November 9, 2011

Colbert Lampoons Seasteading, Gets it Backwards

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: