By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 7/12/2020
Posted: 6/19/2007
Topics/Keywords: #Astronomy #ConsumerRights #Humor #RepublicanCorruption Page Views: 1934
Let's meet a Republican businessman of the year.
Dennis Hope

Dennis Hope is a pretty happy guy these days. In 1980, it occurred to him that there were, literally, trillions of acres of unclaimed land in our solar system alone: On the Moon, on Mars, and on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, not to mention on the hundreds of thousands of asteroids whizzing around in orbit. And that's only in our solar system—hundreds of planets have been discovered orbiting stars other than our Sun.

Now, as it happens, in 1967 the United Nations ratified a treaty that declared no nation could lay claim to a celestial body. That was back in the days of the Space Race and the Cold War, and both the United States and the Soviet Union feared the other would annex the Moon and use it to drop rocks on the other. (Seriously. Robert A. Heinlein had mathematically proven the potential danger of this; hurling rocks from the Moon to the Earth can be done with a minimum of effort and would result in a great deal of damage. Ask any dinosaur.)

However, Dennis Hope saw this as an opportunity rather than an obstacle. He wasn't, after all, a nation; he was an individual. The law only forbade nations from owning the Moon. And so, Dennis simply announced it was his.

There is some precedent for this. After all, Pope Alexander VI had never been to the New World; but that didn't stop him from creating the Line of Demarcation that split South America between his two biggest fans (ignoring the millions of people who already lived there).

Of course, the commute to the Moon is somewhat grueling (not to mention expensive) so Dennis did what any sensible holder of real estate would do: He sold the Moon. In one-acre parcels. For $19.99 each.

So far, he has sold $9 million dollars worth.


Legal experts are pretty much agreed that none of the recipients of these one-acre deeds will ever be able to claim their property, even given easy access to the Moon via space ship or wormhole. Many states and countries have corollaries to their real estate and property laws to prevent wanton claiming of new-found lands, that state that a simple claim to the territory is not enough; the claimant must also demonstrate "intent to occupy," something that, at this time, is difficult to do with the Moon and any other celestial body. Having purchased the land prior to any possibility of actually occupying that land, itself, makes the deed null and void.

Now, you'd think that Mr. Hope was, pretty blatantly, guilty of fraud. He is, after all, selling something that doesn't exist: his own "claim" to the Moon. He has defrauded enough victims to make $9 million off of them. So, has he been punished? Sent to prison? Made to do community service?

No. According to his web site,

Mr. Hope has been named co-chairman of the Republican Congressional Business Advisory Council. He has also been given the National Republican Leadership Award and most recently he has been issued the highest honor the National Republican Congressional Committee has, the prestigious Republican Gold Medal.

Hmmm. Why am I not surprised?