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“When in the Course of human Events it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitle them a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
-United States Declaration of Independence
It was a hot July day in 1964.
Ernest Hemingway’s younger brother, Leicester, pushed an 8 ft. by 30 ft. bamboo raft off the southwestern coast of Jamaica. He steered the raft 12 nautical miles out and anchored it to the seafloor using an old Ford engine block. And then Leicester did the improbable: He started his own nation.
And it was legit.
Under the Guano Islands Act of 1856 — which stated that any U.S. citizen could claim unoccupied land containing valuable guano (see: bird poo) — Leicester declared the raft “New Atlantis” and enacted a constitution. He elected himself first president, created a national flag, and commissioned the printing of postage stamps. The stamps, he hoped, would turn a profit and fund the nation. Unfortunately, the Universal Postal Union refused to recognize them and the scheme fell apart. Years later, the raft blew away in a storm. And Atlantis was, yet again, swallowed up by the sea.
Leicester’s New Atlantis was a small part of a rising trend called the “micronation.”
A micronation, if you don’t know, is any entity that claims to be an independent nation or state, but isn’t recognized by the world governments as such. These days, “micronations” are about as common as state-subverting currencies… or Leviathan-limiting technologies. In fact, some researchers suggest there are more micronations in the world than there are established ones. And anyone, with the proper knowhow, can begin his or her own country. It’s easier than you might suspect.
Yes, starting your own country might seem like a nutty idea, but let us not forget that people just like you and I have been creating and exploding countries for millennia. Just like money, a country is nothing more than an agreement. A consensus. And starting your own country, we say, is the absolute best way to be free in an unfree world. Despite the odd looks you’ll undoubtedly receive.
“Ignorant of human history, most people treat such an idea with scorn,” Erwin Strauss writes in his book How to Start Your Own Country. “The world of the here and now is the only real world, they say. Talk of starting a new country is “escapism.” One’s duty is to direct one’s energies toward making contemporary society a better place to live. And so on. But those who know better realize that schism is the fundamental human method for dealing with frictions within groups of people. Diversity and dispersion are the great natural insurance policies. If those with the vision to make the fresh start had worked to keep the old society functioning instead, it would have been like the lifeboats trying to keep the Titanic afloat.”
Luckily, Strauss rightly notes, our past is littered with pioneers. Some with arrows in their backs, for sure. But other, more nimble creatures dodged the arrows of the less enlightened and went on to form new ways of being… new cultural identities… new worlds.
In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about one “new world” that was created only seven days ago. It’s a place that’ll never have a military. Where taxes are optional. And where Bitcoin is the preferred currency.
The country’s motto? “To live and let live.” Our kind of place.
After that, we’ll show you how this new country is part of a much larger conspiracy to make the world a better, free place. And we’ll also reveal something you can do to claim some of this newfound freedom for yourself today.
“Imagine a world,” Evander Smart writes for CryptoCoinsNews, “where the currency is not made more and more worthless every day by a private company and a government out of control.
“Imagine a place where private ownership is respected, above all else, by citizens as well as by the government itself. Imagine a land where your digital currency is not regulated out of existence, or double-taxed to fund the coffers, but is indeed the currency of choice. If you long for such a place of such simple, honest values, welcome to Liberland, a haven for your digitally-encrypted, libertarian dreams.”
If you’ve never heard of this tiny nation, don’t feel too bad. It is, after all, only a week old. And it’s tiny: Liberland occupies a three square mile plot of land between Serbia and Croatia, making it the third smallest country on Earth (The only countries smaller are Monaco and the Vatican).
Liberland was formed by one Czech politician, Vit Jedlicka, who took advantage of a border dispute between Serbia and Croatia. Neither country, Jedlicka learned, laid claim to the land. “It was therefore terra nullius, a no man’s land,” the country’s website reads, “until Jedlicka seized the opportunity and on April 13, 2015 formed a new state in this territory — Liberland.”
The objective, Jedlicka, 31, told Time, is “to build a country where honest people can prosper without being oppressed by governments making their lives unpleasant through the burden of unnecessary restrictions and taxes.
“We have been dissatisfied with our government,” Jedlicka says. “It takes money out of people’s pockets and sends it to rich oligarchs through the system of subsidies. Elections cannot change this because the media are now under the control of the oligarchs. So we decided we want out. We decided to start a country of our own in Terra Nullius. In No Man’s Land.”
And with only seven days’ work, Liberland has open borders, a flag, a coat of arms, and a Twitter account.
What else, we ask, does a country need? Really?
We attempted contacting Liberland’s president last week for an interview. He’s a busy man these days.
It wasn’t until late last night that we received a response.
“Sorry for not replying for long,” Jedlicka wrote. “Your question got lost in 150,000 emails….
“We got requests for citizenship from 194 countries. Over 150,000 people are interested in gaining our citizenship. We are fully committed to our goal: which is building of free republic of Liberland to its full potential.”
We sent Jedlicka three preliminary questions. It’s not the most comprehensive interview, but, hey… he’s a president. He has things to do.
Here are his short answers…
LFT: What’s the first step to starting your own country? How did you begin Liberland?
President Jedlička: We declared it and let the media know. We have more than 150,000 people registered who are interested in getting citizenship. Now we need to permanently inhabit the land. We have only one person to secure our state now.
LFT: How would someone else go about starting their own country?
President Jedlička: There is very little terra nullius left on earth. Our was very last one. So it will probably be done more by separatism.
LFT: How does one benefit by becoming a citizen of Liberland?
President Jedlička: We are planning to be tax haven just like Lichtenstein, Monaco or Hong Kong. Economical freedom is very beneficial to everybody.
[Have a question for Jedlicka? Ask it: Chris@lfb.org.]
Liberland, just so you know, is still accepting applications. According to the website, “Liberland needs people who:
- “Have respect for other people and respect the opinions of others, regardless of race, ethnicity, orientation or religion
- “Have respect for private ownership which is untouchable
- “Do not have communist, nazi or other extremist past
- And “Were not punished for criminal offences”
Again, Liberland is only one of thousands of micronations that have popped up in the past few decades…
The rise of micronations is an interesting topic unto itself. But we believe it’s only a small part of a much larger trend. We’re talking about a secret global conspiracy with only one intention in mind: to make the world a better, nicer, and freer place.
Mark Lutter of FEE.org refers to it as the “Age of Exit.” A time when centralization is abandoned in favor of smaller, more experimental forms of government.
“The 20th century,” Lutter writes, “was an era defined by the clash of ideologies. Fascism. Communism. Democracy.
“As adherents mobilized armies, the implicit assumption was that to be correct was to be universalized — by force if necessary. My ideology is the best, they thought, and we are so sure of it that we are willing to impose it on everyone. Luckily, we’re moving away from such ideological crusades.”
Instead of ongoing ideological battles, Lutter says, the new century will be one of picking apart power through slow political decentralization: “Rather than enforcing a single political model as ideal for all of humanity, people will instead choose from a sort of political menu. Political decisions will be made on a more localized level, encouraging experimentation and innovation.” Lutter calls this movement the “Age of Exit,” based loosely on the work of economist Albert Hirschman. Namely Hirschman’s distinction between what he termed “voice” and “exit.”
“In any given system,” Lutter explains, “voice is essentially about expression: protesting, voting, speaking out, or otherwise raising your concerns and hoping the organization responds to them. Exit is about leaving the system to join — or maybe even create — a new one.”
Centralized power, Lutter says, is dying in favor of new, smaller, and freer systems. Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein are all small examples of the direction in which the world is creeping. And this political decentralization, he says, “can be broken down into two important components:
- First, the advantages of large states are diminishing. Despite bleeding headlines, the world is a far more peaceful place than it used to be, which reduces the necessity for large, costly armies. The world is also becoming more open. Because there is increasingly free trade among nations, there is less value to creating insular regional economic blocs.
- Second, the advantages of local governance are increasing. National governments are slow to respond to the ever-changing needs of citizens. Local governments are able to experiment at lower cost and quickly copy successful experiments.
In this day and age, your opportunities for becoming a freer, healthier, and more fulfilled human abound…
But fortune, to conjure up the old cliche, favors the bold.
Your first challenge is finding the diamond in the dunghill. Your second is being brave enough to heed the opportunity when that diamond is at your feet. Digging for the diamonds and quietly chucking them to your feet is our job. Sometimes, surprisingly, we accomplish this task.
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I’ll talk to you tomorrow,