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The View from the Past
by Jim Davidson

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Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise

"Ivan and Boris met in a  Moscow public square near a railroad station.  Ivan asked Boris where he was going.   Minsk, came the reply, to get bread.  Ivan was puzzled and asked why go to Minsk when there is bread here in Moscow. 
'Yes, comrade,' came the reply, 'And the line starts in Minsk.'"
Endgame Enigma by James P. Hogan

The past held many different futures.  One of the great joys in my life has been reading science fiction to keep up with those possibilities, to imagine a better future for myself, and to dream of possibilities.

Many long years ago there was a bookstore in downtown Lawrence, Kansas called "Adventure: A Bookstore. "  It held a delightful array of science fiction novels.  One day in 1980 I went inside and encountered an important part of L. Neil Smith, whose book The Probability Broach was for sale.  It had nifty cover art and although the author was not present in person, when I bought that book and took it home, it came to have a permanent place in my mind.  Many years later, in October 2002, after an embarrassing meeting with airport security (embarrassing for them) involving close examination of my family accoutrement, I would travel to Phoenix, Arizona to meet Neil in person for the first time.  Do you know? He's really an excellent man.

The present holds many futures, too, and we are standing on a multi-dimensional cusp right now.  There are choices being taken all around us, all the time, by billions of people.  Although I have very strong doubts that the governments which pretend to count votes are any more reliable when pretending to count noses, I'm willing to believe that there are a few billion humans on Earth.  My experiences in population centres like New York, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Paris, London, Milan, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and my various flights over Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian ocean spaces give me confidence that the Earth is quite large and has at least a billion people on it, probably several billion, and, who knows, maybe even 8 billion.

Promises Were Made

Over and over again in the pages of popular magazines, people of my generation were assured that we would live in a world with flying cars, inexpensive electric power, fascinating new technologies, free international long distance, trips to hotels in space and in the Moon, a Solar system spanning civilisation, and an end to war. We went to films like 2001: A Space Odyssey and saw people travelling to hotels in orbit, making calls to family back on Earth, and travelling onward to the Moon.

Where free people have had the ability to act entirely without supervision, we have made parts of those dreams come true.  We have, for example, about a dozen apps we can use to make international long distance calls to anyone in the world who has an Internet connection.  This week, I've made encrypted voice over IP calls to Ecuador, Mexico, Hong Kong, Paris, London, and Singapore. 

Promises Were Broken

In a very real sense, NASA has been impeding human settlement of space from its inception.  In a vast number of cases, with many of which I have considerable familiarity, and with several dozen I have personally met the entrepreneurs and technicians involved, NASA has tried to convince investors not to invest in commercial space ventures, NASA has impeded the use of public resources, and in a number of really depressing cases, NASA has failed in stewardship of data gathered on space missions.  Rather than opening the door to space, they are being the door.

The Moller air car was designed and could be demonstrated by 1979.  It was one of dozens of designs for such vehicles.  I happened to like it right off because it used ducted fan engines for vertical takeoff and landing, while maintaining the concept of a family car of the future.  It very much had a "Jetsons" look to it.  As I understand it, in the forty years since then, the Federal Aviation Administration has repeatedly refused to issue an air worthiness certificate to the Moller air car.  Meanwhile, numerous hit pieces have been published, presumably financed by the major automobile manufacturers, the airlines, or even the road and bridge construction companies, all of whose future cash flow would be reduced by the widespread adoption of air cars.  Of course, air cars would be much safer, just as aeroplanes are safer, because there are more dimensions for movement in the sky.  Traffic congestion would be eliminated.  Roads would be used for trucking cargo.  Many roads would no longer be needed.  People could plant their driveways in vegetation of their choice.

These are some of the ways in which the future I wanted has been stymied, for a while.  Some of the people I know who worked on building a better future were killed, though.  Examples include Gerald Bull, George Koopman (who drove stunt cars for many years and whose " accidental" death is not credible to me), and the entire government of Liberia as of 1980 or thereabouts.  Many of the businesses I was involved in, or in which good friends of mine were involved, not only in the space industry, were harmed by direct government action, or destroyed.  Over the years, I've gotten used to it.

Forge a New Reality

One of the songs that I enjoyed as a youngster was " Closer to the Heart" by Rush.  But I think the lyric is mistaken.   The men who hold high places have made it clear that they are not going to mould a new reality closer to the heart.  Instead, they are going to seek to profit, and wallow in their perfidy.  Instead, as Rush also sang, "The blacksmith and the ploughman each must know his part," and we'll forge a new reality.

Which is what is happening now.  Today.  All over the world, in ways that can no longer be stopped by those who imagine themselves to be in power. The managed society concept was flawed and unworkable and has borne its fruit in the wars and genocides of the 19th and 20th Centuries. By their terrible fruit shall ye know those who demand servitude, who promote fear, who insist that scarcity is with us forever.

God created more.  God created cornucopia.  One time in the 1970s, Jerry Pournelle wrote about the space frontier and said, "With all the energy from the Sun, and all the resources of the asteroids and planets and moons, it's raining soup out there.  Grab a bucket."  I think it might have been in an issue of Destinies magazine. We don't have to live in poverty, we don't have to put up with the abuse and oppression of those who think they are to saddle and ride us like beasts.

We are free.  We always were.  And with our commitment to a better future, we are changing everything.  God's will be done.


Jim Davidson is an entrpreneur, author, actor, traveller, and friend.  You can learn about him at and and about some of his plans for open source freedom communities at

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