Vote to Float

The Founders of the United States came up with a system of government that was revolutionary… for 1776. Borrowing from the free cities and republics of Europe as well as the Native American Iroquois Confederacy, they tried to approximate the consent of the governed as best they could – splitting powers among the branches of government, across the states, and between those states and the federal government.

Today, with power increasingly concentrated in Washington DC, many Americans are feeling the loss of their consent. What do you do when neither presidential pick represents your beliefs, and there is no credible third party to turn to for help?

Is there a third way?

This Sunday, I was joined by two leading experts on “competitive governance” – a truly revolutionary idea that promises to renew freedom of choice and consent of the governed. Joe Quirk, President of The Seasteading Institute, and open source legal theorist and Chapman University law professor Tom W. Bell will make the intellectual case for the most viable alternatives to the winner-takes-all election result.

The Seasteading Institute notes that 34% of registered voters chose not to vote in 2016. Their Vote to Float campaign aims to break dissatisfied voters out of the “Coke vs. Pepsi” mindset, and see the opportunities for choosing your own government once the seasteading concept becomes a reality. If you’re not familiar with seasteading, go back and listen to my archived shows with Joe Quirk and Patri Friedman (see below).

If you have been following the project, you’ll still want to listen for an update on the seasteading movement. We will also go into greater depth on the theoretical underpinnings behind private governance, as explored in Professor Bell’s 2018 book Your Next Government?  From the Nation State to Stateless Nations (Cambridge University Press 2018). Bell will also fill us in on the latest developments in the world of land-based start-up societies, free ports, SEZs and other examples of competitive governance.

Finally, we discussed the nature of consent in government in the 21st century, and how technologies like the internet, seasteads, and arbitration, enable possibilities that the Founders never imagined.

Benjamin Franklin once said: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."