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South Pacific Seasteaders

An ‘u’u – Adorning the World: Art of the Marquesas Islands

Even though the Republicans are about to turn the U.S. into a paradise for the sort of libertarians who have a few million dollars lying around, the seasteaders are still chasing their dream of creating a free-floating utopia where no one can make them do anything they don’t wanna (provided they stay out of the shipping lanes).

Perhaps they realize that there’s a slight chance that they’ll need somewhere to run. Or no evil masterdweeb feels complete without some sort of weird lair and an upcycled oil rig will do until someone builds a convincing fake volcano.

However, there are a number of risks involved in hitting the open seas and staying there. There are the logistics of maintaining an independent nation that is heavily dependent on outside support to keep it from becoming a very bloody mess. Who, I always wonder, is going to clean up after these slobs and bring them their meals? And how many armed guards will it take to keep those people from shoving Mr. Moneybags into the water?

In addition, it’s one thing to insist that government regulations are the death of freedom. Quite another to be cooped up with chefs, plumbers, health care providers, armed guards and so on who share that belief.

We’re out of Versed Mr. Taxdodger, but here’s a little something I cooked up out of stuff I found under the kitchen sink while I try to fix your dislocated elbow! Oops, hang on. I dropped the syringe.

But, where there’s a will to be whiny, spoiled brats, there’s a way. And the Seastead Institute’s latest, not at all original plan would involve sticking a sort of independent nation of rich scumlords in the vicinity of poor, brown people so the scumlords can mooch off them. But in an independent way.

A futuristic plan to build a floating techno-libertarian city in a French Polynesian lagoon has left some local residents worried they could be the next unsuspecting inhabitants of a peaceful planet in a science-fiction movie.

“It reminds me of the innocent Ewoks of the moon of Endor who saw in the Galactic Empire a providential manna,” said Tahitian TV host Alexandre Taliercio. “They let them build what they wanted on earth and in orbit, but that’s not to say that the Empire shared the blueprints of the Death Star with them.”

The proposal for a seastead – an autonomous oceanic colony; think homesteading, but wetter – took a significant step on Christmas Day, when a Silicon Valley group announced it had reached an agreement with the French Polynesian government, with officials poised to explore serving as the group’s host.

Host is le mot juste.

The logistical and financial challenges of establishing a colony in international waters, however, proved steep. So this year the Seasteading Institute began negotiations with French Polynesia, which is a part of France, but has significant autonomy.

On 30 November, French Polynesia’s cabinet gave president Edouard Fritch a mandate, and he will travel to San Francisco in January to sign an agreement to develop a “special governing framework” for “seazones”, according to Randolph Hencken, the Seasteading Institute’s executive director.

Hencken said by email that the agreement stipulated that the institute must prove that seasteading will provide economic benefits and not harm the environment, and that the government will not provide any subsidies.

Yes, maybe they can park next to an island that is going to drown due to global climate change and take bets on when it will disappear. Ha ha, what fun. As a bonus, any inhabitants might be willing to work on the seastead in exchange for a rope to drape themselves over every night. Or perhaps the inhabitants should start thinking about building floating yoga studios.

Hencken predicts a close relationship between the seastead and the islands. In an interview with Business Insider in October, he suggested that he would be able to take a speedboat to French Polynesia to take yoga classes and go to restaurants. The islands would also provide a construction base, he said, further reducing costs.

So, I understand a seasteader might get tired of the same restaurants on his floating island home, especially after a few bouts of food poisoning. But if going to yoga classes is more cost effective than having an onsite studio, something seems amiss. One might imagine that Hencken was trying to think of legal ways a seastead would stimulate the local economy and eating out and yoga lessons were the only things he could come up with.

We don’t intend to exploit and abuse your citizens and then scurry back to our country, honest!

Or he knows the thing doesn’t have a hope in hell of coming off, but he doesn’t want to upset Mr. Thiel and any other rich libertarian who is paying for this particular pipe dream.

Obligatory – Don’t forget the robots!

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