Ahoy there! Weary of California? Exhausted by redevelopment battles, EIR lawsuits, lack of transit, lack of money, the impossibility of getting anything done in Sacramento?
We have a solution for you: Live on the ocean! No, we're not talking about a cruise ship, nor a well-appointed yacht, nor even a party boat stocked with poppers and wine coolers. This idea is infinitely better: an entire city floating by itself in the middle of the ocean!
Balderdash, you say? Stuff and nonsense? Ah, foolish one, you're mistaken. This is a serious proposal—serious, that is, as Biosphere II and Newt Gingrich's proposal to rebuild colonial Jamestown on the moon. Take a gander at the press release:
The Seasteading Institute, it says, is a "nonprofit organization that works to enable sea-steading communities." These floating cities in international waters will "allow the next generation of pioneers to peacefully test new political and social systems." The founders are Peter Theil, billed as a "technology entrepreneur and philanthropist," and Patri Friedman, described as a "social entrepreneur/political theorist." Mr. Friedman is also the grandson of Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, the idiot who claimed that workers are free agents who can negotiate their salaries with employers as equals. I guess sound social theory runs in the family.
Anyway, back to the blue waves: "The first seasteaders," says our release, "will likely be entrepreneurs operating single-purpose businesses on ships just outside territorial waters, where they will be free to explore new opportunities outside the jurisdiction of coastal governments." Such as defending themselves against Somali pirates, drug smugglers or any warship that decides to board their floating atoll of self-congratulatory enlightenment. Remember, they're drifting in international waters, so there's no Coast Guard to call.
But there's no place for cynics in seasteading: "…(T)he Institute's primary objective over the next few years is to support the formation of seasteading businesses that can eventually scale up into thriving autonomous ocean communities."
Naturally, these floating islands will be utopian communities. "The most successful can then inspire change in governments around the world," says the release. Please note that this utopia is based neither on any political or economic theory, but simply the choice of terrain, as if living on the sea by itself will make us better people. And why not? Coleridge's Ancient Mariner experienced moral improvement while at sea, so why not you? Frankly, dear, you could use some moral improvement.
Now, every great idea deserves a conference, even one with an admission price of $715. Accordingly, the Seasteading Institute is sponsoring a conference, from May 30 to June 2, intended for "entrepreneurs, investors, engineers, ocean law experts, maritime professionals and other forward-thinking individuals who want to learn about where they fit into the future of seasteading," says the press release. The same source promises a "landmark event for the development of oceanic cities across the globe." Why a landmark and not a "seamark event." Such as a buoy, perhaps? Or maybe that floating island of trash in the Pacific, reportedly the size of the state of Maine?
If you seasteaders are still serious, this land-based mammal offers you a challenge: When you can make cities on dry land work properly, and put an end to traffic congestion, overcrowded housing, land-use disputes between developers and home owners, unemployment, massive waste disposal issues, or the tension between rich and poor, then – and only then-will I allow you to take an ocean voyage on a floating city that has no reason to exist.
Otherwise, you are simply running away from your urban problems in a fantasy that psychologists call the "flight to wellness." Except when the sea is high, and your wellness turns into a sleepless night of nausea. But don't try limping back to San Francisco: We've converted your old house--to a seafood restaurant. "When you sip our world-famous Clam-tini ®," says the menu, "you'd swear you were on a floating island in the middle of the sea."
For more information, visit: http://www.seasteading.org/conference2012. Or watch a few episodes of Battlestar Galactica and you'll get the idea.