This post is an übergeeky science-fiction-slash-politics post for folks who are news and technology junkies and fangirls/fanboys of Neal Stephenson.
Silicon Valley billionaire funding creation of artificial libertarian islands.
Pay Pal founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel has given $1.25 million to an initiative to create floating libertarian countries in international waters, according to a profile of the billionaire in Details magazine.
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. The idea is for these countries to start from scratch–free from the laws, regulations, and moral codes of any existing place. Details says the experiment would be “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.”
Who’s read Snow Crash? Sounds like Thiel wants to build Rife’s Raft.
Granted, these floating libertopias might not end up like the privatized USS Enterprise in Stephenson’s novel — redecorated as a billionaire preacher’s gilded yacht, defended by mercenaries and pirates, glommed by a city of refugee rafts. Actually, I consider Rife’s Raft a best-case scenario. I think it’s more likely that things could go as bad as when Mensa takes control of Springfield in They Saved Lisa’s Brain.