A new Iron Curtain has descended across the planet: our Prince President now plans to “deny access to space to anyone ‘hostile to U.S. interests’.” (Conical hat tip to Lew Rockwell.)
Think about what that means. “Space,” in this context, signifies the entire universe beyond planet Earth. There lies the hope of freedom, the future of humankind – except that nobody on Earth can go there without Bush’s permission.
Bush’s One World policy: you can check out any time you want, but you can never leave.
Playing Devil’s Advocate here, maybe you could interpret Bush’s remarks more mildly to refer to space within a few thousand kilometers of the earth’s surface. Surely once someone had gotten beyond that point, nobody would seriously consider them to be on “U.S. property”…
Yes, but you can’t GET to the rest of space without passing through the zone Bush claims to control. So he’s proposing to regulate access to the entire universe by Earth residents. I never said he was trying to restrict the rights of Zeta Reticulians.
That’s why I used the Iron Curtain analogy. The Soviets weren’t laying claim to the entire Earth; but they were denying everyone within their boundaries access to the entire Earth.
Also this reminds me of a three-dimensional analogy to the landlock dilemma I mentioned earlier – Imagine that for the last 1000 years aliens have been building invisible private apartments in a web around the planet earth. They are all like Patri Friedman’s “floating cities”, so they can be moved around and each cell is privately owned by an alien. The building and placement of each individual cell violates nobody’s rights. Then when some colonists decide to take off for Alpha Centauri they find they can’t escape earth without damaging legitimately owned private property.
Further suppose that the earth’s ecosystem will collapse unless some vital materials on Alpha Centauri are purchased. In such a scenario, libertarian rights seem to imply that we poor Earthlings must starve to death at the whim of the alien landlords. QED
In such a scenario, libertarian rights seem to imply that we poor Earthlings must starve to death at the whim of the alien landlords.
Only if one adopts a certain interpretation of libertarian rights that there is no good reason to adopt.
Or the sinister barrier from EFR’s novel of the same name.
Also, there’s Heinlein’s “The Man Who Sold the Moon” where the businessman guy gets ownership of the moon by buying up all the real estate rights above a certain large altitude from the land areas the moon passes over, which nobody else thinks are worth anything because they don’t think space travel is practical.
Thanks for the reading recommendation Schlosberg, I’ll take a look at it. However, I’d hazard a guess that if the aliens are not only fencing in the earth but harming the humans then they’d be clearly violating libertarian principles. And of course, in real life one usually only tries to landlock someone else as a prelude to harming them, which I should probably have acknowledged at the outset.
I would add that Heinlein’s character doesn’t count as having legitimate title to the moon by any plausible libertarian theory of property, be it Locke’s, Rothbard’s, or Carson’s.
Here, here! One consequence of being a libertarian is that I laugh my ass off when I read serious, matter-of-fact accounts of land speculation and title-granting by kings and states; the surreal quality is like a story of grown men trying to purchase real goods witih Monopoly money.
Also, wouldn’t it also be fair to at least assume that the aliens – some of them, in any case – (each being autonomous, as signified by the point that each privately own their floating apartments) are not some uniform mass mind and that some portion of them might decide that allowing the passage of Earthlings through their property would be acceptable, nay, even something that they might individually or collectively profit from?
Maybe by enacting a toll.
I’ve heard that objection before and I just don’t see how it undermines any libertarian theory. Sounds a bit poppy to me.