Don’t Let the Door Hit You…

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“…Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip, that started from this tropic port, aboard this tiny ship.

The mate was a mighty sailin’ man, the Skipper brave and sure.

Five passengers set sail that day for a three hour tour.

A three hour tour

.The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed.

If not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minnow would be lost.

The Minnow would be lost.

The ship set ground on the shore of this uncharted desert isle, with Gilligan, the Skipper too, the Millionaire and his wife, the movie star, the Professor and Mary Ann, here on Gilligan’s Isle…”

Have you noticed that libertarians are either billionaires or college students.  Strange, isn’t it?  There are the very odd Ron Paul bots in the mix, but most normal people have nothing to do with them.   We all know the only reason the billionaires are into the libertarian thing is because there are no rules, regulations, morality, scruples, or ethics, only get rich the way you want.

Gilligan’s Island or Lord of the Flies?

“…A seastead is a structure which is safe to live on in international waters. The goal is to enable dynamic geography where people can pick which legal system they are in without having to box up their stuff and change houses. Since the focus is on living on the water, not getting anywhere quickly or carrying heavy cargo, a seastead design can sacrifice speed through the water and cargo capacity to achieve lower costs per square foot and greater stability than a boat/yacht/ship of similar price. The goal of seasteading is to make a community of people living on affordable seasteads….”

No rules, just right?  No rules or regulations may be a wonderful concept but it may be deadly.

  1. If there are no regulations, how do you know you are getting clean water?
  2. What about clean food?
  3. Do the people preparing the food need to be free from disease?
  4. Do you need tests for TB, or just let the free market place determine things?
  5. Can you serve rancid food?
  6. Will the medical staff be certified?
  7. What about the medications on hand?
  8. Is the structure itself up to code?
  9. Will it break apart at the first tropical storm?
  10. What about life rafts, rescue equipment?
  11. Will there be rules against the use of toxic chemicals?
  12. Legal drugs?
  13. Legal prostitution?
  14. Will the medical center be up to code?
  15. I wonder if there will be requirements for railings, or will a person who falls into the sea just be required to lump it?
  16. Will the sewers simply empty into the streets or will there be regulations?
  17. What if the residents chose to have a cannibalistic society?  Any prohibitions?
  18. If someone does something like run out of money, is he executed on the spot?
  19. Do they dump their garbage into the ocean?
  20. What happens in an emergency?
  21. No minimum wage – slave labor?
  22. Do they follow the basic rules of humanity or not?
Pat Dollard

“…”The ultimate goal,” Friedman says, “is to open a frontier for experimenting with new ideas for government.” This translates into the founding of ideologically oriented micro-states on the high seas, a kind of floating petri dish for implementing policies that libertarians, stymied by indifference at the voting booths, have been unable to advance: no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.

It’s a vivid, wild-eyed dream—think Burning Man as reimagined by Ayn Rand’s John Galt and steered out to sea by Captain Nemo—but Friedman and Thiel, aware of the long and tragicomic history of failed libertarian utopias, believe that entrepreneurial zeal sets this scheme apart. One potential model is something Friedman calls Appletopia: A corporation, such as Apple, “starts a country as a business. The more desirable the country, the more valuable the real estate,” Friedman says. When I ask if this wouldn’t amount to a shareholder dictatorship, he doesn’t flinch. “The way most dictatorships work now, they’re enforced on people who aren’t allowed to leave.” Appletopia, or any seasteading colony, would entail a more benevolent variety of dictatorship, similar to your cell-phone contract: You don’t like it, you leave. Citizenship as free agency, you might say. Or as Ken Howery, one of Thiel’s partners at the Founders Fund, puts it, “It’s almost like there’s a cartel of governments, and this is a way to force governments to compete in a free-market way.”…was in vogue on campus at the time—at the strictures of political correctness. “I think there’s something unhealthy about anything that pushes to that much conformity,” he says. He cofounded the Stanford Review, a zealously libertarian newspaper whose staff Thiel would later use as a talent pool for PayPal hiring. The Review was deliberately, even recklessly incendiary (Thiel’s fondness for this approach is evident in his past funding of the guerrilla activist James O’Keefe, of ACORN sting-video fame); provocation was a primary goal. Sometimes it went too far: During Thiel’s final year of law school, in what was characterized as a free-speech exercise, one of the Review’s editors, Keith Rabois, shouted, “Faggot! Hope you die of aids!” outside the residence of a dorm supervisor, resulting in a firestorm that prompted Rabois to leave Stanford. Thiel, who was outed as gay in 2007, devoted several pages to the incident in The Diversity Myth, a 1995 book he coauthored, writing that “Keith did not deserve months of public condemnation and ostracism.” Thiel later brought Rabois to PayPal as an executive vice president…”

Balloon Juice

“...If the seasteading movement goes forward as planned, Thiel won’t be one of its early citizens. For one thing, he’s not overly fond of boats, although maybe, as Friedman says, “he just needs to be on a large enough structure.” Thiel characterizes his interest as “theoretical.” But whether Thiel himself heads offshore or not, there’s a whole lot of passion underlying that theoretical interest. Thiel put forth his views on the subject in a 2009 essay for the Cato Institute, in which he flatly declared, “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.” He went on: “The great task for libertarians is to find an escape from politics in all its forms,” with the critical question being “how to escape not via politics but beyond it. Because there are no truly free places left in our world, I suspect that the mode for escape must involve some sort of new and hitherto untried process that leads us to some undiscovered country.”

Until a libertarian colony can be established in outer space—Thiel is bullish on that idea, too, though he thinks the technology needs at least a half-century to develop—seasteading will have to suffice. “[It’s] not just possible, or desirable,” he said in an address at the 2009 Seasteading Institute Conference, “but actually necessary.”…”

Have you ever heard of the Kurt Weill opera, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny?  It was a commentary on Weimar German, written in 1927.  Weill is perhaps most famous for his song, Mack the Knife.  His wife, Lotte Lenya was perhaps most famous for her role in From Russia with Love.  Castigated and targeted for his socialist views, the couple fled Nazi Germany, ending up in New York.  Fearing that the Nazis would destroy his work because he was Jewish, he began working with Ira Gershwin, and became a staple of both Broadway and Hollywood.

In Mahagonny, which, some thing was a commentary on socialism over capitalism, he created the perfect libertarian utopia.  It was corrupt, immoral, vicious, and eventually fell because of the fact that there were no rules, morals, and regulations.

“…Mahagonny as a city was also intended to be a parable of capitalism stripped of its veneer of bourgeois respectability, as it “arose to meet the needs and desires of the people, and it was these same needs and desires that brought about its destruction”. … it is created to provide people the goods and services they need, but it does so at the expense of reducing everything to a mere commodity. Furthermore, since obtaining wealth in capitalism is a cutthroat enterprise, the powerful are no better than a gang of bandits, and the law in turn is run by such thugs.

The city of Mahagonny embodies many of these characteristics. Mahagonny was originally created to provide people with useful services; the gold prospectors wanted a relaxation spot, and the three criminals needed to stay there. However, this led to the commodification of everything the tourists desired, especially love. In the end, nobody could buy true happiness; Alaska Wolf Joe and Jacob Schmidt died, the city is burning down, and Jimmy declared before his death that “the happiness I bought was no happiness”. His death was also ordered by the court of law, which was run by the three criminals. To make matters even more farcical, they let a murderer bribe his way to freedom while Jimmy is sentenced to death for petty crimes. The parallels between the events of Mahagonny and the Marxist view of capitalism are clear.

To make the comparison more obvious, the opera is set in a pseudo-Wild West America, with Mahagonny itself placed somewhere far from the rest of civilization. America was the land of unbridled capitalism, the frontier just as much so. The only difference is that bourgeois civility and civilization has yet to occupy the frontier, and thus there is no hiding the nature of capitalism beneath the facade of gentlemanly conduct. In Mahagonny, the characters are prostitutes, lumberjacks, criminals, and the like. Not one of them comes from the moneyed class, and yet the same system of exploitation was set up, but in a more naked manner. Instead of seducing a woman’s love with power and influence, the residents of Mahagonny pay for a prostitute. But in Mahagonny, poverty is not just a condition the poor bring upon themselves, but a crime to be punished. …”

It is a pure libertarian world.

I gather Ayn Rand will be the newest deity of the Cargo Cults.

One note to the libertarians who want utopia.  Please don’t let the door hit you on your way out, and please leave quickly and quietly.

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2 thoughts on “Don’t Let the Door Hit You…

  1. Good article!

    Now those floating cities is something I might be willing to donate to if that means the Paulbots around me will go live on them. This idea of Libertarians posing as Republicans is disgusting not to mention very irritating when they want to take over because their ‘Libertarian’ Party cannot win elections. Work to build your party up not tear mine down!

  2. I like Peter Thiel, eccentricities and whacked ideas and all. It would be great fun to watch one of these libertarian enclaves rise and fall… like the “thousand year Third Reich” which lasted under a dozen.

    Speaking of Ayn Rand & Libertarians, I started watching an episode of “American Lives” by Ken Burns. Episode about Frank Lloyd Wright, who I believe was Ayn’s friend and her model for the Howard Roark character in Fountainhead. You’d think I would know more about FLW since I used to babysit in one of his houses in Wisconsin, and I married an architect. Well, turns out he was despicable and extremely in-your-face about his own opinion of himself… he once held a press conference to declare his superiority and “extraordinariness” — all in a bid to explain why he had dumped his wife and kids, left them in debt, and took off for Europe with his mistress.

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