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Microsecession as a strategy and the prospects for a new Hanseatic League

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analog replied on Sun, Jan 4 2009 6:18 PM

Here is seasteading.org's info on why they don't want to buy up an island or 3rd world country.

link

It might be advantageous to set up camp offshore of a more populous area compared to some remote island. Remember that there is already some competition between destinations that offer economic or social freedom. There just aren't any places that truly offer both.

The case of Sao Tome is intriguing. I wonder how the S. African company secured that type of deal or where the same type of thing might be possible.

Also, this is a bit off topic but interesting:

Paradise almost lost: Maldives seek to buy a new homeland

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Marko replied on Mon, Jan 5 2009 3:47 PM

analog:

The case of Sao Tome is intriguing. I wonder how the S. African company secured that type of deal or where the same type of thing might be possible.




Yes it sounds very interesting. But it could be some sort of neo-colonial setup and nothing libertarian at all. In either case we won`t know without more info.

 

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Marko:

 

But it could be some sort of neo-colonial setup and nothing libertarian at all. In either case we won`t know without more info.

 

For better or for worse, any such attempt will have a stench of neocolonialism.

Abstract liberty, like other mere abstractions, is not to be found.

          - Edmund Burke

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Marko replied on Mon, Jan 5 2009 6:32 PM

Only in as much as every bribe has a stench of corporatism. It appears sinister at first, but if it is only a "leave me alone bribe", rather than a "scratch my back bribe" it is morally acceptable.

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laminustacitus:

Marko:

 

But it could be some sort of neo-colonial setup and nothing libertarian at all. In either case we won`t know without more info.

 

For better or for worse, any such attempt will have a stench of neocolonialism.

Given that this is a venture that attempts to start a new era of colonization, the "stench of" colonialism has to be someone else's perfume.

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bigwig replied on Tue, Jan 6 2009 3:55 AM

This sounds good. I don't see invasion as a possibility, so really the worst that could happen would be the movement doesn't expand further, the statists have a place to put their ACs and the ACs have a place to put the statists, and maybe it puts a downward pressure on oppresion as the island undercuts the profits of over regulated industries.

My only concern is "buying" the allodial title to the land, as we wouldn't want any claims of non-ownership to taint the island's development. And I think an island nation would be hesitant to sell what it has very little of. Also, from the way the talk is going, I assume that these islands are uninhabited, but near islands that are?

 

I had mentioned this possibility in other threads, but they all seemed to die. :(

I am all for this as soon as I become rich and I promise to do so then, but for me that's about 8-12 years off.

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Marko replied on Tue, Jan 6 2009 6:07 AM

bigwig:

I am all for this as soon as I become rich and I promise to do so then, but for me that's about 8-12 years off.



Hahaha. Well thats confidence.

 

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analog:

Here is seasteading.org's info on why they don't want to buy up an island or 3rd world country.

link

Their arguments seem pretty weak.  They just do not want to buy the sovereignty of the island.  We are not proposing buying sovereignty.  We are proposing buying the land and then declaring sovereignty.

 

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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Stranger replied on Sun, Jan 11 2009 11:22 AM

Some light reading to get your started.

Excerpt of Secession and the Production of Defense by Jorg Guido Hulsmann

in The Myth of National Defense, edited by Hans Hermann Hoppe


SECESSION DEFINED

Secession is commonly understood as a one-sided disruption of bonds with a larger organized whole to which the secessionists have been tied.4 Thus, secession from a state would mean that a person or a group of persons withdraws from the state as a larger whole to which they have been attached.

However, defining the entity from which the secessionists defect as a “larger whole” is not useful and defies common sense. Consider, for example, the case of a tenant, say Smith, who refuses to pay his rent. Even though Smith is but a part of a larger community of landlord and tenants, one would not therefore speak of Smith’s action as secession, but rather as a breach of contract. The same thing would have to be said about a business division that defects from a firm. Here too the withdrawal would not qualify as an act of secession, but as theft and breach of contract.

It is not useful to classify breaches of contract as secessions because such a definition would be too wide. Our aim is to distinguish disruptions of social bonds that are “good,” because they bring about a purely private order, from inherently antisocial “bad” disruptions, such as theft, fraud, murder, and breach of contract. We thus have to come up with a more pertinent definition that reconciles common sense and the purposes of our analysis.

We will use the term secession to denote the disruption of what Mises calls a hegemonic bond, as opposed to the disruption of a contractual bond. As Mises points out:
There are two different kinds of social cooperation: cooperation by virtue of contract and coordination, and cooperation by virtue of command and subordination or hegemony. . . . In the frame of a contractual society the individual members exchange definite quantities of goods and services of a definite quality. In choosing subjection to a hegemonic body a man neither gives nor receives anything that is definite. He integrates himself into a system
in which he has to render indefinite services and will receive what the director is willing to assign to him.5

One can further clarify the difference between contractual and hegemonic bonds by taking a closer look at the way by which the Misesian “director” acquires property. There are in fact only two fundamentally distinct ways of acquiring property that already has a rightful owner. Either the property is acquired with the consent of its present owner, or it is acquired against his will, thus violating his property rights. Tertium non datur. In the words of the German sociologist Franz Oppenheimer: Either one uses the economic means of appropriation, or one uses the political means of appropriation.6 By
consenting to the transfer of his property to another person, the present owner renders this transfer definite, whereas all transfers that do not respect his will are thereby indefinite.

Violations of property rights committed by “normal” people are everywhere held in contempt. What murderers, thieves, robbers, etc., do is seen to be incompatible with life in society. By distinct contrast, the “director” violates other persons’ property without being considered a criminal. The other members of society—or at least a substantial majority among them— regard his violations of other people’s property rights as compatible
with civilized intercourse. Therefore, they actively support these activities when they are directed against other persons, and do not obstruct them when they are directed against themselves. This is the nature of the hegemonic bond between the director-ruler and its subjects.

Now, secession is the one-sided disruption of a hegemonic bond by the subjects. It thus means two things: (A) the subjects no longer support the ruler’s violating property rights of other people, for example, they stop paying taxes or serving the ruler; and (B) they start to resist him when he violates their own or other people’s property rights.

Secession is a special subclass of political reform. It is not the rulers who carry out the reform by modifying existing political bonds, but the ruled, who unilaterally abolish these bonds. More precisely, the secessionists abolish the hegemonic aspect of existing institutions. For example, in the area of the production of defense, secession does not necessarily mean that a presently existing police force or a presently existing army is dissolved. The police or the army could continue to exist, provided it operates on the basis of purely voluntary bonds with the rest of society. There would then be no more draft, and their monetary proceeds would no longer stem from taxation, etc.

SECESSION AS A CONTINUUM
Secession is not all-or-nothing but covers a whole continuum of disruptions of hegemonic bonds. It may sever only a part of all existing hegemonic bonds, and it may sever geographically unrelated “islands” rather than territories with contiguous and connected borders.7

In some historical cases, continuous territories defected from a larger geographical whole—for example, when the U.S. seceded from Great Britain in 1776, the Southern Confederacy from the U.S. in 1861, or satellite states like Estonia, Lithuania, Ukraine, or Armenia from the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. By contrast, at other times and places, secession was limited to geographical islands within larger territories that continued to maintain the hegemonic bonds. Such was the case, for example, with the seceding Swiss cities and cantons in 1291, which for centuries did not form an integrated territory, or with the Hansa cities, which in their best days were “free,” that is, not subject to imperial taxation. Also, throughout the High Middle Ages, various individual cities—especially in northern Italy but also in Flanders and southern Germany—defected for some time from the Holy Roman Empire. In most cases, they then either were ruled by city patriarchs or became city republics. The continuum of geographical dispersion of political regimes is best illustrated by the present-day case of Baarle, a Belgian town in the Netherlands. Strikingly, this enclave is not politically homogeneous, but has Dutch enclaves within it, and these in turn have Belgian enclaves in them! Thus, some streets are Dutch and subject to Dutch laws, whereas other streets are Belgian and subject to Belgian laws, and sometimes even the houses on one street belong to different nations and are subject to different laws (they are marked by Dutch and Belgian flags).8

Another good illustration of the geographical possibilities for secession is the disintegration of the Frankish Empire in the mid-800s, which established the feudal order so characteristic for the Middle Ages. As a consequence, the German emperors only controlled a few remaining islands of imperial fortresses (the Pfalzen) and monasteries.

Rather than being an exception, hegemonic bonds with islands of territory surrounded by independent territories were in fact the normal case for centuries of Western civilization. By heritage, marriage, purchase, and also by secession, medieval aristocrats would come to own territories that were sometimes dispersed all over Europe. Similarly, dozens of “free” or imperial cities were only subject to the emperor, who was weak almost throughout the entire history of the Empire, and often was surrounded by territories belonging to local aristocrats. This state of affairs was particularly characteristic for Germany until the Thirty Years’ War reversed the tendency.

Colonial possessions of European powers in other parts of the world are another example of geographically disconnected territories under common hegemonic bonds. And the process by which, after World War II, most of these territories gained their independence was of course nothing else but secession.

Finally, as we have mentioned above, secession does not necessarily mean that all the hegemonic ties between the ruler and its reluctant subjects are severed. Here too we face a continuum. Secession might simply mean that the subjects demand lower taxes or refuse to serve in the army of the ruler. It can mean that they do not respect special monopoly privileges granted to certain individuals or groups.

Also, the bonds between governments and their various subjects by no means have to be homogeneous. This is amply illustrated by historical evidence. For example, the Jews in central and eastern Europe for centuries not only suffered but also profited from their particular status, which often granted them some form of moderate territorial sovereignty. The famous “ghettos,” far from being institutions of pure oppression, as they are often represented today, were also islands of freedom from some oppressive laws that bound most other citizens. (For example, the ghetto-Jews were exempt from non-Jewish jurisdiction and various forms of taxation.)9 Another example is the case of soldiers and foreign diplomats, who are commonly subject to a different set of rules than the rest of the population, although in the case of soldiers these ties are both more severe in some respects and more lax in others.10 Most of these special regimes have not been created by secession. For our purposes, however, it is sufficient to note that such regimes as a matter of fact can exist next to one another, for this proves that such a state of affairs can be a realizable goal of secession. The only limits for the geographical dispersion of “political” regimes are given by the boundaries of private property.

Theoretically, each property owner—and in particular each landowner—might choose to set up a different set of rules that the users of his property (land) have to respect.11 Let us notice in this context that even if I rejected a government only in thought and obeyed it merely out of prudence, this would already be “originary secession” since my brains are undoubtedly part of my property. The government would then no longer control my thoughts, and its control of my behavior would also be diminished.

Even if the ultimate goal of a secessionist movement is the liberation of an integrated territory, the establishment of isolated secessionist strongholds is a first step. Such territorial islands are usually dependent on the exchange of goods and services with other territories. The secessionists are therefore compelled to abolish trade barriers and adopt free-market policies. In so doing, they provide a living example for the beneficial operation of purely voluntary forms of social organization. Since this is the best conceivable advertisement for the idea they stand for, secessionist islands are likely to attract ever more territories to adopt their model and thus close the gaps on the political map.12

BENEFITS OF SECESSION
Before dealing with questions relating to the realization of secessionist urges, let us point out two major advantages of political reform by secession.

First, by its very nature, secession does not transform, but abolishes, hegemonic bonds. All other types of political reform keep these bonds intact and merely modify the way the ruler uses his power. Core organizations like the army, the police forces, the courts, etc., keep their monopoly, and all competitors are outlawed. As a consequence, in the best of all cases, the  reform makes the burden of these monopolies somewhat lighter to bear. More open-minded, tolerant persons replace dictatorially inclined office holders. More acceptable political regimes (in our days, democracies) replace regimes that do not meet the political fashions of the day (in our days, for example, monarchies). However, after the zeal of the reformers has ebbed away, nothing stands in the way of a further expansion of the state’s monopoly powers in other areas such as welfare, art, economy, etc.13 And in many instances even the modest reforms of the existing state organizations come to be redressed after the zeal of the reform generation has ebbed away.

In the worst of all cases, and unfortunately these cases happen to be the majority, the reforms are brought about by the creation of additional hegemonic bonds with a more encompassing political agency (centralization). To get rid of aristocratic privileges, the classical liberals first supported the king against the lesser aristocrats, and then concentrated further powers in the democratic central state to fight all regional and local forms of monarchism and aristocracy.14 Rather than curbing political power, they merely shifted and centralized it, creating even more powerful political institutions than those they were trying to supersede. The classical liberals thus bought their shortrun successes with very burdensome long-run annuities, some
of which we have paid in the twentieth century.

This is the reason why classical liberalism ultimately failed.15 It is important to realize that the quick successes of the classical liberals are not unrelated to the totalitarian schemes that plagued the past century. The fundamental fact is that the liberal reforms were not spontaneously adopted by the various local constituencies, but were imposed on them. It is true that this “technique” was very effective in realizing the classical-liberal program all at once in the whole territory controlled by the new democratic central state. Without it, this process would have been gradual, and it would have implied that islands of the Ancien Régime would have survived for a very long time. Yet like all mere techniques, this was a two-edged sword that would eventually be turned against life, liberty, and property.16 It is not inappropriate to point out an analogy with the laws of the business cycle. Just as business investments unsupported by genuine savings do not spur genuine growth but, after a brief period of growth illusions, lead straight to an economic bust, so the “imposition of liberty” does not create genuine liberty but, after a brief period of liberty illusions, leads straight into totalitarian nightmares.17

The fact is that neither in Europe nor in the United States of America has classical liberalism managed to establish a public order that effectively safeguarded private property and individual liberty for more than a couple of decades. This contrasts sharply with the Middle Ages, when the Christian religion for centuries circumscribed the duties and rights of all citizens of the prospective City of God. Many writers have observed that the Divine Order enshrined the subjection of the population. It is less often pointed out that it also enshrined the subjection of the rulers. Christianity limited the medieval aristocrats in all their endeavors, and these limitations effectively guaranteed the liberties of the subjects.18 In Europe, classical liberalism never created deep roots in the first place, and its short-lived blossom started to perish at the end of the nineteenth century, leading shortly after to the well-known socialist schemes of Communism, Fascism, and National Socialism. In the U.S., the unsuccessful War of Secession gave birth to a welfare-warfare state, which has grown steadily ever since.19 It might be true that the U.S. government cannot yet compare in importance with the German National Socialists or the Russian Bolsheviks as far as its relative internal power is concerned. In absolute terms, however, it has already become the largest and mightiest government the world has ever known, and this supremacy is felt especially in matters of foreign policy and war.20

With hindsight, the real question is not—as most twentieth century libertarians have assumed—why the happy days of classical liberalism faded away and ushered in a new era of unprecedented government control. The real question is how classical liberalism could flourish even the few decades that it did flourish. The answer is probably related to the time lag required for the new democratic central states to consolidate themselves. The new democratic ways had to penetrate the brains, the new (national) political center stage had to slowly gain its due place in individual consciousness, etc.

Clearly, secession avoids all these fatal long-run consequences of “imposing liberty.” It might take a long time before the conditions for successful local secession are given, and secession might then leave many dark (politically unenlightened) spots on the political map. However, at least these reforms could be genuine accomplishments that do not already contain the seeds of their own destruction. A second and related advantage of secession is that it is the only type of political reform that is not only able to bring about a private-property regime, but that itself respects the principles of this regime. Whereas a government is by its nature a compulsory organization, the organization of the “political means,” secession is an activity fully harmonious with the respect of private property and the “economic means.” It thus fulfills a major ethical requirement of libertarian reform, namely, that the reform itself should not create new violations of property.21 And this in turn assures that the new order resulting from secession is more peaceful and viable than any imposed order resulting from standard reforms, which leave the political compound intact.22

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I think it would be better to start smaller.

Gather a couple thousand liberty-lovers, buy up a bunch of land, and practice what we preach.

Pay no income or land or corporate taxes. Collect no sales taxes. Do not register or license anything with the state. Build your own infrastructure.  Disregard any regulations or codes enacted by the state. Educate your children as you wish. Provide for your own defense. Provide as much of your own food as you can.  Don't isolate yourselves from the surrounding communities, but keep a low profile, and don't draw attention to yourselves (without being secretive, which draws suspicion of immoral behavior).  Live peacefully and productively.  Set an example. Encourage other liberty-lovers to start a similar community elsewhere.  Make liberty infectious.  And when the stormtroopers come to lay siege to your "compound," make an armed stand while pleading for peace, and be sure the world witnesses the spectacle of the almighty state oppressing those who want nothing more than to live free.

 

The Free State Project is too grand in scope.

Start with a Free Village Project.

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I think a "Free Village Project" is something some FSPers should consider. Perhaps setting up a small "FVP" inside New Hampshire could help further the cause.

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liege replied on Thu, Feb 5 2009 11:27 PM

Are you sure you want to have "the Company" owning everything and then everyone owning shares? Why not just have everyone owning their own land. If I recall, the first colonial experiments in America were dismal failures with massive death. The joint stock companies owned the colony, the colonists lived communally, and nobody wanted to work. They wanted to not work so badly, that they were willing to die of starvation. It wasn't until they were given their own private property that things began to look up.

I think it would be better for AnCaps to just move there one by one as finances permit and let things go from there. As long as enough were coming and they were all of like mind, you could build up the security infrastructure you need to feel safe enough to secede.

Then again, we're talking about letting the market (thousands of people) decide what the best destiny is for the city. The market may just determine that bowing to the state is more secure than telling it to sit and spin ...

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if you do not have a nuke you are only soveriegn by the largess of one of the mega-nations.

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liege replied on Fri, Feb 6 2009 8:07 PM

I had another thought on this.

Why not start with a currently stateless area like Somalia? Actually there are probably many similar candidates in Africa, which has the dubious distinction of being one of the most mineral-rich continents in the world yet has some of the poorest people.

Bringing free trade and security to a place in such violent anarchy would be great for PR, as it would highlight the often downplayed humanitarian aspect of capitalism. Plus, hell, you wouldn't have to even try that hard to prove the point. Anything would be better than child armies led by warlords constantly killing each other.

It seems like all that you would have to supply is some heavily-armed security forces and some infrastructure. Once the world sees that the area is peaceful and that free trade reigns, you'd have firms knocking each other over to set up shop. Plus, since there isn't a legitimate state, issues of secession won't matter. The hardest thing to deal with would be the growth of a state in the peaceful aftermath. And even here, you'll only have to worry about political opportunists agitating the lower classes (who usually tend to forget that commerce made them immeasurably more wealthy than they were) into propping them up into power.

If you'll allow me to wax optimistic, I'd venture to say that success here could even turn most of Africa, if not all of it, into a powerful, stateless continent. I doubt very much that even a US/EU alliance could contend with such a juggernaut based on natural law and free trade.

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Marko replied on Fri, Feb 6 2009 8:19 PM

liege:

Why not start with a currently stateless area like Somalia? Actually there are probably many similar candidates in Africa, which has the dubious distinction of being one of the most mineral-rich continents in the world yet has some of the poorest people.

Well the first reason would probably be stability. There are stateless areas, but you also have a lot of movements in such places, armed to the teeth and pursuing some agenda. One day it is a stateless clan society and the next day it is swept away by 10,000 youths on technicals that want to institute Sharia.

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I can't wait to micro-secede because I want a portion of the loot.

Loot and booty.  Gotta have booty.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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nazgulnarsil:

if you do not have a nuke you are only soveriegn by the largess of one of the mega-nations.

You can purchase protection from one of the mega-nations. Obviously this will not go well in democratic USA or EU but other, more ambitious states who could use the money might be persuaded to enter the security business.

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Marko replied on Fri, Feb 6 2009 9:07 PM

liberty student:

I can't wait to micro-secede because I want a portion of the loot.

Loot and booty.  Gotta have booty.

I`m waiting for the part when we get to burn and pillage.

 

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Marko:
I`m waiting for the part when we get to burn and pillage.

Vandarchist!  Purge him, before he breakz our windowz!

Stick out tongue

Market anarchist, Linux geek, aspiring Perl hacker, and student of the neo-Aristotelians, the classical individualist anarchists, and the Austrian school.

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Marko:

liberty student:

I can't wait to micro-secede because I want a portion of the loot.

Loot and booty.  Gotta have booty.

I`m waiting for the part when we get to burn and pillage.

I love Pirates though.  I want loot and booty.

Hey, this whole secession thing could use some romanticism.  Like Pirates meets Dagny Tagart in a business suit.

 

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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wombatron:
Vandarchist!  Purge him, before he breakz our windowz!

Except, the goal is to provide security.  Security for property.  Security for identities.  Security for data.

A successful micro-nation or micro-community could issue it's own documentation, and negotiate with the statist world to recognize such travel documents.

I considered that when mulling over the trials and tribulations of my friend Mike Gogulski since he renounced his citizenship.  In fact, providing documentation for "stateless" individuals could be a very lucrative enterprise if done correctly.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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liberty student:

wombatron:
Vandarchist!  Purge him, before he breakz our windowz!

Except, the goal is to provide security.  Security for property.  Security for identities.  Security for data.

A successful micro-nation or micro-community could issue it's own documentation, and negotiate with the statist world to recognize such travel documents.

I considered that when mulling over the trials and tribulations of my friend Mike Gogulski since he renounced his citizenship.  In fact, providing documentation for "stateless" individuals could be a very lucrative enterprise if done correctly.

I was also thinking about the statuses of stateless "citizens" when I was mulling over some forums I hadn't frequented in a while, which involved going through several different "identities" I had amassed (as well as remembering the "credentials", or the passwords, to the accounts).  The IP thread I was reading earlier certainly got the gears turning a bit. 

Unofficially, avatars & profiles already sort of represent a non-state exclusive form of nebulous identity / credentials (sans of course, wherever the servers that store the said data are located, but that would be assuming too much stock in the concept of who has rights over Intellectual Property, which itself is an invalid or absurd concept).  Flashbacks from Lawarence Lessig's "CODE & Other Laws of Cyberspace" also helped.    

Although specifics are a bit beyond myself, I began to think that maybe an open-source project or system could emerge revolving around a type of documentation or credentials for stateless individuals, utilizing loosely related concepts (such as email, avatars, alias' etc.)  & building upon them.  AFAIK, OpenID might've been an early attempt at such a credential, & FOAF (Friend of a Friend) vaugley comes to mind as well.

The possibility that a micro-nation may rear it's head not as an official micro-nation, but as a service, would seem to fit if a sort of data haven were started revolving around the creation, validation, & security of documentation & credentials of the stateless citizen. 

If Google get's their servers aboard ships to take advantage of various states & nations laws (or lack thereof) at the high seas, I'd imagine they would be a good prototype for such an enterprise (assuming micro nations do not pop up before hand).

"Look at me, I'm quoting another user to show how wrong I think they are, out of arrogance of my own position. Wait, this is my own quote, oh shi-" ~ Nitroadict

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Nitro, have you read Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash"?  It is to ancap what Atlas Shrugged is to capitalism.

The story begins and ends in Los Angeles, which is no longer part of what is left of the United States, during the early 21st century. In this hypothetical future reality the federal government of the United States has ceded most of its power to private organizations and entrepreneurs.[1] Franchising, individual sovereignty and automobiles reign supreme (along with drug trafficking, violent crime, and traffic congestion). Mercenary armies compete for national defense contracts while private security guards preserve the peace in gated, sovereign housing developments. Highway companies compete to attract drivers to their roads rather than the competitors', and all mail delivery is by hired courier. The remnants of government maintain authority only in isolated compounds where they transact business that is, by and large, irrelevant to the booming, dynamic society around them.

Much of the territory ceded by the government has been carved up into sovereign enclaves, each run by its own big business franchise (such as "Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong") or the various residential burbclaves (suburban enclaves). This arrangement resembles anarcho-capitalism, a theme Stephenson carries over to his next novel The Diamond Age. Hyperinflation has devalued the dollar to the extent that trillion dollar bills — Ed Meeses — are nearly disregarded and the quadrillion dollar note — the Gipper — is the standard 'small' bill. For physical transactions people resort to alternative, non-hyperinflated currencies such as yen or "Kongbucks" (the official currency of Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_Crash

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liberty student:

Nitro, have you read Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash"?  It is to ancap what Atlas Shrugged is to capitalism.

The story begins and ends in Los Angeles, which is no longer part of what is left of the United States, during the early 21st century. In this hypothetical future reality the federal government of the United States has ceded most of its power to private organizations and entrepreneurs.[1] Franchising, individual sovereignty and automobiles reign supreme (along with drug trafficking, violent crime, and traffic congestion). Mercenary armies compete for national defense contracts while private security guards preserve the peace in gated, sovereign housing developments. Highway companies compete to attract drivers to their roads rather than the competitors', and all mail delivery is by hired courier. The remnants of government maintain authority only in isolated compounds where they transact business that is, by and large, irrelevant to the booming, dynamic society around them.

Much of the territory ceded by the government has been carved up into sovereign enclaves, each run by its own big business franchise (such as "Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong") or the various residential burbclaves (suburban enclaves). This arrangement resembles anarcho-capitalism, a theme Stephenson carries over to his next novel The Diamond Age. Hyperinflation has devalued the dollar to the extent that trillion dollar bills — Ed Meeses — are nearly disregarded and the quadrillion dollar note — the Gipper — is the standard 'small' bill. For physical transactions people resort to alternative, non-hyperinflated currencies such as yen or "Kongbucks" (the official currency of Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_Crash

Alas, Stephenson remains on my amazon list, unbought.  I'm almost embarassed I haven't yet bought Snow Crash, let alone The Diamond Age, but then again I have a pretty "bad" habit of hoarding books & only reading about 20% of them :\

The wikipedia excerpt is more surreal than when I first read it a few years ago... I should definitely get these two books for some pro-bono homework, on my part. 

"Look at me, I'm quoting another user to show how wrong I think they are, out of arrogance of my own position. Wait, this is my own quote, oh shi-" ~ Nitroadict

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Nitroadict:
Alas, Stephenson remains on my amazon list, unbought.  I'm almost embarassed I haven't yet bought Snow Crash, let alone The Diamond Age, but then again I have a pretty "bad" habit of hoarding books & only reading about 20% of them :\

I find myself with the exact same problem.

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Stranger replied on Sun, Feb 8 2009 12:12 PM

liberty student:

wombatron:
Vandarchist!  Purge him, before he breakz our windowz!

Except, the goal is to provide security.  Security for property.  Security for identities.  Security for data.

A successful micro-nation or micro-community could issue it's own documentation, and negotiate with the statist world to recognize such travel documents.

I considered that when mulling over the trials and tribulations of my friend Mike Gogulski since he renounced his citizenship.  In fact, providing documentation for "stateless" individuals could be a very lucrative enterprise if done correctly.

The production of documentation goes along well with residency services. If a community accepts someone as a resident, then that implies they will vouch for them in front of other communities. Not only could communities issue passports but they could also contract with a network of such communities with a world-spanning system of shared embassies.

By the way I advise everyone to read The Diamond Age before Snow Crash. Snow Crash is more a parody of cyberpunk then it is a solid look at a future society, which The Diamond Age achieves. Parts of the The Diamond Age seem lifted directly out of Hoppe, such as the dominant, ultra-wealthy Neo-Victorian society with an ownership structure modeled on traditional feudal hierarchy.

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sirmonty:

Nitroadict:
Alas, Stephenson remains on my amazon list, unbought.  I'm almost embarassed I haven't yet bought Snow Crash, let alone The Diamond Age, but then again I have a pretty "bad" habit of hoarding books & only reading about 20% of them :\

I find myself with the exact same problem.

I read them, but proceed slowly, and spend a lot of time admiring them.

The difference between libertarianism and socialism is that libertarians will tolerate the existence of a socialist community, but socialists can't tolerate a libertarian community.

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http://www.iblist.com/list_by_rating.php?type=book

If you have loved imdb and rateyourmusic as much as I have, then you may love this website - although its membership base needs to expand before the ratings get very reliable. Anyway, my point is, I went on that website for a rough idea of its critical appreciation and !; it's #29 of all time. But I'm starting to suspect that this website is a libertarian/capitalist construct - the fountainhead does rather well as well.

The difference between libertarianism and socialism is that libertarians will tolerate the existence of a socialist community, but socialists can't tolerate a libertarian community.

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Stranger:
By the way I advise everyone to read The Diamond Age before Snow Crash. Snow Crash is more a parody of cyberpunk then it is a solid look at a future society, which The Diamond Age achieves. Parts of the The Diamond Age seem lifted directly out of Hoppe, such as the dominant, ultra-wealthy Neo-Victorian society with an ownership structure modeled on traditional feudal hierarchy.

I think Snow Crash is good as a general look at ancap.  The blurring on the fractal edges of a voluntary and post-state society lurching forward inhibited only by the weight of it's past.

Diamond Age is fantastic as well.  It's just so much more serious than Snow Crash, and frankly, libertarians really could lighten up a little.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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the book, seems fun and im tempted to read it, though im a bit put off by the blurb:

"Franchising, individual sovereignty and automobiles reign supreme (along with drug trafficking, violent crime, and traffic congestion)"

 

bold and italics are mine

 

Where there is no property there is no justice; a proposition as certain as any demonstration in Euclid

Fools! not to see that what they madly desire would be a calamity to them as no hands but their own could bring

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liberty student:

I think Snow Crash is good as a general look at ancap.  The blurring on the fractal edges of a voluntary and post-state society lurching forward inhibited only by the weight of it's past.

It isn't. It is a look at the collapse of the nation-state system and how people cope with life in such an event. It is not a post-state society, it is a collapsed-state society. None of the institutions of a security market or civilized society are in place.

Stephenson makes this explicit when he describes the period of the interregnum as the violent childhood memories of his characters in Diamond Age.

Snow Crash serves at best as a society that we hope to avoid.

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Stranger:
Snow Crash serves at best as a society that we hope to avoid.

All the joy and meaning in getting from A to Z, relies on experiencing B thru Y.

I do mostly agree with you.  I'm also surprised to find out you have read these books, my perception of you was not as someone who read Scifi.  Goes to show how little we really know one another.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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So... I've been thinking about this lately. Say we get an island. We could probably hire some of those poor Mexicans and Central Americans that hang around Walmart near the border. If we could get 30-50 to travel to our island to start construction, we could be getting somewhere. But there would be three big problems. First, there would be no capital at all. This would require large outside investment from us. Second, there would be no energy. Obviously, we need some form of energy to power all of the things we need for modern life. From what I know, there is no way to build a rather cheap power plant. Third, we would need to have some kind of internet access. Internet access would be vital for an economy that I envision would probably rely mainly on financial services (which require minimal capital) and possibly tourism.

How would we go about doing all of these things?

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liberty student:

Stranger:
Snow Crash serves at best as a society that we hope to avoid.

All the joy and meaning in getting from A to Z, relies on experiencing B thru Y.

I do mostly agree with you.  I'm also surprised to find out you have read these books, my perception of you was not as someone who read Scifi.  Goes to show how little we really know one another.

I don't read Scifi.

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krazy kaju:
How would we go about doing all of these things?

When Nitro and I visited P3X4W on our last mission through the Stargate, we observed the indigenous people using a naquadah generator to create a shield over their city.

Ok, joking aside.

Rather than moving to an island FIRST, shouldn't we be establishing our services and firms closer to our suppliers of energy and internet?  The entreprenuer in me says start small, prove the concept (profit, demand) before investing everything in an all or nothing ideological mission that could turn out like an episode of LOST.

We could establish panarchistic communities right now.  We can do data security, right now.  We could provide documentation and shadow citizenship now.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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liberty student:
When Nitro and I visited P3X4W on our last mission through the Stargate, we observed the indigenous people using a naquadah generator to create a shield over their city.

oic. Was the generator resistant to phase cannons?

Rather than moving to an island FIRST, shouldn't we be establishing our services and firms closer to our suppliers of energy and internet?  The entreprenuer in me says start small, prove the concept (profit, demand) before investing everything in an all or nothing ideological mission that could turn out like an episode of LOST.

We could establish panarchistic communities right now.  We can do data security, right now.  We could provide documentation and shadow citizenship now.

Seems like a good idea, but wouldn't you be worried about a hyperinterventionist state... well... intervening?

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krazy kaju:
Seems like a good idea, but wouldn't you be worried about a hyperinterventionist state... well... intervening?

Sure, as long as we are all stuck on this dirtball, we're out of space for all intents and purposes, and states have laid claim individually or collectively (UN) over all of it.

Yeah, so intervention by a state is an issue.  So what do we do?  Operate out of multiple states?  Operate out of minarchist states?  Do we start servicing only the highest end clientele that can afford our services, those with the cachet to avoid intereference from states?

I don't know the exact answer.  That would take research, risk, experimentation.  Ah.... I love the smell of market uncertainty in the morning!

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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MacFall replied on Sun, Feb 8 2009 11:20 PM

liberty student:

Ah.... I love the smell of market uncertainty in the morning!

That smell, you know... that chaotic smell. Smells like... economic profit.

Pro Christo et Libertate integre!

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geniusiknowit:

The Free State Project is too grand in scope.

Start with a Free Village Project.

What is stopping you from going even smaller?  The Free Home Project or the Free Person Project seems more accessible to the average individual.  The biggest concern I have is that many of these activities like Seasteading, Island Settling, and Freeing a state come with a high switching cost.  Lots of people have to be organized.  Efforts need to be coordinated.  Profit, self-defense, marketing, and basic infrastructure need to be sorted out.  Creating a free village seems more achievable, but some of the same issues need to be sorted out (just on a smaller scale).  If the scale is shrunk to the smallest scale of a single home the issues become more manageable and actionable.  The movement is also difficult to crush since anybody anywhere can do it.  Governments would need to go house to house everyday to truly eradicate freedom.

Settling an island will take years maybe decades to pull off.  Partially seceding your home from the state is a much easier proposition.  Just start making a list of what the state provides, and begin to develop or use currently existing alternatives.  Services like water, sewer, electric power, security, and mail delivery already have solutions that permit independence.  The point is to convert your home into a bastion of freedom.  It seems like businesses can grow up around this concept.  Personal and home security are the most important.  Your home needs to protect you from a state invasion.  In some cases this means steel reinforced concrete, electric fences, vaults, dogs, secret rooms, or outbuilding.   This can all be done discretely.

The reason that an individual accepts government in the first place is that they cannot defend themselves.  All public government / mafia systems are predicated on the existence of irresponsible individuals.  An individual that takes responsibility for his own self-defense finds himself asking why he needs to pay for public security services.  The same is true of an individual that takes responsibility for his finances.  No need to seek out a loan shark named Vinny, or a welfare check from your government.   

The true litmus test of any strategy is whether it can be applied at any scale.  If the strategy is scale independent, then you do not need to flee your current location.  Instead, begin right now to wean yourself off of the state.  This doesn't mean that you stop paying all taxes immediately after adding an extra deadbolt to your door.  Crawl before you walk.

Take responsibility for yourself first (put your own oxygen mask on before helping others)
Educate others (form a security business or a financial planning business or create an instructional website)
Franchise liberty (form a construction company that specializes in secure housing communities)
 

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geniusiknowit:

The Free State Project is too grand in scope.

Start with a Free Village Project.

From my own experience living in New Hampshire, there is a fantastic and blossoming activist community of agorists and anarchists living in the town of Keene, New Hampshire and surrounding towns. In a sentence, it's the place to be if you care about the future of liberty.

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