Thursday, August 25, 2011

Has Patri Friedman Never Heard Of Pirates?

A friend from the Mises Institute in Finland recently contacted me to ask if he could translate the SOLE "Be The Hero" video into Finnish. Of course that was fine and he e-mailed me back to tell me the video is up. They did a great job with it and even added a few animated flairs all their own so I recommend you check it out.

At the end of the e-mail he also included a link to a video of Patri Friedman speaking at the Mises Institute in Finland about his Seasteading Institute and the seasteading project. Readers of the main EPJ page may remember our own Robert Wenzel posting about the involvement of billionaire libertarian entrepreneur Peter Thiel with this project.

Now, I've read a lot of stuff from all three of the Friedmans over the years, including Patri, and I had heard of the Seasteading Institute and the idea for these floating countries out in international waters. As a result, I wasn't too interested in following the link because I assumed there wasn't much new for me to learn. But, as the link was sent by my friend I thought it would be polite to at least review the first few minutes...

I ended up watching the whole thing.

If you're already familiar with "seasteading" and you like the idea and want to share it with others, this is the link to send around. And if you've never heard of seasteading and you want to learn about the philosophy and practical considerations of the idea, this talk of Patri's at the Mises Institute in Finland is the most comprehensive one I have come across. It is clear from watching it that Patri "gets" the philosophy of freedom.

And what I like about this idea besides its revolutionary and original nature is its subversiveness. Don't let Patri's marketing of seasteading as "competitive government" fool you-- the seasteading philosophy is thoroughly libertarian and the practical implications of actual floating seasteads will be more places for people to live free of government regulation and intervention because anyone who wants to try socialism on the seas will find it breaks down even faster than communism on a kibbutz.


  1. It does look interesting, but I think we're going to have wait to open a new frontier where there are material distances from existing war-states--at least in the beginning.

  2. BobE,

    Are you suggesting outer space colonies or deep sea or something else?

  3. Deep sea is too close as well. Once a free society becomes wealthy and/or big enough to be a threat, but still not wealthy and/or big enough to protect itself from the 400 lb gorilla, it will be taken out. This does leave room for some boutique libertarian societies. But, there's always the collateral damage possible from MAD by the kooky, paranoid surrounding states. This leaves only your other option.

  4. BobE,

    We can all imagine worst case scenarios for all of these things. And I am certainly not deluded enough to believe that if anyone tried to build a free society, no one else would try to come and ruin it (commenters on the original Yahoo article last week were already threatening to form a raiding party to attack Patri's first seastead... psycho, small-minded people).

    I am not sure I follow your point or even understand what it is so please clarify. Are you saying:

    --We should all just hunker down and live in bomb shelters?
    --We should all just get used to the State and be passive victims?
    --We should all get involved in politics/vote for RP/etc.?
    --We should all try some other strategy for freedom that doesn't involve seasteading, voting or any other strategy most people have thought of but which you haven't yet named?

    I am not trying to be a pill or put words in your mouth, I just am not sure what you intend. Is the fact that seasteading might fail a reason for not trying? Or do you believe it must fail, and if so, why? What value do you place on the question, "What if it 'works'?"

    Interested in your thoughts.

  5. I'm all for trying out the freedom floaters. Personally, I'm thinking bigger, like these guys:

    [can't find the other link, which was better]

  6. BobE,

    Thanks for sharing the link, I enjoyed watching the video. This private space race stuff is exciting!

    I am curious, if you don't think they'll let us off the shore, what makes you think they'd let us off the planet?

  7. They simply won't care. There will be potential upside for TPTB with virtually no downside.