Motives for colonization of space
All sorts of arguments and disagreements have sprung up about possible motives for off-world settlement. But who says there only has to be one? People often do things for different reasons. So let's hash out as many possible reasons as ...possible that people might want to live "where no one has lived before".
1. Survival-- people might want to make sure at least some people survive a planetwide disaster.
2. Fear-- individuals might want to make sure they personally survive a possible planetwide disaster.
3. Religious or political isolationism-- some groups might want to start their own society well away from the influences of the rest of the world, or to flee persecution (real or percieved).
4. Economic-- Assuming we someday create jobs above the stratosphere, and these jobs require a direct human presence, people go where the work is.
5. Scientific-- Same as economic, but the job in question is SCIENCE!
6. Religious/philosophic relation to space-- Some groups or individuals might believe that being in space has some direct benefit, such as making them closer to the cosmos/heaven/ET.
7. Status-- The uber-rich might like to lord it over others by saying "my other house is also a space station".
8. National status-- the Space Race-after-next might be to see who can establish the first viable colony.
9. Fleeing disaster-- Assuming a planetwide disaster does occur, some may be able to escape.
10. Exile-- space as Gulag.
Note that I have deliberately avoided giving probabilities or timelines for each scenario; if you choose to do so, please include why you think so. Also, any other potential motivations are welcome, hopefully with explanations.
STARGAZING: All I see are the lights of a billion places I'll never go. --Howard Tayler, Schlock Mercenary