This ultimate libertarian fantasy could make super-gory Reality TV — IF they’d allow the cameras

I'm picturing sawed-off shotguns -- but no federal marshals like Sean Connery to stop you from using them as you like!

Bart had to know he was going to set me off on a laugh-fest when he shared this:

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

Thiel has been a big backer of the Seasteading Institute, which seeks to build sovereign nations on oil rig-like platforms to occupy waters beyond the reach of law-of-the-sea treaties. The idea is for these countries to start from scratch–free from the laws, regulations, and moral codes of any existing place. Details says the experiment would be “a kind of floating petri dish for implementing policies that libertarians, stymied by indifference at the voting booths, have been unable to advance: no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.”

Wowee. If you want to read the whole story, here’s where Bart got it. And here’s where they got it.

the part that really cracked me up about this particular libertarian fantasy is where they envision “looser building codes.”

You’re going to be living on, essentially, an oil platform — an extremely physically limited space — in the middle of the ocean? You’d better have the strictest building codes in the history of the world. In fact, while you’ve got me going — “building”? Really? You’re saying that these Überflakes would be able to take it into their heads to build new structures, according to the whims of each Ayn Randian individual, in a shared space that exists on the oceanic equivalent of the head of a pin?!?!?

For the engineering even to be feasible, you’d have to design the whole sovereign city-state all in advance, on shore. I’m talking physics here, not political philosophy. Sure, you could allow for expansion, but only within the context of the original design, or the whole thing would become untenable. A desert island, maybe — if it’s really huge, so these cranky individualists can spread out and not get on each others’ nerves. But on one of these tiny things? Really? You mean, somebody thought about this for more than five seconds, and is still considering it? And this guy gave them a million and a quarter?

But yeah, let’s roll with this! Go ahead and eliminate building restrictions entirely! Stick planks out over the edge like on a pirate ship and put condominiums on them! Who’s to stop you?

Combine that with the “few restrictions on weapons,” and these few individuals should be able to make a lot of money in the Reality TV market by putting cameras in every nook and cranny (if they can suppress their strong libertarian prejudices against such things — which I think they could for enough moolah, which libertarians crave). As entertainment, it would rival anything the Roman Colosseum ever dreamed up. And it would be perfectly legal! No one could say thee nay?

Imagine it, those of you who have actually been paying attention to the way humans behave in reality. Surely we’ve all encountered the phenomenon of neighbors suing each other over minor infractions of the neighborhood covenant. The ill will gets to bad that people move away from their dream homes. Imagine the tensions in this super-tight space — no rolling lawns to act as a buffer — with “looser building codes” and everyone packing an arsenal!

Sawed-off shotguns. That would be my weapon of choice in such tight quarters.

Anybody ever see “Outland,” with Sean Connery? It’s “High Noon” transferred to a mining colony on one of the moons of Jupiter. No ray guns, but sawed-off shotguns. (That was the touch that made the movie.) Awesome.

That’s what a Seastead would be like, as envisioned. Only without the federal marshal, which was Sean Connery’s role (and don’t ask me how a Scot got to be a federal marshal — it’s the future!). I suspect Thiel knew all this when he gave them the money. It’s pocket change to him, and maybe he thinks it would be fun to watch.

14 thoughts on “This ultimate libertarian fantasy could make super-gory Reality TV — IF they’d allow the cameras

  1. Jesse S.

    So Thiel, a man who is worth over a billion on paper is spending a measly 1.25 million in order to get more suckers -er investors in on this? For a potential tax-haven-for-life that is a steal.

    This is the same guy who pays kids to intentionally drop out of college so he can invest in them, while he made damn sure to finish not just one, but two degrees from Stanford.

    Savvy guy.

  2. tim

    Apparently libertarianism is so delicate and frail it has to be protected by thousands of miles of ocean, and the combined treaties of the entire world’s laws of the sea.

  3. Maggie

    Jesse beat me to my comment. This is the same guy who is giving 24 kids $100,000 “fellowships” to NOT go to college — which is sending a message to lots of other kids that they, too, can become internet bazillionaires if they just don’t “waste” their time and money on college.

  4. Tim

    Once they establish this kingdom on the sea, they will have to pass a series of laws protecting libertarianism. That will be followed by the various rules and regulations to support the law, probably a required ceremony honoring the libertarian spirit, the subsequent rise of the restore original libertarianism movement, etc.

  5. Steven Davis

    “You know who could be an awesome host for this no-holds-barred Reality TV show? @adamsbaldwin! ”

    You get one E-list Hollywood type following you on Twitter and you start sucking up to him like he can get you free movie passes for Carmike theaters (which I doubt he could without forking over the ticket price himself). Plus he’s a Baldwin, the only acting brothers who all act worse than Nicholas Cage.

  6. Bart


    I can think of a few Democrats and Republicans we could send along with the Libertarians.


    I hope you know this is all in fun. I know you like Ron Paul but I think he would be the perfect guy to lead the first group experiment. Then, sending Obama and Bush to live under his regime would be perfect justice in an imperfect world.

  7. Brad

    This is like deciding who should go on the B Ark from Golgafrincham. I love it.

    And Steve, after all this time, still doesn’t get me. He doesn’t get that Adam Baldwin is one of the 1st people in Hollywood I’d want following me. “Firefly” is my favorite TV show in recent years, and he played my favorite character. It would be like, in an earlier era, being followed by Andy Devine, whom I remembered as “Jingles” from “Wild Bill Hickok.” A follow like that is special, whereas a follow from Brad Pitt or Angelina would mean next to nothing for me.

    For instance, Steven probably wouldn’t understand how pumped I am that Chap-Hopper Professor Elemental is following me. I kid you not. I’ve been meaning to write a post about the fact. I’d MUCH rather have him among my followers than anybody you can name who has been at the top of the charts in recent decades. Having him follow me is cool, having Lady Gaga do so would not be. The Professor’s rap speaks to me. “Fetch me my trousers at once! No, not those… my fighting trousers!”

    And then, in the business world, I may not have Bill Gates among my followers, and I don’t care, but I do have Darcy Willson-Rymer, the head of Starbucks in Britain and Ireland. Starbucks! Do you have any idea, based on the stuff I write about, how cool that is to me?

    Oh, and by the way, Adam is not related to THOSE Baldwins.

  8. Steven Davis

    So you have a man-crush on Adam Baldwin and some Englishter coffee server.

    What the hell are “fighting trousers”? English Army fatigues?

  9. Kathy Duffy Thomas

    Adam Baldwin is hot. He makes Chuck worth watching and was cool in Angel, for a short time.

    Did you kick Steven’s puppy or something? I sense hostility.


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