Ship of Fools. No, Really.

Please tell me this is spoof:

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.”

When I think of building a permanent floating city in the middle of the ocean, I know the first thing that comes my mind is really loosening up building standards.

Can we go ahead and set free-market prices for rescue costs?

(via email)

194 replies
  1. 1
    Steve says:

    There’s some precedent for this, and enough material for a movie: Principality of Sealand

  2. 2
    ellie says:

    I would like to be the first to say, Bon Voyage loons!

  3. 3
    zzyzx says:

    No spoof. That idea has been around for decades and yet – somehow – people prefer to live in our non-Libertopia land countries.

  4. 4
    Liberal Sandlapper says:

    A fool and his money…

  5. 5
    me says:

    “…I chose the impossible. I chose… Rapture. A city where the artist would not fear the censor. Where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality. Where the great would not be constrained by the small. And with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city as well.”
    ―Andrew Ryan

  6. 6
    aisce says:

    cool. when do we get to the part where we can buy plasmids out of vending machines?

    a man chooses, a slave obeys.

  7. 7
    Bruce S says:

    “Looser building codes” on a floating city ? Good luck with that.

    Didn’t Kevin Costner make a movie about this?

  8. 8
    Keith G says:

    I want Nick Gillespie as their live-in president. Bon voyage Nicky.

  9. 9
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I’m sorry, but it’s pretty obvious that while the voting booth has plenty of not very bright people, they have enough smarts to reject libertarian bullshit like this.

    The good thing is, it’s separating dumbfucks like Thiel from their money.

  10. 10
    The Bobs says:

    I wonder if it ever occurs to these guys that their businesses are totally dependent on the internet, which was not created by the magic hand of the free market.

  11. 11
    aisce says:

    darn, me beat me to it.

  12. 12

    A floating city/state, out in the middle of the ocean, with loose building codes and easy weapon regulations?

    LOL! Go for it, dudes!

  13. 13
    Hunter Gathers says:

    Can we go ahead and set free-market prices for rescue costs?

    I’m pretty sure that the Invisible Hand would judge such costs as not cost effective, and let the Island Of Misfit Glibertarians sink into the ocean.

  14. 14
    Han's Big Snark Solo says:

    “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.”

    Yeah, I think this is a great idea.

    I would suggest, however, that whoever it is that issues Darwin Awards may need to institute a new group award.

  15. 15
    Dave says:

    Simple question for these sea-faring blokes: How ya gonna eat?

  16. 16
    PeakVT says:

    Requiring marine-grade fittings is TYRANNY, I tells ya.

  17. 17
    Thoughtcrime says:

    This comment: http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....nt-2729023 is even more appropriate here.

  18. 18
    Suffern ACE says:

    I thought this was old news from a few years ago. Isn’t he the guy who is investing in immortality as well.

  19. 19
    Tonal Crow says:

    Why do they need to do this? There’s already a country with no government, no taxes, an anything-goes bidness environment, nearly universal belief in God, and plenteous firearms, all with hardly a liberal to be found. It’s called “Somalia”.

  20. 20
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    Dear Somali pirates, enclosed please find a map to your wildest dreams…

  21. 21
    j low says:

    Waterworld lives!

  22. 22

    Invest another $174M and Thiel can make Waterworld.

  23. 23
    Alwhite says:

    why go out to sea? simply move to Somolia which is already a libertarian paradise without the salt water.

  24. 24
    bemused says:

    I think Jack Welch in his book floated something almost identical to this using a ship instead and move around to what ever country had the lowest tax rates and cheapest labor.

  25. 25
    bobbo says:

    Isn’t a petri dish where you grow diseases?

  26. 26
    Slugger says:

    If rich people build autonomous islands in the middle of the sea, me and my Somalian crew will be all over it.

  27. 27
    Danton says:

    Somalia on stilts!

  28. 28

    Has the Invisible Hand been taking swimming lessons?

  29. 29
    SFAW says:

    Instead of wasting all the money on developing the technology, etc., why don’t they just find a way to set Somalia adrift? It’s a Libertarian paradise after all, isn’t it?

    If Somalia is NFG (too many darkies for his/their taste), they could always create their own Galt’s Gulch. I know just the place! The lat/long are:
    37° 45′ 0″ N / 140° 28′ 0″ E

    As the saying goes: Go Galt already, will you?
    The rest of us have real work to do, and clearing out you loonies will remove another barrier to our making real progress.

  30. 30
    lacp says:

    A community at sea “free from the laws, regulations, and moral codes of any existing place?” That didn’t pan out so well for Blackbeard, did it?

  31. 31
    quannlace says:

    indifference at the voting booths,

    In other words, people not voting the way they think they should.

    Can we interest the Tea Partiers in these floating burgs as well?

  32. 32
    Margarita says:

    the experiment would be “a kind of floating petri dish

    QFT.

  33. 33
    Citizen Alan says:

    Too many others have already made funnier jokes than I can come up with, so I’ll ask a serious question — How the fuck is it possible to play Bio-Shock, which is set in the aftermath of the collapse of a libertarian “utopia,” and think “yeah, we should totally do that… but better!”

  34. 34
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Hunter Gathers:

    I’m pretty sure that the Invisible Hand would judge such costs as not cost effective, and let the Island Of Misfit Glibertarians sink into the ocean.

    The wonderful world of political economy even has a handy term for this sort of thing: Sunk Costs

    Come to think of it, Sunk Costs really should be name of their “country”.

  35. 35
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Han’s Big Snark Solo: How can you have loose building codes on the water? Don’t you need “stronger” building codes when you’re building on an unstable platform? Or do you let your numb nut neighbor sink your city?

  36. 36
    trollhattan says:

    Then I’m building a libertarian submarine and then extorting using free market principles to determine the value of my not sinking the floating libertarian cities.

    Anybody who has endured an overachieving homeowners’ association will understand what life aboard a libertarian boat will quickly become. Only better armed.

  37. 37
    quannlace says:

    Meet the new Hole In The Wall gang.

  38. 38
    beltane says:

    Ship of fools, on a cruel sea….

    Do these people not realize that the cry of “every man for himself” only applies when the ship is sinking? I guess when you have a ship where everyone is captain the sinking scenario tends to play out sooner than expected.

  39. 39
    jaime says:

    Dude’s played too much BioShock.

  40. 40
    Ken says:

    @bemused: I think Jack Welch in his book floated something almost identical to this using a ship instead and move around to what ever country had the lowest tax rates and cheapest labor.

    I’m obviously missing some nuance of this genius plan. Why would the labor rates in the country where you dock matter? Is this ship going to be a floating factory, taking on workers every time it makes port?

  41. 41
    tBone says:

    Mock Thiel all you want – I’m behind him 100%. I’ve been saying for years that we need a Golgafrincham B Ark.

  42. 42
    Alex S. says:

    A nation that consists of billionaires only…

  43. 43
    Morbo says:

    Build it off the coast of Puntland. Come on guys, you know that’s the best place for it.

  44. 44
    Thoughtcrime says:

    Here’s one of their board meetings:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dW9-llaIS-g

  45. 45
    Mattminus says:

    If they got this off teh ground (pun completely intended), how long do you think it would be before harems of 3rd world child brides became a libertarian value?

  46. 46
    dmsilev says:

    a kind of floating petri dish

    For the first six months, anyway. After that, the invisible hand of the free market will decide that running the bilge pumps is an unnecessary collectivist expense and it will become the latest nucleation spot for a new coral reef.

  47. 47
    acallidryas says:

    I think this is a fantastic idea, and if it gets built I will donate money to help with transportation costs for those who wish to settle there. In fact, we should all help these libertarians live out their dreams far, far away from us.

  48. 48
    4tehlulz says:

    I’m sure that, as a matter of principle, they will reject any assistance from the Coast Guard when one of their floating paradises goes Titanic.

  49. 49
    NonyNony says:

    Yeah. Guys like this have been threatening to “Go Galt” to their floating former oil-rig now “libertarian paradise” country for at least a couple of decades. I remember libertarian dopes on the Internet floating these ideas back in the days of Usenet.

    The only thing shocking to me is that, outside of Sealand, nobody’s actually tried it yet. I think when they figure out that slavery will still probably be frowned upon by the rest of the world governments, the economics of the whole thing start to look a bit bad. After all, someone still needs to clean the toilets and tend to the hydroponic gardens and the algae tanks. And it isn’t like these guys are proposing a Utopian Commune where it’s all “from each according to his ability” and all that.

  50. 50
    Mary says:

    Haven’t the scientologists already tried this?

  51. 51
    joeyess says:

    Nope. It’s real. I read about this 3 or 4 years ago. He’s dead serious.

    Waterworld!! With SMOKERS!!

  52. 52
    demz taters says:

    They could just follow L. Ron Hubbard’s Sea Org model.

    Edit: Oops Mary beat me to it!

  53. 53
    jacy says:

    Think of all the job creation for pirates!

    I think it’s a win/win.

  54. 54
    YellowDog says:

    And what will be the basis for their economies? Fishing? Oil? Billionaire welfare? This should end well. Unless everyone is rich, what happens when the have-less want more from the have-more? With no restrictions on weapons, perhaps the economies will be based on piracy. There you have it–Somalia on a raft.

  55. 55
    Nethead Jay says:

    Oh yeah, Peter Thiel has been a true believer libertarian for a long time. Same with the idea of the seaborne unbound-by-pesky-laws freedom paradise/fiefdom.

  56. 56
    Dennis SGMM says:

    Libertarians are the only group in the world who would build their own island in order to re-enact Lord of the Flies.

  57. 57
    TooManyJens says:

    and few restrictions on weapons

    They’re going to have any restrictions on weapons? Statists! Jackbooted thugs want to take away your nuclear warheads!

  58. 58
    Jay in Oregon says:

    The idea is for these countries to start from scratch—free from the laws, regulations, and moral codes of any existing place.

    Wait, I thought liberals were supposed to be the cloistered, ivory-tower elites who have no understanding of how the real world works?

    I’m reminded of the scene in Young Frankenstein where Frederick says “Whatever you do, do not let me out. If I scream, if I beg, do not let me out.” Of course, we all know what happens once he gets in there and the monster wakes up. (I wish I could find that clip!)

    So what happens to the people who can’t make it in Sealibertopia? Do they have to have a return ticket prepaid? Are they fed to the sharks? Turned into Soylent Green?

  59. 59
  60. 60
    Alwhite says:

    @tBone:

    I used to think that too but remember what happened to Golgafrincham once they were rid of the useless 3rd.

  61. 61
    Nemesis says:

    Typical claptrap from 50 year old billionaires who posses the cognitive abilities of 12 year olds.

    Glibertarianism is dismissed for a reason. Its childish.

  62. 62
  63. 63
    The Dangerman says:

    Let’s ask Governor Daniels and some folks in and around Indianapolis what they think of loose building standards (or, in the case of the stage in question, NO standards).

  64. 64
    andy says:

    This brings to mind a great essay China Mieville wrote about this very subject (his own novel, Scar, was set on a floating city, though it was no Libertarian water park):

    It is a libertarian dream. Hexagonal neighborhoods of square apartments bob sedately by tiny coiffed parks and tastefully featureless marinas, an Orange County of the soul. It is the ultimate gated community, designed not by the very rich and certainly not by the very powerful, but by the middlingly so. As a utopia, the Atlantis Project is pitiful. Beyond the single one-trick fact of its watery location, it is tragically non-ambitious, crippled with class anxiety, nostalgic not for mythic glory but for the anonymous sanctimony of an invented 1950s. This is no ruling class vision: it is the plaintive daydream of a petty bourgeoisie, whose sulky solution to perceived social problems is to run away—set sail into a tax-free sunset.

  65. 65
    Derf says:

    They can get Johnson to be the president of the floating country. Hopefully he can take Greenwald and Cole with him.

  66. 66
    danimal says:

    Who’s going to apply to be Police Chief in this libertarian utopia? Everyone’s packing, laws are minimal to non-existent and nobody wants governmental interference. Should work out well.

    Actually, this is a better idea than the “let’s all move to a lightly populated state and take it over” libertarian strategy that’s been promoted the past few years. Because there are still sane New Hampsherites and Wyomians (sp?).

  67. 67
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @YellowDog:

    Unless everyone is rich, what happens when the have-less want more from the have-more?

    http://www.angryflower.com/atlass.gif

    (Ooh, there’s another one! http://www.angryflower.com/murgal.html)

  68. 68
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Same premise, really, as James O’Keefe’s Dildo Catamaran.

  69. 69
    Martin says:

    no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.

    So, subsistance-level earners with ready access to firearms on a floating deathtrap? Honestly, how is this different from Somalia in any way?

  70. 70
    PeakVT says:

    Also, too, Uncle Sam has already claims authority over the high seas:

    The Congress shall have Power … To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations

  71. 71
    Jules says:

    This is a brilliant example of nature culling the herd.

  72. 72
    Dongo says:

    Hey, it worked out pretty darned well in BioShock!

  73. 73
    srv says:

    Can’t we just give them all South Carolina and be done with it?

    Rove and Pete Wehner come to the defense of Bernanke.

    And Perry wants Predator drones for Texas. Yeehaa.

  74. 74
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .

    The idea is for these countries to start from scratch—free from the laws, regulations, and moral codes of any existing place.

    Perhaps President Obama would consider selling some of the U.S. black site infrastructure and technology, which he and his administration have been busily perfecting since transferring ownership from George W. Bush, as franchises in lieu of a national jobs program in order to raise revenue and pay down the deficit.
    .
    .

  75. 75
    Jacob Beizer says:

    Would you kindly follow through on your threat and move the fuck away from this country to build your steampunk wet dream? The rest of us will be just fine without you.

  76. 76
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @joeyess:

    Thiel’s Atoll.

    And rather a raging atoll at that.

  77. 77
    Sad_Dem says:

    As Mary and demz taters have already pointed out, this idea has been tried by the late demented cult leader, L. Ron Hubbard. He had a fleet, and everywhere it docked, it wore out its welcome, because he couldn’t resist interfering with local governments. Also, it was a libertarian paradise for him but more like slavery for everyone else.

    The idea didn’t work out too well for Homer Simpson, either.

  78. 78
    Joe Max says:

    This is such an UNlibertarian idea.

    Obviously, the ones living on it will have made their money (to pay their way into the libertarian utopia) in the various land-based countries they came from. The nation of “Libertardvania” will have very little to offer in international trade. A small fishing industry, perhaps, possibly ore extraction (including sea salt), but what exactly are these Galtian supermen supposed to PRODUCE that would support them in the manner in which they are accustomed? Tourism, I suppose, but that’s not producing anything. They’ll have to buy on the international market almost everything to support life.

    What they’ve got there is nothing more than a permanently anchored casino ship that allows the tourists to drink, snort cocaine and walk around with loaded handguns. What could possibly go wrong?

    (Hmmm, lemme think… a major storm knocks all their systems out and they revert to cannibalism?)

  79. 79
    jesdynf says:

    There’s a reason that the guy who came up with PayPal doesn’t like none of that gubmint regulation. PayPal will /flee/ any country that dares regulate it like a bank.

  80. 80
    Portzrebie Ersatz says:

    Vessels on the high seas “free from the laws, regulations, and moral codes of any existing place”.

    Libertarian paradise means you can steal, murder and rape whenever you want. And be stolen from, murdered and raped whenever someone stronger than you wants.

    Sounds like Darfur on the high seas.

    But didn’t they used to call people who actually did this sort of thing in a maritime setting, ‘pirates’?

  81. 81
    scarshapedstar says:

    Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow?

    And am I not entitled to see Nick Gillespie shambling around in a Big Daddy suit while Dana Loesch skips up to corpses and drains them of their precious bodily fluids?

  82. 82
    me says:

    @Dongo: Yeah, everyone died (or became a mindless monster).

  83. 83
    Stefan says:

    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.”

    Umm, no need to take to the seas, as such a magical wonderland already exists.

    It’s called Somalia.

  84. 84
    joeyess says:

    And am I not entitled to see Nick Gillespie shambling around in a Big Daddy suit while Dana Loesch skips up to corpses and drains them of their precious bodily fluids?

    I picture The Fonzi of Freedom as more of a Furry, with Dana chasing him with a whip.

  85. 85
    jibeaux says:

    I assume parents would be able to choose not to vaccinate their children on these paradises lost. Good thing there will be an ocean between my younguns and Galtopia.

  86. 86
    MarkJ says:

    You guys are all missing the point on Somalia. Yes, it is libertarian. And, yes, life there is miserable. But that’s because dark skinned people are applying libertarian principles there.

    If you got a bunch of white people together who applied those the same libertarian principles, the outcome would be different. It would be paradise on earth.

  87. 87
    HG Hay says:

    China Mieville wrote a really excellent piece on libertarian utopias a few years back. http://www.inthesetimes.com/ar.....g_utopias/

  88. 88
    The Raven says:

    I think you’ve earned “croak of the day,” John.

    “PayPal will /flee/ any country that dares regulate it like a bank.”

    Actually, no, they haven’t.

    Floating islands have to be among the places least suited to libertarian governance.

  89. 89
    Sentient Puddle says:

    The problem with Rapture? Clearly it should have been built above water. Duh.

  90. 90
    Stefan says:

    “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.”

    Because if there’s one thing you want out in the middle of the ocean when the 100 foot high waves start to hit your structure, it’s looser building codes.

  91. 91
    Stefan says:

    Damn, now that I keep reading I see that other commenters got here ahead of me….

  92. 92
    YellowDog says:

    @Jay in Oregon:

    Excellent.

    Someone will have to clean the toilets, which means a demand for cheap imported labor (because rich people don’t do that unless they are at the Betty Ford Clinic). Wait, someone explain how this is new and improved.

  93. 93
    fuzed says:

    Hopefully they partially finance by running reality TV. Lord of Flies part duex( the Angry Adult Years)?

  94. 94
    Laura says:

    One way to alter the gene pool.

  95. 95
    Tim in SF says:

    I swear to god, this is straight out of Bioshock.

  96. 96
    bottyguy says:

    “no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.”

    Isn’t that Texas?

  97. 97
    eyelessgame says:

    I am just *loving* “petri dishes”.

    Hey, I’d consider investing in this scheme if it would get some libertarians moved out of this country.

  98. 98
    jlredford says:

    There already is such a venture, the condo cruise ship “The World”, run by ResidenSea:

    http://www.aboardtheworld.com/

    164 units, 664 feet long, launched in 2002. It continually travels the ocean, going from Scandanavia to Antarctica and back. The units go for $800K to $7M. It took 4 years to sell them all, but new ones come on the market now and then. Travel itineraries are set by the owners.

    Nobody else seems to have been able to make this work though (http://www.miamiherald.com/200.....t-sea.html), so maybe there are a limited number of roving zillionaires.

  99. 99
    Arclite says:

    One would think the money would be better spent taking over the government of a small country like some Caribbean island by electing sympathetic candidates, then implementing libertarian policies that way. You could essentially buy governmental positions in some of these smaller countries, and wouldn’t have to worry about actually building a floating landmass. It would take some time, but eventually you’d have the exact laws you wanted.

  100. 100
    D-Chance. says:

    Maybe these guys can be hired to do the insulation

    Last year, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced the city had won a coveted $20 million federal grant to invest in weatherization. The unglamorous work of insulating crawl spaces and attics had emerged as a silver bullet in a bleak economy – able to create jobs and shrink carbon footprint – and the announcement came with great fanfare.

    McGinn had joined Vice President Joe Biden in the White House to make it. It came on the eve of Earth Day. It had heady goals: creating 2,000 living-wage jobs in Seattle and retrofitting 2,000 homes in poorer neighborhoods.

    But more than a year later, Seattle’s numbers are lackluster. As of last week, only three homes had been retrofitted and just 14 new jobs have emerged from the program. Many of the jobs are administrative…

    Your Obamacovery at work… heh.

  101. 101
    TooManyJens says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Same premise, really, as James O’Keefe’s Dildo Catamaran.

    You owe me a new keyboard.

  102. 102
    artem1s says:

    @tBone:

    damn, beat me to it!

  103. 103
  104. 104
    karen marie says:

    no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.

    Aren’t people who live like this generally referred to as pirates?

  105. 105
    fuzed says:

    @Tim in SF: Can Fiction sue Reality for copyright? Nevermind, the Sealanders can claim fair use in that it will be much more humorous, therefore only partly derivative.

  106. 106
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    @MarkJ:

    You guys are all missing the point on Somalia. Yes, it is libertarian. And, yes, life there is miserable. But that’s because dark skinned people are applying libertarian principles there. If you got a bunch of white people together who applied those the same libertarian principles, the outcome would be different. It would be paradise on earth.

    Exactly. This new place would be more like a tiny Cayman Islands, without THEIR black people.

  107. 107
    AnnaN says:

    Hahahahahaha. Oh my – I would pay Comcast extra to watch the pirate raids on those floating islands via satellite.

  108. 108
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Of all the libertarian assholes I hate, the IT ones I hate the most.

    The evil state CREATED the fucking internet. This vile piece of shit wouldn’t have his millions without the government forcing the issue on computers talking over phone lines, which Ma Bell said couldn’t possibly happen, ever.

  109. 109
    Paul in KY says:

    @Comrade Javamanphil: That’s what I was thinking. If the ‘country’ is not recognized by any pre-existing country & is in international waters to boot, can’t anyone with enough firepower take it over & it wouldn’t actually be a crime (as defined by Law of the Sea & UN, etc.)?

  110. 110
    Nethead Jay says:

    @HG Hay: Yup, he really nails it in that piece

  111. 111
    ruemara says:

    The staggering amount of wealth that it takes to LARP Rapture. And absolutely zero brain power.

  112. 112
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Arclite: Yep. You might actually need to buy that “country that is recognized by all the great powers and the UN” status. That might be a helpful thing to have, especially if your alternative is a country that can be sunk with a few cruise missiles.

  113. 113
    Judas Escargot says:

    More funny: An offshore oil rig like Deepwater Horizon, the closest thing to this that’s actually been built, cost $350-700 million to construct. So you’re talking, what, maybe $1.5-3.0 BILLION to build a habitat like the one described?

    So, $1.25 million isn’t even one percent of what you’d need.

  114. 114

    I’d love to see this happen. I suspect that it will become a totalitarian state that would want to attack dictatorships because they hate people living under normal tyrannies for their freedoms. But I could be wrong – it could be completely dysfunctional and result in many deaths. Or… well.

    Or, they could surprise me. But I don’t think they will.

    If they did, i think it would be like private schools. Private schools don’t do better because private beats public; private schools do better because they don’t have to deal with a student they don’t want to deal with.

  115. 115
    bemused says:

    @Ken:

    I couldn’t quite remember exactly what he said but he said this years ago, “Ideally you’d have every plant you own on a barge” ready to move if any national government tried to impos restraints on the factories’ operations, or if workers demanded better wages and working conditions.

  116. 116
    Kirk Spencer says:

    I want to see what happens to their libertarian principles when the first tropical storm (or its equivalent) rolls through the nation.

  117. 117
    Mark says:

    Peter Thiel: “I remain committed to the faith of my teenage years” http://www.cato-unbound.org/20.....bertarian/

    He’s the asswipe who wrote this:

    “Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of “capitalist democracy” into an oxymoron.”

    He should go DIAF on his island where there’s no publicly-funded fire department to save him.

  118. 118
  119. 119
    numbskull says:

    @bemused: But how is that any different than the current floating pleasure palaces that grace Monaco (pun intended) and other luxury ports?

  120. 120
    Mumbly_joe says:

    This reminds me of the “Republic of Minerva“, a attempt at the same thing in the South Pacific, in the 70’s.

    What happened? They were run off by the Tongan Army, which annexed the Minerva reefs. Well, huh: guess government is good for something, after all.

  121. 121

    The Galtians don’t actually have to live on their glorified barges. They just need tax-free citizenship, like a corporate Cayman Islands mailbox for their persons.

  122. 122
    trollhattan says:

    @Judas Escargot:

    I could totally do it on the cheap. Buy a well-used North Korean container ship, stack it with used containers and sell them to the rubes Patriots–top layer costs the most.

    Bon Voyage from the Looters!

  123. 123
    Sloegin says:

    It’s the Poly-Sci equivalent of CosPlay with water wings.

  124. 124
    EvolutionaryDesign says:

    @me: Coincidentally, I am playing Bioshock right now. This philosophy works marvelously! Any chance Thiel is developing Plasmids with these looser weapon restrictions?

  125. 125
    EvolutionaryDesign says:

    @aisce: Beat me to it by a mile!

  126. 126
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Suffern ACE: Probably wants to prove that because of enlightened self-interest the builders would make their own codes stricter and tighter. (Yeah, right; I know of a bridge I could sell them.)

  127. 127
    Cain says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    A floating city/state, out in the middle of the ocean, with loose building codes and easy weapon regulations?

    even better, no banking rules.. it would be a pirate heaven!

    Basically, waterworld meets mad max! What could possibly go wrong?!

    In the end though, you know what would happen right? RIAA and MPAA will have to shut down all these cities because of mp3 piracy.

  128. 128
    PurpleGirl says:

    @4tehlulz: No, not goes Titanic but gets a visit from a tsunami.

  129. 129
    cyntax says:

    Hey, I thought Snowcrash was a great read, but isn’t this taking it a little far?

  130. 130
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    Bitch-front property.

  131. 131
    Duckest Fuckingway: Ask not for whom the Duck Fucks. . . says:

    Mr. Floating Libertarian Paradise, meet Mr. Harpoon ASM (brought to you by the looters & moochers of the statist US MIC).

  132. 132
    MattR says:

    @bemused: There was a company called Sea-Code that tried to do outsourcing of computer programming to a bunch of Indian and Russian techies living on a cruise ship in international waters just off the California coast so they could avoid US labor and tax laws. Thankfully, they went out of business.

  133. 133
    Morbo says:

    @Thoughtcrime: Too small; this would call for a Harpoon.

    On the other hand, with looser building codes it might do the trick…

  134. 134
    MattR says:

    @Cain:

    RIAA and MPAA will have to shut down all these cities because of mp3 piracy.

    The Pirate Bay actually tried to buy Sealand a few years ago in an attempt to get away from RIAA, MPAA, etc.

  135. 135
    ericblair says:

    OH pleaseohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohplease do this. I’ve got a 55-gallon drum of popcorn kernels on order. Hell, they could even balance their budget by selling TV rights to this farce.

    This will be the Bizarro equivalent of the 60’s commune, where peace and freedom turn into micromanaging police state with multiple warring factions in about three weeks. Until the pirates or North Koreans pop in to scoop up a bunch of underprotected rich people to ransom them off.

  136. 136
    Ryanayr says:

    Umm, a bunch of billionaires and millionaires located, in high density, in the middle of the sea, at a fixed location?

    Good luck with pirates.

  137. 137

    I don’t know who dreams more of this, the libertardians or we looters. Let’s just make sure we charge them a very steep price if they want to use any part of our constitution as a template.

  138. 138
    Rihilism says:

    I say go for it, Galtian Overlords. Then we just need to get some sharks with frickin’ laser beams on their heads…

  139. 139
    RSA says:

    no welfare

    So if your investments go bad, you’re destitute and stuck in the middle of the ocean? I guess you head to the soylent processing center.

  140. 140
    EvolutionaryDesign says:

    @scarshapedstar: WIN

  141. 141
    AnotherBruce says:

    I give it a Friedman unit before the whole thing reverts to cannibalism.

  142. 142
    TooManyJens says:

    @Mark:

    “Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of “capitalist democracy” into an oxymoron.”

    We hippies look at a philosophy that mostly appeals to the already-privileged in society and see a problem with the philosophy. Thiel looks at it and sees a problem with the less-privileged.

  143. 143
    Cain says:

    @MattR:

    The Pirate Bay actually tried to buy Sealand a few years ago in an attempt to get away from RIAA, MPAA, etc.

    Those guys have a long reach.. you’ll never have a pure libertarian paradise without eliminating those guys!

  144. 144
    Carl Nyberg says:

    Who will want to live there?

    1. People avoiding taxes.
    2. Criminals (corporate criminals and others) seeking to avoid law enforcement.
    3. People who provide services to groups #1 and #2.

    No one wants to live in a libertarian society unless s/he is in the top 1/3 of the economic system, preferably in the top 5%.

    These experiments might work because the laborers have the option of leaving, which provides leverage when negotiating.

  145. 145
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @YellowDog:

    Someone will have to clean the toilets, which means a demand for cheap imported labor (because rich people don’t do that unless they are at the Betty Ford Clinic). Wait, someone explain how this is new and improved.

    No minimum-wage laws! That’s how it’s new and improved.

    Oh, you mean for the menial laborers? Yeah, not so much…

  146. 146
    dj spellchecka says:

    this sounds like part of the plot of a recent dc comics graphic novel called “first wave.”

    ps
    if everyone on the island is really into respecting personal property, there shouldn’t be any thieves…so why the guns…

  147. 147
    Carl Nyberg says:

    But it will be fun to call “bullshit” on American libertarians.

    “If you think libertarianism is such a great idea, why don’t you go live there for a couple years.”

  148. 148
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @ericblair:

    OH pleaseohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohplease do this. I’ve got a 55-gallon drum of popcorn kernels on order. Hell, they could even balance their budget by selling TV rights to this farce.

    George Carlin beat you to it:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmJ2snsLxWw

  149. 149
    Ken says:

    @The Raven:

    Floating islands have to be among the places least suited to libertarian governance.

    I think space would be worse, despite Heinlein. Charles Stross probably has a more accurate picture; in his novel Iron Sunrise some people are transported to a remote asteroid with some basic survival gear. His description of how they survived included the phrase “after the last libertarian tendencies had been stamped out.”

  150. 150
    Judas Escargot says:

    @trollhattan:

    I could totally do it on the cheap

    The Engineer in me presupposes that the future inhabitants are serious about, you know, survival.

    But yes, if I were working for these clowns it could be cheaper: “Just strap some inflatable rafts from Walmart together with bungie cords, man! Haven’t you ever read Snow Crash!? That’ll be 50 million dollars, please!”

  151. 151
    tBone says:

    @Alwhite:

    Well, on the one hand we have a hypothetical disease contracted by unprotected contact with dirty telephones; on the other we have a very real disease contracted by unprotected contact with the Fountainhead. If we can eliminate the latter, the former is worth the risk.

  152. 152
    Portzrebie Ersatz says:

    @beltane:

    Do these people not realize that the cry of “every man for himself” only applies when the ship is sinking?

    This.

    Life on a ship on any non-trivial body of water is the most communal, the greatest antithesis of ‘every man for himself’ I can imagine, except I suppose for life on a space station.

    The irony is that the ship as a collective of persons, is, at least while on the voyage, as almost as independent and self-reliant as libtards dream of being. But as a member of the crew of the ship, as an individual, you are utterly dependent on each other, totally reliant on each other for survival.

    Life, far from being free and doing what ever the fuck you want whenever you want, is instead regimented and disciplined. Unless you are the captain there is always someone who will tell you what to do and when to do it. It has to be or under stress and in danger the whole enterprise quickly comes undone.

    In an inhospitable environment that can kill you in minutes if your ship sinks, you can’t opt out of your responsibilities to the ship and to each other. You and your crewmates take care of the ship and each other, and the ship and your crewmates take care of you.

    An ethos and way of life totally un-glibertarian-like. So naturally they want a floating island. Glibtard logic works like that, I suppose.

    The whole idea of floating glibertarian islands just cracks me up. And when it sinks, who thought to mandate enough life boats? Pshaw! Intolerable gub’mit! Into the water! Every man for himself! Well, nothing new there.

  153. 153
    me says:

    @Ken: Even in “Moon is a Harsh Mistress” no real arguments for individualism are presented. It’s a situation where the isn’t any formal government but everyone has to work together or die. Although it’s still very unrealistic, as Bioshock suggests, crime syndicates would likely run rampant.

  154. 154
    Arclite says:

    @Judas Escargot:

    Maybe they could save money by building on a sea mount. Then the wouldn’t have to secure the habitat miles under the sea.

  155. 155
    AWL says:

    From the article that was linked in yahoo, Thiel and the guys he surrounded himself with in Stanford and at Paypal seem to be your regular, run of the mill BigGovernment conservatives (and not surprisingly he helped fund some of O’Keefe’s stunts). You know, the guys who call themselves ‘libertarian’ because it gives them an excuse to shout the n-word all day long (and not surprisingly he seemed to be quite religious/anti-gay until he got outed).

    In other words, a more net-savvy Koch Brother.

  156. 156
    elm says:

    @Mattminus: It’ll be a matter of hours. I can’t imagine a woman who would voluntarily go near such a thing.

  157. 157
  158. 158
    Ash Can says:

    A bunch of libertarian true believers out in the middle of the ocean, with lax firearms regulations and loose building codes? That’s 100%, investment-grade, 24-karat awesome. Can’t happen soon enough.

  159. 159
    Nylund says:

    More than a few have tried to start their own country. One problem is, is that many nefarious types would love to control their own country and make their own laws, be they pirates, the mob, or just evil corporations. Such new countries often get attacked and invaded. The people that start them then beg their home country to protect them. The home country says, “why should we do that if you’re not part of our country?” and the fake-country usually gives in and joins the mother-land once again.

    Long story short, to be a country, you need a standing army or the protection of a country that has one and is willing to protect you. Of course, they probably want taxes, rules, laws, and regulations in return, and if you’re an liberatarian, then what’s the point?

    In the end, its just too darn hard. Foolish libertarians think they can start something and it’ll be as equally protected and safe as the industrialized country they come from, only to learn that once Uncle Sam no longer has your back, you’re country is most likely just to become a Somalia -esque warzone.

  160. 160
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Portzrebie Ersatz:

    C.S. Forester has Horatio Hornblower waxing poetic about the “ultimate freedom” of the captain of one of His Majesty’s Ships…the perfect freedom. That is purchased at the price of the virtual enslavement of every other human being on the ship.

    The libtards all imagine they’ll be the ship captain. Without having had to earn it by being one of the slaves for years.

  161. 161
    Jamey: Bike Commuter of the Gods says:

    And when they get their Libertarian utopia, can we get S&P to downgrade its debt, too?

  162. 162
    DonkeyKong says:

    Can they please name this “idea” the Galtanic. “King of the World” indeed!

  163. 163
    The Populist says:

    Holy moly…this sounds like an idea that some twerp named Casey Serin came up with. Only difference, Thiel has the means while Serin ripped off many:

    Island Project

    In late 2009, Casey briefly engaged in another questionable business venture, when he launched the Island2012 website, located at the following web address: http://www.island2012.com/. The premise of the project was to gather enough ‘investors’ to allow Casey to purchase a tropical island by the end of 2012. The concept was largely derided by the ‘Hater’ community and led to much speculation as to Casey’s ultimate motives. After a brief set of introduction videos explaining the concept, the project (like many of Casey’s previous ventures) eventually lost steam. In early January, Casey removed nearly all the content of the site save for a countdown timer indicating the days left before the end of the year 2012.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casey_Serin

  164. 164
    Judas Escargot says:

    @Arclite:

    Maybe they could save money by building on a sea mount. Then the wouldn’t have to secure the habitat miles under the sea.

    I was going to suggest that they anchor it to the seafloor with gold ingots. Nice and heavy. Non-corrosive. The preferred base for any libertarian currency or offshore habitat.

    It’ll be a few more years before the Somali pirates get their hands on any submarines.

  165. 165
    Arclite says:

    @Judas Escargot:

    I was going to suggest that they anchor it to the seafloor with gold ingots.

    Heh, that had me laughing out loud. Nicely done.

  166. 166
    Samara Morgan says:

    Ship of Fools?

    i think NOT! Bulgakov’s Cat.

    who came floating up behind him in the deserted spacecraft. Republican innercity hospital, because she barely raised one groomed eyebrow when he showed her the wounding. They’re based out of a co-op factory raft called Bulgakov’s Cat

    im surprised at Cole…after all, he has a Behemoth of his own, just a white one instead of a black one.

    “Well, but how do you know, how do you know [that I am not Dostoevsky]?” [asked Korovyov]
    “Dostoevsky is dead,” said the citiziness, but not very confidently.
    “I protest!” exclaimed Behemoth hotly. “Dostoevsky is immortal!”

  167. 167
    Joel says:

    That’s it. I’m buying Bioshock.

  168. 168
    El says:

    This blog is full of leftards who can talk a lot of shit but will remain proles for the rest of their lives. Haha!

  169. 169
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Ash Can: can we send Yglesias and Greenwald there?

  170. 170
    An Idiot says:

    The founder of Paypal, you say?

    I hope this actually happens now, just because of how hilarious it would be to watch Peter Thiel ragequit and try to shut the entire thing down when he realizes that, as a place with no laws, it would naturally also be a place with no laws against porn or what Wikileaks does.

    Oh, those silly libertarians. For all their pretty words about “individual liberty,” they sure don’t like freedom of speech a whole lot…

  171. 171
    Samara Morgan says:

    @cyntax: its not from Snowcrash, its from Thirteen.

  172. 172
    Dave N. says:

    Any guesses who they will be running to for a handout when the inevitable tropical storm wipes them out, and none of them could get insurance because they built on an unstable island with loose building codes?

  173. 173
    tones says:

    All the jokes aside, the only thing they could do is gambling, prostitution , and more likely , slavery.
    I could be immensely profitable when you look at it like that, but a force of evil unrivaled.

  174. 174
    cyntax says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    Actually I was thinking of the Rife’s Raft:

    Hiro makes his way to Rife’s Raft, a massive refugee flotilla centered around Rife’s personal yacht, the former USS Enterprise aircraft carrier. Juanita has already infiltrated this floating caravan for the express purpose of helping overthrow Rife. Y.T. has been captured by Rife’s followers and is taken to the Raft, where she becomes romantically involved with Raven for a short time and is eventually taken hostage by Rife personally. While hostage, Y.T. delivers the nam-shub of Enki to Hiro, who together with Juanita uses it to save the virus-afflicted. Hiro then accesses the Metaverse and foils Raven’s attempt to widely disseminate the Snow Crash virus to a grouping of the hacker elite. Meanwhile, Y.T. is brought to the mainland by Rife, but she escapes.

    Though I haven’t read Thirteen so it might apply as well.

  175. 175
    Steven E. McDonald says:

    @bottyguy: That’s not Tejas, that’s Arizona.

  176. 176
    Ron says:

    you got that right!

  177. 177
    kestral says:

    “They come to Rapture thinking they’re gonna be captains of industry, but they all forget that somebody’s gotta scrub the toilets.”

    Yeah, I just quoted an audio diary from the game. It still fits!

  178. 178
    Gemina13 says:

    I say, let ’em do it. Let them recreate Kowloon Walled City on the seas, complete with five-story mansions that’ll crumble in a stiff breeze, a slave labor force that will one day rise up and cut their masters’ throats before ransacking said mansions and fleeing for parts unknown, and a fouled ecosystem that’ll be too toxic even for the gulls. If Kowloon had one moral, it is that you can create a society anywhere, any time, as long as you’re prepared to deal with the consequences.

  179. 179
    Throwin Stones says:

    @Jay in Oregon: One of my favorites.
    RIP George.

  180. 180
    Samara Morgan says:

    @cyntax: the raft-warriors are not libertarians. they are religio-anarchists and babblers.
    Thirteen is amazing. And prescient. We are living in Distributed Jesusland right now.

  181. 181
    danimal says:

    @tones:

    All the jokes aside, the only thing they could do is gambling, prostitution , and more likely , slavery.

    Well, there’s becoming an international tax haven, but I’m sure that qualifies under one or more of these categories already.

  182. 182
    Ruth says:

    Ayn Rand’s neighborhood.

  183. 183
    Samara Morgan says:

    no juicers have read the Master and Margarita?

    that is disappointing.

  184. 184
    W. Kiernan says:

    Oh Hell yes, put all those libertards on an uninspected boat far, far away from shore, in a sea full of sharks. This idea almost perfectly encapsulates the phrase “hoist on his own petard.”

    For best results, however, the Coast Guard must be enjoined to perform no life-saving actions until after the drowning morons’s credit cards clear. What, you didn’t carry your credit card with you into the lifeboat? What, you say your cell phone shorted out when you went overboard? Sucks to be you, I guess! Have a nice swim!

  185. 185
    sherparick says:

    I have the perfect no Government place for them, right off the coast of Somalia.

  186. 186
    MissKG says:

    Neptune Shrugged

  187. 187
  188. 188
    SFAW says:

    Maybe they could save money by building on a sea mount.

    Instead of attaching it to a sea mount, how about they use a bunch of sky hooks?

    It’ll be a few more years before the Somali pirates get their hands on any submarines.

    Doubtful, if all the drug runners can get them now, it’s won’t be that long before a ransomed tanker gives the Somali pirates enough cash to get their own sub-surface fleet.

    I give it a Friedman unit before the whole thing reverts to cannibalism.

    But is it really cannibalism if they eat the slaves, rather than each other? I mean, what good is it to have slaves, if you can’t kill, field-dress, and eat them with impunity – or at least with a nice red and some fava beans? And after you run out of slaves, there will be plenty of TeaBaggers who want to come “vacation” on Rand-alls Island. (A little NYC humor, sorry.) And because it’ll be a one-way ticket (“Once you get here, you’ll stay!”), the price will be low, Low, LOW!

    I see it as a Win-Win scenario on so many levels. Well, except for the dumb mofos who get eaten, but outside of the tricorn manufacturers, who would give a shit care?

  189. 189
    marginalized for stating documented facts says:

    On the upside, maybe all the Republican libertarians will emigrate to one of these offshore ex-oil platforms.

    We can always hope.

  190. 190
    DS says:

    Nooooooo don’t do it! Anybody play the game “Bioshock”? Check it out… The whole story is centered around an underwater libertarian city.

  191. 191
    Original Lee says:

    @Dennis SGMM: You win the thread, sir.

  192. 192

    […] obviously in disagreement with the interpretation of libertarianism as billionaire ego wankery the crew here clings to in response to this, I don’t think too highly of seasteading either.  Along with […]

  193. 193
    Matt says:

    UN Convention on the Law of the Sea
    The complete UN Convention on the Law of the Sea with all articles, annexes, state parties, accession dates, reservations and objections in one book. Keep it on your desk for quick reference!
    http://www.amazon.com/United-N.....038;sr=1-2

  194. 194

    […] obviously in disagreement with the interpretation of libertarianism as billionaire ego wankery the crew here (via dL) clings to in response to this, I don’t think too highly of seasteading either.  Along […]

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