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  • Posted by $ jbrenner 4 years, 2 months ago
    John Galt had a cloaking device. I can help with that. You need to make materials that have a very hard to visualize negative index of refraction.
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    • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
      Negative index of refraction is a tough one. It would mean that light travels faster in the hypothetical medium than it does in a vacuum, a clear violation of special relativity. If you can do that you can violate causality and even build a time machine. It would also mean a weapon of incredible power. You could alter history.
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      • Posted by strugatsky 4 years, 2 months ago
        Actually, a wave can travel faster than the speed of light. This is the basis for materials that pass a wave through them faster than the electromagnetic energy that creates the wave. When re-combined on the other side of the material, it acts as a "cloaking" device at those wavelengths. This has been worked on in several countries for a decade.
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    • Posted by freedomforall 4 years, 2 months ago
      Absolutely necessary.
      Otherwise the international bankster vultures would descend and their numbers would block out the sun.
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      • Posted by term2 4 years, 2 months ago
        Gulch would need to be essentially completely independent of contact with the outside world. Every interaction with the collectivist world would invite detection and invasion. Going to be a bit difficult to live other than a very basic existence. I could see electricity being generated,money being developed and used, and water and food being available, but all that would have to be done without being detected by government satellites through visual observation or electronic monitoring. Plus, the selection process for residents would have to be essentially perfect, with strict rules against venturing out of the gulch

        One big problem would be natural resources like iron ore, aluminum, and various chemicals needed for moderen life. They may not be available all within a suitable gulch.

        All this currently would be possible with intense planning, but only on a small scale. I cant imagine a gulch of 1000+ people getting away without the collectivists wanting their cut.
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        • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
          One of the greatest challenges facing an objectivist society is dealing with irrational people. Ignoring them is dangerous and accommodating them is even worse.
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          • Posted by term2 4 years, 2 months ago
            I think we are a tipping point in terms of ignoring and accommodating irrationality. Trump , though his independence from political influences and his ego, was able to just put the liberals down and encourage citizens to cast off PC and vote for what made sense. BUT, that said, Trump is not an objectivist by any means. When he said "repeal and replace Obamacase", I knew it was going nowhere. It needs to be replaced, period. The replacing will be medicaid for everyone, I think.
            By the next election, the democrats will have figured out how to manipulate the population a few percent and gain the upper hand. We will then see major shifts to the left.

            I think the left misjudged the appeal of Trump partly because Trump supporters were afraid to publicly indicate their support. I could see a lot of people, when I came out for Trump, who would look around to make sure no one was listening- and say they agreed with him. That pressure will increase next election, and may keep good candidates from getting the cash they need to run against the democratic powerhouse. If it werent for Sanders' age, I think he might win next time. He nearly kicked Hillary out this time. I am pretty discouraged by it all and figure that the system has to collapse before it can rebuild- just as in AS
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          • Posted by lrshultis 4 years, 2 months ago
            What makes you think that objectivists are all fully rational? Like any society, an objectivist one would have a variety of beliefs that would cause strife among citizens just as religious societies have had to the point of removing those who do not agree with the majority. Just another way of some deciding that others are too dangerous for their own good and would end with a tiny standard of living as did most religious societies ended with. The USA is good because it has all kinds of conflicting beliefs but way too many incarcerated per capita, second in the world only to a small place in the Caribbean.
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            • Posted by 3 years, 10 months ago
              Belief and objectivity are completely incompatible. Belief is the acceptance of something as true on the basis of authority or desire. Objectivity is is the acknowledgement that a proposition is valid based on evidence and your understanding of that evidence. They are two completely different approaches to dealing with reality.
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              • Posted by lrshultis 3 years, 10 months ago
                A belief is the acceptance of something as being true and says nothing about whether it is from objective (rational, scientific, logical) or subjective (faith, religion, non-logical) reasons. So there are objective beliefs and subjective beliefs. For example, in highly abstract subjects such as mathematics, truth need not be from objective reality, but needs be only logically consistent to, say, an axiom system. The science of quantum mechanics, due to some interpretations of objective data, has many scientists considering that objective reality with its causality as non-existent. The rules of quantum mechanics formed by finding what works in describing reality but are not known as to why they describe, as probabilities, what appears to be objective data .
                It is near impossible for one to know whether what one considers to be true today from data, will not later need to be corrected to fit new data. Objectively, all data are from the past due to the speed of propagation of electromagnetic signals. Even one's actions, if not consciously inhibited, can be shown to begin subconsciously before one is aware of the action beginning at which point one may say no, and inhibit the action.
                Although the senses through which one receives objective data are natural in origin and give one information about reality, the the data needs to be interpreted depending alcohol and other drug usage as well as for illness and disease. The sense data will be valid but scrambled to a degree, but still objective.
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            • -1
              Posted by exceller 4 years, 1 month ago
              The idea is not that everyone would be rational. Your example of religious societies is not relevant here because objectivism is not about religion. The idea is that people with similar values and convictions group together through the applying of strong screening measures. It looks like you would probably not pass the test.
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              • Posted by lrshultis 4 years, 1 month ago
                Are sure that the closed form of Objectivism is not the same as a religion? If it is not to be questioned that Rand made no errors, then its belief and application to a society is religion. Your comment seems to indicate that your society would not be a free society but one where everyone would have to worry about being removed. Strong screening would not help in the long run for someone who is rational, since social pressure wound cause great fear of being expelled from the community. You make my case with your last sentence which indicates some inquisitor watching everyone for some infraction of the beliefs held sacred to himself. It would just end in a cult-y place of fear of being rejected. I would not even try to join such a society. I prefer the USA which still has a large amount of freedom of movement and thought and do not wish to join a society where freedom of thought and its expression is watched by someone who takes on the job of a priest.
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      • Posted by Solver 4 years, 2 months ago
        It is as if you’re much more worried about bankers then taxers. Which is more dangerous to the individual and the world?
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        • Posted by freedomforall 4 years, 2 months ago
          Both are extremely dangerous.
          Taxers are limited to a geographical region and they steal in daylight under color of law (mostly.) Banksters cross all borders and use manipulation of governments and peoples to steal (which includes bail-outs using taxes.) Banksters pretend to be honest business people and steal from their own customers. Taxers pretend to be taxing for the good of the people they steal from.
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  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
    The point I was trying to make is "Would a "Gulch" need the equivalent of a military to provide protection against a hostile invasion force?" If so how would it be funded and managed? The notion that the Gulch could peacefully co exist in a world dominated by collectivists strikes me as naive at best.
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    • Posted by term2 4 years, 2 months ago
      Totally naive. The advantage of a gulch is that it would definitely prosper. That means that during a collectivist decline in the outside world, there would be great attraction to just take its riches and give to the 'poor'.

      The gulch would have to be completely independent of the outside world, and also have 100% effective defenses to prevent an invasion. All it would take is one defector to give away secrets and blow the whole thing.
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    • Posted by $ blarman 4 years, 2 months ago
      Citizen militias were the basis for Lexington and Concorde. I don't see any reason why such couldn't be the same principle for the Gulch. I think the problem that one would run into (and which has been debated here before) is that of the free rider problem of self-defense. In order to have a functional militia, they would - like the National Guard - have to take time and specifically focus on that aspect of society - training, etc. And someone would have to pay for that training. The equipment is probably the biggest expenditure, as modern military hardware is tremendously expensive (though it could probably be argued with significant merit that the military could be run at 1/100th its current expense level).

      There would also have to be some kind of ongoing reactive force always patrolling and watching for invasion, whether that be an intelligence apparatus or a formal military to watch the borders. Oh, and there would of necessity have to be borders and restricted passage.
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      • Posted by gcarl615 4 years, 2 months ago
        I agree with this. I am sure I am not the only one here with military experience, Some what dated but fundimentals remain the same. Operational security (OPSEC) would be necessary from the very beginning. Over at the Survival Blog this week is a guide to just this whole concept. As far as paying for this, way above my pay grade.
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    • Posted by $ jdg 4 years, 2 months ago
      My take is that the answer depends mostly on who has a lead, and how much of one, in weapons technology.

      Historically, the world has gone through two kinds of phases in this regard. When one country has a commanding lead, they are able to cheaply form and preserve a colonial empire (Rome, or the Pax Britannica). If the empire is run by people who aren't fools, they impose free trade on everybody, and the world is relatively prosperous.

      But when anyone on earth with enough money can buy or make the best weapons, then you have a period like the present, in which large empires break up rather than form, because the near-equality in weapons makes it expensive to conquer or hold onto hostile territory. Theft, terrorism and piracy, and destruction for the nihilist hell of it become common even if almost nobody wants them, because they are much easier and cheaper to do than to prevent.

      This is why I'm in favor of colonialism, and of aggressively arms-racing in order to become and remain the top power. For all its unfairness, this strategy is the only way to stay prosperous or even safe long-term.

      (This is a much-condensed version of the philosophy expressed in Davidson and Rees-Mogg's Blood In The Streets and its sequels.)

      Granted, this does not directly apply to a "Gulch" like community. To answer the original question, I can only say yes, some form of military forces will eventually be required, even if the group can at first avoid the need by hiding well.
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 2 months ago
        This is intriguing.

        If the Leviathan is in the form of one state like the Roman Empire, won't the empire eventually become over-extended, decadent, indebted, corrupt, until it no longer is all-powerful?

        You said the current state of affairs is one in which there is no Rome-like empire in the world, filling the role of that benevolent Leviathan. Isn't the US in that role? US spends the most on war, so whenever something happens in the world, people ask what US is going to do about it more than they ask any other nation.

        If the nation states of the world engage in an aggressive arms race, doesn't that lead us farther down away from the benevolent hegemony you describe?

        BTW, I first heard about that book on Larry King at age 12, and I recall finding the phrase Blood in the Streets ghastly because I imagined it literally. I did not follow any of the discussion of the book at that age, but I remember the title.
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        • Posted by $ jdg 4 years, 2 months ago
          If the Leviathan is in the form of one state like the Roman Empire, won't the empire eventually become over-extended, decadent, indebted, corrupt, until it no longer is all-powerful?

          Yes, certainly. Any state tends to accumulate more and more power until it needs to be overthrown. And because the public doesn't track history very well, democratic states especially will sooner or later forget their missions and dissipate their strengths.

          Both Rome and Britain lost their dominance, though, by failing to keep up with new war technologies that would keep them in first place. In Britain's case, their major military advantages in the 18th century were having the best sailors and the best drilled riflemen. Once other countries got the steamship and the machine gun, those advantages were nullified.

          If the nation states of the world engage in an aggressive arms race, doesn't that lead us farther down away from the benevolent hegemony you describe?

          Somebody is going to race in arms whether we do or not, at least as long as there is more than one country in the world. Right now it's mostly ourselves and Red China, while other players such as the jihadists try to come up with 4GW strategies that can beat the weapons they don't have. Meanwhile, countries that aren't arms-racing are being destabilized, often by groups that are. This doesn't always make the news.

          In a world like that, any libertarian startup (such as proposed independent seasteading operations, or semi-independent cities in Costa Rica) can expect to become a target for pirate/terrorist groups before it's even done forming -- because any such habitat, especially if it can be defended, is something those groups would pay a lot to own. That in turn means the major countries are going to want to prevent its creation. They expect it to become another Afghanistan or Somalia, and unless we make a good defense deal with somebody (which likely means limits on its sovereignty) they are likely right.
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          • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 2 months ago
            Unfortunately for my utopian ideas, all this makes sense. I think, though, the idea of a nation state will decrease. Nation states started because it was hard to send value, people, and communication over geographical barriers. I see that going away rapidly; I'm not sure how rapidly. In my little corner of the economy, I live in the dairlyland, yet I see high tech springing up everywhere around me, and all of them work with people around the world. A long-distance call to Milwaukee used to be a big deal, but now we do video chats all over the world without a second thought. Jobs typically require trips to China and Europe. I don't see how political structures based on lines on a map can survive past a few more generations.

            The nation state is still here, so the realpolitik of arms race is still here too. I am not sure for how long.
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 2 months ago
      "If so how would it be funded and managed?"
      Ideally it would primarily be citizens, mostly with their own weapons and tools, organized into a militia force. Its goal would not be to stop an invading army but just to make it costly to invade. If they were guarding billions of dollars of precious metals, they wouldn't stand a chance. But they're guarding a small area with labs developing new materials, micro robots, software tools, ways to cram more data into a given about of spectrum, tools for analyzing DNA and proteins--- all the things investors around the world want to take a risk on to earn money. The value is in the international teams, the networks of angel investors, the conditions of motivated people seeking to live deliberately. The labs are owned by international investors and they partly colleaterlize debt instruments. Stealing them would be stealing from investors around the world. And once you steal it, you've destroyed the conditions where those international teams of workers are going to this remote place in search of freedom and wealth. On top of all this, many of the citizens are armed and organized into minutemen militia. Sure a really army would overrun the militia, but the army would also destroy the spoils they seek to plunder.
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      • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
        I like this but it is based on the assumption that all of the parties are rational. Unfortunately, The original question was framed "In the real world" where there is abundant evidence that ones foe cannot always be relied upon to be rational.
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        • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 2 months ago
          "based on the assumption that all of the parties are rational."
          It almost certainly wouldn't work for this reason. I can think of many ways it would turn to worms. Institutions that effectively protect liberty are the exception to the rule.
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  • Posted by $ jlc 4 years, 2 months ago
    I do not think that any physical congregation of objectivists can avoid detection; the world's tech is too high for that. We are surrounded by satellite surveillance and any mystery with a visible presence, heat signature, or grid connection (including internet and radio) will be detected - and probably in not too long a time.

    If we tried to isolate ourselves from any contact with the rest of the world, we would very soon be sub-par in technology. No matter how many fine minds we attracted into our group, we still have to buy our chips from a factory. I think that the Earth's population supports one such factory for every billion people - because that is what you need to make the elaborate clean room environments profitable. Similarly, no isolated group of a few thousand people is going to equal the progress of 7+ billion minds, even if those minds are encumbered by bureaucracy and ours are not.

    The only way an enclave of objectivists could exist in a non-objectivist society is if there were a legal loophole for us to nest within a larger element. This is the idea behind 'taking over' a state, which works in a democracy. If we were a tech and innovation 'cow' that a socialism found worthy to 'milk' then we might be granted a 'commune' or 'Reservation' status and allowed to have our non-communist ideology where it could produce useful items for the outside society and where we could be contained and not contaminate other people with our views.

    If we had a super-weapon, we might be able to make a Duchy of Grand Fenwick - a scrappy pocket nation that was independent. We would have to have our finger always hovering over The Button, though. That does not sound pleasant. Since we have no such weapon, it is not very workable.

    I think that the most realistic approach is the one we are on: Stay steadfast. Talk our philosophy to people who are interested and will listen, so that they at least know that there is an alternative. Make movies and write books with strong, competent heroes who show integrity. And if, IF the pendulum ever swings back to our favor, get as many people into Education as we can.

    Jan
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 2 months ago
      "If we tried to isolate ourselves from any contact with the rest of the world, we would very soon be sub-par in technology."
      Yes. Trading with one another creates wealth. Getting in the way of trade is the road to poverty.
      I agree with this entire post. The best bet is some "free trade zone" or "zona franca" in a country willing to give tax/regulatory abatement in exchange for the jobs the zone would bring. It would be a constant battle to hold on to the tax abatement.

      The zone needs to be remote enough to make people want to leave it alone but not so remote as to stifle trade. Just having a place with easy immigration rules would be a huge benefit. That's what Blueseed was trying to do. My hope is someone can do it on land: easy immigration plus tax abatement minus the cost of a ship.
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      • Posted by $ jlc 4 years, 2 months ago
        Yes. Trading with one another creates wealth.

        Spot on! And exchanging ideas creates more ideas - 'ideas having sex' (per Matt Ridley).

        Jan
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  • Posted by LibertyBelle 4 years, 2 months ago
    In the book, as I recall, Hugh Akston mentioned a lot of "the male population of the valley" being ready, near the end, to rescue Galt with weapons.
    (As it turned out,of course, Rearden, Dagny, Francisco and Danneskjold were enough--I think those four were all).--But if the place were invaded, there were those others.
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  • Posted by andrewph 4 years, 2 months ago
    If we are going hypothetical, then space along the asteroid belt would be the best place. You have the natural resources and freedom to extract needed raw materials for a thriving society. This would eliminate the satellite surveillance, invading armies, and bankers/collectivists trying to invade or steal the discoveries. Yes, it’s not viable, at this time, and it would be obvious when a space launch is detected that isn’t related to a government contract. Currently the only person who is even close to this is Elon Musk. It’s the “perfect” solution to land invasion, Financial invasion, spies, and Trojans. But then again this is all hypothetical in the “real world”
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    • Posted by TheRealBill 4 years, 2 months ago
      Close, but Mars would be the best bet for an off-Earth Gulch. Free-space colonies have much higher R&D and mass costs. We presently have the technology to build on Mars, all w eneed is reasonably priced transportation there (which is much cheaper than asteroid belt). Free-space platforms are orders of magnitude more complex and more mass-intensive than Martian ones which are in turn cheaper, and less complex, than Luna based ones.
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 2 months ago
        "Martian ones which are in turn cheaper, and less complex, than Luna based ones."
        How can this be? My naive thought is the moon would be much cheaper because it's so much closer.
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        • Posted by TheRealBill 4 years, 2 months ago
          I've posted about it before, I think. The long and short of it is that for the moon you have to take "slow down fuel" to bleed off all the "Delta-v" enough to do orbital capture. For Mars, you can aerobrake using the Martian atmosphere. That covers the function of distance anyway. As the saying goes, "once you've it orbit you are halfway to everywhere". The orbital mechanics and velocity changes required makes it cheaper from a mass transit perspective to send cargo from Mars to Luna's surface than from Earth's. Fuel costs are tremendous, so launching a ship to Luna just to orbit takes so much more fuel than that same mass going to mars to land that the costs on that aspect alone are a major win for Mars.

          For the rest of it, the Martian atmosphere results in a dramatically lower shielding mass requirement. We can do it with what essentially a form of plexiglass for domes with Roman brick building inside. The shielding of the atmosphere aids in pressure differential and allows for thin-panes (under an inch) to allow sunlight in for growth. By comparison, the glass needed for Luna greenhouses is measured in feet.

          Finally, the last major piece (I can go on for a while if I don't limit it :) ) is that with some gas-lamp era technology and some hydrogen feedstock we can simply manufacture all the air, fuel, and water we need. We also have dirt ready for being turned into soil with just a bit of compost. Plus the lunar dust is insidious and highly destructive through ultra-fine abrasion. Martian dust, however, is composed of dirt/sand that has been ground down via winds.
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          • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
            You make some very important points and these are among the trade-offs being considered by the (hopefully) new extraterrestrial mining industry. The Delta V required to make to and back from the asteroid belt is greater than that required for Mars missions but propulsion options once you are away from deep gravity wells are expanded considerably. High specific impulse low thrust systems become attractive as does solar sailing. As a result asteroid mining becomes a bit more realistic. One of the companies looking at this is taking the first step of funding a series of probes that will analyze asteroid composition to see what, if any, useful materials are present. Another is taking a serious look at positron annihilation propulsion systems and that could be a real game changer. In the final analysis it comes down to two fundamental realities; technology and economics. That is where objectivism comes in.
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            • Posted by TheRealBill 4 years, 2 months ago
              Sure, other options become available for transit propellant, but any propulsion system short of warp/impulse benefits going to/from Mars just as it does to/From the belt from Earth. If you reduce propellant needed, for example, by 50% due to, say, NEP boost, then it applies to Mars as well. That is where the tech and the economics meet: getting from A to B. Anything that requires a mass-per-distance (including cargo and crewing) expenditure - as well as the buildup of initial velocity (such as getting out of a gravity well), will always favor the route that requires the least of it. Indeed, as the cost comes down, Mars becomes even more attractive.

              Think of it like traveling from up a mountain vs. going across the plains. It doesn't matter if you drive an electric car or a gas engine, it will always take less energy to cross the plains. A higher ISP is merely "better fuel economy", it doesn't change the astromechanics of interplanetary flight.

              Antimatter rockets are also pure theory at this point (especially proton annihilation ones) but are still rocketry. Thinking about this is an effective way to analyze the seriousness of such companies. Are they touting theoretical propulsion methods that have never been built or even proven, or are they using things we already know how to do? If the former, they aren't going anywhere and are a black hole for cash.

              Despite what many want to believe, we don't know how to mine asteroids. Sure, it seems simple, but like many things in zero-g that sound simple, it isn't. Much of our mining know-how is firmly based on large masses in a gravity well "fighting" each other. Even drilling on a large scale (such as a "mere" 50t mining cargo) require a significant amount of rigging and attachment absent a large mass with gravity to anchor it to the object being mined. There is ample opportunity for tremendous research to be done in learning that. It doesn't sound as "sexy" as antimatter rockets, but it is only one step removed from functional rather than several.

              This is another major aspect these companies are avoiding: cargo hauler assembly. We're talking at least a thousand tons of mass from Earth to orbit for assembly - even with the theoretical antimatter rockets. Humanity has zero on-orbit transit craft assembly experience. Sure, we put together the ISS, but the ISS doesn't undergo the rigors and pains of interplanetary transit. They swap relatively small tanks of mostly non-cryogenic gasses; nowhere near the scale of mass cryogenic transfer we would need to do for a craft of such size. That aspect is tricky at best and wholly dangerous. A single mishap in such a transfer can ruin the craft (and crew around it).

              Not that it can not be done, but that we have to figure it out. Like actual mining of asteroids, that is another field of research that needs to happen before it can become a reality. The so-called asteroid mining ventures we see today just hand-wave that away, just as they do with the actual mining issues absent gravity.

              Even further, on-orbit assembly from planetary materials requires the materials be stronger due to the launch rigors. This is where Mars enjoys yet another advantage due to its more shallow gravity well and the distance to the belt. You need less mass for a craft originating from Mars than you do for one for Earth.

              The main physical bits you need for such craft that you'd initially need from Earth are the high tech yet lightweight ones such as computing and control systems. Initial construction of interplanetary ships will be more akin to Earth shipbuilding then, say, the Space Shuttle was. Mars' benefits in the cheap "rough and ready" mass construction and launch aspects can be combined with imported high-precision componentry from Earth far cheaper than all-up from Earth can be. The fuel alone for Earth-to-Belt requires more mass than a Mars-built ship requires.

              Mars isn't necessarily the "final destination", but the development of the hub that makes humanity (short of Star Trek-like tech discovery) economically able to plumb the depth of the belt, Luna, and anywhere in the solar system. Indeed, that is one thing they did get right in Star Trek: Mars Planetia was the first space-based shipyard they built. They also got it right in "Enterprise" when our first starships were crude and cramped.

              We're looking at billions of R&D over decades for theoretical advanced propulsion systems such as antimatter rockets. For less than that costs, we can use existing capability to have a Martian settlement that is building a Tether transit system that eliminates most of the reason d'etre for such rockets until we are ready to go beyond our solar system.

              I get the appeal of the fancy dream technologies, I really do. But after spending nearly three decades investigating the full picture from history, tech, R&D, and economics, they need a "miracle jump" just to be feasible. The economics for anything short of miraculous always favor the path going first through Mars. The path to large LEO assembly (such as a Space Elevator) is even cheaper to do from Mars' surface than even from Earth->Belt->LEO. Mars is to conquering the solar system what the sea was to early mankind. Neat ideas such as AMR/Solar Sails and warp fields are more akin to the sky and LEO, respectively, in that analogy.
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              • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 2 months ago
                @TheRealBill I read this twice because it's so interested and information-dense.
                If we ever get past the difficulties you describe caused by the rocket equation, gravity wells, and micro-gee mining itself, it occurs to me that mining isn't very profitable compared to creating "zero-to-one" inventions. In the distant future if there's a mining "town" in space that can collaborate with earth, can send data and money back and forth easily, can send bulk goods back and forth expensively but reliably, the value you could be in the social/economic conditions where people from all backgrounds who have their act together and are seeking happiness go to a place remote enough to be left alone, close enough to trade, and with the dynamism that comes from diverse people living freely. It will be ironic if the economics of mining finally work out, but the profits from mining are insignificant next to the value of the inventions that come from the mining "towns".
                2. ". The path to large LEO assembly (such as a Space Elevator) is even cheaper to do from Mars' surface than even from Earth->Belt->LEO."
                This is counter-intuitive, but I suspect you're right because you've done so much thought/research.
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          • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 2 months ago
            After you aid this, I started to recall it from one of Zurbin's books I read ten years ago.

            This one point, though, does not ring true:
            "The shielding of the atmosphere aids in pressure differential and allows for thin-panes (under an inch) to allow sunlight in for growth."
            If the pressure on Mars is 1% of that on Earth, isn't the pressure on Mars zero for construction purposes. I can believe your point about using the atmosphere for breaking because it doesn't take that much to create drag at those velocities. But I don't see how it would matter to building construction whether the pressure is 1% or near vacuum.
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            • Posted by TheRealBill 4 years, 2 months ago
              In this case, the pressure differential is only part of the equation; but I'll address this part first. When you are talking about the margins, which we are, small differences can result in substantial changes. For example, let us consider the insulating effect of CO2. The vast majority of the benefit is at the bottom end - as CO2 concentration increases, the effect diminishes.

              For our purposes, the atmospheric pressure of Mars vs. a free-space habitat or e Lunar (or asteroid) one is amplified by the presence of the planetary body with gravity. The hardest part of pressurization on Mars is keeping the "dome" on the surface! The other effects are, however, more pronounced. I could have been more clear on that, for which I apologize.

              Because of the thermal and radiation shielding of the atmosphere, the windows (or dome panes) can be far, far thinner than a free-space counterpart can be. The primary factor in, say, a greenhouse, is shielding the plants from the sun's radiation (UV and heat). In Earth orbit or on Mars, that is a very tall order indeed. The shielding of Mars' atmosphere, however, does most of the work.

              The remaining primary concern here is meteorite impact. As you might suspect by now, the atmo shielding handles the heavy lifting here, so you don't have to lift heavy things. Now a secondary concern here I've hinted at is thermal load - i.e., heat buildup. Space is damned cold but has no real wind, so you don't get excess heat carried away in space. That is why the ISS has such huge radiators.

              However, Mars' atmosphere helps us with both. We have the wind to carry away excess heat, and shielding to reduce the thermal loading in the first place. Granted, we also have a planet to sink heat into, but still, the other aspects are likewise significant.
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              • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 1 month ago
                So many things a thin atmosphere does to reduce wall thickness:
                1. Radiation shield
                2. Meteor shield
                3. Cooling
                4. Pushes down on a large thin dome for a domed city
                Thanks for explaining.
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    • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
      I have been doing some consulting work for a company that wants to do asteroid and lunar mining. the Moon, Mars and Asteroids all have pros and cons.
      The moon has a fairly shallow gravity well which makes exporting ore and refined products easier. Its close proximity Earth simplifies logistic support. However, life support on the Moon poses considerable challenges due to the lack of an atmosphere and the very long day night time.

      The Mars atmosphere is both a blessing and a curse. It provides some protection from solar and cosmic radiation (better than the Moon) and makes landings easier because aerodynamics can be employed in the process. However, planet wide dust storms impact the use of solar energy forcing the implementation of nuclear reactors for power at least for contingency purposes. What we know of the chemical composition of the Mars surface is encouraging but our sample size is small and very limited. We won't know much more without extensive surface exploration, The same is true of the Moon.

      If you want to build large structures in space neither the Moon or Mars provide the best options. That's where the asteroid belt comes in. Asteroid mining has the lowest cost in terms of propulsion. This is why the concept is attractive to people with long term plans. Technologies such as space elevators or magnetic launchers could change the calculus on that but with current and envisioned capability asteroid mining is very attractive.

      Here is where a space based Gulch could come in. Belt mining will be a very isolated process for a long time to come so a society set up along objectivist philosophy would be relatively free from interference.

      Objectivism is well suited for space colonization for several reasons.

      Space colonies are likely to be scattered and sparse so a centralized government with centralized planning will be of little value. Centralize government and planning are anathema to objectivism so it is a good match on that score.

      Survival in a harsh environment will depend on innovation and discipline which means a society that favors meritocracy will have the best chance of success. As long as the fundamental principals of Objectivism such as the merits of ones ideas and a willingness to put them to work are maintained the success of the colony will be assured.

      Solar system space will be a frontier for a long time to come and it will provide challenges that are best met without government interference. That sure sounds like what Ayn Rand had in mind to me.
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      • Posted by TheRealBill 4 years, 2 months ago
        "Asteroid mining has the lowest cost in terms of propulsion. "

        Not really. From Earth surface to Ceres, for example (any other in the belt will be similar), the required delta-v is almost 19 km/s with a mass ratio of almost 153. From Earth surface to Mars surface requires only 9 km/s and a mass ratio of 12.5. It doesn't matter what fuel you use, you need less of it to go to Mars than to the belt. The numbers are 15x higher to go to Ceres than to Mars. And that is just getting there.

        The belt has the same problem the moon does: you have to also carry the fuel and requisite mass to slow down - especially to "capture" to an asteroid with no appreciable gravity and zero atmosphere. So not only does it take more fuel to get there, you have to dedicate a huge chunk of your mass budget to that fuel. This amplifies the difference. For Mars you don't have to take return fuel, and don't have to take water and air for the mining period - those can easily be made in situ before your mining barge sets out. This leverages the advantages of Mars regarding propulsion.

        Now, from the surface of Mars to Ceres, or anywhere in the belt, you'd have got a fair point. From Mars to Ceres is cheap by comparison. Mining of the belt will take place, if economically driven, from Mars, not Earth. For a roughly 50 ton cargo freighter you are looking at dry ship mass of around 95 tons.

        From Earth that will require about 1200 tons of fuel (Meth/Ox since LoX and H do not store well in space) for the transit propellant alone. In order to put that mass into orbit for assembly, you're looking at a total launch-from-Earth-surface mass of nearly 110,000 tons including the propellant.

        To do the exact same thing from Mars' surface requires only a total of about 2000 tons. With a difference factor of over 50x, Mars enjoys a tremendous advantage.

        Now to note, these do not include food, air, and water for the crew for their mining stay since we don't know how long they will have to stay. But clearly, even just getting there, hitching some cargo into the hold for terrestrial processing, and coming back is seriously more expensive from Earth than Mars. You can build out the Mars settlement and facilities for less than the cost of the first Earth-based freighter mission. That said, since the trip from Mars to the belt is much shorter, crew requirements will be lower for Martian mining freighters than Earth based ones.

        Space elevators ... that benefits Mars even more. Mars based "skyhook elevators" are workable with existing technology and know-how. You bootstrap the entire solar system transit routes from Mars.

        1. Build Mars base
        2. Build Mars skyhook (2.62 hour cycle, (6 touchdown spots")
        3. Build Mars Orbit Tether Launch System (TLS) to Belt using Martian material
        4. Build Belt to Mars TLS using material from Belt/Mars
        5. Build Mars Orbit to Earth TLS using material from Belt/Mars
        6. Build Earth orbit to Mars TLS using material from Belt/Mars

        Now you've got an interplanetary transit system which can transport cargo between Belt and Mars for nearly free (figure on roughly 10% "mass surcharge for each tether you transit") from a propellant context. You can also do the same between Mars and Earth orbit though with a bit more cost for orbital maneuvering. You could also build a hook system for Luna using Martian/Belt source material cheaper than from Earth.

        From a technological development level and from an economic level, this is the path of least resistance. We could skip the Belt tether and mining in the beginning and start with the Mars hook, follow that with the Mars -> Earth TLS, then build the Earth-Mars TLS using Martian source material. That would establish a lane between Mars and Earth for high-tech development shipping. But I'd prefer to go to mars then the Belt from Mars because it opens up everything else so much more cost-effectively, and gives Mars a solid revenue and precious metals supply.

        Also note that the construction of the Martian skyhook opens up the planet even more so. With its orbital period of 2.62 hours it would have "6 stops" around the planet from which to build further bases/colonies/facilities Sure the commute between them can be long (since it only goes one way) but man what a ride.

        Until we come up with Star Trek style propulsion, mass is king in space travel. With mass being king, then propellant is the driver of cost. By every objective measure, Mars is the most economical of the considered destinations and has the most to leverage for future growth.

        Free-space colonies will need incredible amounts of mass to get started and large amounts of power. From Earth, it is prohibitively expensive. Mars is doable with known technology for less than any other destination - including LEO or Luna. To build those colonies you'll need significant manufacturing, and that won't happen without a solid an inexpensive production capability. You won't get that from Earth, and the Belt lacks the startup resources.
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 2 months ago
        "some consulting work for a company that wants to do asteroid and lunar mining."
        They don't by any chance have a business development director who used to work in Madison, WI in the cow semen industry... sorry, I mean bovine biotech instrumentation?
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 2 months ago
        "Space colonies are likely to be scattered and sparse so a centralized government with centralized planning will be of little value."
        This reminds me of the ending of Artemis by Andy Weir. The founder of the moon colony says at the end of the book that societies go through stages of having the freedom of the frontier, then they get wealthy, then they get decadent and build and expensive gov't, and then they collapse, and the innovation happens where the new frontier is.

        It made me think how the gritty moon colony Weir imagines for the setting is probably pretty close to what we're talking about here. It also reminds me of The Expanse, in which much of Earth's population subsists on gov't handouts, with families structured to have multiple parents per child to control population growth; while Mars produces all the new technology and wealth, and asteroid belt is mostly struggling miners speaking a creole language, and aching to get out from under the thumb of the major powers.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 4 years, 2 months ago
    A lot depends upon the severity of incursion. In competing use of force, after all negotiation is exhausted the retaliatory force should be prompt, powerful, and decisive. As history has taught, anything else means defeat, if not immediate, then eventual. The cost of invasion must be so costly as to make it not worth the trouble. It is an unfortunate mindset, but, in today's world it seems to be the only option.
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  • Posted by $ Abaco 4 years, 2 months ago
    My favorite approach would be to stay hidden...as in the book. Better they not know about you.
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    • Posted by term2 4 years, 2 months ago
      Hiding in plain sight is actually done successfully today. Keeping quiet and just fitting in without making waves will enable one to pretty much stay out of the crosshairs of collectivists. That means paying with cash, stay out of the banks, and keeping a low profile with standard looking cars, houses, clothes, etc. Another thing is to establish a network of people who you can obtain services from that accept only cash or gold or your own services in return.
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  • Posted by Owlsrayne 4 years, 2 months ago
    This idea was covered a while ago here in the Gulch forum. I still believe that if the Gulch was a purchased island in a remote and good climatic region of the world could work. If a cloaking apparatus is created, would be needed first before occupation. The ocean could provide all the natural resources required. Initial supplies could be brought in by converted stealth high speed cargo vessels similar to SL7 ships.
    https://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...
    The SL7 ships had the speed but not stealth.
    Once the Gulch is operational mini-subs could either be purchased from the outside or built on the island to mine the sea floor for resources. Food could be obtained from the ocean directly and /or establishment of aquaponic stations around the island.
    Submarine nets with sensors and high explosives could surround the island. Rail guns could defend the air and surface area,(solar cells and wave energy generators could produce electricity stored in capacitor/battery banks).
    I could go on, but you get the idea.
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  • Posted by citizen1 4 years, 2 months ago
    I am sure most objectivists would take the same steps as people convinced of any other ideology. Stand and defend a physical attack, reason with intellectual attack, defund any financial attackers if possible.

    A living breathing Gulch is a challenge for this reason. Even if a group successfully declared independence, lived apart from the systems of society at large, there would be those who would seek to destroy it. The most dangerous attacks are from those who assimilate only to attack from within. At present, there is little way to predetermine the thoughts and intents of human nature of others. It appears the strongest defense of the Gulch culture is in the individual's ability to protect and defend their own self, family and home. Rational self interest serves the group. Homes that are safely defended lend to towns being safely defended. Incidentally, the Gulch culture does not exist or survive apart from the individual protecting their own castle and livelihood with some prejudice.
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  • Posted by $ Temlakos 4 years, 2 months ago
    Let's assume, as others have, all of John Galt's "science fiction"-style inventions. That includes here the electrostatic motor and the refractor screen--that produces a false image.

    Recall: Henry Rearden arrived at the Gulch with a very large portion of his work force in tow. Francisco d'Anconia had already formed a militia of the most loyal of them. These would come to the Gulch and do double duty as a construction gang and as a perimeter guard force. Hank Rearden would join the Committee of Safety (then consisting of Ragnar Danneskjold, Francisco d'Anconia, and John Galt as proxy for Midas Mulligan). A Committee of Safety is a group of the largest stakeholders in a society; they get together to work out law enforcement and defense, at their own expense, for the entire community, in recognition of the value of that defense.

    In fact, when the authorities arrested John Galt, Ragnar immediately organized an Air and Land Militia to rescue him.

    Ragnar also weakened the collectivists considerably through his privateering activities. Francisco might have done more than he did. As it was, he, too, decamped to the Gulch with his loyal workforce. He and Rearden, between then, could have fielded a division-strength army at the perimeter. And defense is always easier than offense, particularly when the attacker must scale a ring of mountains.

    We'll probably never know whether the secrecy could have continued. As it was, John Galt fatally weakened the collectivist society by removing from it all who were keeping things going. With Dagny decamping (and joining the CoS herself), that kicked the props out from under the society. Though in all fairness, Robert Stadler sped that along without meaning to, by provoking Cuffy Meigs into that fatal lever pull that set off the Xylophone to smash flat an area at least 150 miles in radius around Dunkertown (a/k/a Harmony City), Iowa. And at the edge of that region: the Taggart Bridge.

    Actually I'm surprised Francisco and Ragnar didn't prepare to blow up the bridge themselves. Except they would have wanted Dagny's consent for a thing like that.
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  • Posted by starznbarz 4 years, 2 months ago
    When I was younger, and bulletproof, my business was keeping people and properties secure. My first line of active defense was to hang very small (bream) fishing hooks at various levels around the perimeter woods and at known intervals on any obvious trails/access points, as well as thumbtacked from 6# test inside window frames/ outbuildings access. It works very well.
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  • Posted by $ Abaco 4 years, 2 months ago
    A few years back I was looking for land in the foothills nearby. I have a group of like-minded families who all expressed interest in getting 20 or so acres, putting our houses on it, building a little school facility for our kids and being close enough where one parent could still go into town to work. We all like the idea of withdrawing from the system as much as practical. But, I soon realized that as soon as we started design and/or construction the local authorities would be taking note. You know where that leads. The news vultures would have a field day with Waco-like stories, "They keep their kids out of school..." etc. I decided not to invest the time and money necessary to make it. But, if we could build in secret...But, as is mentioned here "Google Earth". I know the local municipalities use it to look to see if somebody built a shed, put in a pool, etc. One random little drone would be all it took, as paranoid as that sounds...
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    • Posted by $ Dobrien 4 years, 2 months ago
      By an old dry bulk carrier and convert it into a floating hamlet have a few smaller vessels for fishing and supply runs. Northern waters in the summer , southern waters in the winter.
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 4 years, 2 months ago
    Build the Gulch as a floating artificial island, with overhead camouflage, located and anchored off regular shipping lanes (there are shoals at a relatively shallow depth). Supplies brought in via private submarines, mineral goods provided by seabed mining. Research should show locations less subject to powerful storms. Stick to low profile buildings to lessen the possibility of detection by ships. Between fish and seaweed farming, a lot of food supplies can eventually be produced locally.
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  • Posted by chad 4 years, 2 months ago
    Forty years ago it was still possible to essentially disappear by simply not telling the government what you were doing. If you stopped filing taxes they didn't know if you were dead or just moved to another zone, communicating across state and district lines made it difficult to determine the whereabouts of an individual. With the advent of computers and eventually electronic money and RFID requirements no person anywhere will be able to engage in anything that isn't observed. The requirement for a large force of overseers (which is cost prohibitive for slave owners) no longer exists when a computer program can be watching individuals at all times. The best way to live free is to live unobserved, not attainable in the current world. Using trade between individuals who are like minded is great until every object and every individual has an RFID. Then no matter where anything or anyone moves, trades or travels it can be monitored.
    The collective has been sold the idea of slavery which means the enforcers are nearly everyone you meet (see something, say something) and any item produced by them that you need cannot be traded for without the states intervention, licensing, taxing or forbidding.
    It might be with the capabilities of intrusion by computers the only place left will be deep in the Amazon jungle living in grass huts and eating monkeys, you then become a target that is not worth the effort. See THX 1138, he escaped when the cost of capture was not cost beneficial.
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  • Posted by term2 4 years, 2 months ago
    First thing to do is to be invisible by being good at living in plain sight without the collectivists realizing you are there. What they dont know about, they cant attack. This means keeping quiet about your views, unfortunately, once political correctness has completely taken over and the civilization is essentially lost to the hordes. No fancy cars, big houses, expensive clothes, expensive entertainment, etc.

    This only works for awhile, given the growth of government detection powers, however. After that, you just need to get as far away from collectivist civilization as you can.
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  • Posted by $ blarman 4 years, 2 months ago
    You just have to have some kind of weapon which threatens MAD if an attack is launched. If you were technologically-savvy enough, you could create the ultimate computer virus which would infect and shut down any computerized equipment (good luck). As much as today's soldiering depends on their tech, this would be a pretty effective neutralizer. For the more conventional armies, you'd have to develop firearms technology to deal with the hordes.
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  • Posted by $ allosaur 4 years, 2 months ago
    Me dino cannot foresee any "in the real world" protection should statist progressives overwhelm our
    society with enough indoctrinated snowflakes and incoming open border Jackass Party voters.
    The thought police would some day obtain control of the internet and shut down such sites The Gulch.
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  • Posted by $ Snezzy 4 years, 2 months ago
    The two I have known about, Minerva and the boat at Saugerties-on-Hudson (both from the same bunch of folks IIRC) suffered immediate defeat through lack of foresight. They apparently thought defense would be unnecessary because they were all peace-loving libertarians.

    Minerva was claimed by the King of Tonga who arrived in war canoes and evicted the settlers.

    The boat was claimed by King Neptune as it sank on launch.

    I put little hope in such projects.
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    • Posted by term2 4 years, 2 months ago
      Future societies will have to deal with this. in the meantime, pretty much for our lifetimes, we have the option of hiding in plain sight. I dont have a lot of hope for future generations, however.
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  • Posted by freedomforall 4 years, 2 months ago
    An alliance with a nuclear power?
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    • Posted by term2 4 years, 2 months ago
      I can see that the NOrth Korea approach was indeed successful. Fat boy knew that if he developed nuclear weapons, he could get concessions from the biggest of the powers. He would never have to actually use any of his weapons- all he had to do is threaten to use them. He will wind up making his little shit country safe from invasion by anyone else.

      Maybe the gulch could do the same.
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      • Posted by freedomforall 4 years, 2 months ago
        That is what I was thinking of when I posted it.
        It's not an objectivist solution, but neither is limited immigration which was also practiced in the Gulch.
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        • Posted by term2 4 years, 2 months ago
          well, an objectivist solution would also be one that WORKS. If a thief comes in and asks where my valuables are, I certainly would feel justified in lying to him. I am sure fat boy knows he will never actually USE his nuclear weapons, but he also knows that he can prevent invasion by having them. He appears like a madman, but in fact he isnt that at all...
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 2 months ago
    I think a liberty-oriented free zone would not be directly attacked. The value would be in their inventions, not tangible items that could be stolen directly. A militia of free zone citizens could defend against direct attack from extremists or nation states intent on attacking and keeping the spoils intact for plundering. They would not be able to plunder, so they would not attack directly.

    The nation states of the world would “attack” the zone by not recognizing its sovereignty and not allowing their citizens to renounce citizenship and tax obligations. Free zone citizens who failed to pay taxes to their nation of origin would find their investments outside the zone frozen. Inability to for free zone citizens to make foreign investments or accept foreign investment would be a huge detriment.

    The nation states would justify this by saying the zone siphons off the top producers, leaving the old nation states to handle the troublemakers and social problems. The free zone would respond that after a few generations, it has its own natural born citizens who are troubled, and the zone doesn't expect the old states to deal with them.

    I'm not sure there's a solution with taxes and rules strong enough to placate the old states but not so high as defeat the entire purpose. It would involve citizens of the zone paying taxes to their states of origin, taking steps not to become a money-laundering contraband-trafficking haven, and having some sort of provision that future generations would not have tax obligations to the old states. It would be a hodgepodge of compromises with the old states, trade and the multinational companies that want to trade with the zone.

    In the best case scenario, the world eventually recognizes them. A century later becomes a place known to foreign travelers as a “wild west” place for people looking for a new life and to make a fortune, a place to indulge vices of sex, drugs, and gambling, a place to see the iconic Dollar Sign monument visible from the port, and people with a distinctive sing-song accent that sounds Indian English but a few Chinese and Russian words thrown in. The key is for those people a century later not to become complacent when all those struggles get compressed in things get compressed into the Zurich Compromise, Washington Accords, and things for kids to memorize.

    More likely scenarios involve it being brought back into an existing nation state and everything that goes along with that. I hope enough people try it that someone beats the odds and pulls it off.
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    • Posted by term2 4 years, 2 months ago
      This is a very interesting scenario. My first thought is that the collectivists not only want goodies, they want to control the behavior of others. They would want to force the freedom loving people to do what they wanted, even if it didnt benefit them economically. Look at Nazi Germany. They wanted jews to be low level slaves, instead of figuring out ways to have them actually be highly productive. There is always someething to TAKE from productive people, and the collectivists would resent anything that the productive people did.
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  • Posted by Solver 4 years, 2 months ago
    Watch out for those individuals who try to fake reality. Watch out for PC and identity politics. Don’t allow these to take root in the society.
    This done by well educated individuals not government force, unless crime(s) have been committed and then only the individual(s) properly tried and convicted are punished.
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