Paypal founder has played far too much Bioshock

"Roads are just something that happen during the night, right?" says Peter Thiel.
Billionaire douche reveals plan to launch floating 'start up country' off coast of San Francisco

PayPal-founder Peter Thiel was so inspired by Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand's novel about free-market capitalism - that he's trying to make its title a reality.

The Silicon Valley billionaire has funnelled $1.25 million to the Seasteading Institute, an organization that aspires to launch a floating colony into international waters, freeing them and like-minded thinkers to live by Libertarian ideals.

The floating sovereign nations that Thiel imagines would be built on oil-rig-like platforms anchored in areas free of regulation, laws, and moral conventions.

Mr Thiel and his colleagues say their ocean state would have no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.

Thiel meanwhile once a crowd at the Seasteading Institute Conference in 2009 that: 'there are quite a lot of people who think it's not possible.

That's a good thing. We don't need to really worry about those people very much, because since they don't think it's possible they won't take us very seriously. And they will not actually try to stop us until it's too late.'

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56 Responses:

    • Colin says:

      I would also like to add that Peter Thiel's dead fish eyes are peering into the deepest recesses of my soul.

  1. John Adams says:

    Noooooooooo! We know how this ends. Little Sisters and Big Daddies oh my.

    Didn't he realize the story was a cautionary tale?

  2. I see you added the descriptor 'douche', does something about this touch you personally?

  3. Evan says:

    Always a good time to re-read this, when seasteading is back in the news.

  4. gths says:

    Theorising that the people that Galters can stand the least may well be other Galters, it would make for an interesting social experiment I guess.

  5. zompist says:

    Man, I can't imagine anything that goes better with living in a tiny platform perched over the ocean than loose building codes and lots of guns.

  6. "Mr Thiel and his colleagues say their ocean state would have no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons."

    Libertarians are the love-children of Ayn Rand and the Marlboro man. The wild-west cowboy fantasy is so pervasive amongst libertarians.

    • pavel_lishin says:

      Ah, yes - if there's any place that could use looser building codes, it's a city perched on a floating platform.

      Oh well, at least they're not doing it in space. Yet.

  7. jope says:

    "And they will not actually try to stop us until it's too late." Stop them? Hell, what can we can do to speed along the exodus of the planned tens of millions of far-right US voters?

  8. CJ says:

    We really need to tax these people more to fund the Coast Guard rescue services they will be needing.

  9. Nick Lamb says:

    $1.25M does not sound like "I'm serious about this" money. That won't buy you one decent plane, of which you will presumably need several just to ferry workers to and from the site. If it said he'd put $300M into it then I might take some notice.

    Their math is also bad. If you have a few hundred people on a raft, and a few hundred rafts that isn't "tens of millions" of people, it's maybe a hundred thousand or so. ie if this succeeds they've built a floating Huntsville Alabama, not Tokyo.

    But then this is a Daily Fail article, and it is poorly edited (several errors that I just checked aren't just in Jamie's copy) even by their standards. Presumably the editor said "Somethin' from the crank file" and this old dusty piece had less doughnut jam spilled on it than the next one.

  10. Stuart says:

    When a plumber is elected president and an electrician vice president of their little fantasy island and they are cleaning the floors i wonder if it will be as much fun then.

  11. piku says:

    Mr Thiel and his colleagues say their ocean state would have no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.

    So of course that'll produce a good society to live in.

    Why can't he just buy a giant field and recreate that crappy film "The Village" instead? Less risk of mass drowning when it gets stormy.

    • Dave says:

      The point of doing it off-shore is that there are no laws on the open ocean. cf Sealand etc.

      Presumably the increased risk of drowning is part of the price you pay for being a brave objectivist Atlas.

      • Leolo says:

        no laws on the open ocean
        This is of course not true. There is the international maritime code. And you will most likey be prossecuted by the next country you step foot in if you commit some egregarious crime. Do these libertarians really think that murders on the high seas go unpersecuted?

      • piku says:

        Hehe Sealand... hehehe :) I want to live on a rusty platform in the middle of the sea, off the coast of the UK. Sounds like an awesome lifestyle.

        Let's hope Facebook Island is a bit more luxurious.

  12. Line Noise says:

    You know, this could work!

    If you think about the number of large ships that go to the breakers every year, why not just buy them, park them out in the middle of the ocean somewhere, lash them together (a la Snow Crash) and you're done. No need to build oil rigs. Park them over a chunky submarine fibre cable, splice in a few connections and that's your Internet access solved.

    Dump your waste and sewage off one side. Fish for food off the other.

    High speed Internet, abundant weapons and all you can eat sushi! Utopia here we come!

  13. JonBro says:

    Don't oil rigs cost around 500 million? His 1.3 seem like it won't even cover the down payment.

    • Turtle Boughs says:

      Don't think of it as a down payment. Think of it as welfare for Milton Friedman's grandson.

  14. Edouard says:

    Makes me want to build them a fancy apartment block on their utopian oil rig, then burn it down the night before it's supposed to open. That'd teach them. No jury would convict me!

  15. Perry says:

    I would have thought you would be happy to be rid of all the libertarians, Jamie. Why would you oppose having all of them leave? That way you can be free of the scourge once and for all.

    I mean, imagine if some douchey dot-com millionaire stayed behind in San Francisco and imposed his horrible vision on others by buying a nightclub and defying the democratic will expressed via the California Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Instead, we could be free of all such social parasites once and for all.

    So, the libertarians leave, the right thinking people stay behind and live in utopia. What could be better for all concerned?

    • Russ Nelson says:

      Perry! That's mean! jwz isn't forcing himself on anyone. He's competing with other nightclubs to offer the best experience in a free market.

      Funny how libertarian people can be when it comes to their wallet.

    • Boxcat says:

      Green troll needs better material ... badly.

      • Georg says:

        Aw, come on. Perry is very insightful! His incisive irony hits very close to home! Being unhappy about one particular kind of dysfunction in one particular instance of one particular form of government is obviously totally the same as categorically opposing any kind of government at all!

        Seriously though, Russ should go back to composing manifestos against the fecklessness of black people. He's not embarrassing himself as badly that way.

  16. Rick C says:

    Margaret Crawford, an expert on urban planning and a professor of architecture at Berkeley, told Details: 'it's a silly idea without any urban-planning implications whatsoever.'

    Oh noes, an urban planner sees the horror of a lack of urban planning!

    • jwz says:

      A structural engineer might see the horror of a lack of structural engineering, too.

      • Rick C says:

        Yes, and I'd take that more seriously. As it is, I see it more along the lines of a phrenologist complaining about the lack of phrenologists.

        • Nick Lamb says:

          I've visited places where there was no urban planning. It is bad mojo. It's not so bad when things grow organically, but modern cities often see large scale burst development, and it has to be someone's job to ensure that the 5000 new family homes you're building are actually practical places to live, and aren't made useless through an oversight like not having any play areas nearby or lacking transport infrastructure.

          But actually you misread it. Crawford thinks this has no _implications_ for urban planning. She's saying this is ludicrous and ignorable, it has no implications the same way shark mounted lasers have no implications for maritime safety.

      • candice says:

        My better half designs oil platforms for a living. This is pretty out there.

        The biggest working platform I can think of offhand, Mars, holds 106 people (; and that may be a number reached by sleeping in shifts.

  17. Mark says:

    Man, these guys are actually building the grim meathook future that you can only be bothered to blog about. Try to be a little more supportive.

  18. DFB says:

    Can you imagine an ocean liner company trying to book rooms under the "looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons" charter?

  19. Alex says:

    If they're going out to sea, what do they need their own weapons *for*? I can imagine you might theoretically want to defend the ship itself, but it's not as if you need to worry about burglars.

    Anyway, this is the best excuse ever to double-down and invest in a surplus submarine. Or perhaps one of those nice ex-Soviet fast-attack boats as Jamie's yacht. 300 tonnes, 40 knots on gas turbines, six SS-N-9s for the people who just don't get it even if they live on an armoured oilrig.

  20. Sounds like The Live Life Show waiting to happen (reality TV segment from the Year of the Sex Olympics). TV companies will queue up to send psychopaths with cameras.
    Wikipedia / BFI Screenonline

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