Leviathan on January 09, 2009, 05:24:28 am
Huh, I wonder how many agents have already "gone native" by this point in the storyline  :D  And how many more will do so before government goons start landing and trying to take Ceres and company by force  :'(

John DeWitt on January 09, 2009, 06:52:36 am
Whoa, nice a...er, outfit.

Everybody saw that coming, of course.  Now the real question is will our friend Guy use his own ass for more than plugging holes and storing his favorite stick?

Rocketman on January 10, 2009, 11:56:22 am
If I remember correctly, someone made the comment eariler that implied that Guy and Fiorella were the first agents to "visit" there, but that may have been to not let them know that all the other ones had "gone native".  As far as Earth using force, that would probably be counterproductive strictly from earth's standpoint.  If they show up with guns alot of them are not going to be coming home and probably no one on earth knows how to properly use the equipment there anyway.  Of course since socialism inately breeds it's own kind of incompetance and stupidity they may try it anyway.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2009, 11:59:08 am by Rocketman »

wdg3rd on January 11, 2009, 11:19:28 am
Look up "Rain of Terror" in the glossary of the paperback edition of J. Neil Schulman's The Rainbow Cadenza.  The folks in the asteroids have the High Ground and a dinosaur killer can be done fairly cheaply, but it gets more expensive if you want to leave survivors.
Ward Griffiths        wdg3rd@aol.com

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.  --  Denis Diderot

SandySandfort on January 12, 2009, 09:29:40 am
Look up "Rain of Terror" in the glossary of the paperback edition of J. Neil Schulman's The Rainbow Cadenza.  The folks in the asteroids have the High Ground and a dinosaur killer can be done fairly cheaply, but it gets more expensive if you want to leave survivors.
To paraphrase Nixon, "They could do that, but it would be wrong."

Leviathan on January 14, 2009, 05:57:42 am
John,
Storing his favorite stick?  Dude, that thing passed through the carbonization process and out the other side.  It's his favorite place to store his stick-shaped diamond that was once a stick  :P

Rocketman,
I would say the fact that Guy was prepared with a Gold account gives lie to them being the first of any kind up there.  They knew how to pay for stuff, and since they're not higher-ups in the UWRS food chain the likelihood of them getting a gold expense account on thirdhand sailor gossip would seem pretty low.  The UWRS knew the layout of the land before it sent'em in.  Which means they, or other agencies in United World, have sent operatives there who have made some reports before returning or going native.

As far as Terran initiation of force goes, I was going to go into a long lecture about how the initiation of force is always overall counterproductive, but suffice it to ask this question.  When has an action being really stupid ever stopped government from taking that action?

wdg3rd and Sandy,
In addition to the issue of morality, there is the issue of tactics.  City-killers really are something of a government-versus-government weapon.  If Terra bombs the crap out of the asteroids, it's really not in the best interests of anybody on the planet.  If Ceres directs a dinosaur-killer inbound to Earth, they lose a major trading partner.  Nobody with an eye on their interests would take that action, from either an economic or moral direction, the way Ceres (or any anarchy, really) is set up.  Terra has a different way of incentivising, where power is the end since it buys Terran economic incentives.  Terra would happily nuke the belt to hell and back unless the relatively cheap resources coming out of the belts are all that's keeping government afloat and they know that is so, so long as it ensured power accompanied rank.  And thus power as its own end, and as a means to securing some improved station in life, would compensate for the annihilation of their planetary economy.

SandySandfort on January 14, 2009, 05:36:01 pm
Rocketman,
I would say the fact that Guy was prepared with a Gold account gives lie to them being the first of any kind up there.  They knew how to pay for stuff, and since they're not higher-ups in the UWRS food chain the likelihood of them getting a gold expense account on thirdhand sailor gossip would seem pretty low.  The UWRS knew the layout of the land before it sent'em in.  Which means they, or other agencies in United World, have sent operatives there who have made some reports before returning or going native.

Dude, it's in the tanglepedia! Besides, Belters don't take continentals. Folks in the UW have to pay for metal and carbon with gold. That's one of the reasons Panama is allowed to have parallel gold-based financial system within the UW.

wdg3rd and Sandy,
In addition to the issue of morality, there is the issue of tactics.  City-killers really are something of a government-versus-government weapon.  If Terra bombs the crap out of the asteroids, it's really not in the best interests of anybody on the planet.  If Ceres directs a dinosaur-killer inbound to Earth, they lose a major trading partner.  Nobody with an eye on their interests would take that action, from either an economic or moral direction, the way Ceres (or any anarchy, really) is set up.  Terra has a different way of incentivising, where power is the end since it buys Terran economic incentives.  Terra would happily nuke the belt to hell and back unless the relatively cheap resources coming out of the belts are all that's keeping government afloat and they know that is so, so long as it ensured power accompanied rank.  And thus power as its own end, and as a means to securing some improved station in life, would compensate for the annihilation of their planetary economy.

Pretty good analysis.

Jackson on January 19, 2009, 05:52:58 pm
Quote
wdg3rd and Sandy,
In addition to the issue of morality, there is the issue of tactics.  City-killers really are something of a government-versus-government weapon.  If Terra bombs the crap out of the asteroids, it's really not in the best interests of anybody on the planet.  If Ceres directs a dinosaur-killer inbound to Earth, they lose a major trading partner.  Nobody with an eye on their interests would take that action, from either an economic or moral direction, the way Ceres (or any anarchy, really) is set up.  Terra has a different way of incentivising, where power is the end since it buys Terran economic incentives.  Terra would happily nuke the belt to hell and back unless the relatively cheap resources coming out of the belts are all that's keeping government afloat and they know that is so, so long as it ensured power accompanied rank.  And thus power as its own end, and as a means to securing some improved station in life, would compensate for the annihilation of their planetary economy.
If Ceres attacked Terra with an asteroid, presumably the United World's ships would be able to divert the asteroid. I don't think Terra would attack with nukes. Given the do-gooders that control the UW, it is quite likely the UW have disarmed their nuclear weapons. Anyway, remember the UW's motivation. They think that they are going to help Ceres by bringing them into the UW. Killing everyone there kind of defeats the purpose. An invasion of Ceres is much more likely, though. As long as the UW thinks they are doing the right thing by bringing Ceres into the UW, they are not going to be stopped just because it might cost a few (or even a lot of) lives or a lot of money.

Leviathan on January 20, 2009, 01:40:12 am
You think our government really is just trying to do the best by us, at heart...  Don't you?  I doubt those at the top of the UW in the story have any illusions about the real motives involved.  Control.  Power.  Dominance.  The little report at the beginning shows the real agenda in the story and in real life: so long as the invasion of your privacy, your liberty, can sound like it's for your own good, government can do almost anything.  Even install cameras in your house and monitor every move you make.  Even decide what food you'll eat.  Who will work what land.  Wasn't it Elizabeth Taylor who got in trouble over taxes, saying "only the little people pay taxes!"?  We aren't human to these people.  We're cattle.  We're livestock.  We're slaves.  They do what they want, and it's just easier if we submit.  Less chance of a revolt if we feel like we're being shafted benevolently.

I'd give it about a 99% chance they still have all their nukes.  Can't quell those populaces for their own good if you don't have a really big stick to threaten them with.  But they very well might not use nukes if push came to shove.  Who knows?  Sandy et al are telling it, so it's up to them  :P  But the public image and the real motivation are unlikely to be the same.  And the chances that such a government would rather kill everyone in the belts than let them be free are high.  And, they'd sleep well at night.  The public would be sold on the good of the many outweighing the good of the few, and the governors would be getting direct access to the perceived wealth in the belts without those pesky belters getting to live a good life too.

SandySandfort on January 20, 2009, 11:57:29 am
Wasn't it Elizabeth Taylor who got in trouble over taxes, saying "only the little people pay taxes!"?  We aren't human to these people.  We're cattle.  We're livestock.  We're slaves.  They do what they want, and it's just easier if we submit.  Less chance of a revolt if we feel like we're being shafted benevolently.
The quote was attributed to Leona Helmsley by someone who worked for her, but I doubt she ever said it. The Helmsleys paid millions in taxes.

Rocketman on January 20, 2009, 12:51:31 pm
Leviathan:  You may be right about the UW still having nukes, but there is precedent for them getting rid of them too.  During the Clinton administration the government, over strong objection from the DOD got rid of tens of thousands of mothballed war emergency weapons including the M-14.  The same M-14 rifles that right now the military is so short on that they are buying them back from countries that they formerly give them to in miltary aid to use in Iraq and Afganistan.  They're relearning that the 5.56 round simply doesn't have enough ommph for shooting at long range or penetration of mud walls.  Sheese, I could have told them that.   ::)

quadibloc on January 24, 2009, 10:17:24 pm
It seems obvious to me that the story is headed towards Guy "going native". He is intelligent enough to see that destroying Ceres won't help Earth's billions, but will give his superiors a fat bonus. He remembers his grandfather's farm, and he knows he hasn't been chasing the robber barons he wanted to. But suppose he does go native?

Why is it that barter income isn't taxed in the United World, when it is in the United States? One reason could be that the future society on Earth does have some idealism, and this is to avoid creating problems for peasant farmers in poor parts of the world - and they still exist.

I'm not sure that Earth's billions could survive under the system they have on Ceres, even if Earth is clearly a gratuitous busybody state (yet not as bad as Stalin's Russia, Mao's China, or Hitler's Germany). I'm not sure that Ceres can defend itself from Earth simply by winning Guy over.

I'm kind of hoping this comic goes on to the "next level", and confronts the tough questions. Maybe Ceres will have to compromise some of its independence by entering into a military alliance with Mars. Maybe a technological advance that makes leaving Earth's gravity well more affordable, thus opening the Solar System frontier to Earth people might be the key to restoring freedom on Earth.

Leviathan on January 25, 2009, 12:57:41 am
quadibloc,
I'm not sure i really understand the argument you make in paragraph 3?  Not having any overriding thuggery, stealing and raping (don't think that one's the case?  Listen to Stefan Molyneux sometime on the topic of prisons), works for these "tiny" groups of even entire cities.  Yet billions of people, who naturally break up into these smaller groupings of people, need some overriding force to make sure they co-exist and prosper?  Yet the point is made, they aren't.  We aren't.  Government is a parasite.  Its host is healthier without it.

Scott on January 25, 2009, 02:52:48 am
Even though United World can in some ways be seen as the United States writ large, there are some important differences.

IRS taxes barter income because in the United States, it's otherwise too convenient a tax dodge for the middle class.

(I recall a recent case where some business owner in Las Vegas paid his employees in Silver and Gold Eagles, and reported their income based on the face value of the coins, since they're officially "legal tender." The IRS believed they should have been reported based on the market value, or barter value, of the coins, which were 10 to 35 times face value. IRS won in court, big surprise.)

The countries on Terra by United World are either industrial societies where barter is pretty much regulated out of existence, or subsistence cultures where barter is the only practical means of trade. A wise livestock manager doesn't starve his herd, he balances his feeding, culling and harvesting so as to optimize the value of that herd.

In the relatively independent areas such as Panama and UAE, the barter exemption allows the elites from the UW to transfer wealth into and out of tax havens more or less legally.

As to what happens with Guy Caillard and how the UW responds, well, stay tuned.

wdg3rd on January 25, 2009, 08:45:22 am
(I recall a recent case where some business owner in Las Vegas paid his employees in Silver and Gold Eagles, and reported their income based on the face value of the coins, since they're officially "legal tender." The IRS believed they should have been reported based on the market value, or barter value, of the coins, which were 10 to 35 times face value. IRS won in court, big surprise.)

No real surprise.  The judge knew who signed his pay check and stole the money to cover it.
Ward Griffiths        wdg3rd@aol.com

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.  --  Denis Diderot