We have a date for our meeting of the Free Commune: 17 December from 14.00 onward in Almere. Write it down in your calendar! The meeting is for members as well as non-members. If you consider joining our group and would like to know more, do not hesitate to contact us!
A week ago, the first floating house or ‘Sea Pod’ was presented by Ocean Builders. This company is affiliated with the Seasteading Institute, a libertarian organization originally founded by Patri Friedman (grandson of Milton). What would have been a milestone in an ambitious project to achieve ‘liberty within our lifetime’ went horribly wrong. The ‘Seapod’ began to tilt right after the presentation. Without trying to be mean, the irony cannot be ignored: libertarians are notoriously bad at developing libertarian projects.
Many successful (self-made) businessmen are attracted to libertarian philosophy because they recognize the superiority of the free market to best allocate scarce goods, increase wealth for all and eradicate poverty. The free market is the absence of a man-made system: it’s the voluntary, natural interactions of free individuals.
How come, if libertarian entrepreneurs are good at developing products and generating wealth, do we fail at developing communities? For one thing, we lack religion. People are bound as a group by culture, history and religion. Libertarians arguably have a common culture, but no other binding factors . While religion can inspire people to embark on a difficult venture with their fellow man, the ‘cold’ rational case for free markets and individual freedom lacks the power of myths.
But before we criticize ideological shortcomings of libertarianism, we should first look at more pragmatic challenges in the formation of a community: what is wrong with the product we sell? As a rule in marketing, you can never blame the consumer for not buying your product. Freedom loving folks have reasons for not jumping at the opportunity presented.
Unlike any other consumer item, to attain more freedom you will have to move to another place. First, people need to be emotionally prepared to make a move away from friends, family and a certain level of stability, and secondly, they have to be able to afford it. Estimates for floating homes start at $375k and up. And since you will be floating somewhere at sea, you’ll need a boat, helicopter and/or airplane to get anywhere. Consequently, the target audience is limited to the very rich who already have the means to maximize their freedom. As with private cities on beautiful but remote Caribbean islands: These kind of projects risk becoming nothing more than Epstein Islands for rich libertarians, minus the child abuse.
That is why for the establishment of our Free Commune, we follow a more, forgive me the word, egalitarian approach. For not every libertarian is rich or wants to even be rich. We just want to be left alone. Be free to develop our own endeavors, raise children and interact with one another without government interference.
At first glance Spain does not seem the most obvious choice. A high tax nation with a tradition of big government bureaucracy. However, to enforce laws, you also need an army of bureaucrats. This is easy to do in big cities, but very hard in the sparsely populated countryside. Millions have migrated and those that remain have grown to old age. The district where we are located had 8000 inhabitants a century ago. Nowadays there are only 1600 left. Every week there are one or two funerals. The population density is 10 per square kilometer, slightly more than Russia. There’s a huge school building that now only houses 37 students: kindergarten, primary and secondary school!
The police station of the feared ‘Guardia Civil’, was closed twenty years ago. The building, a Franco era military style barracks with turrets on two sides, is slowly decaying. You can buy it for a 100 grant and turn it into a fascism themed brothel (for example). Nowadays at the bar across the street people are peacefully smoking joints.
The aging population trend is not likely to change any time soon. Government policy of stimulating women to work instead of having children was surely a good strategy to increase the number of tax payers on the short term. But now the aging childless population is putting a huge strain on budgets. Not only financially but also in practical terms. There is a shortage of people doing basic tasks. Fortunately many Latino’s come to Spain to work as caretakers, nurses, construction workers and farm hands. In this village there people from Cuba, Colombia, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Venezuela. It doesn’t help much that many people who migrate to Galicia are retiring here. To make matters worse, women in this region are now having less than one child on average. Native population numbers will half in another 40 years.
With so many people dying, there is an abundance of houses, ruins and fertile land. Prices are so low that anyone can participate. Sure, you have to rebuild a house or cabin that has all the basics and is warm in winter. Below zero temperatures are normal in the mountains. But beyond that, there are no additional costs. No boats or helicopters needed to get here. Just a two days’ drive from Europe’s main population centers.
We have selected an abandoned village which has water, electricity and good internet. We identified and made contact with all the owners. The village is located on a south facing slope, with plenty of fertile though overgrown land. It can be reached using an ordinary car.
To my knowledge, this is the most accessible libertarian project to date. If you are tired of another winter of lock-downs, high cost of living, being surrounded by obedient normies? Join our project, buy yourself a plan-B, and start working on an optimistic alternative!
Yes, I have not kept my personal website up to date. The reason being that I felt like this project was not concrete enough. It was something on the side, not full time. Now that I am in Galicia I intend to dedicate all my time to it. Who knows, perhaps the rest of my life!
My previous article received many positive responses, including from a libertarian who is searching for a new home in southern Europe as we speak. At this stage it is already possible to go on a trip with three others and buy a hamlet with a lot more houses/ruins than we need for ourselves alone. But with a larger group of participants, our chance of success increases. We are going to get started as soon as possible with a website for those interested and a telegram group for participants who want to sign up.
Over the last 18 months, as governments around the world used the China flu to diminish already limited freedoms of the ordinary citizens with lockdowns, mask mandates and restrictions for those who do not wish to use an experimental medical treatment, many liberty minded individual are wondering, where can I go to?
The answer could be a Free Private City in Honduras.
Last April I completed a project which had taken me almost a year. For those who haven’t read the first article let me give you a recap: on the mostly uninhabited and remote Caribbean coast of Panama, a group of investors acquired a large piece of land, with several beaches on it the biggest stretching over 300 meters. However behind that postcard pretty beach is, or was, a massive swamp. And the first step for draining a swamp is contracting a Dutchman, yours truly.
Because of environmental concerns and logistic constrains the project relied exclusively on muscle power, my team averaged between 12 to 22 men and one woman for diversity purposes (just kidding, she was our cook). With the exception of chainsaws and boats no motorized equipment was used. Even the workers accommodation was entirely built out of wood, with chainsaw, hammer and nails.
Over the course of the project we dug two channels each close to one kilometer in length, and changed the course of a stream. A steady flow of water now debouches into the sea where there was none before we started. One thing I learned from the experience is that we as a society have a tendency to over-complicate (construction) projects. Here we are, no electricity, no cell phones, just a group of strong men with the most basic of tools. I drew out a simple plan with pen and paper, we map it out (ok I did use GPS there) and simply started working. Work hard consistently and eventually you get the job done.
By contrast: organizing the logistics for the use of heavy equipment not to mention permits would most likely have been more expensive and probably taken just as much time. In addition to the canals and housing, several hectares were cleared and planted with coconut trees, and many ornamental plants were planted for future gardens.
One day, you might put your feet on this beach, and take in the same stunning view. One day, but not any time soon. Because pristine views come with strings attached. In contrast to Disney movies, pure nature isn’t very friendly. It is an indifferent force, feeding you as much as it is trying to destroy you. And my job is to neutralize those destructive forces so that perhaps only a few years from now, you get to stay in a beautiful eco-resort in a remote region of Panama.