Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Only Eight Days To Go To The Ides Of March!

     Therefore, it’s time for another of the dreaded assorted columns!

1. “Give Me Sea, Lots Of Sea...”

     Reason’s article on seasteading caused me to think back to an earlier episode of interest: the Republic of Minerva:

     The Republic of Minerva was a libertarian project that succeeded in building a small man-made island on the Minerva Reefs south of Fiji in 1972 before being invaded by troops from Tonga, who annexed it and destroyed the island.

     The nation of Minerva conceived by Lithuanian-born Las Vegas real estate millionaire, libertarian and political activist Michael Oliver. His syndicate, the Ocean Life Research Foundation, which allegedly had some $100,000,000 for the project and had offices in New York City and London. They anticipated a libertarian society with "no taxation, welfare, subsidies, or any form of economic interventionism."

     Mind you, the reefs were underwater, unoccupied other than by some lichen, and in international waters. If they weren’t “homesteadable” by persons who want only to be left alone, then nothing is. But governments don’t like that sort of thing – and they express their displeasure with violence:

     On 15 June 1972, the following proclamation was published in a Tongan government gazette:

     His Majesty King TaufaŹ»ahau Tupou IV in Council DOES HEREBY PROCLAIM:

     WHEREAS the Reefs known as North Minerva Reef and South Minerva Reef have long served as fishing grounds for the Tongan people and have long been regarded as belonging to the Kingdom of Tonga has now created on these Reefs islands known as Teleki Tokelau and Teleki Tonga; AND WHEREAS it is expedient that we should now confirm the rights of the Kingdom of Tonga to these islands; THEREFORE we do hereby AFFIRM and PROCLAIM that the islands, rocks, reefs, foreshores and waters lying within a radius of twelve miles [19.31 km] thereof are part of our Kingdom of Tonga.

     A Tongan expedition was sent to enforce the claim the following day. It reached and captured North Minerva on 18 June 1972. The Flag of the Tonga was raised on 19 June 1972 on North Minerva and on South Minerva on 21 June 1972.

     A conference of the neighboring states of Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, Nauru, W. Samoa, and territory of Cook Islands met on 24 February 1972 at which Tonga made a claim over the Minerva Reefs and the rest of the states recognised its claim. They were all concerned by the threat to their sovereignty and Tonga's territorial integrity.

     Tongan forces invaded and destroyed the artificial island and expelled the 42 persons who occupied it. That’s what governments do: they dispossess, they enslave, they destroy, and they kill:

     A Tongan force comprising 90 members of a prisoner work detail, as well as a 4-piece band, made the voyage aboard Olovaha to the new island. Upon landing, the party hauled down the Minervan flag, played a rousing version of the Tongan national anthem, and claimed the land for Tonga. The short-lived “Republic of Minerva” was dead.

     One curious footnote to this incident states that as the convict work detail set about removing all trace of Minerva from existence, a fight broke out between two of its members. By the time it could be stopped, one man lay slain on the reef. So it was that when the Tongan forces finally sailed for home, back to their presidential palace and prison cells; they left the former Minervan Republic with the remarkable statistic of having a murder rate higher than that of its population!

     There are days I wish my memory weren’t so damned good. Take note, ye who dream of freedom.

2. “Rights Talk.”

     I know, I know: the “rights talk” can get awfully boring. That’s because once a claimant is allowed to call what he demands a “right,” the issue is no longer justiciable; it’s moral. Kevin Williamson makes the point:

     “Health care is a right” is a sentence that fools some people into thinking that it means something because the synthetic impression of moral urgency that accompanies the declaration of “a right” overwhelms the ordinary logical faculty, which in many people is less developed than the emotional endowment, that widespread condition being the principal defect in democracy. When a politician declares a “right” in a scarce good, it indicates either that he is a simpleton or that he believes you to be, and one’s as good as the other, that being another defect in democracy.

     Indeed. Did Robinson Crusoe have a “right” to health care? Did he have a “right” to nutrition? But allow me to crib one more gem from this essay:

     Goods [and services – FWP] are physical, while rights are metaphysical, and the actual facts of the real world are not transformed by our deciding to talk about them in a different way.

     Excellently well put.

3. Christianity And Social Peace.

     Ragin’ Dave of Peace or Freedom, in his laconic way, sums up the case:

     As someone else pointed out a while ago, the reason God handed down the Ten Commandments wasn't that he just wanted to tell people what to do. The Ten Commandments is simply how life works best. A society that lives by the Ten Commandments can function together no matter who is a part of that society. But a society that disregards them, and lives however they want to live, ends up with hostility, distrust, and violence.

     Mega-indeed. Commandments One through Four command us to respect our Creator and our forebears for their gifts to us. Commandments Five through Eight nicely express the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and honestly acquired property. Commandments Nine and Ten abjure the most destructive of all social sins: envy. These precepts are the bones and blood of a healthy society.

     Note that savages and Islamic societies neither recognize nor honor the Ten Commandments. The completion of this syllogism is left as an exercise for the reader.

4. More Fusillades In The Publishing Wars.

     SF writer Jon del Arroz invites our attention to the Left’s latest target in the wars over fantasy and science fiction:

     It was only a matter of time before extreme leftist science fiction professionals aimed their fire at the independent author group 20BooksTo50K, a community dedicated to helping authors with the business of writing. The Facebook group boasts more than 28,500 members, and their annual conference is the largest independent writing conference in the world....

     20BooksTo50K managed to stay off the establishment’s radar until this last week. How? The group of authors keep their collective heads down and do what they’re supposed to—write books. Only their readers tend to notice them, and with applause as they enjoy new releases at rapid rates because of how hard these authors work to crank out their work.

     The situation changed as the elites in publishing came out in force to chastise 20BooksTo50K over several of its members receive nominations for science fiction’s Nebula Awards, an award given by SFWA and voted on by its members. The award used to be the second most prestigious in science fiction until recent years, as SFWA’s prominence in culture has faded. Although 20BooksTo50K has several members in the guild, it was perceived as a threat to a few traditional publishing houses dominating the awards.

     The aim of the 20BooksTo50K writers is to keep their readers reading them. The method is write fun stuff; write rapidly; keep the pipeline filled. (I hardly need to say that I would never fit in there.) These writers are apparently achieving their goal: to make a substantial income from their writing. Some of them are even gaining award nominations. And they don’t hew to Pub World’s insistence on left-wing political tracts disguised as “novels.” Plainly, the Left-conquered “traditional” publishers can’t allow that to stand. This is especially the case for TOR, which might as well declare itself to be an arm of the Democrat Party, GLAAD, ACT-UP, and the groups that promote “gender fluidity:”

     One New York agent told me at a writing conference, “You can’t sell anything without LGBT issues in it.” Traditional publishing didn’t reflect on their business practice, nor focus on creating stories that readers wanted. Establishment organizations like SFWA became filled with an angry group of smaller writers who mostly sell occasional short stories to dying magazine markets.

     The 20BooksTo50K writers are achieving their goal. Can the same be said for that “angry group of smaller writers?” (Pay no attention to the misplaced modifiers!)

     That’s all for today, Gentle Reader. Once again I have a lot on my plate and I have to get it done before the ululating hordes arrive. (Item One: load all the guns and arm the claymores. Item Two: start the laundry. Item Three: nap.) See you tomorrow.


Bear Claw Chris Lapp said...

I read that this morning was curios if you had seen it.

Tracy Coyle said...

I saw the article on 20booksto50k the other day and enjoyed it.

There are 554 books on my eBook reader (that is 3.5 yrs of purchases) and 90% or more are from indie publishers - some produce new GOOD content every 2-4 months. I happily pay the $2.99-4.99 for them. I've happily purchased your books.

I don't bother with 'bookstores' despite having been a regular buyer at B&N (even had my books formatted for the Nook). I don't mind being preached to in a book, I hate being scolded by it. I'll continue to support indie's and recommendations from people I trust, that is how I found you!!

Ragin' Dave said...

Well, thankee for the link. You might be one of the few people to ever describe me as "laconic", although I must admit it's been some time since I uncorked a good rant.

I blame old age and work.