Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Libertarian Utopia

For the love of the Goddess I so wish this would really happen:
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."
Assume the money is for R & D, since I'm pretty sure $1.25 million wouldn't buy a bathroom in Rush Limbaugh's house, much less build a whole island. But wouldn't it be great to see what grows in that "petri dish?" I've been thinking for years these guys should set up their own country and try to live by their lofty principles.


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Blogger merlallen said...

I don't understand why all of those idiots aren't living in Somalia. Isn't it the perfect libertarian state?

7:24:00 PM  
Blogger LittleShirley said...

Nobody studies history anymore -not even recent history BUT has it
occurred to anyone some of us tried this very thing in the late 60's and 70's? See any hippie communes still around? After a short while you get tired of the freeloading dreamers who want to share in what your work accomplished and everyone sees the need for a good dentist, who never yet bought into a communal lifestyle.

9:59:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I have some libertarian friends that I'm very fond of, but in general the whole glibertarian thing escapes me. They're so very earnest about debating the theory, think it would them some good to see what it looks like in practice. I honestly hope this is a real project, and not just some kind of spoof, so they can.

And Little Shirley, the communes had some rules about contributing to the greater good of the community. More socialistic than libertarian I think, but yeah, the freeloaders did ruin the whole vibe.

10:11:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Mostly the debate about the theory is really just repeating it in ever more stentorian tones. The Somalia example isn't too far off, but there are more orderly countries like The Bahamas with no taxes and lots and lots of abject poverty and damned little opportunity. Most of the wealth -- you guessed it -- is in the hands of very few individuals and multinational corporations who become the de facto government leaving the real government to arrest people for petty crime.

None of these grand theories, like Communism, can survive without vicious oppression needed to keep people from opting out, but they may often work in small groups with subsistence economies -- at least for a time.

This proposed "experiment" isn't a real world situation of any kind and I'm guessing it's mostly a scam to avoid paying US taxes.

I do feel sympathetic to some libertarian causes - keeping the government out of our private lives, for instance. Tempering our imperialistic urges and keeping them from enforcing their puritanical codes and from squelching science and education, but that's as far as it goes.

These folks aren't so much against government as they're against Democracy because they want all the political power to be congruent with financial power: an entrepreneurial class and the serfs. It's just a whitewashed kind of feudalism we saw last during the Industrial Revolution -- but haven't seen the last of.

8:59:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Good point Fogg. I'm also sympathetic to parts of the libertarian ideology but they always lose me when it comes to their defense of the corporatocracy.

9:15:00 AM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Of course we live in a society where growing up is the very most worstest thing ever and where little boys like to wear their baseball caps and dream of going off to live with Peter Pan and never ever have to wash or brush their teeth and never, never, never grow up.

Some of us have the money to do it, most don't.

I think it's more likely to resemble the Lord of the Flies than Peter's merry bunch however and I'll bet they won't even invite Wendy.

10:08:00 AM  

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