An Essay on Extraterrestrial Liberty

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C.S. Cockell (2008), JBIS, 61, 255-275

Refcode: 2008.61.255
Keywords: Liberty, Mars, extraterrestrial, space settlement, tyranny

The lethal environmental conditions in outer space and the surfaces of other planetary bodies will force a need for regulations to maintain safety to an extent hitherto not seen on the Earth, even in polar environments. The level of inter-dependence between individuals that will emerge will provide mechanisms for exerting substantial control. In extraterrestrial environ- ments traditional buffers to tyranny that exist on the Earth are either absent or much weaker. Legislative and political mechanisms used to protect freedom will be needed to such a degree that they themselves are likely to become a form of despotism. Thus, the most profound irony of the settlement of space is that the endless and apparently free expanses of interplanetary and interstellar space will in fact allow for, and nurture, some of the most appalling tyrannies that human society can contrive. Thwarting this tyranny will be the greatest social challenge in the successful establishment of extraterrestrial settlements.

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