A small but passionate minority is deeply dissatisfied
with current political systems. These people seek the autonomy to live
under and experiment with different political, social, and economic systems
than currently exist. It is this search for sovereignty, for the freedom of
self-government, which is the fundamental motivation for seasteading.
That’s Patri Friedman (son of David, son of Milton) and Wayne Gramlich in their seasteading manifesto. In interesting news, The Seasteading Institute has secured funding of $500,000 from PayPal founder Peter Thiel to help make the idea a reality.
Long-term trends are somewhat favorable for seasteading because with a cell phone and internet access more and more people could live on a seastead and make a living. Cruise ships are already floating cities with few regulations or taxes. Harold Berman argues that the rise of the West was due to competitive law. Homeowner’s organizations, hotels and condos are private governments (for more see my edited book The Voluntary City.).
Competitive law appears to increase efficiency but it’s less clear that competition among governments gives rise to a libertarian world. Homeowner associations, for example, often impose stricter zoning regulations than cities. You could say that the system as a whole is more libertarian, but no one lives in the system as a whole.
Maybe liberty comes not from choice of government but from forcing people who are unlike to live together. Isn’t the real reason the First Amendment has any force not that people agree on the value of freedom of speech but rather that they disagree on who they want to shut up? Is religious freedom a product of agreement on the value of religious freedom or is it a product of disagreement on who is going to hell?
Still I hope for the best and congratulate Patri. Seasteading has come a long way.