There’s absurd, then obscene, then Paul Ryan

“Chutzpah” is classically exemplified by the man who murders his parents and then pleads for mercy on account of being an orphan.

A step beyond such chutzpah is laughable absurdity.

A step beyond that is self-contradiction and hypocrisy so astonishing it becomes obscene.

And a step beyond that is this Republican Party fundraiser, casting the Apostle of Austerity himself, Ayn-Rand disciple Rep. Paul Ryan, as the defender of “the safety net for the poor.”

 

That’s from Matt Yglesias, who finds it fascinating that this fundraising appeal aimed at the GOP’s hard-core base, is premised on the idea “that conservatives are eager to develop a self-image of themselves as the real friends of the poor.”

Steve Benen also received a copy of this fundraiser, and says:

A Paul Ryan letter sent by the RNC is concerned that “the net for the poor is coming apart at the seams and no one in Washington seems to care”?

You’ve. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me.

Ryan is the one swinging the machete at the safety net precisely because he doesn’t care. Put it this way: there’s only one party in Washington trying to slash spending on unemployment aid, student loans, food stamps, and job training, and I’ll give you a hint, it’s not the Democrats.

That said, if the RNC believes concern for the safety net is likely to appeal to Republican donors, it’s probably safe to say the Occupy movement has already changed the national conversation in rather fundamental ways.

Charlie Pierce also is in awe of the “unmitigated swill” it takes to “[trot] out Ayn Rand’s Brycreem’d doppelganger to raise money based on his party’s obvious concern for ‘the safety net.’”

Pierce is particularly appalled by the ludicrous dishonesty of this pose due to having just subjected himself to covering Paul Ryan’s recent speech at the Heritage Foundation: “Paul Ryan Is Living in a Fantasy Land Older Than Ayn Rand.”

Stop running away from your constituents, and siccing the cops on them back home while you’re in Hawaii, and ask some guy who got laid off at the Janesville GM plant last spring, if his primary worry is that his unemployment check is turning him complacent and draining him of his incentive to look for a job that probably isn’t there, because unemployment in your district is running in double digits. Is that guy a maker or a taker? Speak up. Your constituents would like to know. If they can afford a ticket, that is.

The title of that piece seems like an allusion to John Rogers’ classic summary of the Randian nonsense that forms the foundation of Paul Ryan’s political philosophy and agenda:

There are two novels that can change a bookish 14-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

Echoes of that can be heard, too, in the title of Jonathan Chait’s response to Ryan’s Heritage speech: “The Ideological Fantasies of Inequality Deniers.” Chait writes:

We’re not having a debate about how to reverse or even stop the growth of inequality. Nobody has a real plan to do that. The Democratic plan is to slightly arrest the growth of inequality by hiking taxes on the rich a few percentage points, so as to minimize the need to cut the social safety net. The Republican plan is to slash taxes for the rich and programs for the poor, thereby massively increasing inequality.

That second link of Chait’s leads to an analysis of Paul Ryan’s own budget proposal, which finds that “Ryan Gets Nearly Two-Thirds of His Huge Budget Cuts From Programs for Lower-Income Americans.” That is his agenda and that is his goal. It’s why he ran for Congress and it’s what he’s working for in Congress. He wants a massive reduction in the size and scope of “the safety net for the poor.”

Ryan says that Ayn Rand is “the reason I got involved in public service.” Rand would have regarded that term, “public service,” as an oxymoron, but let that pass. Rand’s importance to Ryan is underscored by the fact that he requires his staffers to read Atlas Shrugged. Yes, the very same “childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world” we were just discussing.

Matt Yglesias also noted that Heritage speech, in which Ryan advocated for “equality of opportunity.” But as Yglesias notes, the actual policies Ryan supports would do nothing to promote, support or even allow equality of opportunity. And those policies that would foster equality of opportunity are opposed, vigorously, by Ryan:

This naturally raises the question of what it is that Ryan is doing to level the playing field between kids with rich parents and kids with poor parents. Is he a proponent of boosting Section 8 housing vouchers and other federal programs that might make it easier for poor parents to move their kids into high-quality school districts? Has he done anything to boost child nutrition or children’s health programs? Does Ryan think we should make it more difficult for wealthy parents to directly transfer financial resources to their children? Does Ryan support making Pell Grants more generous? Equalizing funding across school districts? Well, no, he doesn’t support any of those things. We all remember Paul Ryan’s big picture budget plan. Its key planks were:

  • Lower taxes on high income individuals.
  • Generous retirement benefits for people born in 1956 or older.
  • Deep immediate reductions in anti-poverty spending.
  • Major reductions in retirement benefits for people born after 1956.

What items on that agenda would increase equality of opportunity? The answer, of course, is that none of them would.

When that’s the case, proclaiming oneself a proponent of equality of opportunity would seem like the height of audacious hypocrisy.

Except that height was exceeded by the fundraiser above, casting Ryan as the defender of the safety net for the poor. That’s just indefensible.

You like Ayn Rand? You were inspired to run for office by The Virtue of Selfishness and you require your staffers to read her didactic novels? Fine. But at least have the courage, honesty and decency to own that and to own up to it. If that’s what you believe, then don’t talk about the safety net for the poor as though it’s something you believe in, or approve of, or want to sustain.

Just tell the truth instead.

Oh, one more point about that Heritage speech — Ryan got his facts wrong, too. In praising the equality of opportunity he supports in the abstract and opposes in the particular, Ryan also praised America as a model of “upward mobility,” as contrasted with the hidebound nations of Europe where, “Top-heavy welfare states have replaced the traditional aristocracies, and masses of the long-term unemployed are locked into the new lower class.” In contrast to Europe, Ryan said, working class Americans are not permanently “stuck in their current station in life.”

TalkingPointsMemo’s Brian Beutler points out that Ryan is simply wrong. Upward mobility is much more possible in most of Europe than it is in America.

  • WingedBeast

    Lori’s got part of my response.  Skill is going to be a large part of the issue.  And, I seriously doubt the entirety or even the majority of the oil rig’s populaiton will be military trained.  They could be a militia, but citizen militia training and weapons versus the weapons and experience of a band of modern day pirates… my money is still on the pirates.

    I’m still saying their best bet is a worldwide zombie apocalypse and having a friendly military take them up as an ops base.

    Maybe alien invasion.

  • Anonymous

    And as I understand it, Darwin himself heartily rejected the notion that
    his theory of evolution could be applied to human societies, because it
    was never intended to explain social competition, only how life’s
    diversity could result from a comparatively small sample of ancestor
    species.

    Nope, Darwin applied his theory to human societies quite happily.  The Descent of Man contains a lengthy discussion of how natural and sexual selection shaped the appearance, physical and mental abilities, and cultural accomplishments of various human groups.  Including, as FearlessSon mentions, our tendencies toward compassion and cooperation.  (Some of this discussion sounds pretty ridiculous from a modern perspective–there’s not much good data and a lot of naive racism/sexism/classism. But it still contributed a lot to later research in sociology, anthropology and psychology.)

    What Darwin didn’t do was fall into the naturalistic fallacy.  He thought that life was a struggle, but he didn’t think that it should be a struggle.  Our moral obligation is to help the weak, even if nature generally does the opposite. 

    (By the way, the term “Social Darwinism” was rarely used by anyone who was a Social Darwinist.  Like “moral relativism,” it was mostly used as a pejorative to describe other people’s views.)

  • Hawker40

    Exactly so.  Instead of involving government regulations setting drug quality, they use market forces… and if it’s more profitable to cut thier drugs with strychnine (gives herion a bigger kick!), then they’ll do it.
    And they never use government regulation to choke off competitors, prefering to deal with them the old fasioned way: with violence.  Take someone to court for hurting your business?  Heck no, just kill him and watch how no one else will dare hurt your business.
    Take away the government’s ability to use force, and someone else will fill the power vacuum faster than you can say “AK-47″.

  • Hawker40

    How long until the private army betrays them and takes over themselves?

  • Hawker40

    “The drug cartels and the higher-end Mafia types are usually more subtle than the Somali pirates. The rich guys might not figure out that their guests had different ideas before those ideas went > bang! bang! <'.

  • P J Evans

     Depends on how high up the ideas are dropped from. Given that the main deck on a rig is quite a ways up from the waves, the splash might be quiet only because of the distance.

  • Hawker40

    Given normal ocean wave noise, the splash of, say, a human size object is awfully hard to hear.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    That’s pretty much my thinking, Hawker40. It would only be a matter of time before someone in the private army decides being a plutocrat is better than getting paid by one. Greed, etc as I said before.

  • Kukulkan

     Hawker40 wrote:

    How long until the private army betrays them and takes over themselves?

    How are they going to pay the private army?

    If they set up their own independent state, will they have their own currency? If so, I assume it will be privately produced so I’m not sure how you will be able to tell the difference between legitimate currency and counterfeit — if, indeed, there is a difference.

    Given that, I think any private army would demand to be paid in some other currency — US Dollars, Euros, Yen or whatever. That means the inhabitants of the platform would be dependent on their foreign reserves, the money they earn from offering services to child porn producers, drug cartels, etc.

    Okay, let’s assume they’re earning the foreign reserves and have hired the private army. How do they gather the required funds together? Voluntary contributions from each inhabitant? What happens if some refuse; do they get to free ride? Or will the amount needed be divided between the inhabitants and each required to pay a share? And how is that different from taxes? And how would these compulsory contributions be enforced? By the private army?

    What happens if there’s a shortfall in the funds?

    I don’t think the private army would need to betray them. I think they would take over simply by foreclosing on the platform(s) for non-payment of monies owed.

    Of course, if the rugged individualists of the platform choose to fight back using their own weapons, I think there’s a good chance that the platform itself may not survive.

  • WingedBeast

    That is one of the odd thoughts of Libertarianism.  It’s this thought that, not only is anything done by government automatically oppression, but also oppression can only be done *by* governments.  Not by, oh, let’s say, wealthy people in positions of power.

  • WingedBeast

    All in all I’m getting the rising suspicion that the oil rig shouldn’t be in international waters based on Libertarianism but should be a retrofitted rig from the gulf based on a town where you can always find a group to do some tabletop roleplaying with or a regular anime party.

    Geeksylvania!

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Yep. The drug cartels are the only organization that operates entirely on libertarian, free-market principals. And just look at how well they do with out all those stupid government regulations such as making sure that their drugs aren’t poisonous and preventing their economic competition from murdering them.

    I might disagree with that.  The governmental regulations against the selling of such drugs and tight governmental enforcement actually drive the prices of drugs up.  As much as such enforcement challenges cartels, by imposing such limits on supply compared to the demand, the cartels can make a lot more money on the product that they do move. 

  • Anonymous

    Even if they do have lots of guns it won ‘t really matter. Contrary to what the gun fetishists say having a gun does jack for you if you don’t have skill. When it comes to a fight between the floating freedom lovers and Los Zetas or a bunch of pirates who spent their whole lives in Somalia I know which way I’m betting.

    I dunno… American gun owners have been known to *not* hold their rifles sideways.
    As a rule, thugs are not terribly well trained.

    Even if they are, the rig might be *well* armed.  Surely they can find an arms dealer willing to sell them heavy weapons.  After a point, they’ll be able to keep out the rabble with trivial ease, and anyone sensible will realize there’s no profit in attacking.

    No, it’s far more likely they’ll simply kill each other and/or move into criminal enterprises themselves.  At which point they get raided by… well, take your pick - having no government means you’re not protected by any government either…

  • WingedBeast

    In short, we’ve got a pick your poison oil rig death.  Option 1.  Everybody either dies or is forced into prostitution by a psychopath from outside the oil rig.  Option 2.  Everybody either dies or is forced into prostitution by a psychopath from inside the oil rig.  Option 3.  The completely unregulated oil rig folds like a cheap lawnchair after a stiff breeze that achieves only the premise for a movie and another Celine Dion song of questionable definition.  (What does “I know that my heart will go on” mean?)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Gun owners like to deride non-owners for allegedly being ALL SCAWWWED of the BIG BAD GUNZ, but the fact is that some non-owners do indeed know basic gun safety and usage and STILL have no desire to encourage proliferation of such weapons.

    When I used a .22, the first thing I was taught was how to use the safety. The second was how to hold it properly.

    And when I used a handgun out in the Sonora in Arizona (1996 or so) the thing I was taught was how to carefully handle said gun, including two simple and basic rules:

    1. That you treat any gun as loaded until you have personally checked that it is unloaded
    2. You never point a gun at any object or person unless you intend to fire a bullet at an object or person.

    Also, re financing the Libertopia? Some of them are really all about the gold-as-currency thing, and I think you might get one of those monomaniacs forcing the issue, and conveniently ignoring the fact that in general, the easiest way to get gold bullion is to buy coins produced by…

    a government

    Such as Krugerrands from South Africa, or Canadian gold coins (there apparently is a small market for Canadian gold coins of ~97% purity, or somesuch).

  • Anonymous

    And some gun owners drive to hand car washes and leave their guns under their frickin’ car seats, disturbing the honest car washers and quite possibly arming the dishonest ones.  (Add in that about half of the staff of the hand car wash I briefly worked at were fresh ex-cons* and it was fun.)

    *I should note that they were just fine to work with.  And probably treated the guns they found while vacuuming the same way I did.  But, hell, I’m not sure the gun owners weren’t causing the ex-cons to violate their terms.

  • Matri

    If they set up their own independent state, will they have their own
    currency? If so, I assume it will be privately produced so I’m not sure
    how you will be able to tell the difference between legitimate currency
    and counterfeit — if, indeed, there is a difference.

    Even better, what are they going to use to back their currency? And what will the exchange rate be? Because I seriously doubt those PMCs will want to accept their pay solely in currency that can only be spent on that tiny oil rig.

  • Rikalous

    Alliterative name+one syllable first name is a good combo for a macho-sounding name. Says the guy named “Marc Mielke”.

    Alliterative names always make me think of Stan Lee characters. And Reed Richards is not particularly macho, in name or personality.

  • Rikalous

    So if the Libertarians are going to form their watery utopia, do we have to worry about the Tea Party taking to the skies? Or is the good airship Columbia going to be used by the extreme end of OWS?

  • Fraser

    The versions I’ve heard aren’t in the middle of the Pacific, they’re just outside the U.S. Coastal waters. So it’ll be easy to get back and enjoy America’s benefits without paying for them.

  • Anonymous

    May I steal “the Blue Screen of Madness?”

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Ah, sounds like the rich guy James Carville wrote about, who renounced his citizenship to avoid paying income tax and then got (I assume bribed) the Belizan government to try and accredit him as an ambassador somewhere there wasn’t a large Belizan expat population. Once State figured out what he was up to they said NOPITY NOPE and didn’t recognize his credentials.

    So one rich guy’s attempt to sponge off the USA without paying his taxes failed.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Well, technically depizen means this:
    http://goo.gl/oGxfg

  • P J Evans

     It might work – until the local governments figure it out. If they’re going to claim sovereignty, they’ll have to issue passports to their citizens – and if the country isn’t recognized, that won’t fly for long. Also, if they’re going to run their own currency, they’ll need someplace to convert it into more useful stuff.

  • Lori

     I dunno… American gun owners have been known to *not* hold their rifles sideways. As a rule, thugs are not terribly well trained.   

    Even if they are, the rig might be *well* armed.  Surely they can find an arms dealer willing to sell them heavy weapons.  After a point, they’ll be able to keep out the rabble with trivial ease, and anyone sensible will realize there’s no profit in attacking.

    Los Zetas was started by former members of Mexican Special Forces. They don’t hold their guns sideways and unlike most American gun owners they’ve killed people before. The Somali pirates have a similar edge by virtue of having spent their whole lives in a country where resources are scarce and might makes right. 

    The oil rig Libertarians could almost certainly keep out the rabble with a combination of arms purchases and inconvenient location. Neither of those things is going to help them with the hardcore and the world’s trouble spots produce plenty of hardcore. The fantasy of toughness through hardware is not going to save them when shit gets real. 

  • Lori

     The versions I’ve heard aren’t in the middle of the Pacific, they’re just outside the U.S. Coastal waters. So it’ll be easy to get back and enjoy America’s benefits without paying for them.   

     

    I don’t think they’ve thought this aspect through either. An oil rig is a pretty small, easily monitored location. Border enforcement shouldn’t be the difficult. After all, Customs & Border Enforcement wouldn’t have to monitor the whole west coast, they’d only have to watch the comings and goings from the rig. I could set up automatic monitoring for that and I’m not exactly a tech or security whiz. 

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    So it’ll be easy to get back and enjoy America’s benefits without paying for them.

    And right there, you’ve summed up 90% of the appeal of this project.

    A friend of mine once suggested putting tollbooths outside gated communities: “NOW ENTERING THE REAL WORLD.”  I suspect the ultra-rich would just commute by helicopter in that case…

  • P J Evans

    I suspect the ultra-rich would just commute by helicopter in that case…

    Until their annoyed neighbors get anti-aircraft weapons. Or until the FAA notices. There are rules about aircraft flight in urban areas….

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Heh. Me and some American friends were shooting the shit about this a decade ago. One of us half facetiously suggested hiring tire thieves to boost the tires every time a car from the gated community parks somewhere. :P

    A more reasonable suggestion was to snap pics of the licence plates and charge a per use fee. Would make up for the fact that there’s no property taxes levied on the area.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    The oil rig Libertarians could almost certainly keep out the rabble with a combination of arms purchases and inconvenient location. Neither of those things is going to help them with the hardcore and the world’s trouble spots produce plenty of hardcore. The fantasy of toughness through hardware is not going to save them when shit gets real.

    Should they significantly antagonize a larger nation, all it would take to get rid of them is a single good cruise missile.  There is not much they can do to stop it.  The only thing which might hold a nation back from doing so is upsetting other nations who would recognize the rig as a legitimate nation-state.  Though given their necessarily small size and the kind of commerce they would attract, I get the feeling that convincing enough nations to care if they were swiftly removed would be extremely difficult…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    Honestly, pretty much no one really cares about micronations. It’s probably already been mentioned here, but someone else did this exact same thing back in the 70s:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_of_Minerva

    It’s…. well, not really common, but not exactly ‘unheard of’ either… for rich people to try and trick the authorities by declaring pieces of property they own separate countries. It never, ever works. It’s hard enough to get your country recognized when you actually have millions of citizens and miles of territory and your own independently-operating government and your own foreign policy and meet every criteria for a separate country (see also — Taiwan, Kosovo); it’s pretty much impossible to get your country recognized when it’s obvious that you’re just trying to setting up a crime organization.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    What’s interesting is that these “micronations” have problems from the get-go. For example, in Sealand, there was a strenuous dispute between two of the purported owners, and passport fraud became an issue because of that dispute.

  • Hawker40

    IIRC, SeaLand also had a problem in that thier blockhouse was property of the British Army, and they were technically in waters claimed by the U.K.

  • Anonymous

    Los Zetas was started by former members of Mexican Special Forces. They don’t hold their guns sideways and unlike most American gun owners they’ve killed people before.

    Started isn’t the same thing as ‘entirely run by’, and I wasn’t talking about Los Zetas anyways.  Although they might just Harpoon the damn thing anyways.

    The Somali pirates have a similar edge by virtue of having spent their whole lives in a country where resources are scarce and might makes right.

    African guerillas have a habit of producing terrible ideas regarding weapons usage.  Like the aforementioned ‘I’ll just hold my AK-47 sideways… over my head’.  Besides, unless the Lolbertarians set up their rig off the coast of Somalia, the pirates won’t be a problem.  They use junker fishing boats, not exactly oceangoing battleships. 

    The oil rig Libertarians could almost certainly keep out the rabble with a combination of arms purchases and inconvenient location. Neither of those things is going to help them with the hardcore and the world’s trouble spots produce plenty of hardcore. The fantasy of toughness through hardware is not going to save them when shit gets real.

    Yeah, but the ‘hardcore’ are probably going to be sensible enough to realize attacking the rig is a fool’s bargain in the first place.  Even if the cartels have their own SEALs somehow, there’s little profit in attacking it – the rig is open for business already, and it’s a unit that can’t be assigned to massacre a school full of children in Columbia, or some other equally l337 mission.
    And as for toughness through hardware… no, that’s pretty much true.  Hardware isn’t everything, but it’s a good percentage of the things.

    Should they significantly antagonize a larger nation, all it would take to get rid of them is a single good cruise missile.  There is not much they can do to stop it.

    Case in point.  Unless, of course, the rig’s purchases include an anti-missile system.  Although it seems like that *might* be out of their purchase range, unless they pool their resources, which, being lolbertarians, they’re never going to do.
    But yeah.  I predict civil war will get them before anyone else does.

  • Lori

     Yeah, but the ‘hardcore’ are probably going to be sensible enough to realize attacking the rig is a fool’s bargain in the first place.  Even if the cartels have their own SEALs somehow, there’s little profit in attacking it – the rig is open for business already, and it’s a unit that can’t be assigned to massacre a school full of children in Columbia, or some other equally l337 mission.  

    The point of the Libertopia oil rig is that it’s sovereign territory. That’s why they want it in international waters. Since when is there no profit in taking over a country? Because in the (highly unlikely) event that they got this thing up and floating it would essentially be it’s own country. Being in absolute control of that has enough advantages to make it worth sending the tiny number of guys who would be required to take down a people living in a fantasy world.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    What’s interesting is that these “micronations” have problems from the get-go. 

    That might be inevitable, given the sort of personalities that would try to set up their own nation.

  • Hawker40

    They won’t even need to attack USN SEAL style.  They walk on board, go to the critical points (power supply, food stores, ‘government’ offices, radio transmitter/reciever), pull thier weapons out of thier luggage, and it’s over.

    OR you have you’re people doing thier normal business onboard, give them the word, and see above.

  • WingedBeast

    Bare in mind, a takeover of Libertopia, Liberty Oil Rig, GassyRandy, or whatever they’ll call it doesn’t have to happen militarily.  It could happen more slowly, through investment as an invitation to the creeping overtake of individual freedoms that government, despite Libertarian ideology, actually protects us from.

    Imagine a shady but necessary investor first needing some kind of return on his investment, perhaps in the form of server use or bank-use.  It wouldn’t be immediately obvious that this is moneylaundering or childporn.  Or, heck, considering the argument I actually had to make, they might not see moneylaundering for a criminal enterprise or using servers for childporn to be in any way objectionable.

    But, the kind of groups that would make use of this oil rig would take care to exert control.  If you’re a criminal enterprise looking to take over, it’s important that, not only do they do what you want, but that they fear the consequences of not doing what you want.  So, you have to make examples of your power, a bit at a time.

    First it would be expanding your share of the servers, of the banks, generally expanding your slice of the piechart.  There would be regular visits.  Needn’t be too often, perhaps on a yearly basis.  But, I’m doubtful that it would take so long.  This is a valueable commodoty, one that bares frequent trips.

    Next, during the regular visits, you exert control over the individuals, not just the businesses.  You make note that you like to be kept comfortable, so they spend more money to keep you in the kind of food and liqour that you like, because they’re afraid of losing your investment and a little afraid of the violence you suggest.

    After that, you start increasing the fanfair of your visits, fanfair being a thinly veiled excuse to show people your weapons and your muscle.  The threat, though implicit, becomes increasingly understood.  Displeasing you is less about losing your money and more about losing the oil rig entirely, or maybe lives.

    Slowly, by inches, you exert more personal control over people, force them to step over lines.  You have them supply your guests on their oil rig with sexual partners or with personal humiliations.  This isn’t about the sex and humiliation.  This is about making them invested in your position.  Every line they cross, every lie they tell their general populas, every sacrifice they  make for you is another reason they can’t turn back now, because they’ve already sacrificed too much.

    Eventually, your drug cartel/oppressive nation/or just plain international corporation is the unquestioned ruler of the oil rig in practice if not in name.

    This is the threat they’d need eliminated via zombie apocalypse.  To avoid this threat along with the threat of armed takeover, the only real chance there would be not a Libertarian Oil Rig but a Libertarian Orbiting Space Station or Libertarian Moon Settlement.  And that’s before going into the extreme science fiction of a Libertarian Teraforming of Mars.

  • http://dumas1.livejournal.com/ Winter

    Bare in mind, a takeover of Libertopia, Liberty Oil Rig,
    GassyRandy, or whatever they’ll call it doesn’t have to happen
    militarily.  It could happen more slowly, through investment as an
    invitation to the creeping overtake of individual freedoms that
    government, despite Libertarian ideology, actually protects us from….Eventually, your drug cartel/oppressive nation/or just plain
    international corporation is the unquestioned ruler of the oil rig in
    practice if not in name.

    That’d be my bet for how an outside group takes over the rig, especially if it’s done after it’s become established and its banks are generally regarded as being at least as honest as BofA. Seems to me that money laundering and smuggling of people, drugs, and whatnot would work better with a legitimate-looking middleman. And if this rig is set up in the US’s backyard, a violent takeover by a drug cartel would probably draw a military response since no administration could be seen as tolerating that kind of presence so close.

  • Lori

     They won’t even need to attack USN SEAL style.   

    Seriously. I’m picturing Los Zetas sending at most a couple dozen of the B team and taking over the whole place in about 20 minutes. They do know how to use their guns and they do it often enough that they’re not going to hesitate to shoot anyone who doesn’t cooperate. The idea that the kind of people who would sign on to this oil rig venture are going to be able to fight them off is not likely to prove at all realistic. 

    That’s assuming they decide to go the “guns blazing” route instead of just eating away at it from the inside as WingedBeast points out. 

    The entire idea of Libertopia is doomed from the get-go for so many reasons that it’s hard to say which problem would get them first. 

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    To avoid this threat along with the threat of armed takeover, the only real chance there would be not a Libertarian Oil Rig but a Libertarian Orbiting Space Station or Libertarian Moon Settlement.

    Hello, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress!  Of course, their revolution was backed up by the fact that they had a relatively simple mass driver which easily becomes a weapon of mass destruction considering the potential energy involved in going from Luna to Earth.  

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    the only real chance there would be not a Libertarian Oil Rig but a Libertarian Orbiting Space Station or Libertarian Moon Settlement.

    Libertarians in an inherently hostile environment where one mishap can result in mass-death, resources are strictly limited, and quick leaving is impossible?  Oh, yeah, this’ll work out just GREAT.

    “Let me control the oxygen supply, and I don’t care who makes the laws.” – Great Cthulhu’s Starry Wisdom Band.

  • WingedBeast

    I think it’s best to categorize the problems as Internal (the people themselves), the external (other people), and the enviromental (natural dissasters and the like).

    They’d be ill prepaired for natural dissasters, by nature of the fact that the response has to be collective in nature.  They’d be ill prepaired for external threats for the reason that any military defense has to be collective in nature.

    Our discussion is about these external factors because, quite frankly, any kind of indepenant oil rig civilization will be a low hanging fruit for any criminal enterprise that spots it.  It’ll be a race and winner take the slavish spoils.

    But, if we were to create a situation where natural dissasters aren’t an issue and other people aren’t an issue, we’ll still have the internal matter of Libertarians to deal with.  An entire society built upon the idea that everybody’s in it for themselves and wealth/health/comfort/opportunity for your children goes to those most willing to destroy all in their way.  Government, by nature, would have to be minimal, but who would you get to run it?  Who would you get that would actually sacrifice their potential private earnings to become a servant of a government in a society where serving any but yourself is derided as weakness?

    It would be a society not only permissive of corruption in government, but also distrustful and derisive of anything that isn’t corrupt to the point of being a detriment to the society.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I sincerely hope that if Paul Ryan has a son, he does not name him Andrew.  

    Speaking of which, everyone go play Bioshock.  It is an excellent deconstruction of the whole isolationist Libertarian micro-state idea.  

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    As one character in Bioshock said, and as every would’be utopian should remember, “They all came down here thinking they were gonna be captains of industry.  But _somebody’s_ got to scrub the toilets.”


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