Teleporter: Good or bad?

Good! People must be free!
13 (65%)
Bad! I like knowing that bombs won't appear in my house one day.
7 (35%)

Total Members Voted: 19

NotDebonair on September 09, 2009, 01:07:30 am
If you are prepared to assume that an adult male stranger who has materialized in your ten-year-old daughter's bedroom at 2:00 AM is a case of mistaken navigation rather than criminal intent, you are ready for the age of Libertarian teleporters.  Even recognizing that in some substantial majority of cases it will in fact be an honest wrong number, I am not ready to make that assumption.  Sorry.  You're dead.

Interesting....  It just crossed my mind that in a teleporter society, it would likely become customary for a whole family to sleep in the same bedroom.  When the time for protecting little ones passes, the time for protecting the world from your teenagers begins.

Rocketman on September 09, 2009, 02:55:23 am
Or, at the very least have "panic buttons" in different parts of the room so that your no farther than one step away from one of them.  Needless to say, many people would also want a pistol or two on their belt.

KBCraig on September 09, 2009, 03:49:01 am
Ah, but while everyone agrees it was wrong of East Germany to build a wall to keep its people from moving out, don't communities have a right to decide who gets to move in?

"Communities" don't have rights. They might have power, but they never have rights. Only individuals have rights.

That said, if you don't want "them" moving into your community (whoever "they" might be), you can either buy every square inch of your community, or contract with your neighbors to not sell to "them".

Ownership is the ultimate, and only legitimate, form of zoning.


NotDebonair on September 09, 2009, 06:31:23 am
That said, if you don't want "them" moving into your community (whoever "they" might be), you can either buy every square inch of your community, or contract with your neighbors to not sell to "them".

Ownership is the ultimate, and only legitimate, form of zoning.

In the late 1950's, my father refused a tenured professorial post in one university because he could not find a house to buy in the town that did not come with an attached  covenantal agreement not to sell to "them".  He refused for the best Libertarian reason, that if the house was truly his he would sell to whomever he pleased.  In the mid 1990s, a co-worker was hospitalized for two months after neighbors saw him showing his "for sale" house to "them" and objected violently.

Quote
"Communities" don't have rights. They might have power, but they never have rights. Only individuals have rights.

Power makes rights.  Escape from Terra is a fantasy of the convergence of situation and technology to give power (all sorts) to individuals beyond that nowdays occurring in the real world for anyone not posessed of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Brugle on September 09, 2009, 12:17:37 pm
People who depend on everybody around them to be sensible, people who have a lot of neighbors that use big complicated machines that could kill a lot of people by accident, can't afford too much laissez faire.
Actually, the opposite is true.

I have a lot of neighbors who use big complicated machines that could kill a lot of people by accident.  (Well, by "a lot" I mean enough killing to make the national news, not "a lot" by government standards.)  The only reason that I feel reasonably safe (in that regard) is that most people are (to some extent) considered responsible for their actions.

Would one of my neighbors break into another's house, confine the people he found there in a cage, and kill them if they tried to defend themselves, just because they were ingesting something he didn't like?  No, that would be highly unlikely, because he would be responsible for his actions.  However, since we don't live under laissez-faire, a neighbor could vote for a politician who promises to appoint a bureaucrat to hire a thug to do those things.  I'd guess that some of my neighbors would do that, since they wouldn't be considered responsible.

They will find ways to take the power to do great harm away from anybody they don't trust with it.
Communities often try to do that.  In some situations, they might slightly reduce one potential risk.  But, when trying to do that, they typically give the power to do much greater harm to those who enjoy using that power.

Escape from Terra is a fantasy of the convergence of situation and technology to give power (all sorts) to individuals beyond that nowdays occurring in the real world for anyone not posessed of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Not all sorts.  Political power (legal aggression) is conspicuously absent.  That's one reason that ordinary people have the power to do so much that they want to do.  Maybe "the convergence of situation and technology" is also required.  If so, I hope it happens, and that my great-great-grandchildren (if any) can enjoy it.

monsieur_horse on September 09, 2009, 04:55:47 pm
Sup bros - first post, love the comic.

Regarding the vote - I want to answer no, but not because I'm worried about bombs appearing in my house.  Rather, I believe that the fact that the c speed limit is what will eventually free people (who want to be free).

Just now, there's nowhere on Earth you can go to in order to escape governments - the planet's just too small.  I think that if teleportation (as in EFT: instantaneous between any 2 points) were a reality, the government could extend its reach to anywhere in the universe.  Which means, you can hide, but you can't run.

On the other hand, with c as the ultimate speed limit - even the solar system is far too big for any government to maintain control.  Dozens of minutes of communications delays, and months of transit times, coupled with the ultra-low energy cost or relocating (and the high cost of someone finding you again!) would render the solar system a frontier for longer than I could imagine.  And then you have to consider those brave souls who decide to go onwards to the nearest stars...

Yeah anyway just wanted to share my fantasy and reason why I'm happy that FTL travel is impossible.  Great to see a comic mixing sci-fi and libertarianism, my favourite topics ;-)

SandySandfort on September 09, 2009, 08:48:46 pm
... Yeah anyway just wanted to share my fantasy and reason why I'm happy that FTL travel is impossible. 

We didn't say that. Maybe it is possible. Tobi is still investigating the possibility.

Great to see a comic mixing sci-fi and libertarianism, my favourite topics ;-)

Ours too! And thanks for the concept of the speed of light being a good thing. Food for thought.

Sean Roach on September 09, 2009, 11:42:49 pm
I disagree.
Let's map your situation onto a current one.  Living in the big city versus living in a rural area.  Both are under onerous regulation, but the rural area is less so.  Why don't people flock to the country?  Same reason immigration to North America didn't relieve population pressures in Europe.  The majority are stuck, a few "lucky" individuals can face hardship, and possibly death, on a chance of a better life, (or a life at all in some cases.)
In this case, it's not the speed limit that keeps people from moving out of cities, but rather economic necessity.  That's where the jobs are.  Still, people are stuck in, or much to near, areas they'd rather not live.

Now, on the other hand, ubiquitous long distance teleportation is akin to new competition in a "socially necessary" industry.
When Ma Bell was fractured, (a government act, but it was government that set them up as a monopoly in the first place, if I remember my history right,) the sudden competition drove phone service prices down.  Teleportation would allow the job consumer, that is the worker, freedom of selection of living arrangements without giving up their career.  It also makes enforcement of regulation much harder.  Ma Bell didn't like modems.  Ma Bell didn't like other things tied to the phone system, even a rubber cup to make using the handset easier.  The cable companies considered mutiple televisions on a line theft.  Now, with competition, AT&T wireless is perfectly willing to let you link your unlocked cell phone to their service, and Time-Warner is glad to tout that you can connect as many televisions as you want to a cable line, as opposed to a mini-dish system, which needs a separate circuit for each set, if not a whole separate box.
Suddenly not being able to restrict peoples home-life, (they all moved to Mars and are commuting to NYC,) the government would be compelled to either disenfranchise and outlaw them, or loosen the restrictions to entice them to move back to earth.  If the ones that move away include a large percentage of critical skills, they won't be inclined to ban their return or employment.

I do agree, though, that if you have teleportation technology, you need some way of blocking teleportation in small volumes.  However, ideally that method would be quite feasible for a single family, but cost prohibitive for governments to manage on a large scale.  Barring that, you need some way of masking your location from other teleporters or location-finding technologies, and use your own to fetch guests.  If they can't record their position, they can't visit uninvited.  A hidden retreat can be as good as a citidel, in this case.

Quite frankly, I think houses with smallish rooms and lots of mobile furniture would be popular.  Do you teleport in, or did they move the dining room table again?

terry_freeman on September 10, 2009, 01:33:40 am
Regarding restrictive covenants, they were required by federal policy as a condition for receiving FHA loans. Organized racism, brought to you by FDR and his agents. When left alone, markets seldom lead to such absurd policies. People don't invent this nonsense of themselves. Same for "back of the bus" laws -- the transportation companies hated the laws, which reduced the effective capacity of their buses, and deputized their drivers as agents of the law.

Regarding ten year old girls and universal transporters: my ten year old children would have a deadly weapon at hand, and would know how to use it instantly against any would-be rapist.

Lysander Spooner made a comment in an argument against alcohol prohibition. He observed that ( in his era ) the age of consent was ten. If a girl may consent at that age, she must be able to say no and make it stick. His point was that if a girl can say no, a grown man can say no to a bottle of "demon rum".

In that day, she probably could make it stick -- people were not infantilized as much as they are now.

Watching very young children ride real horses ( as opposed to tame ponies ) was something of an education for me. Imagine a very athletic creature, 1000 lbs of raw muscle, perfectly capable of knocking over a stout barn, under the very capable control of a seven year old child.

Now, I'd be interested to know, how would property be protected against universal transporters? Your coins, art, inventory, etc might be lifted by thieves ... how would you protect agaisnt this? Whatever technology is used for inanimate objects would also apply to protecting one's children.

SandySandfort on September 10, 2009, 07:48:47 am
Now, I'd be interested to know, how would property be protected against universal transporters? Your coins, art, inventory, etc might be lifted by thieves ... how would you protect agaisnt this? Whatever technology is used for inanimate objects would also apply to protecting one's children.

It clearly would depend on what is meant by teleportation and how it would work. If it required the energy output of a sun to transport a peanut, it is out of a question. Does it only work in "flat" space away from a gravity well? How does it handle teleporting into solid matter? Liquids? Gases? If you don't know where you are going, how are you going to get there? Many possibilities.

By-the-by, if Tobi does crack the problem, I guarantee the solution will not permit bombs or strangers to be transported to your home. Why? I don't find this line of inquiry sufficiently interesting to write about. At least not in the context of EFT. It's a good forum topic, but deadly boring (IMO) for story telling.

Sean Roach on September 10, 2009, 02:06:29 pm
I figure if the teleporter is a vehicle, and if it travels blind, small rooms and movable furniture, frequently rearranged, would be stronger a defense than cardboard core doors with cheap locks and plate glass windows nearby.

I figure even if it has some means of scoping out a landing point in advance, (a go/no-go indicator on target coordinates, for instance,) small, well anchored containers would provide sufficient defense against teleport equipped thieves.  Larger wheeled objects, rolled into the vault to fill the pathway, would allow larger volumes to be secured.

If the teleporter, however, is not a vehicle, and operates more on the Star Trek method, where you can scan wherever you are going to teleport, then some part of the teleporter would be needed as a jamming device.  Houses would be equipped with a teleporter, in all likelihood, and when it wasn't actually being used to ferry the family around, (arranging with origin and destination teleporters for either clearance or cooperative function,) it'd be partially active to scramble other teleporters being used to see into the space or drop people off.
The drawback of this is simple.  If you're transmitting, the fact of that can be determined even if the content of the transmission is unclear.  Teleporter equipped homes would be obvious to someone with a teleporter themselves.  If the government reserved that right to themselves, they could easily scan for homes that were in violation.  The solution would be to keep the teleporter off government controlled soil, and use a terrestrial home only as an access foyer to a solar-orbit residence.

Security would be
A. have an unknown, and unrevealed, location, doing all ferrying in and out with your own equipment
B. have solid objects in the path of likely teleport, (presuming a vehicle, blind teleport, or both)
C. have the teleporter charged up to block lock-on by other teleporters, (assuming a fixed location teleporter, or some means of scanning the location prior to teleport.)
D. have a sidearm in case this doesn't work.

Alternately, if you have a StarTrek type teleporter, (or Probability broach wormhole generator,) having a teleporter watch for unauthorized teleports and re-teleporting the offending matter to a safe location would be possible.
Two guys in black teleport into your home with a dozen black canvas bags and a full set of screwdrivers and a ratchet set.
Two guys in black see your living room for a brief instant before they find themselves in space.  Not orbit, just at that altitude, (and falling rapidly).
At that point it doesn't matter much if they were burglars or "investigators".
The same would work for bombs, and it's the case of weapons why I wouldn't tune the thing to drop trespassing matter in the back-40 or a prepared cage.  It might not be far away enough.

J Thomas on September 10, 2009, 03:19:20 pm

They will find ways to take the power to do great harm away from anybody they don't trust with it.

Communities often try to do that.  In some situations, they might slightly reduce one potential risk.  But, when trying to do that, they typically give the power to do much greater harm to those who enjoy using that power.

Unfortunately, yes. Communities give lots of power to people they trust, and often that trust is misplaced.

A society that learns to distrust any collective action might get away from that, only to be dominated by whatever groups cooperate anyway.

Note the story of Samuel, in the OT. Samuel had a lot of influence as a trusted priest. A lot of people came to him because they wanted a king and they wanted Samuel to choose a king for them. Samuel told them it was a bad idea. A king would conscript their sons into his army and put their daughters into his harem. He'd collect taxes. He'd re-allocate land. But they wanted a king anyway, maybe because invading armies already did a lot without their approval. Samuel finally broke down and gave them a king. He chose a tall, stupid-looking younger son from a poor family. He loaded him down with geases and curses to help restrain him. Saul lasted 20 years or so before an invading army did him in and replaced him with a mercenary to be the new puppet-king. The new king started collecting citizens to sell as foreign slaves, but after the people expressed sufficient displeasure he announced they would only be indentured servants and would be allowed to come home after their terms were up, with skills! and money! and so on.

There are no easy solutions. Communities full of cooperative, kind-hearted, smart and capable citizens will tend to do better than assemblies of people where any one of those qualities is in short supply. But that doesn't help much more than "Buy low, sell high.".

terry_freeman on September 11, 2009, 02:32:47 am
Bear in mind that the Jews had a very anarchic community where "everyone did what was right in their own eyes" for hundreds of years, and it worked fairly well. That they eventually elected a king and rediscovered the problems the hard way does not serve as an argument against that form of organization; it merely underscores the need for perpetual vigilance. Frankly, any form of voluntary organization which persists for hundreds of years is quite impressive.

A similar period in Iceland history is documented by David Friedman, the son of Milton and Rose Friedman. Murray Rothbard wrote about a similar period in Ireland. Both lasted for hundreds of years, until destabilized by external forces.

NotDebonair on September 11, 2009, 05:38:32 am
A similar period in Iceland history is documented by David Friedman, the son of Milton and Rose Friedman. Murray Rothbard wrote about a similar period in Ireland. Both lasted for hundreds of years, until destabilized by external forces.

Iceland was destabilized by internal forces.  Politics, free markets and dynastic marriages concentrated economic and political power in the hands of a very few people.  The smallholders finally agreed as a group to submit themselves to the King of Norway rather than yield to a local tyrant.  This is grimly humorous in view of the fact that Iceland was originally settled by congenitally independent people who had refused to submit to that same monarchy when it was first formed three centuries before.

J Thomas on September 11, 2009, 06:47:20 am
Bear in mind that the Jews had a very anarchic community where "everyone did what was right in their own eyes" for hundreds of years, and it worked fairly well.

Many of them got dominated by their neighbors. The story of Samson paints that pretty vividly. The philistines did not let israelites in their area have blacksmiths for fear they'd make weapons. And Samson, big, strong, ignorant, and highly opinionated behaved very much as a "bad nigger".

Quote
That they eventually elected a king and rediscovered the problems the hard way does not serve as an argument against that form of organization; it merely underscores the need for perpetual vigilance. Frankly, any form of voluntary organization which persists for hundreds of years is quite impressive.

Agreed.

Quote
A similar period in Iceland history is documented by David Friedman, the son of Milton and Rose Friedman. Murray Rothbard wrote about a similar period in Ireland. Both lasted for hundreds of years, until destabilized by external forces.

Iceland was dominated from the first by the first settlers who got the only good land. By the time of Gisli things had already deteriorated to the point that a few rich men controlled the legal system. Read the story of how Gisli tricked one of them into teaching him the proper way to cite a man for a crime. You couldn't have somebody indicted unless you knew exactly the right legal formula, and the judge could simply rule that you had done it wrong and dismiss the case. So Gisli posed as an ignorant hick who was very impressed by the rich man, and he laughed at the man's jokes and flattered him, and the man taught him precisely the words to say and Gisli tried and tried and kept having trouble getting it until the rich man told him he had it perfect. And then he delivered the summons.

After Gisli was declared an outlaw, once he fell asleep in the woods and a bunch of peasants caught him. None of them would take the initiative to hang him on the spot so they called for the rich man. The rich man's wife came. She asked Gisli why he was robbing and stealing and killing and causing a commotion on her land with her peasants. "Well, I have to be somewhere."


 

anything