater-like company invades Cuba "on spec," and turn it into a Free Market paradise.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on October 24, 2008 7:43 AM.

For Whom The Bell Tolls... was the previous entry in this blog.

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