Author: Owen Lewis

Liberal Democracies Should Open Their Doors to Hongkongers

A year ago in March 2019, riots broke out in Hong Kong over concerns that a Beijing-backed piece of legislation would allow Hongkongers to be extradited to mainland China. Fears are that the law would be used to target pro-democracy advocates and anyone critical of the Communist Party of China (CPC) regime; exposing them to the notorious injustice of the mainland Chinese courts. China has long maintained a conviction rate of over 99 percent, which to the naïve might look like an incredibly efficient justice system—so thorough in its criminal investigation that no charges are laid until guilt is virtually certain—but is in actuality an indication of government control over the judiciary where verdicts are decided before the trial even begins. This in contrast to the legal system in Hong Kong, which is based on common law inherited from the British, and includes all the familiar features we would recognize in our own legal systems such as, “equality before the law; freedom of movement; freedom of conscience and religious belief; freedom of speech; and privacy …

Should We Colonize Mars? The Fate of Humanity May One Day Depend on It

On October 21, U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator Jim Bridenstine told the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology that he foresees NASA will land astronauts on the moon by 2035. “We need to learn how to live and work in another world,” he told lawmakers. “The moon is the best place to prove those capabilities and technologies.”  The article that follows comprises the seventh instalment in “Our Martian Moment,” a multi-part Quillette series in which our authors discuss what kind of society humans should build on Mars if and when we succeed in colonizing the red planet. Four years ago, at the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, Elon Musk set out two possible paths for humanity. “One path,” he told his audience, “is we stay on Earth forever, and then there will be some eventual extinction event.” He was not foretelling immediate doom, just noting that nothing lasts forever. Inevitably, if humans stay long enough, we’ll suffer some sort of extinction-level disaster, similar to previous mass-extinction events encoded in the fossil record. The universe …