The Development of Politics in Extraterrestrial Colonies
D.J. Sivier (2000), JBIS, 53, 290-296
Keywords: Extraterrestrial politics, colonisation, sociology.
The existence of feudal or totalitarian interplanetary empires has been a favourite theme in Science Fiction. Although the vast distances between the stars make the emergence of an interstellar empire impossible without the creation of a faster than light drive, this is not necessarily true for the other worlds within our solar system. Environmental constraints on the off-world colonies themselves, and repressive, hierarchical and feudalistic social and commercial institutions and customs inherited from the parent cultures on Earth and a tradition of military rule descending from the foundation of these colonies may all work to bring about a new feudal or totalitarian social order on humanity’s extraterrestrial colonies. There are encouraging signs that this may not be the case, however. Already the debate over the projected colonisation of Mars is a factor influencing present controversies over repressive institutions and customs. Nevertheless, those wishing for a free, democratic, and politically, socially and technologically innovative and vigorous human society spreading throughout the solar system should not become complacent.