Thursday, May 7, 2009 79 Comments

Democraphobia goes (slightly) viral

See here, and here. Obviously, every lie has an inventor, whereas the truth can occur to anyone. But perhaps, dear UR reader, you read it here first.

And left-libertarian Will Wilkinson, in a predictably indignant response, has coined this useful pejorative. Democraphobia! Is it worth embracing? Time alone will tell.

But it's been too long since UR worked out on Will, so let's slip a hook through his neck and use his face as a speed-bag. Then, we'll talk about seasteading for a little bit.

The UR reader, hardened though she is to great torrents of text, can skip most of Will's post. From our perspective, he spends most of his gas merely in proving his remarkable, if hardly unusual, inability to distinguish freedom from power. A sort of political colorblindness, as it were. (If colorblindness were transmissible.)

It may be pointless to explain the difference between red and green to any such congenital deuteranope. But 360 years ago, one greater than I tried anyway:
Truly I desire their liberty and freedom as much as anybody whomsoever; but I must tell you their liberty and freedom consists of having of government, those laws by which their life and their goods may be most their own. It is not for having a share in government, sir, that is nothing pertaining to them. A subject and sovereign are clear different things.
That would be Charles Stuart, of course. (And if you believe all the nasty things you've read about him, do try your wits with the Behemoth.)

There's an easy way to define democracy: every adult subject of the State is deputized, drafted or dragooned as a part-time government official. The sum of these petty officials constitutes a gigantic committee, holding the exact same formal authority as Charles Stuart.

(And much less actual authority. Though if Charles' powers were so absolute as his murderers pretended - well, to quote Trent Lott, we wouldn't have some of the problems we have now.)

And even supposing the formal were actual: by what right does Will hold his nanoslice of power? By what right did Charles hold his full slice? Certainly he insisted on that right, just as Will insists on his.

In both cases: by initial conquest and subsequent inheritance. Political power is a property right, however you slice it. It is owned, not deserved. It is not a natural or "human" right. And it has no more to do with freedom than brake fluid with fondue.

If you've ever lived in a foreign country, you know exactly what life is like without the nanoslice: pretty much what life is like with it. Except for the Zen of abandoning the constant, unrequited longing for control that is the cruel karma of the democratic citizen, and the breath of honest fresh air in exchanging a first-person government for a third-person one, not "we" but "they."

Of course, power has consequences. Nanoslices add up. And so when Peter Thiel says that when women got their nanoslice, the competence of this gigantic committee deteriorated (from his perspective, in which good government equals libertarian government - which is also Will's perspective, and also more or less mine), he is making a factual statement. His point is neither philosophical nor normative.

If one can say that Louis XIV was a more effective ruler than Louis XV, one can say that a gigantic committee of men was a more effective ruler than a gigantic committee of men and women. The point can be argued, of course. But it must be argued with facts, rather than gas.

All this is UR 101. We know it cold. So we return to Will, and his alternative:
If libertarians are going to shift the politics of the countries we live in, we’ve got to get it through our thick skulls that many people have considered libertarian ideas and have rejected them for all sorts of decent reasons. We’ve got to take those reasons, and those people, fully seriously and adequately address them.
Will, if you do happen to read this, I'm not just the Internet's most notorious Jacobite blogger - I'm also an expert in narcotics and dangerous drugs. And no offense, but are you sure you're loading your bong correctly? High-grade marijuana will often contain small, clear crystals of pure resin. But if the bowl contains a single large, white crystal or "rock," be warned! You may not be smoking what you think you're smoking.

Still, we must be grateful for this whiff of teh democrack. Many assume it; few think it; even fewer say it. To see it written, sincerely and without irony, is both refreshing and educational.

Dear Will: you mention IQ. Perhaps you're aware that the average IQ is 100. Have you ever collaborated with, employed, or otherwise befriended anyone with an IQ of 100? If not, it's never too late to moonlight in "food prep" at your local Hardee's. You could also enlist in the Marines; train as a cosmetologist; or work as a telemarketer. Or why not all of the above? Don't you want to connect with your good friends, the People?

After these learning experiences, you may be inspired to set up a special, simplified version of your blog, to explain the virtues of Rawlsekianism to voters in this bracket - who have, as you say, "considered libertarian ideas and rejected them for all sorts of reasons." (An accessibility feature, as it were. One small step ahead of the ADA.)

But 100 is just for average white people! Alas, as you may know, not everyone is white. You also mention cranial thickness. A fascinating topic, much neglected. Consider the problem of transmitting "Rawlsekianism" through this cranium (est. IQ, 65; number of votes, 1), or this one (est. IQ, 75; number of votes, 1). (Compare.) If your dream of democratic libertarianism seems just as practical in Papua New Guinea or Haiti as it is in Montgomery County - and why wouldn't it be? - we'll have to hope your auger is just as sharp as your tongue.

Of course, there are not a lot of Australian aboriginals roaming Montgomery County. But not to fear! Supposing your IQ=100 demolibertarian blog, which explains why Rawls and Hayek kick ass in words of no more than three syllables, takes off, goes triple viral squared, and starts to threaten the Powers that Be - what, oh what, shall they do?

Well, import some Australian aboriginals, perhaps. No shortage of those. And if there is, why not just breed more? As long as they can be taught to recognize the "D" line on the ballot, refrain from masturbating in public, and endorse their welfare checks, TPTB are home free. Remember, Will - no person is illegal. I believe Brecht had some thoughts on the matter.

But all this badinage is quite unfair. There is an easy and devastating answer. Our punching-bag may not punch back - but that's no reason to let our dukes down.

Consider the case of Marxism. No one could possibly argue that Marxism is simple. Indeed, while a true understanding of Rawlsekianism may demand both a gigantic brain and a fully enlarged mind, I myself special-order my millinery and am one of only twelve men ever awarded the title of Space Admiral Emeritus - outranking Baba Ram Dass himself. And I have no hope of understanding Das Kapital, either because these qualifications are inadequate, or just because it makes no sense at all.

Nonetheless, you'll note that Marxism in its day attracted the sincere adherence of billions of people, including quite a few whose skulls could smash Zinedine Zidane's like an eggshell. And if Marx could do it, why not Rawlsek? Or - gasp - Will himself?

No one with an IQ of 90 can possibly understand Marx. Nor can anyone with an IQ of 190. Both, however, can learn to parrot Marx. (Indeed, with the right ASL translation, so can a chimp.) And since both (unlike the chimp, or Carlyle's Dobbin - so far) has and of course deserves exactly one vote, they can elect Marxism just as easily as they can squawk it.

Ergo: cannot libertarianism, Rawlsekian or otherwise, succeed in exactly the same manner? Is it necessary to actually explain the matter? Must every man be a philosopher, or need he only fancy himself one? For he votes the same in either case.

We now arrive at the fundamental comedy of democratic libertarianism - a proposition no less grimly hilarious for its infinite boneheadedness. At the start of the 20th century, "classical liberalism" was conventional common sense, and Marxism and its relatives were on the fringe. Now, Marxism and its progeny are as ubiquitous as cytomegalovirus, and the lineage of John Stuart Mill, Herbert Spencer and Thomas Jefferson infects only a few nerds, stoners and other freaks. (And the world, of course, has gone to hell in a handbasket.) Is this just a coincidence?

Um, no, duh. It's not just a coincidence. Because if you and your friends can parrot Marxism and get it together to capture the State, Marxism gives you: (a) money; (b) power; and probably (c) women. Whereas if you and your friends can parrot Rawlsekianism and get it together to capture the State, Rawlsekianism gives you - what? Philosophical satisfaction? So: which of these creeds would you expect to be more popular with the masses?

So what we'd expect, just from rational first principles, is that if you start with a libertarian democracy, it will eventually become socialist. Socialism, as a theology of vote-buying and worse, is perfectly preadapted for Darwinian success in a democracy. If democracy is like cancer, socialism is like terminal cancer - the natural, entropic endpoint of the process.

And indeed, not only does the experience of American democracy demonstrate this effect - so does the accumulated wisdom of both Greco-Roman antiquity and classical Europe, both of which regarded democracy and socialism as (a) contemptible and (b) synonymous. You'll note that the Greeks, in particular, saw upward of five zillion independent city-states over the course of about half a millennium, so their experience is by no means to be taken lightly. ("Aristotle! Plato! Socrates! Morons...")

Therefore, what the left-libertarian has the courage and forthrightness to propose is not just that a libertarian democracy can remain libertarian - contrary to history, reason, and wisdom alike - but that a socialist democracy can become libertarian! Through the same democratic process that sent it in the other direction! Time reverses, water runs uphill, dogs meow, and old women become young and beautiful. Will, this is why I wonder what your dealer's selling you.

The truth about "libertarianism" is that, in general, although sovereignty is sovereignty, the sovereign whether man, woman or committee is above the law by definition, and there is no formula or science of government, libertarian policies tend to be good ones. Nor did we need Hayek to tell us this. It was known to my namesake, over two millennia ago.

Wu wei - for this is its true name - is a public policy for a virtuous prince, not a gigantic committee. The virtuous prince should practice wu wei, and will; that is his nature. Men will flock to his kingdom and prosper there. The evil prince will commit atrocities; that is his nature. Men will flee his kingdom, and should do so ASAP before he gets the minefields in.

And the gigantic committee should practice wu wei. But will it? Can it? Has it ever? It, too, has a nature. Before you tell us what it you're going to make it do, you might want to consider what it is.

Anyway. Enough with poor Will. Please visit his blog, comment on it, say only nice things, and contribute to his face-transplant fund. Now, let's talk about seasteading.

Sadly, reason compels me to believe that seasteading is basically a crazy idea. I mean this in the good sense of the word as well as the bad. Of all things that the endeavor reminds me of, it reminds me most of Shaw's epigram that all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

I'm glad that smart people are crazy enough to do crazy things like this, and I'm glad that billionaires are crazy enough to put their money where their mouth is. What will come of it? We'll see. Or our children will, at least.

But in the cold light of reason, let's take a couple of sharp and serious looks at the project.

First, we need to look a little more closely at this word freedom. From my perspective, which is of course both reactionary and correct, freedom is not an abstraction. The extent of your freedom is the extent of your own practical control over your own mind, body, and property.

For example, I don't think the conversion of Southern slaves into Southern sharecroppers made anyone much freer, because it created few practical options for the people involved. Before, you were an agricultural laborer who worked on the same farm for your entire life; after, ditto.

Defined in these terms, when you move onto a floating pole somewhere in the ocean, the first effect on your freedom is a massive decline. You have sworn fealty to King Neptune. Neptune accepts your service, as he has accepted so many before you. His court is glorious, his riches are infinite, his territory is vast. But Neptune is a stern and capricious lord.

To live at sea, you need not just love liberty. You need to love the sea. Spend a little time with Moitessier, Slocum, and the like; read this fine collection, and possibly this (pretty much all of Jonathan Raban's books are good); etc, etc. Yes, I'm aware that seasteading is not yachting. I'm aware that no one intends to take their floating poles around Cape Horn. But you are still at sea, and a subject of Neptune you remain.

For example, until they can form a large enough seastead colony to support regular seaplane service (let alone floating runways, etc), the subjects of Neptune are isolated, in an way that no one on Earth now is. Perhaps the closest equivalents are the small spots of humanity dotted across Alaska. Would you move to Alaska? (Why New Hampshire? Why not Alaska?) Life at sea is likely to be no freer than life in the Alaskan bush. If this is the lifestyle you want, it is as free as anything. If not, it might as well be a jail.

I would be slightly more confident in the seasteading project if I had the sense that the people behind it were true lovers of the sea. I don't really get that impression. Perhaps I am wrong. They clearly are lovers of technology, and perhaps once the technology is there the sea-lovers will come out of the woodwork. Again: the unreasonable man. Praise him! But emulate him only if you know what you're doing.

A crucial test for any form of "escape" is its ability to attract normal, sensible people whose interest in the project is not especially romantic, religious, "ideological," or otherwise crazed. The English colonies in North America, whose history most of us know, are excellent examples. Neptune had his way with the colonists for a month or two, but after that they were on dry land - and pretty good land, too. And there was no shortage of pure economic emigrants. And still, getting to this level of bootstrap was not at all easy.

My second criticism is that I feel the seasteading project, as is all too common these days, has mistaken a political appearance for a political reality. The Roman Empire was not the Roman Republic. It pretended, in every possible way, to be the Roman Republic - but woe be to those who could not see the difference.

Before the 20th century, Planet Three was divided among a number of independent powers. Some of these powers were strong and others were weak, and they behaved accordingly. Since we're speaking of the sea, see under: Admiral Semmes. A work worth reading for many reasons, but not least the completely unexpected (at least to me) amount of paper devoted to the laws of the sea. Even in the 19th century, it turns out, the pretense of maritime neutrality was quite a bit thinner than the reality.

Since 1945, the government of Planet Three has consisted of (a) USG; and (b) USG's enemies. (For various complicated reasons familiar to all UR readers, the enormous decaying hulk that is USG is particularly good at nourishing its own enemies.) As USG decays, we are starting to see a new class of state, the "post-anti-American" regimes of Russia and China, whose relations with USG are starting to vaguely approach the 17th-century ideal of Westphalian neutrality. They have a long way to go, though; they remain exceptions; they are not exactly noted for their libertarianism; and, while they need not always knuckle under to Washington, neither do they have any desire to offend it. As alternate protectors they seem quite unsatisfactory.

For the rest, the "new international order" consists of USG and its satellites. There are no true international institutions. (Indeed, the concept is a contradiction in terms.) There are only American institutions, which pretend to be a partnership of equals. So did the Warsaw Pact. Unlike the Warsaw Pact, the United Nations order does not of course serve the interests of Americans or report to American officials. Its personnel are indeed genuinely international. But all its ideas are American, both in origin, in the flow of new thoughts (to the extent that it has any new thoughts), and in the structure of prestige. This is quite sufficient.

Thus you have a basic problem: you're trying to escape from a planetary government, by moving somewhere else on the planet. At least if you move to, say, Costa Rica, you are sheltered by the pretense that Costa Rica, which is actually a satellite or external province of USG, is (as it appears to be) a sovereign country.

If you really wanted to escape from USG, you wouldn't seastead. You'd space-stead, or possibly star-stead. Ideally, there would be some vast, opaque nebula between you and the New York Times. Then, you might have a chance. Best not to tell anyone where you're going, though.

The seasteaders have a page on this problem. It strikes me as inadequate, because I'm not sure it's fully informed by an understanding of the historical and political dynamics. The take reminds me too much of the attempts to create digital gold currencies and other alternative financial systems, which have not been conspicuous in their success.

Basically, USG has two kinds of enemies: pretend enemies to its left, and real enemies to its right. It is not possible to conceal the basically hostile intention of the seasteading movement, which makes it an enemy; and its political alignment (libertarian is a subset of conservative) makes it an enemy to the right. Toward right enemies, USG is incredibly dangerous.

The pretend enemies (such as the Communist countries in the Cold War, other Third World nationalist thugs, revolutionary Islamists, etc, etc) are actually best defined as partial clients. Unlike full clients such as the OECD democracies, their friendship is only with one side of the American political system (the left side, duh). If their "anti-Americanism" actually reaches the level of military combat, the war is a limited war and essentially a civil one.

Right enemies include: Nazis and other fascists, of course; apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia; the Portuguese Estado Novo and Franquista Spain; the Greek colonels; and, of course, Israel. You might notice a property shared by all but one of the regimes on this list, which is that they don't exist anymore. Sometimes there will be patron-client relationships on the right side of the equation, but they are always tenuous. Even in the last case, the "Israel lobby" is a piece of dental floss compared to the arm-thick steel cable that is the Palestine lobby. (You'll notice that USG's policy is that the war should end by Israel giving money and land to the Palestinians, not the other way around.)

To its left USG uses proxy forces to prey on itself. To its right, it uses its own forces to prey on others. To its left, it finds excuses not to act. To its right, it creates excuses to attack. To its left, it never takes no for an answer - the olive branch is always extended. To its right, it never takes yes for an answer - feed it an arm, and it comes back and demands your leg. This is how it ended up ruling the world.

So here is what I suspect USG's reaction to seasteading will be: ignoring it, until or unless it shows some tendency to actually succeed. At that point, the fangs will emerge.

Again, when you seastead, you have acquired a sort of dual citizenship: you are a serf of both USG (satellites included) and Neptune. Neptune takes away quite a bit of your freedom, and offers no protection at all against USG. So what freedom, exactly, have you gained?

Not the freedom to violate USG's laws, for USG will enforce its laws against you wherever you live. Perhaps you can smoke a joint, out there in the Pacific. Can't you do that already? Really? And it's actually a lot easier for USG to seize your seastead for a rock of Will Wilkinson's finest, than for USG to seize your backyard because one of its dogs found a roach there.

But can you perform unlicensed economic activities? Can you, for example, run a free-market hospital that lets doctors and patients choose any treatment they think might work? Can you escape from tax laws, labor laws, patent laws, copyright laws, or any other laws? Not a freakin' chance. You're bending over and mooning about twelve government agencies, all of which would be very happy to eat your life and devour your soul, to the tune of thunderous applause from the New York Times. And your political protection? Ron Paul?

So again: what precisely does this freedom mean? Freedom to do what? I don't see an answer. If there is one, I'd like to hear it.

My best guess at an answer is that seasteading, to the great credit of its proponents, does not pretend to be anything but a long-term project - and I mean very long. Generations. It can surely absorb a considerable quantity of human effort in tasks which are rewarding solely on account of their difficulty. Men climb mountains, explore the Arctic, sail around Cape Horn, etc. So why not? I can think of many far more boring and pointless endeavors - most notably, democratic libertarianism.

And the timeframe brings up an old joke which I believe is due to Robert Heinlein. Apparently, a long time ago a thief was caught in the king's treasury. This king was quite strict about such matters. But he was a king, so he brought the thief before him and asked: "Why should I spare your life?"

The thief, thinking fast, said: "Simple. I've fallen on evil times, I admit, but once I was the world's greatest animal-speech instructor. Give me a year, and I can teach your favorite horse to talk. What do you have to lose? If I'm lying, you can just hang me anyway."

The king agreed. And every day thereafter, the thief was in the stable, teaching the horse to talk. He flapped its lips, he whispered in its ears, he pulled its tongue, he did everything.

One day a stableboy came up to him and said: "Look, you seem like a sensible fellow. You know that horses don't talk. So why are you doing all this?"

The thief said: "Yes, I know that horses don't talk. But, you know, I have a year. In that year, a lot could happen. The king could die. The horse could die. Or the horse could learn to talk."

Thus with seasteading. In a project with a multidecade time horizon, many things can change. The sea will always be the sea - but technology changes, and more importantly, so does USG. For better or for worse, no empire is forever. As USG decays, it will probably not become easier to reform, but it may well become easier to resist. We can only hope.

So my official stance on seasteading: cool to lukewarm. At least from what I've heard so far. Enthusiasts should feel free to try to change my mind, if they care.

Some may ask: do I have an alternative? Yes, I have an alternative. I'll discuss it in my next post. But for now, suffice it to say that when the impossible is ruled out, we are forced to consider the improbable. If it is impossible to reform USG, and impossible to escape USG - what other option is there?

79 Comments:

Blogger Daniel A. Nagy said...

Feel free to annotate this article over at Thiblo.com

May 7, 2009 at 5:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"do I have an alternative? Yes, I have an alternative. I'll discuss it in my next post. But for now, suffice it to say that when the impossible is ruled out, we are forced to consider the improbable. If it is impossible to reform USG, and impossible to escape USG - what other option is there?"Flintlock pistols with cryptolocks, and anti-democratic parrots?

May 7, 2009 at 6:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Democraphobia" is proof of the axiom that any opposition to the Cathedral's programs will ultimately be defined as a mental disorder.

MM can look forward to confinement in a psychiatric prison and forcible medication until he is cured of his nagging democraphobia.

If this is the lifestyle you want, it is as free as anything. If not, it might as well be a jail.With the additional chance of being drowned. =)

May 7, 2009 at 6:21 AM  
Anonymous togo said...

Right enemies include: Nazis and other fascists, of course; apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia; the Portuguese Estado Novo and Franquista Spain; the Greek colonels; and, of course, Israel. You might notice a property shared by all but one of the regimes on this list, which is that they don't exist anymoreThe survival of that one regime is remarkable, isn't it? It's a generation since the Afrikaners surrendered,but Israel still stands.Must be running on Shoah gas fumes.

Even in the last case, the "Israel lobby" is a piece of dental floss compared to the arm-thick steel cable that is the Palestine lobbyBy the "Palestine lobby" you mean, I assume, an epiphenomenon of the ideology of democratism, anti-HBD, et al. Was Israel's fate sealed as early as the Montgomery Bus Boycott?

May 7, 2009 at 7:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't worry, the Messiah will throw Israel under the bus before he's done.

May 7, 2009 at 7:22 AM  
Anonymous notuswind said...

MM,

Great blogging, it's nice to see you back in form.

May 7, 2009 at 7:41 AM  
Anonymous Leonard said...

God, I love reading Moldbug tear into libertarian democraphiliacs. Like shooting fish, etc., but nonetheless satisfying for that. This is why UR is the best blog going, or was, until Moldbug lost the will.

May 7, 2009 at 7:46 AM  
Blogger Daniel A. Nagy said...

Good Moldbuggery, but I do have a few objections.

May 7, 2009 at 7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nagy, why in the hell can't you post any comments you have HERE, in this forum? I'm not going to some other blog to see your comments about this blog, you wanker.

May 7, 2009 at 8:24 AM  
Anonymous Leonard said...

Mencius, on seasteading, I think you quite overestimate both American power and American will in the matter.

Is America the world government you say it is? I still don't buy it. Yes, the USG does have considerably power. Ideologically, progressive democratic socialism has won; there is no other ideology left standing. That is true. And the US can intervene pretty much at will, whereever it wants, except for countries with nuclear weapons. (Any wonder that Iran seeks to join the club?)

It is also true that the USG, when it does act, has tended to act decisively against the right, while acting patiently against the left.

Still, you overestimate American power. Consider an average seastead, perhaps a spar platform, floating out in the Atlantic. Can USG board and search it? Yes. Will it find reasons to do so? Certainly, if it is convinced that something unsavory and rightish is going on there.

But now consider an ocean full of seasteads, perhaps mostly clustered into anarchic lumps. Let us say, 100000 people on 20000 platforms. Will the USA employ enough police to effectively police them all? Perhaps the 600 ship navy will return. So what happens when the population a-sea goes to 1 million? 10 million?

At some point, two things happens. First, the seasteaders are self-governing just fine in those anarchic gatherings. So the obvious avenue for the USG to impose its governance is through them. Thus seasteaders do eventually get the imposition of a layer between them and USG, like Costa Rica. However, there is one huge difference. Costa Rica is fixed land and can be overthrown. Its rulers know this, and thus, must bend to superior USG power. Anarchic boat-lumps are not fixed, and may be scattered and reformed at the will of their residents, not rulers. Thus, the rulers must not bend as far to USG whim.

Thus, whatever freedom one gains via modern "federalism" (that is, having a dry-land client state like Costa Rica standing between USG and you), you will (eventually) gain more freedom by having an anarchic client protection agency as interpositor. We know this from first principles.

It is true that this only happens via scale, though. 10 seasteads are easy to police, and there is no interposition at all, so they probably have less freedom. 1000000 give freedom. Somewhere between is a crossover point. This is a problem in the shorter run for seasteading as a means to freedom, but not in the longer run.

There is also the matter of practical ability to police, that is, administrative/bureaucratic power. It is very expensive to have the 1 million man navy, or whatever it takes, to impose all the necessary progressive child-restraint laws and whatnot against the seasteaders. And the red government doesn't want to do the job anyway. So, even with only a few seasteaders, USG will enforce fewer laws. And the more seasteaders there are, the more USG backs off and only enforces selective laws, selectively. This gives a large measure of practical freedom, again scaling with population afloat.

So consider running a clinic specializing in, oh, forbidden gene therapy. People fly out from the mainland, get spliced, return with +10 IQ and -$1m. Getting gene-boosted is unfair, making people unequal, and thus is unrighteous (progressively-speaking). Evidence for it is easy to get -- just send agents pretending to be customers. This will be shut down.

OTOH, say it is a drug resort. Using drugs hurts nobody and expands the self -- thus, is progressive approved. Thus while red USG may want to ban it for the rubes back in Arkansas, blue USG will scrupulously stick to "international waters" and any other legal pretexts it can generate. Amsterdam afloat. Thus there is gain in practical freedom -- you can smoke a joint legally without flying to Europe.

There are many possible crimes against USG, and it will enforce laws against some. But to the extent that a self-controlling entity is either doing things the progressives want anyway, or it is information-opaque to USG, you can get away with things you cannot on USG turf.

May 7, 2009 at 8:36 AM  
Anonymous chilton said...

Peter Thiel is a homosexual.

That's why he's so into seasteading.

He basically wants to live on a gay cruise ship that never has to dock except in order to pick up more sailors.

http://www.nndb.com/people/030/000124655/

http://gawker.com/335894/peter-thiel-is-totally-gay-people

http://nationalgaynews.com/content/view/2380/173/

And no, being a hedge fund manager, tech investor, chess aficianado, etc., does not excuse this.

He's still a grade A cock gobbler.

I agree with his point that when women got their nanoslice, the competence of this gigantic committee deteriorated. But allowing homosexual men have their nanoslice is just as destructive. It's only mitigated in a male regime by the homosexuals' relatively much smaller numbers. They are swamped by heterosexual men. When women get their share, the homosexuals' corrosive influence is amplified in conjunction with women, simply because of the fact that the homos share the negative, corrosive, destructive qualities of women that Thiel correctly recognizes.

The homosexual and the urban woman are the beau ideals of this socialist democracy. They share similar time preferences. Rootless, promiscuous, shallow, emotional, frivolous. They worship power. They worship primal alpha males.

May 7, 2009 at 10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mencius,

Didn't the ancient Chinese philosopher Mencius advocate revolution?

May 7, 2009 at 10:25 AM  
Anonymous NG said...

Montgomery County HOLLA!

May 7, 2009 at 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a shame that the Mencius Moldbugs, the Larry Austers, and all the rest, don't live in Connecticut.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aTjqcpUPxlYo&refer=us

May 7, 2009 at 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"Don't worry, the Messiah will throw Israel under the bus before he's done."

Snort. Yeah, right. Please wake me when that happens.

You do realize that Obama was thoroughly vetted by TPTB before he was elected (this isn't some idle conspiracy theory, either; it was covered by the MSM and you can Google it), as are all "mainstream" candidates? And that his administration is stuffed to the gills with Jews, Zionists, and philo-semites?

The idea that Obama is going to "throw Israel under the bus" is an idle fantasy shared by certain anti-semites and certain Zionists alike, but it's still unadulterated bullshit.

May 7, 2009 at 12:09 PM  
Anonymous Moses said...

Leonard, I'll see your 100,000 people on 20,000 platforms and raise you a Chinese proverb:

Kill the chicken and let the monkeys watch.

How safe are you going to feel on your floating dingy after a USG destroyer lobs a few 130mm shells through your neighbor's living room?

Any attempt to create an international market in drugs, tax evasion, or other USG unapproved business will be met with force. Ask Panama, Colombia, Cayman Islands, Switzerland, Bermuda. There's a war on tax havens underway and even Switzerland is losing.

May 7, 2009 at 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But perhaps, dear UR reader, you read it here first."No. Actually, I think this ancient site is where I've read it first: http://perspicuity.net/ratlife.html

May 7, 2009 at 12:59 PM  
Anonymous Leonard said...

Moses, I believe you meant 127mm shells? In any case, to answer your question: when my neighbor's platform is destroyed, of course I feel cowed. Thus I should attempt to avoid getting to that point, which is easy to do -- just give in to demands when they are made by people commanding 5 inch guns, when you do not, and you cannot escape them. At least if you are convinced they mean to use them.

How that relates to anything I said, though, is cryptic. Do you mean to suggest that the USG is all-knowing, or ubiquitous? Well, you're in good company there (i.e. MM); but that is where I was disagreeing with him.

Now that I have refuted your notion that I have no understanding of force, perhaps you can rethink things.

If it would help, then consider this: the USG can control any given Iraqi using your method. In fact 127mm is not even needed; 5.56mm is plenty sufficient. But the USG does not control all Iraqis simultaneously. Why not?

May 7, 2009 at 1:31 PM  
Blogger Patri Friedman said...

I am delighted to see the ever erudite Mr. Moldbug wield his sharp tongue against democraphilia, slightly less delighted but still reasonably happy to see it wielded in lukewarm appreciation of seasteading.

One way to look at seasteading is a way to solve the problem which MM hasn't - how do you create a Patchwork world when all land is claimed by existing governments with a ruthless grip on power. Seasteading is certainly a risky answer, but at least it is an answer, whereas I have not seen any plausible strategy from MM on how he will convince an existing government (such as USG) to convert to his system. For them to do it voluntarily is impossible, so seasteading, even if improbable is a superior path.

MM's point about the loss of freedom for early seastead pioneers is certainly true, we must depend on unreasonable men who see the long-term potential, and find ways to reduce the negative impact of Neptune. For example, we are considering starting with a condominium cruise ship, which would travel around the world, thus giving us access to all the resources of land (and limiting our initial freedom, as we could only smoke pot when in international waters between ports).

As for the specific concern of interference by USG, I simply don't believe MM's point is correct. He states:

Can you, for example, run a free-market hospital that lets doctors and patients choose any treatment they think might work? Can you escape from tax laws, labor laws, patent laws, copyright laws, or any other laws? Not a freakin' chance. The US does not enforce its tax or labor laws on other countries. Cruise ships routinely come into US ports that violate US labor laws. Only if a ship travels entirely between US ports do labor laws apply - visit a single foreign port, and you are exempt. And medical tourism, where people go to visit doctors and hospitals unregulated by the US, is currently done by 750,000 americans a year, and growing rapidly. The US has made no indications that it sees this as illegal.

The list of laws that the US enforces on other countries, and invades other countries for, is very short. Harboring terrorists, anonymous banking (allowing money laundering and tax evasion), producing drugs for distribution, researching WMD, underage sex. That is close to a complete list of things I've seen the US intervene for. And in fact, the only law which I know of that says it is illegal for an American to go do something that is legal someplace else relates to having sex with underage prostitutes. It is not illegal to go smoke a joint in Amsterdam, it is not illegal to go to a hospital in Panama, etc.

Anyway, I'm in the SF Bay Area, so Mencius if you'd ever like to get together and talk about stubborness, disrespect, programming languages, and alternatives to democracy, drop me a line.

May 7, 2009 at 2:04 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

we must depend on unreasonable men who see the long-term potential, and find ways to reduce the negative impact of Neptune. For example, we are considering starting with a condominium cruise ship, which would travel around the world, thus giving us access to all the resources of land (and limiting our initial freedom, as we could only smoke pot when in international waters between ports).

Antigravity is your solution.

Instead of having the seastead platform float on the water,
the seastead could merely use antigravity fields to hover across the surface while moving from place to place.

Also, the seastead could hover over the water if a tidal wave or something is coming.

May 7, 2009 at 2:28 PM  
Anonymous Moses said...

How many countries will recognize seasteaders' passports?

May 7, 2009 at 2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mencius, stay away from Patri Friedman.

He will infect you with a virulent strain of monetarism.

May 7, 2009 at 3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it would help, then consider this: the USG can control any given Iraqi using your method. In fact 127mm is not even needed; 5.56mm is plenty sufficient. But the USG does not control all Iraqis simultaneously. Why not?

MM already answered this in his post. The Iraqis are a "pretend enemy on the Left", so the US does not take the gloves off when it fights them. The SeaSteaders would be a "real enemy on the Right", and thus the USG would take the gloves off when fighting them.

That said, SeaSteading seems like a more realistic and practical solution to the problems of democracy than anything MM has proposed so far.

May 7, 2009 at 3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is everyone afraid of democracy: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2009/941/op10.htm

May 7, 2009 at 5:33 PM  
Blogger Patri Friedman said...

Moses: Since, unlike most nation-founders, we are not idiots, we have no plans to issue passports until nations do recognize them, which we expect to take 50-100 years. Until then, people will use their own passports, or buy second citizenships from countries such as St Kitts which offer them. That's the obvious, sensible path, and while taking the obvious, sensible path is a totally novel approach in the floating cities / nation-founding movement, we think it's time to gie it a try.

May 7, 2009 at 6:47 PM  
Anonymous Leonard said...

The SeaSteaders would be a "real enemy on the Right", and thus the USG would take the gloves off when fighting them.I don't doubt it will take off the gloves to fight anything sufficiently annoying (#1 being the horrific crime of tax evasion), but I don't agree w/ MM that USG would treat the entire movement as right-enemies. There's no precedent for that at all. Rather, the USG will simply make it clear that its rules apply in certain ways. Seasteaders will ignore it, and there will be a low-level political conflict. But the balance of power, as Moses suggests, is fully on the side of USG, and everyone knows that. War does not result from such conflicts.

Also, I do not think that modeling seasteaders as national right-enemies is very productive. What the model suggests is that USG tends to have its way against its true enemies. I agree with that. "Having its way" means, that it destroys their government, and replaces it with a "muppet" government (natives who have been Harvard-educated so as to be in tune with the American line.) But seasteaders will not be a nation, nor will they even be a territory. Let us say that USG does impose a democratic government on some seastead clump. That clump then simply disbands and reforms somewhere else, with some other protection agency. It's a game of whack-a-mole for USG.

If you want a better model for how USG may treat seasteaders as enemies on the right, you ought to look at how USG treats individual foreign citizens it considers its enemies. I'm not sure how this can even be applied: just as no person is illegal, no person is an enemy, they're just friends we have not educated yet. But perhaps the Taliban after the conquest of Afghanistan is a decent model. Certainly some were dragged off to Guantanamo, but most were not.

Finally, I do not think that in most areas of law, USG will even enforce its own law against seasteaders. Rather, when the movement hits a certain mass, the USG will go to the UN to get new rules. These new rules will only partly reflect the progressive consensus.

That said, SeaSteading seems like a more realistic and practical solution to the problems of democracy than anything MM has proposed so far.You realize this para contradicts your first? If USG will really treat each and every seasteader as a Nazi soldier, then no, seasteading is neither practical nor realistic. I suspect, though, that you don't believe it will either.

May 7, 2009 at 7:18 PM  
Blogger Johnny Abacus said...

One way to look at life is an attempt to harvest large sources of energy.

The sun (or the earth's core or radio active materials) is the local source. Energy flows first into organisms that photosynthesize then into predators up the food chain. Any large source of energy that is sitting around, not being harvested is an invitation for evolution to create a harvester.

The problem with seasteading is that a large, successful population of seasteaders represents a great deal of free energy upon which a state will evolve to prey/protect.

Leonard:

You mention a variety of technical challenges for anyone who wants to police the seas. While your objections are true, I can hazard a guess at what would happen.

Countries will wait until seasteaders are worth taxing, first of all.

1. All vessels at sea will be required to run some sort of flag and an id-code. Possible reasons: war on drugs, terrorism, piracy.

2. Any democratic country who has a small minority population of easily identified, registered 'residents' who are highly productive will certainly be taxed at the laffer maximum or as close to it as local politics allows.

3. While people at sea will be largely immune from the enforcement of laws, the cost of getting caught violating a non-trivial law is much higher - seasteaders will, as a necessity, have much more of their net worth wrapped up in their dwelling which will be easily seized.

4. Security is a problem that is proportional the the success of seasteading. Piracy on the open sea is rare because ships are sparse and fast. If seasteading takes off in a big way, I could easily see the minimum practical size of a seastead being 30-50 people. I'd imagine that over a certain size governments would require them to host a constable who would enforce a variety of laws.

The above are simply ideas - I have no idea how governments would actually go about doing things, but a significant number of prosperous, protection-free people will draw government like wasps to honey.

Patri:

International law is best understood as a formalization of the balance of power. If the balance of power changes, expect the laws to change. Right now, international law doesn't reflect the current balance of power simply because it is more convenient for the US to keep up the facade that the old balance of power still holds. This is not a strong bulwark upon which to rely.

One of the primary reasons the US doesn't bother to exert its influence formally on 2nd and 3rd world countries is because it uses debt and other aid to control them. If you plan on denying US official that lever of power, I would guess that more formal and open methods of control will emerge quite rapidly.

May 7, 2009 at 7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't agree w/ MM that USG would treat the entire movement as right-enemies. There's no precedent for that at all.

The precedent is the Branch Davidians. The USG will first paint the SeaSteaders as extremists, religious nuts, Hitler lovers, drug runners, and child molesters, then will bring the hammer down on them.


the balance of power, as Moses suggests, is fully on the side of USG, and everyone knows that. War does not result from such conflicts.

The USG has squashed quite a few movements and countries that posed absolutely no threat to it.


Let us say that USG does impose a democratic government on some seastead clump. That clump then simply disbands and reforms somewhere else, with some other protection agency.

This will work if it's really, really cheap to set up a seasteading. If it is expensive to disband and reform, then the USG will only have to crush them a few times before the seasteaders run out of funds to reform. (What exactly do the seasteaders do that generates revenue, anyway?)


you ought to look at how USG treats individual foreign citizens it considers its enemies.

How does the USG treat US citizens who are its right-wing enemies, like David Koresh? He and other separatist types are the model for how the USG will regard seasteaders.


You realize this para contradicts your first? If USG will really treat each and every seasteader as a Nazi soldier, then no, seasteading is neither practical nor realistic. I suspect, though, that you don't believe it will either.

I think seasteading has a really, really small chance to succeed, but a greater chance than any other ideas I've heard.

May 7, 2009 at 8:14 PM  
Anonymous pwyll said...

Anonymous: Mencius, stay away from Patri Friedman.

He will infect you with a virulent strain of monetarism.
On the contrary, I think that if those two were to meet, they might fuse to form an omniscient superbeing of some kind.

May 7, 2009 at 8:22 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Y'all who are assuming that USG won't attack seasteaders are ignoring the propaganda arm of the government:

from CNN, Saturday, March 10, 2012:

"Right Wing activists who have abandoned our nation for an orgy of sex, drugs, and tax evasion have been discovered to have abandoned activism for terrorism. Patri Friedman and Peter Thiel are the leaders of a group of these pirates calling themselves have "seasteaders" and communications have been found with these Seasteaders and sleeper cells in San Francisco. These seasteaders planned to bring their ship into San Francisco's harbor and detonate it, thereby disrupting American shipping and, therefore the economy, far greater than 9/11 ever did.

Luckily, the CIA intercepted their communications via wireless tap three days ago and US Submarine Ted Kennedy sank the seasteading pirate ship early this morning."

May 7, 2009 at 8:26 PM  
Anonymous brascon said...

pwyll said:

"On the contrary, I think that if those two were to meet, they might fuse to form an omniscient superbeing of some kind."

You're thinking of Peter Thiel. Thiel is the gay one. If Thiel and Mencius were to meet, Thiel's penis would fuse into Mencius' butthole to form a frothy jizz slurpee in Mencius' butthole.

Thiel would of course felch out said slurpee afterwards.

May 7, 2009 at 9:22 PM  
Blogger Aaron Davies said...

lol@submarine kennedy. home port chappaquiddick, i presume?

May 7, 2009 at 9:36 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

I doubt Wilkinson will actually come over here, so I recommend MM squeeze out some anti-democratic heresies at Will's backyard. It'd make the place more entertaining.

See here, and here.Before examining the links I assumed at least one of them would reference this. It's even more viral than you think!

left-libertarian Will WilkinsonNo, Wilkinson and the "liberaltarians" are the evil-bearded twin of left-libertarianism, a variety of market anarchism which in contrast is worth thinking about. Leftists (distinct from liberals) are excluded from the liberaltarian project.

From our perspective, he spends most of his gas merely in proving his remarkable, if hardly unusual, inability to distinguish freedom from powerHe's a booster of "positive liberty", which may share a denotation with "power" (if not its connotation).

There's an easy way to define democracy: every adult subject of the State is deputized, drafted or dragooned as a part-time government official.In most democracies you have the option of not participating and a great many (including myself) do just that.

The sum of these petty officials constitutes a gigantic committee, holding the exact same formal authority as Charles Stuart.Formally the government is supposed to have limited authority. To the extent that a regime has such anti-majoritarian features we might say it is undemocratic (that's Bryan Caplan's take on the Constitution/Bill of Rights).

By what right did Charles hold his full slice?Ask Ragnar Redbeard.

His point is neither philosophical nor normative.What the hell are you talking about? To say libertarian governance is good is obviously normative, and even John Lott (the researcher who most clearly made Thiel's case) didn't believe such a conclusion was objective.

If libertarians are going to shift the politics of the countries we live inNot a priority for Seasteaders.

refrain from masturbating in publicThe link didn't say anything about that. Perhaps you meant "sniffing gasoline".

TPTBWhat?

Now, Marxism and its progeny are as ubiquitous as cytomegalovirus, and the lineage of John Stuart Mill, Herbert Spencer and Thomas Jefferson infects only a few nerds, stoners and other freaks.All I can do is second Nagy.

Whereas if you and your friends can parrot Rawlsekianism and get it together to capture the State, Rawlsekianism gives you - what?A much better shot at avoiding a bullet to the head than the Old Bolsheviks or Sturmabteilung leaders had?

So what we'd expect, just from rational first principles, is that if you start with a libertarian democracy, it will eventually become socialist.I'd say despite Marx's predictions it was precisely in the areas without a history of liberal democracy that Marxism took off.

For example, I don't think the conversion of Southern slaves into Southern sharecroppers made anyone much freer, because it created few practical options for the people involved. Before, you were an agricultural laborer who worked on the same farm for your entire life; after, ditto.Christ, that's moronic. The option to leave your employment if you do not find it satisfactory is a huge benefit EVEN IF YOU STAY WHERE YOU ARE. Are you unfamiliar with the concept of competition? I seem to recall your "Patchwork" idea being based on it. You even mentioned "fleeing ASAP before the minefields are set" just a few paragraphs above! People actually crossed several states in order to reunite with family, we can be confident they saw themselves as improving their situation.

Defined in these terms, when you move onto a floating pole somewhere in the ocean, the first effect on your freedom is a massive decline.Now you're echoing Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch. You're a "positive-freedom" cosmotarian! I guess it's in keeping with your VICE/eXile aping aspirational plans for victory-through-hipness but I thought you dropped that without comment a long time ago.

Why New Hampshire? Why not Alaska?My guess is that it's a tad less cold and distant.

I would be slightly more confident in the seasteading project if I had the sense that the people behind it were true lovers of the sea.I think they like cruise-ships, which are a common analogy they use.

perhaps once the technology is thereTechnology has a hell of a much better trend than politics. That's where I'd put my chips.

A crucial test for any form of "escape" is its ability to attract normal, sensible people whose interest in the project is not especially romantic, religious, "ideological," or otherwise crazed. The English colonies in North America, whose history most of us knowAs pointed out in Albion's Seed, it was precisely those crazed motives that were central to the American colonies, especially the ones with the lowest death rates and most industry! The Puritans actually excluded people who would serve merely an economic function.

neither do they have any desire to offend itOh, I think the invasion of Georgia involved intentionally tweaking our nose. Which is to be expected when you stick your nose all over where it doesn't belong.

There are no true international institutions.What about standards committees? Multinational corporations?

You'd space-stead, or possibly star-stead.Which Thiel explicitly states is his ultimate goal.

and its political alignmentPart of the point is that every political/cultural/whatever group can try its hand at creating their part of Nozick's Utopia, though admittedly everyone currently involved is libertarian.

makes it an enemy to the rightHas the U.S ever had a libertarian enemy?

Nazis and other fascistsThe ONLY member of your list the U.S has actually attacked!

Franquista SpainEisenhower went over and made friends around the time of the Spanish miracle, rather like China's rapprochement with the U.S under Nixon and his successors.

the Greek colonelsWho held power because they were on the side of the U.S in the first place!

IsraelWhich receives more aid from the U.S than ANY OTHER COUNTRY, which Congressfolks of all stripes pledge to protect, which is consistently defended by the U.S in the U.N. Your only evidence for the U.S being the enemy of Israel is that Ike objected during Suez. Whoopidy doo, that makes it a REAL enemy, not like any of those good friends we bombed and overthrew!

You might notice a property shared by all but one of the regimes on this list, which is that they don't exist anymoreThe late regimes all either had shaky beginnings or large indigenous populations. Singapore and Dubai are not quaking in their boots (because they're not enemies, duh).

Sometimes there will be patron-client relationships on the right side of the equationThe vast majority of our patrons have been on the right (partly a coincidence of the "American century" overlapping so much with the Cold War).

Even in the last case, the "Israel lobby" is a piece of dental floss compared to the arm-thick steel cable that is the Palestine lobby.I don't even think you believe that. Hold some claims in the book up for dissection rather than engaging in your weak gasseous generalities.

You'll notice that USG's policy is that the war should end by Israel giving money and land to the Palestinians, not the other way around.You'll note that the U.S continues giving Israel money unconditionally as it settles more land. Turns out the U.S position against settlement expansion is only formal rather than real! I'm with you on the incompleteness of the Nakba being unfortunate but you're representation of U.S policy remains laughable. Perhaps you should take up reading The Last Ditch. On pretty much every other issue I think you'll find them sympatico.

To its left USG uses proxy forces to prey on itself. To its right, it uses its own forces to prey on others.How many left-wing regimes have we sent troops against? How many for the right?

To its right, it never takes yes for an answer - feed it an arm, and it comes back and demands your leg.Israel & Iraq (during the Iran-Iraq war) have both gotten away with accidentally attacking us with missiles. The U.S would not grant nearly that amount of leeway to our "phony enemies".

unless it shows some tendency to actually succeed. At that point, the fangs will emerge.Like Singapore and Dubai? The authoritarian governments you referred to above were generally backward autarkies, not shining success stories. Israel, again, is an exception that illustrates the world as it is a fairly prosperous liberal democracy.

Not the freedom to violate USG's laws, for USG will enforce its laws against you wherever you liveThe U.S has not done anything to prevent "medical tourism", which is the industry Patri hopes to rely on. The U.S leaves alone plenty of countries without our labor laws, and the unions that push for fair-trade rules against them seem to be as much losers of history as opponents of gay marriage.

And it's actually a lot easier for USG to seize your seastead for a rock of Will Wilkinson's finest, than for USG to seize your backyard because one of its dogs found a roach there.Someone hasn't been reading their Balko.

But can you perform unlicensed economic activities? Can you, for example, run a free-market hospital that lets doctors and patients choose any treatment they think might work? Can you escape from tax laws, labor laws, patent laws, copyright laws, or any other laws? Not a freakin' chance.Plenty of other countries do that already. Even the Mariana Islands don't abide by U.S labor laws, and they're formally part of the U.S.

And your political protection?The unwillingness of a recently burned populace to invade a tiny construction out at sea they don't have any animus toward? Do you really think any of the multitude of island micronations run the risk of invasion because they don't adhere to our regulatory standards?

a long-term projectIt is very meta in focus, because in growth meta is max.

So my official stance on seasteading: cool to lukewarmA bit surprising since it's the ONLY somewhat plausible plan for getting from here to there. Your "patchwork" ideas simply assume the existence of a fragmented order and postulate crypto-locks for preserving it.


Anonymous May 7, 2009 6:21 AM:
Maybe you're new. Get a handle.
"Democraphobia" is proof of the axiom that any opposition to the Cathedral's programs will ultimately be defined as a mental disorder.While Wilkinson disagrees with my Szaszian perspective, even I don't think he's suggesting that Friedman & Thiel have a mental disorder. He's just using a label to denote antipathy.

By the "Palestine lobby" you mean, I assume, an epiphenomenon of the ideology of democratism, anti-HBD, et al.Maybe he means the Arab American Institute. Congressfolk tremble before its power!


Leonard:
Ideologically, progressive democratic socialism has won; there is no other ideology left standingYou sound like Fukuyama. He was dead wrong. Huntington was right.


chilton:
And no, being a hedge fund manager, tech investor, chess aficianado, etc., does not excuse this.Well then I guess he's hell is his next stop after he kicks the bucket, but why should MM give a shit now? I'll fully admit to a revulsion which I'll neither rationalize nor apologize for but even I can get past that for a second and note that, for example, it would be better to limit spousal-based immigration to gays (no anchor babies, natch).

But allowing homosexual men have their nanoslice is just as destructiveWhat? Besides them being to scarce to make a difference, suffrage has never been restricted to normals.

The homosexual and the urban woman are the beau ideals of this socialist democracy.I agree that most gays are probably quite left. But it strikes me that while there are few female libertarians I can recall, for such a small portion of the population I can think of quite a few gay ones. Off the top of my head there's Justin Raimondo, Jonathan Rauch, Tom Palmer, Kip Esquire, Andrew Sullivan thinks of himself as both libertarian and conservative, Arthur Silber (despite Rand's own attitude toward gays) and his inspiration Chris Sciabarra, Glenn Greenwald doesn't focus as much on economic policy but he's a thorough-going enough civil libertarian to defend the freedoms of the least sympathetic and puts "conservative" in quotes to indicate his problem is not with traditional convervative ideology, IOZ is a Spooner-quoting anarchist though he admits to some minarchist libertarian tendencies, and even the despicable Jamie Kirchick is a member of the Independent Gay Forum (which seems to lean libertarian).


Anonymous May 7, 2009 12:09 PM:
Like I said, get a goddamn handle.
And that his administration is stuffed to the gills with Jews, Zionists, and philo-semites?What about non-Zionist semito-indifferent Jews (Popper and Szasz?)? Non-jewish Zionists who don't care for jews either (Hitler & Hagee?)? Gentile philo-semites that think Israel's founding was a mistake? Gotta have diversity! But seriously, I think the standard of comparison should be American opinion broadly. My guess is that Obama personally feels less sympathy for Israel than the general public does (which is not to say that would amount to anything).


Moses:
Any attempt to create an international market in drugs, tax evasion, or other USG unapproved business will be met with force. Ask Panama, Colombia, Cayman Islands, Switzerland, Bermuda. There's a war on tax havens underway and even Switzerland is losing.What the hell are you talking about? The only country the U.S invaded in our lifetimes was Panama to arrest Noriega. They didn't do a thing to interfere with say, their lack of a central bank.


Anonymous May 7, 2009 3:28 PM:
Get a handle.
He will infect you with a virulent strain of monetarism.I think Patri is more the Solow type, at least in one respect.


Anonymous May 7, 2009 3:37 PM:
Get a handle.
The Iraqis are a "pretend enemy on the Left", so the US does not take the gloves off when it fights themSaddam must be relieved to know that he is still dictator rather than hanging victim! And the Iraqi people are grateful that we haven't killed nearly as many of them over the years as Spaniards, Portugese, Greeks, Afrikaners, Rhodies and Israelis! Boatloads of aid our regimes? You monster, put the gloves back on, I want bombing and sanctions!

May 7, 2009 at 9:41 PM  
Anonymous Leonard said...

Anon, Koresh choose the stupid path, that is, war. Going to war against USG is remarkably stupid. Yes, if any seasteader dares to defy USG when the US marshall comes a-knockin' with his 5 inch guns, the same can be expected.

It's easy to not get into a war with the USG: when it makes demands, meet them.

Who else you got? They must be right wing enemies of USG. I'd prefer non-citizens, since their proximity and salience to USG is roughly the same, but you can use US citizens if you want. And they must be reasonably smart, enough to not attempt open battle against the USG.

May 7, 2009 at 9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would think UR especially would entirely invert the meaning of his first sentence: A lie can ocurr to anyone, but truth has to be discovered.

How ironic it is that seasteading has any credence with Libertarians. Seasteaders would fall prey to every bad actor with an itch for plunder or mayhem well before USG got to it. They are using Utopian thinking to escape Utopian landlubbers.

Churchill could not narrow it down further, but may he be right about this--The empires of the future are empires of the mind.

May 7, 2009 at 10:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mencius, again, displays the sort of erudite knowledge of Israel/Palestine that could one day qualify him to write an editorial for the NYTimes on the subject. Or teach a course about it in Harvard, even.

Indeed, AIPAC makes the ADC and the pro-Palestinian hordes of congressman look like Goliath. And yet this is reasonable compared to his conjecture that America is an enemy of Israel.

Now, if being USG's enemy means $3bn a year along with complete, unequivocal and unconditional support from the world's only superpower, could you please tell me where I can sign-up?

May 7, 2009 at 10:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more thought,

Mencius, to me, presents a perfect example of a very common mental disorder: intelligent people that were raised and brainwashed to be hardcore Zionists will, no matter what, continue to find ways to justify this infantile, moronic and ridiculous obsession with a nonsensical colonial project in the Arab World.

The really striking thing about this is the incessant itch these Zionists have to continue to talk about Israel and find new ways of justifying it and make it look good, even when it clearly contradicts everything they're saying.

MM actually makes an excellent point in this whole discussion. And his point would hold without having to mention Israel. In fact, it would hold better without having to mention Israel, precisely because it is a counter-example to everything he says.

But, here, the innate, reflexive and primitive Zionist product of American MSM brainwashing has to come out. And so MM has to contend white is black by telling us that Israel is America's enemy and the pro-Palestine lobby dwarves the pro-Israel lobby.

This is ridiculous on its own. But the fact that he must, of all the world's countries, choose Israel to argue what is quite clearly the opposite of what Israel illustrates tells you all you need to know about the sort of demented effect Zionism has taken on so many otherwise fine American minds.

May 7, 2009 at 11:03 PM  
Blogger BGC said...

I have not heard about this seasteading notion before, but the obvious problem is piracy.

Piracy is the natural state of affairs in the absence of naval 'control of the seas' by great powers.

Which is why piracy is now back again, albeit in a small way. But unless piracy is ruthlessly suppressed (I mean that there needs to be the will to suppress it, and removal of any 'laws' preventing its suppression, and very strong methods used - of the kind that will deter the kind of people who adopt piracy as a way of life), then piracy will surely grow.

USG and the other great powers would not need to attack sea steaders; they merely have to withdraw naval protection, and piracy would return in a big way and gobble up seasteaders.

Small islands were notoriously vulnerable to pirates. People needed to live several miles inland in fortified towns, and even then there were terrible losses. Pirates would pillage, rape, kidnap and enslave.

So seasteaders would need to expend a lot of resources on defence; and it would still be hard to defend communities of men women and children of all ages against gangs of reckless young men who are difficult to deter because they depend on piracy for their survival.

May 7, 2009 at 11:08 PM  
Anonymous snazz7y said...

@TGGP

"Technology has a hell of a much better trend than politics."

Incorrect. It can be just as bad, if not worse, than politics. Technology is not just an objective tool; it is a meme unto itself. Read Postman's "Technopoly," or John Ralston Saul's "Voltaire's Bastards."

@BGC

Piracy wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for international law, our media that glorifies piracy as "people's bandits" (See Hobsbawm's books), and democracy itself.

Go in at the dead of night and raze their towns, rape their women, and put their children's heads on pikes. Complete wipe them out genetically and memetically, as if they never existed.

Fuck morality.

It's survival.

It's not pirates, global guerrillas, or 'networked non-state actors' that are the problem. The west is the problem. We have the most highly trained warriors on the planet. What is holding us back is moralizing and righteousness from the left, and incompetent bravado from the right. What we need is more Ghengis Khans, Machiavellis, and Sun Tzus. And less Rousseaus, and Knuckle-dragging Rambos with their football-as-war metaphors that can't even catch a single cave-dwelling fundamentalist.

May 8, 2009 at 2:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I have not heard about this seasteading notion before, but the obvious problem is piracy."

I am not convinced of this. Pirates need land bases, and typically lurk in littoral waters near well-traveled sea lanes (Straits of Malacca, Bab el Mandeb). Seasteaders have no reason to stay in well-traveled sea lanes, since they're not going anywhere. If they stayed in the "blue water" of the open ocean, seasteaders should be safe enough. Pirates in small boats will never be able to find them and catch them. In addition, seasteaders will not be limited by stupid rules of engagement. "Come near us and we kill you without warning" ought to be enough to send pirates after easier prey.

"What is holding us back is moralizing and righteousness from the left, and incompetent bravado from the right."

Nope. What is holding us back is that the Left thinks it is more important to destroy the Right politically at home than it is to defeat our enemies abroad.

May 8, 2009 at 5:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"if being USG's enemy means $3bn a year along with complete, unequivocal and unconditional support from the world's only superpower, could you please tell me where I can sign-up?"

You'd be signing up for the same deal that the USSR got during the periods of "detente" (Hey, we're an enemy but we get all this trade and technology anyway? Sweet!), and the same deal that China is getting right now.

May 8, 2009 at 5:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anon, Koresh choose the stupid path, that is, war. Going to war against USG is remarkably stupid.
It's easy to not get into a war with the USG: when it makes demands, meet them."

You're not reading MM carefully enough. Koresh did not declare war on the USG; the USG declared war on him. There was literally nothing Koresh could do to satisfy or meet the demands of the USG. "To its right, it creates excuses to attack... To its right, it never takes yes for an answer - feed it an arm, and it comes back and demands your leg." is a perfect description of how the USG treated the Branch Davidians.

May 8, 2009 at 5:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@TGGP:

"The option to leave your employment if you do not find it satisfactory is a huge benefit EVEN IF YOU STAY WHERE YOU ARE. Are you unfamiliar with the concept of competition?"

Christ, that's moronic. What kind of employment could a sharecropper find if he didn't like agricultural labor on any particular farm? He could do his labor on a different farm, yaay! Can you demonstrate that the effective wages of former slaves rose over time after 1865 as a result of this competition? Can you demonstrate that their standard of living actually rose given that they now had to buy their own food, clothing, and shelter instead of having it provided to them?

"How many left-wing regimes have we sent troops against? How many for the right?"

How many left-wing regimes have we made an all-out effort against and imposed unconditional surrender on as we did with right-wing regimes in Germany and Japan? It is quite clear that against the USSR, the PRC, North Korea, North Vietnam, and Cuba, total defeat of the enemy was never even on the table.

"Israel & Iraq (during the Iran-Iraq war) have both gotten away with accidentally attacking us with missiles. The U.S would not grant nearly that amount of leeway to our "phony enemies"."

The USSR killed far more Americans in "peacetime" than Israel and Iraq did, including an American Congressman.

"Do you really think any of the multitude of island micronations run the risk of invasion because they don't adhere to our regulatory standards?"

I don't understand why the seasteaders don't want to coopt an island micronation instead of living at sea.

"I don't think he's suggesting that Friedman & Thiel have a mental disorder. He's just using a label to denote antipathy."

A phobia is a mental disorder, and the Left uses it to suggest that opposition to its views is a mental disorder (homophobia, Islamophobia, etc.).

"Andrew Sullivan thinks of himself as both libertarian and conservative,"

ROFLMAO! And you accept this?

"Saddam must be relieved to know that he is still dictator rather than hanging victim!"

Saddam =/= Iraq. If we'd treated Iraq the way we treated Germany and Japan, it would have been pacified in 2004 rather than being still unpacified in 2009.

"Get a handle."

Eat me.

May 8, 2009 at 6:15 AM  
Anonymous Moses said...

Moses:
Any attempt to create an international market in drugs, tax evasion, or other USG unapproved business will be met with force. Ask Panama, Colombia, Cayman Islands, Switzerland, Bermuda. There's a war on tax havens underway and even Switzerland is losing.

TGGP: What the hell are you talking about? The only country the U.S invaded in our lifetimes was Panama to arrest Noriega. They didn't do a thing to interfere with say, their lack of a central bank.
The U.S. invaded Panama, and as with Central America, pushed to disarm the right-wing militias.

The U.S. under Obama and EU, led by Sarkozy, want to crack down on tax havens. There's been talk of designing a new global financial system.

As for tax havens:Switzerland’s private banks have started to ban their top executives from travelling abroad, even to neighbouring France and Germany, because of fears they will be detained as part of a global crackdown on bank secrecy.

The head of one leading private bank in Geneva said the growing determination of countries such as the US and Germany to tackle tax evasion and secrecy meant banks felt they had to take extra measures to protect employees.

“Some banks have taken this precaution,” he said. “If today I go to Germany to visit two banks I deal with...German customs can take me in and question me.”
If the current financial crisis results in a new financial system, the U.S. and E.U. can tighten rules on banks and shut out those that refuse to play within the system.

May 8, 2009 at 7:08 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

"Can you demonstrate that the effective wages of former slaves rose over time after 1865 as a result of this competition?"

The Great Migration?

May 8, 2009 at 7:45 AM  
Anonymous spirit said...

> The only country the U.S invaded > in our lifetimes was Panama to
> arrest Noriega
Your grasp of history is not that good. Have you heard about Cuba (1961)? Dominican Republic (1965), Grenada (1983)? Afganistan (2001)?Iraq (2003)?

May 8, 2009 at 7:55 AM  
Anonymous Roger Dodger said...

I won't invest my life savings in a seastead that doesn't have a reputation of property rights. At its start, a seastead won't have that reputation, so it will have to rely on the existing laws of a country.

My sincere and honest advice to the seasteaders is to tackle one problem at a time. Start by showing that seasteads can technically work. Find a coastal state with nice laws and weather, and then demonstrate that the seastead will float, can supply a good portion of its own food with farming and fish, and can supply a good portion of its own energy with wind and solar and wave. (That will also buy some positive mindshare with the blue USG.) Completely follow the laws of the sponsor state.

May 8, 2009 at 8:05 AM  
Anonymous unshe said...

Wait a minute...

If Peter Thiel got his seastead up and running, wouldn't he then become a pirate?

Butt pirate, that is.

May 8, 2009 at 8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Great Migration is proof that "competition" wasn't helping the "freed" slaves after 1865.

May 8, 2009 at 8:53 AM  
Blogger GW said...

The fundamental problem with any seastead is much simpler than any of the points that have been raised here so far: a seastead platform is essentially undefendable.

Setting aside for the moment the fact that seastead platforms are trivially easy to sink, seastead advocates appear to have completely forgotten the lessons of Minerva.

You see, this has all be tried before, with predictable results. Libertarians get together with some half-assed scheme to escape the real world, use cleverness and technological innovation to create a new micronation out in the middle of the ocean, and then immediately succumb to predation by a two-bit king on a ski boat with a .50 caliber machine gun.

Nobody Expects the Tui Tonga!

May 8, 2009 at 9:09 AM  
Anonymous Gresham said...

Mencius wrote,

"Even in the last case, the "Israel lobby" is a piece of dental floss compared to the arm-thick steel cable that is the Palestine lobby."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Anti-Semitism_Review_Act_of_2004

On Oct. 16, 2004, President George W. Bush signed the Israel Lobby’s bill, the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act. This legislation requires the U.S. Department of State to monitor anti-Semitism worldwide.

Norman Finkelstein was denied tenure at a Roman Catholic university because of the power of the Israel lobby. Now the Israel lobby is after University of California professor Doug Henwood. Henwood’s crime? His course on global affairs included some reading assignments critical of Israel’s invasion of Gaza.

The Israel lobby apparently succeeded in convincing the Obama Justice Department that it is anti-Semitic to accuse two Jewish AIPAC officials, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, of spying. The Israel lobby succeeded in getting their trial delayed for four years, and now Attorney General Eric Holder has dropped charges. Yet, Larry Franklin, the Department of Defense official accused of giving secret material to Rosen and Weissman, is serving 12 years and seven months in prison.

The absurdity is extraordinary. The two Israeli agents are not guilty of receiving secrets, but the American official is guilty of giving secrets to them! If there is no spy in the story, how was Franklin convicted of giving secrets to a spy?

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Israel Emanuel hasn’t been mopping floors at the White House. As soon as he gets the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 passed, it will become a crime for any American to tell the truth about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and theft of their lands. It will be a crime for Christians to acknowledge the New Testament’s account of Jews demanding the crucifixion of Jesus. It will be a crime to report the extraordinary influence of the Israel lobby on the White House and Congress, such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee-written resolutions praising Israel for its war crimes against the Palestinians in Gaza that were endorsed by 100 percent of the U.S. Senate and 99 percent of the House of Representatives, while the rest of the world condemned Israel for its barbarity. It will be a crime to doubt the Holocaust. It will become a crime to note the disproportionate representation of Jews in the media, finance, and foreign policy.

Most of Europe has already criminalized doubting the Holocaust. It is a crime even to confirm that it happened but to conclude that less than 6 million Jews were murdered.

May 8, 2009 at 9:35 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

"The Great Migration is proof that "competition" wasn't helping the "freed" slaves after 1865."

Competition came from industrializing areas. Slaves can't move as far as I am aware.

May 8, 2009 at 9:46 AM  
Anonymous asciilifeform said...

It is clear that a successful seastead will need nukes, that wonderful instrument of true sovereignty.

It is not even necessary for the new country to build intercontinental (or even tactical) missiles. Simply bury the bombs throughout the world, on the territory of every prospective enemy, in secret locations, equipped with a reliable means of remote control. (Ordinary telephone systems will work. Some should be in fail-deadly mode.) Detonate several in unpopulated areas to show that you mean business. Then watch everyone who wants to keep their capital intact leave you alone.

May 8, 2009 at 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

asciilifeform, I can't think of an idea more likely to cement the USG's determination to destroy the seasteaders with the full and enthusiastic cooperation of the American people than the one you just described.

May 8, 2009 at 10:00 AM  
Anonymous asciilifeform said...

Dear Anonymous,

> I can't think of an idea more likely to cement the USG's determination to destroy the seasteaders

What part of "fire on us and lose your five most populous cities, where we buried nukes" is so difficult to understand?

May 8, 2009 at 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Gresham said...

Mencius,

Why do you try so hard to force everything to fit together into your theoretical framework? Israel not fitting your theory completely does not make your theory any less true or less plausible.

In fact, with respect to your larger theory, the case of Israel seems to serve as an example of where the exception proves the rule.

Israel is not exactly the same as those other regimes you mentioned.

You have this fantasy of idealizing Israel as this great rightist Western regime from the past.

What makes Israel such a great "Western" regime? It's modern institutions? This makes it not much more "Western" than say, Japan.

The majority population of Israel is not European. And the Ashkenazi minority is not exactly a purely "white" or "Western" element, despite how hard they try to appear so and how distraught they become in the face of claims to the contrary.

May 8, 2009 at 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What part of "we must destroy the seaborne terrorists who threaten to nuke us" don't you understand?

All this is beside the point, of course, since the idea that you could create a sea-borne nuclear weapons production complex is nothing short of completely stupid.

Start putting "innocent" nuclear reactors at sea and you will instantly get all sorts of negative attention. Indeed, it would be criminally irresponsible for the US Navy to permit such reactors to exist, since that would raise the prospect that enemy states or terrorist groups could get their hands on them.

May 8, 2009 at 1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Israel is not exactly the same as those other regimes you mentioned. You have this fantasy of idealizing Israel as this great rightist Western regime from the past."

Approach this from the perspective of US domestic policy. Who benefits politically if Israel is strong, independent, and able to put a beat-down on the Arabs? The Right does - Republicans, evangelicals, and the military-industrial complex. When Leftist moonbats in America attack Israel they are attacking their domestic enemies on the Right. That is why Israel will ultimately be destroyed.

May 8, 2009 at 1:14 PM  
Anonymous asciilifeform said...

Dear Anonymous,

> What part of "we must destroy the seaborne terrorists who threaten to nuke us" don't you understand?

Mutually assured destruction worked before. Why couldn't it work again?

And properly applied nukes make navies irrelevant.

May 8, 2009 at 2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Mutually assured destruction worked before. Why couldn't it work again?"

Because the seasteaders are not the USSR (duuuh).

But it doesn't matter, because as I said, the seasteaders are never going to be able to build nukes in the first place. Forget this infantile fantasy.

"And properly applied nukes make navies irrelevant."

No, they don't. I see that you're ignorant of Navies as well as nuclear weapons. Congratulations, chief, you're batting 1000 so far!

May 8, 2009 at 5:34 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

I don't know if I'd pigeonhole David Koresh as being a "rightist enemy". He was just a cult leader. When he shot a former cult leader he wasn't "going to war" with the U.S, just committing a crime as is typical of criminals. I don't think MOVE was at war with the U.S either.


Anonymous May 7, 2009 10:21 PM:
Get a handle.
Seasteaders would fall prey to every bad actor with an itch for plunder or mayhem well before USG got to it.Pirates typically attack cargo vessels because they carry valuable items. Seasteads are not so valuable and are more like cruise ships, which generally remain unmolested.


Anonymous May 7, 2009 11:03 PM:
One more thoughtThis implies you made an earlier comment with which you'd like to maintain some degree of continuity. Getting a handle would greatly assist in doing that and preventing you from being confused with everyone else posting as anonymous.

so many otherwise fine American minds.Ha!


snazz7y:
Incorrect. It can be just as bad, if not worse, than politics.Even Mencius agrees life is much better now than in the past (we're obviously richer and live longer). As his thesis is that politics keeps getting worse he concludes that all the gains are due to technology, and we'd be far better off if not for the degradation in politics. If you disagree, you can make a short case here.

Read PostmanA "media theorist and cultural critic" who founded a graduate program in "media ecology"? I'll pass. And as someone who says "fuck morality" you're an odd booster of these moralists.


Anonymous May 8, 2009 5:53 AM:
You'd be signing up for the same deal that the USSR got during the periods of "detente"No, the USSR did not have anything like Israel's arrangement with the U.S (they did briefly receive aid in the 80s when they were starving and pathetic though). China has to sell us stuff we want to get money. Israel receives tax dollars unconditionally (like Social Security & Medicare spending as opposed to discretionary budgets). Much of the aid is military in nature.


Anonymous May 8, 2009 6:15 AM:
Christ, that's moronic. What kind of employment could a sharecropper find if he didn't like agricultural labor on any particular farm?Did I say anything about them getting jobs in other industries? Most people were in agriculture in the 19th century. Nagy explains perfectly how merely having the option to exist improves your situation even if you don't exercise it.

Can you demonstrate that the effective wages of former slaves rose over time after 1865 as a result of this competition?Yes. All it took was a bit of googling. When Murray & Herrnstein set out to make a controversial thesis they buried their audience with data. The "sharecropping = slavery" point rests entirely on assertion.

How many left-wing regimes have we made an all-out effort against and imposed unconditional surrender on as we did with right-wing regimes in Germany and Japan?As I pointed out in an earlier comment, it is Germany and Japan who are the odd ones out in Mencius' list. Israel, for certain, did not receive that kind of treatment! In the Bush presidency alone there have been two regimes removed from power and while either could in some conceptions be classified as "right-wing", under Mencius' schema they are left.

The USSR killed far more Americans in "peacetime" than Israel and Iraq did, including an American Congressman.I'm not sure what you're referring to. Could you name the Congressman?

I don't understand why the seasteaders don't want to coopt an island micronation instead of living at sea.Easier said than done. If they build their own they don't have to bother, and plus the whole point is to create a new industry of competitive government which is scalable and with low barriers to entry

ROFLMAO! And you accept this?I have a hard time taking him seriously, but I was trying to list all the people that came to my head. If I was the Pope of libertarianism I would certainly exclude any who supported the Iraq war as well as Kip Esquire.

Saddam =/= Iraq.Most people are apolitical, what is right or left wing are the regimes. And Saddam swung from a rope while Ian Smith, Franco, Salazar etc died in their sleep.


Moses:
There's been talk of designing a new global financial system.Ooh, TALK. Not a single action so far, but surely such talk would have been sufficient to get Castro to step down if it had only been tried! What a war of words Switzerland is losing!


spirit:
Your grasp of history is not that goodYour grasp of comprehension is not that good, I specifically referred to the invasion of Iraq above. I was referring to a list of countries Moses made which included Panama. For those interested, a dirty lefty has a huge list of U.S military interventions since 1890 here.


Anonymous May 8, 2009 8:53 AM:
The Great Migration is proof that "competition" wasn't helping the "freed" slaves after 1865.The Great Migration was an example of the improvement available when you have the option of exit, although the large amount of industrial jobs it was based on didn't exist right after the civil war. The same improvements happened on a smaller scale for the freedmen. The improvements we gain from trading with other nations does not prove that trade within nations is no improvement over household autarky.


Gresham:
Now the Israel lobby is after University of California professor Doug HenwoodDoesn't Kevin fucking McDonald live in relative peace? They just don't seem that scary.

Yet, Larry Franklin, the Department of Defense official accused of giving secret material to Rosen and Weissman, is serving 12 years and seven months in prison.Disparate treatment makes sense precisely because he was a public official. Glenn Greenwald, who has nothing nice to say about AIPAC, explains. We hold public servants to a higher standard, which is why they have to take oaths.

If there is no spy in the story, how was Franklin convicted of giving secrets to a spy?If I am given access to classified information which I make freely available for download on the internet, or shout from the rooftops with a bullhorn, I can expect to be punished. The granting of access comes with responsibility.

As soon as he gets the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009It is rather implausible that any of what you listed will come to pass, but if you think it so likely why don't you leave the country?


asciilifeform:
Patri specifically addresses nukes in his book. Everybody can read it online to see if it takes into account all the objections you can think up.


Gresham:
Israel not fitting your theory completely does not make your theory any less true or less plausible.No big loss since it wasn't that plausible in the first place. His take on Israel is to me evidence of a train of thought that is quite off the rails, although that is among the more obvious ways in which that is the case. Perhaps it might be analagous to Lawrence Auster & Darwinism.

The majority population of Israel is not European.Demographics (including the little-discussed "reverse aliyah") are important, but numbers don't tell the whole story. Israel is Ashkenazy like Singapore is Chinese.

May 8, 2009 at 6:39 PM  
Anonymous asciilifeform said...

Dear Anonymous,

> the seasteaders are never going to be able to build nukes in the first place. Forget this infantile fantasy.

There is more than one way to obtain nukes. Theft and purchase, for example. As for building them, there is no need to do so at sea. Note that I am not entirely convinced that seasteaders *could* obtain nukes, only that they *must* do so if they want to do something more than merely playing at sovereignty. Obtaining nukes may very well be a pipe dream, but it seems to me that this would entail that seasteading is also such a pipe dream.

>No, they don't. I see that you're ignorant of Navies

Explain how an aircraft carrier is expected to stand up to a tactical nuke. Or, better yet, why a superpower would risk global nuclear war by attacking a relatively inconsequential (resource-wise) yet well-armed island.

May 8, 2009 at 6:52 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Surprised I forgot this comment:
Approach this from the perspective of US domestic policy. Who benefits politically if Israel is strong, independent, and able to put a beat-down on the Arabs?How does it "benefit"? By living vicariously through another country's military? Even limiting the discussion to politics, Nixon & Eisenhower both negotiated to peace in wars started by Democrats and got re-elected. Bush Sr. won a hands-down victory and lost re-election. Please provide evidence for the alleged "benefit".

May 8, 2009 at 7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL, fuck you are an arrogant cunt TGGP. I can't wait for the day that someone outs you from under your pseudonym.

Several fucking fallacies to various individuals here. (Pirates remain *generally* unmolested? how generally? what statistical data do you have to back up your vague assertion. Also, disregarding someone's book recommendation based on ad Hominem?)

Fucking hilarious.

You are a bag full of fucking hypocrisy. You act like you care about critical thinking and reasoning, yet you are the last one to ever use it. You only use it when it suits you so as to defend your pre-existing bullshit, which means you are just as bad as some hick dumbass that never bothered to think in the first place.

You are a close-minded fucking wanker that uses critical thought to attack, rather for your own 'ecology of mind'. You should be a lawyer.

May 9, 2009 at 12:45 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

"I'm not sure what you're referring to. Could you name the Congressman?"

Wasn't there a congressman on that Korean Airliner that got shot down in 82 or 83?

May 9, 2009 at 1:06 PM  
Blogger Patri Friedman said...

Anonymous writes:

I am not convinced of this. Pirates need land bases, and typically lurk in littoral waters near well-traveled sea lanes (Straits of Malacca, Bab el Mandeb). Seasteaders have no reason to stay in well-traveled sea lanes, since they're not going anywhere. If they stayed in the "blue water" of the open ocean, seasteaders should be safe enough. Pirates in small boats will never be able to find them and catch them. In addition, seasteaders will not be limited by stupid rules of engagement. "Come near us and we kill you without warning" ought to be enough to send pirates after easier prey.yes, exactly. Somalian pirates brag about being able to travel hundreds of miles from the coast. It turns out that most of the world's oceans are more than a hundred miles from Somalia. Also, piracy prospers because the ships don't shoot back. We would shoot back.

There are major risks to seasteading, like the intervention of current govts, but it's amazing how often people suggest things like piracy which don't even register on the risk scale. I am constantly saddened by people thinking they can competently evaluate an idea when they have no clue what they are talking about. I thought UR's comments would be better.

Another example, Johnny Abacus suggests that this might happen as a response to seasteading:

All vessels at sea will be required to run some sort of flag and an id-code. Possible reasons: war on drugs, terrorism, piracy.But this is already the case, and has been for decades! Nor is it a problem - there are numerous countries which specialize in offering flags and not caring what you do with them.

He is absolutely right about this:

International law is best understood as a formalization of the balance of power. If the balance of power changes, expect the laws to change. Right now, international law doesn't reflect the current balance of power simply because it is more convenient for the US to keep up the facade that the old balance of power still holds. This is not a strong bulwark upon which to rely.This is one of the few major risks we face - changing international law because of us.

GM Palmer:

Right Wing activists who have abandoned our nation for an orgy of sex, drugs, and tax evasion have been discovered to have abandoned activism for terrorism. Patri Friedman and Peter Thiel are the leaders of a group of these pirates calling themselves have "seasteaders" and communications have been found with these Seasteaders and sleeper cells in San Francisco. These seasteaders planned to bring their ship into San Francisco's harbor and detonate it, thereby disrupting American shipping and, therefore the economy, far greater than 9/11 ever did.I have more than my fair share of cynicism about the government, and their propaganda, but this is just more paranoid than I think is justified. But before this news story comes out, seasteading will have been covered in hundreds to thousands of stories in the popular media. The government no longer controls the flow of information. Positive stories about seasteading have been flowing for more than a year - the government announcement would not be made in a vacuum.

Roger Dodger suggests:

My sincere and honest advice to the seasteaders is to tackle one problem at a time. Start by showing that seasteads can technically work. Find a coastal state with nice laws and weather, and then demonstrate that the seastead will float, can supply a good portion of its own food with farming and fish, and can supply a good portion of its own energy with wind and solar and wave. (That will also buy some positive mindshare with the blue USG.) Completely follow the laws of the sponsor state.This has been part of our plan for more than 5 years. Of course we want to take one thing at a time. Again, what is new and different about seasteading is that we are taking the novel approach of a practical, common-sense approach to the nation-founding / ocean city movement. I wish people wouldn't keep assuming that we are crazy idiots.

May 9, 2009 at 6:45 PM  
Blogger Patri Friedman said...

The fundamental problem with any seastead is much simpler than any of the points that have been raised here so far: a seastead platform is essentially undefendable.

Setting aside for the moment the fact that seastead platforms are trivially easy to sink, seastead advocates appear to have completely forgotten the lessons of Minerva.
You have mistaken the undefended for the undefendable. Minerva was not defended in 1972, it was left completely empty! No one lived there - it was an empty patch of sand.

To suggest that the takeover of a completely empty, undefended patch of sand indicates that a seastead defended by 50cal machine guns and cruise missiles would be as easy to attack is ludicrous.

Platforms are easy to sink. So are ships. Little can be done against a major air or naval power, but it is really not very hard to defend against Tonga. You just have to be actually on site with actual weapons, as opposed to hanging out in the US and hoping your sandbar is left alone.

This also misses out on the difference between something floating, and a physical reef. A floating city can move away from aggressors, a reef is trapped. Physical land is owned by countries, the high seas are open to all.

May 9, 2009 at 6:52 PM  
Anonymous duffy said...

Hasn't anyone seen the movie "Waterworld", I believe the only movie to deal with seasteading?

Seasteading would suck, big time.

May 9, 2009 at 7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seasteads are to libertarians what communal utopias are to left wing nutballs.

May 10, 2009 at 12:54 PM  
Anonymous SHA said...

Patri,

I have to say that you bringing up the use of guns as self-defense has made me far more skeptical of seasteading than I was initially.

Once you have guns, there will have to be politics to decide who controls the guns and how they are used.

Once you have politics, it is only a matter of time before you have a parliament of whores promising to "inject liquidity", "start the economic recovery" and "meet the challenges of tomorrow".

Have you guys thought about alternative protection arrangements? Have you considered the hiring of private contractors?

Still, I genuinely wish you the best of luck on your quest.

May 10, 2009 at 4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There is more than one way to obtain nukes. Theft and purchase, for example."

Let's leave aside the fact that nobody has been able to steal or buy a nuke yet, thank God. The fact remains that the mere attempt to steal or buy a nuke would brand the seasteaders as a significant threat to the Great Powers, and would cement their determination to destroy the seasteaders before they succeeded in their buy/steal efforts.

The purpose of the Proliferation Security Initiative is to interdict the seaborne transfer of WMD. That would be the justification for coming after the seasteaders if they were reckless enough to try and obtain WMD.

"As for building them, there is no need to do so at sea."

So, on the territory of which state will the stateless seasteaders build nuclear weapons? Do you think this will go unnoticed by the major powers.

"Explain how an aircraft carrier is expected to stand up to a tactical nuke."

The aircraft carrier won't be there when the nuke goes off. How will the seasteaders find, track, and attack an aircraft carrier at sea? Are the seasteaders going to have their own satellites, radars, tactical aircraft, submarines, etc? A fleet of hundreds of supersonic bombers armed with cruise missiles? In the past 60 years only one country, the USSR, developed a convincing capability to attack US carriers, and that was by spending hundreds of billions of dollars on a global reconnaissance-strike system. Smaller countries can't touch US carriers, and the seasteaders are never going to be able to do this. Enough with the idiot fantasies already.

"better yet, why a superpower would risk global nuclear war by attacking a relatively inconsequential (resource-wise) yet well-armed island."

What global nuclear war? It wouldn't be a global nuclear war, it would be one or two countries stomping the seasteaders flat.

It is exactly the effort to acquire nuclear weapons that would make the existence of the seasteaders intolerable to the Great Powers.

May 11, 2009 at 7:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the book on seasteading, it says, "For example, sea-skimming anti-ship cruise missiles like the Chinese Silkworm are fairly cheap and quite effective."

Sorry, not going to work. For one thing, how will you target those missiles? You can't shoot over the horizon unless you can see over the horizon. If you come up against a major Navy, they're going to stand off and pound you from outside your missile range and there won't be a thing you can do about it.

It goes on to say, "Avoid angering terrestrial nations enough to provoke an attack."

Exactly right. And keep in mind the number one thing you could do to anger the terrestrial nations is try to obtain nukes.

May 11, 2009 at 7:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I don't know if I'd pigeonhole David Koresh as being a "rightist enemy". He was just a cult leader."

As usual TGGP is determined to remain blind to the obvious facts. The mere fact that you accept the media propagandized view of him that he was "a cult leader" says a lot. Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan are "cult leaders" too, but they get treated a little differently than Koresh did. Why? They are on the left (not enemies) and Koresh was on the right (enemy).

"Pirates typically attack cargo vessels because they carry valuable items. Seasteads are not so valuable and are more like cruise ships, which generally remain unmolested."

No. Pirates typically don't touch the cargo as such. How do you think they're going to fence a tanker full of oil or a couple of hundred containers? They can't. What they usually aim to do is take the crew hostage and hold them for ransom. There is no reason they wouldn't try to take seasteaders hostage and hold them for ransom, too.

Pirates can and do attack cruise ships. You don't hear about it as much because there aren't as many cruise ships as passenger ships, and there aren't as many luxury cruises off the shores of Somalia as more attractive locations.

Pirates also attack small private yachts, which have no cargo whatsoever.

"No, the USSR did not have anything like Israel's arrangement with the U.S (they did briefly receive aid in the 80s when they were starving and pathetic though)."

The USSR received far more aid from the US than ISrael did, and received this aid well before the 1980s. Just read any of Anthony Sutton's books, especially Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development. Of course the aid to Israel looms larger in their history because they are a smaller state than was the USSR.


"China has to sell us stuff we want to get money."

Foreign Direct Investment in China in the past 15 years vastly exceeds the US aid to Israel since 1948. The US share of total FDI to China in any given year has not been large, but the other countries would not have contributed without Washington’s stamp of approval. And then there is the flow of high technology to China that has greatly boosted their military potential. This is not about the money (them selling us stuff), this is about trade and aid to an enemy in order to secure his good behavior. That is exactly what detente with the USSR was, and what our policy to China is now.

"Could you name the Congressman?"

Larry McDonald on KAL 007.

May 11, 2009 at 8:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pardon my inability to stretch this to 100,000 words or frob it into a rich taspestry of conspiracy theory, but force is freedom. Whoever has it is free. Whoever doesn't have it lives at the whim of someone else who does.

May 12, 2009 at 4:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Complete and utter ownage. Thanks for that one.

May 12, 2009 at 5:39 AM  
Blogger Michael Anissimov said...

Lots of idiotic comments here. Homophobia towards P. Thiel? Come on.

This is why democracy is necessary -- while less efficient and leading to genocide in several instances, it makes sure we aren't ruled over by homophobic social conservatives.

Conservative commentary will always accrete a cruft of proles, no matter how eloquent the original commentary.

The quality of commentary on a given blog is a good indicator of the class affiliation of the readers.

May 12, 2009 at 8:33 PM  
Anonymous Cassandra Goldman said...

Michael Anissimov,

So, genocide is morally superior to homophobia? Good to know.

Alas, there are some misguided people who would rather live in a society where homosexuals have to exercise discretion to live in peace than in a society where millions are brutally murdered for something they cannot hide or change.

May 13, 2009 at 8:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you a schizophrenic Mencius? Yes, I'm almost positive you are.

May 25, 2009 at 1:47 AM  
Blogger Alrenous said...

You're bending over and mooning about twelve government agencies, all of which would be very happy to eat your life and devour your soul, to the tune of thunderous applause from the New York Times. And your political protection? Ron Paul?


Just in case it isn't obvious, it has now occurred.

http://www.theblaze.com/blog/2011/09/01/libertarians-hunt-humans-and-other-tales/

September 3, 2011 at 7:01 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home