Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

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Patrick Degan
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Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

Postby Patrick Degan » 2011-08-16 06:46pm

Looks like somebody's taking Atlas Shrugged waaaaay too seriously.

And no, this is NOT The Onion:

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."

"There are quite a lot of people who think it's not possible," Thiel said at a Seasteading Institute Conference in 2009, according to Details. (His first donation was in 2008, for $500,000.) "That's a good thing. We don't need to really worry about those people very much, because since they don't think it's possible they won't take us very seriously. And they will not actually try to stop us until it's too late."

The Seasteading Institute's Patri Friedman says the group plans to launch an office park off the San Francisco coast next year, with the first full-time settlements following seven years later.

Thiel made news earlier this year for putting a portion of his $1.5 billion fortune into an initiative to encourage entrepreneurs to skip college.

Another Silicon Valley titan, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, announced in June that he would be funding the "Clock of the Long Now." The clock is designed to keep ticking for 10,000 years, and will be built in a mountain in west Texas.


Quoting Thiel:

"We don't need to really worry about those people very much, because since they don't think it's possible they won't take us very seriously. And they will not actually try to stop us until it's too late."


Really, it sounds more like he should be setting up his own secret volcano base with talk like that...
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Re: Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

Postby Mr Bean » 2011-08-16 06:56pm

Patrick Degan wrote:Really, it sounds more like he should be setting up his own secret volcano base with talk like that...


"I am Andrew Ryan, and I am here to ask you a question. Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow?

'No,' says the man in Washington, 'it belongs to the poor.'
'No,' says the man in the Vatican, 'it belongs to God.'
'No,' says the man in Moscow, 'it belongs to everyone.'

I rejected those answers. Instead, I chose something different. 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."


It's now Atlas Shrugged he's ripping off. But considering it's only 1.25 million dollars of investment it's chump change to someone like Peter Thiel even more if he can get small and medium sized donations from other Libertarians. Establishing your own country is a popular past-time for lots of the mega-rich if in fact if not in name witness the number of private islands owned by the mega-wealthy.

Everyone else will snort with derision or mock them, me? I wish all the best to Mr Thiel and his Librarians as the research work in order to sustain these micro nations will be incredibly useful from a scientific prospective, and when outside money is not funneled in any more and they collapse (Either sociality or literally) they will make excellent vacation spots for Abandoned Location tourism of which I'm a personal fan.

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Re: Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

Postby Erik von Nein » 2011-08-16 06:57pm

Yeah, all I can picture is maniacal laughter. "Ze missiles will launch zooon!"

But, seriously, what? Guess they're main export with be smug and investment banking. Ho, boy! Libertarian paradise!
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Re: Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

Postby Jaepheth » 2011-08-16 07:00pm

Please tell me they're going to call it Rapture.

This will be interesting to watch. With no moral codes and no building codes, I expect it will either implode on its own, or be seized by international coalitions seeking to arrest the crime bosses likely to move there, or to bust the international crime rings that would likely operate from there.
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Re: Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2011-08-16 07:34pm

I’d assume they plan on funding the places operating costs through hosting web servers… because otherwise it will get mighty dull eating fish every meal in the dark. Assuming, and this may be bold, that they have a plan.
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Re: Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

Postby Vendetta » 2011-08-16 07:40pm

I say good on them.

Then the government can, without raising any taxes on poor improverished billionaires who stayed in America, simply send a few warships to declare war on these now foreign powers, seize their assets, and use them to finance US debt.

Y'know, like they did to Iraq.

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Re: Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

Postby Stark » 2011-08-16 07:57pm

It's a huge laugh that for these people, 'libertarianism' = building shit houses, paying gardeners nothing, and carrying a gun.

I wonder why they've been stymied by indifference at the voting booth?

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Re: Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

Postby Patrick Degan » 2011-08-16 08:05pm

Sea Skimmer wrote:I’d assume they plan on funding the places operating costs through hosting web servers… because otherwise it will get mighty dull eating fish every meal in the dark. Assuming, and this may be bold, that they have a plan.


It's likely that they'll base their economy on offshore web hosting ( which is how Sealand finances itself presently). They might also have it in mind to offer Libertopia as a corporate registration point, but I suppose that depends upon how flexible international law is in allowing that.
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Re: Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

Postby Skgoa » 2011-08-16 10:56pm

How big is the market for offshore servers? Considering that most businesspeople would want to get as close as possible to their customers and there are much easier and less conspicuous ways of anonymously renting a server than doing it in the place with the giant "law enforcement look here!" sign on it...
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Re: Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

Postby Ahriman238 » 2011-08-16 11:16pm

Wasn't Thiel the brain behind the '20 under 20' thing?

Seriously, I may count myself as a skeptic, but I truly hope Thiel and others get their libertarian paradise, that they get everything they want. Not just because it will be amazingly entertaining to watch them self-destruct, but because we could learn a lot from analyzing how and why they self-destruct.

Should I be wrong, and it all works out somehow, great. More power to them. Just what the world needed, another tiny nation with delusions of standing.
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Re: Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

Postby Ryan Thunder » 2011-08-16 11:33pm

It never ceases to amaze me how many people in the world have more money than brains.
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Re: Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

Postby Darth Wong » 2011-08-16 11:37pm

Ahriman238 wrote:Wasn't Thiel the brain behind the '20 under 20' thing?

Seriously, I may count myself as a skeptic, but I truly hope Thiel and others get their libertarian paradise, that they get everything they want. Not just because it will be amazingly entertaining to watch them self-destruct, but because we could learn a lot from analyzing how and why they self-destruct.

Should I be wrong, and it all works out somehow, great. More power to them. Just what the world needed, another tiny nation with delusions of standing.

A tiny libertopia might actually work, just as a small-scale commune can work. If it does work, it will just become another idiotic libertarian talking point, with an obvious rebuttal.
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Re: Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

Postby Pelranius » 2011-08-16 11:41pm

Ryan Thunder wrote:It never ceases to amaze me how many people in the world have more money than brains.


Well, they made money when they had brains, I suppose.

The lack of regulations on this libertopia makes me think that if they piss off an actual nation state without much in the way of scruples (i.e. China, France, Iran, Israel et al) then Thiel LandTM will suddenly go all Rainbow Warrior one morning. Like if they play host to a bunch of arms dealers or information brokers.
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Re: Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

Postby Sarevok » 2011-08-17 06:51am

They have brains alright. It's just that they are selfish people.
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Re: Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

Postby Zaune » 2011-08-17 07:07am

Sea Skimmer wrote:I’d assume they plan on funding the places operating costs through hosting web servers… because otherwise it will get mighty dull eating fish every meal in the dark. Assuming, and this may be bold, that they have a plan.

A society with no laws, regulations or moral codes making money from hosting web servers? That's going to end well.
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Re: Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

Postby madd0ct0r » 2011-08-17 09:24am

Darth Wong wrote:A tiny libertopia might actually work, just as a small-scale commune can work. If it does work, it will just become another idiotic libertarian talking point, with an obvious rebuttal.



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."


because everyone knows building codes are there to make the poor consumer pay more right?

I don't know whether it'll set on fire, fall over or sink first.
possibly all three, in that order.
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Re: Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

Postby Zixinus » 2011-08-17 11:58am

This is great news.

Hopefully, all the libertarians will go there instead of bothering places where there is an actually functioning government.
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Re: Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

Postby Soontir C'boath » 2011-08-17 12:15pm

madd0ct0r wrote:
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."
because everyone knows building codes are there to make the poor consumer pay more right?

I don't know whether it'll set on fire, fall over or sink first.
possibly all three, in that order.
Maybe all three and more if the rocket launcher/grenades/mines/etc they'll want to play with will do the job.
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Re: Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

Postby Lord Zentei » 2011-08-17 12:39pm

Ahriman238 wrote:Wasn't Thiel the brain behind the '20 under 20' thing?


Yes, it was.

Ahriman238 wrote:Seriously, I may count myself as a skeptic, but I truly hope Thiel and others get their libertarian paradise, that they get everything they want. Not just because it will be amazingly entertaining to watch them self-destruct, but because we could learn a lot from analyzing how and why they self-destruct.

Should I be wrong, and it all works out somehow, great. More power to them. Just what the world needed, another tiny nation with delusions of standing.


Socio-economic experiments are always interesting; but a petri dish is not the same thing as applicability in the real world.


Sarevok wrote:They have brains alright. It's just that they are selfish people.


Not all are; many are merely idealistic. It's just that they believe that the mechanism for achieving general prosperity is enlightened self-interest and little or no coercion. Which is arguably ironic, but there you go.

As an aside, there's a difference between right-ing anarchists and most libertarians, even though they base their positions on similar ideas; libertarians are adamant about the importance of the rule of law and a constitution, anarchists are against even these minimal forms of authority. I suspect that these guys are of the latter group.
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Re: Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

Postby PeZook » 2011-08-17 01:02pm

madd0ct0r wrote:because everyone knows building codes are there to make the poor consumer pay more right?

I don't know whether it'll set on fire, fall over or sink first.
possibly all three, in that order.


Funny...Building codes were first introduced in Poland as means to reduce the regular and massively destructive city fires which plagued nearly every single city.

There is massive irony somewhere in there which I'm sure they're missing :D

This is doubly important because they envision an artificial island/oil rig type construct, where all structures would have to exist in a really, really unforgiving environment.
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Re: Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

Postby Broomstick » 2011-08-17 03:39pm

If such a city would erupt in gunfire, burn, and fall into the sea I would tend to view it as Darwinian selection in action. These guys seem to mistake "ability to acquire money" for "competence in all areas of life".
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Re: Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

Postby Sriad » 2011-08-17 04:06pm

Floating nation with poor building codes


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Re: Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

Postby Skgoa » 2011-08-17 04:13pm

I am still mystified by how exactly they plan to keep that society stable. They can't think they can live totally without poorer people... and what exactly would stop those from rising up against the fat cats?
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Re: Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

Postby PeZook » 2011-08-17 04:21pm

Skgoa wrote:I am still mystified by how exactly they plan to keep that society stable. They can't think they can live totally without poorer people... and what exactly would stop those from rising up against the fat cats?


If it's a tiny little island "nation", they will just live there spending their own money to buy whatever they need from actual countries with actual industries, making it a glorified holiday retreat/corporate tax hole.

Then they'll endlessly gloat about their ideal society composed of a total of twenty millionaires...
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Re: Billionaire Funds Artificial Libertarian Island

Postby PhilosopherOfSorts » 2011-08-17 04:23pm

Fear will keep the local population in line.
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