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.

History Unplugged – The Age of Discovery 2.0: Episode 3

Episode three of the six part series, The Age of Discovery 2.0, from the podcast, History Unplugged, is now available here.

This episode features Robert Zubrin. From the description:

A new space race has begun. But the rivals, in this case, are not superpowers but competing entrepreneurs. These daring pioneers are creating a revolution in spaceflight that promises to transform the near future. Astronautical engineer Robert Zubrin spells out the potential of these new developments in an engrossing narrative that is visionary yet grounded by a deep understanding of the practical challenges.

Fueled by the combined expertise of the old aerospace industry and the talents of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, spaceflight is becoming cheaper. The new generation of space explorers has already achieved a major breakthrough by creating reusable rockets. Zubrin foresees more rapid innovation, including global travel from any point on Earth to another in an hour or less; orbital hotels; moon bases with incredible space observatories; human settlements on Mars, the asteroids, and the moons of the outer planets; and then, breaking all limits, pushing onward to the stars.

Zubrin shows how projects that sound like science fiction can actually become reality. But beyond the how, he makes an even more compelling case for why we need to do this—to increase our knowledge of the universe, to make unforeseen discoveries on new frontiers, to harness the natural resources of other planets, to safeguard Earth from stray asteroids, to ensure the future of humanity by expanding beyond its home base, and to protect us from being catastrophically set against each other by the false belief that there isn’t enough for all.

Listen to it. It is definitely worth your time.

The next episode is mine.


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  • wayne

    Been downloading these but haven’t had a chance to listen yet.
    –maybe this is covered somewhere; at what point does Exploration morph into migration and colonization?

    Set The Controls for the Heart of the Sun / Mars Direct Mission
    Pink Floyd animation

  • Gary


    The current episode with Zubrin really digs into that.

    For your edification, here is the series summary copied from the web site.

    No decade transformed Western Civilization like the 1490s. Before then, Europe was a gloomy continent split into factions, ripe for conquest by the Islamic world. It had made no significant advances in science or literature for a century. But after a Spanish caravel named Nina returned to the Old World with news of a startling discovery, the dying embers of the West were fanned back to life. Shipbuilding began at a furious pace. Trade routes to Africa, India, and China quickly opened. At the same time, printing presses spread new ideas about science, religion, and technology across the continent. Literacy rates exploded. Because of the Age of Discovery, for the first time in generations, Europeans had hope in the future.
    Today, an Age of Discovery 2.0 is upon us. With Elon Musk promising affordable rocket rides to the Moon and Mars within a decade, planetary bodies will be as accessible to humans as the New World was to adventurers in the 1500s.

    “How will the Age of Discovery 2.0 change our civilization the way the first one did five centuries ago?
    To find the answers, History Unplugged is interviewing historians, scientists, and futurists who have spent decades researching this question. We will learn how:
    •Spain’s 16th-century global empire was built on the spice trade (cinnamon was worth more than gold) and those same economics will lead to Mars colonization (its stockpiles of deuterium are a key ingredient for cheap fusion power
    •How slavery was a conscious choice in the American colonies (Virginia embraced it while Puritan New England rejected it) and how the same choices on human rights could make the future a libertarian paradise or a neo-feudal dystopia
    •How the East India Company’s control over India foreshadows SpaceX’s control over Mars and what happens when a corporation effectively controls a nation (or in this case, a planet).
    •The labor shortage – and lack of regulation – in off-world colonies will lead to incredible innovation, as did the lack of workers and government restriction in colonial America drove the rise of “Yankee ingenuity’s” wave of inventions.”

  • Skunk Bucket

    For years I’ve been skeptical of the usefulness of Mars in the settlement of our solar system, but Bob makes a good case for the Red Planet in this podcast. Definitely worth a listen.

  • Gary

    Skunk, may I call you Skunk :), at the risk of showing my naiveté as a consumer of science fiction, I’m thinking Mars may be as it is depicted in “The Expanse” series. It is a base of operations which provides a jumping off point to the more valuable real estate in the asteroids and the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. And, as in “Expanse” it’s limitations with regard to resources may eventually render it obsolete as we move further and further out.

  • V-Man

    Are there transcripts available anywhere? I don’t really want to spend a couple of hours listening to talking heads (no offense) when I can read the same info in a few minutes.

  • Gary

    V, here’s the site – I couldn’t find any transcripts, but you may have better luck.

  • Richard M

    “And, as in “Expanse” it’s limitations with regard to resources may eventually render it obsolete as we move further and further out.”

    Well, all good things come to an end….

    Obviously “eventually” comes faster when you dig up an alien constructed shortcut to moving further out.

    But Bob Zubrin clearly has a more optimistic view of the future than The Expanse does. It really comes out in this episode. Colonized Mars as a kind of hyper-entrepreneurial America on steroids rather than a militarized nationalist corporatist state.

    I think Bob too easily glides over the drawbacks of Mars as a human habitation (hey, he’s a pitchman). But he is also not wrong (and neither is Elon) that Mars really is the best place to start right now. O’Neill Cylinders are not a 21st century prospect, alas.

    P.S. I love that Bob worked in the line “Mars needs women!”

  • Ray Van Dune

    I too was impressed with Zubrin’s arguments – both content and delivery. Yes, “Mars needs women!” was great, and he apparently enjoys it too, because I believe he used it several times!

  • wayne

    The Expanse –
    Planetary Railgun Strike on Mars (Inc All Build Up Scenes)

  • wayne

    thanks for that summary.
    (I’m going to listen to these all-at-once. I have 20 hours of Kyle Rittenhouse trial-video to watch the next few days.))

    A (multiple) repeat from me, but appropriate….

    Pink Floyd
    Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun / Mars Direct Animation

    Take a look at around the 5:50 mark with the ‘old-timey’ map– “there be dragons” is radiation, zero-g, and back-contamination.

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