Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A libertarian paradise: Peter Thiel, Seasteading, and the rejection of progress


Get a load o' this:

Pay Pal founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel has given $1.25 million to an initiative to create floating libertarian countries in international waters, according to a profile of the billionaire in Details magazine.

Thiel has been a big backer of the Seasteading Institute, which seeks to build sovereign nations on oil rig-like platforms to occupy waters beyond the reach of law-of-the-sea treaties. The idea is for these countries to start from scratch -- free from the laws, regulations, and moral codes of any existing place.

Details says the experiment would be "a kind of floating petri dish for implementing policies that libertarians, stymied by indifference at the voting booths, have been unable to advance: no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons."

Oh, libertarians, they're so fucking stupid, aren't they?

I guess Singapore isn't good enough for them, maybe a little too tyrannical for them.

Obviously this sort of, er, community would be a paradise only for the select super-rich -- or, rather, only for a select group of super-rich douchebags. You know, the sort of people who don't give a shit about anyone but themselves, and who would rather live on their own in the middle of the ocean, far away from the rest of humanity. (Their poor children, though.)

Now, I could make a Waterworld joke, but I won't. (That's what we may end up with if the global warming denialists have their way. Maybe that's what these libertarians are preparing for -- that or some other apocalypse they're helping bring about.)

I could also make reference to Hobbes's state of nature, which is pretty much what you get when you take government (and law), including self-government, out of the picture. There, life is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." But of course these douchebags would, at least for a time, live according to the conventions of the super-rich. There wouldn't be war "of every man against every man," at least at first.

But you know what? I say bon voyage. Let them try. They don't like the laws that have allowed them to become so rich? They long for the days of child labor? They don't want to be bound by any codes? They want to be completely free -- or at least as completely free as you can be on some small floating artificial island in the middle of the ocean?

Fine.

But when their paradise turns to hell, when they start warring with one another (with all those guns at their unregulated disposal, with a class system inevitably arising, with humans being humans) or when their "islands" start sinking (or when future generations rebel and demand progress and a more human and civilized way of life), and when they then reach out for help...

Couldn't we then tell them to go fuck themselves?

While we watch the demise of the libertarian dream?

(Before that, though, perhaps we could convince Ron and Rand Paul to move there -- and to take the whole fucking Tea Party with them. Time for them all to walk the walk, it seems to me.)

**********

For more on the whole Seasteading insanity, see here.

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5 Comments:

  • They're in for a little libertarian surprise when global warming or the next tsunami wipes them off the sea chart. At least they'll die locked and loaded.

    By Anonymous chris, at 1:08 PM  

  • Haha... I initially read your last paragraph as "Time for them all to walk the plank", which I also liked.

    By Anonymous TOP123, at 3:44 PM  

  • Bioshock already has an answer for what happens when you put a lot of unrestrained yet smart people together in an isolated area (in Bioshock's case, UNDER the sea).

    Smart and rich people can be really good at being good, and really good and being bad. You can't take the human out of them.

    By Blogger Corban, at 9:35 AM  

  • Sounds like a bunch of little boys playing Peter Pan.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 10:01 AM  

  • I understand video games aren't "deep" but Bioshock did something like this...yes, it was underwater libertarian utopia, but still similar. Considering that most games aren't "look at the pretty utopia", I leave you to guess what'll happen in the end.

    By OpenID teanhistory, at 12:34 AM  

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