The Conceptual Free Enterprise Zone
America's Return to Space

By L. Neil Smith

On Lunar Landing Day, July 20, 1994, a modest proposal ...

There are three historic models for the effect of individual and economic liberty on civilization:

A) The American revolution and its aftermath;
B) Great Britain's growth after the Reform Acts;
C) The explosion of late 20th century electronics.
A fourth model is possible, a "free enterprise zone" not geographic in character but conceptual, which will:

A) Make the case for liberty unmistakable;
B) Take us closer to a free politico-economic system;
C) Encourage ordinary people to make an investment which will cause them to reject other systems;
D) Help fulfill our real destiny, reaching the stars; and
E) Rekindle the torch of Western civilization.


Establish a permanent human presence further away than low Earth orbit, by establishing the space exploration/exploitation industry as a "conceptual free enterprise zone";

Allow ordinary individuals to participate at many levels in the enterprise; and

Allow ordinary individuals to live, work, and settle in space.

RULES: Participants (corporations and individuals) must agree to the goals listed above;

There will be no direct participation in the enterprise by any government;

Territorial claims will be asserted only in the names of those whose contributions made them feasible;

Participants (corporations and individuals) will be bound by the Bill of Rights, and the Non-Aggression Principle.


Participation in the enterprise -- and its results -- will not be subject to taxation;

Nor will it be subject to "economic" regulation;

No "affirmative action" or "equality of outcome" will be required;

No environmental law nor other liability (except for real damages to identifiable individuals, proven in a court of law) will apply.


As the electronics industry flourished under a lack of regulation, so will space industry, and more so, because more burdens will have been removed.

Americans will discover their first priority has become the exploration and exploitation of space.

The urge to create "space-law" obsessing some within the space "movement" will be pre-empted by re-establishing the Bill of Rights as (literally) the highest law of the land.

No doubt will remain as to the desirability or efficacy of private capitalism and people will soon demand that its benefits be extended to other areas.

Humanity will have taken its first real step to the stars.

L. Neil Smith is the award-winning author of 19 books including The Probability Broach, The Crystal Empire, Henry Martyn, The Lando Calrissian Adventures, Pallas, and (forthcoming) Bretta Martyn. An NRA Life Member and founder of the Libertarian Second Amendment Caucus, he has been active in the Libertarian movement for 34 years and is its most prolific and widely-published living novelist.

Permission to redistribute this article is herewith granted by the author -- provided that it is reproduced unedited, in its entirety, and appropriate credit given.

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