Few people, regardless of political, religious or philosophical leanings walk around wearing them like a chip on their shoulder. If you get a few dozen people together at a social gathering or chatting after a business meeting, its been my experience that they will all have an a mental picture of an ideal society in their head. Some will be hardcore Utopians, others might have a more modest dream of a relatively crime free society in which everyone has food, clothing and shelter. There are other options, but two major schools of thought as to why we’re not going to get to any version of paradise. Its the fault of people and their various flaws. Flaws that become amplified when you have populations in the millions. While there is some cynicism in this view, that cynicism is one deeply ingrained in western culture – i.e. we’re all sinners. The other school is that government is at fault. In this view, government is a nebulous thing; detached, omnipresent, all powerful and always evil with endless power ups. IT is a monster that appears from points unknown. Nope, sorry dad, but that entire box of cookies must have been carried off by the cookie monster while we were asleep view of government. The only way to turn this cookie monster dystopia around is to create a place where there is no cookie monster. If one is going to immerse themselves in the magical world of government that appears out of the misty bogs then the answers must be just as misty. Those that hold such views are generally not dumb in the sense of equation solving or using the correct beam to stand the estimated stress. One could think of them as hardware that operates with buggy software, 20,000 Nations Above the Sea – Is floating the last, best hope for liberty?
And although David might be right that government isn’t even necessary, the fact remains that governments, however inefficient, control virtually every chunk of planet Earth. Winning control of a piece of land almost necessarily involves bloodshed, with very little likelihood of success. High barriers to entry, indeed. So while the libertarian movement maintained its traditional orientation toward scholarship, journalism, and political activism, governments were busy perpetrating mass murder on a scale no other institution could manage, mucking up market transactions that could improve everyone’s lives, and ruining millions of lives over private but illegal choices, such as consuming disapproved drugs.
Political affiliations aside again and sticking to generalities writ large. Everyone has a gripe with gov’mint. The particulars of what we think is wrong is where arguments begin. To say that the disembodied ghost known as government is the problem nicely side steps the reality of having some kind of order and justice among other more fundamental issues when you have more then one person on paradise island. Wherever you find more then one person there will inevitably be clashes over everything from noise, to water, to personal sensibilities. If you violate someone’s personal space you could have one of those bloody conflicts without bothering to add in ideology, religion or deciding how to divide resources. The foundations of some brands of libertarianism( such as illustrated above) is not simply shaky at the roots, it requires super human amounts of denial about humanity. They are not talking about a general inclination toward having as little and as simple regulation of society as is possible – a POV for which I have sympathies- they talking about the societal alchemy. Live Free or Drown
Friedman’s optimism is easier to buy into if you ignore the history of previous would-be nation builders. There was Operation Atlantis, created by Ayn Rand admirer Werner Stiefel in the late 1960s. Stiefel, who made a fortune selling dermatology products, devoted his life to creating a sovereign society with the freest markets imaginable. He started with a ferro-cement boat that made a single successful voyage on the Hudson River. He erected a system of seabreaks near the coast of Haiti but was run off by president Franè7ois Duvalier’s gunboats before he could put land on it. He bought an oil rig and tried to anchor it between Cuba and Honduras, where it was destroyed by a storm. Stiefel died in 2006 with little more than a sporadically published newsletter to show for his efforts.
In 1971, real estate millionaire and committed libertarian Michael Oliver dumped large quantities of sand on two coral reefs in the South Pacific and dubbed it the Republic of Minerva, a land with “no taxation, welfare, subsidies, or any form of economic interventionism.” Minerva was soon invaded by the nearby kingdom of Tonga, and it dissolved back into the ocean shortly thereafter.
Utopian libertarians only have one semi-real choice. They each live on their very own planet. A government of one. Then that civilization of one, in lonely irony or ignorant bless, will make rules for itself. A government of one. They have to live alone or create a mini-government otherwise they will have the cosmos shattering very first conflict free human relationship. Back to an excerpt from the Reason piece,
Third, seasteading isn’t just based in libertarian theorizing and hopes. Friedman knows that seasteads will need to have some business hook, and he’s busy working those angles. There’s SurgiCruise, a nascent floating medical tourism company that is seeking venture funding. If Americans will fly to Mexico, India, or Thailand for cheaper medical care free of U.S. regulatory costs, the idea goes, why wouldn’t they sail 12 miles for it?
One of those medical regulatory costs is due to a little something called credentials. While a little over rated, would you prefer treatment from someone with credentials from the Columbia School of Medicine, or Harry Lipshitz’s Medical Correspondence School.
Few people click the links, but this is interesting. Not definitive, but a quick way to see if you tend toward left or right brain thinking – Left-Right Conflict: Look at the Chart and Say the Color Not the Word
Coming Soon: Photographic Memory in a Pill? – Scientists isolate a protein that significantly increases visual recall. Probably a few years before we’re picking up a bottle with the dry cleaning and low-fat milk. Hopefully enough time to develop an photographic memory antidote. There are some things I would like to forget as soon as possible.