Colbert Lampoons Seasteading, Gets it Backwards

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Last night, Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert had some fun with seasteading in a segment titled "Colbert Platinum – Wealth Under Siege." We’re still chuckling at the 7 minute-long clip, which pokes fun at the often misreported notion that Thiel and The Seasteading Institute are trying to create "libertarian islands," which could serve as havens for the rich in the event that the Occupy Wall Street slogan "Eat the Rich!" ever takes hold. Colbert equates seasteads with stereotypically ritzy toys, like armored limos and yachts (complete with infinity edge pools), ignoring the potential for seasteading to improve the lives of the non-rich currently living under dysfunctional governments.

We at the Institute have a good sense of humor when it comes to coverage like this–we have to, given the audacity of our vision and the inevitable misrepresentation in the media. Still, we hope that Colbert and his producers will consider a follow-up in which they get the facts the straight. If anything, it is the poor and middle class who stand to benefit from greater innovation in government. After all, the rich already have the ability to escape to tax havens like the Cayman Islands, while the less wealthy have fewer options. We wouldn’t mind if the satirical talk show host built a real-life, seastead-based "Colbert Nation" for himself and his wealthy buddies, but the Institute promotes a much more pluralistic vision, with seasteading providing an opportunity for anyone wishing to experiment with new governments.

Check out the clip, and tell us what you think:

6 comments

  1. JimWestfield 8:19 pm

     "Any publicity is good publicity." – Beau Deitl

  2. Chucker 12:56 am

    Wow he isn’t even funny about it.

  3. i_is_j_smith 8:32 pm

    To be fair, he never calls it "seasteading".  The video clip from NBC may have the "seasteading" tag, but Colbert describes them as artificial libertarian islands where the rich can run to.  Considering TSI’s only plan for a seastead is a several hundred million dollar floating casino and resort…which I don’t think many of the 99% can afford right now…his jibe seems appropriate.

  4. i_is_j_smith 8:34 pm

     "but the Institute promotes a much more pluralistic vision, with seasteading providing an opportunity for anyone wishing to experiment with new governments."

    I’ve yet to see any kind of plan…or even a vague suggestion…that shows this is possible.

  5. realpra 1:56 pm

    FloatHaven has lot of vague suggestions and no plans for super rich casinos… is that good or bad I wonder?

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    We are developing modular seasteading modules for mass production at FloatHaven.com – Don’t wait, join the adventure!

  6. Joep 3:43 am

    Their team did their homework: "No building codes". Still wrong, but at least they Googled it.

    Although the clip is not very funny, it does put Seasteading in the "rich people" league. I understand the position on this by TSI. My thinking is that it might actually be a good thing that Seasteading is thought about as "a thing for the rich", because that’s exactly how skiing, flying, and all other really cool things started. It will make entrepeneurs think: "how can I make this cool thing cheap enough for anyone, because that’s how I can get rich", which is exactly what we want.

    I do hope Seasteading will have more publicity, even if it’s disguised as bad publicity like this. Getting on national TV is perfect!

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