Seasteading

If Seasteading Is Wrong, Leaving Your Country and Settling Elsewhere Must Also Be Evil

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Seastead
Seasteading Institute/DeltaSync

Most likely because seasteading—creating new and politically independent communities on artificial islands in the ocean—has been proven to be a practical engineering challenge, the once-wacky idea is back in the news.

Bloomberg published a half gee-whiz, half oh-shit-this-might-happen piece that quoted critics of the idea while conceding the technical barriers are falling away. And seasteading is now being assailed with arguments that would just as handily condemn any sort of emigration by dissidents seeking a better life elsewhere.

For Bloomberg, Edward Robinson wrote about the efforts of the Seasteading Institute to develop floating micro-nations:

Forget funky houseboat communes: DeltaSync's 85-page blueprint lays out a watery metropolis worthy of a Roger Moore-era Bond film. ("Live and Let Dive"?) Residential districts, hotels, aquaponic farms for vegetables and fish, and algae-based biofuel refineries would all float on 2,500-square-meter (27,000-square-foot) caissons—hollow platforms made of concrete, plastic and steel. Arranged in circular clusters, these square-and-pentagon-shaped bases could be disassembled and towed to other seasteads, or to safety in the event of a storm. Indeed, the technology already exists. In 2011, DeltaSync designed a movable dome-shaped conference pavilion that currently floats in Rotterdam's harbor. "Floating architecture is rapidly becoming a realistic option and not just a crazy futuristic idea," says Rutger de Graaf, DeltaSync's director and managing partner.

Robinson quotes a geography professor calling the idea "crazy" without saying just where it goes off the rails. Maybe that's because, as mentioned in the article, Dutch engineering firm DeltaSync says it really can be done.

Criticism of seasteading now takes on an oddly strident tone, and from unusual sources.

A week after reporting on DeltaSync's Seasteading Implementation Plan, Global Construction Review, an online publication of Britain's Chartered Institute of Building, ran an attack on the idea as an abandonment of social responsibility. The publication's editor, Rod Sweet, took time away from the business of covering engineering and construction to "to lay bare the motivation behind the movement—the libertarian urge for the freedom to profit without having to contribute to the social conditions that make profit possible."

Escapism and laziness are in there as well. "Why not reform existing political systems?" the institute asks itself on its FAQ page. The answer is revealing: "It is extremely difficult and costly to significantly impact political outcomes," they write.

Well, yes it is, but the real answers to the world's problems are far duller and more difficult than the backers of seasteading are likely to have the stomach for: negotiated settlements, enlightened governance, strong civil society and political will.

Politics is messy, boring and a blunt instrument, but it's all we've got, and if we want a better world, business elites should have to muck in with their time, effort—and, yes, taxes—like the rest of us.

Got it. So leaving a place behind because you find the political system frustrating, the conditions unpleasant, and the local officials avaricious, is unacceptable. You're expected to stay, make the best of it, and "contribute to the social conditions," no matter what you think of them. Well, so much for emigrating. Hell, so much for loading a van and moving house from California to Texas, or the other way around, if that's what suits you.

This isn't new. Much the same sentiment must have dogged the Pilgrims, who had to sneak out of England to settle first in Holland, and then America. They didn't want to stick around hoping for "negotiated settlements"—they figured they'd have better luck elsewhere.

India's last health minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, pushed to force physicians to post a bond before permitting them to leave the country; it would be forfeited if they failed to return. Indian Doctors, it seems, have been settling in the United States and elsewhere in search of better opportunity and greater chances for prosperity.

And the United States itself now punishes people who leave the country in an effort to escape what they find to be overly burdensome taxation. Many politicians want to do worse; while unsuccessfully pushing punitive legislation, Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) warned, "it seems that a privileged few are trying to game the system by accumulating wealth and benefiting from the greatness of the United States and then renouncing their citizenship to avoid paying their fair share of taxes."

The entire world has been settled by people looking for a better situation—and very often the situation they sought to improve upon was created by whoever was in charge of the old place. No doubt, those left behind have frequently resented those who left.

Given the history of human settlement, even Rod Sweet's ancestors certainly indulged in "escapism" from another place they found less attractive.

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  1. Politics is messy, boring and a blunt instrument, but it’s all we’ve got, and if we want a better world, business elites should have to muck in with their time, effort?and, yes, taxes?like the rest of us.

    Or be able to vote with their feet, like the rest of us. Anyway, this is all about wanting monkey knife fights. We all know it.

    1. i’ll be re-broadcasting major league baseball with implied oral consent

      1. I can’t make it, but I’ll be watching the Tyson-Secretariat fight on PPV.

  2. Rod Sweet

    Awesome moniker.

  3. If I’m lucky I’ll end up with Ginger, Mary Ann, and Mrs. Howell.

    1. ah the legendary Honey-Bee-Some. Many have fantasized, few have attained.

    2. May the captain hat whippings begin!!

  4. Of course it’s evil. You signed that Social Contract, so it would be wrong to walk out on your fellow man.

  5. I’m still angry that the Reason Cruise didn’t end up in the boat being commandeered and the setup of a libertarian seasteading commune. Guarantee me that and I’ll sign up to go on next year’s cruise.

    1. “Guarantee me that and I’ll sign up to go on next year’s cruise.”

      Careful. You want The Independents 24/7?

  6. And here the ultimate Prog End Game is revealed. It is not enough that you don’t challenge their system. It is not even enough that you accept it. You must be a part of it. NOTHING OUTSIDE THE COLLECTIVE NOTHING AGAINST THE COLLECTIVE

    Make no mistake: the innovations we have coming-cryptocurrency, ZEDEs, seasteading, etc are absolutely mortal threats to Progdom. They are right to be afraid.

    1. Ideas so awesome they’re mandatory!

      1. Cyto has a point, and it makes me scared as well. They might get desperate and do something completely fucking stupid. I mean think about it, no more debates, no more arguing, no revolutions, people just suddenly decide to…leave. Tax base dries up, state can’t higher someone to enforce the 32 ounce soda bans. Camps, the proggies will put us in camps.

        1. Yeah? With what guns?

          1. The guns of whatever ambitious and treasonous general decides he could make a power play.

            1. The guns of whatever ambitious and treasonous general decides he could make a power play.

              That’s the one thing I don’t actually worry about.

        2. “no revolutions, people just suddenly decide to…leave.”

          Someone ought to write a book.

  7. The Brits may be huffing and stomping their feet, but they still don’t tax their expat citizens who have lived abroad past a certain amount of time, like we do.

  8. Emigrating is not so easy for most people, but I believe the point is that would-be seasteaders explicitly want to opt out of social responsibility. It is the fundamental adolescent nonsense of the libertarian worldview: that you think you are owed total autonomy by virtue of your own specialness, as if this planet or any part of it belongs unequivocally to you and isn’t actually shared by billions of others in the present, past, and future. Using your society to accumulate wealth (try doing it without a society!), then hauling ass off with the loot is morally laudable, but taxation is theft?

    1. That wealth? You didn’t build that!

      (Still want the copy of the social contract I apparently signed)

      1. A good SC has an opt-out provision, but you’re automatically opted in because while squealing newborns generally are subject to the various aspects of their society, they also struggle holding pens.

        1. PENANCE FOR YOUR ORIGINAL SIN

          1. I don’t owe you a fucking thing, thief.

        2. A good SC has an opt-out provision, but you’re automatically opted in because while squealing newborns generally are subject to the various aspects of their society, they also struggle holding pens.

          If anybody but your Government-God tried to do that, it would be considered fraud. However, since Government-God cannot do wrong, and all It says is the Truth and the Light. I have a responsibility to you because Government-God’s human representatives have decreed it so.

          At least for us Christians, our God is a perfect being from which the concepts of good and evil originate. Your Government-God is just a conglomeration of power hungry sociopaths with enough money and sway to formalize their usurpation of liberty as “law.”

          1. So omnipotent supernatural tyrant = good, democratically elected government = bad.

    2. opt out of social responsibility

      Using your society

      Meaningless giberrish is meaningless.

      This is it Tony. This, and several other ideas mentioned above, are the End of Progressivism (and statism in general over time). Be afraid Tony. Gaze upon our coming world and despair.

      1. Tony just came out as frothing at the mouth anti-immigration bigot.

        I’m not surprised.

        1. I’ve noticed increasing left-wing disdain for immigrants all over the place at least in Canada. This is the last ‘neo-classical’ left-liberal tenent (that bding ‘immigration is good’) to get repudiated and replaced by Progressive orthodoxy.

          1. Well, how do you expect them to have National Socialism without a “nation”, silly!

        2. I think you misread something. I am curious how pro-immigration you future seasteaders would be.

          1. They would probably be totes pro-immigration. The ZEDE free cities sure will be.

          2. They will be paying big bucks to import labor.

            Can’t get more pro-immigration then to pay for it.

      2. The vast majority of people who talk anti-government don’t actually mean it. Your worldview is actually held by an extreme minority.

        The vast population of “anti-government” conservatives actually just don’t like paying for brown people’s food. They’re not gonna give up the shit they get from government. Not one single penny of it.

        1. Yes they will when the government can’t get that shit. I don’t care because I’m not a conservative. I am a part of that ascendant extreme minority.

          1. And when the other 95% of us don’t buy it, that must mean democracy just doesn’t work. How can it, when it doesn’t recognize your brilliance?

            1. It doesn’t matter because democracy can’t change reality. Sad for you.

          2. Cyto, as much as I agree with your sentiment, the road to widespread individual secession is long and it may not happen within our lifetimes.

            1. I’m pretty young. I think I will see some amazing progress.

              1. I’m just a pessimist. That way I’m constantly either proven right or pleasantly surprised.

              2. You youngsters are so cute when your optimistic.

        2. Your worldview is actually held by an extreme minority.

          Then you wouldn’t mind letting us have a small state like Delaware or Rhode Island where we can all congregate and stop bothering you statists, right? Oh wait, SOSHULL CUNTRAKKKT, we owe you shit so we can’t leave.

          1. Libertarians, always wanting free shit from other people.

      3. This, and several other ideas mentioned above, are the End of Progressivism (and statism in general over time).

        Tony does live in a fantasy world…

        But come on do you really think it will ever end?

        Plato said only the dead have seen the end of war. I say only the dead have seen the end of statism.

        Also why even make a distinction between progressivism and statism. There is no difference between progressives “responsibilities of the social contract” and the responsibilities of serfs to the land and their lord.

        1. Do you actually have a reason to doubt the revolutionary effects of the micro-nation/technological paradigm shift?

          1. Yes people who think like Tony control whole navies of warships.

            Those people will either war on seasteaders or exact a “protection” toll.

            1. The Seasteaders already intend to pay off a host nation for protection. Imperfect, but it will still allow the seastead to do what it does. The Tonies can’t get enough money for their navies this way. Hell, they’ll probably end up fighting each other as much as us.

              1. don’t forget nukes

    3. as if this planet or any part of it belongs unequivocally to you and isn’t actually shared by billions of others in the present, past, and future.

      Awesome! My wife, kid and I are moving into your house! You’re cool with sleeping on the couch. I mean mi casa, su casa and all that…

      1. The only reason it’s not is because I paid taxes to have men with guns threaten to keep you out. The point is you aren’t magical autonomous beings of light; you share the world with other people, and that’s just a fact of nature.

        1. So you’re a hypocrite.

          1. No… Actually you are. You think you are entitled to own property, a piece of the planet you share with everyone, but have no responsibilities to the other people who pay to allow you that privilege. I think property is fine, but it’s not sacred, it’s just a practical way to manage things. I could probably think of better ways.

            1. So, you write a check to the other 5,999,999,999 billion people on the planet? Did you call up Ravi Balakrishnan in Bangalore to see if it was cool with him when you build an addition to your house?

              1. No but it might be a more just way of doing things. The planet is only becoming increasingly connected. My lifestyle will kill poor people on the other side of the planet. Are you suggesting that is my sacred right?

                1. My lifestyle will kill poor people on the other side of the planet. Are you suggesting that is my sacred right?

                  If your lifestyle is killing people, I would suggest that you change your lifestyle.

                  1. But it’s so much easier to deny that my lifestyle is doing any such thing. Is that why most of you do so?

                    1. I can’t wait to see Tony’s proof of his own murderousness!

                    2. But it’s so much easier to deny that my lifestyle is doing any such thing.

                      The truth is easy to embrace.

                      your lifestyle requires trade which has contributed to the increased living standards of literally billions of people worldwide.

                      Think of all the people whose lives will be improved if seasteading communities existed and traded without all the bullshit government regulations and taxes in the US that get in the way of that global public good.

            2. We live on the same planet. We don’t ‘share’ shit.

            3. “I could probably think of better ways.”

              No, you can’t. No, really, you can’t.

        2. Therefore, you owe the state half of your income.

    4. Don’t worry Tony. Those seasteads don’t need roads.

      1. *swish*

    5. So my political ideology and those who govern according to it has no place in society but my money does?

      I usually enjoy your visits here but this time you let the mask slip too far. We obviously put up with a million things a day that violate our core principles and now simply leaving is unacceptable? Fuck you.

      1. You can go wherever you want. I encourage you to start your own community on an oil platform in the middle of the ocean somewhere. Why not? I’d love to see libertopia actually play out in all its inevitable bloody horror.

        1. Nice violent wish on people Tony. Always love to see your mask slip.

        2. I’d love to see libertopia actually play out in all its inevitable bloody horror.

          Sadly this would be exactly what happened, as the newly incorporated People’s Socialist Republic of America would drone strike every seastead in the ocean, sending those evil teathuglican Koch fellating monsters to meet their Kochtopus masters.

          There wouldn’t be mass amounts of civil unrest on those seasteads, only a genocide that would make Hitler and Stalin look small.

          1. You really think those Seasteads would be helpless? FFS the way Google is headed they’re going to have their own armed forces in a few decades.

          2. Yep. They’re not following American or UN regulations. They’re a den for drug traffickers. Organs are being bought and sold.

            Sink this modern day Sodom!

            1. Sink this modern day Sodom!

              Now you gave them a slogan. I hope you’re proud of yourself.

            2. Thank god i will be living on the Gomorrah seastead.

              Sad about those Sodom folks though.

              So we all know what Sodomy is…what is Gomorrahy? I am looking at you Warty for an answer.

          3. Another aspect to libertarianism’s realism: we will be the only society ever to defeat foreign invaders by sheer self-righteousness.

        3. Re: Tony,

          I’d love to see libertopia actually play out in all its inevitable bloody horror.

          You’ve been fapping over Bioshock for far too long, Tony. Didn’t your mommy tell you that you could see hair growing from your palms if you keep doing it?

    6. They already paid for everything that contributed to building their wealth. They also already paid numerous taxes. Except for whatever debts the person might have, they do not owe anyone anything.

      Or are we really expected to pay taxes for ever and ever, even after we’re no longer directly using services?

      1. I do like to ask the question, “How much money would it cost me right now to buy my life back? How much to make us even?”

        I never seem to get an answer. They’re more interested in owning me than taking my money, but they’re horrified to admit it out loud.

    7. Re: Tony,

      but I believe the point is that would-be seasteaders explicitly want to opt out of social responsibility.

      Translator’s note: From now on the act of acquiescing to the demands of your robber like a good little victim shall be known as “social responsibility.”

      that you think you are owed total autonomy[…] as if this planet or any part of it belongs unequivocally to you

      Translator’s note: From now on the act of wanting to be free from government coercion shall be construed as “wanting to own the world.”

      Using your society to accumulate wealth

      Translator’s note: From now on, accumulating wealth through production and delayed consumption shall be known as “using your society.”

      Ok, now you should be able to read Tony-ese in the original cling-on.

    8. Tony|6.3.14 @ 4:29PM|#
      …”opt out of social responsibility”…

      If that means not paying for shits like you to post on the innerwebs, sign me up!

    9. Who’s opting out of any social responsibility? They are opting out of your version and choosing another one that’s more of their liking. Why should you get to decide which responsibilities other people are obligated to meet?

  9. PIONEERS! O PIONEERS!

    COME, my tan-faced children,
    Follow well in order, get your weapons ready;
    Have you your pistols? have you your sharp edged axes? Pioneers! O pioneers!

    2

    For we cannot tarry here,
    We must march my darlings, we must bear the brunt of danger, 5
    We, the youthful sinewy races, all the rest on us depend, Pioneers! O pioneers!

    3

    O you youths, western youths,
    So impatient, full of action, full of manly pride and friendship,
    Plain I see you, western youths, see you tramping with the foremost, Pioneers! O pioneers!

    4

    Have the elder races halted? 10
    Do they droop and end their lesson, wearied, over there beyond the seas?
    We take up the task eternal, and the burden, and the lesson, Pioneers! O pioneers!

    5

    All the past we leave behind;
    We debouch upon a newer, mightier world, varied world,
    Fresh and strong the world we seize, world of labor and the march, Pioneers! O pioneers! 15

    6

    We detachments steady throwing,
    Down the edges, through the passes, up the mountains steep,
    Conquering, holding, daring, venturing, as we go, the unknown ways, Pioneers! O pioneers!

    1. Tony would’ve thrown Whitman in prison for the crime of “adolescent nonsense.”

  10. Soon, I’ll be getting a check from the government (from a fund in which I’ve been paying for 28 years), I sure hope my fellow man doesn’t opt-out of his social responsibility.

  11. Imagine a society made up of nothing but pensioners and people on disability…

    1. Tony just came.

  12. They can’t let people go. How are they supposed to steal your money, labor, and liberty if they do?

    This is the core of the collectivist mind. But they also, deep down, realize that their system is a fucking shithole and that the useful and productive will leave given half a chance, so they can’t let them.

    I also think there’s a weird rejection element to it. It…hurts them that you want to leave. You’ve rejected them, and now they’re mad. Do you think you’re better than them? Who do you think you are?

    1. See also: Leftist criticisms surrounding Detroit.

    2. If you’re in a an agreement (social contract!), and the other party won’t let you leave, the party that won’t let you leave has more to lose than you do.

    3. Something else just occurred to me: back when leftists were threatening to leave the US over the (re-)election of Bush the Younger, did we hear any whining then about how they had to stay because they owed society? I don’t think we did. (Of course, I don’t think any actually left, either.)

  13. the libertarian urge for the freedom to profit without having to contribute to the social conditions that make profit possible.

    Wow. Some almighty projection there.

    the libertarian authoritarian urge for the freedom to plunder profit without having to contribute to the social conditions work and risk that make profit possible.

    1. Notice how Tony’s definition of society is exactly the same as the feudal contract. And it’s funny that Tony imagines himself to be a future “laird” of the manor, as opposed to a serf.

      1. He always says ‘society’ when he really means himself.

    2. That was the quote that jumped out at me as well, for the same reason. It’s cute that the left finally acknowledges that the free-rider problem exists. They just sorely misdiagnose it.

  14. I would be totally down with seasteading, if it wouldn’t be for the duplicitous, ne’er do well, degenerate, good for nothing Dutch.

    1. Well obviously we would have anti-dike (no homophobe) weapons in reserve to keep the Holland from getting uppity.

  15. I have to say I think seasteading is one of the weirder ideas that keeps coming down the libertarian pike. It’s not that it doesn’t have some appeal; there are days I’d like to do it myself. But the problem is this: you want to pick up and move somewhere that has literally nothing to recommend it? No resources at all, not even solid ground, and many miles from anything else. People love to fantasize about offshore banks and casinos and aquaponic farms, but all those things are not going to just spring into existence out of nowhere. The first stages of seasteading would mean years and years of an extremely isolated, boring life as, basically, a subsistence farmer.

    1. The first stages of seasteading would mean years and years of

      Hard honest work, opportunity, and adventure.

      It’s all how you look at things. Some folks are early adopters, others wait and see. Something to be said for both.

    2. literally nothing to recommend it? No resources at all, not even solid ground, and many miles from anything else.

      What does it say about the state of government that this is still so appealing to so many people?

    3. Weirder still, a bunch of people who reserve the right to isolate themselves so they can build a society to suit themselves think it’s the epitome of outrage that the rest of us aren’t gaga over the propect of open borders. Let’s see how open the borders if these seasteads turn out to be.

      1. Wow that’s a retarded non-sequitor.

        Let’s see how open the borders if these seasteads turn out to be.

        The ZEDE free cities are already on with open migration and I imagine the seasteads will too. They will also smash apart your nativist fever dreams.

      2. The borders of the seasteads will be effectively closed–regardless of any posturing to the contrary.

        Hundreds of miles of open ocean are a very effective barrier to casual border crossing.

        Stowing away will be incredibly hard.

        Seasteads will have ‘open borders’ in the sense that they will take all comers–because they will be able to see all comers.

    4. There was an island with only fisherman once upon a time. Even the fresh water had to piped in; no resources. Called ‘Hong Kong’.

  16. Much the same sentiment must have dogged the Pilgrims, who had to sneak out of England to settle first in Holland, and then America.

    Yeah, well, they may still be a little touchy about that. We are talking about Britain, after all.

  17. What if we stayed behind and seasteaded big govt?

    1. That’d be preferable, but they are the ones who claim sovereign ownership of all the land.

  18. What’s funny is the people who want to leave are, by progressives’ own tacit admission, putting more into the system than they’re taking out.

    It’s a common refrain among progressives to try to paint anti-government people as taking more from the system than they’re putting in.

    That’s a reasonable argument to be made.

    But if anti-government person(s) want to vacate the system, if they actually are taking more from it than they’re putting in, then the system should be better off, no?

    It’s not like public sector employees, pensioners and people on disability are trying to go seastead. They’re the very ones trying to make it so we can’t leave. Who needs whom here in this deal again?

    1. This is all excellent analysis.

      Thank you for it.

    2. Yeah, but the progressives’ argument seems to be “But you owe society!” Which is kind of funny – supposedly taxes are the price you pay to live in a civilized society, so as long as you didn’t commit a crime and are paid up on your taxes, you and society are square now, right?

      But no, apparently you still owe something. The social contract is funny like that. Must be in the small print.

      1. Of course. You always owe something, because government is god to them. You are forever indebted to their god, creator of ROADZ, defender of welfare, and perfect in all ways.

  19. We would be
    so happy you and me.
    No one there to tell us what to do.

  20. Re: Tony,

    but I believe the point is that would-be seasteaders explicitly want to opt out of social responsibility.

    Translator’s note: From now on the act of acquiescing to the demands of your robber like a good little victim shall be known as “social responsibility.”

    that you think you are owed total autonomy[…] as if this planet or any part of it belongs unequivocally to you

    Translator’s note: From now on the act of wanting to be free from government coercion shall be construed as “wanting to own the world.”

    Using your society to accumulate wealth

    Translator’s note: From now on, accumulating wealth through production and delayed consumption shall be known as “using your society.”

    Ok, now you should be able to read Tony-ese in the original cling-on.

    1. Translator’s note: From now on, accumulating wealth through production and delayed consumption shall be known as “using your society.”

      Also one should conflate “society” and government as the same thing.

  21. Waterworld was a flop.

    1. Still trying to figure out where all the cigarettes came from…

      1. I’m going with a long lost Marlboro cargo ship.

  22. On the positive side, each floating nation could demand UN membership!

  23. It’s an international problem. In my opinion, buildings and construction are the most important parts in a country. I care that very much, I cann’t do anything because I have no right?
    But i can do business about steel construction http://www.adtomall.com

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