Peter Thiel's ridiculous fantasy that he can escape the oppression of living in a democracy that doesn't (formally, at least) assume white men are naturally superior to everyone else is in the news again, because Details revealed that the Kim Jong Il of the tech world has given a measly $1.25 million to a "seasteading" project:
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. The idea is for these countries to start from scratch–free from the laws, regulations, and moral codes of any existing place. 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."
Obviously, it's not going to happen, since it's not well-funded enough. I'll bet Thiel's house cost more than $1.25 million in construction supplies. Don't judge! Tiger cages and football stadium-sized LARP-ing arenas built for complete immersion in the fantasy don't come cheap. But the very possibility of running away to a special island where they don't have to deal with all the undesirables and people who know where to find slacks without pleats has an intoxicating effect on many in Wingnuttia. Roy, as usual, is all over this, detailing how much of a pull this redonkulous fantasy has on the dorks of the right, including Allahpundit saying that this could be "the greatest game of Sim City ever".
Roy's response is so great that I'm just going to quote an entire paragraph:
Me, I can't wait for the first Jolly Rogers to encircle Freedonia, and for all the rational self-interest boys therein to start shooting their own dicks off*, and for their galley slaves, who have been paid in sips of water and crusts of bread since they were purchased in Gabon (minimum wage? That's socialism!), to turn against their masters and separate them from whatever penises they have left.
Who wants to start laying bets now that if they do pull this off, and pirates attack them—and if I were a pirate, I'd go a long fucking way to ransack a floating island specifically built for soft-handed dorks with too much money whose time spent at video game consoles has deluded them into thinking they're badass—they turn to the U.S. government for protection?
But I just don't see it getting to that point. Even if they manage to get enough money to build the infrastructure, they still come across the same problem that plagues all libertarian fantasies: the role of women. The problem for libertarians is that their imaginary worlds where there aren't any government services quadruple their reliance on the free labor women already contribute, because that's how it goes—if you won't pay someone to do thankless, hard work of keeping things going, women are often expected to step up and pick up the slack. So, for instance, if you eliminate public education, women will lose 6-7 hours a day just from that much more childcare and educational labor they'll have to provide for free. Without government subsidies and regulation of the food systems, that work will all fall on women, who will spend exponentially more time having to seek out affordable food sources, grow their own, and carefully examine food to make sure it's safe, and go through elaborate kitchen processes to make very sure. The days of just buying a side of beef and some broccoli, throwing it on and having dinner in no time are over. Since a libertarian world requires the consumer to carry exponentially more burden in general—because it's a lot of work trying to protect yourself in a market that has no regulation, no consumer protection, and no recourse—women will basically have no time to sleep. Do you think these libertarian douchebags think they'll be the ones trying to buy everything from clothes to household goods in this time-intensive consumer hellhole? Hell no! The expectation has always been on women to do that, and they'll just be expected to work harder at it. And because the demands of unpaid work will grow so dramatically, women won't have time anymore for paid work. Which will tilt the balance of power even more in favor of men, who in a libertarian utopia will happily pretend they deserve all the power because they make all the money, i.e. are the "producers".
I'm guessing the number of women who are willing to sign up for this to get some loving from an Ayn Rand superfan is roughly zero. Megan McArdle, I must say, seems perfectly content in her non-libertarian paradise of public transportation-heavy Washington D.C.
Now, I'd be surprised if the guys suckling at this fantasy haven't thought about this. I'm sure their solution, though who knows how spoken it is, is to turn to the "free market", since they won't be under U.S. laws anymore and therefore trafficking will be legal. Sure, it really flies in the face of the "liberty" part of the term "libertarian" to pay traffickers to bring prostitutes and domestic workers in with trickery, refuse to pay them, and then disallow them to leave, but I refer you back to the prior link where Thiel makes it clear that the only "liberty" that counts is for white men anyway. I'm sure many will turn to mail order brides, as well. Which will immediately become the entire reputation of the island: a place where men go to rule over women that are all, to one degree or another, living in captivity. And really, even big assholes would hesitate to move to the island and have everyone back home remember him solely as the guy who would do such a thing.