[ExI] Update on the Hawaiian observatory shutdown

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Fri Aug 23 13:28:33 UTC 2019

On Fri, Aug 23, 2019 at 12:19 AM Stuart LaForge via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> * > Since when do you need to live on land in order to own it?*

Oh I don't know, maybe when we decided that although everybody can see the
moon nobody owns it. Every Hawaiian could see the top of Mauna Kea but even
they don't claim they own it, they claim a all powerful invisible man owns
it and they must protect Him.

> > *The point is before their colonization* [...]

Which one, the Polynesian wave of colonization in 1120 that replaced the
earlier inhabitants who arrived about 500, or the European colonization in
1778?  A week ago I would have said that with the exception of Antarctica
and Greenland there is not a square foot of the Earth's surface that hasn't
been stolen by somebody who originally stole it from somebody else, so
astronomers shouldn't have to perform penance for all of history's evils;
but now Greenland is being fought over so it's just Antarctica.

 > *the whole  place belonged to them.*

And who exactly is "them"? What if a pureblood descendant of the pre 1120
people sided with the astronomers? If bloodlines is all that determines
property rights how many generations do we need to go back? Do we need to
go back and refight all of histories wars and figure out which side was on
the side of justice before we can determine who owns what today?

*> I say give them the mountain and lease it back from them.*

That will never work. Now that the thugs have had a taste of power and
demonstrated they have the ability to shut down the entire observatory
anytime they want despite what the law says they will never agree to allow
the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. The astronomers will be
lucky if they just allow the observatory to remain open, the mob has
granted them permission to do so for the time being but they could withdraw
it at any time.

> >>  Quoting Adrian Tymes: "Better to give them some of the islands no one
> yet lives on -  perhaps Nihoa and Necker, where there is proof of ancestral
> claims and self-policing may be within their means."

> *> **The reason nobody lives on those island is that they are unlivable. *

Those islands are one hell of a lot more livable than Mauna Kea, it's hard
to breath at 13,803 feet and it's cold and dry as a bone, nothing and no
one has EVER lived there and until astronomers came along nobody even
wanted to live there, except of course for the invisible man.

 > *they had the strategic acumen to seize the high-ground, literally and
> figuratively,*

That is literally true but not figuratively. Tyrants and barbarians have
been using the military tactic of seizing the high ground from the
beginning of history, but that does not necessarily mean they occupy the
moral high ground.

> But, you can't know what they would settle for until you sit down
> and start bargaining with them.

Do you think that hasn't been tried??

> *Blocking access to an important mountain on ancestral lands is political
> strategy.*

I agree completely and the strategy was enormously successful, the Thirty
Meter Telescope is dead regardless of what the law may say. But I don't
think political theater is the highest form of human endeavor. So Stuart
perhaps you can answer a question I asked in my last post. How could
anybody who can see the beauty in Science and the magnificence of the
universe have the slightest sympathy for these sphincters?

John K Clark
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