Mars colony would be new beginning as humans enter the final frontier

Mars colony would be new beginning as humans enter the final frontier

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Five hundred years is a long time, even for human civilization. It is therefore significant and worth considering that the colonization space seems to be imminent is a phenomenon mankind has not experienced in half a millennium. The possibility of creating a major society from (more or less) all cloth has not been possible since the discovery of North America and the New World.

When we think of colonizing Mars or the Moon, we tend to think about water supply, food, and how people will breathe. how will the first space-humans manage themselves is a much more complex and important question. This is not science fiction. Humans in space will create and break laws before we even know them.

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There are dual purposes served by considering how our space colonies will operate politically. The first is that it is imminent and must be solved. The second is that it allows us to reflect on the nature our government. It is not a hypothetical question to ask how we would organize our political lives if we had a fresh start. What should we keep and what should be lost when constructing the governments of space?

From an American perspective, the best answer to this question should be “whatever the colonists want.” According to polls, as many as 25% of Americans would like to live on a Mars colony. It should be with a space-age Mayflower Compact when they go. History has shown the benefits of a detached approach to the old or home world.

FILE - Oliver Daemen, from left, Mark Bezos, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and space tourism company Blue Origin, and Wally Funk, right, participates in a post launch briefing where they discussed their flight experience aboard the Blue Origin New Shepard rocket at its spaceport near Van Horn, Texas, on July 20, 2021. The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, they are no longer present commercial astronaut wings starting next year, too many people are launching into space. All 15 people who rocketed into space this year on private flights from the U.S. will still receive their wings from the FAA. 

FILE – Oliver Daemen, from left, Mark Bezos, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and space tourism company Blue Origin, and Wally Funk, right, participates in a post launch briefing where they discussed their flight experience aboard the Blue Origin New Shepard rocket at its spaceport near Van Horn, Texas, on July 20, 2021. The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, they are no longer present commercial astronaut wings starting next year, too many people are launching into space. All 15 people who rocketed into space this year on private flights from the U.S. will still receive their wings from the FAA.
(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

A vital wrinkle in the creation of the Massachusetts Bay Company in the 1620s was that the governing body would reside in the colony, not in England. This was a new concept and gave the colony a level of autonomy that John Winthrop used to create a self-governing society. One is free to pursue its own moral and/or political goals.

Winthrop wrote before setting off, “All other churches of Europe are brought to desolation, and it cannot be, but the like Judgement is comminge upon us: And who knows, but that God hath provided this place, to be a refuge for manye, whom he meanes to save out of the general destruction.” It’s a rather dark and depressing thought, but it is far from the despair many Americans and West believe today.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony was also a financial venture. As future billionaires such as Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos push our expansion into unknown territory, this will also be true. How much control should earthbound CEOs and shareholders have over the non-working lives of Mars citizens?

Perhaps political autonomy is too old for space dwellers. Maybe democracy is. America and the West will not be the only ones in space. We could lose out to a Chinese colony that is ordered and efficient and nourished with the oil of social credits systems. Or a Russian colony that is corrupt but willing to kill for power.

In the 17th Century what set American colonies apart wasn’t just the autonomy, but the people drawn to that autonomy even at the risk of financial ruin or death. They weren’t just moving to Florida to try it out. They were creating a new place in their own image. This little idea would eventually surpass the might of British arms. Let’s pray it doesn’t happen with Mars.

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Throughout history the settler and colonial class has shown zeal and ambition that is only amplified by the promise of living on their own terms. And unlike 500 years ago, this compact, or social construct will be agreed to by all the people. Many things in American society feel stuck today, and many of them are. Many things in American society feel stuck today, from baby formula shortages to ever more complicated and dangerous foreign affairs to sad and bitter partisan division. But we too are just one step in the larger experiment of freedom, democracy, and democracy.

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As the billionaires’ toy rockets go up, we know that soon they will be tools that build a new society. We also know that society should be free. We should remember the wonderful opportunity we offer the next generation. Let it bring you joy, despite the difficulties. Perhaps all is not lost.

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