The Case for Mars by Robert Zubrin.
Personally, I like his approach and it is a very libertarian oriented one.
But more important than the science he presents (in a very easy to understand fashion) and more important than the economics of getting the project off the ground (a very free market approach) is the REASON why we HAVE to go to Mars.
His premise is thus:
Man is an explorer species.
If we are not constantly exploring, and if survival is not paramount, where our liberty necessary for our survival is forefront in our minds - then we will turn inward on ourselves, and eat ourselves alive.
Liberty had a huge "re-birth" when Europeans flocked to America and day to day survival was paramount. Liberty was a necessity, because if you weren't free to do what you needed to in order to survive - you died.
Liberty was a life or death proposition.
We've forgotten why we have liberty.
Some would make the case, if survival is not a paramount concern, than you really have no need for or claim to liberty.
Zubrin makes it clear - either we explore somewhere new, either we stretch ourselves thin and again have to fight to survive, either we open up new questions of rights, power, and systems of government, or else we self-destruct.
It's an excellent and easy read. I finished it in three lazy days at the beach a few hours a day. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in this general topic, and in Liberty in particular.
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