The Golgafrinchan Imperative

>> Thursday, August 24, 2017

Belatedly, it occurs to me that we could kill all of our birds with one great rock--the neo-secessionists, the Confederate statuary, the white nationalists, Trump, Trump's supporters, the evil ineptitude of Congressional Republicans who want to destroy any semblance of a social safety net without even knowing how to go about destroying it, the people who prefer guns to guaranteed healthcare, the border wall, the crazed libertarians who think they'd be missed if they went Galt (please, please, don't let us stop you), the nihilistic trolls who spout fascist idioms because they somehow think it's "fun," all of it--all of it in one swell foop.  I cannot take credit for the idea, honestly: it is stolen from one of the 20th Century's greatest minds.  But it hasn't been considered in a long while, and it absolutely should be.

You see, we could designate an area--Mars seems like a nice one, or better yet Venus... or maybe someplace with a nice ocean view, like Ceres.  And we call that the United States of America.

Okay, yes, you're right.  There's an obvious problem with this plan, which is that the rest of us are going to have to do a lot of paperwork and make a number of adjustments, and it's grossly unfair that we will have to call ourselves something else like "The United States of North America" or "The United Alt-States of Alt-America" or "New Sweden" or whatever.  And we'll have to swap out all our current currency, although if you're like me and do most of your shopping with your debit card and nearly never carry cash anymore, that one's a big "enh."  We could start calling our money "Wacky Credits!" and I probably wouldn't notice.

But anyway, we tell all these people that the United States is on Ceres, or we could go farther out if you really wanted.  I mean, there's no real reason to even stay in the Solar System if you think about it--we're now discovering other planets all over the place, and surely any of them could be the United States of America, dated retroactively to July 4, 1776 or December 25, 1, whatever makes our Real Americans happiest.  Sure; 's'all good.  We probably found a planet around Betelgeuse or Aldebaran or someplace, right, somebody look that up for me?  Point is, if you want to live in the United States, oops, somehow you ended up not in the United States and you need to chase that dream, right?  All aboard for America!

Okay, okay, I can see this idea needs refinement.  Like, for instance, tech sector libertarians who made their ghost fortunes on getting investors to throw money into black holes labeled "the sharing economy" or "disruption" or "the cloud" or whatever's in these days, and who want to take all their Bitcoins somewhere tax-free where there are no restrictive government regulations like "Employees must be paid" and "Employees must be allowed to go to the bathroom" and "No, you can't hire six year olds no matter how conveniently small their hands are," those guys (and they're mostly guys, ever notice?), they may have to go on their own ship so we can tell them that their destination is one of those extraterritorial micronations, which would be technically true, you know.  "Oh sure, you never heard'a Fomalhaut?  Randian paradise.  Absolutely no feminists and SJWs within 15 trillion miles, you know."

It occurs to me that one or two of you who are raising your hands want to tell me that the necessary technology isn't in place; that we do not have sufficiently reliable rockets; that the distances involved are so vast that it would take millennia for these vessels to reach their destinations; that we do not know how to provide these travelers with conveniences like air and water for their journey; that the perils of deep space are unknown and unprepared for; that we don't know if any of these worlds are actually habitable (or that some of them obviously aren't) (or if some of them even exist at all); that only complete idiots would fall for pointing at the sky and yelling "Hey look, America is now in outer space, why are you still here?!"  I respectfully submit that such objections suggest you haven't really given this quite as much thought as I have.

Ah, yes.  I see hands going down.  Thank you for your time and consideration.


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