Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

China, politics, and space

This interesting essay today describing China’s space policy and its ramifications for the United States found this most significant quote from a Chinese official:

A senior official with the CNSA’s lunar program has been reported by the Daily Beast as saying the moon and Mars (and presumably myriad other rocks out there) are the equivalent of the islands in strategic locations in the Indo-Pacific region that China contests with Japan and other countries:

The universe is an ocean, the moon is the Diaoyu Islands, Mars is Huangyan Island. If we don’t go there now even though we’re capable of doing so, then we will be blamed by our descendants. If others go there, then they will take over, and you won’t be able to go even if you want to. This is reason enough.

The fact the CCP views real estate in the solar system the same way as real estate on Earth is both instructive and amusing.

I don’t find this Chinese attitude amusing in the least. It suggests quite starkly China’s intention to claim all the land it occupies in space, in direct violation of the Outer Space Treaty. Unlike the western nations, it doesn’t care that under that treaty’s restrictions, it can’t provide property rights to its citizens. It will possess everything it gets in space, for itself.

All the more reason for the U.S. to push for the Artemis Accords, which China rejects, as those accords bypass the restrictions of the Outer Space Treaty and make property rights possible in western space settlements. In the end, every nation that establishes a base or colony in space is going to claim it, notwithstanding the Outer Space Treaty, so establishing a framework for U.S. law in those colonies is essential. The accords are a first step in doing so.


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  • Ian C.

    “The universe is an ocean,”

    I remember that exact quote. From IAC 2018 or 2019. By some astropol analyst. But most people ignored it.

    “in direct violation of the Outer Space Treaty.”

    Why should they care? If they want, they can leave with a year’s notice and do whatever they want.

  • Chris Lopes

    It’s not amusing, but it is predictable. The Outer Space Treaty was written and signed at a time when going to those “islands” and claiming territory was mostly theoretical. Almost all of the signing nations had no space program to speak of so they were giving up nothing.

    Now that the technology has advanced enough to make the theoretical practical, and has spread to more than just the US and Russia (the nation formerly known as USSR), that treaty has a bit less relevance. When the time comes to actually settle these places, the treaty will either be reinterpreted or just plain ignored.

  • David M. Cook

    So, if the Chinese get to Mars first, they will prevent anyone else from landing? Will this involve the use of force? Could they claim the entire planet with one base?

  • Jeff Wright

    I admire their perspective….their passion-their HUNGER– for all things space. Outside of we happy few…no one here cares about space. The China Olympics still resonates in my mind. As Bill Maher said…they are a serious people…not to mentioned disciplined. A Constitutional Democratic Republic demands morality where free expression is allowed…and the author of the Three Body Problem said they’d collapse if they became as we are now. AMERICA, get it together….or China deserves its place in this new ocean….as it is our treasure fleet that now burns.

  • wayne

    Roughly 90 million hard-core, fanatical, chinese communist true-believer, statist-apparatchik’s, need to GO.
    All the way.
    Sooner or later.
    One way, or another.

    Aliens (1986)
    “The Only Way To Be Sure”

  • wayne

    Fury [2014]
    “He’s here to kill you!”

  • I don’t find this Chinese attitude amusing in the least.
    I agree. Before I read your response, I was torqued that someone – even a “journalist” – would describe it as such. It is not the least bit amusing and certainly not from the Chinese perspective.

    It’s also not the least bit surprising. This should be an obvious analogy to anyone who is paying any sort of attention. Whatever happened to that “Asia Pivot”, anyway?

    On the bright side, it is far, far more aspirational than descriptive. Anyone who lands on Luna, let alone Mars, and claims the entire thing – be it for the CCP or SpaceX – is an idiot who will be roundly mocked. One can only claim what one can hold. While we’re still landing in tin cans, claims are worthless when someone with a .22 pistol can kill your entire base by pressure breach (even if it does send him flying off in the other direction).

    Now I’m curious: Laying prone on Luna’s surface, how much friction is there? Can one fire a .22 pistol without sliding? A .45? A rifle?

  • Jeff Wright

    Scott Lowther unearthed some documents about guns for astronauts at’musings of a weapon oriented mind or something. Soyuz had an over-under rifle/shotgun….but now they have clip-fed Makarov-Tokarev handguns. All cosmonauts are armed. They even made a laser pistol.

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