Here are the words of the Mixmaster mind of the everyday AnCom alone in his room, the everyday AnCom who gave up a good mind for me.
(Sung to the tune of, The Everyday Housewife by Glen Campbell)
Note: Sorry for the jargon. Among libertarians, the terms AnCap and AnCom have very specific meanings. Both imply anarchy. In the case of AnCap, not the crazed bewhiskered bomb-throwing anarchy associated with other anarchies. No, this is more of a peaceful, surprisingly organized anarchy. Anarchical only in that there are no coerced exchanges in the economy as there are in a governed society. An AnCap in an anarcho-capitalist. One who believes in the freedom to act in ways limited only by a) contractual limits and b) limits placed on the actor by the existence of the natural rights of others.
AnComs, on the other hand, are Jekyll’s Hyde, Samson’s Delilah, Socrates’ Hemlock. They, if we allow them, can remind us of the chaos that abounds in the Cosmos and, the substrate it grows upon as a virulent bacteria grows upon an agar bound to the base of a Petri dish.
The big difference, however, is the ‘Com.’ Communism, more generally, collectivism. An AnCom believes in the collective, not individual ownership or individualism in general. Judaism, Christianity, and number of other religions are not collectivist in nature although some Christian sects have determined different interpretation is appropriate. most collectivist societies, however, resort to methods of religious pacification to insinuate their “one-for-all and all-for-all” litany into the State Hymnal.
I saw this piece on my Tumblr feed to which I repair every time we run shy of Syrup of Ipecac. It worked like a charm this time. Upon re-reading it, I should have left the Hemlock down.
What’s the difference between classical liberalism, modern liberalism, and neo-liberalism?
Classical liberalism involves the original values espoused by the bourgeois revolutionaries of the 18th and 19th centuries, an elevation of liberty and freedom of speech and stuff. Nine times out of ten, advocates aim for a representative political system and a market economy with “little to no government involvement” (i.e. little to no democratic economic presumptions or social welfare reforms that could help tip the scale of power towards labor and away from capital). In this way, it really is the complementary ideology of the capitalist system – an ideology that seeks out “liberty” to the extent that capital can still remain firmly in charge of society. Some people, like Noam Chomsky for instance, believe that the actual logical conclusions of classical liberalism now imply libertarian socialism, since material conditions have changed a good bit since CL’s conception. I’m skeptical of this idea – I think it’s a very capitalist framework. (This isn’t to say that I don’t think a libertarian socialist society shouldn’t champion many of this things (sic) classical liberals champion, like freedom from political tyranny and a great respect for the individual. I just think that classical liberalism stops way short of a more holistic conception of “liberty, equality, solidarity” that achieves ACTUAL human liberation, something that libertarian socialism is actually consistent on via economic democracy and the abolition of class domination.)
Modern liberalism generally implies some degree of social liberalism, which in turn is an ideology that takes many of the assumptions of classical liberalism for granted and further argues that greater equality is needed before liberty can be fully utilized. This is why modern liberals/social liberals will generally approve of welfare policies and some concessions for workers’ rights; working- and middle-class social liberals usually support these policies from a genuine perspective to bring about more equality, but upper-class liberals will support them to an (sic) extent that capital still remains firmly in charge and class stratification becomes normalized. That latter point is important – nominally about equality, social liberalism is structurally about “reforming so that you can preserve”, essentially passing bigger and better-tasting scraps down to the masses so that they feel more content with their position in life (i.e. still lacking fundamental control at work and in living arrangements, still having to foot colossal bills, but receiving nice benefits and some social prestige).
Neoliberalism is a set of policies and practices that seek out the privatization of economic utilities – a “new liberalism” that essentially just repackages the old ways of pure class domination from capitalists. Neoliberalism took form in the late-70s and early-80s under Reagan and Thatcher and others, and it was mainly a ruling-class response to the 30-year period of social liberalism after World War II. Trickle-down economics, “free trade”, job-outsourcing for cheaper labor, the War on Drugs, etc. – these are all policies that the ruling class pushed to undo any progress being made, especially after the growing revolutionary attitudes of the 1960s. By no means is neoliberalism limited to Republicans; Democrats will happily embrace it, from Bill/Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama. Some say neoliberalism is on its last legs now that Trump and other proto-fascists are gaining power around the world, giving way to a new divide between populists on the left and the right (rather than the old 40-year divide between Whole Foods neoliberalism and 700 Club neoliberalism); I’m not entirely sure about this claim, but my instincts are telling me it might be the case.
Capitalism is now pushing two phenomena that will ultimately lead to its own destruction if we’re sufficiently organized: automation and global climate change. Proto-fascist right-populism can’t address these problems (since it’s merely a front for elite domination), but a socialist left-populism can. Harness the automation for human need/use rather than elite profit, put an end to the unceasing accumulation of capitalism that’s accelerating climate change. All of this taken together might mean that liberalism itself is on its way out. Only time will tell in that regard.
Hope this was informative/answered your question sufficiently!
Last year, I entered a drugstore in a nearby town, made my way to the pharmacy, and stood in the empty waiting line. An attendant called out, “Hi Mark; it will be a few minutes. I have a slight emergency.”
“No problem!”, I replied. “I’m used to waiting. I had to replace my lost driver’s license yesterday.”
“Hear that. Bet Pam found the license when she got home.”
Chagrined, I sheepishly was about to respond when I heard, in a slight, but audible, voice, “I was in line, sir!”
I could barely hear the exclamation. “Hello?” I said as my head swiveled swiftly. (Yes. It is damn difficult to say. It is also damn difficult to type!) “Where are you?” I implored.
“Back here.” The little echo returned.
“Where here? Can you step to a location where I can see you? That would be very helpful to me.” I was ready to buy a flare gun. Throw a gold carp. Anything to let her know where I was.
She moved away from the wall she was standing near and suddenly appeared, no longer hidden by the outstanding bend in the wall. Ten feet from that corner.
“Why are you back so far?” I was quite interested in this.
“Why, it’s just common courtesy.”
“I agree that it is quite nice, but there was no one in line! To whom was the courtesy being paid?
“Well, I couldn’t tell if anyone was there, so I thought I should stand back here just to be certain.” Her answer, well, that line was odd. I told here she could move to the front of the line, so she began to make her way there. Before she got to the corner, another older lady arrived at the front of the line.
Our Lady, lady one said, “I was here first!”
Of course, lady two, the elder, was rather brusque. “Who the hell are you kidding?” I sought to intervene. The situation was going downhill quickly. The prospect of blood frightened me, and I am not easily intimidated.
Lady two had already assumed a position of power, feng shui anyone, which sent lady one back to her corner saying, “OK. Take your front. I’ll take second.”
“Wait a minute!” I shouted. Lady two just waved her cane menacingly, while lady one stood akimbo looked my way indignantly. My way? All I could see were mental images of me in the local weekly advertisement pick-up being hauled off for inciting violence.
I went to lady one. “Sorry for all this.”
“You should be. People could have been hurt!”
“Yes, ma’am. How far back should I stand?”
“Fifteen feet would be fine.”
“Thank you, ma’am.”
One hour later, I decided to leave, the line having grown. I was still at the rear and now out into the parking lot. Luckily, I was standing next to my car.
Back in the late 80’s, I learned about the concept of boundaries. Boundaries had two senses. One was the kind of boundaries that people can envision for themselves to help themselves avoid the emotional pain associated with verbal attacks by others. They’re something to stand behind. Something that John Bradshaw or Pia Melody, New Age children of Western Esotericism, pitched this and other tools. But it wasn’t tripe. Some panned it because of the roots it came from, but based on my experience I found it a very helpful model.
Then there were the other boundaries. The type that has transmogrified into personal space. The one that while there is no law we are nevertheless expected to respect. And upon what objective criteria is this space defined? None! It is subjective. Whoever owns the space determines the area. It is their “safe” area. Their “Elysian Fields.” How sweet it must be, to be so fragile that we get to carry around our space that no one else gets to enter!
Man’s second skin inflated now compares to Macy’s Parade.
The person owning holds their “safe space” possesses a positive right if they can enforce it. In this case, there is no law (at least not yet), so there is only a virtual positive right.
If I seek to hand a summons to the man or woman claiming the positive right above, were there a law making it defensible, they would have a negative right against me. I would be out my fee. However, were I to wait in line, at their bus stop so as to prevent them from entering until they take the summons, I win! She either takes the warrant or walks. (Of course, she then will go to the consulting psychologist mentioned below, and the law will get changed and so for forth.)
Needless to say, the negative right is, in this case, only a virtual negative right. Virtual only because of the aforementioned consulting psychologist with the bureaucracy who hasn’t finished their report.
In general, negative and positive rights are held by all people based on laws in the presence of a State plus contractual agreements (be they formal or otherwise) whether a State exists or not.
A positive right gives you the power to do something. A negative right allows you to prevent another person from doing something.
A hold harmless clause in a contract gives you the negative power to prevent the person you have contracted with from suing you for damages if you have made errors. Architects, engineers, and builders use them in their contracts where they have warned their clients that site difficulties make the budget impossible.
Remember the pharmacy? Lady one claimed a positive right and granted a significant positive right to whoever she thought was already was in line until I got there. Then she changed her mind.
Naughty lady one. The positive right she had tacitly granted me, she ripped from quivering fingers. Luckily I had good emotional boundaries. Thanks, John Bradshaw. Thanks,
Lady two then asserted her positive right over Lady one’s protests and stared her down. She stared me down, sort of, too.
So I ended up with no rights. I gave up bewildered. Whoever came in just got in front of me. All I heard was, “Excuse me, sir. You’re in my way.” I hear it still after the flushing is over, as the Restoril dissolves, as the Night takes over ending the day, I hear it still…
All the way to my car.
DATELINE 1970: THE WORLD. COLOSSUS – THE FORBIN PROJECT
Large mainframe computers proliferated in the 1960’s. Industry after World War II put demands on computation that could no longer be handled entirely by rows human calculators with slide rules, adding machines, or Burroughs Comptometer.
The public-at-large knew little other than what the wagging televised tongues and wrinkled words on fading newsprint bespoke of the world less run by the electrochemistry of organic man and more by the artifice of minds leaving many of them behind to toil as their support and not, they believed, as equals.
Hollywood, just as much then as now, take an opportunity to exploit fear to turn a profit. Profiting itself is not the problem. The fact is that Hollywood was prescient. The science-fiction community was and always has been, for the most part, very farsighted.
There were the idealists like Wells who saw great things that man would evolve away from in The Shape of Things to Come (1933) or Clarke who, twenty years later, believed that interdiction was the only way. Aliens steal humanity’s children in Childhood’s End. Wells, no friend of liberty it should be noted, argued for the pacification of religion.
The truth, however, is far more (without attempting to sound bizarre) worrisome. With the Seventies came DARPA, the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency. Operating research through a series of universities there was a need for high-speed communication of information between researchers thus ARPANET was created. It was a network of computers including a node at my alma mater USC that I found myself using occasionally. (It was the first network on which the ubiquitous HTML was used to make references between documents simpler for scientists to use without a lot of damn typing and the concomitant swearing.)
Ultimately, DARPA-Net was extended to commercial use becoming the Internet, blah, blah, blah. Eight years ago, websites talked to devices (including telephones) attached to networks connected to the internet. Now we add machines like refrigerators, TV’s washers, dryers, automobiles, D9 Caterpillars. All of the devices are computing and sharing computational results to assist our convenient living. Now, in the most recent year, a flood tide of Virtual Reality has washed the internet into our very eyes.
But wasn’t that what the guys in the Sixties were worried about?
Computational technology has done wonders for us scientifically. It extends our sensoria to the infrared boundary of the Cosmos, the point past which light recedes so fast that the Red Shift has moved the light out of the visible light spectrum. We can no longer see it without the help of spectrographic analysis. And even that won’t help past a certain point.
Tech has expanded our senses to hear things where human aural capabilities do not tread. Low pitches we can feel but not hear or high pitches “only dogs” can hear or visual flutterings so fast that the rods and cones of our slowly responding corneas see as a blur. Temperatures, pressures – high and low – the Marianas Trench and the surface of the Moon. Technology allows us to experience all these things.
Oh, and this is something only the human species can do. We are, at present the pinnacle of evolution. There are those who argue we are not the most intelligent. All I need to do is ask them to tell their favorite species to build a rocket and fly it, build a submarine and sail it under the North Pole, build a bathyscaphe and sink into a deep ocean trench, etc.
But even with that, Humanity is at risk. We must face certain facts. As technology boosts our abilities, our bodies are jetsam in its wake. The evolutionary power we as humans once provided, as Emma Goldman so eloquently put it, has been replaced by artifice. Now the Stentorian voices shouting over Rohland’s Horn in the computational dystopias no longer sound like Chicken Little.
Human Evolution is grinding to a halt as we put on our Oculus VR™ and shriek our way into an oblivion built by William Gibson. Falling into the Neuromancer (1984) maelstrom with no way out is one futurist’s answer to the Fermi Paradox. Why hasn’t SETI heard from all of George Lucas’ aliens? Maybe they’ve all gone VR. Could be.
Or, as Fermi proposed, they’ve destroyed themselves, the pat answer in the Fifties, 1950 to be precise. Today, other disasters beckon. Some offer environmental as the flavor of the last two decades. Celestial are a favorite of mine – asteroid or comet strikes (been there, done that,) gamma-ray bursts offer hope, however, instant death, sterilized planet, tabula rasa. Nevertheless, the likelihood that intelligent life exists in our galaxy other than on our planet is well below one percent. Despite the overzealous Frank Drake who in 1961 came to the conclusion based on a mass of massive massively optimistic estimates that up to 50,000 alien civilizations existed in our galaxy alone. Alas, the real odds fall far from that set of adventurer’s dice.
Nevertheless, the likelihood that intelligent life exists in our galaxy other than on our planet is so small as to be negligible, for none of the fell strokes above or for reasons poetic.
Here now enters the unwitting Elon Musk. The founder of Space-X, Tesla and other, some would say farsighted, speculations fears that humanity may become irrelevant. Technology wearing the countenance of Artificial Intelligence will surpass humanity’s mental attainments. Man’s Athenian eminence eclipsed by Spartan algorithmic precision. Artificial Intelligence able to learn to think like humans but without some of the special sparks of genius and esemplasticity that mark humanity’s greatest minds.
What is the cure to triviality? Mr. Musk carries his black satchel with him at all times. The bag with all the code – the Irrelevancy Soccer Ball. His lieutenant fumbles for the keys opens it and pulls out the Neural Lace, the Ultimate Solution. It pops open revealing, once the pupils adjust to the blinding glare, the syringe. Swirling withing the golden inviscid fluid are the components of the neural lace ready for injection.
Neural lace, to be fair, is not an active electronic component. It is a formwork, a scaffold on which brain tissue can grow. Designed with therapy in mind, it has no nefarious purpose.
But, given that a biological organic compound injected works to enhance thought, the scientific steps from inactive to a neuro-active element are direct. Once the system improves our view into a virtual world and enacts a loving convergence, we are hooked. Why leave? Other than the necessities of life – consumption of comestibles, expurgation of excess, maintenance of muscle mass, general health, staying alive. One could forget. The way addicts fail in self-care.
Copacetic in all this turmoil is the market potential. In particular, a connected person could work anywhere in a virtual world. She would be with any worker, alone, in a group, at a conference, delivering a paper, even serving time in prison.
And there’s the issue. Philip K. Dick hinted of it in A Scanner Darkly (1977). The story, while not set in a virtual world, was set in what amounted to a police state very much like what we have today, with the NSA and FBI watch and listening to all that we do. The protagonist, a man with two personalities neither of which are quite aware of the other, end up on a prison farm husbanding the drug that he was sworn, as an officer of the law, to destroy.
More recently, The Matrix series (author’s identity contested) has been much more direct in its clear depiction of an autocratic virtual state.
This final loss of liberty is so frightening that it simply cannot be overlooked. But legislation is not the answer; laws rarely are the answer. The state is usually more of a problem than an answer.
The answer, if resolution exists, rests with the individual. It is no different than the care we take (or fail to take) against those who would harm us through our electronic records. Identity thieves, electronic burglars, government snooping, encryption backdoors, shredding our records, properly erasing our files on our storage media are all ways we can protect ourselves. And they are all pretty darn easy.
There are some who wander among us who know the truth from fiction. These wanderers have a zeal to speak truth to small groups about freedoms and how you can protect yourself and help you to carry that forward. Look for them on message boards like Facebook. Computer security is more important now and will grow exponentially (not without limit, however) as technology makes an assault on our pre-frontal cortex on its way to our brain stem.
But is there a Deus Ex Machina laying in wait? A Dudley Doright, finally unentangled by bureaucratic Canadian red tape crossing the electronic frontier? Probably not. Probably not even necessary. Why not use options available today upgraded for the new age?
Specifically, backup systems have, passively and actively, been protecting important data (including personal data taken intrusively and illegally by the State) from accidental and more sinister forms of destruction.
Solid state memory is becoming more efficient and cost-effective. By the time the trend to large-scale virtual reality is upon us the ability to backup personalities, memories, and rational and motor skills will be essential. Of course, the ability to reboot a human to a life free of bondage to a malevolent autocracy is more than efflorescent. These are problems yet to be solved.
Neural Lace is but a scaffold. Neural Lace 2.0 could easily be a fully neurological network designed to connect the neural Man to the Virtual World. We the humans only maintain our humanity, the possessors of Natural Rights, those imbued with organic life, true life, by maintaining the balance of Nature by retaining control over our inventions.
I wish to state that I am not claiming that any form of conspiracy is involved here. Just the opposite. The desire, the excitement of man for new, the untried, and unknown engages our minds. It drives toward the next dawn. It conducts our symphony of dreams, and poetry of physics.
But though all our eagerness, we must never forget the primacy of the individual is without peer. Isaac Asimov was prescient when he wrote The Three Laws of Robotics which I will reprint here.
A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
At a later date, Asimov revised the Laws by adding a Zeroth Law as follow,
0. A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.
It may do humanity well to heed Asimov’s prescience and encode into all Artificial Intelligence and the Virtual Worlds that the AI control with the Four Laws of Robotics. That plus a backup fail-safe might just be humanity’s protection from ultimate oblivion.
Jean Luc Picard, spiritually drained from another battle won, still 3 minutes, 15 seconds of show time before the credits, and time for the denouement. The Captain of the Starship Enterprise arises from the seat of command, makes halting steps waving off the advance of Doctor Crusher always hoping help, chagrined by his refusal she turns away wringing her wrists. The door to his ready room opens, and he approaches the Replicator. “Earl Grey and a slab of Bolognium.” The Replicator dutifully responds, creating chains of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates which, when correctly proportioned with water and other inorganic chemicals bring the food we eat, to fruition. But there is a problem. The replicator cannot find Bolognium in its directory of foods, body parts, living things, anything. It shudders emitting clouds of acrid smoke and dies.
What happened? Why the Bolognium problem? Was there a Bolognium agenda of some sort? No. The answer is simple. Bolognium does not exist.
In fact, science fiction sprinkled as it is with Bolognium often appears more like fantasy than science. Some stories have none. The real hard Sci-Fi. The Martian. All real, available science. An exciting story nonetheless results and the audience is drawn in without a hint of boredom.
Some have a little. Ursula LeGuin created the Ansible, a device that allowed instant communication. With travel bound by Special Relativity[i], Kingdoms could handle multiple star governance quickly (as long as the governors stayed loyal.) This was one helping of Bolognium, OK. Her stories were still fantasies (or were they?) but, OK. Sci-Fi still borrowed the device and called it other things and justified it many ways including quantum entanglement. BTW, there is a proposal out for serious study to develop such a system. Maybe de-Bologniumizing instant distant communication.
Then come Star Trek, The Next Generation, and science gets shot to hell.
Every week from Encounter at Farpoint, Part 1 (Season 1, Episode 1) to All Good Things, Part 2 (how original, Season 7, Episode 26) many of us willing to or wanting to believe enjoyed the excitement and, in my case, the unbelievable idiocy of a crew of numbskulls continuously making the same mistakes week after week! Don’t get me started. I forget the periods.
Even folks like I, waiting for the Love of the Creator to free besotted Man of its desperation. Despite the screenwriter’s constant reliance on the old DTG, the Double-talk Generator. With the use of this breathtaking tool Geordi La Forge and Commander Data would speak unintelligible words defining concepts unscientific, now and in all possible universes. Honestly, that is is a stretch. In the still debated multiverse, one scenario has a collection of all possible universes with all possible combinations of fundamental constants.
Of course, another bit of the impossible, warp drive, has taught the casual audience of science that brings fantasy to a world starved for relief.
I will return to the science in a moment.
Another series, this time on the big screen, Star Wars suffers from the same plus many more defects.
Star Wars depicts an unusually distributed elitist statist and (happily) anti-democratic politics. It claims a mythos of incredible significance yet fails to display a religious, moral, ethical system deserving of our admiration. Obi-Wan bends people to his will, and we consider that honorable! Finally, Star Trek and Star Wars only pay lip service to women. They are not top-drawer sexist, but they provide, even in the last iteration, our protagonist, Rey, the One, not The Ring, but The One Woman! But that is all. Just one woman. Yeah, Carrie Fisher [RIP] enters and takes third billing more for sentimentality and thank goodness they got her in in time! (Honestly, it would have been tragic otherwise.) Where are the other women?[ii]
Jean Luc, repulsed and confused by the disaster in his ready room rushes with reckless abandon headed for Ten Forward. He calls Guinan on his communicator. She answers, “It will be ready, Captain.”
Stunned, Jean Luc replies, “Yes, but how——.“
“See you in a few, Captain.”
Jean Luc rushes into the lounge, Guinan pushing a Champaign flute his way. It is filled with a sparkling purple fluid trying to climb the walls of the glass. He speaks in stunned amazement. “My God. What is it?”
“It’s Mortavian Hound’s Residue. Very rare. Very costly. Just breathe its fumes,” she said with the seriousness of a mortician.
“Costly? Don’t be silly. We want for nothing in the Federation. All is free to they who need. Thank you!” He reached for the glass, and she withdrew it.
“This is not free to all, Jean Luc. This not the Federations. This is MINE!”
In her eyes, he saw the fire of the ages. Sadness, rage, loss, pain, and anger. A dark unbidden spiritual hatred. Part of her life, her family and possessions had been taken by a force of will beyond her ability to resist. She stared into the pits she once saw as warm and loving eyes. “Look at these,” she said, turning her head exposing her nape. “Those are boot marks!”
“My God Guinan, I had no idea. It is a great and lonely sadness that you bear. It is also my sadness, for I must confiscate the Residue. Guinan, there is no private property in the Federation.” He grabbed the glass and began to put it to his lips.
“Guards! Grab her!” Guinan looked around wildly, head on a swivel, a mouse trapped by a ring of hungry cats.
“Jean Luc, don’t drink it. It will——” The guards covered her mouth. The captain tipped the flute to his lips bringing the precious fluid near his nose. As he inhaled the lovely canine bouquet, he never noticed that the Residue was bridging the gap, inching toward his nose. As Guinan struggled to get out a last-second warning, the Hound jumped the gap and headed straight for its ultimate target.
Oh no! What will Jean Luc do? Will Guinan survive? Will the Hound bask at will? Until next we meet, pray for the Captain and the return of the Federation to sanity.
There you have it. That, in a nutshell, is the problem with Star Trek economics. There is none! Why? With one exception (other than Mortavian Hounds Residue) there are no scarcities! No resources. Resources are limited, by definition. Replicators are limited only by the amount of matter immediately available and that by the amount of energy at hand. Nothing for which to compete. No bidding. No shopping around for a deal. No real value scales of any meaningfulness. (I suppose girls and guys still play hard to get.) People will still have them. They always will. They can just go out and get all their wants met. Helluva deal!
Now, that one exception. Dilithium Crystals. Can’t do impossible things without something that doesn’t exist. Right? A Level 2 Bolognium deficiency. Level 2 is not all that bad usually.
The Federation must do something it must hate to do to get these damn crystals. Work! Dig in the dust. Do dangerous work with mining lasers, explosives, periodic flights of body parts during accidents to the “oohs” and “ahhs” of grizzled mining crews.
Not only that, no one ever talks about money other than to explain to a few who have awoken ala Rip Van Winkle to a life for the stars in the future they will likely never fathom. “We don’t need money. We don’t need no stinking money.” Of course not, the replicator provides it all. Got skid marks? Presto. A fresh pair of your favorite boxers.
What a boring world. Hundreds of Thousands of Trekkies and Star Wars freaks go to San Diego and New York for ComiCon plus all of the National, Regional, and Local Sci-Fi and Fantasy conventions (including me, I am an aspiring Sci-Fi author!) to talk about their favorite sport and think about the world that might be.
I try to get out among ‘em and, without being cruel, talk about the future, the real future of the types depicted in The Martian, James Corey’s Expanse novel series beginning with Leviathan Wakes. The revered Larry Niven, a member of my Sci-Fi Godhead, has written many books (novels and short stories) with various levels of Bolognium utilization. I believe, in fact, the terms invention came with his first big splash, Ringworld. David Gerrold, another famous author of the same genre, credits Ringworld with five levels[iii] of Bolognium. The deus ex machina of natural philosophy. But, instead of classifying it as Fantasy like Star Trek, it remains Science Fiction. Why? There is no skill in Star Trek. The Bolognium in Ringworld, conversely, is barely noticeable. In Star Trek, the Bn[iv] is slapping you faster than a “revenuer” hauling ass chased out of the Arkansas back country by a shotgun wielding still operator. In Ringworld, a bed of soft feathers holds the reader entranced like little waves on the side of a rowboat
Believers, unfortunately, will continue to believe. In the face of facts, reasoned arguments, and promises of American light lagers, so many seem unable to accept the idea of a World with limits. Even in a society of high technology, some processes will be costly for the same reason that gold is expensive today. It is rare. I asked a Trekkie once, “In the Star Trek World of Tomorrow, what will you want the most of?”
His reply? Why gold of course. When I asked, “Why?” He answered, “Why wouldn’t I want a lot of something so valuable?”
When I asked him if he hoarded water now, he laughed. When I asked why, he answered, you guessed it, “Why would I want something that everyone can have as much of as they want?”
The moral of my tale is a simple one dear friends. When amongst the unwashed (all respect intended) consider the worlds in which they live. Give examples from the Multiverse of their dreams. Avoid mention of Mises, Hayek, Rothbard and Rand.
Speak of Spock, Kirk, Solo and Leia (RIP) (did she even have a surname name? Or was Princess her first name?) [170301. I have been upbraided by a neer do well from the Actual Anarchy system insisting that Leia’s surname is ‘Organa.’ I will not vouch for their veracity.] Ask them about the reality of limitless resources and then drop this one on them, “What are you going to do when Scottie runs out of dilithium crystals?” If he says, “Alchemy,” shoot yourself.
[i] The Warp Drive is no longer fiction, at least not theoretically. In 1994, Dr. Milguel Alcubierre of Mexico published a paper entitled The Warp Drive: Hyper-fast travel within general relativity. Unfortunately, his design negative mass-energy equal in amount to the entire Cosmos! Maybe impractical. Once you arrive at your destination, it won’t be there nor will the rest of the universe. The FTL Drive requires negative mass-energy to create the field. And it’s not FTL. A warp field that moves space-time appears. The piece of 4-space in which the vessel is embedded moves. The ship goes along for the ride, never moving at all. Don’t believe me? Go to college and do the math.
No worries. The State to the rescue. The deus ex machina in the form of NASA’s Dr. Harold White tweaked the design requiring only 500 kg of the stuff and, in the videos posted, less may be possible. One day, SpaceX (which has the only deep space exploration vehicle in development) may make it to the Oort Cloud. That is a trip, in part, that may test such a hyperdrive. Take care when handling that much negative mass-energy. 500 kg (1100 lbs) of antimatter would be sufficient to destroy the Earth! Possibly a fit parting gift.
In fact, it may be possible to reduce the amount of anti-matter to even smaller amounts. Maybe down to drawing from minute quantities. But, don’t buy your tickets. Anti-matter is a very scarce resource. At this point, more valuable than just about any other thing known to Humanity, Animality?.
[ii] It’s still a man’s world. Feminism failed. Even in a galaxy far, far away. Hopefully soon down a toilet. This is the level of sexism that male and female writers go to believing they are doing the right thing. The problem is that the milieu is incomplete. The circle of men, both equals, those giving orders (Han Solo), mentors to be (Luke Skywalker), and inept sidekicks. The mix should be a little more evenly split. Obviously, Solo (the spot is open now) and Skywalker couldn’t be had. Maybe things will change next time.
By the way, if you are an aspiring writer or an experienced one, this would be Level Four on a sexism scale in literature and script based entertainment. Female authors do this, as well as male writers. They want to do what’s right. They sweat to get the One in there and forget the milieu. The author is so involved they forget the environment, the forest of people around her or him. The Other equally qualified partner and the staff of associates. Men and women of equal competence and numbers equal to the realistic level of sexism of the day, the era, in question. The good guys are the ones with staffs of female/male ratios equal to those graduating with the competencies required.
All of this assumes that citizens are free to decide their career paths, that women or men are not pressured into sciences or non-sciences parading as science – sociology, psychology, history, you know the kind, wannabe science. Only if choices are free, can a storyline be trusted?
[iii] By my (in)accurate count, I discovered about eight uses of Bolognium in Ringworld.
[iv] Bn on the Sci-Fi Periodic Table. It does not occur in nature. Bolognium is engaged by authors only to solve otherwise intractable difficulties. Has long shelf life and requires no refrigeration. Bn also has a pleasant deli aroma.
My name is Mark E. Deardorff. I believe that in an age when waste abounds, and the needs of science in the life of Humanity has never been greater, it is the time for the course the path of science to seek its level. Rather than bureaucrats and congressional Luddites, science must be guided by need rather than by politics, fame, jealousy, and optics.
The purpose of this site and blog is manifold. Through discussion, both fact and speculation, options for man’s future will erode the dogma and seek new options. How the Earth does not represent our future but how the unfettered alliances of science with the trifold agendas of free markets, philanthropy, and scientists can guide our world to greatness.
Apparently, much of this happens now regarding medical research through the various disease foundations and in business through industrial development. But there is a parti pris that government is always involved in scientific research.These ideas need not be de rigueur. Nor is it the case that when private agencies take on partnerships with government, there is no division of the state. It is more often a ruse. An appearance of privatization but a real tax benefit to the entrepreneur.
These among many other things will be part of the discussion held here; I invite you to join us.