August 16, 2011

"Pay Pal founder... Peter Thiel has given $1.25 million to an initiative to create floating libertarian countries in international waters..."

"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.... [T]he 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.'"

So... it's basically a cruise ship, right? But you're stuck there indefinitely. And you're not going to call up the United States to rescue you when things go awry, right? I just have one request: Cameras everywhere! We want to watch your reality show.

190 comments:

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)



Geeeeez, Althouse, they won’t NEED the US for protection:
1) As Libertarians, their policy of Non-Intervention will guarantee their friendship with all; and
2) They’ll BUY protection, using Lettres of Marque and Mercenaries.
Man don’t you keep up with the Ron Paul Foreign Policy Guide?

Seven Machos said...

My advice: in the Constitution, specifically say there are no penumbras and write a better Commerce Clause.

XWL said...

There was Freedom Ship, but I think that was just a dotcom era MLM scam, more than a real project.

bagoh20 said...

A self-selecting population makes it a flawed experiment, but regardless, I expect the local sharks will appreciate the effort.

My first question is: Will their be women?

Second: How will they get Mom's basement out there?

MadisonMan said...

It sounds like a script for a bad movie.

Revenant said...

They are more likely to be invaded by the United States than to appeal to it for help.

traditionalguy said...

And who enforces property rights?

Libertarians are believers in individuals property rights existing like air around them at no cost to them.

They are in for a rude awakening.

Class factotum said...

free from the laws, regulations, and moral codes

So murder will be OK? Adultery will be acceptable, as in it's OK for his wife to sleep around? What about minor-attracted folks? Let them babysit your kids? Because who wants those moral codes anyhow?

AJ Lynch said...

I guess he could call it Theil Pier which rhymes with Atlantic City's famed Steel Pier.

bagoh20 said...

I will wait for them to acquire sufficient wealth, then I will attack them and take over as dictator. I've been waiting for this opportunity all my life, but normal countries were always just to big for me and my boarder collie to overrun. Finally, a place where a man can realize his destiny!

AJ Lynch said...

Mad Man- you saw Waterworld too?

Superdad said...

tradguy - your ignorance is obvious. libertarians believe in ordered dispute resolution be it in a gov't sponsored court or via contracted forums.

So many today think that libertarian equals anarchist, this is not correct. libertarians do not advocate no gov't; instead, they advocate the least gov't necessary and they base the workings of gov't on the protection of rights that are not created or granted by the gov't but that exist outside of gov't.

Thus, a libertarian has no problem with a law that says murder is illegal and punishable by the state.

NYTNewYorker said...

Take a couple of pounds of dirt with you and save it for a rainy day.

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bagoh20 said...

Yes, I have a boarder collie:

I feed and house her, and she is a collie.

Now, don't ever suspect my spelling again.

Scott M said...

This concept didn't work out very well for the city of Rapture. Although they got some pretty damned cool vending machines out of the deal.

frank said...

will sea sickness be covered under the health plan, no deductible or co-pay?

rocketeer67 said...

I think Neal Stephenson already wrote this novel.

Econophile said...

A great interview with Patri Friedman of the Seasteading Institute from a while ago: http://www.econtalk.org/archives/_featuring/patri_friedman/

traditional guy and bagoh20: Libertarians do believe strongly in a government that enforces property rights and defends its citizens against outside threats.

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott M said...

You never have to worry about a large number of armed libertarians trying to carve out their own territory on land. Their logistics are horrible as they can never agree on what caliber to use.

Henry said...

I don't think "floating" is the right word.

As Althouse indicates, this is like a cruise ship. A cruise ship is a very good model. You can gamble and drink on cruise ships outside of U.S. law.

During prohibition you could drink on ships anchored in international waters, three miles off the U.S. coast.

Look up the name Anthony Cornero. Very interesting story.

bagoh20 said...

I consider myself mostly a libertarian, but I can't imagine the cacophony on that island...at first.

Eventually, when they realize that they all agree about the animating subject of their lives, it would grow scary quiet...for a while.

Until they realized that it was their contrarianism that truly motivated them, and total warfare breaks out.

Maguro said...

Great, Lord of the Flies with overcredentialed hipsters instead little kids. Floating petri dish, indeed.

Curious George said...

Something tells me eBay will not be buying this idea.

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff in Oklahoma said...

Sign me up!

To all the naysayers.

For the handful of of "positive" government workings you could point to (excluding our excellent military, of course), you could also point to "trillions" in failing.

The vast majority of the "establishment" are obscene caretakers of our country. By almost any measure, our govenment is inept, at best. Seems to me then, the less of it there is, the better.

Libertarians are not anarchists. Perhaps some fact-checking will enlighten the subject.

chickenlittle said...

So... it's basically a cruise ship, right?

It could be even flagged a "Libertarian Freighter"

Would the on-board ambiance differ much from Radio Caroline and Pirate Radio?

bagoh20 said...

Why not just build an actual giant petri dish. It would be the perfect design for a floating nation, and would provide great views straight down, everywhere.

Maguro said...

Biosphere 2 also comes to mind. That didn't work out too well.

WestVirginiaRebel said...

It kind of sounds like the X-Men's Utopia, or maybe Cobra Island...

bagoh20 said...

I would expect an ambiance of weed and dirty socks.

Revenant said...

So many today think that libertarian equals anarchist, this is not correct.

The sad truth is that these days, few people on either the "liberal" or the "conservative" end of the spectrum can emotionally handle the idea of a government that doesn't attend to their every need.

The distinction between minimal government and NO government is lost on them.

Carol_Herman said...

A grounded cruise ship? Approached by row boat? Helicopters landing on the roof? Mail drops from sacks ... like the old choo choo's?

What about selling papers? If people want to belong, they'd need some sort of arrangement where they recognized. A way also to travel to-and-fro.

Sounds like a way to make money off of the Internet. You could run a business from "below." With your mom upstairs. With the refrigerator and stove, perhaps?

Carol_Herman said...

Would they need their own language?

Could you buy "your papers" through Pay Pal? Whose money would they use?

Seems to me like something you'd be able to bid on ... on eBay. Where sellers get creamed ... because eBay takes it percentages off everything.

Hey, Meg Whitman didn't become governor of California, either. How much money did Peter Thiel invest in that?

Henry said...

You could always wear pajamas.

bagoh20 said...

I just don't think it would be any fun to be a libertarian in Libertaria. I would start a communist commune right in the middle, just to spice things up.

"What are they gonna say? That he was a kind man? That he was a wise man? That he had plans, man? That he had wisdom? Bullshit, man!"

lemondog said...

Not new

Principality of Sealand Around since 1967.

Operation Atlantis sunk 1971?

Henry said...

Read my 4:00pm in response to Carol's 3:57, not her 3:59.

LarsPorsena said...

Ron Paul, your kingdom awaits you.

bagoh20 said...

"Read my 4:00pm in response to Carol's 3:57, not her 3:59."

For me, Carol's writing is a continuous narrative with no beginning and hopefully no end.

viator said...

And the guy with the biggest pistol and the willingness to use it gets to run the place.

In fact Hafez al-Assad or Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi may be available.

viator said...

Animal House with an ocean view.

Revenant said...

And the guy with the biggest pistol and the willingness to use it gets to run the place.

I hate to break this to you, but that is how the United States works, too.

That is, in fact, how all governments work.

Thorley Winston said...

As Althouse indicates, this is like a cruise ship. A cruise ship is a very good model. You can gamble and drink on cruise ships outside of U.S. law.

But part of the model of a cruise ship is that people travel on it temporarily and eventually it has to return to port to resupply since it doesn’t actually for the most part produce the things that its passengers need to live. I think the real testament to the viability or non-viability of this project is that they’re looking for donations rather than investors. If this were a feasible long-term project, they’d be encouraging people to invest in order to own a piece of it instead of asking for the true believers to donate for the cause.

Henry said...

If this were a feasible long-term project, they’d be encouraging people to invest in order to own a piece of it instead of asking for the true believers to donate for the cause.

True enough. What they need is prohibition again in all the nearby countries.

edutcher said...

This was an episode of "Wild, Wild West", sort of, except the nation consisted of the Pacific Ocean, but Class Factotum is right; the Libertarians' dislike of social conservatism is largely theoretical because that Conservatism is the basis of the laws that protect them.

Libertarians have an attitude on social issues that says, "I'm against anything that might inconvenience me or cost me money". It will be interesting to see how an anything goes social milieu works.

But don't take bets on it's success.

LarsPorsena said...

Sounds just like the gambling ship plot device in 'Mr. Lucky'..if your old enough to remember. (even if you don't know anything about the show, you will be familiar with the theme music by Henry Mancini..

Thorley Winston said...

It kind of sounds like the X-Men's Utopia, or maybe Cobra Island...

I was thinking more of Hydrobase or Olympus (from Appleseed) but props for the GI Joe reference.

Colin said...

Sounds a bit like the plot to Bioshock, honestly. Assuming they get the funding, and the logistics of this off the ground, who exactly is going to keep such a group from being raided by some unscrupulous group wanting a quick buck?

Revenant said...

the Libertarians' dislike of social conservatism is largely theoretical because that Conservatism is the basis of the laws that protect them

No, not really. If social conservatism was the basis of our laws, I would be in prison for being an atheist. Blacks would be slaves. Lower-class people would be confined to that class for life.

That is, after all, how the laws worked when they were based in social conservatism rather than in the enlightenment principles libertarianism embraces.

MadisonMan said...

Why not just put it at the bottom of the ocean instead? Less chance of weather/wave damage or pirates.

madawaskan said...

Pirates.

bagoh20 said...

I think the primary challenge of such an idea is how to deal with the weak man. He is the existential threat.

LarsPorsena said...

Peter Benchley's 'The Island'.

Curious George said...

Will they have a telephone number for support, or will it be email only?

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Revenant said...

who exactly is going to keep such a group from being raided by some unscrupulous group wanting a quick buck?

There will have to be arrangements for a defense force, probably both paid and militia-based.

madawaskan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
madawaskan said...

Details says the experiment would be "a kind of floating petri dish..."

So the Libertarians themselves are selling it as "kind of a floating petri dish..."

Man, who's in charge of sales?

Pragmatist said...

The problem with the Libertarians is their naive view of human nature. No laws, no rights, plenty of guns and you have a private police state floating on a hellish ocean. Maybe some idea of history would help. How long would it take for some blowhard with the most guns to start telling everyone what to do. Or how soon would a group of blowhards form together to split up the spoils. That kind of libertarianism sounds more like the political ideology of drug cartels. No laws and plenty of guns.

madawaskan said...

I like the title of the article too-

Silicon Valley billionaire funding creation of artificial libertarian islands.

Real libertarians get to be Starkist.

madawaskan said...

Look this boat ride is only for-

artificial Libertarians!!1

Damn it.

Apfelkuchen said...

Sex ,drugs and no taxes. Libertarian heaven.

Curious George said...

"madawaskan said...
Details says the experiment would be "a kind of floating petri dish..."

So the Libertarians themselves are selling it as "kind of a floating petri dish..."

Man, who's in charge of sales?"

That ain't sales, that's marketing

Revenant said...

The problem with the Libertarians is their naive view of human nature. No laws, no rights, plenty of guns and you have a private police state floating on a hellish ocean.

Yawn. Another person who thinks "libertarian" and "anarchist" are synonyms.

madawaskan said...

Whoops!

Well marketing just screwed sales...

dbp said...

Some bright resident will set up a lab to make LSD or Meth and the US will swoop-in and arrest everyone.

Alex said...

Crazitarians gives the rest of us a bad name.

Seven Machos said...

Apfel -- What's leftist heaven? Celibacy, Andy Griffith songs, and the government takes 90 cents on the dollar I suppose.

Have fun, dude. Have fun.

Alex said...

What Thiel really wants is anarchy, not libertarianism. There is a strong anarchist strain among self-professed libertarians and they give the rest of us a bad name. So whenever I tell someone I'm a libertarian they immediately think I have no moral values.

Alex said...

Social conservatives are closet theocrats. They have no true love of an open, pluralistic society.

Cedarford said...

bagoh20 said...
I will wait for them to acquire sufficient wealth, then I will attack them and take over as dictator. I've been waiting for this opportunity all my life, but normal countries were always just to big for me and my boarder collie to overrun. Finally, a place where a man can realize his destiny!

=============

I think you will need more than you and your border collie. I propose a libertarian pirate movement. 8 guys in a skiff with AK-47s ought to suffice. We go on, kill any wealthy libertarian that will not hand over their tax haven money.
You border collie would be valuable for sniffing out all the good drug stashes aboard the "Freedom ship".

Curious George said...

"madawaskan said...
Whoops!

Well marketing just screwed sales..."

Ain't that always how it is. 'course that's why we make the big bucks!

Lucius said...

I've always thought superrich people should just be allowed to buy their own countries.

Is that such a nonstarter? Why can't Bill Gates just buy Africa if he wants to fix it? [psst: Bill . . . you know you want to!!]

When I was a kid, I had an elaborate fantasy daydream going where I was a Rockefeller worth $20 billion so I bought Baltimore from the government and made it my own private Vatican. I had a giant Versailles-like compound named (I picked up a suitably baroque-sounding word someplace) the Lingerie Palace.

I suppose because Baltimore is so close to DC this suited my fantasies of how I kept stopping my arch-nemesis, the United States, from seizing control of my fate.

Please note: this was absolutely not a libertarian or laissez-faire capitalist fantasy.

It was unabashed reactionary absolute monarchism.

Eric said...

Yawn. Another person who thinks "libertarian" and "anarchist" are synonyms.

People who depend on the government for their livelihood tend to feel threatened by libertarians, so that equivalence is reinforced politicians and their stooges in the press.

Jess said...

Those darned libertarians, always going around minding their own business! Can you believe it?

Lincolntf said...

Almost forgot you guys have a couple recall elections today. Just saw a tweet that a bunch of Kenosha poll workers "called in sick" and totally slowed down the polls. Anyone have any early analysis?

Apfelkuchen said...

Seven Machos, I'm not a dude, I'm a dudette. My prediction is this Libertarian country quickly becomes a society ruled by those with the most drugs and biggest guns. Citizens will be jumping overboard to escape this heaven with it's mercenary police force. Flotillas of boat people trying to get back on US shores to seek asylum.

Quaestor said...

Revenant wrote:
"And the guy with the biggest pistol and the willingness to use it gets to run the place."

I hate to break this to you, but that is how the United States works, too.

That is, in fact, how all governments work.


So how come former President George W. Bush isn't current President George W. Bush? I mean he was really BusHitler, right? And he had THE BUTTON right under his thumb. He could have lobbed a tactical nuke on the 2008 Democratic Convention and -- problem solved.

Revenant is getting his political theory from that little red book again.

Revenant said...

Libertarian country quickly becomes a society ruled by those with the most drugs and biggest guns.

So it'll be like America, then?

Revenant said...

So how come former President George W. Bush isn't current President George W. Bush?

Because the rest of the federal government wouldn't have put up with it.

And he had THE BUTTON right under his thumb.

Contrary to popular mythology, the President is not able to launch nukes whenever he feels like it.

Apfelkuchen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Apfelkuchen said...

No, this country remains a Democracy, quickly becoming an Oligarchy, but you can call it a Republic if that tickles your fancy.

Saint Croix said...

Heh, sounds like Thunderdome.

Quaestor said...

This floating nation state has been tried before, I believe.

L. Ron Hubbard, known to his admirers as "Iron Ron", really cool science fiction writer and really super cool seer and prophet, via tax evasion and various acts of fraud and malicious mischief managed to make himself persona non grata in just about every non-shithole country on the planet. So he lived out his declining years as a sea-going nomad, inhabiting a tramp freighter which he owned outright. Captain Ron had a crew of professional merchant seamen and professional girlfriends who saw to his needs and kept the ship afloat. Periodically his landlubber follower would chapter a ship to rendezvous with Iron Ron's floating estate to replenish his larder and receive the next revelation from the prophet's typewriter.

Quaestor said...

Revenant wrote:
"So how come former President George W. Bush isn't current President George W. Bush?"

Because the rest of the federal government wouldn't have put up with it.

"And he had THE BUTTON right under his thumb."

Contrary to popular mythology, the President is not able to launch nukes whenever he feels like it.


Revenant refutes his own thesis. Neat!

Revenant said...

No, this country remains a Democracy, quickly becoming an Oligarchy, but you can call it a Republic if that tickles your fancy.

A democracy just means a majority of the public theoretically chooses who controls the most powerful sources of violence. It doesn't change the fact that the reason the government is obeyed is that it will kill you if you disobey it.

There is no objective difference between being a minority voter and being a citizen of a dictatorship. Either way you are coerced into obeying the will of people who will kill you otherwise. That's how government works.

And it is why libertarians prefer to minimize the amount of government there is.

Revenant said...

Revenant refutes his own thesis. Neat!

No. I just pointed out that you had incorrectly assumed that George Bush was "he guy with the biggest pistol and the willingness to use it". George Bush's Secret Service detail directly controls more lethal force than he ever did.

Henry said...

Hong Kong.

Until the lease ran out.

But not a democracy -- and there's the rub I think. A libertarian state is just New Hampshire waiting to be overrun by out-of-staters who like the freedom and don't understand its foundation.

edutcher said...

Revenant said...

the Libertarians' dislike of social conservatism is largely theoretical because that Conservatism is the basis of the laws that protect them

No, not really. If social conservatism was the basis of our laws, I would be in prison for being an atheist. Blacks would be slaves. Lower-class people would be confined to that class for life.

That is, after all, how the laws worked when they were based in social conservatism rather than in the enlightenment principles libertarianism embraces.


My God, what drivel!! Social conservatism seeks to maintain those principles that guided this country for two hundred years and the century before it was founded.

Oh, yes, all those Biblical principles, that Libertarians want people to believe weren't the underpinning of the Enlightenment, as well as social Conservatism, dare I say, but were the cause of slavery and oppression. And, of course, the people who founded this country and wrote the Constitution the Libertarians say they love were rebelling so much against God, they wouldn't dream of mentioning how much God's laws played a part in the formulation of the founding principles of this country.

Let's not forget those same principles were the motivation to overturn slavery and the promulgation of the Rights enumerated in the Constitution, a concept derived from the fact that the people who founded this country viewed those Rights as God-given and therefore immutable.

Revenant needs to go back to school - one that teaches who founded this country and the principles that guided them.

He sounds like he went to Alinsky High.

Quaestor said...

Revenant wrote:
No. I just pointed out that you had incorrectly assumed that George Bush was "he guy with the biggest pistol and ...

Not only do you snap at bait like a fish, you think like one too. Whether you know it or not you have refuted your own thesis as stated at 4:06 PM CDT.

I'm not going to waste time and bandwidth on your adulterated version of Leviathan because that canard has been well and truly shot down and roasted to a turn by brighter minds than mine. Besides, I don't much care for duck à la mode.

Revenant said...

Social conservatism seeks to maintain those principles that guided this country for two hundred years and the century before it was founded.

No, you seek to use the power of the federal government to force your views on private morality down the throats of everyone in America.

You are friends to the Constitution solely when it suits your agenda. When it doesn't -- as, e.g., with the war on drugs, the Defense of Marriage act, or the partial-birth abortion ban -- you freely wipe your asses with it.

viator said...

Will everybody have to take Gardasil?

Tim said...

Fantasies are fun.

Chris said...

No, when something goes wrong I don't imagine they'll call up the USA to bail them out, assuming the USA is capable of bailing out Sean Penn's rowboat by the time the project's finished. I'm reasonably sure that the people who choose to live there will have at least a basic understanding of what "Libertarian" means.

Revenant said...

Whether you know it or not you have refuted your own thesis as stated at 4:06 PM CDT.

I'm happy for you that you think that. Run along now, the grown-ups are talking.

edutcher said...

Revenant said...

Social conservatism seeks to maintain those principles that guided this country for two hundred years and the century before it was founded.

No, you seek to use the power of the federal government to force your views on private morality down the throats of everyone in America.

You are friends to the Constitution solely when it suits your agenda. When it doesn't -- as, e.g., with the war on drugs, the Defense of Marriage act, or the partial-birth abortion ban -- you freely wipe your asses with it.


Lie.

Revenant purposely confuses setting reasonable limits on behavior, such as addictive drugs (they were legal once, but there was a reason why they were outlawed; people like Revenant don't seem to care why or that the people who did so may have had good reasons). Another of his complaints is shot down by attending nurses who have witnessed partial birth abortion and say it's nothing but murder, but, apparently, that's OK with Revenant, since it might inconvenience him some day and what's a little murder if Revenant's not the one being iced?

In any case, Revenant's argument is predicated on the idea that anyone who seeks to impose limits on behavior that he thinks is OK is an affront to the Constitution. One wonders when he's decide murder is OK.

As to the specious argument that all social Conservatives are by nature hypocrites, consider Rick Perry's answer to the question of the same-sex marriage vote in NY. People like Revenant undoubtedly are waiting for all the social Conservatives to denounce him (Perry) for what he said, but, so far, all you hear is crickets.

As far as I can tell, the social Conservatives like him as much as the fiscal ones.

PS Of course, it was that great social Conservative, William Jefferson Blyth III, that gave us DOMA.

Revenant said...

Revenant purposely confuses setting reasonable limits on behavior,

Bzzt! Eight words in and you've already fucked it up.

The Constitution doesn't give the federal government the power to set "reasonable limits on behavior". This is an excellent example of why your claim that social conservatives fight for our guiding principles is a load of crap.

dbp said...

So what are you saying here Revenant? Any laws against murder, rape or piracy are all unconstitutional?

Triangle Man said...

With sufficient numbers of these libertarian Utopias and time (say 10,000 years) you might eventually arrive at a stable Democracy like the US.

Joe Schmoe said...

I'm hearing a lot of sniping at libertarianism, which in its contemporary incarnation shares a lot of ideals with contemporary conservatism, which in turn seems more like classical liberalism than contemporary liberalism, which in turn seems more accurately labeled as progressivism.

It may be easy to poke fun at libertarianism as people like to throw out extreme examples (pot in every pot and a whore in every house!), but more often than not conservatives and libertarians are singing from the same hymnbook.

BTW: compassionate conservatism = Republican progressivism.

Revenant said...

So what are you saying here Revenant? Any laws against murder, rape or piracy are all unconstitutional?

*Federal* laws against murder and rape are for the most part unconstitutional (exceptions include federal territories, the military, and waterways). I'm guessing if you had told the founders that the federal government should prosecute rapists they'd have looked at you like you'd grown a second head; rape and murder were common-law crimes dealt with locally.

Federal laws against piracy are fine. Piracy is actually one of the crimes Congress is specifically tasked with dealing with, in fact.

Joe Schmoe said...

It's funny; a lot of these critiques/jokes reflect a strain of thought that is entirely overtaken with the necessity of sucking from a government teat.

A lot of these scenarios (heavily armed gangs, etc.) imply, as much as most Democrats do now, that people are helpless and incapable of defending themselves. We need a highly specialized unit from an acronymed department to save us; otherwise we'll just sit on our couches and shit our pants.

People can self-organize and fend for themselves. It happened in the Revolutionary War, thank heavens.

I guess I lean more libertarian than I realized...

Henry said...

@edutcher -- it might be worth remembering that the vile theory of slavery as a greater good was underpinned by religious theory.

One might turn to Lincoln's consideration of slavery in the 1840s and 50s. Lincoln actively set his views apart from those of the abolitionists. He considered their claim to guidance by a higher power to be profoundly unconstitutional and a threat to the republic.

John Brown shows the outcome he foresaw.

The founders were far more aware of the threat of religious claims to authority than you seem to be.

One can easily view 18th and 19th century men (the ones who held the vote) as social conservatives because, after all, they were 18th and 19th century men. But what were they preserving? The radical nature of their politics wasn't their social conservatism -- you could have found the same views among those ruled by any number of monarchies -- it was their understanding of liberty.

edutcher said...

Revenant said...

Revenant purposely confuses setting reasonable limits on behavior,

Bzzt! Eight words in and you've already fucked it up.

The Constitution doesn't give the federal government the power to set "reasonable limits on behavior". This is an excellent example of why your claim that social conservatives fight for our guiding principles is a load of crap.


Nice try at misdirection. What is the law but setting reasonable limits on behavior? Only the true sophist would try to veil a lost argument by taking cover in a specific phrase.

In any case, impeachment for high crimes and misdemeanors isn't regulating behavior? The crime of treason isn't regulating behavior?

Revenant is no Libertarian (for which all Libertarians should be grateful), he's a Wilsonian deconstructionist who wants the Constitution to be anything he says it is.

And, if anyone knows "a load of crap", he would because that's what he's pushing.

*Federal* laws against murder and rape are for the most part unconstitutional (exceptions include federal territories, the military, and waterways). I'm guessing if you had told the founders that the federal government should prosecute rapists they'd have looked at you like you'd grown a second head;

I don't recall social Conservatives calling for Federal laws against rape and murder, but then neither does Revenant, he's just blowing smoke.

Gene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henry said...

Probably not many (till the project starts making money) but even so they will have people right from the start who know enough grammar not to write "their" instead of "there."

I'd prefer women.

Tim said...

"bagoh20: My first question is: Will their be women?

Probably not many (till the project starts making money) but even so they will have people right from the start who know enough grammar not to write "their" instead of "there."


Excellent. So now we'll know where to send the crack whores, their dealers and their English teachers.

Peter Hoh said...

Good thing that none of the inhabitants will ever grow old.

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)





I don't want to pop any libertarian bubbles, but all this concern about Federal Law, overlooks the Founders and STATE Law. Meaning mayhap the Founders didn't foresee FEDERAL rape law, but they certainly expected STATES to outlaw abortion, gay marriage, and rape.

Revenant said...

What is the law but setting reasonable limits on behavior?

Anything at all.

The law is not required to be reasonable, is not required to limit behavior, and quite often does neither. For example, the fugitive slave law was not a reasonable limit on behavior. The law granting federal money to abortionists is not a reasonable limit on behavior. The ban on interracial marriage (another of social conservatism's greatest hits) was not a reasonable limit on behavior. And so on.

I'm going to skip replying to the rest of your rant and get right to the point: the Constitution allows the federal government to pass certain kinds of laws. You're welcome to think that those laws are reasonable or unreasonable; I couldn't care less. Reasonable or not, the government can pass those laws.

That does not mean it has the power to pass any other laws, even if those laws are reasonable. It has enumerated powers, and "the right to place reasonable restrictions on human behavior" ain't on the list.

Revenant said...

Meaning mayhap the Founders didn't foresee FEDERAL rape law, but they certainly expected STATES to outlaw abortion, gay marriage, and rape

...and why is it you think this pops a "libertarian bubble"? Please explain.

If the proposed community has a libertarian government then rape and murder will be illegal there. If they aren't, it isn't a libertarian government because it is failing at the single purposes for which governments, in libertarian philosophy, exist. To wit, protecting the citizenry against violence and coercive force.

In the United States (as originally conceived) those duties were divided up between federal, state, and local levels. These days everything's federal, because only around ten or twenty percent of the population actually believes in limited government.

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)







That does not mean it has the power to pass any other laws, even if those laws are reasonable. It has enumerated powers, and "the right to place reasonable restrictions on human behavior" ain't on the list




Sure it does Revenant...IF it's illegal to do something, say Treason...we're passing laws that place reasonable restrictions on human behavior...ANY law does this. Nice try

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)









Because you keep prating on how restrictions on human behavior isn't in the US Constitution, but it certainly is in the purview of AMERICAN Government....so even IF the US Constitution is silent the US tradition is not...The US in 1789 was very SOCIALLY CONSERVATIVE, the state's oversaw it...

It moved tot he Federal level after the 14th Amendment...

edutcher said...

Cute, now he's gone over into absolute nonsense. The people who wrote the Constitution did not care if the law was reasonable, that's why they put all those checks and balances in it.

As I said, he's advocating the law of the jungle.

PS And OT, but a lot more reasonable - where's the thread on the recounts?

Eric said...

No, when something goes wrong I don't imagine they'll call up the USA to bail them out, assuming the USA is capable of bailing out Sean Penn's rowboat by the time the project's finished.

On a serious note, the US government is not going to allow a place like that to thrive. Congress considers every square inch of the Earth's surface to be within its jurisdiction.

The day someone uses the new country as a trans-shipment point for drugs, weapons, or pirated Hollywood videos is the day the US marines show up and wreck the place. For the children.

Revenant said...

Oh, one more thing:

Founders didn't foresee FEDERAL rape law, but they certainly expected STATES to outlaw abortion

English common law allowed abortion (although not late-term abortion). I would be surprised if the founders gave the matter much thought one way or the other -- but, yes, it would be a state matter inasmuch as it was a cause for government action at all.

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)


it would be a state matter inasmuch as it was a cause for government action at all

Yes, it WAS a matter of government concern, simply not Federal....it becomes Federal after the 14th.

Revenant said...

Sure it does Revenant...IF it's illegal to do something, say Treason...we're passing laws that place reasonable restrictions on human behavior...ANY law does this. Nice try

You and ed seem to be reading "'the right to place reasonable restrictions on human behavior' is not on the list" as meaning "none of the restrictions Congress is allowed to place on human behavior are reasonable". From this I have concluded that you're both retarded.

Congress can ban, e.g., treason. It is right there in the Constitution. Nobody gives a flip if you, I, or anyone else thinks laws against treason are "reasonable". Congress can pass them anyway.

Congress cannot -- under the text of the Constitution -- keep you from having a glass of wine with dinner. No, not even if the rest of us think that's a reasonable limit on your behavior. That's why, when Congress wanted to do that, they had to amend the Constitution to grant themselves that power.

Social conservatives want a federal ban on abortion; that's unconstitutional. They want the federal government to legally define marriage; that's unconstitutional. And so on. It doesn't matter if you think those things are reasonable. You don't get to have the federal government do them -- or at least, you don't get to have the federal government do them and then say you're honoring the principles this country is based on.

Tim said...

Why don't Libertarians start small? Move en masse to someplace like Elko, Nevada, and take over city and county government?

Sure, they'd still be subject to state and federal laws, but it would be a start...and the initial investment would be worth the risk, I think.

Revenant said...

The US in 1789 was very SOCIALLY CONSERVATIVE, the state's oversaw it...

The United States was socially conservative, sure. But anyone who thinks that, e.g., Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton, and Madison were socially conservative clearly isn't very familiar with the lives of those particular men. :)

gutless said...

My men and I will attack and occupy any such "islands". We have plans for these people. BTW, we are not libertarians. We tend mostly to a different view that enjoys foolish software engineers and especially the women among them. Yum!

madawaskan said...

Kenosha


This race is open
Candidates Votes
Jonathan Steitz (REP) 2366 54.18%
Robert W. Wirch (DEM) 1993 45.64%
Write-in 8 0.18


* Results from each poll are tallied from Ballots, Touch Screen Machines and Absentee Ballots. A poll will be counted as having reported results even if not all results from that polling place have been tabulated. When all the polling places have reported 100% of their results, the status of each race will change from 'This race is open' to 'All votes have been counted'.

Revenant said...

Why don't Libertarians start small? Move en masse to someplace like Elko, Nevada, and take over city and county government?

There are two reasons.

The first is that it would be unfair to the people who already live there and own property. Using force of numbers to force our will into law would make us no better than the people we're complaining about.

The second, and more important reason is that the location in question would still be subject to all county, state, and federal laws and taxes. So what would be the point? What would we do, repeal the town ordinance against spitting tobacco on the sidewalk?

Tim said...

"Social conservatives want a federal ban on abortion; that's unconstitutional."

Only because one of the most poorly reasoned and written decisions ever by the USSC decided that a penumbra of unwritten and heretofore unknown "rights" allow peeps to commit infanticide in utero. It certainly cannot be found with any reading of the Constitution for plain meaning.

JAL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kirk Parker said...

Sixty,

You're not getting it. At home, it's a border collie. But once it becomes part of the marine assault team, it's most definitely a boarder collie.

Calypso Facto said...

Tim said: "Why don't Libertarians start small? Move en masse to someplace like Elko, Nevada, and take over city and county government?"

They've got their eye on New Hampshire or Wyoming.

Thanks for holding down the fort, Rev. I took one look at Pragmatist's idiocy earlier and decided I didn't have the patience to rebut all the nonsense being spewed.

Revenant said...

Only because one of the most poorly reasoned and written decisions ever by the USSC decided that a penumbra of unwritten and heretofore unknown "rights" allow peeps to commit infanticide in utero.

Um, no.

Roe vs. Wade declared that *state* bans on abortion were unconstitutional. I agree that their ruling was a load of hooey.

However, social conservatives don't just want state bans; they want a federal ban. Banning abortion (or "infanticide", if you prefer) is not among the enumerated powers of Congress. Such bans were unconstitutional before Roe and remains unconstitutional today, at least so far as the written Constitution is concerned.

Revenant said...

but this is a strange example to pick rev, when in fact the 18th amendment to the Constitution DID make it illegal to have a glass of wine with dinner.

... and if you had read the sentence after the one you quoted, you would know I already pointed that out.

madawaskan said...

Forest County

Forest County Unofficial Election Results 08/16/11
Recall Election for Partisan Office
STATE SENATOR, DIST #12
Kim Simac (Republican)
Jim Holperin (Democratic)
Scattering

Alvin 32 41 0

Argonne 52 130 0

Armstrong Creek

Blackwell 12 10 0

Caswell 18 17 0

Town of Crandon

Freedom 102 69 0

Hiles 74 102 0

Laona

Lincoln 128 165 0

Nashville, Ward 1
Nashville, Ward 2
Nashville, Ward 3
Nashville, Ward 4

Popple River 6 12 0
Ross 20 24 1
Wabeno 126 126 0
City of Crandon

Candidate Totals Simac 570 Holperin 696

Cities that are blank are still out.

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)



Revenant you don't want to go to Elko because it's not “hip' enough. Your stated reason is absolutely stupid...wouldn't be fair tot he people living there...Yhwh Foot...libertarianism is about popular will aggregated...IF enough people buy X over Y, Y disappears. Same in politics, IF enough people vote “libertarian” their will prevails...if you can't grasp that elementary particle of politics, your libertarianism is a broken reed...

No, the reality is, going to Elko means you have to run Elko, rather than flap your gums on Althouse about how things OUGHT to be, instead you'll actually have to run things..and will there be Soy Lattes?

Eric said...

My advice: in the Constitution, specifically say there are no penumbras and write a better Commerce Clause.

I would agree with this, but I don't think it would matter in the end. The original commerce clause is pretty straightforward and needed quite a lot of stretching (and outright bullying of the supreme court) to bring us the all-encompassing monster we have today.

The same thing would happen with a rewrite unless the people were willing to stand up for it. Even the strongest gate will fall if it isn't defended.

MarkG said...

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has election results here. It's early, but trending so far for one flip.

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)



Revenant so you can't go to Elko, but you'll impose your beliefs on the rest of us in the US? How does that work, can't go to Elko and change things, but we'll change the US? Hey doesn't that affect Elko?

Or is libertarianism only for Blank Slate societies?

Palladian said...

There sure are a lot of stupid and unimaginative people around here lately.

Most statist social conservatives are no different than the leftists they like to whine about; both seek to use the coercive power of the State to shore up their fantasies of engineered societies.

It is, of course, completely possible to be a non-statist social conservative, who believes in using the force of his ideas to influence people rather than the force of law (which is, at its core, a threat of violence) to dictate them.

But for most people, that path is too difficult and too slow, and the unreasonable and inhuman nature of some of the social conservative's ideas lead most of them to seek the same coercive violence as every statist who came before them.

Little separates the arch social conservative and the leftist, except the specifics of their fantasies of control.

Calypso Facto said...

No, the reality is, going to Elko means you have to run Elko...

Hard? Because the current parties have done such a bang-up job of running things?

Palladian said...

"The United States was socially conservative, sure. But anyone who thinks that, e.g., Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton, and Madison were socially conservative clearly isn't very familiar with the lives of those particular men. :)"

Exactly right. It was the absence of a statist social conservative drive in these men that gave us the (rapidly dwindling) freedoms that we enjoy today.

madawaskan said...

Oneida Caounty

Simac 2,204 Holperin 3,277

Can't get % reporting

madawaskan said...

*county*

madawaskan said...

Minocqua W 1-6

Not reporting.

madawaskan said...

They don't have Oneida results.

But Oneida has them up.

madawaskan said...

Here's the AP county breakdown

ap.org

*****

I'm looking at individual county sites and had beat them-the AP-they just published Oneida's results so far.

Oneida I think is the county to watch for Simac.

Revenant said...

Revenant so you can't go to Elko, but you'll impose your beliefs on the rest of us in the US?

The Constitution was written in the 18th century. I'm afraid I can't take credit for imposing it on anyone.

Calypso Facto said...

madawaskan: do you already have the Journal-Sentinal election page?

You can check county by county results from there too (and they DO have Oneida!).

madawaskan said...

Langlade

KIM SIMAC
2,295


DEMOCRAT JIM HOLPERIN


1,942

hoop said...

Any tips for us outsiders watching the counties? Is Kenosha likely to slide heavily for Wirch, or are Steitz's early numbers any indicator of that race so far?

Also, is Simac pretty much done, or is her lag a matter of the polls that have returned so far?

madawaskan said...

17 out of 27 reporting

madawaskan said...

I am beating them.

Ugh trying to share it w/ you guys.

madawaskan said...

AP still doesn't have Langlade.

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
madawaskan said...

Check my AP link above-that's the one JSOnline is referencing.

garage mahal said...

My home county representing at prez levels. See ya Kim.

Calypso Facto said...

Hoop: both races are less than 50% tallied, so lots of room to move yet.

Kenosha IS expected to come in strong for Wirch.

Calypso Facto said...

Check my AP link above...

I knew you'd be on top of things...

Revenant said...

Or is libertarianism only for Blank Slate societies?

It might be. But regardless of whether or not it could work in an established society, it is obviously most *likely* to work in a society comprised of people who agree with its underlying philosophy. Since no such society exists, creating a new one out of volunteers is the next step.

I doubt it'll work, but I would like to try it.

Tim said...

Revenant said..."Um, no.

Roe vs. Wade declared that *state* bans on abortion were unconstitutional. I agree that their ruling was a load of hooey."


I overlooked 'federal ban' - fair enough - my mistake.

Count me as one social conservative who'd be happy with overturning Roe v. Wade and restoring federalism as it existed before Roe so states could decide on their own.

hoop said...

Thanks, Calypso.

Trooper York said...

On this crazy libertarian ship I hope that they make Revenant the Chaplain. Just sayn'

Calypso Facto said...

15,000 votes in the Holperin/Simac race from a 157,000 voter district. Guess nobody was too motivated...yawn.

Surprised by the light turnout in Marathon County especially (less than 1,000 votes??) coming down slightly (so far) for Simac

Ann Althouse said...

Okay. Okay. There's a recall post.

Sorry. I was having my hair done!

Tim said...

"The second, and more important reason is that the location in question would still be subject to all county, state, and federal laws and taxes. So what would be the point? What would we do, repeal the town ordinance against spitting tobacco on the sidewalk?"

Sure, but you don't really think, at the risk of making a bad pun, this other idea is really going to float, do you?

So, you can dream, whine, or do something about it. Start your own place with your own rules, or how many ever rules you think necessary. If it works better than other places, people might notice.

You gotta start somewhere.

edutcher said...

Revenant said...

Social conservatives want a federal ban on abortion; that's unconstitutional. They want the federal government to legally define marriage; that's unconstitutional. And so on. It doesn't matter if you think those things are reasonable. You don't get to have the federal government do them -- or at least, you don't get to have the federal government do them and then say you're honoring the principles this country is based on.

And here is where he makes a fool of himself.

SOME social Conservatives want an Amendment on abortion and one on marriage, both of which, of course, would be Constitutional. And some don't, feeling these are, in fact, states' rights issues.

And, of course, Revenant overlooks yet again, the fact that the expected repudiation of Rick Perry's statement on the same-sex marriage vote by social Conservatives has yet to materialize.

But Revenant's arguments fall apart without those sweeping, and inaccurate, generalizations which allow him to indulge in sneering condescension.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

Okay. Okay. There's a recall post.

Sorry. I was having my hair done!


And I'm sure look mahvelous.

caplight said...

Juuust sit right back
And you'll hear a tale
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this tropic port
Aboard this tiny ship. . .

I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

Kensington said...

Would you kindly save the little sisters of Rapture?

Michael Haz said...

When pirates sack your libertarian paradise and kidnap the women, who ya gonna call? Greenpeace? Ha!

Trooper York said...

I've seen the lights go out on Broadway-
I saw the ruins at my feet,
You know we almost didn't notice it-
We'd see it all the time on Forty-Second Street.

They burned the churches up in Harlem-
Like in that Spanish Civil War-
The flames were everywhere,
But no one really cared-
It always burned up there before...

I've seen the lights go out on Broadway-
I watched the mighty skyline fall.
The boats were waiting at the Battery,
The union went on strike-
They never sailed at all.

They sent a carrier out from Norfolk-
And picked the Yankees up for free.
They said that Queens could stay,
They blew the Bronx away-
And sank Manhattan out at sea....

Revenant said...

When pirates sack your libertarian paradise and kidnap the women, who ya gonna call?

I would expect a libertarian nation to be one of the most heavily-armed places on Earth. We're usually serious about that "self-defense" stuff.

Synova said...

I think the idea is fascinating. Also, I think that some might have got caught up with the "start with no laws" and thought it meant not having any. I read it as starting with none, and seeing how spare it can be kept while figuring out which ones are necessary.

Because as a few people have pointed out (even if no one should have to do so) libertarian is not in any way the same thing as anarchist. I expect anyone showing up expecting to be an anarchist to be sent for a long swim.

I also expect it to be expensive to live there. A lot would depend on if it was meant to be self-sustaining or if it was meant to be a "cruise ship" and off-shore residence/resort. Attaining economic viability doesn't seem insurmountable. Fresh water might depend on getting replacement parts for the desalinator, which is a point of weakness. Producing enough food so that the city wasn't dependent on imports seems possible with a bit of planning, and exports of food as a source of incomming wealth plausible. Energy production would have to be on-site but that's got to have been planned for. (Import nuclear waste and burn it.)

The rest of it boils down to people managing to live together cooperatively. The most important point that I see in favor of them finding a way to make that work is that it's not meant to be a utopia based on communism.

Synova said...

Most of the time when idealists set out to create a place to prove their social experiment they're trying to prove communism... no one owns anything, everyone works and contributes, no one has worry or fear because there is more than enough for all. It's all very cuddly and completely doomed to failure.

A philosophy that takes into account human nature and motivation by valuing ownership and property is polar opposite of that. Humans are motivated to create surplus when they get to own the surplus they create.

Revenant said...

Sure, but you don't really think, at the risk of making a bad pun, this other idea is really going to float, do you?

I think that Eric had the right of it. The United States will send in the Marines to enforce US law, and that will be the end of that. There seemingly isn't a human being alive whose actions aren't subject to US federal government approval.

Aside from that, though? Sure, it could work. Why not? The whole "establish a new government in an unoccupied land" thing has been done plenty of times before. The unique aspect is that we would be building our own "land" (which, incidentally, sounds like it will be a platform built up from the sea floor, not a ship).

Palladian said...

And, incidentally, I defend this project as someone who thinks it's a terrible idea and who wouldn't want to live on this type of structure under any governing circumstances.

Synova said...

I sort of envision the Marine Bar on the first level with it's martial ambiance and regular shore leave where they sing karaoke, watch the exotic dancers, and compare armament with the locals and as soon as the drug trans-shippers leave "port" they take their helicopter out after them and sink them somewhere over the horizon.

I don't think that libertarian ideals extend to keeping anyone from spying on anyone else while they "visit" or to projecting the protection of the settlement past the borders of it.

Andrea said...

You know, I wouldn't want to do this or live in a place like this seasteading thing but I admit it's because I'm timid and prefer comfort and the known. The rest of you sound so chesty and macho from your comfy desk chairs or coffee shops or wherever it is you are as you mock people who are just a bit braver (yes, and maybe more foolhardy, but that's not a crime yet) than you are. They're trying something new and different, to them if no one else. What are any of you doing that isn't part of a safe, comfy routine?

PS: no, I'm not a libertarian. I just think it's sad the way in what used to be known as Western Civilization any vestige of innovation or curiosity about the universe has been replaced these days by fear of physical discomfort and a craven need for social approval. Making fun of people for thinking the slightest bit different or doing things the littlest bit out of the ordinary is a symptom of this decadent condition.

Tim said...

"Aside from that, though? Sure, it could work. Why not? The whole "establish a new government in an unoccupied land" thing has been done plenty of times before. The unique aspect is that we would be building our own "land" (which, incidentally, sounds like it will be a platform built up from the sea floor, not a ship)."

Notwithstanding my serious doubts, I'd actually like to see it work.

Revenant said...

Personally, I think we should combine the first floating libertarian city with the world's first sea-based space elevator! That'll show 'em. :)

Thorley Winston said...

You know, I wouldn't want to do this or live in a place like this seasteading thing but I admit it's because I'm timid and prefer comfort and the known. The rest of you sound so chesty and macho from your comfy desk chairs or coffee shops or wherever it is you are as you mock people who are just a bit braver (yes, and maybe more foolhardy, but that's not a crime yet) than you are. They're trying something new and different, to them if no one else.

I don’t know if what I’ve written constitutes “mocking” but I don’t I don’t think that what’s being actually being tried constitutes “something new and different.” What’s going on is someone is trying to separate a fool from his money by pandering to his ideological beliefs and that’s been around as long as televangelists, travelling medicine shows, “socially responsible investing” or various “legal defense funds.”

As I said before, if this were legitimate, they’d have a solid business plan, get it vetted by people who actually know a thing or two about building this thing, and solicit investors who would expect a share of the profits. The fact that they’re soliciting donations based on a pie in the sky promise tells me that this is a scam.

raf said...

I think the "Deadwood meets Waterworld" comment might nail it. There have been a lot of communities started up outside effective legal jurisdiction -- Deadwood was one of them.

I would like to be a libertarian, I really would. The ideal of everyone playing by the (minimal) rules and minding their own business is very appealing. I am stymied, however, by my observation that the basic unit of spontaneous human organization seems to be the gang. I do not believe in the concept of "New Libertarian Man" any more than I do "New Socialist Man". That said, if you can get a self-selected group which wants to play by the rules, you should be able to make it work for a time. Immigrants would have to be thoroughly vetted, of course. Then comes the next generation, and everything starts falling apart as human nature reasserts itself.

Remember, those to whom the purpose of Government is to get others to behave as you would wish, would naturally think that a Libertarian Government is merely an attempt to make them live by someone else's principles, i.e., no different in process, just in goals. One essential element in any representative society is the willingness to lose in return for being able to try to win. That breaks down when "Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing" is your bedrock principle.

Synova said...

"spontaneous human organization"

I suppose that I don't for a moment imagine anyone leaving it all to spontaneity.

Revenant said...

There have been a lot of communities started up outside effective legal jurisdiction -- Deadwood was one of them.

Is that meant as an argument for, or against, the feasibility of doing so?

I am stymied, however, by my observation that the basic unit of spontaneous human organization seems to be the gang

Ugh. You know, I can just *barely* understand a person who starts off thinking that libertarianism and anarchy are the same thing. But since it has been pointed out about five times in this thread that they aren't, I'm afraid you've got no excuse for your ignorance.

The statement "free from the laws, regulations, and moral codes of any existing place" does NOT mean "it will have no laws, regulations, or moral codes". It means it will have ITS OWN laws, regulations, and moral codes. Phrases like "looser building codes" and "few restrictions on weapons ought to constitute a clue, to people fluent in English, that laws will in fact exist there.

gutless said...

Utopian poo and hokum.

Synova said...

"One essential element in any representative society is the willingness to lose in return for being able to try to win."

Yet, untempered by strict adherence to a constitution that protects the individual, this is nothing more than the tyranny of the majority.

Still, you've got your finger right on it. Probably the most important possible thing for peace is the willingness to lose. But it's not a matter of good manners or civility.

People are willing to lose only when they know that they are protected from the whim of the majority. There is a reason that attempts at Democracy in various places in the world fail so spectacularly. Minority groups often boycott elections or refuse to participate and they are *right* to refuse to legitimize their own oppression under majority rule.

Listen to the rhetoric in our own politics and listen to who seems the least willing to accept a political loss. Look at Wisconsin. Listen to the justifications for calling the Tea Party terrorists. It's the big government people, the ones who think that government is supposed to be in charge of things, do things, take care of us, that seem least willing to accept a temporary loss.

When the majority can simply vote to steal a (reasonable) portion of your stuff it's little different from a strong-man who can simply decide to steal your stuff, reasonably portioned or not. When the majority can vote to impose anything the majority deems reasonable, losing a vote becomes potentially devastating.

Revenant said...

People are willing to lose only when they know that they are protected from the whim of the majority.

Exactly. It is all well and good to say that we have to be willing to lose before we can win, but a lot of what the government does amounts to "I lose now so that, in the future, I lose and other people win".

Examples include Medicare, Social Security, much of the regulatory apparatus, and a significant fraction of the felonies on the books.

raf said...

I fully understand that Libertarians don't oppose all laws. My point is that only a small percentage of humans are naturally libertarian. The non-libertarians outnumber them and will change the society in the absence of the kind of draconian enforcement which is anathema to a real libertarian. If the government is not the strongest gang in town, the stronger gang will run things. If the government is the strongest gang, it will become important to those who desire power to take it over. I wish the Libertarians the best, really. I hope they can make it work and prove me wrong, but I don't think humanity will cooperate. And if you have to force it to cooperate....

Synova said...

"As I said before, if this were legitimate, they’d have a solid business plan, get it vetted by people who actually know a thing or two about building this thing, and solicit investors who would expect a share of the profits."

Are they actually not doing this? I know that the article was an extremely short fluff-piece, but if you came into a million dollars tomorrow and called up Thiel and asked for the nitty-gritty, would there really be no nitty-gritty, no business plan or engineering overview?

raf said...

It shouldn't be surprising that when you concentrate power and money in an entity, it will become an attractant to those who desire power/money. I wish the Federal Government were not so large and centralized. Those who built it up may have had only the noblest motives, but they made something that was too valuable (to the power/money chasers) to be left in their hands. And now that it is a center of great power and money, in the hands of those who love power and money, it is unlikely to reform itself.

I have always been exasperated by those who don't trust the large human organizations called corporations, but implicitly trust the even larger human organizations called governments. At least when corporations screw you over, their victims are limited to their employees, stock/bond holders, customers. When the government (which will run by the same kind of power/money hungry guys) does it, the damage is spread much farther.

Synova said...

In which case, raf, the worst thing to do is to give up.

What if people just said, then, that since bad people want power they should simply be given power?

Revenant said...

only a small percentage of humans are naturally libertarian.

What does "naturally libertarian" mean? Is it genetic? If so, wouldn't a libertarian nation produce libertarian children?

The non-libertarians outnumber them

What non-libertarians? We're not talking about trying to set up a government in an existing country; we're talking about a blank slate.