Another Cosmocrat, my father, who saw my blog recently emailed me and said that my description of Cosmocracy was a little too offensive and not specific or reasoned enough. So, I am putting in an essay he wrote, including the declaration of interdependence, for your viewing pleasure, and better enlightening as to what Cosmocracy is. Hopefully this will help, and please do print off any of the documents here and spread them around should you see fit. There is a bibliography included for further research, and I believe that covers it. Enjoy. Guthrie Prentice.
AN ATTEMPT TO DERIVE
(Picture from internet, copyright unknown, website info lost)
COSMOCRACY? WHAT’S THAT?
Cosmocracy and Cosmocratic were two terms coined by science fiction writers in the 1940’s and 1950’s, to explore the question ‘How does technological advancement, particularly the possibility of space exploration and colonization, compel us to redefine our political philosophies? Have they rendered old categories, such as Liberal, Conservative, Democrat, and Republican obsolete?’ They were most visibly used in E.E. “Doc” Smith’s novels “First Lensman” and “Subspace Explorers”. Robert A. Heinlein, in his novel, “Double Star”, described “The Expansionist Party”, to look at the same question.
In the novels, the (fictitious) “Cosmocratic” (In Heinlein, Expansionist.) party represented a perception that human economic and social growth could not be maintained without expansion, first, into the solar system, and, ultimately, into The Galaxy. The party began as nothing more than a vague belief in the “Manifest Destiny” of Humanity, to expand and colonize outward from our Mother and Cradle, the Earth.
As expansion and colonization progressed, parties split over questions of how Humanity should behave in space.(and on Earth) Those who believed that the mistakes Europeans made while colonizing the rest of the Earth, (seizing resources without compensating owners, political interference in indigenous cultures, unequal treaties enforced by strong-arm tactics, racism, slavery, etc, etc) must never be repeated, retained the term Cosmocrat (or Expansionist) to define themselves, and insisted that the Rule of Law, and democracy, must extend to the edges of the Universe, and that all Intelligent life Forms,( defined as language users) are no different from humans, and the term “human rights” is meaningless, if not extended to cover non-human intelligence. (Interestingly, recent research into the languages (and linguistic capabilities) of Elephants, Orangutans, Gorillas, Chimpanzees, and various species of Whales and Dolphins, seems to indicate that the Universality of Sentient Rights may need to be discussed here on Earth.)
Those who would argue, “We have the Power, therefore only we matter, and may do as we please!” were labeled “Nationalists” and/or “The Party of Freedom and Liberty” by Smith, and were dubbed “The Humanity Party” by Heinlein. These fictitious parties made great use of Lincoln’s “Government of the People, By the People, For the People Shall not Perish from the Earth.” quote, to the point of people believing it original with Nationalist, Free-Lib, or Humanity leaders, but the true agenda of both parties could be more accurately described, as Heinlein’s classic Cosmocratic/Expansionist leader, John Joseph Bonforte said, “Government of all Races Everywhere, by Humanity Alone, For the Benefit of a Privileged Few!” Truly a platform more suited to imperialists, slavers, and the worst sort of piratical profiteers than to anyone who desires universal democracy, universal adoption of sentient rights, and the rule of law. One might even call it kleptocracy. (government of the people, by the thieves, for the thieves.)
SCI-FI TO REALITY?
Cosmocracy was an idea from the science fiction community of the mid-twentieth century.
What has happened since?
A lot of science fiction has become science fact! On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin Landed on the Moon. It was my 8th birthday, and I’d thought they’d done it for me! In a sense, they had. They left a plaque behind, engraved with “We came in Peace, for All Mankind”.
In the ‘70’s, Professor Gerard K. O’niell, and his physics graduate students worked out the basic technical problems of colonizing the inner solar system. They concluded that, if the four inner planets were ignored until a moon and asteroid based colonial-industrial infrastructure was in place, space colonization could be had for approximately 5% of the contemporary US military budgets, and would contribute significant profit in techno-economic spin-offs to the supporting societies during the build-up years. (Historically, the economic benefit of spin-offs and direct space activity has considerably exceeded the sum of all moneys spent by the public and private sector on space.) Within ten years, the trade in artifacts and energy between the colonies and earth would exceed the ongoing transportation costs, and, within twenty years, such a program could, not only cover the operating expenses, but generate exponential economic growth orders of magnitude larger than the initial investment in technology !
Between the moon landings and today, it has become clear that (as David Suzuki and others have observed) Earth-based technological society is fundamentally broken. The linked problems of resource scarcity, accelerating consumption, the lack of closed techno-ecological cycles, poverty, economic and social justice, and sustainability are all being exacerbated by rapid population growth in the third world, and by rapid consumption growth in the first. Who was the idiot from marketing who thought up those three pieces of techno-ecological tomfoolery, the SUV, the 200-foot motor yacht, and the private jet? Such wasteful luxury cannot be afforded (or tolerated) until the issues of technological, ecological, and societal sustainability have been solved. Well, that’s what you get when the worship of “the great god Status, whose symbols are many” is exalted above all other religious, spiritual, ethical, and moral thought, word, or deed.
While we’re on the subject, what drives the relentless consumerism of our planetary culture? Could it be that advertising, marketing, spin-doctoring, and adversarial rhetoric, have created a state of mental and spiritual pollution as bad as any tainted water? These approaches to debate and public discourse (based on the proposition that distorting facts to serve the point of view of a particular interest group is, not only ethical, but a valid method of discovering the best general and objective truth achieve only distortion, confusion, and total detachment from anything resembling objective reality. A few, however, find such approaches obscenely profitable. (At least, in the short term) Who can possibly claim that they are right (and someone else is wrong) simply because they have the money to saturate our common discourse with distortions. Loud voices rarely, if ever, speak truth. Also, one must question the judgment, wisdom, and integrity, of anyone who would sacrifice his/her, and his/her offspring’s, long term interest for momentary advantage.
On the plus side, environmentalists, social justice proponents, advocates of sustainable energy, and many other progressive individuals and groups are beginning to find common ground, and set up alliances, to lever society toward a more sustainable and equitable future. A recent explosion of documents, all labeled as, the Declaration of Interdependence, (or some variation on the theme) (A particularly good one is circulated by the David Suzuki foundation, at http://www.davidsuzuki.org/About_us/Declaration_of_Interdependence.asp.) demonstrates a dawning realization that we’re all in this together, and we will either survive, or die, as a species, by how efficiently we cooperate.
The term cosmocracy has also appeared outside science fiction, in various academic and internet discussion circle, over the last decade. It is usually linked with the internet, and Civil Society, and seems to refer to some sort of transnational democracy of World citizens. How that could work in practice, with half, or more, of the World’s nation-states practicing various forms and degrees of tyranny, and the most powerful entities on the planet, the big transnational corporations, functioning as actively oligarchic, antidemocratic institutions, is anybody’s guess. Perhaps we need to mix pacifist civil disobedience (of the sort Gandhi advocated.), with Patrick Henry’s observation that the Tree of Liberty survives only as long as it is regularly fertilized by the blood of patriots. (Since, individually, we own our own bodies and lives, I can advocate dying for a cause, but I have trouble advocating killing for one.) Has the time come again, when freedom, liberty, and justice demand the total commitment of Our Lives, Our Fortunes, and Our Sacred Honour? If so, it had better be to a cause worthy of such sacrifice. One that actually has a chance of refuting the right’s argument, that justice, freedom, ecological responsibility, and sustainability are “Too expensive”.
The obvious counter-argument is, compared to what? Fixing our civilization is obviously cheaper than the cost of allowing the Four Horsemen to ride, the way they will if our civilization falls. And, since the resources, of materials and energy, in the solar system are many orders of magnitude bigger than the present total consumption of the human species, a serious effort to colonize and exploit the final frontier would, not only pay for itself, but generate sufficient new resources to allow us to solve all of our terrestrial problems. It is, please pardon the pun, a Down-to-Earth solution.
[ “The formula for the surface area of a sphere is 4pi*r^2. The great thing about this equation is that it allows us to calculate the sun’s power output from knowledge of the solar flux and our mean distance from the sun and we find that it is an enormous number.”
[ “The formula for the lateral area of a cylinder is 2pi*rh. This equation allows us to calculate how much of that solar energy might be available to large power satellites in geostationary orbit.”
[ “So from these two nice equations it’s possible to see that we have, if we’re clever, a great energy future in space. The energy output of the sun is about 3 times 10 ^14 terawatts so you can see there’s plenty of energy to power a much expanded human population provided we go where the energy is. The energy falling on a 15 km wide band of geostationary orbit is about 2500 terawatts. That is a much smaller number but still very large compared to our present rate of energy use. World energy consumption last year was 11 terawatts. We would need only 20 terawatts to give everyone living in 2050 the current US per capita energy consumption”
(AUTHOR: Dr. Lee Valentine, DIRECTOR, SSI)
Space colonies would also have to recycle everything, or die, so learning how to build them teaches us what we need to do to survive here on Earth. Note, however, that outside the life support infrastructure of the colonies, there is no environment, and, therefore, environmental pollution is, in space, almost a null concept. The only hazard waste poses is to navigation. That hazard is sufficiently significant that the best solution to wastes, in a colony, is to store them outside, in vacuum, until you can come up with a way to recycle them. The really nice part of such an approach is your dump can’t fill up, like an Earth-bound landfill. You have plenty of space.
I could go on for pages about the advantages that colonizing the solar system could bring us, but others, far more eloquent than I, have done so, at length, elsewhere. (Please, if you can spare the time, explore the bibliography.) I would, however, like to address one argument made by free market enthusiasts, who say that the development of space colonization will come, inevitably, as the rising costs of non-renewable energy and industrial resources rise. The problem with this bit of wishful thinking is that the costs of non-renewable resources and energy are the foundation costs of all human endeavour, and, therefore drive the costs of everything else, including the non-trivial undertaking of totally transforming our civilization into a sustainable, space-faring one. Bluntly, a once, in the history of the world, window of opportunity to build a sustainable, open- ended civilization opened on July 20, 1969. We can’t say when the window will close, as there are way too many factors to allow detailed analysis, but it is obvious that it is closing, and once it has closed, it has closed FOREVER!! (NO MORE NON-RENEWABLES, NO MORE MACHINES, therefore, NO SECOND CHANCE, GET IT??) It follows, of course, that it will never be cheaper to develop space colonies than it is right now, and, if we wait till the window closes, the earth will be in such sorry shape, that a 90% dieback in the human race is an OPTIMISTIC prediction! Anyone up for a game of Russian Roulette, with 5 chambers loaded?
The time has come to expand our minds, think big, and devise a Cosmocratic philosophy big enough to include, feed, clothe, shelter, and free every human being alive today, and in generations to come, to heal our planet, to bud off additional biospheres, (as lifeboats and insurance policies, as well as sources of new wealth) and to enjoy free and full lives, in the service of Life, to the boundaries of the Solar System, and beyond. It’s time to take Cosmocracy out of science fiction, and share it for what it is: the common property of ALL humanity.
To this end, some friends and I have formulated a Cosmocratic Declaration of Interdependence, to stimulate the debate, and, hopefully, to sow the seeds of a world-wide Cosmocratic movement, one worthy of the dedication of Our Lives, Fortunes, and Sacred Honour.
By the way, the future is not for wimps. Cosmocracy will be built by those with minds as open, vision as clear and hearts as big as SPACE ITSELF. As was said of another frontier, “The cowards never started, and the weak died on the way.”
Fig 1. This plot shows the Inner solar system, to the orbit of mars, and a bit beyond. The blue squares represent comets, the red dots show asteroids whose orbits intersect the Earth’s, (easier to get to, lower delta V to enter the appropriate transfer orbit.), the green dots show main belt asteroids, and the circles inscribed with crosses show major planets. The yellow star indicates the sun. (One of the red dots is named Eros, and the folks at the Eros Project estimate the resources in that one chunk of rock are worth a minimum of 15.84 Trillion Dollars. (source:http://www.erosproject.com/ )
Figure 2. This plot shows the solar system, to beyond the orbit of Jupiter. The same symbols are used. Blue dots represent the locations of Jupiter’s family of Trojan asteroids.
Sincerely, sustainably, and Survivably, yours,
Doug Prentice, a Cosmocrat.
P.S. Business, as usual, is a suicide pact.
BIBLIOGRAPHY, AND USEFUL SOURCE MATERIAL
[ Gerard K. O’Niell, The High Frontier,(Apogee Books Space Series)
[ Various works, both fiction and non-fiction, by Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Azimov, E. E. Smith (SUBSPACE EXPLORERS, FIRST LENSMAN, AND OTHER TITLES), Robert A. Heinlein (DOUBLE STAR, CITIZEN OF THE GALAXY, THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS, AND OTHER TITLES, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, Poul Anderson, Dr. Robert L Forward, H. Beam Piper, Peter F. Hamilton, Michael Flynn, and others. (various publishers)
[ A variety of astronomy and astrophysics textbooks and journals
[ A selection of other textbooks and journals (in physics, chemistry, mechanical engineering, aerospace, etc.)
APPENDIX: THE (COSMOCRATIC) DECLARATION OF INTERDEPENDENCE
1. In a technological civilization, the life of every person is dependant on a multitude of properly working machines and an equal multitude of people doing a multitude of jobs competently, with high productivity.
2. We, the human species, are headed towards a technological and ecological catastrophe, call it “crunch” that will kill 90% of us and condemn the rest to nasty, brutish, and short lives, on an impoverished planet, because our technological society is fundamentally flawed.
3. This flaw is open techno/ecological cycles and over consumption of resources. Business as usual involves the massive consumption of resources, and the generation of obscene quantities of waste, with obvious, terrifying, and accelerating, destruction of the World ecosystem. A properly designed technological system would convert these wastes into inputs/resources for other processes, creating CLOSED cycles. The increase in energy budget required to wean ourselves from the worst open cycle, our fossil fuel addiction (hi I’m Bob and I drive an SUV), and all the other open cycles, is not small.
4.The solar system contains sufficient wealth, in both energy and materials, not only to solve the techno/ecological crisis, but heal the damage already done, and make us all well-off. Developing the techniques of space colonisation will give us practical ecological knowledge for use here on Earth, (and working closed eco-technological demonstrations, to convince the sceptical) but the effort to open the High Frontier is also not small.
5. Point 1 implies that points 3 and 4 have a common solution. Since technology is interdependent, so are the problems of technology. To wit: solving the problems of space colonisation, particularly the life support problem, has obvious links to techno/ecological problems on Earth.
6. Consider games theory, which describes all endeavours as “games” with 3 possible outcomes. Positive sum games have a higher sum of winnings, and winners, than losses, and losers. Zero sum games have equal winnings and losses. Negative sum games are characterised by larger losses than winnings, AND BY THE FACT THAT SOME OF THE PLAYERS (in many cases, a majority) ARE NOT PLAYING BY FREE TRUTHFULLY INFORMED CHOICE. The majority of the participants in a negative sum game feel cheated, resent it, and seek revenge, thus condemning themselves and their children to yet another cycle of negative sum games, the worst of which is WAR. Even the so-called winners of a negative sum game are losers, as they have earned a huge amount of hatred, and they must spend a significant portion of “their winnings” defending themselves, and their loot, All positive sum games have more winners than losers, the best ones have NO LOSERS AT ALL, and all are about FAIR PLAY.Finding ways to play positive sum games takes a LOT of imagination. Willingness to lose, occasionally, a positive sum game is a PARTIAL WIN. WINNERS in positive sum games are, invariably, GENEROUS and MAGNANIMOUS. You can recognise a POSITIVE SUM GAME by HOW PEOPLE ARE PLAYING IT, and by the fact that all players are playing, more or less, WILLINGLY.
7. Dealing with our addiction to negative sum games and encouraging people to give positive sum games a fair trial, gives us a better chance of SUCCESS and SURVIVAL.
8. Failure is not an acceptable option (see point 2) and TIME IS AGAINST US. The sooner we start and the harder we work, the better the chance we bring the space resources on stream before the “crunch” comes.
9. This is the highest priority issue of our age, as the project buys a future for humanity. (The traditional argument, that space colonization is “Too Expensive”, can be rebutted, “…compared to what? The time, and effort, that humanity puts into war? The fall of civilization, cited in point 2?”)
10. The high frontier will be ours, only if our minds are as open, our vision as clear, and our hearts as big as SPACE itself.
11.This is humanity’s final exam, and both our intelligence and our moral capacity are being tested. By (insert your belief system here), let’s pass it TOGETHER.
12. If we fail, we DESERVE extinction, for we will have brought it on ourselves.
13. We, who sign this document, will, by our personal actions and conduct, establish a new movement, pledged to fair dealing here on Earth, a common maximum effort to open the high frontier, and pledge to share the fruits of the effort among all humanity.
We name the movement Cosmocracy, because, without wide distribution of the wealth of space, there can be no universal, or even sustainable, democracy, and to the cooperative struggle required, as much against our own fossilised thinking, as against any external obstacle, “WE MUTUALLY PLEDGE TO EACH OTHER OUR LIVES, OUR FORTUNES, AND OUR SACRED HONOUR.” (As did a previous, and famous, group of dissatisfied people.)
“We Came in Peace, for all Mankind”
Left on a plaque on the Moon by:
Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin
“It is assured, that if we do not hang together, we shall all hang separately.”
“The prospect of being hanged in a fortnight concentrates the mind wonderfully”
“Ask not what Humanity can do for you, but what you can do for Humanity.”
John F. Kennedy (slightly adapted)
“Business as usual is a suicide pact.”
“If not us, who? And, if not now, when?”
Rabbi Hillel, 1st century B.C.E.
(Shortened for Modern attention spans)
“The Buck Stops Here.”
Love God with heart, mind, soul and strength
and love your neighbour as yourself!!!”
Jesus Christ (SHORTENED FOR MODERN
The authors, and signers, of the declaration encourage inspirational quotation, and every other form of co-operative, non-violent, conversation and/or action that furthers the cause of COSMOCRACY. If your favourite COSMOCRATIC quote is not here, please feel free to insert it. Please, however, do not otherwise edit or alter this document. Fellow travellers, allies, and COSMOCRATS, FEEL FREE TO QUOTE, ABSTRACT, TRANSLATE, BORROW IN WHOLE OR IN PART ANY OR ALL OF IT FOR FURTHERANCE OF THE CAUSE. COSMOCRATS BELIEVE THIS DOCUMENT IS THE COMMON PROPERTY OF HUMANITY, AND WE ARE INDIVIDUALLY AND COLLECTIVELY RESPONSIBLE TO HUMANITY FOR ITS USE, OR MISUSE. MACHIAVELLI WAS WRONG. ENDS AND MEANS ARE CAUSALLY LINKED, AND ONE DICTATES THE OTHER!
For those who can, in good conscience, sign the DECLARATION OF INTERDEPENDENCE. Go ahead, sign, BUT, PLEASE, DON’T SIGN IF YOU DON’T MEAN IT AND WON’T FOLLOW THROUGH.
For those who can’t, in good conscience, at this time, sign the declaration.
We, the undersigned, pledge to spend 1 hour this month, of OUR VALUABLE TIME to find out, FOR OURSELVES, whether or not the signers of the DECLARATION OF INTERDEPENDENCE are right.
A FINAL THOUGHT:
• OUR LEADERS, (GOV’T, BUSINESS, ACADEMIC, ETC.) SAY; “TRUST US, WE’VE GOT IT COVERED.” CAN WE? HAVE YOU HEARD ANY OF THEM DISCUSSING THE ISSUES RAISED HERE, OR PRESENTING WORKABLE SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEMS?
(PLEASE NOTE: I DID NOT SAY CREDIBLE.)
“THE TRUTH OF A PROPOSITION HAS NOTHING, WHATEVER, TO
DO WITH ITS CREDIBILITY AND VISE VERSA.”
L. Long (As recorded by: Robert A. Heinlein.)
• FELLOW COSMOCRATS, OUR LEADERS ARE, EITHER, UNINFORMED, UNCONVINCED, OR JUST DON’T CARE! WE CAN ONLY RELY ON OURSELVES AND EACH OTHER! I PRAY DAILY THAT COSMOCRATIC LEADERS WILL EMERGE BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!
• THE AUTHOR OF THIS DOCUMENT WISHES THAT OTHERS MAY COPY AND PRINT THIS DOCUMENT AND USE IT IN ANY OTHER FASHION THEY SEE FIT, AS LONG AS IT IS NOT USED FOR INDIVIDUAL PROFIT. PROCEEDS FROM ANY COMMERCIAL USE OF THIS OR ANY OTHER COSMOCRATIC DOCUMENT MUST GO TO THE FURTHERING, RESEARCH, AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE COSMOCRATIC MOVEMENT AND/OR THE SPACE INDUSTRY TOWARDS COLONIZING THE SOLAR SYSTEM.
• IF ANYONE WOULD LIKE SOME MORE SLOGANS/MESSAGES TO CONDENSE THE COSMOCRATIC MESSAGE, HERE ARE A FEW:
YOUR PLANET, LOVE IT AND LEAVE IT!
SPACE COLONIES! A DOWN-TO-EARTH SOLUTION!
DEVELOP THE TECHNOLOGY! GET THE WEALTH! THEN SHARE IT!
TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENT AND SPACE COLONIZATION ARE HUMAN RIGHTS!
ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY TECHNOLOGY IS A SPACE TECHNOLOGY SPIN-OFF! SO IS ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE!
TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENT IS A HUMAN RIGHT!
THE WEALTH OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM IS THE COMMON INHERITANCE OF HUMANITY! DON’T SQUANDER IT!
CRAWL, WALK, RUN, DRIVE, FLY, ORBIT, DIG IN AND COLONIZE!
THE COWARDS WILL NEVER START; THE STUPID AND WEAKLINGS WILL DIE ON THE WAY. THE SURVIVING COLONISTS WILL BE FITTER!
2 MILLION ASTROIDS! ONE HUGE SUN! ENOUGH OF EVERYTHING! ENOUGH FOR EVERYONE!
TODAY, THE MOON! TOMORROW, THE ASTEROIDS!
SPACE COLONIES AND GREEN TECHNOLOGY, A MARRIAGE MADE IN HEAVEN, AND ON EARTH!
IN SPACE, ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION IS AN OXYMORON! HOW CAN YOU POLLUTE A NON-ENVIRONMENT?
BUSINESS AS USUAL IS A SUICIDE PACT!
COLONISE SPACE, WHILE WE STILL CAN!
ONE SMALL STEP FOR A MAN, ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND! BUT ONLY IF WE HAVE THE COURAGE TO LEAP!
BUILD THE FUTURE WE WANT, OR FACE THE FUTURE WE DESERVE!
NEIL ARMSTRONG HAD BALLS! DO YOU?
WHAT DO WE WANT? SPACE! WHEN DO WE WANT IT? NOW?
SPACE COLONIES! THE SAFETY VALVE ON EARTH’S PRESSURE COOKER!
SPACE COLONIES! LIFEBOATS FOR SPACESHIP EARTH!
 (Please note: I do not use the term Capitalist with Piratical Profiteer, as I have noticed that the Capitalist class includes such visionaries as Bert Rutan, such careful and ethical stewards as George Soros and Warren Buffet and some outright pirates. The Corporate Leadership at ENRON, Conrad Black, and The Bush Administration spring to mind. One cannot generalize all capitalists as pirates, although some undoubtedly are.)
 Loosely quoted from H. Beam Piper, “Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen”