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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Our own Tortuga

Rules and laws are funny things. Just when you think you've got handle on how to stay out of trouble, the rules changes. Sometimes the laws themselves don't even have to change, just the interpretation or enforcement of said laws.

This article in “Lattitude 38” is a good example of the hardship caused by some newly appointed bureaucrat enforcing laws his own way. (scroll down to “Why Mexico is still a Third World Country”) US pleasure boats from the West Cost have been going down to Mexico for years. This year many boats have been impounded due to some bureaucrat's decree. Apparently he's in the wrong, but the boats are still impounded.

There's no need to go to Mexico to find that sort of thing. Anyone who's had to deal with a building inspector, tax assessor, or law enforcement can see how it goes.

Ever long to go to a place beyond the reach of government appointed busy bodies? After all, pirates had their Tortuga. For a time the island was ungoverned -a perfect base for pirates.

I did a quick search to see if there were any unclaimed territories out there today. I came up with three. There's Marie Byrd Land, a big chunk of land way down in the remotest Antarctic. Bir Tawil is a parched piece of land between Egypt and the Sudan. Then we have the big one, International waters.

Theoretically, one could float around far off shore from any nation and be free from their meddling. While that's true, sort of, eventually one has to come to land.

The Sea Steading Institute wants to build big floating cities modeled on Libertarian principles. It's not a new idea, but this is one of the better funded ones. It also looks like they may actually build one. However, there are problems. They won't be out in the open ocean. They are trying to cut a deal with different countries to anchor in their waters. They might achieve some sort of semi-independence due to having a lot of money to negotiate good terms. However, just having a lot of money already insulates people from laws. No need for a honking big raft.

What's a person of modest means to do? Sure, buying an old sailing boat and reaching International waters is very doable. However, one cannot stay out there forever. Eventually, one must resupply and make repairs. The pirates had their Tortuga -until it was brought under government control. What do we have?

In these modern times governments can enforce their will over every inch of the glob. Even the Antarctic isn't far enough. What's a freedom loving individual to do?

Here's the loophole: while governments can enforce their will anywhere, they can't enforce their will everywhere all the time. If they could, there would be no rebels in the mountains and jungles. No smugglers would exist. Drugs would not cross borders. Every J walker would be caught and fined. In spite of governmental desires, the total enforcement world isn't here, nor do I think it ever will be. (that's an essay for another day)

Anarchists speak of Temporary Autonomous Zones (TAZ). They take advantage of government's inability to have massive force in all places at once. It's the chance to operate without formal structures -at least for a period of time. People can gather in remote places and do what the heck they want -until the authorities get bothered enough to care and marshal the resources to do something about it.

Of course, before that point is reached, the group disperses and moves somewhere else. Now throw in a functional economy in your TAZ and wandering folk have a place to resupply.



  1. I wonder if we can ever find such a place and hold it long enough to do us any good?

    There must be a way...the secret is to find it and make it work!

  2. We can't change the world but we can change our own little worlds...

    1. If enough small worlds change, the big one does too.

  3. Here's the rub; The Federal Military Dictatorship of The United States claims jurisdiction over all the earth. They also claim the RIGHT to kill you if you refuse to submit. The only way you get that kind of freedom is to find some "cut & shoot" boys and start flying the black flag. ---Ray

    1. They make a lot of claims, but their reach falls short of their grasp. There are plenty of cracks in the system for naughty little boys and girls to play in.

  4. Hide in plane sight.Practice under-consumption.Really freak them out.
    consumption keeps the bankers, politicians, military and police going.

    1. Effective, and you don't even have to fire a shot or slit any throats.

  5. I know of islands in the Abacos which see maybe four boats per year. One of them even has fresh water and is uninhabited. Long term leases are available too.
    If a person were to set up shop after SHTF no one would every come to these places after fuel is no longer available and the Bahamian people have lost the art of sailing . So once it goes down you ain't going to ever get visiters....

    1. Shhhh, now everyone knows.

      Yeah, I've a few spots in mind myself,