Peter Thiel has some thoughts on the future of freedom, and its apparent incompatibility with democracy.
Because the vast reaches of outer space represent a limitless frontier, they also represent a limitless possibility for escape from world politics. But the final frontier still has a barrier to entry: Rocket technologies have seen only modest advances since the 1960s, so that outer space still remains almost impossibly far away. We must redouble the efforts to commercialize space, but we also must be realistic about the time horizons involved. The libertarian future of classic science fiction, à la Heinlein, will not happen before the second half of the 21st century.
I think he’s a little too pessimistic, but certainly we can’t count on it happening any sooner. But I don’t think that the existing governments will tolerate sea steading, if it appears to become significant.
[Via Brian Doherty, who has links to other voices in the debate]
[Update late morning]
Jonah Goldberg has some related thoughts, in the process of demolishing idiotic “progressive” arguments against the tea parties and “rightwing extremists”:
5. The populist anger out there is the real face of America’s homegrown fascism.
Sigh. While I think Rick Perry’s secession talk is idiotic and unfortunate (even accounting for Texas’ unique history), I am at a loss as to how any of this stuff smacks of fascism. Even Perry is talking in the context of the federal government doing too much, taking away too much liberty, getting too involved in local communities and interfering too much with the individual.
How do I say this so people will understand? Fascism isn’t a libertarian doctrine! It just isn’t, never will be and it can’t be cast as one. Anarchism, secessionism, extreme localism or rampant individualism may be bad, evil, wrong, stupid, selfish and all sorts of other things (though not by my lights). But they have nothing to do with a totalitarian vision of the state where individuals and institutions alike must march in step and take orders from the government.
If you think shrinking government and getting it less involved in your life is a hallmark of tyranny it is only because you are either grotesquely ignorant or because you subscribe to a statist ideology that believes the expansion of the state is the expansion of liberty.
Well, actually, subscribing to that ideology is just another form of being grotesquely ignorant. You can expand the state, or you can expand individual liberty, but you cannot do both.