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Saturday

The FAA has decided to start regulating space. Not access to it and travel to and from it, as is arguably their job, but the use of it once we get there. Their newest proposal would "prohibit obtrusive space advertising". I'm completely against this. (Hat tip: Tom's Astronomy Blog)

I've sent the following through the FAA's coment process here and here (as soon as their weekend long maintenance is completed - search for FAA-2005-21234):
The commercialization of space is the surest and quickest way to get us there. Advertising has often been on the cutting edge, often the first to fully exploit new technological areas. Advertising is in many cases the first business model that can succeed in a new realm of technology. This then paves the way for future endeavors that require a critical mass of infrastructure and procedure before they can become financially successful in turn.

Our civilization MUST get into space in a commercialized and profitable way as soon as possible. Only through commercialization, led by advertising if necessary, can the resources of space be fully exploited for the good of all. Only through commercialization can the benefits of space travel be brought to the level of everyday use by average people.

In addition, the FAA cannot directly control how space will be used except by US citizens. If the US bans space advertising, then some other country will do it. Banning this will only drive the commercial interests to other, less restrictive countries. This would deprive US businessmen of a perfectly legitimate benefit from the exploitation of space. It will hurt US businesses without accomplishing anything beyond a bit of a delay as other countries catch up to the levels of technology available in the US.

I urge the FAA to abandon this proposal, and keep space open to private use to the greatest extent possible.

What I left out of this, because it would fall on deaf or outright hostile ears at the FAA, is the fact that they have no business regulating such a thing. If I can get to space with a giant billboard, then it's my right to do so. For a US agency to claim jurisdiction or ownership over property in space is ludicrous. Space is wide open, in a legal sense. It is not part of any country, and it is not yet anyone's property.

What is urgently needed is a legal infrastructure to define and protect the private propety rights that will be established in space. There's some tricky issues there, as the natural "land" in space falls in a range of possible orbits around the earth and other bodies, as well as at the LaGrange Points, and on the surface of other bodies themselves.

I'd be fine with private agencies taking up this function. In fact, I would prefer that it not be the government. But it needs to be done soon. Right now, there is no even theoretical definition of property rights in space. If we leave it to the US government, or worse, to the UN or some coalition of governments, we will end up with state claims of jurisdiction over the entirety of space. This would be worse than having no legally protected private property rights, it would extend the reach of governments' active denial of private property rights to space, greatly slowing the process of turning space into a useful and productive resource.

Private exploitation will happen, and that is a good thing. The FAA cannot stop it, but it can delay it by decades or even centuries, to the detriment of everyone.

UPDATE: Apparently, there has actually been a proposal to put a billboard into space that would be as large and bright as the full moon (as seen from Earth). Of course, the astronomers were outraged. And I sympathize, I like seeing the stars on a moonless night myself. But what right can someone possibly have to ban something just because they can see it?

OK, if someone wants to put up a celsetial curtain to block out the sun (ala Montgomery Burns, as one slippery-slope commenter to another site proposed, probably tongue-in-cheek), I could see an argument that since life on Earth would be extinguished, that perhaps we all have a right to sunlight.

Comments

I've thought some about this, and agree with you. I think anything that promotes humans in space is a good thing, including advertising.

Posted by Mark at Liberty Just in Case at Saturday, May 21, 2005 08:08 PM

Mark,

I appreciate you saying that you agree after you *thought* about it. I would have happily accepted disagreement on the same grounds. Thanks for thinking, instead of feeling, about it.

I love the Hillary picture, I hadn't seen that one before.

Posted by kylben at Saturday, May 21, 2005 09:29 PM

Kylben...I read about this the other day and was considering doing a post about it, but I think you have quite successfully captured my feelings on the situation.

I would say that you shouldn't have spared the FAA a tongue lashing for its ludicrous assumption that it controls space.

BTW Fallingwater is my favorite FLW design and perhaps the best house ever designed.

Posted by Liberty Dog at Sunday, May 22, 2005 09:03 AM

Dog,

I've been experimenting with holding back on the tongue lashings lately. It's probably futile to think that anything I could send them would have an effect on the FAA, but a tongue lashing would probably reduce that infinitesimal chance to zero.

If you read the founding article of this blog ("Human Advancement", under "Essential Advances" on the sidebar), it says that I am more interested in what liberty is *for* instead of what it is against. I try to keep that spirit in what I write here, so even when I am writing in opposition to some new regualtion, I try to focus on what could be acheived without the regulation. I'm not forgetting about rights and all that, I'm trying to put them in a positive context.

I look at government the way I look at a hurricane, or some other natural disaster. It's mindless and purposeless, and reasoning with it is futile.

Still, I'd encourage you to give them the tongue lashing they deserve at the links I provided in the article. There's some benefit to telling them that they are wrong, if only so that they can't pretend they don't know any better. "All that is required for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing." If we do nothing more than take that pretense away from people who do evil, it can go a long way.

Posted by kylben at Sunday, May 22, 2005 09:21 AM

Kylben, well said and I can appreciate you wanting to take the high ground.

I will, however take you up on the suggestion that I give them a tongue lashing.

Welcome to my blog roll.

Posted by Liberty Dog at Sunday, May 22, 2005 09:41 AM

Dog,

Thanks! You're the first to blogroll me, as far as I know.

I love the girl at the top of the site. It really does convey a nice image of beauty and liberty juxtaposed. Anybody objecting to the nudity just can't get beyond their own petty fears.

But, the Neo Libs? Ugh! Read that story I pointed you to in the previous post, and follow the links to Q&O. I've got no business trying to talk you out of it, but years from now, remember, I told you so...

Posted by kylben at Sunday, May 22, 2005 09:50 AM

Kyle, I am glad that you like the grapic. I enjoyed making it. As for being the first to blogroll you, I find that shocking. You are a good writer writing eloquently about important ideas. It is my pleasure to add you to my blogroll and my daily read list.

I read the first link and all the comments.

I found both your arguments and those of Richard to be eloquently expressed and quite pertinent. I also found the vitriol directed at you guys to be uncalled for and could see why you would have a distaste for the Neolib movement.

I agree that we place ourselves on a slippery slope when we aim for a practical (I don't like the use of the term pragmatic either) solution via political compromise. As Elliot said:

<i>"When you talk of "compromise", what that means is that you’re going to allow government to keep stealing our property, to keep locking up people for victimless "crimes", and so forth."</a>

He is of course correct, but by not engaging at all, I would be making the same allowances, only to an even greater extint.

I find a couple of things curious however. Hopefully you can shed some light on the situation, as I came to the ideals of libertarianism only within the last five years and have only been active within the libertarian community for the last year. My knowledge of the contemporary players such as Billy Beck is limited at best.

It seems to me that such hostility between the those that choose to remain uninvolved in politics and those that seek change through politics is unecessary and counterproductive to the advancement of libertarianism in general.

I do not see the two approaches as an either/or logical problem, but rather inclusive. I as an individual am capable of approaching a problem from multiple angles, why should the libertarian community be unable to do so as wel?. While looking for a gate, is it not possible to also be seeking another way through the fence?

At the same time as we work to educate the public about libertarianism is it not also possible to at least try to make gains towards freedom in the political arena?

I understand that it is an ugly foe we face in the battle against Statism, but I am willing to face it. At the same time I have been actively seeking other ways to just completely check out the the system.

One of the most feasible perhaps, being the idea of buying a private island and then paying off the country controlling it for independance. Even if such efforts met with failure, life on a private island would still raise considerably a person or groups level of day to day freedom.

Posted by Liberty Dog at Sunday, May 22, 2005 05:05 PM

Liberty Dog,

This is probably going to be long, so grab a cup of coffee, or whatever, and settle in.

First, thanks for the thoughtful comment, and the nice words about my writing. I've only been at this for a few weeks, so the word hasn't gotten out yet. Hopefully it will, but I have no illusions that I'll ever be really popular. This kind of stuff isn't for everybody.

You made that graphic? You've got some real talent there. It's more than just a hot looking naked woman, it's an extremely well-done piece that goes beyond the whole hot naked woman interest.

Anyway, to the point(s). I don't really have any criticism of what you wrote. It's correct as far as it goes, but I think it could go a bit further. I have about 15 years under my belt at this libertarian thing. It doesn't mean I'm right and you're wrong, it just means that I've had more time to think about it, more time to observe what has shown some promise and what has gone down in flames, and more time to understand the enemy. I'm not going to tell you what to think, I just hope to point out some additional areas to think about that you might not have considered before.

"I found both your arguments and those of Richard to be eloquently expressed and quite pertinent. I also found the vitriol directed at you guys to be uncalled for and could see why you would have a distaste for the Neolib movement."

My distaste is not because of the vitriol (which wasn't actually that bad). It goes much deeper, to philosophical differences. (BTW, Richard is the one that runs the Uncommon Sense blog on my blogroll. Check it out, it's very worth reading.)

"...but by not engaging at all, I would be making the same allowances, only to an even greater extint."

I am not allowing these things to happen. For the near future, at least, they will happen no matter what I do. I've watched the Libertarian party, and other libertarian groups, bang their head against the wall for a long time without preventing any of it, except for a few temporary and token advances.

That does not mean that I will not engage. But I will no longer engage, at least as my main effort, on their terms. Politics is a problem, but it is not *the* problem. The problem goes much deeper, to some very basic philosophy that touches on areas of what the nature of the human mind is, and even what the nature of reality itself is.

Engaging politically, and only politically, is accepting their deeper premises. Most directly, it accepts the premise that politics is a legitimate way to solve problems. But this premise itself is the result of much deeper premises - the premises that reality can be changed to our liking, that things can be one thing and another thing at the same time, that human minds can function collectively, that human nature is not good enough and that it can and should be changed to make a better society.

These are the things I choose to engage. They might seem distant, not relevant to our immediate problems, but they are vitally relevant. They are the root cause of our problems, and any political engagement is merely attacking the symptoms, while granting the disease free reign to ravage the body.

These premises might seem so ingrained as to be impossible to change. But they are not. most people don't even know that these are their base premises. Most people, if convinced that their political opinions have these premises at their root, would recoil in horror. My goal is to hold that mirror up to as many people as possible, and at the same time show them that political ideals derived from the correct premises can lead to all the things they want and think they will get from their current political beliefs.

" My knowledge of the contemporary players such as Billy Beck is limited at best."

Billy is a character. He's apparently given up hope on all forms of engagement. I haven't discussed the above with him, but my guess is that he'd reject it as being just as futile as politics. He's taken a very confrontational approach, but he's earned it. He's been in there hammering away, particularly on usenet, for as long as I can remember, and probably long before that as well. He's a f**king genius, and I have enormous respect for him. Confrontational or not (and I don't fault him for it in the least), he gets to the core principle better than anybody I've ever seen - with the possible exception of Greg Swann at Presence of Mind. (Check both of their blogs, also on my blogroll).

(See the next comment, I had to split this in two for the system to accept it)

Posted by kylben at Sunday, May 22, 2005 07:35 PM

To Liberty Dog (continued):

"It seems to me that such hostility between the those that choose to remain uninvolved in politics and those that seek change through politics is unecessary and counterproductive to the advancement of libertarianism in general."

I think that a lot of the hostility is over the definition of "involved". I'm not really hostile to the NeoLibs, I just see them as hopeless at best, and damaging to the advancement of a libertarian society at worst. I said in one of my Q&O comments something to the effect that "the system will eat your best efforts and become stronger for it." I really believe that. By accepting the false premises of the collectivist mind (not deliberately, but by their actions), they either fail to address the root problem, or else feed that root with their very opposition. Opposing them on the level of politics just legitimizes the process. No matter how strong their opposition in public, and even when that opposition has some effect, the message the public gets is that these are legitimate things to be arguing about. Their explicit rejection of engagement at the level of prinicples, such as capitalism, just reinforces the message that the basic ideas behind our current government are legitimate, and that the only argument is over the details.

One organization that is engaging politically, that I have a lot of respect for, is Bureaucrash (also on my blogroll). They engage in a way that explicitly puts principles right in the face of both their targets and of the people watching. They engage in a way that, as I said in an earlier comment to you, cuts off at the knees any pretense that the collectivists are doing the right thing. They bring principles front and center, in a demostrative rather than a philosophical way, such that nobody can be unaware of them. I expect them to be very effective, if they can keep it up, and to be a valuable counterpart to my philosophical approach.

" I as an individual am capable of approaching a problem from multiple angles, why should the libertarian community be unable to do so as wel?. While looking for a gate, is it not possible to also be seeking another way through the fence?"

Yes, and I've said so elsewhere in the past. Multiple approaches are not just acceptable, they are vital. It keeps the pressure on from multiple angles, and also gets the ideas exposed to a greater variety of people. The NeoLibs might contribute to this, but my problem with them is that they are specifically avoiding putting on any pressure via their compromise approach, and exposing the wrong message through their practical rejection of principled arguments.

"At the same time as we work to educate the public about libertarianism is it not also possible to at least try to make gains towards freedom in the political arena?"

Yes again. But only as a means to an end, only as an adjunct to the pursuit of principles. The NeoLibs have made incremental gains the end in itself. One commentor at Q&O, (possibly Richard or Billy, but I'm not sure) said that they expect the NeoLibs to either fail, or to succeed but to no real effect. I beleive that as well. If they succeed, it will only be because their goals have been compromised to the extent that the result is no more libertarian in any meaningful way than what we have now. The system will eath them, and they will either be wholly consumed, or just become integrated into it.

"I understand that it is an ugly foe we face in the battle against Statism, but I am willing to face it. At the same time I have been actively seeking other ways to just completely check out the the system."

I'm facing it too, and it's a lot uglier down here at the philosophical level. The depravity can make a rational person sick, and it is ruining people's lives, even without the help of our disgusting political establishment.

If you find a way to shrug it all off, let me know. Google on the Free State Project, Oceania, Freedonia, and Sealand for some ideas that have been tried before. There was another one that was a combination of a virtual nation and a Costa Rica corporation that I can't remember the name of, but it seemed like it could have been viable.

The problem with all these ideas is that you still need some kind of society, unless you're going to go the Robinson Crusoe route. But once you try to attract a mass of population, you also attract people who don't share your philosophical principles. Any attempt to enforce philosophical agreement makes you the thing you're trying to get away from.

The better approach is to get yourself into a position where you are not at the mercy of politics. Basically, this means getting rich enough to be above the law (in reality, as you already are in principle.) There's obvious problems with that, but I can't think of a better way.

Posted by kylben at Sunday, May 22, 2005 07:36 PM

Kyle, thank you for taking the time to address my questions.

I look forward to continued discussions in this and other areas. I will check out the blogs that you mentioned.

I will also be keeping a close eye on my counterparts in the NN. At this point I am still willing to engage in the political arena via the NN, but while I will tolerate incremental moves toward freedom, I will not tolerate forsaking of my principles. Perhaps it is not possible to compromise politically without compromising principles, and know deep down that this is probably the case.

Compromise in general leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but sheer frustration has lead me to the immutable conclusion that any chance at freedom will come only in increments. Our country did not get to this sorry state in one step and I don't think it will get back in one step either.

Concerning the various plans for establishing free countries, I am familiar with all those you mentioned. In fact, I am a member of the FSP.

I am currently working at putting myself in the financial position you describe and agree that it most likely the best way.

Posted by Liberty Dog at Sunday, May 22, 2005 09:43 PM

Liberty Dog,

I look forward to more discussions as well. Feel free to comment all you like here (just don't tell Gribbit about it ;-)) . As to the NN, you gotta do what you gotta do. If you think it has a shot, go for it. You'll either find out for yourself, or you'll prove me wrong. I hope I am wrong, I hope they can accomplish something.

I know the frustration. It might be that I'm getting old, I don't know, but more and more I'm taking the long view. Cut my losses and go back to the start, lay the groundwork, all that kind of thing.

Posted by kylben at Sunday, May 22, 2005 10:07 PM

<i>You made that graphic? You've got some real talent there. It's more than just a hot looking naked woman, it's an extremely well-done piece that goes beyond the whole hot naked woman interest.</i>

Please allow me to elaborate. I did not draw the woman, she was drawn by an artist named Archie Dickens. I did create the rippled water with the flag reflection and place the two together.

When I saw it, the idea came to me and like you said, it goes beyond the nakedness. It was meant not only to show the physical beauty of women, but the beauty of freedom as well.

Posted by Liberty Dog at Sunday, May 22, 2005 11:20 PM

Liberty Dog,

I'm going to have to look up Archie Dickens. Even if you didn't draw the woman, you made a nice composite that perfectly conveys the beauty of freedom.

BTW, how's Cafe Press working out for you? I've considered giving them a try myself.

Posted by kylben at Monday, May 23, 2005 06:49 AM

I've sold two items: A Socialism at the Point of a Gun T-Shirt and the matching button.

Posted by Liberty Dog at Monday, May 23, 2005 07:46 AM

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