Seasteading

First, I agree with Will Wilkinson that a seasteading community would likely evolve back to non-libertarian political visions. 

Second and more fundamentally, I am for the seasteading idea.  There are today many oil derricks, owned and run by energyl companies.  There are many cruise ships, with more or less autonomous legal governance.  More and bigger cruise ships would be better and if some of them moved more slowly that would be fine too.  But when I step on to a cruise ship (well, actually that's the sort of thing I don't do; personally I hate cruise ships), I don't feel I am moving from an inferior political order to a superior political order.

I've wondered whether I should retire on to a cruise ship of the future, but I'm not attracted per se by the "politics" I would get there.  I would expect more freedom in the Lockean sense but less of the positive freedom that comes from living in a larger, more diverse, and yes also a more stupid society.  I wouldn't live on the Mensa cruise ship either.  I'll take some of the stupidity of modern society (the landlubbing version) to get the diversity and the greater number of open niche spaces and free possibilities. 

On a smaller scale, I live under different kinds of corporate, non-profit and university governance all the time.  That's great, but I don't view their totalized extension as my preferred utopian path.

I'd like people to be smarter, more thoughtful, more tolerant, and more loving of liberty, yet in ways which do not drain away the diversity of the United States, which I feel is the best available foundation to build upon.  No matter how good a seasteading charter may sound, any given venture just can't be that credible until it has succeeded for a very long time.  History and precedent matter and by the way have you checked in on Estonia lately

Addendum: Here is Alex on seasteading.

Comments

I don't think its fair to say that a cruise ship is legally autonomous. What would happen if Carnival decided to start caning troublemakers?

On a related note, how would you feel about a hypothetical peaceful disunion of the states?

What are the seasteads going to do when the Somali pirates of the future show up?

Extrapolating current trends, there may be more failed states in the future and pirates from them will range farther and farther from their own shores, plying not just the Indian Ocean but all the others, with ever-increasing levels of technology and weaponry.

If seasteads arm themselves to the teeth, this implies a level of taxation and military drills and discipline that are probably incompatible with libertarian freedoms; if they make defense arrangements with traditional governments, they would have to pay heavily for it not just financially but also in terms of entanglements and major concessions (extradition treaties, prohibitions on tax havens and data havens, etc); if they hire mercenaries like the former Blackwater, there would still be an enormous expense and the risk that their protectors would stage a coup d'etat and take over.

This issue is probably a showstopper for the seasteading idea, but somehow doesn't seem to be on their radar screen.

Anonymous: seasteading proponents do not necessarily believe that all seasteads will become libertarian paradises, only that they will allow people to live in the (practical) government that best suits them.

Friedman, for example, is all for having very traditional religious sects having a space of their own: http://athousandnations.com/2009/05/11/choosing-the-non-libertarian-good-life/

I'd live here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principality_of_Sealand

To assman:

"Why would they do that? Blackwater is after money."

Yes but wouldn't they make more money in dictatorship?

"In a functional sense I think North America is close to an anarchy and if you did eliminate the government you wouldn't notice many new freedoms."

Have you tried to open your own business? Have you tried to purchase health care insurance without paying for tons of treatments you don't want? Have you smoked marijuana in a public park without hiding in the bushes? Do you have the choice of which school you want to send your kid to? Etc. etc... My point is that you don't recognize how much better things would be because the options aren't even available to you - we aren't free enough to choose them.

assman,

Try not paying taxes some time or not losing the value of your savings through monetary dilution. This would certainly open up some new opportunities for most people.

And would those governments really let people leave?

To be sure, they would try to stop it. But if the would-be immigrants had somewhere to go, they could get around the restrictions. The biggest problem that immigrants from those countries face is that other countries prevent them from fleeing.

First, I agree with Will Wilkinson that a seasteading community would likely evolve back to non-libertarian political visions.

Second and more fundamentally, I am for the seasteading idea.

I knew it! Tyler is against libertarianism!

My basic question about seasteading: Wouldn't it get lonely?

The biggest problem that immigrants from those countries face is that other countries prevent them from fleeing.

Not hardly. South Korea doesn't prevent Koreans from the North from entering (except the ones in uniform); the United States generally doesn't prevent Cubans from entering. Chinese who make it to Taiwan aren't forcibly sent back. East Germans were accepted into West Germany if they could get there; eventually they took the whole country.

There are some cases where the practical escape routes are closed, such as Burma, but by and large, there are two main problems that people face trying to leave tyrannical regimes: geography and their own government.

This discussion calls for the old Samuel Johnson quote (reportedly in Boswell's Life):

"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned."

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