Ephemerisle without laws would be like Burning Man without art.

I was recently asked: “Is the plan still to have no rules during Ephemerisle, or does having it in the SF bay mean that there will have to be some rules?”

I replied: 

There will definitely have to be rules based on US safety laws / Coast Guard regulations.  There may be other rules as well.

Also to clarify, the plan for the offshore Ephemerisle is not “no rules” – it is “each local region sets their own rules”.  These are very different, and this is a really important point.  Our goal with seasteading and with Ephemerisle is not anarchy in the sense of no rules, do whatever you want.  Our goal is to enable people to make up their own systems of rules, so we can find good systems. 

We want rules – that’s the whole goal!  We just want better ones.  Ephemerisle without laws would be like Burning Man without art.

This might be a good line to use in the future to respond to people who ask whether seasteads will be lawless or ungoverned.  The idea of creating a competitive market for government is profoundly different from eliminating laws or government entirely, yet a naive description can make them sound the same.  We must emphasize the point that what we want is competitive government, not no government.

Our goal is to turn Politics into Politics 2.0, from an industry like computer Operating Systems to one like web 2.0.  Politics 2.0 without any laws would be like Web 2.0 without any websites.  That is the exact opposite of our goal!  We want many legal systems, not none.


4 thoughts on “Ephemerisle without laws would be like Burning Man without art.”

  1.  What do you have in mind for a “local region” within Ephemerisle? Do you foresee multiple groups of boats that aren’t connected to each other? I suspect they’d need to be far enough apart that it there wouldn’t be much interaction between groups.

    If you foresee all boats/structures tied together in one big raft, it’s unclear how any rules I’m concerned about could vary much between parts of that raft. The rules I imagine deal largely with interactions between boats, and I’m unsure whether I’d be willing to attend if I don’t know well in advance that the rest of the boats in the raft agree to rules I consider adequate for safety.


    I think Ephermerisle’s key ingredient will be seastead models, not laws.  So I think the tag line should be:   Ephemerisle without Seasteads  is like Burning Man without art.

  3.  lol @ Vince. 🙂

    But still, Patri makes a good point.

    On a somewhat related note I saw a Simpsons episode the other day where Homer went off-shore (with a boat). As soon as they crossed the 12-mile line, someone (I think Lenny) immediately started kicking Homer on the shin while loudly declaring that all laws are null and void. They touched on a number of other subjects, like piracy and the lack of police or coast guard protection.

  4. The original Ephemerisle plan did not have seasteads.  I don’t think rafting standard boats in open ocean is going to work.  So I think to make the idea work we need to be building seastead models that can raft together.  So it was not just a joke.


    I should have me and a friend on a steastead model in the open ocean soon.  This should show that making such models for an Ephermerisle event is possible.   Will make video of 1:25 scale models rafting but not rafting 1:5 scale  just yet.


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