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Friday, February 18, 2011

Maybe They Should Have Started with the Free-Town Project?

Reason Magazine reports of the progress of the Free-State Project:

"The Free State Project was proposed by a Yale PhD student in 2001... So far, the project reports that there are more than 10,000 participants, and almost 900 'early movers' have already settled there."

Hmm, let's see, roughly 700,000 people voted in New Hampshire in 2008. The Free-State Project has been going ten years, so, at about 90 people per year... I calculate that if the population stays level, libertarians will control the state by the time of the 5892 elections! If they had just started out smaller, with the Free-Town Project, they could have taken over Lebanon, NH, by, say, 2060.

This throws an interesting light on the people who show up on blog threads insisting "Liberty is an absolute value: There is no compromising over matters of principle!" What these people mean is that, "When I want to sound rough and macho on a blog, I will argue as if there was no compromising on the matter of liberty!" In real life, these folks compromise all the time. Think about it: Given the chance to build libertopia, only 900 libertarians have moved to New Hampshire! All of the rest of you have compromised: You thought about your job, your family, your friends, your neighbors, the weather, the real estate market... Now, I'm not being critical of you for compromising your principles: principles must be traded off one against another. That is the nature of human moral life. We cannot follow through on every principle 100% because they present us with conflicting demands. The fact that you have compromised is evidence that you are a sane adult. My only question is, why not, then, stop talking like an insane one?

10 comments:

  1. This reminds me of when Rand Paul said he wouldn't have voted for the civil rights act because it would force private businesses to takes customers they don't want. All in in the name of liberty ironically.

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  2. Now, I'm not being critical of you for compromising your principles: principles must be traded off one against another. That is the nature of human moral life. We cannot follow through on every principle 100% because they present us with conflicting demands. The fact that you have compromised is evidence that you are a sane adult.

    Nicely put. You may have seen the following (as evidence of the insanity prevailing among those unwilling to consider any such compromise): http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2011/02/empirical-proof-that-americas-libertarians-are-completely-insane.html

    In a semi-related note, I've been planning to write a short post on Garret Hardin's much-misunderstood* essay, "The Tragedy of the Commons"... Of which, the most interesting aspect for me was his notion that we need to cede certain freedoms (e.g. the right to have as many children as we want) in order to protect others (e.g. the right to clean water and other common resources).

    * Being misunderstood doesn't mean that his argument is necessarily "correct", but I'll leave that for later discussion...

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  3. Well, many libertarians just disagree with the method.

    I do.

    I've given up on electoral politics as a solution to most things.

    The future of libertarianism lies in peacefully breaking the state's monopoly on power thru seasteading, private colonization of the moon, etc.

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  4. Uhhh, there is no "requirement" to move until the 20,000 number is reached.

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  5. See you on the moon, Gary!

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  6. "The future of libertarianism lies in peacefully breaking the state's monopoly on power thru seasteading, private colonization of the moon, etc."

    Basically Firefly.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firefly_(TV_series)

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  7. "See you on the moon, Gary!" Hardest laugh I've had in six months.

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  8. And DeLong has not even seen this.

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  9. Gene, when we take over the moon, we're not inviting you. No statists allowed.

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  10. 'Uhhh, there is no "requirement" to move until the 20,000 number is reached.'

    Uuuhhhhhhhhh, Katalaxxo, you put "requirement" in quotes, and yet no one here mentioned any requirement, so... what are you talking about?

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