Episode-1428- Libertas a Virtual Nation — 37 Comments

  1. This reminds me of an episode of Star Trek Voyager. Unimatrix Zero. It was a glitch in the borg program where the drones could meet in a virtual world and be completely autonomous and have their individuality back, at least while they were “asleep”

  2. Having just developed Rickostan, I now need (demand) everyone’s money. For those who give freely and generously, utopia, in a digital sense, awaits you. For those who resist, we will bomb the hell out of you until you capitulate! Nothing but love though. 😉
    What do you mean we have no bombs? DAM! ah… we are a peaceful and benevolent nation. Can we be friends? 😀 :p

    Just being whacky. A very interesting concept. I like.

  3. I’m about 30 mins in to the podcast atm. I had to stop and post a reply when Jack got to the Swiss.

    I really can’t remember how the conversation went, but I will give the idea.
    During the rise of Nazi Germany, a German general went to watch a shooting exhibition by the Swiss military. The skill of the Swiss marksman was well known.

    So the German general asked his Swiss counterpart: “How many marksman do you have?”
    The Swiss general said, “About 5000.”
    Then the German general said, “What if I was to show up with 10,000″ troops?”
    The Swiss general said, “We’ll shoot twice.”

    • Close but all the Swiss are rifleman.

      The story is supposed to be of the build up to WWI, it is basically as follows,

      ” Kaiser Wilhelm made a state visit Switzerland shortly before the Great War. After reviewing an honor guard of Swiss soldiers he stopped to compliment their non-com on the men’s soldierly appearance.

      Half-jokingly he asked the old Sergeant-Major what would little Switzerland do if the Imperial German army invaded them with a force twice as strong.

      The gray-haired Sergeant thought for a moment before answering: “Then Your Excellency, we would all have to fire our rifles twice!”

      I am not sure if the story is true, it is however plausible that it holds some truth.

  4. I’m trying to wrap my head around what the difference is between the “internet with bitcoin” and a “virtual nation.”

    What I have come up with is the only difference is the legal construct called “citizenship.” So, the goal of a “virtual nation” is to basically have other nations recognize an individual’s citizenship of the “virtual nation.” The “soft force” that Jack mentions would be the pressure that would cause other nations to recognize the “virtual nation.” Thereby, when the physical nation (say the U.S.) comes to Joe Bob and demands something of him he would say, “I am a citizen of Libertas and I was doing business in Libertas, thus it does not concern you (U.S. government).”

    It seems to me that conflict resolution, ‘marriage’ covenants / divorces, and much of what Jack mentioned that could be done on-line has the possibility of being done already without a “virtual nation.”

    Have I summed it up, or am I missing more?

    • No you are missing it to a degree. I knew “bitcoin does this” would be an objection, the response to that is no it really doesn’t. Bitcoin is only a virtual currency. That is powerful but limited.

      Could you build this type of thing without a “nation frame” I guess but it would never be as powerful. Sure you want other nations to recognize you, but if I had to choose between Japan recognizing Libertas and saying they recognize it as a nation, I will take Amazon.

      I think this is hard for people to conceive of. Hard to grasp the why when we currently do not have the what.

      This is kind of like asking for a ball to be made for a game that has yet to exist.

      Imagine that basket ball didn’t exist and I came up with the idea. I say to play this game we need a new ball. It needs to be round, orange, etc.

      Now someone says we have plenty of balls, use a baseball, I say no it needs to bounce on a hard court, so oh use a tennis ball. I am like no that is too small we need to pass it over distance and move it up and down the field of play. Oh use a football. No you move the ball up the court by dribbling. What is dribbling? Bouncing the ball with one hand. Oh use a soccer ball, that is round and it will work. Now when I explain why you need a basketball due to the goal, the court, the way the game is played most people would say, a soccer ball does those things.

      Are they wrong? Not really I can dribble, pass and shoot a soccer ball like a basketball. It will “work” but how many people play basketball with a soccer ball? Would an orange soccer ball be good enough?

      No it really would not be.

      Now if you saw the court and the game being played you would better understand why the existing balls are not what we need.

      See the problem is people are looking for the ability to say, “since I am a Libertasian you can’t tell me to _______”, that isn’t the point. The point is to begin to voluntarily replace government with free market solutions, not to avoid paying taxes or make it legal for you to smoke pot for instance.

  5. If Libertas could gain recognition from one country that would allow it to establish an embassy then real passports could be issued. Wonder what would happen if I presented my Libertas passport to the TSA at the airport.


  6. I see the idea of a virtual nation being just like the idea of money. It works because enough people recognize its perceived value. Once enough people recognize its value, its value stands on its own. Jack, of all people – with your understanding of money, I’m shocked that you didn’t draw the analogy. Great show. Great mental calisthenics.

    • Wow sent them a contact request, the way this matches what I suggested is almost a perfect dove tail, thank you.

  7. “Great Britain recognized the island state of Singapore. How do you recognize an island?… Didn’t we meet last year at the peninsula club?” –Adrian Cronauer

  8. Nations are, to some degree, formed by individuals with a loyalty to that nation based on something. There are a number of different types of organizations that resemble nations to various degrees and in different ways. Religions have a common value system but little in the way of a distinct economy. The show has caused me to evaluate the similarities between gangs and nations and there is some fertile ground in that comparison. Gangs have internal economies, shared values, etc. Most gangs do have an internal command and control structure and many would have a slight problem with the NAP as violence is used to enforce loyalty in many cases. The problem of survival through the fragile middle ground is very real and I am looking for structures with similarities that have had success.

  9. Jack, thanks for responding to my question. I can see what you are saying in your analogy to basketball. A ‘virtual nation’ is an ‘undiscovered country’ and it will take pioneers in their “virtual covered wagons,” as you say in the show, to really see what the “land” offers and how it can be cultivated and developed.

    I have always wondered myself what it is that really “makes a nation” anyway. A “virtual nation” really challenges our understanding of a nation and gets the mind churning. Thanks, Jack!

    Thanks Alex for the link to Bitnation!

  10. Great show Jack!! Awesome subject, awesome viewpoint and what a liberating concept. I can tell it was a great show because your rooster kept giving you a standing ovation in the background. I guess you’ve got some well-studied, min-archist chickens there. Awesome! :))

  11. Well, any comparison of religions, gangs, etc with the virtual nation idea runs against the problem Jack alluded to on balls-for-sports-that-don’t-exist-yet.

    The best examples of something like a Virtual Nation I can think of are:

    Religious Denominations: Strongly unifying set of beliefs/mission; distributed geographically; volunteer driven (membership, service, contribution); recognized by government as entities, non-violent, membership confers reputation to other members; members try to do business w/ each other first,

    The Amish: Strongly unifying set of beliefs (and often heritage); live in proximity to each other but undefined zones; codes of dress, speech, behavior; economic activity between members (first) and outside (second). Non-violent.

    Indian Nations: Unified by heritage/genealogy, some cooperative economic activity, *recognized by national government as quazi-independent, live in/near defined zones.

    Gangs: unified by shared-culpability in criminal activities (also shared beliefs), cooperative economic activity, located in distributed zones around country (turf),

    Others I can think of: Tribes, Ethnic communities in cities (Little Italy), Fraternities(?), sports team fans, others?

    Obviously, there are similarities and differences, but humanity has long recognized the utility of belonging to these sorts of groups. Even when said groups have no territory.

  12. Jack these novels “Daemon” and “Freedom” by Daniel Suarez has always reminded me of your concept with living your life and not worrying about the Government as much as you can. After this episode I thought you really need to read these books. Now I know you read fiction before you go to bed.

    • Neal Stephenson wrote a great book exploring the operation of factions within contractual structures in Diamond Age. It was a real page turner as well.

    • I read “Daemon” but not all the way through. It began with a sex scene that abused a woman and it seemed the author was using this scene in a gratuitous manner. It didn’t further the story but simple drew eyes to the book so that people would buy it. Just so you know.

      I read the book “Daemon” partly because I used to be a UNIX kernel hacker. I know what daemons are but the same rhetorical elements were used over and over so I grew tired of it and put the book down. Never finished it.

      One of Daniel Suarez’s better books is, “Influx,” and I recommend it. It has nothing to do with this current thread but it shows his writing has improved to the point where he doesn’t have to depend on sex scenes to sell books. I heard him interviewed on anther podcast. He seems like a nice guy.

      Lest anyone think I’m a prude, I read “The Wizard’s First Rule” by Terry Goodkind. Holy crap! It was like Fifty Shades of Lord of the Rings. It was a good book though. (And I never read Fifty Shades of Gray but I have heard of it.)

      Alex Shrugged

    • Not what but whom is the Insidious?

      He’s right over there, a fellow blogger on this site.

  13. True to form Jack, you have struck upon another brilliant (and creative) idea. I hope we see a virtual nation in our future….actually, I am fairly certain we will.

    Okay, now I am going to nit-pick but that’s only because you make a lot of comments as facts that just ain’t so. I know this has no bearing on the subject at hand but I just wish you would do a bit more fact-checking b/c when you recite “facts,” they get repeated. Here’s two examples from today:

    One that I have heard you mention several times is the implication that individuals can find more freedom in Costa Rica. Well, I have spent a fair amount of time in that country and I will say that the only reason you might feel more free is because the government is pretty incompetent. Costa Rica imposes legal mandates on its residents up the ying yang. Here’s a good example: one of my ex-pat (an American resident of CR) friends got a visit from Costa Rica child protective services because he refused to submit his school-aged children to the vaccination protocol. He was forced to vaccinate his kids, no exceptions, or they were literally going to take his children from him. Well, he should have just home-schooled, you say? Nope, home schooling is illegal in Costa Rica.

    On to my second example: Contrary to your statement, common law marriage is not recognized in most states. Only a very few states (7,including TX) recognize it. Look it up.

    • Common law marriage is the defacto rule throughout the USA although in most states one need not go through the courts to get a divorce unless you live in Texas. Any children begot under such circumstances are still a man’s responsibility… marriage or not and that is enforced by the courts… common law or not. The problem with the defacto rule is that neither man nor woman is protected by formal marriage. Marriage allows the children to be automatically presumed to the the husband’s (whether he is the father or not). It also allows the husband’s property to go to the wife automatically upon his death, regardless of what his family might think of her.

      I met a middle-aged woman who was driving a bus. She was a good woman. You could tell by how she treated the people who came on the bus. She told me that she had lived with a man for many years. They decided they would build a farm together but they wouldn’t take out a loan. He had bought the land and she helped him build their house. But he died young and they had not married. No contracts had been drawn up and when the family took over the property she protested. Nevertheless, the family believed that if their son had thought her care beyond his death was so important, he would have married her.

      That pretty much says it all right there.

      So as far as I know, she’s still driving that bus… with a severely reduced prospect of finding another partner.


    • Looks like my reply should have gone here!

      So actually, to build on AdNatNet’s comment, Common Law marriage is NOT the de facto rule in the US. That’s a myth. Common Law marriage only exists in the following states: Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Iowa, Montana, Utah, Texas and the District of Columbia. Anywhere outside of those 9 states or DC and you are out of luck! Sorry to nitpick, but I’ve seen some bad results when people in the states not listed think they have a common law marriage and split, and they really have nothing.

  14. The infrastructure for this is currently being designed. Here’s a link to an open think tank that’s working on an open source infrastructure for a distributed, consensus building community platform.

    There are probably a few others around as well. I’m betting we will see something like libertopia in some form within 2-5 years, but nobody is sure how it will work just yet =).

  15. I do not see how this builds resiliency in our lives since it has a real dependency on things that are currently controlled by our tyrants. One, we still have import export tarrifs, taxes, and regulations when moving products over any geography where our tyrants control the shipment of goods. Two, participation in such a virtual community does not negate the laws that govern the physical world. Those citizens are still bound by the laws of the land. Three, such a virtual nation would not have the infrastructure to support its citizens outside of the virtual boundaries. I laugh, but who would build the roads Jack. What would stop a rise of the Monguls from conquering the world or target citizens of this virtual nation (VN), destroying the concept.

    I do like the idea that creating an economy around a virtual nation would encourage so much commerce. Though I feel this type of thinking could be dangerous to the libertarian movement, as once this ideas begins to get a lot of momentum, it is not uncommon for folks to lose their lives living within the virtuality of these concepts. My example of this is three letters “WoW” or World of Warcraft. So many people could see these as a way to escape their tyranny instead of dealing with it.

    This could be exactly how the government could deal with all these libertarian troublemakers for them. They would most likely support their virtual nations, and let them carry on as such to over indulge themselves in the virtuality and blissful existance the citizens of such VN enjoy and the real world soaks them up into their prison system and wires them in to said VN.

    On other notes, this forum of an idea is very liberating to feel that we could impose real change and expand our own economies around such a concept. A place where we could experience liberty as it was meant to be experienced.

    BUT once again Jack these are very dangerous thoughts, as I want liberty for REAL and not in a virtual environment. The battle against Tyranny is REAL and will continue perhaps at a much faster pace if we and our libertarian friends all go hide in a hole with internet to enjoy our VN utopia(s).

    I will be standing on the front lines and doing what I can to keep the light shining on tyranny until we run it out of this country.


    • The issue of land and goods is the one question I had to this being an issue. Jack I think you talked about Amazon in one of responses above and I was thinking the same thing when you mention corporations lining up for this.

      How this provides value to the citizens of both a county (ie, America, Tanzania) is that if I was a farmer or bee keeper, I wanted to sell some fruit, veggies and honey to another citizen of my virtual nation. Even though I live in Tanzania I could subscribe to an app or program developed for Libertasians that would help fellow citizens in finding my farm or storefront in the physical world. I would sell in both realms but maybe I would give a discount to fellow citizens because I would be using another app to “sell” my goods to the consumer and they would pay me in Libertas Coin. Since this transaction would only occur in Libertas no taxes from Tanzania would be incurred and thus the discount would probably put both citizens ahead money wise.

      It would be great for this to happen for Amazon and I definitely see Amazon wanting to do this. I think they even had an issue with selling goods and avoiding state taxes for a while back, so I am not sure how they would get around that. But any deals made like Craigslist, in person or involving software or expertise could easily be made this way.

      So much to think about, still need to digest some of it.

      • And you know what, this is what Peter Theil wanted for PayPal, it wasn’t the time, perhaps now it is.

    • I don’t know what the fuck you are talking about but no one altered your comment. Perhaps you used code or something that word press removed. Anyway as I said in the episode I am not looking for what won’t work or what isn’t far enough, but what can be done, starting now.

      When they prefect matter energy transport you can get from A to B in a micro second, until then every journey will have to begin with a few steps.

  16. Woah, no offense intended, nor was I accusing anyone of altering my post, only that my comment doesnt deliver the same intent without the <sarcasm> tags. My fault for not reviewing the tags and attributes below comment box, but I have no way of changing or deleting now posted.

    I therefore will try and clarify that I love this idea and thought process. I see real benefit from doing something like this, although there is a very dark side to doing something like this. In dabbling in the virtual realities of today one can easily become consumed in a virtual market and lose contact with the REAL problems and issues of today.

    Perhaps even one day and maybe sooner than anticipated these virtual concepts will materialize and even become something that may be traded on the exchange (Wall Street) or something similar thereto.

    My negative remarks were tagged with sarcastic connotations that clearly lose their meaning and appear to reverse my stance when not present. Hence the reason for my follow on comment.

    I do find fascinating the idea of belonging to a virtual nation where your value and wealth are based on your ethical dealings with others, and may give you certain privilige to buy certain goods and services that may nto be available to those outside of that network.

    Again, apologies for my previous post.

  17. I don’t usually read comments for episodes. Is it unusual for a comment thread to live this long after an epidode airs?

    I think the idea of Libertas, as Jack has framed it and as others have speculated in their literature, is to facilitate the (re)expansion of individual claim to self responsibility and sovereignty(I wish I had a better word in this context and am not implying any support for the sovereign man point of view). A few people are beginning to understand what they have sacrificed for the convenience of standards, both imposed and voluntary, in their lives. The standard career path, investment approaches, lifestyle, and even domestic relationship do not suit everyone. Humans are innately thinkers and innovators who use those qualities for the betterment of our lives. The standard education has diminished that quality and the standard consumer lifestyle has reduced the need for innovative thinking in order to be comfortable. Insofar as most people can remain comfortable, they won’t really worry about any change. More and more people are becoming less and less comfortable economically and they are starting to look for the culprit. Most won’t ever think to check a mirror.

  18. One of the best podcasts ever. By anyone.

    Conceptually dead on, & the only way to have force as a community for the future. Aggression cannot work against the might of Military & Government police agencies. This is the way to gain power without bloodshed. The strength of a non violent VN will be respected as it grows in economic scale.

    Having a group of people in a virtual Nation who can combine their assets as a business force to embrace or reject various scenarios on grand scale is breath taking. That you can stay in your current location & participate via the web is the key as few people will move far for a variety of reasons.

    This is the future, and one of the greatest concepts Jack has ever come up with. It is so incredibly powerful that I think it went over many peoples heads. As if introducing the concept of a lever or a wheel to a population who has seen neither, initially the importance is not grasped.

    That show should be listened to once a week until it sinks in.

    True freedom lies in a virtual Nation we can occupy economically while also being members of our current Nation for the day to day stuff.

    This concept has so much potential we should all just sit down & reflect on it after hearing the show. And do it often until you see the incredible horizon of the VN and understand it’s strengths.

    An idea this creative & developed further calls for a Laureate nomination……

  19. I like what this guy has to say about the nerds building infrastructure themselves and not waiting anymore on the politicians to do it:
    Engineers vs. Thugs: the Power of Bitcoin, Cryptography & Tech
    Brave The World
    Vinay Gupta is one of those unique minds. A pragmatist without the negativity, and a visionary unleashed from ideology.

  20. This entire episode was fantastic! All I could think was, sign me up and tell me what currency to convert my $500 into! Really, I agree that this could totally be done, and be really innovative and show the world what liberty is about.

    One thing is just still bugging me…Jack, you mentioned “common law marriage” and seemed to imply that that was good pretty much anywhere. That’s a myth. Common Law marriage only exists in the following states: Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Iowa, Montana, Utah, Texas and the District of Columbia. Anywhere else and you are out of luck! Sorry to nitpick, but I’ve seen some bad results when people in the states not listed think they have a common law marriage and split, and they really have nothing.