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In a few weeks, I’m heading to Ephemerisle — the Seasteading Institute’s first annual anarcho-capitalist convocation on the high seas. Call it a fact-finding expedition. A few words of explanation:

While I’m probably the most libertarian of the PoMoConners, I’m not that libertarian, so what gives? The important thing to understand is that the goal of TSI is not to create a floating An/Cap utopia, but rather to create a meta-system in which alternative political systems can be tried out with minimal barriers to entry and switching such that Darwinian mechanisms can produce that society most conducive to human flourishing in the judgment of . . . well, the kinds of people who are into seasteading.

I had the pleasure of inviting Patri Friedman, the founder of TSI, to give a lecture at Yale last year. I made sure that a number of friends with exquisitely sensitive BS-detectors were there to probe Friedman on the economics/engineering implementation details. All were impressed. I’m reasonably confident that the project will be a practical success at least in the short to medium-term. Hence, the questions I’m seeking answers to at Ephemerisle will be a little more philosophical:

  • Do the participants in the project consider it to be an escape from politics or a return to politics properly understood?

  • The seasteaders claim to be receptive to seasteads composed of individuals with a shared political vision of the good that differs from anarchism in substantive aspects. How true is this? In other words, is the true focus on the meta-system or on the desired outcome of the meta-system?

  • Have the seasteaders considered the possibility that the kinds of societies that succeed in a “free market of civilizations” may not be those most conducive to flourishing? Have they considered the possibility that people don’t know what’s good for them ?

I hope to write up a full account of my experiences when I get back. You all can help me by providing suggestions of things to look out for, questions to ask, and theories to test. The landlubber with the best suggestion gets a commemorative pirate flag.

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