Sorens on Seasteading

Jason Sorens, founder of the Free State Project, has a short response to Patri’s Folk Activism essay at Cato Unbound. He makes the point that seasteads will need to moderate their libertarianism in order to avoid interference from existing governments.

Certainly, any society that seeks to legalize the production and export of narcotics currently prohibited in the United States would incur swift and overwhelming retribution from the federal government.

Considerations such as this counsel caution in advancing more radical libertarian agendas. (…)

At that point, it will be up to the seastead leadership to enforce a crackdown on nonviolent, consensual activities in order to forestall a more injurious intervention from public authorities. To have the freedom to act in this way, the seastead organizers will want to avoid organizing their society on internally democratic lines, especially since “early adopters” of such a strategy are likely to be those most alienated from American society. They are not likely to support a moderate, cautious leadership.

The whole point of seasteading, though, is to create a competitive and decentralized market for governance, allowing diverse seasteads to form without any central control. While the folks at The Seasteading Institute recognize the need for moderation, they cannot control the actions of independent seasteads. The first seastead can be as careful as it likes not to make any powerful enemies, only to have a wildly libertine seastead form the next day. My worry is that once an existing government intervenes to shut down one seastead, it will set a precedent making it easier to shut down more moderate seasteads.

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