We love to detest pipe dreams, but what constitutes a pipe dream? Of the many we could record somewhere in our numbering should be the simple belief in ‘change via talking’. That is, placing all our trust into a strategy of pontificating.
Is it working?
Henry Hazlitt once reflected
“When I look back on my own career, I can find plenty of reasons for discouragement, personal discouragement. I have not lacked industry. I have written a dozen books. For most of 50 years, from the age of 20, I have been writing practically every weekday: news items, editorials, columns, articles. I figure I must have written in total some 10,000 editorials, articles, and columns; some 10,000,000 words! And in print! The verbal equivalent of about 150 average-length books! And yet, what have I accomplished? I will confess in the confidence of these four walls that I have sometimes repeated myself. In fact, there may be some people unkind enough to say I haven’t been saying anything new for fifty years! And in a sense they would be right. I have been preaching essentially the same thing. I’ve been preaching liberty as against coercion; I’ve been preaching capitalism as against socialism; and I’ve been preaching this doctrine in every form and with any excuse. And yet the world is enormously more socialized than when I began.
Thus, we have written beautifully and critically and provided elaborate responses for our confidence in markets and liberty. Yet, poetics aside, the majority of our critics will simply rebut life without state provisions as being unrealistic…something that looks great on paper…something that history demonstrates wont work…something that can’t be maintained, or simply, a refutation of “prove it”.
To which we can’t prove it…
Mainstream free marketers attempt to overcome such “prove it” denials by building working models and simulations, or by performing controlled experiments on samples of the population. Heaps of intelligent formulae have been personalized within computer replications and math models of exchange, yet, at each stage our models must omit information that markets coordinate with ease.
However, what if we could truly “prove it/try it”? What if we could truly put these paperweight thoughts into action for scrutiny? This is what the wonderful world of The Seasteading Institute wants to accomplish; a real life laboratory for working governments from the ocean.
In such a real-time floating nation, governments would finally compete for its citizens versus repressing them with intimidation.
If you want to try direct democracy, attempt it. If you want to try anarcho-capitalism, seek it. If you believe communism/primitivism/environmentalism/Judaism/Jehovah Witness-ism or any other ‘ism’ to be your essence of utopia then pack your bags and try it. And if you find yourself misguided you are not stuck, you may leave and take your property with you. The concept is that simple.
It is like a nation state of mobile homes in which you may come and go whenever you deem the current state of governance to be ill. It is a remarkable concept, but what is truly remarkable is that it doesn’t involve political persuasion, ballot-box begging or regime change. It involves technology and a system of profit and loss—two things the market can deliver exceptionally well.
Think of the countless hours and dollars we spend on political candidates, political platforms, books, journals, blogs, articles, etc with hopes of only a slight return of more liberty on our investment. In fact, do these outlets even provide more liberty or do they simply tame the progression opposite from it?
And a better question…in a world of big government, one where the barriers of entry are high, and the taxation toward political change is even higher, what would a market for freedom look like? Overlooking the market for ideas, a market for which libertarians do well. What would a market for creating new freedom look like?
- Imagine real religious freedom in a city of unrestricted faith
- Imagine an innovative community of scientists not hampered by red tape
- Imagine a truly environmentally green community
- Imagine a Las Vegas meets The Netherlands for a weekend getaway
- Imagine timeshares to futuristic cities or primitive like retreats to live like Thoreau.
- Imagine a recreational escape for those with peculiar interests?
- Imagine an end to the infinite regress of “capitalism doesn’t work…but pure capitalism hasn’t been tried” or “socialism doesn’t work…but pure socialism hasn’t been tried”
- Imagine universities no longer dumping funding into quasi-economic or political models but truly funding real-time ideological governments for data collection.
Ideas surely matter, but the idea of creating a new society of freedom in absence of strictly political reform or literature distribution shouldn’t be designated as a pipedream. With innovative minds like Patri Friedman and his team of engineers, and funding from entrepreneurial giants like Paypal founder Peter Thiel, give the concept some thought
Continuing from Hazlitt quote above
“Yet, in spite of this, I am hopeful. After all, I’m still in good health, I’m still free to write, I’m still free to write unpopular opinions, and I’m keeping at it. And so are many of you. So I bring you this message: Be of good heart: be of good spirit. If the battle is not yet won, it is not yet lost either”
And to the naysayer…what’s the alternative?
Undoubtedly, and rightfully, you have questions and criticisms and I couldn’t do this organization justice in 1000 words. Therefore, look to their articles in Reason and Wired Magazine or Listen to their podcast at Econtalk, as well as look at their FAQ section on their website.