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Total Eclipse

The Martian Question

In a recent blog post, Warren Ellis posits that humanity should start Bending Mars to its will. Cheap/fast terraforming means taking the planet and fucking it up the ass until it feels like home to us.

Naturally, there are already groups with the retarded idea that Mars should be kept the equivalent of a natural park or reservoir. I call this idea retarded, because there can be no justification for it. If Mars is not habitable to humans, then there is no ethical question regarding it and how humanity treats it (this is a position sometimes called anthropocentrism). There certainly aren’t any religious questions about it, and terraforming should proceed before some crazy cult decides that Martian territory is holy ground.

I once quoted a William Beckerman article where he raises the question “Do future generations have any rights?
The presumption that future generations have rights, or at least metarights, lies in the basis of most eco-ethical discourse. The short answer, if you’re disinclined to reading that article now, is no, future generations do not have any rights in the present, as they have nothing in the present, since they do not exist yet. Only when they come into being do they have interests and rights.
As Beckerman puts it: “The basic reason for this is that future generations cannot have — in the present tense — anything. They cannot have long hair or a taste for Mozart. They will have interests when they are there, and they may well then have rights. But their rights will only be rights to what is available at the time; not to anything that is no longer available. It makes little sense to say that our right to see a live Dodo has been violated by the inhabitants of the Mauritius islands three centuries ago.
Thus, future humans on Mars will not coherently be able to complain about the destruction of the “natural” Mars of today, and Humans today cannot justify their demand that Mars remain a reservoir, when there is no clear value to it being so (not to any humans anyway).
If we are to try and guess at what future generations interests might be, I think it is clear to us that exploring the cosmos and expanding humanity beyond the Earth is a necessity. For a long enough timeline, looking at the expected value will give us a probability of near-100% that humanity will not survive captive on this planet.
As Ellis points out, a closed system cannot maintain exponential growth such as our economy or our bursting population. Any agitprop you read about the need for a “sustainable” economic system often neglect to mention that it would require human innovation to stop and reproduction to be strictly limited and even then, the laws of physics will prevail, entropy will increase over time and take its toll. There’s no escaping it, other than breaking from a closed system to an open one, by expanding humanity to new frontiers.

Besides all that, I find the prospect quite exciting.


Tagged as , , , , , , , , , + Categorized as Futurism, Philosophy

3 Comments

  1. Well-put, but the final reason remains the best.

  2. Werd.

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