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~ * ~

An Introduction to the
"Constitution of the Republic of Minerva"

--------Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [Starship_Forum] Political Independence in Space
Date: Sat, 05 Jan 2002 11:06:47 -0700
From: Monart Pon <>

Bill Wells wrote (1/05):

" ..Right now, and for the immediate future, space societies will be, at best, fascist -- nominal private ownership but Earth governments dictate everything important. True private ownership won't exist, except at the margins. ... the people involved will not be thinking any more clearly than their earthbound brethren -- they will have taken the current mishmash of philosophy and politics and will apply it as futilely as we have.
"So what will change this?
" ... Basically, by developing a rational society *first*. This short-circuits most of the impulses that would result in space settlements simply becoming an extension of Earth.
"Anyway, if *I* were to go about the task, here is what my immediate game plan would be:

1) Evaluate the current proposals for getting to orbit, searching for ones suitable for private colonization by smallish groups. Pick one and start the design.

2) Design at least one space habitat that is capable of independent survival.

3) Write the necessary political documents. Part of this will require an evaluation and quite likely rethinking of some of Rand's positions -- I've been finding some subtle errors that have practical consequences.

4) Design a business plan around selling 1 and 2 to people who will be at least sympathetic to 3."


I haven't been able to comment on several of Bill Well's well-appreciated, recent posts, but I can respond to Bill's message today. To me, Bill's post spotlights the issues we need to grapple with in creating a free country in space, and it offers a simple plan to get it started.

The key to the plan is finding the right people -- people who already understand and would participate in some way in the project, and people who could be shown that knowledge. If we were to make a list today, from where and how many people would we find to kickstart the project?

Since money is an important component of the plan, among the "right" people needed are investors and other spenders. And there are trillions of dollars out there. Since philosophy is another crucial component, people with the right philosophy are also important.

Where do we start looking first? The Objectivist Center? Ayn Rand Institute? The Free Radicals? The various objectivist lists like OWL? On the technology and commercial side: how do we approach the numerous space development and space art groups, who are not as philosophical? What about the general public? Out among the multitudes, how do we find the freedom-reason-loving people who are, or could be, romantic about a better future, on Earth or in Freespace? What can we offer them to spend time and money on?

What do we tell people to motivate them to think and work toward that free and prosperous society?

What do we do to protect our goals and values, against the forces that are surely opposing us?

How do we begin to create that free country in space of 10,000 rational, productive, and proud people -- willing to live and fight for their own happiness?

We each begin with our own selves, of course -- and reach out to other selves of like mind and kindred spirit, forging friendships and alliances.

Each one we find, and each day we spend, can make the future, today.

~ * ~

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [Starship_Forum] Political Independence in Space
Date: Mon, 07 Jan 2002 21:40:28 -0700
From: Monart Pon <>

I'm pleased to have Gregory Wharton post again (1/07), and on this thread of "Political Independence in Space" begun by Bill Wells (1/05).

In his post, Greg disagreed with Bill that fascism would likely be the initial socio-political system (assuming, as Bill had, that nothing much changes from now); instead, feudalism would be "the default social structure of any nascent space colony, as for any subsistence band of human beings (low- or high-tech)".

He based this projection on "the observation that human beings tend to automatically first organize themselves in a feudalistic order based on personal and familial loyalty whenever they spontaneously generate social order from chaos".

But Greg isn't sure if this would come about. He concluded, "Arguably, space is the most inhospitable environment toward life that exists. What sorts of cultural adaptations could we expect from an independent space-based society (particularly if developed in isolation)? This, I think, is a very important, and as yet unanswered, question."

I, too, believe that it's an important question to answer, because if the pioneering inhabitants of space do not think and deliberate on the future that will come about, then that future could be a feudalist or fascist or communist system, or some other blend -- maybe even, by trial-and-error, a libertarian one to a noticeable extent. (The differences between the libertarian vision of Startrek and the feudal vision of Star Wars come to mind.)

The point is that the space pioneers, if they want the future they see, must be deliberate about implementing it, and not let something "spontaneously generate social order from chaos", which Greg projects might become feudalism, given the hazards and vacuum of the environment of space.

I can conceive of a free, liberal, libertarian social-system that includes varying degrees of "personal and familial loyalty", and "the interconnected structure of fealty, patronage and loyalty", because the family and all its extensions is the basic social unit, and always exists in some form in all types of societies, interweaving with other less kin-based relationships like the economic, corporate, and political. Further, the relatively greater isolation -- and higher possibility of autonomy and sovereignty -- of a space society, might foster more qualities of family, kinship, and neighborliness, too, like the pioneers of America.

But, however familial or "feudalistic" that the social relationships might become, the freedom-seeking space pioneers would plan ahead for a political constitution that would defend each of their rights as individuals, above any favorable or unfavorable familial relationships. They would prefer the libertarianism of Startrek, rather than the feudalism and monarchism of Star Wars. They would want there to be Space Family Robinsons settling on asteroids, but they would also want there to be, protecting the peace, the Free Republic of Space.

By choice and design, a free country in space could come about. But if left to chance, chaos, and default, what might come about is a country controlled by some sort of a king, emperor, or fuhrer.

Whichever type of country gets created first in space could set the trend. That's why I'm here on this Starship Forum.

~ * ~

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [Starship_Forum] Starship and Utopianism
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 02:50:52 +0000
From: Monart Pon <>

Andre Zantonavitch asked (1/09) about any more information on objectivist/libertarian attempts at creating a sovereign country (or autonomous community).

Who knows for sure whether there are, or are not, any secret "Galt's Gulches out there, hidden from the world with force-shields? Who is John Galt?

We only know about the ones that failed. Of these, I have a little more information, provided by a hand-written letter here that I'm about to type out, from someone who was among the people trying to build a free country in the South Pacific. He didn't provide much detail about what happened to Minerva, but he does give a glimpse. (He was also an early reader of my pamphlet, "Project Starship", in 1977 -- which was the context of his letter.)

"Jan 19, 1977
"In 1973 I became interested in the "Minerva" project in the South Pacific, and the principals thereof. When that collapsed, the principals became interested in Palmyra(?) Island as a future new country based on objectivist philosophy.

"We bought a ship and sailed there, cleared the airstrip and made some other improvements in the beginning of 1975.

"In September of 1975 I moved my family to Hawaii expecting to further the Palmyra(?) project. However, the requisite support was not forthcoming, so that out of monetary survival necessity, I moved my family back to Canada, to B.C., in late 76, and am presently practicing medicine.

"My philosophy has not changed, but presently I am not able to pursue its logical implications.

I'm certainly interested in finding people of like mind and communicating and working with them."


Later, from another Project Starship reader, I received a 20-page bound photocopy of the "Constitution of Minerva", with this as its Preamble:

"This Constitution is founded on the principle that the only true and proper function of government is to protect its citizens from force and fraud, and that this government is limited to this function only."

The document contains eight Articles, including ones defining the structure of government, functions and organization of the military force, foreign relations and immigration, fiscal matters, and judicial system.

Anyone interested in reading and studying the document? A thread can be started on it (or not): "The Minerva Constitution", to see if a conclusion could be reached about its viability as a political constitution.

~ * ~

["Minerva" or "Athena" is a symbol for the ancient Greek goddess and an embodiment of "wisdom, reason and purity."]

[To: The full text of the Constitution of the Republic of Minerva]
[Thanks to Bill Wells for coding the Minerva document.]

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