There is a lot in common between the Free State Project and Seasteading. Both have their origins in people who are fed up with traditional political activism, tired of talking about better government, and ready to start living it. I am developing a talk for libertarians for my upcoming speaking tours where I analyze methods of changing governments, why the standard ones (proselytizing, policy activism) don’t work, and why structural change is needed. Why it’s time for action, not for more debating. I’ll be giving this talk for the first time at the NH Liberty Forum (or perhaps at Yale a couple days earlier), where I expect some…enthusiastic discussion…so it was fun practice to appear on the Free Talk Live radio show and debate the relative merits of seasteading and the FSP. Audio here.
A couple thoughts that occurred to me after the debate:
TSI and FSP aren’t really competing at all in the short-term. Moving to NH is something that americans can do today to increase their liberty. I’m skeptical of how much additional liberty they will be able to get in the long-term, but as a short-term strategy it is safe, low-risk, and available today. In the long-term, the two movements will compete – but we will be able to compete on our merits, no need for an abstract debate. That is, over the next 5-10 years, we will see whether the FSP can make NH substantially freer, and we will see if the incremental path to seasteading is proceeding. If one fails, the choice is easy. If both succeed, then it will depend on the individual’s preference between a high-freedom, lower-comfort pioneering lifestyle, and a more limited-freedom, higher-comfort US lifestyle.
The greater the options on the menu for freedom-lovers, the better for all of us.
Now, obviously I think seasteading has better long-term prospects, or I would be dedicating my life to the FSP instead of TSI. I think our solution is structurally better (it changes the incentive system for governments). I think it will meet less resistance, because we are targeting unclaimed territory. I think it will be more flexible in case of threats, because we’ll be able to move entire cities to wherever they can get the most freedom – we aren’t trapped less than 500 miles from Washington DC. I think those who want a radical increase in freedom have a better shot with TSI. But I am happy to see a lower-risk option like the FSP on the table, and I don’t see any reason why anyone has to make up their mind now. Donate to both, move to NH, and look to the seas for the future.