Re: "Raping the planets" and other PR disasters

From: Doug Jones (
Date: Fri Jun 23 2000 - 23:05:27 MDT

Damien Broderick wrote:
> At 08:56 PM 23/06/00 -0700, Hal wrote:
> >How can we watch what we say and still have a frank discussion about the
> >issues which we find interesting and dramatic?
> I find this thread mind-boggling. People like Corey and Anders are simply
> pointing out that couching our aspirations as *rape*, however
> metaphorically, is distasteful at best and wildly self-destructive at worst.
> We're going to have enough foes. Let's not gratuitously and foolishly
> provide them with the stick to beat us.

Ok, I inadvertently started this mess, let me try to make excuses, er,
clarify things. I originally wrote in reply to Spike,

Spike Jones wrote:
> Question legal types: if we extropians were the first to land and
> stay on Mars, could we legally claim the whole rock? spike

You could try, but the Outer Space treaty prohibits extraterrestrial
claims, and signatory nations would not recognize such claims. Bottom
line is, you'd have to be ready to survive an embargo. Conversely, it's
a great big commons that you're free to rape- materials extracted would
be yours, ya just can't claim real estate. When the time comes, this
treaty could be renegotiated or abrogated, of course.

I phrased this poorly, to put it mildly. What I was struggling to say
was that resources without a clear owner invite a tragedy of the
commons, since no one entity is responsible for, well, *responsible*
use. I feel that criticism of the unnecessarily inflammatory nature of
my post is justified, because it comes across as being very callous
about waste and damage... very entropic things when you consider it. We
have enough of an uphill struggle as it is.

Precision in speech & writing, and avoidance of gratuitous shock value,
seems to me to be useful.

Doug Jones
Rocket Plumber, XCOR Aerospace

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:14:11 MDT