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Paypal Founder Helping Build Artificial Island Nations

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the principality-of-sealand-declares-war dept.

Earth 692

MadMartigan2001 writes with a pretty crazy article on a project involving floating libertarian paradises. From the article: "PayPal founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel has given $1.25 million to an initiative to create floating libertarian countries in international waters. Thiel has been a big backer of the Seasteading Institute, which seeks to build sovereign nations on oil rig-like platforms to occupy waters beyond the reach of law-of-the-sea treaties."

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Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112094)

This idea has been tried several times and it always ends the same way (with fail [wikipedia.org] ). Think about it, if it were really that easy to declare your own country with its own laws, every asshole with a sea-worthy boat would be proclaiming his own little kingdom. Idiots who believe you can do this are the same morons who think that you can murder someone in international waters [straightdope.com] and not face prosecution or that you can get out of paying taxes [wikipedia.org] by sending a letter to the IRS stating that you refuse to recognize their authority (ask Wesley Snipes if that shit works).

The only real way to establish your own country is to get the people of an existing country to elect you dictator or to stage a coup overthrowing the existing leader (or at least seize a portion of their existing territory). And even then, your rule is only as stable as your ability to defend it (from both internal and external threats).

So if you plan on setting up your own little kingdom on some old oil rig just off the U.S. coast (or coast of any country) and doing whatever you want, you had better damn sure be ready to defend yourself when the Navy shows up in a big, heavily armed ship looking to introduce you to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea [wikipedia.org] and the concept of Universal Jurisdiction [wikipedia.org] . And if it's the U.S. Navy, you're probably going to need a *lot* of firepower on your little oil rig, Your Majesty.

Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (1)

EvilStein (414640) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112116)

I was always amused by the heaps of love /. gave "Sealand." What a joke that was/is.

Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (3, Insightful)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112138)

I say it is great social experiment to prove how idiotic the whole idea can be.

So let these people have their paradise and maybe they will stop going bug-f*** on the rest of us.

Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (3, Insightful)

N_Piper (940061) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112228)

A standing militia of lawyers can and will pose more of an obstetrical to the U.S. Navy than all the guns you can squeeze onto an oil platform, I don't see a military raid being an option in any case.

Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112304)

I don't see a military raid being an option in any case.

Yeah, you just keep telling yourself that.

Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37112564)

I think he meant that, because of the lax building codes, the first assault vehicle to land on the island would sink it and prevent an actual raid.

Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (3, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112462)

Lawyers do jack shit without a court room.

Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37112488)

obstetrical

"You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means."

Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37112550)

I don't see a military raid being an option in any case

That's why the CIA will do it. You don't expend the full, open power of the US Navy on some piddly little island.

Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112700)

Oh... that's why the Bay of Pigs has worked out so perfectly well :)

Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37112696)

A standing militia of lawyers can and will pose more of an obstetrical to the U.S. Navy than all the guns you can squeeze onto an oil platform

An army of lawyers will service the U.S. Navy's vagina better than guns will? That must be a really big vagina. Did the U.S. Navy by chance capture a brainbug?

Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112272)

you had better damn sure be ready to defend yourself when the Navy shows up in a big, heavily armed ship looking to introduce you to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

Only if you think the navy is likely to waste the time and money to travel to you. Which, sorry to hurt anyone's inflated ego, they're not going to unless you try to take with you a nuke or lay claim to an oil rig.

If you're really worried about it, get citizenship from some small country, preferably a landlocked one, THEN declare your island independent. Luxembourg doesn't have a navy, for example. If you're not a US citizen on paper, the US navy probably won't come trying to enforce Luxembourg's tax laws.

And, not for nothing, the example you provided of it failing, isn't. From the wiki article, it looks like Sealand had a fire, and is suffering from financial difficulties. Correct me if I'm wrong, but no nation has forcefully pulled Sealand back into the fold, right?

Old joke (3, Funny)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112414)

Old Hungarian joke:
- Where do you work?
- At the Ministry of Naval Affairs.
- Are you kidding, we don't even have a seashore!
- Hey, we got a Ministry of Public Welfare too.

Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112440)

If you're really worried about it, get citizenship from some small country, preferably a landlocked one, THEN declare your island independent. Luxembourg doesn't have a navy, for example. If you're not a US citizen on paper, the US navy probably won't come trying to enforce Luxembourg's tax laws.

Doesn't work that way. If you're an American citizen and try to do this, the U.S. can just declare it a fraud under the aforementioned United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. You can't just fly any flag on your little island, you have to have a real *legitimate* connection with said country. And even if they did accept your obvious attempt at fraudulent abuse of a new citizenship, you're still subject to the aforementioned Universal Jurisdiction. Either way, they'll get you if they want you. and if they don't pirates or some other country will (if you have anything worth taking).

Now you're right about obscurity and perhaps flying under the radar. But you can do *that* hiding out in the Appalachian mountains or Rockies (and you won't have to worry about any hurricanes).

Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112682)

>>the U.S. can just declare it a fraud under the aforementioned United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

Which would be amazing, considering we never ratified it.

It's also hard to determine which country would show up to evict you all if you built an island nation in the middle of the Pacific, well away from any country's national borders.

You think the UN supplies an official list of countries to the world, but, you know: Taiwan. If you hold yourself out to be a country, and (best yet) actually develop positive trade relationships with legitimate countries, then you might be able to apply for recognition some day.

I think the bigger problem is getting a bunch of Randians to live in peace at the bottom of the ocean, when there's so much delicious mind-altering ADAM around waiting to be consumed.

Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (1, Interesting)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112524)

These people are the same ones who hate obamacare, right up until they need to show up at an ER and expect a free ride. It's not that they should be worried about our navy attacking them, it is that they expect to pay no taxes and yet have our navy come and defend them if, say, a Somalian pirate wants to enjoy some libertarian living.

Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (3, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112634)

Worth noting that the Royal Air Force rescued people from the Sealand fire. And that was the royal air force of the UK, not sealand.

Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (1, Redundant)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112726)

>>These people are the same ones who hate obamacare, right up until they need to show up at an ER and expect a free ride

It's EMTALA, not Obamacare, that guarantees free medical care at every ER in the country (and has put a lot of ERs out of business thereby). I'd expect most Tea Partiers to have medical insurance, and so your objection is rather misguided. Their objection is to excessive federal spending (which is absolutely a valid argument, especially when it comes to public health care, which is almost designed to be tremendously wasteful) and to the lack of fiscal responsibility demonstrated by both parties.

>>It's not that they should be worried about our navy attacking them, it is that they expect to pay no taxes and yet have our navy come and defend them

I don't really see that as being a concern. If these libertarians ever do build their Bioshock seastead, I'd expect they'd either contract out for some other navy to protect them, or to just have a lot of guns lying around. If they're like the libertarians I know, it'll be the guns.

Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (5, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112354)

Not only that, but it's entirely feasible to set up your own "nation" within an existing governmental structure. Buy some land in the middle of nowhere, make sure you pay your taxes, and handle everything else internally. The overhead of paying taxes to the existing government is small change compared to the running costs of an off-shore sea platform. There already are or have been communes for every brand of "government" you can think of: from flower-power hippies to hardcore anarchists to bureaucratic paradises (also know as HOAs) to survivalists. What do they have in common? They all vanish after a few years, because once those communes get past a certain size, they become what they were trying to get away from. So they either stay small and completely under the radar, or they grow big and get absorbed by their environment.

The more I hear about Libertarians, the less I'm impressed. None of them seem able to learn from past mistakes, understand why things are the way they are now or what the straightforward, repeatedly demonstrated consequences of their pipe-dreams are.

Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37112584)

"None of them seem able to learn from past mistakes ..."

Well, considering they're all Americans, it's not that surprising ...

Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (2)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112644)

Hmm. So you are saying that our current system is working? With a huge disparity in wealth never seen since 1920, a unprecedented level of international and domestic debt, and corporations holding 90 percent of all intellectual property, I really don't see the current system as working either or learning from past mistakes at all.

Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112416)

Forget about the US Navy; if these folks are so rich it's worthwhile to establish a new country to avoid taxes, then I have a feeling that a navy if privateers, er pirates, would be more than happy to extract their own pound of flesh.

Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112434)

Exactly, you either need to be left alone, treaty, get recognized by the UN, or defend yourself.

http://www.startbreakingfree.com/1364/how-to-start-your-own-country/ [startbreakingfree.com]

Then again, this is a totally feasible idea, impractical yes, but legally (10 shades of grey) and materially ($) possible.

Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (2)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112510)

No you can create your own kingdom any time, anywhere. The problem is keeping it when some country objects and sends their police/armed forces to point this out to you. But as Tolkien wrote: "A king is he who can hold his own".

Pretty much (4, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112670)

Basically, there are two ways to be a sovereign nation:

1) Get international recognition as such. You get the UN members to recognize you as a sovereign nation and support your rights to that end, and you are good for the most part.

2) Have enough guns that nobody can question your sovereignty. If you have a powerful enough military, it doesn't matter what other nations want to say, you are sovereign by the fact that they won't do anything about it.

If you have both of those things, then you are really golden.

However that's it, those are all you have. You either get the big boys to say "Yep you are your own nation," or you have the ability to force it.

You might notice history has worked this way. The US is a sovereign nation because it was able to become so via arms. They said "We aren't subject to Crown law anymore." The Crown disagreed with that and a war was fought, the US won, that made them sovereign. Was shit the British could do at that point, they had been defeated.

The southern US states are not a sovereign nation for the same reason. They declared their sovereignty and left the union to become the Confederate States. The US decided that no, that wasn't ok, union membership was permanent once given, and a war was fought. The Confederate States lost, so they weren't sovereign, they had to be a part of the US again.

I chose the impossible. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37112134)

I chose... Rapture. A city where the artist would not fear the censor. Where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality. Where the great would not be constrained by the small. And with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city as well.

Re:I chose the impossible. (2)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112210)

Would you kindly stop reading Ayn Rand

Re:I chose the impossible. (1)

Ixokai (443555) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112288)

seriously?

BioShock, dude.

(Granted, Andrew Ryan has some serious Ayn Rand influence, but still)

Re:I chose the impossible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37112376)

Would you kindly pay more careful attention?

WOOSH!

Re:I chose the impossible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37112490)

"Would you kindly" is a recurring phrase in Bioshock. If you've played Bioshock, it's a pretty clear reference.

Re:I chose the impossible. (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112314)

Bioshock is the reference there. Which is not exactly a ringing endorsement of libertarianism any more than it is an endorsement of gene splicing humans to give them superpowers.

Re:I chose the impossible. (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112356)

would you kindly stop shooting fucking BEES out of your arms!!!!? it's freaking me out.

Re:I chose the impossible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37112262)

It was not impossible to build Rapture at the bottom of the sea. It was impossible to build it anywhere else.

Re:I chose the impossible. (1)

KeithIrwin (243301) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112266)

We all know that Rapture didn't float. You're thinking of the setting from the game after Bioshock Infinite.

Every Geek's Dream (2)

mfh (56) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112162)

Make billions. Build islands out of awesome tech stuff.

Next step?

Build mothership!

Re:Every Geek's Dream (1)

WelshRarebit (1595637) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112390)

Apple [engadget.com] did it first.

Re:Every Geek's Dream (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112516)

How about this instead?

Make billions,
Spend a couple of millions on a publicity stunt,
???

and what is the hurrcan plan? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112166)

and what is the hurrcan plan?

Re:and what is the hurrcan plan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37112264)

and what is the hurrcan plan?

Didn't you read the article? The hurricane plan is to eliminate building codes.

I wish I were joking.

Oh wait, no I don't.

Honestly, this whole thing sounds like some sort of Golgafrinchan-esque joke.

Re:and what is the hurrcan plan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37112268)

To save enough money by conserving letters so that they can come up with a "hurricane" plan, perhaps.

Re:and what is the hurrcan plan? (2)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112270)

Ask the US to send the Navy out to rescue you.

and send the bill (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112418)

and send the bill

Re:and what is the hurrcan plan? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37112284)

Hurricanes(like everything else mean, no good, or bad) are a product of big government socialism so won't be a problem on the island.

Re:and what is the hurrcan plan? (1)

KeithIrwin (243301) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112388)

Well, quoting from the article:

Details says the experiment would be "a kind of floating petri dish for implementing policies that libertarians, stymied by indifference at the voting booths, have been unable to advance: no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons."

So, given floating platform with loose building codes, I think that the hurricane plan is probably disintegration. This may also be the tropical storm plan, the nor'easter plan, the water spout plan, and the heavy rain plan. Of course, if they're lucky, that'll just be the buildings and not the platform itself.

but... (0)

emagery (914122) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112176)

to what end? Make trade even more abusively exploitive of labor than it already is?

Re:but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37112220)

And in what way is trade "abusively exploitive to labor"?

Re:but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37112232)

Shitty work conditions in China, hmm?

Re:but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37112424)

I hate having to say this BUT:

as shitty as working conditions are in China perhaps they are better than the alternative before their industrialization?

I hate, hate, hate having to say this 'cause I think that labor conditions there are apalling and try to avoid buying anything from the country I can. But...

Re:but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37112450)

Much better that they have no jobs and starve than have wages and conditions that Americans don't like!

Re:but... (2)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112286)

And in what way is trade "abusively exploitive to labor"

When it's the slave trade?

Re:but... (0)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112484)

And in what way is trade "abusively exploitive to labor"?

When the government "trades" your money for the "service" of not jailing you, and then uses said money to do things you do not support, believe are wrong, or in some way actually uses the money against you. For example, the USG exploits my labor to prosecute the drug war; to create and enforce unconstitutional law; to put troops on the ground in countries that I have no business or social interest in, nor any belief in the myths they try to sell that the country has any similar interest; to give oil companies (and others) "breaks" and "advantages" they have no need of.... etc.

In doing these things, I regard them as thieves; further, thieves with extremely evil agendas.

Re:but... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112638)

It's not exploitation, you have options, you just choose to take the option that involves paying taxes. You could stop paying taxes and go to prison, stop making money or you could move to a country whose values more closely align with yours.

Part of living in a representative democracy is that sometimes the decisions run counter to what you want. Ultimately, you get a choice of living with it, trying to change it or leaving. Remember that demacracy is the worst form of government except all the other ones we've tried.

Re:but... (2)

KeithIrwin (243301) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112316)

Exactly! We need countries with stronger property rights. For example, did you know that in many countries you can't legally own people? The ability to buy and sell your fellow man is the traditional bedrock of most successful societies. Once unfettered from such silly, non-traditional restrictions, capitalists will have free reign to create a magnificent society the likes of which we have not seen since ancient Greece.

Re:but... (1)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112408)

Yeah, recently it was prohibited in UK as well... killed all my plans!

Beyond the protection of the law, too (2)

cheebie (459397) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112194)

It will be interesting the first time a band of pirates (the killing and looting kind, not the sharing kind) storms one of these 'sovereign nations'. I'm guessing they will develop a sudden affection for the country with the nearest naval vessel who can save their bacon.

Re:Beyond the protection of the law, too (3, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112274)

That'll make for an interesting story for the grandkids. "We came to this land to pirate software freely, but then we ran into those looking to freely pirate our land."

Re:Beyond the protection of the law, too (1)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112420)

I'm guessing they will develop a sudden affection for the country with the nearest naval vessel who can save their bacon.

Kind of like Norway

Re:Beyond the protection of the law, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37112554)

If the sovereign nation does not join Berne/WIPO/TRIPS/ACTA and more of that stuff but does have a big Internet pipe and plenty of hosting services, I'm sure there will be plenty of donations that will allow these nations to acquire sufficient hardware and 'independent contractors' to deal with these people, a couple of drones for recon, a couple custom-built gunboats, etc.

Re:Beyond the protection of the law, too (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112572)

These people are all anti-government until they are become the exploited themselves.

Re:Beyond the protection of the law, too (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112624)

Frankly, I would expect a libertarian enclave to be considerably better armed than a group of pirates. Partly because without having to support a ridiculous number of government services, they'd have more money left from whatever earnings they managed to achieve; partly because no decent libertarian enclave would have a problem with individuals and groups owning anything from pocket knives to full on missile emplacements; and partly because libertarians are simply more inclined to defend themselves than have a third party do it for them, seeing as how third party defense hasn't worked out that well for internal national affairs (police... when seconds count, they're only minutes away!)

Re:Beyond the protection of the law, too (1)

cherokee158 (701472) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112742)

It would likely be one rag tag group of mercenaries against another, neither possessing the training, discipline or organization to accomplish much more than bankrupting each other.

Re:Beyond the protection of the law, too (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112652)

What, don't you think the pirates have the moral right to the "land" and property, if they're strong enough to take it? Survival of the fittest and all that.

Reading the headline, I assumed this "nation" would just be a data and banking haven, i.e. a legal ploy to avoid paying taxes. But reading the article, no, it appears to be a libertarian utopian fantasy straight out from Ayn Rand.

To be honest, I'm afraid it's NOT impossible. This is basically what castles were in the middle ages, havens where kings and their close beneficiaries could do whatever they pleased. For that matter, peons could too - within the limits of the freedom afforded by their station in life, which was zilch. (But maybe if they just worked a bit harder...)

Re:Beyond the protection of the law, too (1)

ensignyu (417022) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112732)

Modern pirates usually go around in speed boats with small arms. I'm pretty sure an island run by a bunch of libertarians would have more than enough firepower to take them out, and no qualms about killing in "self-defense". I suppose they could try to kidnap people off fishing vessels further from the island, but wouldn't put my money on the pirates.

Also it sounds like they're going to build these things near US waters, far away from the typical pirate-infested seas.

I know! (2, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112214)

You know what would come in real handy?!
A barge with a nuclear reactor to provide electricity!

An important public service (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37112234)

Quarantining rabid libertarians out in the middle of the ocean? Where can I send my contribution to this marvelous project?

chump change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37112280)

1.25 million is pocket change, to get something like this rolling would take hundreds of millions.

Re:chump change (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112666)

More, or the earlier point about hurricanes (or just major storms, or a single rouge wave) would destroy the place within a very short time. Until you've seen what a 100 foot wave can do (snap a supertanker in half like a twig, for instance), you have no idea what kind of engineering is required for structural survival on the surface. And living subsurface -- or submersible capability to the point where you're below the weather... also more than hundreds of millions.

Not gonna happen.

$1M? Get real. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37112320)

Thanks for the thoughts, but $1M is almost enough for toilet paper for one day (not that that isn't extremely important, but you need many more zeros Pete).

Wouldn't it be cool if... (2)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112362)

... tech billionaires used their cash to say, help find a cure for malaria, instead of telling kids not to get an education, and this latest anti-societal rant?

Re:Wouldn't it be cool if... (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112508)

Don't you know cures are not good investments?

It's palliatives and maintenance meds where the money is... not something that somebody takes one.

The good of humanity is such just a meaningless concepts to these people.

Re:Wouldn't it be cool if... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112560)

Just goes to underline that luck is a huge factor in gaining a fortune and yes, sometimes even idiots can get rich.

Re:Wouldn't it be cool if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37112600)

... tech billionaires used their cash to say, help find a cure for malaria, instead of telling kids not to get an education, and this latest anti-societal rant?

Not everyone can be Bill Gates. [gatesfoundation.org]

But you need to consider this guy was one of the PayPal founders - a bank that's not a bank - customer service with no service, etc ...

Re:Wouldn't it be cool if... (1, Insightful)

Abreu (173023) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112616)

Yeah, say what you will about Bill Gates, but at least he's using his money for realistic philantropic efforts, not this egotistical libretardian bullshit.

Re:Wouldn't it be cool if... (1)

Larryish (1215510) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112642)

Billionaires don't find cures, they find treatments.

Cure = lost a customer.

Treatment = cashflow.

Translation: Rich Guy Buys PR (4, Insightful)

sirwired (27582) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112364)

For a paltry $1.25M, a random Rich Guy bought his name in the press, which he will use to stay in the limelight for a little bit. He will then trade on this temporary fame during the launch of his next business venture and keep his Wikipedia entry from being deleted.

Come on... $1.25M? Nobody's building any kind of large-ish sea-worthy vessel for that kind of money, much less a floating office building, data center, residences, etc.

Also, unless he builds it in international waters too (using money he has yet to allocate), how is he going to manage to get it through territorial waters into international waters to begin with? No national authority is going to let a vessel of any size sail out of the dock without registration with an actual country. It doesn't have to be registered in the country it's built in, but it's got to be registered somewhere.

Re:Translation: Rich Guy Buys PR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37112478)

I'm sure Burma would be happy to fulfill bogus registrations for small sums of cash.

Re:Translation: Rich Guy Buys PR (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112626)

I'm sure Burma would be happy to fulfill bogus registrations for small sums of cash.

The most popular flag of convenience, at least recently, was Panama. They simply didn't care as long as you paid your registration fees (and usually a healthy bribe). Last time I looked into this was the Noriega era, its been awhile. There are/were substantial financial reasons to register even a dinky sailboat in a foreign country. US Customs usually provided quite a hassle to "get even" with a cutover point around $1M where above that they treated you with kid gloves, mostly.

Gated++ communities (3, Insightful)

he-sk (103163) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112394)

So their gated communities with their private security services aren't enough for these fuckers. Now they want to live in their private countries.

What a waste! There should be a tax on anti-social behavior.

Re:Gated++ communities (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112452)

Burbclaves, they're the future. As long as we get Delivators it won't be a total loss.

Re:Gated++ communities (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112650)

Deliverators even.

Where (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112426)

...is Kevin Costner when you need him?

Colonialism reborn... (1)

swan5566 (1771176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112436)

It may not be the US, but I'm guessing someone will bite on this.

WWOT 7p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37112458)

not anymore. It's th3 mundane Chores

Libertarianism cannot exist alone (1)

Jailbrekr (73837) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112466)

By its very nature, be it libertarianism, objectivism, or even polygamy, cannot exist on it own and isolated from the larger society, as it is inherently parasitic. There is much it is incapable of addressing (such as welfare), so it deals with it by simply removing the "problem" from their faux society. So if they do manage to get this off the ground, expect to see a constant flow of people both coming and going just to maintain the untenable ideals of their utopian society.

Re:Libertarianism cannot exist alone (1)

Poorcku (831174) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112618)

Holy S*** Sherlock. Your post alone just destroyed Friedman.

Jessh (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112470)

This is just another tax dodge by someone with too much money. We are heading towards a Phillip K. Dick type world filled with corporate anarchy and the pace is accelerating by the day.

Is anyone surprised? (2)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112472)

After all the unilateral shit we've dealt with from paypal, are we surprised to see their founder try to become his own nation?

After all the times we've heard about paypal indefinitely freezing funds without a court order or automatically refunding the buyer in any ebay dispute, this doesn't surpise me; after all the times we've heard them claim they're not a bank and therefore not subject to finance laws (all while holding deposits, issuing debit cards, offering money market accounts, etc.) we should have been surprised if their founder didn't try some hare-brained libertarian scheme to achieve personal sovereignty.

trying to avoid taxes (1)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112486)

They've been able to grow rich in large part because of the infrastructure of developed countries, but they're too dishonest to want to help pay for it.

Re:trying to avoid taxes (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112582)

The developed countries should have been smart enough to charge them upfront before giving them access to the infrastructure. </libertarian>

Re:trying to avoid taxes (1)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112672)

Fair enough. I hate big government myself, and don't have a problem with all libertarians. Just the phoney, parasitic kind that pretend to care about freedom but are really just trying to get away with stuff.

Re:trying to avoid taxes (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112622)

This needs to be brought up every time one of these jokers complains about welfare.

Does anyone know a study that compares how the poor and rich benefit from ALL government services. I am not talking about just welfare, but from roads, infrastructure, police protection, etc? Someone needs to do that study. My instinct says that the rich and corporations benefit a lot more in terms of dollars than anyone that is on the dole.

Re:trying to avoid taxes (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112744)

This is pretty common. The woman who wrote all those harry potter books did it on the dole. When she got her payout she ran for the US to prevent having to pay the UK tax rates that pay for things like the dole.

I love this idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37112518)

I love this idea, but the implementation would have to be more like a ship flotilla to be of any real use.

Take several large ships and tie them together in a way so none of them will drag each other down if one sinks. Anchor every Xth ship so it doesn't go too far.

The economic incentive to do so is is actually fairly high, half way between Japan and North America, square in the middle of the pacific. Run all new ocean fibre cables via the floating island location. Attract everyone who wants to run internet infrastructure without censorship. Also effectively free bandwidth.

Anyone who wants to be a part of the country, brings their own 1000sq ft ship or better. Like the ISS, except available to anyone. Break the laws, you board your ship and get cut loose. Ships out in the pacific simply glide over tsunami's and bad weather, but what really needs to be done is to run electricity generation that take the power out of tidal forces.

The idea is actually fairly sound, but I think it would be a lot more expensive to do. It would make more logical sense to go drill a hole in the bottom of the ocean to generate a volcano, or a series of them to protect from storms, and provide anchoring points.

Didn't they change the rules against this? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112546)

I seem to remember that after Sealand, the rules were changed so that artificial islands cannot any more legally claim nation status.

Re:Didn't they change the rules against this? (1)

crunchygranola (1954152) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112694)

No, they didn't change any rules. It wasn't possible then either.

Thiel's so cheap might die in typhoon to avoid tax (1)

leftie (667677) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112570)

Thiel such a cheap bastard, he might be deluded by these oil company paid global warming science denial specialists.

Global climate change is gonna make all weather more extreme. That includes hurricanes/typhoons. Anyone who think they are going to ride out global warming charged weather is a fool.

There might be some options later on sea floor where weather isn't an issue. That's another century of tech advancement away.

be careful... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37112596)

Thiel and his delusional pals better be careful what they wish for. They might get it.

It's a floating Hutt River Province! (2)

Goonie (8651) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112668)

Libertarians, they're always good for a laugh... While the specifics are the exact opposite, the level of practicality is right up there with Trotskyites.

Live In Freedom (2)

cancrine (673769) | more than 2 years ago | (#37112712)

It would be a helluva a lot cheaper just to move to New Hampshire. Free State Project [freestateproject.org]
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