Tag Archives: social reforms

Reforms, revolution and immigration

Part I

Social reformers of whatever kind has at some point to face the as inconvenient as inevitable conclusion, that the overall majority of the population is conservative. This folk conservatism is distinct from other types of conservatism, but its main tenets are fear for the unknown and hence an inclination towards the status quo.

Continue reading Reforms, revolution and immigration

Experimental sociology

A big difference between the natural and the social sciences, is that the former heavily rely upon experiments. Social scientists can only conduct experiments in a very limited fashion, instead social scientists have to rely on “natural” variation in society/societies.

The main advantage of experiments, is that we can repeat them. If some physicist claims to have conducted an experiment in which a particle moved faster than light, other physicists can do this experiment by themselves and look whether they get the same results. And probably even more important is that in an experiment we can isolate variables, by setting up a proper environment.

It’s obvious we can do experiments with actual societies. Established interests will do anything to prevent any change they believe might harmful to them. Or just plain fear of the unknown, will cause popular resistance to any kind of social reform. But because we can’t do social experiments, we do not know which political ideologies might work, or in which conditions a certain type of society is most suited. Instead politicians of different schools of thought rely upon their beliefs what is good for society.

Though we cannot perform experiments with existing societies, we could do this with new societies. But where can we create new societies? After all every single part of Earth is either claimed by states, or is inhabitable for humans. The regular reader of this site would know what our answer would be.

When space settlements are created, we could use this opportunity to give different space settlements different social systems. After some time we can compare these space settlements, and evaluate the results of the different sets of social rules. By comparing space settlements with a wide variety of social systems, we can learn lessons about social reforms, which we can apply to terrestrial societies. The idea of “using” space settlements as social laboratories is not new, it has been actually proposed by Gerard O’Neill in his book The High Frontier.

Space colonization might open up a whole new area of social science: experimental sociology.

Republic of Lagrangia and the Voyager

Those who think that Republic of Lagrangia is a space blog, might wonder why we didn’t pay attention to last week’s news that Voyager 1 has definitely left our Solar System. But those make a mistake: namely that we are a space blog. Only the fact is that Republic of Lagrangia is not a space blog, we are a blog about space colonization.

One might argue that the topic space colonization is a subset of the topic space. Though this is technically true,  categorizing Republic of Lagrangia as a space blog might however create the confusion that we are a generic space blog, what we are not. Suppose that Alice has a blog about horses, than we might say that Alice has a blog about animals. In this case it’s obvious that doing so is absurd, since Alice only writes about a specific type of animals.

Since we are not a generic space blog, calling Republic of Lagrangia a space blog is equally absurd as calling Alice’s blog an animal blog. Most space blogs are about space exploration, and should better be called space exploration blogs.

Space exploration, the scientific study of the universe, is without doubt a fascinating topic to write about. It’s only of limited relevance for space colonization. The major arena for space colonization in the near future, is the Inner Solar System. Therefore discoveries made about distant galaxies, or even our own galaxy is of little importance for the colonization of our own neighbourhood.

It’s for us more interesting to discuss the developments in other areas of science and technology, such as 3D-printers or in vitro meat, which might help the colonization of outer space.

And more importantly, we of Republic of Lagrangia see space colonization as a mean to implementing social reforms, rather as an end in itself. We belief that it’s important to give space colonization an appeal beyond the circle of space geeks. Therefore we focus on the social issues of space colonization, and if we discuss scientific or technological developments, we focus on how these developments might affect society.

Therefore we did not write about Voyager 1 leaving our Solar System.