I have the great privilege of writing the lead essay in this month’s Cato Unbound: Beyond Folk Activism. It describes a framework for evaluating libertarian activist movements which suggests that things like the nationwide LP (and Cato itself) are a dead-end, while alternatives like the Free State Project and Seasteading actually have a chance.
Also, we have launched Let A Thousand Nations Bloom, a sister-blog to TSI, which will contain all of the dynamic geography and political theory/discussion from the TSI blog, plus additional content by guest authors about the more general topic of competitive government. If you are interested, please subscribe, and if you are not interested, be happy that such content will no longer be on the main blog :). The new blog doesn’t have much content yet, but it will build up over the coming weeks and months.
If you are a blogger, please help promote Let A Thousand Nations Bloom by adding it to your blogroll, posting about it, and linking to posts on it that you think are good. Note that since it is about a more general topic than seasteading, it may appeal to those who are interested in political change but skeptical about seasteading specifically.
I don’t know if you can entirely throw out the activism approach. After all, your grandfather influenced many countries to open up their markets through activism. Obviously it is a difficult path that can only bring a marginal change in policies, and that’s if you win, but it’s still something.
You note the failure of the Ron Paul Revolution and other honest candidates, but Ron Paul simply wasn’t a very good politician — didn’t have the charm or winning smile of Milton Friedman or Barack Obama (sorry to put MF in the same category as Obama, but if they had anything in common, it was charisma). What would happen if Obama was a radical libertarian, with all of his charisma and political instincts? Could he get elected? Learning from Paul Graham’s charisma essay, perhaps we need to find more charismatic candidates, and perhaps willing to play the politics game a bit in order to achieve the ultimate goal of affecting public policy.
That said, I still think seasteading the path (and i generally agree with your piece). But I don’t think activism can be entirely disregarded as a way to bring change.