In case you haven’t heard, Elon Musk on Tuesday the 27th of September announced his plans to start sending people to Mars to build a city.
The first trips could begin as early as 2024, taking 100 people at a time for the full 80+ day trip, and tickets costing somewhere around $100,000 - $200,000 per person at first, but gradually decreasing price over time.
Elon seems convinced that we will begin colonizing Mars within our lifetimes, which is absolutely incredible! In a political and social climate of apathy and despair this news shines a much needed ray of hope and excitement about the future.
An Exciting And Inspiring Future Awaits Humanity After All!
Setting aside the debate over whether or not a city on Mars will actually begin being built in 2024 or not, I would just like to take a moment to assume that it will, and consider the ramifications.
To me, this feels very similar to England colonizing North America, and I think we can learn a lot from what happened during that time in our history. Will we see a revolution of those that colonize Mars against the governments of Earth? Will there be a Declaration of the Independence of Mars?
Will the United States government attempt tax the income of the people who live in the city on Mars? Will the governments of Russia and China try to claim territory on mars for themselves? Will there be a new government formed for the Martians, by the Martians, and of the Martians?
I suspect these are possibilities worth considering.
Will Mars Declare Independence?
I believe this is an excellent opportunity to have a serious discussion about governance, learn from the mistakes we have made in the past, and improve on how we govern ourselves by rethinking what a government should and shouldn’t do.
I am writing this more as a "call to action" than as an actual attempt at outlining a new form of governance. I want people to start seriously thinking about this before we arrive at a crisis and have to hastily throw something together. I think it is incommunicably important that we think deeply about this.
To get the ball rolling I do have a few observations:
- The first is that it seems to be tradition on earth to conflate governance with the Nation State. A Nation State is essentially a Mafia or Gang who has gained control of a territory through force.
It would seem beneficial to offer a shift in perspective. Instead of thinking of governments as warring tribes who gain control over territory though force, it is probably better to begin thinking of governments as Governance Service Providers.
A geographical area therefore should not be controlled by any single government which imposes a monopoly on it’s citizens, but instead, we have Laws which apply to all regardless of geographical area, and we have a variety of competing Governance Service Providers.
A Governance Service Provider will provide services like security, dispute resolution, fire fighting, contract enforcement, marriages, passports, etc. and will compete with the other Governance Service Providers to provide the best services at the best price.
BitNation.co is an example of a Governance Service Provider that already exists.
- Anarchists often point out that even the smallest and most limited government will eventually grow to be the largest most all encompassing government. They site the example of the United States which started as a Libertarian Republic and has grown to increasingly totalitarian size.
I have isolated the cause of this apparent pattern: Statism. Statism is the belief that the Nation State should be granted the ability to interfere in either the society, or the economy, or both. A Statist is someone who believes that the Nation State should solve problems in the society or economy, or both.
It does not matter how small and limited your government begins, if Statism is present, then the government will steadily grow in size and scope without end, mostly as a result of The Law of Unintended Consequences.
The Law of Unintended Consequences states that any intervention in a complex system will tend to result in unanticipated and undesirable outcomes.
The belief in Statism, which says that the State should intervene to solve all economic and societal problems, in conjunction with The Law of Unintended Consequences, which states that every state intervention in society and economy will tend to create two or three further problems, results in an endless feedback loop that can only end in Totalitarian State control of every aspect of society and economy.
It is my observation that the founding fathers of the United States did as much as they could to limit the powers of the State, but were blind to the follies of Statism, and with that one admission necessitated the destiny of the United States as an all-encompassing government. Statism is the mistake we cannot repeat.
That One Oversight Is Enough To Destroy The Entire System
Learning from this mistake, I believe it is of the utmost importance, if we are to construct an air-tight sociopolitical system that will not result in Totalitarianism, that we must plug all holes and guard against any possibility of Statism taking hold and remerging.
- Governments are instituted among human beings, deriving their just power from the consent of the governed, to protect human rights.
As an individual has the right to protect his person, his liberty, and his property, even by force if necessary, so too does a group of individuals have the right to join together to create a collective force for the regular protection of those rights. This is the origin of governance.
Collective force cannot be justifiably used to accomplish anything that individual force cannot be justifiably used for.
If a group of individuals join together to form a government or collective force then, that force can only be justifiably used in the protection of individual rights. That force cannot be justified in forcing other individuals to forfeit their property, or killing other individuals, or violating other individual's rights in any way.
A government can use force only for the protection and securing of rights, a government can never use force to violate rights, or achieve economic/societal goals, or solve economic/societal problem. Force is reserved for protecting rights alone.
- I believe we must rethink our current Democratic System from the ground up. We currently use a plurality/majority First Past The Post voting system to elect representatives into the government. This is a very indirect form of Democracy which results in the creation of Political Class and a two party system according to Duverger’s Law.
I believe a vast improvement would be a Modified Borda Count voting system to replace the First Past The Post Majority voting system, and instead of voting on representatives, we should be voting on the laws themselves. I believe we should be able to eliminate representatives altogether as a result of the internet, blockchain technology, and wide availability of computers and smartphones.
Instead of majority rule, we should have consensus rule.
We should be able to arrive at consensus about the rules and Laws of the land, and we should be able to freely and voluntarily choose between competing Governance Service Providers for all services other than the creation of laws.
Governance Service Providers may be Decentralized Autonomous Organizations that hire and fire contractors to perform the services cheaply and efficiently, and the Laws, voted on via a Direct Democratic process, may be a Decentralized Autonomous Government, a blockchain whose function is only to record and change laws and facilitate the consensus voting mechanism.
Laws which the Governance Service Providers will enforce.
Based on these observations, I believe we can at the very least begin the conversation (right here in the comments section), and hopefully by 2024 or whenever we begin to colonize Mars, we will have put in the necessary thought and contemplation to lead to a much improved and air-tight governance system that will secure our rights and affect our happiness best.