In Part 28 Jonnie Tyler finally finds out who the “small gray man” is. He is a banker, portrayed by LRH as a member of the alien race called the Selachee.
The planet Psychlo, as Jonnie has just learned on his own by sending fancy video cameras out into space using the transshipment platform, was blown up a little over a year ago when Jonnie managed to secretly send a load of bomb-filled coffins there. The huge nuclear bombs blew down into Psychlo, held in on top by a tremendously strong protection shield. The explosions reached its molten core and eventually turned the whole planet into a small star.
Psychlo was the home planet of Intergalactic Mining, which had taken out a loan from their bank about a thousand years earlier to purchase Earth from the government. The Psychlo Empire had discovered the planet after finding a map of its location on a space probe launched from Earth. According to the bank, Psychlo had “legal title” to the planet, which had been transferred to Intergalactic at the time of the sale. The mortgage had a payoff period of over 2,000 years. The company had stopped payments on the mortgage a year ago, when Johnny had succeeded – unknowingly – to destroy its home planet.
The bank was looking for the new legal holder of the title so it could serve loan delinquency papers on them.
Does this sound ridiculous? It happens every day on Earth, on a much smaller scale.
Of course, at the level of a planet, it is ridiculous. Not because of the concept of “legal title” but because of how the law favors appropriation of lands (or planets, or space) by force, with no further responsibilities or liabilities attached. This is law written by the conqueror and is unjust on the face of it. Yet we deal with such laws every day.
Did the native inhabitants of any lands on Earth have any say in the “laws” that governed the disposition of those lands when Europeans overran them by force? Of course not. They were required to learn European law to retain any control at all over any piece of their former territories. From a more humanitarian viewpoint – or even from the viewpoint of “natural law” – what occurred when Europe overran the Americas was theft, plain and simple. In all of the Americas, there is very little if any “legal title” that can be traced back to a real, human, transaction between friendly parties.
But banks set up a legal system that would favor their interests. And I can only imagine that they used various forms of blackmail and propaganda, as needed, to bring pressure on the writers of those laws.
I haven’t finished re-reading (listening to) the book yet, and I don’t remember how Jonnie solves this problem.
There are obvious basic principles of respect and responsibility that could be applied in such situations. The first and most obvious is that an inhabited planet should not be considered “fair game.” If it can be demonstrated that any individual, group, or society is occupying and taking care of an area of space, that gives them “title” to that area. For many reasons, use of land – or space – cannot be governed by quite the same rules that cover personal property such as clothing, furniture, tools. Yet the bankers have distorted law in that direction, while overlooking certain obvious contradictions.
The result in many places is that land can be bought and sold as if it were private property, while if stolen by certain protected parties, will be considered as belonging to them regardless of the act of theft.
I you want to wreck your shirt and buy a new one every week, that’s your choice. But you can’t treat land – or planets – that way. A conqueror that kills a planet or its inhabitants, or sells them into slavery, has no right to legal title and incurs a debt to the inhabitants or their survivors. That our laws should protect such a conqueror is only institutionalized crime.
My study of this subject has only taken me as far as Henry George’s book Progress and Poverty. I found his basic ideas very persuasive, and I recommend the book. Law, however, can always be broken and re-written by force. This is an irreducible fact of life. So, to go far, one must speak softly, but carry a very big stick.