Tyranny is everywhere. Virtually all land has been claimed by and for sovereign states, leaving libertarians with nowhere to escape the tyrannical arms of the state. Government systems and democratic processes have proven to be an ineffective measure of true political, economic, and social change. Violent revolutions have left nations unstable, bloody, and often with no victorious identity. Liberty requires a new vehicle — one out of the reach of the jurisdictions of tyrannical states.
Throughout the course of human history, man has stood in awe of nature’s sheer beauty; he has stood in terror of her destructive force, and he has stood in self-admiration at the sight of her conquered. He has also harnessed her to work for him, and now, once again, he stands on the brink of further conquest and utilization. This time, of nature’s next frontier — the ocean.
In 2008, Patri Friedman, grandson of the late Milton Friedman, and Wayne Gramlich founded The Seasteading Institute with the goal of encouraging future generations to explore ideas and systems of government, whether old and tested or new and revolutionary, through the construction of seasteading communities. Eventually, the most successful among these “floating cities” will lead the way for other countries, governments, and populations from around the world to follow suit.
The intentions of the Institute are not to construct the cities themselves, but to pave the way for entrepreneurs to build from their own economic incentive (i.e. to escape government regulations). The task of The Seasteading Institute is to complete the engineering and legal research necessary to advance this concept to a reality of sustainability — no easy task. That is why they have adopted a philosophy of incrementalism, or dividing the long term vision into practical, achievable steps.
The Blueseed project, led by Max Marty and Dario Mutabdzija, is just one example of how this philosophy has already come to fruition and how a coalition of visionaries have made it possible. In late 2013, cruise ships will be stationed in international waters, 12 miles off the coast of San Francisco near Silicon Valley. Fashioned as a co-livable and co-working community, the vessel will serve as a location for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses without having to obtain a US work visa.
Centuries before Orville and Wilbur Wright took to the sky in 1903 in the first powered aircraft, Leonardo da Vinci could only dream and theorize about taking to the sky. It required a race between entire nations and competitive, contrarian ideologies to land us among the stars when a space visit seemed overwhelmingly impossible and infested with unimaginable, infinite possibility. This is precisely where The Seasteading Institute can succeed. These floating cities are not to be constructed as libertarian paradises, but as an additional opportunity for clash and competition between opposing ideologies. Each floating island is an experiment. Similar to the Orville brothers’ first flights, each independent and autonomous seastead is a venture into the unknown and revolutionary, but it simply could not have been done without the engineering research done decades and even centuries prior. As it was done then among thinkers like Leonardo da Vinci, visionaries such as Patri Friedman, Wayne Gramlich, and Peter Thiel, as well as everyone involved in The Seasteading Institute and independent projects, are leading the way for progress. Analogous to the way we view space exploration, seasteading provides a limitless potential to human development, as Friedman describes in his TEDx talk in San Francisco.
It may not be in this decade or even the next few, but seasteading is convincingly asserting itself as the next step in the evolution of human societies.