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.

November 5, 2021 Zimmerman/Batchelor podcast

Embedded below the fold in two parts.

To listen to all of John Batchelor’s podcasts, well worth your time, go here.


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  • J Fincannon

    I heard in one of these podcasts that you mention something about colonization of space. Do you really think this is practical? Given the radiation, low gravity, other problems? I mean, its far different to colonize than to explore. Colonize implies have children there. This seems highly questionable. Although it is true that settlers to the Old West took huge risks which subjected them and their families to robbery, rape, kidnapping/enslavement, torture and death as well as suffering due to lack of food, disease, weather (cold or hot), even they did not have to have their offspring be subjected to unknown biological change and mutation. So, ignoring legal limitations, where are the ethical and moral restrictions? Do the space idealists blithely ignore it? Or are you and they talking about a distant future Nirvana with radiation protection and 1 g generation for space colonists?

  • J Fincannon: I believe in freedom. If there are people who choose to take the risks of colonizing other worlds, it is not our place to stop them. Period.

    And yes, that raises risks for their children. I suspect strongly however that when children beginning arriving in space colonies it will be because the colonists have taken serious actions to address the issues beforehand.

    Saying no now however is nothing more then fear-mongering. We accomplish nothing grand if we stop ourselves beforehand out of fear.

  • J Fincannon

    Yes, adults should be allowed to take these risks if they are truly aware of the risks beforehand (and we truly know them). But does it behoove the rest of us to “send in the calvary” to rescue them or provide our resources to ameliorate their problems?

    With children “arriving” (I suspect you mean being born there, not being brought there by spaceship) I find it a challenge to deal with ethically. We could always say that on Earth, we have done a lousy job of saying children are being born in a safe place. It seems that humans generally ignore how safe the environment is when they have children. Whether lack of food or dangerous warlike conditions or poverty, they go ahead. As to the genetic component, one can understand this not being understood in the past, but these days you would expect lots of genetic testing and a deep understanding of the possibilities in disease or other genetic predispositions being generated in the children. But I see this is not so much done.

    So, it is likely that humans will not care to do too much effort in protecting their children, in this same tradition. Enough effort in just staying alive. They will start off under ground in low gravity and that will be that. Hopefully, the resulting humans will be the subject of charity commercials.

    I hope that serious, thoughtful researchers rather than blindly jumping into the deep, would search for dangerous Mars life and understand the propensities of radiation mutated human microbiome and fully understand the impact of these and gravity and radiation on gestating and growing human life. Rather than live by trial and error with humans.

  • Edward

    J Fincannon asked of Robert about colonizing space: “Do you really think this is practical? Given the radiation, low gravity, other problems?

    These problems have been a concern for several decades and there are some proposed solutions. For Colonizing Mars, one proposal is to build early colonies underground in lava tubes, which is one reason why Robert has pointed out several openings to lava tubes or suspected tubes. Another proposal is to have thick ice in the ceilings of above-ground structures in order to protect from radiation. Gerard K. O’Neil had ideas for protecting space-based colonies from radiation.

    The early colonists will have incentive to solve these problems, and some of these solutions may have applications on Earth. We may as well try to colonize various places rather than fear the attempt. Early attempts may fail and later attempts may be successful. The Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony were brave enough to try socialism (although it was not called that at the time), and when that failed, killing off half the population, they switched over to free market capitalism, which succeeded wildly throughout America, until the socialists got their hands on us, the past few years. (We are now in a top-down economically-controlled socialist economy, and it is already looking like we are about to become Venezuela faster than Venezuela became Venezuela.)

    As for living by trial and error with humans, what do you think the United States is doing right now with experimental faux vaccines for SARS-CoV-2? The science is already suggesting that we will be life-long dependents on these faux vaccines, because — unlike real vaccines — they become harmful after eight to ten months. And now they want everyone, including our children, dependent upon them for life. This is an entire population, not just a few volunteers. Talk about “blindly jumping into the deep!” I think if we are brave enough to risk the health and lives of a third of a billion coerced people, we can be brave enough to risk a few hundred volunteers.

  • J Fincannon

    No doubt living in caves or tubes will block out radiation on Mars or Moon. So, the children can be born and raised completely underground. Sounds appealing? I suppose one could argue it is the parents decision where and in what conditions the children are created and born and raised. But it seems to have some ethical issues.

    As to low gravity, O’Neillian 1g rotating spacecraft seem the best way to deal with this (as well as radiation) except that it is so far in the future as to be useless to discuss. On Moon or Mars, the gravity they have is what you get. How humans can be conceived, gestated and raised in non 1g is speculative at best, but highly unethical. I know the pure freedom people will say it is completely up to the parents if they choose to do this and accept the consequences or what becomes of the child. Death, sickness, disease, malformed? Who knows? Likely cannot go to Earth as its parents could. I have seen some propose huge driving amusement park gravity simulators driving around these planetary surfaces to provide the simulated gravity. Again, this is so far in the future to be laughable. Some have said they should allow genetic manipulation of offspring to be better adapted to these places. Who speaks for the children? Does the State have to protect these unconceived children from their parents?

    As to trying and failing is okay, it does seem like this was like this in the past. Untold millions have died thusly. It is just not clear if it is necessary to take such a death toll in the future. Is the risk colonization trying to address so urgent and deadly?

  • Edward

    J Fincannon,
    You asked: “No doubt living in caves or tubes will block out radiation on Mars or Moon. So, the children can be born and raised completely underground. Sounds appealing?

    If the tubes can be pressurized so that there is an “outdoors” then it may be more appealing than raising them in 4-meter diameter habitats.
    But then again, the colonists will have incentives to solve these problems.

    I know the pure freedom people will say it is completely up to the parents if they choose to do this and accept the consequences or what becomes of the child. Death, sickness, disease, malformed? Who knows?

    Drat! Did we forget to take doctors and science with us to Mars and the Moon? Well, maybe next time we will prepare better.

    Who speaks for the children? Does the State have to protect these unconceived children from their parents?

    The state is not doing such a good job of protecting the children here on Earth. Apparently we don’t have much incentive to solve these problems here on Earth, so why should we think they would do any better in space?

    Is the risk colonization trying to address so urgent and deadly?

    The survival of the species? Probably not. Let’s just forget about space, exploration, innovation, technological advancement, and all the rest and give it all up to the Wuhan flu. After all, this flu was a manmade disease from advanced technology, so advancement and technology must be a bad thing, right?

  • wayne

    J Fincannon
    “Does the State have to protect these unconceived children from their parents?”

    I would put forth the proposition, The State IS Your Enemy.

    Anatomy of the State (1974)
    Murray N. Rothbard

    “This gives a succinct account of Rothbard’s view of the state. Following Franz Oppenheimer and Albert Jay Nock, Rothbard regards the state as a predatory entity. It does not produce anything but rather steals resources from those engaged in production…..”

  • wayne

    I’ll drop this in here…..

    The Long-Awaited 2000th Episode Celebration
    The Tom Woods Show (part 1 of 2)

  • J Fincannon

    “If the tubes can be pressurized so that there is an “outdoors” then it may be more appealing than raising them in 4-meter diameter habitats.
    But then again, the colonists will have incentives to solve these problems.”

    I would like to hear the parent tell the children that their world is confined to this small volume of air and if they step outside without their suit they will die. Sounds healthy. Hopefully their children will not be claustrophobic. Maybe your colony doctors will prescribe them some nice drugs.

    “Drat! Did we forget to take doctors and science with us to Mars and the Moon? Well, maybe next time we will prepare better.”

    Ah, yes! Let’s trust the doctors and medical profession to give us a pill to fix these minor problems. I don’t think so. Maybe in 100 years. But for the near term (20 years), they are oblivious. A great deal of testing on lab animals is needed to even consider creating children on Moon or Mars. I mean come on, man, even do it in orbit in a rotating vehicle. But we can’t even get extant life robotic searches done prior to landing humans. Yet the colonizers wish to go there and have the freedom to do whatever they want and have the trusted medical establishment (or maybe even Space Force) bail them out in case of failures. Really short sighted. And unethical. Note that the medical establishment likes to destructively test all sorts of animals. They define the ethics.

    “The state is not doing such a good job of protecting the children here on Earth. Apparently we don’t have much incentive to solve these problems here on Earth, so why should we think they would do any better in space?”

    It requires a better approach to problems. Minds must be changed. But they never are becaue of our primitive notions.

    “The survival of the species? Probably not. Let’s just forget about space, exploration, innovation, technological advancement, and all the rest and give it all up to the Wuhan flu. After all, this flu was a manmade disease from advanced technology, so advancement and technology must be a bad thing, right?”

    Is survival of the species really that urgent? Are you thinking in terms of climate change or CRISPR designer killer bugs? I recall the 60’s and the imminent nuclear war. Changed my entire life to become an engineer. I just wanted to discover a way to leave Earth. But naively I did not know that space is filled with radiation too. Live and learn.

  • Edward

    J Fincannon,
    Are you purposefully being silly with your comments?

    Just one example: “Is survival of the species really that urgent?

    According to the people who want to do the colonization, it is. This is the context of your own question: “Is the risk colonization trying to address so urgent and deadly?” So I ask again: are you being silly on purpose?

    The alternative to your own silliness would likely be that you do not believe in freedom but desire strict control over what others do so that they only do what you want. It would mean that you favor a strong government that does not listen to its people’s desires. When we let government do everything, then all we get is what government wants. When we do it, then we get what we want, and this is why We the People are trying to do so much more in space than government has done for us.

  • J Fincannon


    Nope. My intent is serious. Give me some facts, not emotion. If colonization is 100 years from now, then I presume the urgency is not there. If 5-20 years, what exactly are you afraid of or running from? Do you think a worse Pandemic will occur? Nuclear war? Climate change? Asteroid? You think going off-world will solve all your problems? Not so much. You get a whole new set of problems, plus likely being dependent on those you are trying to leave.

    But what I am concerned about is 1) backward planetary protection and 2) the children born on the Mars colony.

    If nothing returns from Mars (one way trip) then backward planetary protection is a moot point. But I am sure your freedom will necessitate the option to return to Earth. If so, then prior to return (or even going to Mars), you need to assure the Earth you will not bring back a deadly microbe. Can we even do that?
    How long is a deadly microbe dormant? We surely cannot look and sequence every microbe in the human body.

    For the children, this is a ethical or moral issue I am not sure how to handle. Some of you guys will say it is your freedom at stake and not wait for extensive testing prior to Mars conception-birth-growth of human children. This is sad but likely cannot be limited. Good luck on that. There are no morality or ethics police. While as an adult you can freely choose to go to Mars and “colonize”, but you got to be born and raised in 1g, air, low radiation, the children did not get such a free choice. So, personally, I would hope such a colony would not allow children to be conceived (how? Draconian measures of course) until extensive testing of the impact on mammal development in low gravity and whether such creatures could be returned to safely live on Earth. Astronauts are supposed to be government representatives so usually have higher standards. Even that seems to not be perfect. I am sure average people living in a Mars colony would have a wide distribution of conformity and independence. Doesn’t look good for kids.

    So give me a plan or timeline of Mars colony development that makes sense to address this. If 100 years, then I don’t care. I do not think I will be here.

  • Edward

    J Fincannon,
    You wrote: “Give me some facts, not emotion.

    I gave you facts. The people who are working toward colonizing Mars say that they do so to ensure the survival of the species. This is what you asked for, but now you reject it as emotion. Do you feel as though I am emotional in giving you this fact? I did not give it as my own opinion, as you didn’t ask for mine, you asked for the reason given by those who want to colonize space.

    On the other hand, your arguments against colonizing space are emotional. For example, you are the one who wrote “I would like to hear the parent tell the children that their world is confined to this small volume of air and if they step outside without their suit they will die,” and “This is sad but likely cannot be limited.” Sad is literally an emotion.

    You keep harping on gravity differences preventing the children from visiting a planet that they don’t care to visit, but just because my ancestors (as with every American) came from another continent(s), at some point in the past, should I be required to go back to that continent(s)? You would limit my freedom by imposing such requirements onto me. Why is it any less ethical to birth children on a new continent? As you said: “the children did not get such a free choice.” Should all children be born on the continent or country of their own choosing? Why is it ethical to birth them on their parents’ current continent? Why would it be ethical to birth them on Earth when Mars and the Moon are available? What about a 1g O’Neill colony?

    Why do you think that a Martian or Luna child cannot live on or visit Earth in a wheel chair, like many earthlings already do? On the other hand, if a greater percentage of Martians can afford to visit Earth than earthlings can afford to visit Mars, then the Martians are doing very well and may not need or want to visit Earth.

    Every time a child is born, he is born into the conditions that he is born into. This may seem obvious, but you are arguing that only certain conditions are ethical. Is it ethical to birth children into societies that have poverty and homelessness or for the poor or homeless to have children? Was it ethical to birth children into societies that allowed slavery (as every society did for all of recorded history, until Vermont banned it outright in 1777). We got better ethics after the Americas were colonized, so what ethical advancements will we get when Mars and the Moon are colonized or when O’Neill colonies are built?

    Why do we need a timeline to address these issues? There were no such timelines half a millennium ago or tens of thousands of years ago, when the first people migrated out of Africa and eventually to the Americas. It seems that we were not thrown out of paradise so much as migrated out of it. Was that ethical for the children?

    But let’s assume that the reasons for space colonization are emotional (e.g. fear of the end of the world) rather than practical (e.g. manufacture of goods for use on Earth). Why are their emotional reasons for colonization any less valid than your emotional reasons for not colonizing space?

    Given that in all of history the children have never had a choice of life’s conditions, why are you pro-tyranny and anti-freedom, insisting that they be born only as you please, not as their parents please? Would you also tyrannically limit birthplaces on Earth, seeing as some are better than others?

  • J Fincannon


    I was hoping that you were basing your urgent need to colonize Moon or Mars on some facts. I guess you punted and said others have come up with the facts that this would ensure the survival of the species. If Elon Musk or Zubrin thinks it, then it is good enough for you. Each person should base their actions on data, information, reason, logic. Perhaps the problem is that you cannot say what the killer thing is for Earth or humanity because it is all based on fear. So many things now are about fear that this is what motivates us (e.g. climate change, pandemic, bad actors). Maybe whatever will happen is 1 in a million chance, but that one chance is the fear focus. If you think in 10 years the chance is 100% of a humanity extinction event, I can understand your desire to leave Earth and/or save humanity. If the chance in 10,000 years is 100%, this changes the focus a little. Solving the problem seems easier than running away from Earth.

    Let’s say you have a list of reasons humans MAY be destroyed on Earth and need some other place to guarantee survival. How is it that it is cheaper, more reliable to fund, research, test, develop the entire infrastructure on another planet than to directly address the human killer reason? Worried about an asteroid? Build a giant friggin laser or telescope fleet to look for them with interceptors. Worried about another plague? Build tech to handle it. Worried about AI/robots? Build tech to handle it. Worried about people? Change their minds. Or maybe just build a super Earth bunker where your “colony” can exist underground on Earth. Its far cheaper than sending humans to Moon or Mars plus you would still have access to the best known planet in the galaxy. And of course you would not be subjecting adults and gestating humans to the unknowns of lower gravity.

    Yes, I know people usually never consider when having children what world they are giving them or what their choice would be. Darwin doesn’t work that way. If it did, then most likely no one would be around since for millions of years, it has been a harsh existence. But even with normal, thinking humans subjected to atomic bombs in Hiroshima and/or Nagasaki, they continue to have children.

    However, it would be nice to shake people up a little about the harsh life of Moon or Mars colonies for children. Not the adults. They had a choice. They hopefully were fully informed of the dangers and limits to their possible return to Earth. Children will have the act of being born on Mars or Moon baked into their entire body. If they survive. This is why I ask you for a timeline. Arm waving colonizing Mars or Moon is easy. But a realization of the effort required to do this is helpful.

    1) Launch hundreds of robotic landers/rover on Mars to search for extant life, determine is this life is safe for Earth life via biological challenge and whether such life can be sterilized. If no Mars life, then its good to send humans. If there is life and the biological challenge experiment shows no harm to Earth life then its good to send humans. If the Mars life harms humans and can be sterilized, then humans may go, but take alot of precautions. If the Mars life harms humans and cannot be sterilized, then humans cannot go. How long will all this take? It needs money and time. More money less time. Realistically, I say 30 years.

    2) Test in cis lunar space/orbit life cycles of Earth species in a rotating spacecraft. Work up from small to large mammals. Results will show the percentages of stillbirths, malformations, and neonatal deaths. Also, long term effects and impact of changing gravity level simulating a return to Earth. The goal is to understand all the impacts on humans or other Earth life forms, not just bones, but the body’s entire biological system and microbiome. Also, a research program will be going into how to correct or offset all of these possible problems. Then, with this information, the Mars colonists will be able to see if it is worth the loss of life to conceive, gestate and raise children in a Mars gravity environment. How long will this take? Same as for #1, likely 30 years given money. But at least it can be done concurrently with #1 if you have the money for both.

    3) Build a city on Mars underground or with some radiation protection system. Maybe 20 years after the prior 2 tasks have been done.

    But it seems to me the colonizers notion is to head there ASAP and wing it. They are the innovators! They will invent! Who needs all this search for harmful Mars life? If the humans walking around on Mars suddenly die, well that is the canary in the coal mine, right? Too bad for them, but they helped the colony!
    Who needed all these 30 years of tests? Or the humans digging the tunnels underground suddenly die that confirms Mars life is underground. What a great way to determine Mars safety for humans! Plus discover Mars life! Same of course for children. People will say that for millions of years in whatever hellish conditions they are living in humans have had children, so why not on Mars? We don’t need no any research study to tell us what to do! How many stillborns, malformations or neonatal deaths need to be had as long as we get one bona fide Mars child? A hundred or thousand! For the good of humanity! Ask a mother, who bears these kids for 9 months, if it is pleasant to have any of these 3 problems. Well, they will need to keep a stiff upper lip. I have often wondered why we do not hear so much about human “malformations”. Malformation is a pleasant way of saying it. But search for a list of these malformations and it is alarming. And these are the obvious ones. Systemic problems are much easier on the eyes yet even more likely deadly. So, yes, theoretically, you can keep trying to birth children and maybe some will survive and possibly live longer with drugs and treatments. But something seems wrong with all this trial and error stuff. Colonizing Mars will be built on a pile of corpses with this approach.

    So, I suggest a long term method of research and development (50-100 years). Unless you know a urgent thing we have to worry about now which means we must throw out all caution. The ends will justify the means in that case.

  • J Fincannon wrote, ” If Elon Musk or Zubrin thinks it, then it is good enough for you.” No that is not what Edward wrote. His focus was that if Musk or Zubrin want to do it, and can figure out a way to make it happen, they must have the freedom to do so.

    Your analysis could very well be right. No matter. You don’t get to dictate what others do. At least you didn’t in the free America I was born in.

  • wayne

    this should probably go in the History Unplugged thread but it feels relevant here–
    Exploration vs. Colonization:
    I’m all in on exploration, actually surviving and creating even a partially self-sustaining ‘colony’ on another planet, is a long-term incremental effort. People will die in the process.
    I would put forth the proposition– better to focus on the Moon; it’s relatively close and IMHO if we can’t hack it on the Moon we definitely can’t make it on Mars.

    Thomas Durant’s’ Finale Speech

  • J Fincannon

    Sure they can “do it”. But it would be nice to know why. It is a risk reward balance for our planet. Seems they are willing to have us take all the risk. What is the reward? I see no plans from Zubrin or Musk on addressing these issues. Zubrin says Mars life is like geese flying to and from Canada. Nothing to worry about since for billions of years rocks carrying life have went to and fro between the planets. Such logic is alarming. And Musk, he wants the freedom to drink a Starbucks on Mars and die there (not on impact). Seems cavalier.

    So I hope our government tightens the planetary protection regulations.

    As to the issues to bring up about loss of life of innocents, I am concerned about the way “freedom” seems to overwrite their lives just because their parents thought they had the freedom. Am I dictating? No, I shouldn’t have to. I should be in the core of the ethics and morality of the individual. The freedom to do the right thing. But of course, the concept of “freedom” is that one can do anything as long as it does not harm “others”. Well, the innocents are “others”, the people on Earth who are at risk by returning Mars visitors are “others”. We all need to see some core values in these colonizers. Its not just “freedom”.

  • Edward

    J Fincannon,
    I was hoping that you were basing your urgent need to colonize Moon or Mars on some facts.

    It is astonishing how little some people pay attention. I never suggested that I have an urgent need to colonize anywhere. You asked why some people wanted to do so, and I answered. You asked about practicality, and I answered. You asked various questions, and I answered. Now you make the claim that I have an urgent need.

    How is the concept of getting answers to your questions such a difficult thing for you to comprehend? If you didn’t want to know the answers, then why did you ask the questions? Why do I have to defend other people to you? Shouldn’t you ask those other people to defend themselves? Don’t you think that they would do a better job of it, being closer to their own answers?

    You go on and on and on about how to employ tyranny, but you fail to explain why tyranny is ethical over freedom. You have a method that you would prefer, other people have methods that they prefer. This is yet another concept that you seem unable to comprehend. You are free and welcome to perform the tasks of colonization your own way, on your own timetable, but for some reason you are upset that others have the same freedoms that you have for yourself — to do things their own way — and you insist that they should not have that freedom. This is why tyranny is bad. Under tyranny, only the tyrants have freedom and liberty, not the rest of us.

    Thank you for providing such an excellent example of why tyranny should be prevented.

  • J Fincannon

    Since there is no urgent need to colonize outer space, then the discussion seems to be at an end.

    I must have been mistaken that there were people like Musk and Zubrin that feel there is an urgent need that precluded the necessary precautions. I know Zubrin wants to go now. He feels there need to be no precautions. Not so clear about Musk. Except that he wants to build a backup drive society. I know he is dedicated to build a city on Mars prior to his death, but have not heard any work he wished to do to address the precautions.

    In any event, given there is no urgent need, the necessary time to take precautions can be assumed prior to any colony attempts. No worries. No urgency. Whatever time it takes to address the concerns I raise, we will have the time.

    As to tyranny, I don’t think I stated I wanted tyranny. I stated that with freedom comes responsibility to others. How the heck is that tyranny? Did I say we must force people to not go to Mars? Or force them to not live there? No. I said the problem is them returning and backward planetary protection. But given the lack of urgency, we will have all the time we need to test for dangerous Mars life and figure out how to detect and deal with it. Is it then tyranny to everyone who wants to go there now and return because that is their freedom of choice? No. It is their responsibility to others to limit their return until it is proven safe to Earth. The same applies to the Mars or Moon conception-child issue. Is it tyranny to prevent them from harming children in various stages in development instead of waiting until testing shows the right path? Well, some freedom lovers may bristle at the tyranny of someone telling them if the can’t have a child. It really is just responsibility to others.

    But, as I said, if the Mars or Moon colonizers feel that there is no urgency (which I thought was the driver to bypass long, arduous testing/research) and we can likely wait 100 years for a city on Mars or Moon, then that should be enough time to answer these questions favorably and enable your dreams to come true.

  • Edward

    J Fincannon,
    This is why freedom and liberty are so important. This is why We the People should be free to do as we want and not rely upon government (or J Fincannon) to do things for us. Fifty years of letting NASA be in charge of space exploration and the use of space have shown us that government being in charge gets us very little, and it gets us little of what we want. At great cost.

    Just as government space has been, you are very limiting.

    You wrote: “Since there is no urgent need to colonize outer space, then the discussion seems to be at an end.

    Then you continue the discussion, assuming that the colonizers won’t take necessary precautions and, thus, are suicidal. Now we are back to you being silly.

    We do plenty of things that are not urgent, such as explore the New World, build the Panama Canal, go to the Moon, or listen to Batchelor podcasts. Of course, if we wait for an urgent need to protect the species through multi-planetary societies, then it would be too late. Kind of like waiting for an urgent need to build a hospital; the patient dies before the hospital is complete enough to save him.

    Those who advocate for space colonization have discussed responsible ways to do it. Read Zubrin sometime (The Case For Mars), or Gerard K. O’Neill (Colonies In Space). One can take risks in exploration (even colonization is exploring the ability to colonize) and still be responsible about it.

    Each person should base their actions on data, information, reason, logic.

    You assume that just because you disagree with them or because you don’t understand them, they have no data, information, reason, or logic. You may not understand what other people are thinking or you may want something else, but this does not mean that these other people are wrong or that they should not be free to march to their own drummer. Just because they let their own freak flag fly, and it is not yours, does not mean that they should not be allowed to let it fly. If you don’t understand it or don’t like it, you fear it and don’t want anyone to do it. You project your own fears onto others.

    Alternate Timeline:
    1) As soon as possible, go there with human explorers, who return after some exploration, report on their findings, and innovate ways to settle the “new world.”

    2) As soon as possible, go there with human settlers.

    3) As soon as possible, prosper, and innovate new technologies and cultures that greatly benefit everyone on Earth.

    This timeline worked half a millennium ago for the New World and for the children of the settlers of the New World, but for some reason the settlement of space is different for you. Space has radiation, but so does the Earth. We already know that we have to protect against it on both planets as well as in free space. This isn’t news.

    Musk has already talked about his own timeline:
    1) Go there with humans and explore, this decade.

    2) Go there with human settlers, next decade.

    3) Go there with a million colonists, this century.

    Sure they can ‘do it’. But it would be nice to know why.

    You may not know why, but that does not mean it is bad or that they should not have the freedom to do it. “Sure they can ‘do it’,” you say, but unless you know why, you complain that they do it — and complain that they have the freedom to do it. Even when you are told why, you continue to complain, because you do not like their reason and assume irresponsibility on their part. Their reason is not good enough for you. They have to do it only for your own reasons, for your own “why.” You think that it is irresponsible to do it any way but your way. You think that they should have only your own timeline, not theirs, and heaven forbid that people you disagree with should have children!

    This is you trying to be tyrannical. It must be your way, not Zubrin’s way, not Musk’s way, not the way the Europeans colonized the New World. Only your way is the right way, and no one should be allowed to do otherwise. This has been your argument. This is what tyranny looks like.

    It is not necessary for you to know why someone does something that they want. Clearly, knowing why would not satisfy you, because you will still fear for them and their children, calling them irresponsible. With an attitude like yours, no one would ever have been allowed to sail off the edge of the Earth and discover the New World, nor would they have been allowed to fly in balloons, gliders, or airplanes, because these were clearly dangerous activities. Many people died doing these things. At least one entire settlement disappeared, and five centuries later no trace has yet been found. Crashes killed many pilots and passengers, and they still do. All these people were free to choose, and their choices led to better things, better methods, and greater safety. We learn by doing, not by fearing to do.

    Take your own advice and don’t let your own fears motivate everything in your life or in other people’s lives. Bravery is not the absence of fear; it is doing something despite your fear. You may not be brave, but the brave must be free to do the scary innovative advancements. Otherwise there are no advancements. Not only are you safe when they do it, but they sacrifice their own money and resources to do it, not yours, and the best part, for you, is that you get the benefits of their innovations without taking the risks or making the sacrifices.

    Do I think you will take your own advice? No. You are not going to be swayed or persuaded by what people here say. You are too much set in your own feelings to change; feelings that you should have power over others to tell them what to do and what to not do. We have been telling you why freedom and liberty are important, yet you continue to argue against other people having these values. These values are not enough for you, we all must share your values, values that are set into you by fear, one value being that other people should not do what you fear to do. Your value of being perfectly safe before doing something.

    We all need to see some core values in these colonizers. Its not just ‘freedom’.

    The only reason you feel the need to see other people’s values is so that you can complain about them, as you have been serious about doing throughout this thread. People should have the freedom to have their own values without needing your permission. You claim that parents choosing to colonize will limit the children, but every decision parents make limit and affect their children. Go for a Sunday drive: risk death by auto accident. Don’t go on a Sunday drive: risk that the children will have a fear of going to new places — and risk that they will project that fear onto others and not want anyone else to go to new places, either.

    So I hope our government tightens the planetary protection regulations.

    They recently did so. But we see clearly that this is your way of preventing others from doing what you don’t want them to. Depend upon a regulation or tyranny to control others. You didn’t explicitly state tyranny, but here you want it employed in order to get your way.

    You mock freedom and liberty, yet you require that you have your own freedom and your own liberty. You have adamantly insisted, over seven comments, that free people should only do things your way, rather than theirs. Not very charitable of you.

  • J Fincannon

    I am glad you finally have stated that the goal is to land settlers on Mars in 10-20 years. This is obviously not enough time to protect Earth against backward planetary protection (i.e. researching for dangerous Mars life killing off Earth life). This is obviously not enough time to research human gestation-birth-growth in low gravity (i.e. maybe causing death or birth defects, who knows?). Note how the anti-abortion lobby seems to be concerned about these life forms and treat them as persons.

    You feel the NASA Planetary Protection office has implemented more stringent regulations, but this is not so. They do not have any requirement to even return the Mars Sample Return samples to Earth prior to human initial explorers landing on Mars. Indeed, it is hard to even get agreement on where to return the samples (Level 4 containment?) or if they are relevant (could carry life if it existed?). And obviously they have not required extant life searching Mars robotic landers prior to the initial explorers. So, basically, you are good to go with them. Not what I want them to do but they don’t listen to me. I am not sure who they are listening to.

    You seem to think freedom is unbounded. Maybe Bob feels this to. I thought there was a clause in the Philosophy of Freedom about how you should have freedom to do things BUT without harming others. You want to jump off the top of the Empire State Building? Okay, I say, do it. Just don’t land on an innocent person on the sidewalk. Do you have a problem with this concept? It seems hard to get across. I just get the word tyranny thrown at me as if I were King George. Most people likely don’t want hostile Mars life destroying Earth just because of you exercising your absolute freedom to fly there and return. You get to decide it is safe to go back to Earth since you are feeling fine and have your own “quarantine” policy (a 9 month trip). I would hope people in charge of the Mars city care enough for children that they would want to limit your freedom to procreate until it is proven safe on Mars. Not just radiation (which you think a nonissue), but low gravity (you seem to ignore). Maybe you think the embryos just need to lift weights and keep a stiff upper lip.

  • Edward

    J Fincannon,
    You wrote: “This is obviously not enough time to protect Earth against backward planetary protection (i.e. researching for dangerous Mars life killing off Earth life).

    Really? Are you sure about that? We already have a rover on Mars that is collecting samples for return to Earth at the end of this decade, but only now you point out that these samples lack planetary protection? Oh, dear. Your warning came too late. If you are right, we are all going to die.

    You seem to think freedom is unbounded.

    And now you are back to mocking freedom.

    You may not acknowledge that your attitude is tyrannical, but it is certainly of the busy body type. Add the part where you believe that people should not be free to do the colonization that you don’t like, you are right there at tyranny.

    I stated that with freedom comes responsibility to others.

    Actually, that was your first use of the word “responsibility.” Hey, if you can deny that you want tyranny just because you didn’t use the word, then I am holding you to be consistent with the word “responsibility,” too.

    You didn’t even know the plans, reasoning, or logic that the colonizers have. You merely assumed, and you turned out to be wrong. You should have stuck to emotion and fear for the children, because your facts are lacking. How about this for a plan: you learn something about these topics, then get back to me, and we can try an intelligent discussion, not your silly one?

    Meanwhile, if you don’t want the answer, don’t ask the question. I can’t believe I got sucked into your silliness just by answering what had seemed like a legitimate question but turned out to be trolling.

  • J Fincannon

    You don’t have to discuss this topic.

    You have no obvious understanding of the Mars Sample Return mission. The samples are being collected but by a dirty rover. It is not clean enough to be labelled as able to “search for extant life”. Yet, it is clean enough to collect samples to help us search for life. We don’t have a return vehicle. And are you not aware of the schools of thought amid planetary scientists and astrobiologists about how to return the samples? Its not just my opinion. And you do not understand that I said the samples _now_ do not need to be returned prior to humans going to Mars. They used to be required. So, why are you complaining? Things are getting lax for your mission.

    When I use the term “freedom” it seems to be a trigger word for you. Like the Star Trek episode where Kirk is chastised by a native for using that holy word but they did not even understand it. I cannot fathom why it is not obvious that freedom is limited based “harm to others” or as I also put it “responsibility to others”. If this basic concept cannot be agreed upon then further discussion is useless.

    As to the me not knowing the plans of colonizers, I would not. But I have heard some and I know what would need to be done. We do not have artificial gravity generators like on Star Trek. Unlikely to do this within 100 years. The best we can do on Mars surface is a spinner merry-go-round. Some life riding that all day. And getting the freedom oriented people to use them is likely not going to be possible. They will do what they want. Like herding cats. It doesn’t take a brainiac to figure this reasoning out. I admit radiation may be fixable with being underground. But you seem to think the colonizers have it all figured out. Well, I have not seen this to be the case. I will look at my copy of Zubrin’s Case for Mars to refresh my memory, but I do not think he addressed it.

  • Edward

    J Fincannon,
    You don’t have to discuss this topic.

    Thank you, Mr. Torlling Tyrant, for the permission. A free man would not need your permission.

    Welcome to Obama’s fundamentally transformed America, land of the formerly free.

  • Edward: While I agree with you entirely in this thread, I think you are getting a bit too caustic, bordering on the insulting. Please tone it back a bit. It doesn’t do your argument any good, and in fact hurts it.

  • J Fincannon

    Too bad that people have trouble discussing issues civilly any more. Name calling and emotion is what it devolves too.

    Odd that you, Bob, fully endorse Edward’s opinions. Doesn’t seem very nuanced.

    I looked at my copy of Zubrin’s Case for Mars. Admittedly it is pretty old (1996). It does not mention radiation or gravity issues as it pertains to the Mars surface colony citizens. He does mention the planetary protection issue in a naive way (no worries!). No mention of Mars people having children in the book. Likely he needs to update this.

  • J Fincannon: At the same time you have been willfully obtuse and naive about the obvious issues of oppression and freedom that both Edward and I have pointed out. Somehow you think the governments will be wiser and smarter than the individuals involved in attempting the exploration and settlement of other worlds. According to you, we must allow governments to dictate properly how everyone should act, while restricting the freedom of everyone else.

    Considering the total incompetence and failure of government in handling practically everything it has touched for the past four decades, it seems incredible that you believe such. It is therefore not an an insult to call you naive, because your very position makes that an obvious fact.

  • J Fincannon

    Thank you for taking the time of clarifying your (and your reader’s) opinions for me. I have some difficulties in understanding absolutes you both state. Perhaps being an engineer enters into it. I don’t know. But what I know over my life is that the more you know/learn, the more you learn that you do know know much. Hard to be absolute.

    I am always somewhat disappointed in your opinion of what government has done, generalizing it as essentially being totally incompetent. I think robotic planetary exploration has been pretty successful and inspirational and not worthy of dismissal or throwing out the window. What private enterprise would do that on its own? Government inspired it to be done. We can always argue as to if it was needed. But it was science and inspired children to study science. But I agree there are a lot of problems with many government pursuits.

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