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Paypal Founder Helping Build Artificial Island Nations 692

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the principality-of-sealand-declares-war dept.
MadMartigan2001 writes with a pretty crazy article on a project involving floating libertarian paradises. From the article: "PayPal founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel has given $1.25 million to an initiative to create floating libertarian countries in international waters. Thiel has been a big backer of the Seasteading Institute, which seeks to build sovereign nations on oil rig-like platforms to occupy waters beyond the reach of law-of-the-sea treaties."
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Paypal Founder Helping Build Artificial Island Nations

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @05:20PM (#37112094)

    This idea has been tried several times and it always ends the same way (with fail [wikipedia.org]). Think about it, if it were really that easy to declare your own country with its own laws, every asshole with a sea-worthy boat would be proclaiming his own little kingdom. Idiots who believe you can do this are the same morons who think that you can murder someone in international waters [straightdope.com] and not face prosecution or that you can get out of paying taxes [wikipedia.org] by sending a letter to the IRS stating that you refuse to recognize their authority (ask Wesley Snipes if that shit works).

    The only real way to establish your own country is to get the people of an existing country to elect you dictator or to stage a coup overthrowing the existing leader (or at least seize a portion of their existing territory). And even then, your rule is only as stable as your ability to defend it (from both internal and external threats).

    So if you plan on setting up your own little kingdom on some old oil rig just off the U.S. coast (or coast of any country) and doing whatever you want, you had better damn sure be ready to defend yourself when the Navy shows up in a big, heavily armed ship looking to introduce you to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea [wikipedia.org] and the concept of Universal Jurisdiction [wikipedia.org]. And if it's the U.S. Navy, you're probably going to need a *lot* of firepower on your little oil rig, Your Majesty.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @05:24PM (#37112134)

    I chose... Rapture. A city where the artist would not fear the censor. Where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality. Where the great would not be constrained by the small. And with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city as well.

  • by Herkum01 (592704) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @05:24PM (#37112138)

    I say it is great social experiment to prove how idiotic the whole idea can be.

    So let these people have their paradise and maybe they will stop going bug-f*** on the rest of us.

  • by N_Piper (940061) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @05:31PM (#37112228)
    A standing militia of lawyers can and will pose more of an obstetrical to the U.S. Navy than all the guns you can squeeze onto an oil platform, I don't see a military raid being an option in any case.
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @05:35PM (#37112304)

    I don't see a military raid being an option in any case.

    Yeah, you just keep telling yourself that.

  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @05:39PM (#37112354)

    Not only that, but it's entirely feasible to set up your own "nation" within an existing governmental structure. Buy some land in the middle of nowhere, make sure you pay your taxes, and handle everything else internally. The overhead of paying taxes to the existing government is small change compared to the running costs of an off-shore sea platform. There already are or have been communes for every brand of "government" you can think of: from flower-power hippies to hardcore anarchists to bureaucratic paradises (also know as HOAs) to survivalists. What do they have in common? They all vanish after a few years, because once those communes get past a certain size, they become what they were trying to get away from. So they either stay small and completely under the radar, or they grow big and get absorbed by their environment.

    The more I hear about Libertarians, the less I'm impressed. None of them seem able to learn from past mistakes, understand why things are the way they are now or what the straightforward, repeatedly demonstrated consequences of their pipe-dreams are.

  • by sirwired (27582) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @05:40PM (#37112364)

    For a paltry $1.25M, a random Rich Guy bought his name in the press, which he will use to stay in the limelight for a little bit. He will then trade on this temporary fame during the launch of his next business venture and keep his Wikipedia entry from being deleted.

    Come on... $1.25M? Nobody's building any kind of large-ish sea-worthy vessel for that kind of money, much less a floating office building, data center, residences, etc.

    Also, unless he builds it in international waters too (using money he has yet to allocate), how is he going to manage to get it through territorial waters into international waters to begin with? No national authority is going to let a vessel of any size sail out of the dock without registration with an actual country. It doesn't have to be registered in the country it's built in, but it's got to be registered somewhere.

  • by he-sk (103163) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @05:41PM (#37112394)

    So their gated communities with their private security services aren't enough for these fuckers. Now they want to live in their private countries.

    What a waste! There should be a tax on anti-social behavior.

  • by KDR_11k (778916) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @05:45PM (#37112462)

    Lawyers do jack shit without a court room.

  • by Abreu (173023) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @05:54PM (#37112616)

    Yeah, say what you will about Bill Gates, but at least he's using his money for realistic philantropic efforts, not this egotistical libretardian bullshit.

  • Well it was the UK military that built the sealand platform in the first place...

  • yes, our current system is working, as compared to the usual bullshit the idealistic college sophomore believes

    no, the current system is not working, as compared to the easily identifiable problems we all agree on

    follow up question, since you know the morons are right around the corner: no, revolution does not fix our problems

    WORKING IN the system and FIXING IT by PARTICIPATING in it does

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @06:14PM (#37112856)

    You can use an insider, just bribe someone to set off a bomb. In a purely libertarian society beyond the rule of law and with no weapons restrictions, it wouldn't even be illegal.

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @06:18PM (#37112904)

    How does libertarianism PREVENT a huge disparity in wealth? Its a god damn cause of it.

  • Sad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tsotha (720379) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @06:18PM (#37112908)

    MadMartigan2001 writes with a pretty crazy article on a project involving floating libertarian paradises.

    Slashdot should really start an editorial page so the editors don't feel the need to stamp their opinion into news articles.

  • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @06:23PM (#37112952)

    Saddam Hussein had a standing militia of Iraqi and international lawyers. It didn't stop Operation Desert Fox, 11 years of airstrikes, or the invasion of Iraq. And they didn't save him from an execution.

    One can't put an injunction on a SEAL/Delta/CIA team.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @06:28PM (#37113022)

    This is why Haiti, with its absence of building codes an the accompanying bureaucratic enforcement infrastructure, withstood a nearby earthquake with no serious loss of life or property damage, whereas the neighboring Dominican Republic, with its regime of building codes, had a major humanitarian catastrophe.

    Oh, no, wait, I got those backwards. It was the one without building codes or a functioning government where hundreds of thousands of people died.

    When stuff works in theory but doesn't work in practice, that means your theory is wrong.

  • by mikeg22 (601691) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @06:40PM (#37113130)
    You think that poor people are unproductive and rich people are productive, I'm guessing. If you're ever in the Santa Barbara area, take a stroll through Montecito on a workday afternoon and count the number of people either at the country club, drinking martinis at one of the many expensive restaurants, or just "out for a drive". Now go into one of those country clubs or restaurants and tell me who is actually doing the work. Come back to me and tell me who are the unproductive members of society again.
  • by Dr. Spork (142693) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @07:03PM (#37113334)
    If these guys want total lawlessness, free access to guns and zero government services, shouldn't they just move to Somalia? Isn't that the ultimate libertarian paradise? Or is the problem that other "libertarians" are there already? I know this sounds like a troll (ok, it is to some extent) but I'm genuinely curious why this isn't seriously being considered. If a bunch of milky libertarians really did move there and defended a chunk of territory, Somalia might actually be the one place in the world that would benefit from their arrival.
  • If you are an American, you can renounce your citizenship by going to practically any embassy or consul office and making a formal statement disclaiming your citizenship. After that, you have about ten years to continue to pay income taxes if you don't want the U.S. federal government going after your for tax evasion. You do get credit from the IRS where you can deduct taxes paid to another government if those taxes are higher than what you would have paid if the money was earned in the USA. After that clock has run out, you are completely separated from American society and you are free to do whatever you want to do in that regard. You may be a stateless person [wikipedia.org], which has its own set of headaches and most embassy officials will try to discourage you from renouncing citizenship for that purpose alone.

    Some other countries have similar laws for renouncing citizenship.... but not all of them. I know Greece and Turkey have citizenship claims for up to three generations after a citizen leaves their nations, as do a few other countries as well. That counts if you are a young man and suddenly find yourself drafted into the armies of those respective countries even though you may be a third generation removed from anybody in those countries. Michael Dukakis, for example, technically held dual citizenship with Greece when he ran for President of the U.S.A. and was also eligible to run for the office of President of Greece. Citizenship can be a tricky thing even if you want to get out of it completely.

    As for establishing a new state, on a practical matter I think the grandparent post pretty much summed it up. If you have big guns to fight off would-be pirates and other idiots, have enough firepower where major military action would be needed to enforce laws upon your hunk of would-be real estate, and if you are some place that otherwise a country has no claim..... you may have the potential to create a real country. The rest is self-sustainability so you don't necessarily need cooperation from other countries.

    One of the problems with Sealand is that they were so dependent upon the United Kingdom that they might as well be a part of that country too. Electrical power, groceries, and even most transportation links went through the UK and the "country" was so small that it really didn't have much to offer except strictly as a tax haven or trying to evade the law. If somehow some significant industries could be built or a service could be provided which sets your country apart, your independent sovereign claim is much easier to enforce and there is a higher likelihood that other countries will "recognize" your claim. If you can get a large enough group of people to join you, it also makes it easier to claim "nationhood", as most "microstates" are usually a single family or very small group.

    In other words, being genuinely independent in all areas of life really is the key here. If you depend upon the assistance of a government in some capacity, you lose at least some of your independence regardless of how other governments think of you. Then again, it was many decades where the People's Republic of China was not recognized as a legitimate country. They still existed and pretty much went about their business not caring if anybody else wanted to deal with them.... until it was impossible to ignore a billion people as a market for products.

  • See: Robber Barrens. That is what libertarians societies bring.

    The middle class is removed, and the poor end up paying rent to the companies they work for.

    We have been there. Unions saved us.

    You are blind, society works pretty god damn well.
    Does it need to be Better? yes. IN fact, simply putting the regulations and taxes back in this issues would pretty much be solved. adjust in the SS tax up to 175 and raising min wage would solve the SS and medicare 'problems' The current economic issues where cause by the governmental adoption of a more libertarian attitude toward regulations.
    The battle currently being fought is an ideological one. Not one based on facts. Economist know what needs to happen to get us uot of a recession, instead we had Tea Party loons fighting for austerity: which pretty much has had devastating effect on any government that tried implementing austerity during a recession.

    This is historical fact.

    That said, the Tea Party is an interesting group to watch. They have changed their own history twice, have almost zero knowledge of the founding fathers, and have been completely co-opted by the republican religious loons who had mostly been ignored.

  • by TClevenger (252206) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @07:28PM (#37113520)
    Let's suppose you're getting ready to play a board game like say, monopoly.

    Only once you set your racecar on "Go", you find out that that one guy already owns all of the properties and has put hotels on all of them... and then had the rules changed so even the railroads have hotels. Oh, and the Income Tax square has been rewritten so you pay 20% of your "Second Prize in a Beauty Contest" money, but he only pays 10% of his hotel earnings money, minus the amortized cost of buying the hotels and upkeep on his thimble.
  • by fishbowl (7759) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @07:42PM (#37113648)

    There is a weird cross-section class that has employer-subsidized health insurance; mostly people in bureaucratic and technocratic roles for larger institutions. These people often seem unaware of how much it would cost them to insure their family if they had to seek out private insurance, if it is even possible (because it is still very common to be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions.)

    What I'm saying is, health insurance for your family that actually covers anything substantial probably has monthly costs higher than your mortgage. Possibly double. A lot of people don't realize this.

    I'd love to get a health plan that was useful. The trouble is, even if I went for a plan (upwards of $13,200 annually) it would not cover (relatively mundane) pre-existing conditions for us, which is the lion's share of our health care costs *anyway*. I'm looking for a high-deductible plan (high being in the $30-50K range) that covers catastrophic stuff and lets me just cash-flow the costs of mundane doctor visits and prescription drugs (which comes to a LOT less than that insurance cost, even if I bought retail priced name-brand drugs, which you aren't allowed to do under those expensive plans.)

    The thing that bothers me is that so many people who rail against "Obamacare" being evil or whatever, don't even have much of a foundation in the subject matter of health care costs and insurance. They seem to just want to be on a popular bandwagon. And that really bothers me a lot.

  • by sourcerror (1718066) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @08:20PM (#37113890)

    They say the same thing about communism.

  • by Culture20 (968837) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @08:41PM (#37114076)

    Referencing a popular book doesn't make a post insightful. It was trite and pretentious, I'm guessing the person who wrote it is 16.

    I'm guessing with an ID# of 137, the person is 30 or older.

  • I'll say that. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @10:08PM (#37114622)

    So your saying that in order for the tea partiers to have a valid point of view ... they can not participate in the existing programs they are against even though they have no choice of opting out of them?

    I'll say that. In order for the people in the Tea Party to have a valid point, they cannot WILLINGLY BENEFIT from the programs they publicly oppose.

    But you want them to contribute to carrying your ass and not take advantage of it themselves because they disagree with it.

    You should look at that statement more closely.

    So they are not opposed to CERTAIN people benefiting from the government programs.

    It's just when the WRONG people benefit that they have a problem.

    ... if you think they shouldn't use what they are forced to pay for just because they would rather have an option of doing something otherwise.

    No. The problem is that they're complaining about CERTAIN OTHER PEOPLE using the programs while THEY THEMSELVES benefit from those programs.

    They want the BENEFITS (as evidenced by them voluntarily applying for those benefits and using them) but they don't want to pay the taxes if CERTAIN OTHER PEOPLE will also get the benefits.

  • by chrb (1083577) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @10:46PM (#37114814)

    Isn't that the natural result of a Libertarian paradise? When governance by a single powerful entity is replaced with the enablement of individuals to accumulate resources and weaponry without limit, then the individuals with the most resources and weapons will grow in strength until they can become powerful enough to subvert or destroy the weak government. This is an intrinsic problem in Libertarian thought - that you can have a weak government and strong unregulated individuals, and yet the government will still have the power to govern those individuals.

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