Is Antarctica A Possibility For A Free Society?
With talk of Space X talking of a manned mission to Mars pretty soon it makes you think, what about Antarctica? In a lot of ways Antarctica is like Mars. It's very remote, basically nobody lives there, the living conditions are very extreme and there aren't really any governments there.
So why hasn't Antarctica been colonized? Could Antarctica serve as land for a free society? Would Antarctica be a viable solution for setting up a free society? Well, let's take a look.
First of all, Antarctica isn't necessarily free. There is currently a treaty on Antarctica called the "Antarctic Treaty System". This treaty basically states that Antarctica will be used for scientific purposes and bans the use of military activity on this continent. Well, that's fine considering a free society would most certainly be a non-militaristic society. And in many ways a free society would be a scientific experiment. So a free society would also fall under the category of science.
If you direct your attention towards Exhibit A you will notice that much of Antarctica is already claimed by different nations. With that said, there is still a slice of Antarctica, a rather large slice, which is currently unclaimed. This is known as Marie Byrd Land. This territory of Antarctica currently is not claimed by any nation. This is the largest amount of unclaimed land on Earth.
So could we start a free society here?
Costs and Benefits
Well, this gets down to a discussion of costs and benefits.
Antarctica is extremely cold. The coldest temperature ever recorded was on Antarctica at −128.6°F. The warmest temperature on Antarctica was 63.5°F at Hope Bay, right at the very tip of Antarctica, south of South America. The average temperature of Antarctica is around -70°F while the coasts are a bit warmer.
Since Antarctica is at the south pole, it doesn't have normal days like on the rest of Earth. It has one long 6 month day of sunlight and one long 6 month night of darkness. The majority of people who do research on Antarctica stay during the warmer periods of sunlight and vacate during the colder periods of darkness. There really isn't anyone who stays there and lives there permanently.
What about food?
Obviously the food here is rather meek. You have penguins who live off of seafood on nearby shores. Your two main sources of food would be penguins and seafood. You're not going to be able to grow any vegetables unless you do some type of greenhouse like in the movie "The Martian". And who knows how feasible that even is and if it's worth it.
So is it possible?
The short answer is no. At least I don't think so. Despite the advances in technology we have, Antarctica still does not seem like a self-sustainable location. And self-sustainability is important when it comes to a free society. Sure, it would be possible to survive there and receive supplies from outside of Antarctica and basically camp out there at a station. But this isn't really living. This is really hard to scale into anything. This is still relying on some other host to keep you afloat.
I mean, the thing that makes you wonder about it is that Space X will be facing these same challenges by going to Mars. Mars has many similarities and they are going to have the same problems with food and survival there. It's a huge challenge. And simply surviving by living off of resources that you bring with you doesn't count. Unless you can establish a self-sustaining environment that doesn't need external help then it can't work, or it at least won't be profitable. You will continue to suck resources and it's going to become more and more costly before you finally throw in the towel. It's possible you may reach some type of breakthrough or innovation to become sustainable, but given the alternatives, the alternatives seem better.
You're not able to farm here. You're completely cut off from the rest of society (it takes at least 5 days just to sail from ship to Antarctica). You're not able to do many basic things here because of the extreme climate. Your quality of life is terrible here. And when compared to other more viable alternatives it's just not worth it.
I still think something like Seasteading is fairly far fetched. But when compared to Antarctica, Seasteading suddenly becomes a lot more appealing. At least with Seasteading you can grow stuff and be in a favorable climate. At least with Seasteading you have the ability to quickly trade or travel to other locations. At least with Seasteading you could still have a decent quality of life. You could at least go outside and run, you could enjoy the sun, you could take in the beautiful air, you could do a lot with Seasteading and live in wonderful locations. Sure, Seasteading has great costs involved with it, but at least that's the only real problem.
Antarctica is just sad and scary. It seems really glim when seriously considering it. In all honesty I would rather live in America and pay taxes than live in Antarctica as a free person. And I don't see any way of changing this in the foreseeable future. So in my humble opinion I would rule Antarctica out as far as available options for a free society go. I just think there are much better alternatives that are more realistic and easier to pull off.Filed under: Location, Antarctica
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