Counterculture

Ephemerisle Festival Cancelled…

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…because of unexpectedly high insurance costs; see the explanation from the planned festival's organizers.

However, random unorganized gangs of people who show up somewhere without a single responsible entity selling tickets might still be gathering at the festival's planned time and place.

See my past Reason writings on both the first Ephemerisle festival, and on the larger Seasteading idea that the festival is meant to help actuate–the hope for eventually free-floating and free independent cities on the high seas.

NEXT: Heinlein Archives, Purchasable Online

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  1. The city won’t let me set up a medical marijuana dispensary. Oh, darn. Say, wanna buy some weed?

  2. Just another part of the Dolphins Grand Master Plan…..

  3. “the hope for eventually free-floating and free independent cities on the high seas.”

    Ah no. As soon as those places became havens for money laundering or drug trafficking, the countries of the world will show up in helicopters filled with armed men.

    It is the Amsterdam problem. Amsterdam has as we all know a very enlightened drug policy. And as a reward for their enlightenment, they attract every piece of shit stoner in the western world. These Islands would have the same problem. Their freedom would cause criminals to self select. And it would only be a matter of time before they fucked everything up. How long before the mafias and drug gangs showed up?

    1. The idea of a bunch of floating Kowloon Walled cities is pretty fun to think about, but no…it’s not going to be allowed to happen.

      1. It would be cool until you had to go there and ended up some crime lord’s slave. A floating city is a great place to run a criminal operation. You just throw the bodies over board. No worries about there being an evidence.

        1. San Francisco cocksucker!

              1. Mr. Wu: Bok Gwai Lo… cocksucka!

                Al Swearengen: Yeah, glad I taught you that fuckin’ word. These are whites, huh?

                Mr. Wu: White cocksucka! [shows empty bag]

                Al Swearengen: Two white cocksuckers killed him and stole the dope that he was bringing to you.

                Mr. Wu: White cocksucka! You, Swedgin.

                Al Swearengen: [suddenly enraged] The dope that you were gonna fuckin’ sell to me?

                Mr. Wu: White cocksucka.

                Al Swearengen: These two white cocksuckers? Who the fuck did it?

                Mr. Wu: Wu?

                Al Swearengen: “Who,” you ignorant fuckin’ chink!

                Mr. Wu: Wu!

                Al Swearengen: Who? Who? Who stole the fucking dope?

                Mr. Wu: Cocksucka!

                Al Swearengen: Aw, Jesus.

            1. d**dw**d

    2. Have you ever been to Amsterdam? I’m guessing not because my impression was how clean the place looked despite all the “dirtiness” going on. Also, are you suggesting that “piece of shit stoners” are criminals?

      1. I have been there numerous times. And it is a very clean city, except for the red light district. And I know several locals who live there. And they all hate the foreigners who show up just to do drugs and generally cause trouble.

        Even if you don’t buy Amersterdam as a good example, the problem remains once you build the city, how do you keep the mafias from coming in and taking over. Your liberal laws are going to make your place more attractive for criminal elements from other places to use your island as a base of operations. Yeah it sucks. And basically you will be the victim of other place’s stupid laws. But it would still be a problem for you.

        1. My favorite memory of the red light district was the large groups of Mulsim women touring the sex shows. Never really figured than one out.

          1. They are curious, but have no idea what sex is.

          2. Everyone has desires I guess.

          3. When I was there a bunch of English guys in Santa Suits were playing guitar for the hookers trying to get free half and halfs. Quite amusing.

        2. The question would be whether the mafias would really be bad neighbors if you were the guy providing a place where their primary activities were legal.

          “Come to deposit your drug-running profits, stay for the community pig roast!”

          Obviously you would have a problem if you imported a large group of men used to acting violently in concert, because they might decide to make themselves the state. But you’d have the same problem if a bunch of ex-Marines came to live there, too. In fact, armed forces veterans might have direct experience in toppling states that they could apply, depending on their ages.

          1. True. But you have two problems. First, since the mafia are psychopaths, they will probably try to take over. I mean why not?

            And second, even if they didn’t, if you offered safe haven for them to operate, you would just give the rest of the world an excuse to shut you down. And that is exactly what would happen. The mafias would fuck the whole thing up.

            1. I see your point, but it’s redundant.

              There would be no need for mafias to show up, because from the perspective of the prohibitionist nations WE WOULD BE the mafia.

              I’d be offshore running poker sites and allowing people to hide money from taxes and laundering drug money for people as fast as I could.

              The US would point at me and say, “We must kill the mafia cartel leader Fluffy!” and the Marines would land.

              So basically you’re adding a step here where no additional step is needed.

              1. Yeah, pretty much. The world is so close knit, you couldn’t do what you wanted to do. Even banking. So you set up a bank that respects people’s privacy. No problem, the other countries tell their banks they can’t do business with you. Then your bank might as well not exist off of the island.

                It is a great idea in theory, but would never work in practice. You want a truly free society, we need another frontier where you can go beyond the reach of the civilized world. And that would take finding another habitable planet.

          2. “But you’d have the same problem if a bunch of ex-Marines came to live there, too.”

            I know, the VFW down the street is a regular crew. Those guys run killing and extortion rackets all the time. Whatever.

            1. Dude, I’m just pointing out that your microstate would be very vulnerable to any group of men who were willing to go to bat against it.

              Sort of like how small groups of mercs were able to topple African states back in the day.

              Those were actual countries with militaries, even if they were primitive ones.

              That’s the real vulnerability there. If 200 guys take an abandoned offshore oil rig and call it their “country”, 20 bored ex-Marines who had too much to drink one night would probably be enough to knock the place over. That’s all I’m saying.

              1. True. Sorry to be a jerk. You are right. You would have to have pretty major security. And then you would have to hope your security doesn’t turn on you and take over. Not like Coups don’t happen elsewhere.

                I think instead of building an island, you should buy an island from some broke country. Then get that island to grant you a protectorate in return for cash. That would give you a bit of sovereignty on the world stage and make it harder for people to just invade you.

                1. This actually is a pretty good idea.

                  Because then YOU’D be the scary outsiders who might blow a fuse at any moment, and with some adroit maneuvering you might maintain a rough sort of equilibrium.

                  Too bad all those micronesian countries are going to sink, they might be a good fit.

              2. 20 bored ex-Marines off-duty police officers with sovereign immunity and “probable cause” who had too much to drink one night would probably be enough to knock the place over.

                Is that so far fetched, John?

                1. This is a libertarian microstate, so presumably, wouldn’t the populace be heavily armed?

    3. And as a reward for their enlightenment, they attract every piece of shit stoner in the western world.

      As someone who travels to Amsterdam every so many years, I can’t say I’ve ever really noticed this as a problem. Amsterdam certainly has its share of scuzzy characters, but no worse, by and large, than any large American city.

    4. Never had a smidgen of fear walking around downtown Amsterdam in the middle of the night.

      1. same here. Though I was almost scushed when walking down a very narrow alley and the fat guy in front of me jumped back while passing the window viewing a “storefront hooker” who was, shall we say, less than desirable looking.

        1. Sorry ’bout that dan. The backup beeper on my wide ass was broke from an unfortunate steve smith meating.

    5. The exact same case can be made for the entire country of Portugal. That place is a mafia-run hellhole on Earth b/c of their “enlightened” drug laws.

    6. actually you are wrong again. The problem with Amsterdam isn’t that the stoners of the world showed up. The problem is that they only decriminalized MJ and therefore created a gray market where a product was illegal to produce but legal to sell. This is an invitation for criminal gangs to launder money. Grow some pot with dirty money (cultivation is tolerated but not legal). Sell pot legally in a coffeehouse. Poof clean money. Now they have criminal gangs flush with legit money and they are surprised when they start expanding into other criminal activities like the sale of hard (illegal) drugs?

    7. It is the Amsterdam problem. Amsterdam has as we all know a very enlightened drug policy. And as a reward for their enlightenment, they attract every piece of shit stoner in the western world.

      When will “the world” show up in helicopters filled with armed men.

    8. Well, i say quite clearly in my Seasteading talks that we won’t allow drug exports or anonymous banking/money laundering, exactly because it will get us shut down. Wow, it’s almost like we’ve thought about this problem…

      The things is, there aren’t very many of these things that will get you shut down. You get shut down for drug export, not local consumption. For money laundering, not gold based currency and low tax rates.

  4. Wichita man pays crack dealer with Monopoly money

    Money quote: “That was not a get out-of-jail-free card,” Bassham said.

    1. From thee comments, Clue reference for the win:

      crack heads play monopoly? He got beaten with the candle stick in the library by the dealer.

      1. Just like olde times at thee towne hall.

  5. Are the Seasteaders really serious about populating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, where “the plastic debris naturally collects in waters which are relatively calm?” (Though, since when does human made garbage naturally collect anywhere?)

    Actually, if they would put the work into cleaning or recycling the garbage in those regions, why not let those people start their own nations there?

    1. Well, The Seasteading Institute is actually totally uninterested in the NPGP.

      http://seasteading.org/blogs/m…..bage-patch

  6. how do you keep the mafias from coming in and taking over.

    Libertopia wouldn’t automatically exclude them, of course. If they broke the local laws (you know, the laws against violence, fraud, etc.), then they’d get prosecuted.

    Not sure how they’d take over, to tell you the truth.

    Your liberal laws are going to make your place more attractive for criminal elements from other places to use your island as a base of operations.

    I haven’t noticed criminal organizations migrating around as the laws change, except when some idiot creates a new black market for them to exploit.

    In a lot of ways, Libertopia would be very tough on organized crime. No black markets (their main source of income). An armed population (makes extortion, loan sharking, other violence-based businesses hard to maintain). Really, what would they do there?

    1. RC, it’s very impolite of you to trash John’s strawman. I mean, if he can’t fearmonger in order to support his personal brand of statism, what is he supposed to do?

    2. “In a lot of ways, Libertopia would be very tough on organized crime.”

      The closest thing to Libertopia we have ever had in my lifetime was the old British ruled Hong Kong. And it was a great place. But it was also full of organized crime of the worst sort. Much of which migrated to other places when the Chicoms took over.

      You completely miss the point. If you have liberal laws. And good privacy laws. And laws that make it harder for the government and easier for people, you also make it easier for criminals. And indeed, that is the price you are willing to pay in order to avoid the problems of an over arching government.

      But, when your laws are much looser than everyone else’s, you create an incentive for big organized crime to move in and use you as a base from which to operate in other countries.

      And when that happens, you just give the rest of the world an excuse to come and shut you down.

      And Epi shut the fuck up if you have nothing more interesting to say. No one asked your dumb ass anything. Trolling is still trolling even if it is for your side.

      1. To make sure I understand your point, are you more concerned about the presence of mafias attracting armed intervention from third party nations, or are you more concerned about the mafias themselves screwing the place up?

        1. Yes. I think at least the initially the mafias would probably declare the place a no fire zone and not fuck it up. Although that might not last forever. They are mafias after all. They are not exactly the smartest or most stable of people.

          But even if they did not screw it up, once the rest of the world figured out they were operating there, they would shut you down. You would become a criminal state.

          I am not saying the world should do that or that it would be a good thing. I am just saying that is what I think would happen. Think about it. We go out and arrest internet gambling operators who happen to land at JFK. You don’t think we would go out and shut down some artificial Island that was allowing mafias to launder money and operate in safe haven? In a minute.

          1. OK, we actually agree then.

          2. You don’t think we would go out and shut down some artificial Island that was allowing mafias to launder money and operate in safe haven? In a minute.

            I agree with this, certainly. That’s why I’ve always said that libertopia on the high seas will not exist unless and until it has the capacity to sink a carrier battle group.

            1. think outside the box!

              guerrila warfare. Break up into modeules, flee and reassemble.

      2. Trolling is still trolling even if it is for your side.

        I didn’t realize that disagreeing with you was trolling. But wait, isn’t your comment essentially concern trolling? Which, of course, is the worst kind of troll.

      3. Hong Kong was a center of triad activity because of what it was – a major port right next to the home country of the triads, which was notably less repressive than the home country.

        Hong Kong was a long, long way from Libertopia – a full panoply of black markets and massively repressive firearms laws.

        I can see that a libertopia set up right next door to a majorly repressive country will become an organized crime base. Libertopia set up in the middle of the ocean, not so much.

        Would they use your banking system to handle their money? Probably.

        Would they use your port facility to trans-ship contraband? Maybe. They don’t seem to have much trouble now, though, without it.

        Would they base their operations there? I don’t think so. Organized crime requires a certain amount of hands on – its not really a telecommuting kind of thing.

    3. Really, what would they do there?

      Deliver pizza.

  7. John has an odd distrust of freedom.

    1. You have an odd failure of reading comprehension. The harms would be the result of other countries’ laws, not these laws per say.

      1. How would an independent nation necessarily be undermined and destroyed by other nations’ laws?

        1. Seriously – how about a naval blockade?

  8. No one has made the obvious comment yet, which is:

    How do these guys expect to start their own damn floating countries when they can’t manage to put together a conference about starting their own damn floating countries?

    “We will privately send a man to Mars – as soon as we figure out how to manage to run a conference about sending a man to Mars!”

    1. Much like the response to the oil spill. Who is in charge of this again? I can’t seem to keep up.

    2. There have been 2 seasteading conferences and already one Ephemerisle. So, not sure what your point is.

    3. Fluffy, I’ve been following the Seasteading Institute, and they are *not* incompetent.

      The change in insurance costs made the effort more expensive than they liked, so they cut their losses, you know, like competent leaders do all the time when the quoted cost and the actual cost diverge highly.

      In fact, of all the anarcho-capitalists running around, Patri Friedman is probably the most competent when it comes to establishing the conditions required to grow freedom again.

      The entire exchange you & John had about security/mafia/ aggression from rogue states like the U.S. has been well considered by his group, and they have a pretty sophisticated, implementable plan as far as integrating their seasteads with current international law.

    4. Tax us! Regulate us! Set us free!

  9. A man’s home is his castle, defend it or sink it. No one wins.

  10. They should claim a market failure because they can’t get cheap insurance and get the .gov to subsidize. I mean, it works for everybody in flood plains and on the coast. Plus, the irony of getting the .gov to fund an organization trying to peaceably replace the .gov is not lost on me.

    1. Whoa, that whole “.gov” thing you got going on there is ANNOYING.

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