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August 27, 2014 9:39 AM   Subscribe

Galt's Gulch Chile is (was) meant to be a modern and real-world replica of Ayn Rand's objectivist hide-out in Atlas Shrugged. Wealthy investors (or at least folks with a lot of bitcoin) envisioned a protected libertarian community where they could ride out the impending social and financial downfall of American society. Unfortunately for those taken in by the project, it appears now that the whole enterprise was a greed-driven scam.
posted by stinkfoot (185 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite

 
Shocking!
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:46 AM on August 27 [21 favorites]


Poignant Schadenfreude.
posted by stbalbach at 9:46 AM on August 27 [22 favorites]


In case any of you, like me, were confused by the punctuation quirk in the title:

The name "Galt's Gulch Chile" is also the address. You may wish to punctuate it as "Galt's Gulch, Chile."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:47 AM on August 27 [4 favorites]


I am Jack's complete lack of...well I should say surprise but let's be honest I mean empathy.
posted by trackofalljades at 9:47 AM on August 27 [62 favorites]


I'm shocked, shocked to find greed, lack of trust, and rampant con artistry in this movement of people who believe that greed is sufficient to produce a working market economy.

Actually, I'm not at all shocked. If you believed in Galt's Gulch Chile, I have an in-flight reclining seat-back to sell you.
posted by gauche at 9:49 AM on August 27 [5 favorites]


LOOTERS!
posted by Damienmce at 9:49 AM on August 27 [4 favorites]


PARASITES.
posted by Smart Dalek at 9:49 AM on August 27 [6 favorites]


Lol
posted by drezdn at 9:51 AM on August 27 [8 favorites]


I wonder if the original developers chose the environmental reserve on purpose, because they think that all property should be subject to purchase and sale? After all, there's no reason to think they couldn't be both conmen and libertarians...
posted by suelac at 9:51 AM on August 27


Are Randians really that naive?
posted by Thorzdad at 9:51 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Lovely how the comments on her article are blaming Chilean regulations for this, rather than credulous libertaerians or the actual con artists who fleeced them, or the underlying philosophy that sanctifies screw jobs like this.
posted by fatbird at 9:51 AM on August 27 [12 favorites]


There are several lengthy comments at the bottom of the last link which explain how some of the shadiness went down (and bonus! responses from one of the con artists responsible).
posted by stinkfoot at 9:52 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Does this mean they lost their trademark and Galt's Gulch Chili will be on the market again?

Are Randians really that naive?

Inherently, yes.
posted by griphus at 9:53 AM on August 27 [44 favorites]


This is my shocked face.
posted by supermassive at 9:53 AM on August 27 [5 favorites]


"Freedom Consultant" ...? Just... wat.
posted by slater at 9:54 AM on August 27 [4 favorites]


For a few months now, what I call "the founding fathers" have been trying to purchase all rights to GGC and to reboot. It is not just a financial investment to them. They want to live in a community with like-minded people; they want the promise of freedom.
Sounds like Hanlon's razor applies here: "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." Probably some of the project organizers were always planning to scam the investors, but others genuinely believed in the project and were just hasty or ignorant of zoning laws.
posted by Rangi at 9:54 AM on August 27 [3 favorites]


extremely savvy investors committed small fortunes

By definition, this is incorrect.
Or perhaps mere savviness is not sufficient to be a successful investor or business proprietor.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:54 AM on August 27 [8 favorites]


The internal contradictions and cognitive dissonance in that last link are almost too much to process. It's like her head is full of noise from the secondhand ideas that aren't connected up to anything in there.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:55 AM on August 27 [13 favorites]


Atlas Mugged
posted by Mr. Six at 9:55 AM on August 27 [98 favorites]


Oh, you've got me so intrigued, but I was hoping for "more inside". Anyone have any further links about how this scam is falling apart, who's suing who, etc.?
posted by sixohsix at 9:56 AM on August 27


"extremely savvy investors committed small fortunes."
oh man, is it acceptable to crack into the Laphroaig 18 this early
posted by boo_radley at 9:56 AM on August 27 [28 favorites]


I hope that one day these idiots will actually succeed in establishing a community like this and that when it fails the surrounding communities will have to ride in and save the day.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:58 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


This is it. This is the apex of my life in terms of schadenfreude. I do not know how I will ever get to feel such a perfect, Platonic ideal example of schadenfreude again. I don't know whether to feel happy or sad about this.
posted by seyirci at 9:58 AM on August 27 [97 favorites]


"I suppose there is some comfort in being fleeced in good company, in being in the company of some of the smartest businessmen in the movement."

I would be concerned if the smartest businessmen in the movement of which I am a part fell for a basically by-the-numbers Florida timeshare scam that had an unsustainable economic agenda stapled to the side of it.

I mean I'd love to hear what the supply line to Galt's Gulch Chile was going to look like.
posted by griphus at 9:59 AM on August 27 [53 favorites]


I would really have to loved to have seen it succeed, a valley filled with blowhard bloggers trying to earn a crust by selling newsletter subscriptions to each other.
posted by Damienmce at 9:59 AM on August 27 [31 favorites]


I hope that one day these idiots will actually succeed in establishing a community like this and that when it fails the surrounding communities will have to ride in and save the day.

Aka Wall Street
posted by Mr. Six at 9:59 AM on August 27 [10 favorites]


The Card Cheat: "I hope that one day these idiots will actually succeed in establishing a community like this and that when it fails the surrounding communities will have to ride in and save the day."

Sounds like those bridges have been burnt. They might need to rely on government welfare.
posted by adamrice at 10:00 AM on August 27


That last link includes a mesmerizing "Testimonials" sidebar featuring a rotating class of gray-haired white guys. (There are a few exceptions—still white guys, just without gray hair.)

I'm having trouble looking away.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:01 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]






griphus: "
I mean I'd love to hear what the supply line to Galt's Gulch Chile was going to look like.
"

From the Dollar Vigilante link:
* A warm and moderate, southern California/Mediterranean-style climate
* Proximity to a modern city and an international airport, but also being far away enough from civilization to be sheltered from the coming global fiat currency collapse
* Completely self-sustainable, with water, power and organic farming
* Something affordable for young families and for those without millions of dollars in assets
* A community philosophically based on freedom


*siiiiip *

theres just something warm and peaty about the 18
posted by boo_radley at 10:04 AM on August 27 [25 favorites]


That last link includes a mesmerizing "Testimonials" sidebar featuring a rotating class of gray-haired white guys. (There are a few exceptions—still white guys, just without gray hair.)

That sounds like the creepiest lava lamp ever.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:04 AM on August 27 [10 favorites]


Well, there's still always my Galt's Gulch Chili- requires remarkable self-reliance and force of will to consume, goes through you like a train wreck. Also completely unregulated by the FDA.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:04 AM on August 27 [46 favorites]


For the moment, suffice it to say there is basis for various lawsuits; some are being pursued.

But how can these lawsuits be implemented, carried out, and enforced without some sort of system that governs and enforces communally agreed-upon standards of ethics and living? Some sort of, God, I wish there was a word for it... I'll coin the term "govern-ment" and hope it catches on.

Shouldn't the free market be able to take care of this without some so-called "govern-ment" interfering in the uninhibited flow of commerce?
posted by Shepherd at 10:05 AM on August 27 [36 favorites]


Thomas Frank on nasty little anti-utopias, these projects born of delusion compounded by delusion. From The Baffler in 2013.
posted by chavenet at 10:06 AM on August 27 [7 favorites]


Not to be confused with Galt's Gulch Chilli.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:06 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


It looks like there's a similar investment opportunity heavily advertised at thedailybell.com:Vida Cannabis.

From the article:"Vida Cannabis spokeswoman Janice Matthews said Tuesday the company, which is not publicly traded, had no comment on the securities commission [Nova Scotia Securities Commission] alert."
posted by the Real Dan at 10:07 AM on August 27


From the last link, she says: "(BTW, I have made no money from the project other than the speaking fee.)"

Why would a Galtian superman post in such a way? It strongly implies that greed, monetary gain, etc could be seen as compromising or in some other way being inappropriate.

Also: HA HA HA!
posted by sotonohito at 10:07 AM on August 27 [12 favorites]


Hey, remember that time you were in high-school and you read some Ayn Rand and you found yourself shaking your head and thinking: "This makes a lot of sense." But then you grew up and realized what an idiot you were?

Memories.
posted by Fizz at 10:08 AM on August 27 [24 favorites]


I suppose there is some comfort in being fleeced in good company, in being in the company of some of the smartest businessmen in the movement. I am not reassured. Perhaps it is because I am an Irish peasant and what reassures me is owning the land under my feet.

This is a really telling sentence. The whole article sort of pretends toward the usual Libertarian facade of hard-headed rationalism, but there is a strong strain of looking back to an imaginary past of "self-sufficiency" and "freedom." The big lie of the Libertarian path is that its endpoint is feudalism; a self-proclaimed Irish peasant should more than a little wary of that.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:08 AM on August 27 [11 favorites]


> I do not know how I will ever get to feel such a perfect, Platonic ideal example of schadenfreude again.

Wait six months.
posted by at by at 10:10 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Disregarding the pleasure of schadenfreude, it might be better for everyone if communities like this did work as intended. Then we could have a bunch of Socialist communes, Objectivist gulches, libertarian seasteads, anarchist collectives, Amish villages, etc, and everyone else who just wants a standard liberal republic can live under the US federal government without the extremists trying to push their own utopian views on the general public.
posted by Rangi at 10:10 AM on August 27 [9 favorites]


Are Randians really that naive?

Ever since encountering Rynd as a teenager, the philosophy has always struck me as a combination of greed and blindness. The greed is obvious, but there's the weird assumptions of "fairness" throughout, and assumptions about that legal libertarian utopia will persist, simply because.

Somehow the courts will continue to exist and will settle and police all disputes, even with the "corrupt governments" they have to deal with. That national security will somehow still function, that some group entity will pave roads and keep airports open. There are handwavey answers to lots of these questions, but things like GGC show how phantasmal the "answers" really are.
posted by bonehead at 10:10 AM on August 27 [25 favorites]


Unfortunately for those taken in by the project, it appears now that the whole enterprise was a greed-driven scam.

Well, that's market/capitalist libertarianism in a nutshell, innit?
posted by zombieflanders at 10:11 AM on August 27 [16 favorites]


Great link, chavenet!
posted by stinkfoot at 10:11 AM on August 27


... that at the whole enterprise was a greed-driven scam.

I can't tell if "the whole enterprise" refers to just Galt's Gulch, or all of Libertarianism. I like that.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:12 AM on August 27


> Disregarding the pleasure of schadenfreude, it might be better for everyone if communities like this did work as intended.

I don't think so. We get to advance as a society as a fringe benefit of the continuous friction that comes from ideas being tested and conflicting with each other. It really only goes wrong when pure ideologies get to overwhelm a pragmatism guided by humanistic principles.
posted by at by at 10:16 AM on August 27 [5 favorites]


Ayn Rand Away With The Money
posted by gwint at 10:17 AM on August 27 [15 favorites]


Are Randians really that naive?

I'd go so far as to say that naivety is their distinguishing characteristic.
posted by empath at 10:17 AM on August 27 [10 favorites]


Disregarding the pleasure of schadenfreude, it might be better for everyone if communities like this did work as intended

Some could, but I just can't figure out how an Objectivist one would function considering the big emphasis on removing the community from the outside world. I mean sure you got your acres and acres of land in Chile and people with money willing to move in. Okay, part one is done. Now onto part two: who brought the plumbing pipes?
posted by griphus at 10:18 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Are Randians really that naive?

This particular Randian is, um, well:

"I had the opportunity to ask a question of the salesman who showed my husband and me "our property." I claimed it because I fell head over heels for the most beautiful tree I've ever seen. I felt an instant connection as though the two of us were old souls who had found each other. I could believe it, I could see it... waking up each morning and having coffee under that tree, telling it about my plans for the day."
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:19 AM on August 27 [12 favorites]


I'm sure we'd all like to live in a remote community, surrounded by Randians. What could there be to worry about?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:19 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


The reason that works for the Amish, Rangi, is that the Amish live a lifestyle that is remarkably self-sufficient in small numbers, and therefore can actually exist the way it exists. It would not scale to the size of a country--they do business with the outside world for a number of things, they just happen to be able to generate enough income coming IN to pay for everything going OUT--and they don't want it to, and that all works out. But the other things don't work that way. Socialism doesn't work if only the poor get to be socialists; you have to have some resources to distribute to make distributing resources mean anything. Libertarianism doesn't work without a seriously exploited underclass, although I'm not at all convinced it would work even then. Those things have to come from somewhere.
posted by Sequence at 10:19 AM on August 27 [8 favorites]


griphus: Does this mean they lost their trademark and Galt's Gulch Chili will be on the market again?

I would love to see a Libertarian Guy Feiri add Galt's Gulch Chili to the menu. Occupy Flavortown, indeed.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:21 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Hey, just because you believe in an unrealistic moral-social philosophy, doesn't mean that you can't believe in a wacked out psycho-religious one too!
posted by bonehead at 10:22 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Libertarianism, founded on the sacred principles laid out by Ayn Rand, can never fail. It can only be failed.

(Ahh, schadenfreude with my hot coffee.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:23 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


Disregarding the pleasure of schadenfreude, it might be better for everyone if communities like this did work as intended. Then we could have a bunch of Socialist communes, Objectivist gulches, libertarian seasteads, anarchist collectives, Amish villages, etc,

This might be a good AskMe, because I'm not very knowledgeable about it, but I recall reading (whilst standing up in a bookstore) an article about the constellation of experimental and utopian communities in America, which thrived, or didn't, in their multifarious ways throughout the 1800s, mostly fizzling out by 1930 or so, when America really started to become the place it is now. I wish I could remember where I read it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:24 AM on August 27 [3 favorites]


Disregarding the pleasure of schadenfreude, it might be better for everyone if communities like this did work as intended. Then we could have a bunch of Socialist communes, Objectivist gulches, libertarian seasteads, anarchist collectives, Amish villages, etc, and everyone else who just wants a standard liberal republic can live under the US federal government without the extremists trying to push their own utopian views on the general public.

It works fine until you get a community trying to recreate the reign of Genghis Khan by going around and pillaging all the other communities.
posted by emjaybee at 10:24 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


I suppose there is some comfort in being fleeced in good company, in being in the company of some of the smartest businessmen in the movement.

There's no shame in being beaten by the best, son.
But he didn't seem all that-
We were beaten by the best, boy.
posted by forgetful snow at 10:24 AM on August 27 [18 favorites]


Seems to me that taking anonymized money and running is the most perfect expression of rational self-interest I've ever seen.

Objectivism works, people.
posted by jgooden at 10:24 AM on August 27 [16 favorites]


I am once again reminded of one of my favorite Metafilter comments ever.
posted by Flunkie at 10:26 AM on August 27 [4 favorites]


it appears now that the whole enterprise was a greed-driven scam.

NOW?
posted by dirtdirt at 10:27 AM on August 27 [5 favorites]


Hey, just because you believe in an unrealistic moral-social philosophy, doesn't mean that you can't believe in a wacked out psycho-religious one too!

Eh, I think that's a trifle unfair. I read that comment more as she really liked that tree and had invested a lot of energy imagining her life there to set up how hurt she felt when she discovered that the whole thing was a scam and there was never a chance she would "get" that tree. It does sound like she was seriously underestimating the amount of daily work she was going to have to put in to build and maintain a life in that community, all scamming aside.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:28 AM on August 27 [4 favorites]


It works fine until you get a community trying to recreate the reign of Genghis Khan by going around and pillaging all the other communities.

I suspect that after a generation or two, the residents of Galt's Gulch Chile would be absolutely thrilled to be welcomed into the arms of the new Pax Mongolica.
posted by griphus at 10:28 AM on August 27 [3 favorites]


Aw, I was pretty delighted by this but I can definitely identify with liking a tree a lot. Sorry, tree-lady.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:31 AM on August 27 [20 favorites]


If I may paraphrase Thomas Jefferson: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the life savings of greed heads and idiots."
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:35 AM on August 27 [8 favorites]


Utopian communities are one of my favorite things to think about, and one thing that seems to distinguish the ones that fail is isolation, self-imposed or otherwise. Without networks of connections to outside people, human communities are fragile and less likely to thrive.

Given that many groups seem to want to start utopian communities by going "out into the wilderness" of a rural area (or worse, seasteading), often with little consideration for things like good supply routes or the skills of the community members in raising food or building shelter, what seems idyllic often turns dangerous or at least, very uncomfortable. And then it all falls apart. Or turns into a form of extended camping, with expensive trips into civilization for supplies till the money runs out.

I feel the appeal of finding a group of like-minded souls and making your own community, but trying to do so while also surviving outside of the rest of society is more strain than most people can handle.

Of course, these poor dupes didn't even get that far. But perhaps the scammers actually saved them some misery, down the road.
posted by emjaybee at 10:36 AM on August 27 [14 favorites]


Yep, I stand with tree loving. It struck me as her most redeeming feature, no matter how uneasily it mixes with strident greed.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:38 AM on August 27 [9 favorites]


I stand by finding it risible, but I appreciate that it's not, er, objectively so.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:39 AM on August 27


ungh so what you are telling me is that i've been restoring this diving suit for nothing. thanks a lot obummer. now i have to get that syringe away from suzie. do you know how hard it is to take away a six year old's favorite toy? screams and tears and many puncture wounds. i'm so angry about this.

would you kindly please get me my golf clubs? i have a plane to catch.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:40 AM on August 27 [11 favorites]


extremely savvy investors committed small fortunes

This is how all economics reporting works. The neoliberals are always the "extremely savvy" ones regardless of how spectacularly their policies fail, and anyone who disagrees with neoliberal policy is a hack, stooge, liar or socialist.
posted by cthuljew at 10:41 AM on August 27 [10 favorites]


Many have wondered about the status of Galt's Gulch Chile (GGC), the libertarian community that was planned and sold in lots as a liberty oasis for those who wished to live freedom before they died.

"Freedom" as an adverb... Get the noose, boys.

Also, "liberty oasis"? Where I come from, we call those "public restrooms," Ms. Fancy-Pants.
posted by the sobsister at 10:42 AM on August 27 [11 favorites]


I think the noun phrase "freedom" is being used in the same way one would use the noun phrase "the dream".
posted by cthuljew at 10:44 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


This is it. This is the apex of my life in terms of schadenfreude. I do not know how I will ever get to feel such a perfect, Platonic ideal example of schadenfreude again. I don't know whether to feel happy or sad about this.

There is no happiness or sadness. There is only schadenfreude.
posted by vibrotronica at 10:46 AM on August 27


It appears I missed my opportunity to say "Well, no shit."
posted by louche mustachio at 10:48 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Strangely enough, this reminds me of an old Dragnet episode. Jack Webb and partner are investigating a series of thefts of camping supplies. When they catch the thieves, they discover they're a group of dirty hippies that want to go out into the forest, abandon society, and build a commune. Needless to say, Jack Webb gives a lengthy speech, as he does whenever hippies show up. But he makes a point that stand out. He comments that they're really not independent of society. The first time someone gets sick, they'll be stealing antibiotics, and it will be society that made them. It's the same with these people. You're not an independent society if you depend on the Chilean government to defend the land from invaders and get regular supplies from the US. They're not leaving non-libertarian society. They just want to go to a place where they don't have to look at it so that they can pretend it isn't there.
posted by unreason at 10:48 AM on August 27 [46 favorites]


Are Randians really that naive?
I'd go so far as to say that naivety is their distinguishing characteristic.
Come on now, be fair. They're also greedy and sociopathic.
posted by Flunkie at 10:49 AM on August 27 [8 favorites]


It's wrong to call this a scam.

Those investors simply failed to be brilliant enough to make it work.
posted by srboisvert at 10:51 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


So just to sum up, it was an unworkable project in the first place because it didn't take into account the actual reality right in front of them, and self-destructed because the principals were greedy self-regarding sociopaths and the followers were easily-flattered ideological dupes who also don't look at what's in front of them? Who could have predicted that?
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:52 AM on August 27 [11 favorites]


"Schadenfreude" implies something illicit in enjoying the suffering of others. This is just freude because there is no shame in enjoying evil assholes getting what's coming to them for once.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:56 AM on August 27 [4 favorites]


Yep, I stand with tree loving. It struck me as her most redeeming feature, no matter how uneasily it mixes with strident greed.

I can get behind tree loving. In fact, I'll be happy to rent her a beautiful tree to sit under, for quite reasonable rates. And for just a small additional fee, I'll even provide the coffee.

Just out of the goodness of my heart and pure idealism, you understand.
posted by happyroach at 10:58 AM on August 27 [4 favorites]


I'm reminded of Bob the Angry Flower.
posted by kjs3 at 11:03 AM on August 27 [8 favorites]


Another example of how libertarianism isn't an end state its a transition state in between a functioning society of people and a (more than currently) dysfunctional society of big winners and complete losers.

They wanted to be winners and were had by the real winner.
posted by Slackermagee at 11:06 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


every supposedly legitimate business works exactly this. it's just a question of which side of the con you are on. but there is always someone on the other side, like a factory worker, who looks at their paycheck and thinks "freedom," "i'm moving up," but thye just had their labor stolen from them and they're proud of it. the reason for the "point n' laugh" is that most people on Metafilter are on the right side of the con.
posted by ennui.bz at 11:08 AM on August 27 [3 favorites]


Disregarding the pleasure of schadenfreude, it might be better for everyone if communities like this did work as intended.

There's a long and interesting history of intentional communities in North America, and their successes and failures are instructive. Wishing something like Galt's Gulch Chile worked is ignoring something, namely that failures to create Galt's Gulch in real life, in comparison to many successful, much more communal efforts, is telling us something about Objectivism.

Want to see successful communities like this? Look at Hutterites in Saskatchewan.
posted by fatbird at 11:10 AM on August 27 [7 favorites]


Like EmpressCallipygos, I feel I have been misled by the punctuation in this post. I am deeply disappointed that I am not able to purchase some tasty, tasty libertarian chile. Do they use beans? That seems like an important question.
posted by koeselitz at 11:11 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


For example – and just one of many, many examples – GGC owes immense debts to vendors in the closest town of Curacavi. Brad and I spent two weeks there and fell in love with the people, the town, the experience. But GGC owes hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars to hardware stores, service providers... ordinary Chileans who are acutely harmed by the project's malfeasance. They will be and should be first in line for repayment from any legal actions. GGC is heavily encumbered with no good outcome in the near future.

This, at least, engenders a little sympathy from me. Not all of these people are greedy assholes in the way we like to imagine that makes them easy to dislike. This lady seems pretty decent. Sorry she got fleeced.
posted by echocollate at 11:11 AM on August 27 [10 favorites]


This lady seems pretty decent. Sorry she got fleeced.

Decent, and yet deeply invested in a poisonous philosophy which is actually destroying civilization.
posted by goethean at 11:14 AM on August 27 [16 favorites]




This, at least, engenders a little sympathy from me. Not all of these people are greedy assholes in the way we like to imagine that makes them easy to dislike. This lady seems pretty decent. Sorry she got fleeced.

It's a trick, don't fall for it.

If she were decent she wouldn't fall in with "the movement" in the first place. It's not like she was forced into this situation at gunpoint; she wanted to be part of this awful thing with these awful people.

She doesn't care about those "ordinary Chileans" and would be happily sneering at them as "leeches" if the community were built. She's sad for herself that she didn't get to do so.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:29 AM on August 27 [4 favorites]


Decent, and yet deeply invested in a poisonous philosophy which is actually destroying civilization.

...

If she were decent she wouldn't fall in with "the movement" in the first place. It's not like she was forced into this situation at gunpoint; she wanted to be part of this awful thing with these awful people.

I hate to break it to you paragons of virtue, but neither of these comments gives me much hope for "civilization."
posted by echocollate at 11:33 AM on August 27 [5 favorites]


echocollate: Not all of these people are greedy assholes in the way we like to imagine that makes them easy to dislike. This lady seems pretty decent. Sorry she got fleeced.

That's a good point. If you sincerely expect a minimal-regulation, maximal-freedom society to work, I suppose that you have to have a romantic view of how decent and honourable most people (or at least most of your kind of people) are.
posted by clawsoon at 11:34 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


She doesn't care about those "ordinary Chileans" and would be happily sneering at them as "leeches" if the community were built. She's sad for herself that she didn't get to do so.

Her article doesn't give that impression. It sounds like you have the preconceived idea that "all Objectivists are awful people" and apply it regardless of evidence to the contrary.
posted by Rangi at 11:34 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


I can't wait for at least one of these pie-in-the-sky Libertarian exile towns to come to fruition, for at the very least the tell-all ebooks that will come out 3-5 years in.

It'd be worth it to get early entrance in to one just to record secret documentary footage of life there.
posted by Theta States at 11:39 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


Like EmpressCallipygos, I feel I have been misled by the punctuation in this post. I am deeply disappointed that I am not able to purchase some tasty, tasty libertarian chile. Do they use beans?

Huh, actually I was parsing it the way Jimi Hendrix did with "Voodoo Chile".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:41 AM on August 27 [8 favorites]


I can't wait for at least one of these pie-in-the-sky Libertarian exile towns to come to fruition

How long until some unregulated tightwad cuts the Flavor Aid with a cheaper and more poisonous adulterant?
posted by Sys Rq at 11:45 AM on August 27 [3 favorites]


I hate to break it to you paragons of virtue, but neither of these comments gives me much hope for "civilization."

I'm sorry you feel this way, but you're in luck. I have a fantastic investment opportunity for you that will allow you to escape this "civilization" and all its attendant disappointments. Ever been to Chile?

apply it regardless of evidence to the contrary.

You'd think libertarians would appreciate that.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:45 AM on August 27 [3 favorites]


Do they use beans? That seems like an important question.


NO! Beans are for the parasites and moochers who would live off of the confiscated product of others' labor! A truly Objectivist chili is a meat-only chili! This is the reward for for the honest work of a free person!



Also, we are out of beans.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:46 AM on August 27 [14 favorites]


Also, the theme song and the logo are both horrible.
posted by How the runs scored at 11:49 AM on August 27




I know it's been touched upon, but I'd just like to reiterate that Chile is a weird place to pick for a libertarian paradise. We just re-elected a socialist president who's hard at work reforming taxation (so companies pay more taxes), education (so it's free from KG through University) and health (so it's more social and not so private).

Add that to strict gun control and a thoroughly globalized economy, which is highly susceptible to the 'coming fiat currency crisis', I don't really get what they're aiming at.
posted by signal at 11:53 AM on August 27 [27 favorites]


I'm sorry you feel this way, but you're in luck. I have a fantastic investment opportunity for you that will allow you to escape this "civilization" and all its attendant disappointments. Ever been to Chile?

All I'm saying is that when I'm drafting my Fantasy Civilization Team, I'll give preference to people who earnestly believe and say things like this:

But GGC owes hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars to [...] ordinary Chileans who are acutely harmed by the project's malfeasance. They will be and should be first in line for repayment from any legal actions.

Over people who believe and say things like this:

If she were decent she wouldn't fall in with "the movement" in the first place. It's not like she was forced into this situation at gunpoint; she wanted to be part of this awful thing with these awful people.

She doesn't care about those "ordinary Chileans" and would be happily sneering at them as "leeches" if the community were built. She's sad for herself that she didn't get to do so.


The difference being that the ideas of one of these seem sketchy on paper but in practice that person appears decent and neighborly, while the ideas of the other seem good on paper but are petty and vindictive in practice.

I know which one I'd rather live next to.
posted by echocollate at 11:54 AM on August 27 [11 favorites]


Something about this seems so familiar, like I've read it recently. Was there a similar confidence scheme based on South American property that was reported maybe in the last year or so? If I recall, the alleged perpetrator was bilingual in this case, and was somehow involved with a group in New York. I recall reading a lengthy article about it but can't remember any more details.
posted by johnnydummkopf at 12:01 PM on August 27




Some scams are so genius that it's almost hard to view them as criminal. This ... this was just a stellar performance on every level.
posted by aramaic at 12:07 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


"Schadenfreude" implies something illicit in enjoying the suffering of others.

Not at all. German, "Schade", misfortune, "Freude", joy - joy in the misfortune of others, pure and simple. No implied value judgement!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:08 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


The only truly Randian community would be something like BioSphere.

The screenplay practically writes itself.
posted by gottabefunky at 12:09 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Was there a similar confidence scheme based on South American property that was reported maybe in the last year or so
Honduras, previously.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:10 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


I recall reading (whilst standing up in a bookstore) an article about the constellation of experimental and utopian communities in America, which thrived, or didn't, in their multifarious ways throughout the 1800s, mostly fizzling out by 1930 or so, when America really started to become the place it is now.

It's actually a fairly well-studied phenomenon, and a lot of interest in the topic was revived by the hippie era and the rise of modern intentional communities, many of them inspired by B.F. Skinner's Walden Two.

The most successful (and/or notorious) of these communities, of course, was the Mormons, and for a time, their semi-independent republic, which became the State of Utah after a short military action against the United States.
posted by dhartung at 12:10 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


I remember for some time in the 80s or maybe the early 1990s, a big chunk of some African country (Liberia possibly? not sure) where a private Ayn Rand (explicitly branding itself with Rand) utopia was being planned had regular medium-sized ads for it in the back pages of The Economist. I wonder what happened to that, probably a scam too
posted by Bwithh at 12:11 PM on August 27


Something about this seems so familiar, like I've read it recently. Was there a similar confidence scheme based on South American property that was reported maybe in the last year or so? If I recall, the alleged perpetrator was bilingual in this case, and was somehow involved with a group in New York. I recall reading a lengthy article about it but can't remember any more details.

Was it this post on an American-owned private city project in Honduras from 2012?

You'll be happy to know that the Honduran Supreme Court struck the idea down as unconstitutional later that year.

On preview: Curses, the man of twists and turns!
posted by Sangermaine at 12:12 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect

"If you’re incompetent, you can’t know you’re incompetent. […] the skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is."

—David Dunning
posted by jeff-o-matic at 12:12 PM on August 27 [8 favorites]


Also, the theme song and the logo are both horrible.

We spared some expense.
posted by Mr. Six at 12:13 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


how'd we make it this far in without a rapture mention
posted by MangyCarface at 12:16 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Also, "liberty oasis"? Where I come from, we call those "public restrooms," Ms. Fancy-Pants.

Surely in a libertarian future, we would have fee-based restrooms driven by the market rather than our current regime of having the government tax people to provide services like this?
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:17 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


I was just about to mention it MangyCarface,

Only one group has made a successful product from Rand's work, and it's a horror themed video game where the entire society falls apart in one night.
posted by cmfletcher at 12:21 PM on August 27 [5 favorites]


the man of twists and turns, Sangermaine, actually it wasn't this Honduran case but that is fascinating. What I remember was more of a scam then some neoliberal experiment, but I think I've forgotten all the details. Thanks for another interesting read though!
posted by johnnydummkopf at 12:22 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


> I claimed it because I fell head over heels for the most beautiful tree I've ever seen.

I thought libertarians and objectivists were logic-based humans that didn't base their decisions on emotions like those dumb statists. I guess all of that gets overruled by seeing a pretty tree.

From the comments:
>I did due diligence as did other investors....one of them is an incredibly savvy investor who had a team of lawyers before plunging at least a million (I think it was more).

What was her due diligence? Who's a pretty tree? Who's a pretty tree?!
posted by stavrogin at 12:29 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


...being in the company of some of the smartest businessmen in the movement.

Parsing that clause, we find you in the company of a disproven subset of a naive subset of a true-believer subset of a vaguely defined subset of men.

But hey, you were with them. And wrong. But certainly with them.
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:34 PM on August 27


I thought libertarians and objectivists were logic-based humans that didn't base their decisions on emotions like those dumb statists. I guess all of that gets overruled by seeing a pretty tree.

That tree had a Smith-Kelly Natural Beauty Index of 7.5 and measured 47 beauts on the Copenhagen Normalized Aesthetics Scale.
posted by griphus at 12:34 PM on August 27 [12 favorites]


Ayn Rand Away With The Money

Ayn Raannnnd ... Ayn Rand So Far Away.
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:34 PM on August 27 [14 favorites]


johnnydummkopf,

Another amusing/bizarre tale from the world of utopian libertarian projects comes to us from Keene, New Hampshire. There, members of the Free State Project, a libertarian initiative to move 20,000 people to NH in order to take control of the state and achieve a paradise of liberty, have taken to following and harassing parking meter attendant in a crusade of liberty.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:37 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


I thought libertarians and objectivists were logic-based humans that didn't base their decisions on emotions like those dumb statists. I guess all of that gets overruled by seeing a pretty tree.

Oh, come on. Emotions and aesthetic preferences are arational: everyone has their own, regardless of political beliefs. Libertarianism essentially boils down to "if I like this pretty tree, (a) nobody else should be obliged to help me enjoy it (unless they want to), and (b) after I put in the work to settle in Chile and enjoy the tree, I should not be obliged to share it (unless I want to)." Yeah, this philosophy is exploitable by jerks who accept the altruism of others and don't act altruistically in return, but caricaturing all libertarian-ish people as emotionless sociopaths is the same kind of us-versus-them mentality that gets rightly criticized when far-right Republicans do it to socialists.
posted by Rangi at 12:45 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


The idea that libertarians, especially those of the economic bent, are logical creatures in opposition to everyone else being ruled by emotion is promulgated by libertarians themselves far more than anyone else. That drive towards logic is what drives so many of them to come up with ways that discrimination are perfectly acceptable or even expressions of "freedom" as long as it's done by individuals (or even collections of individuals as long as they aren't representative of whatever definition of "the state" they choose).
posted by zombieflanders at 12:54 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Surely in a libertarian future, we would have fee-based restrooms...

Also known as Urinetown.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 1:02 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Their entire ideology is based around the idea that everyone is a rational actor, all the time. Everyone always has enough information to make rational choices. That most to all regulation is totally unnecessary and paternalistic.
posted by stavrogin at 1:04 PM on August 27 [4 favorites]


It's always seemed to me that Objectivists exist on a spectrum. On one end are hopelessly naive idealists who strongly desire a simple belief system that solves all problems. On the other end are total sociopaths who find the ideology a convenient legitimizing fig leaf over the consuming selfishness that rules their lives and their complete inability to relate to other people.

A community composed of people like this would be pretty much the perfect place for affinity frauds, and GGC sure as hell sounds like one.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:06 PM on August 27 [8 favorites]


Keene NH is close to where I live, and this is the second time in a week or so I've read about it. The last time was when I found out they have an MRAP. This oughta be interesting....
posted by maniabug at 1:22 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


That drive towards logic is what drives so many of them to come up with ways that discrimination are perfectly acceptable

Conservatism in the states is in no small part driven by the desire to not pay taxes if it helps the poor black family down the street. Libertarianism is mostly an effort to rationalize not paying taxes.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:25 PM on August 27 [12 favorites]


I'd also like to point out that Curacavi is a not-so-special little valley close enough to Santiago to have smog. Hardly a frontier or the place you'd go to start a brand new community away from it all. Seems the brave and self-reliant founders couldn't stand to be more than an hour away from a Starbucks.
posted by signal at 1:34 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


Seems the brave and self-reliant founders couldn't stand to be more than an hour away from a Starbucks.

It's probably more likely the close proximity to plentiful cheap labor.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:38 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


koeselitz: "Like EmpressCallipygos, I feel I have been misled by the punctuation in this post. I am deeply disappointed that I am not able to purchase some tasty, tasty libertarian chile. Do they use beans? That seems like an important question."

Some Libertarians abstain from beans.
But many overthink plates and plates and plates of them.
posted by chavenet at 1:40 PM on August 27


I'm sure the problem is that Chile was oppressing them with their rulings about water vs land rights. Because remember! Utopian philosophies cannot fail, they can only *be* failed, usually by the oppressive forces that the utopians see themselves in conflict with. And libertarianism is very much a utopian philosophy.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:44 PM on August 27


> Some Libertarians abstain from beans.

The fact that the linked article is by one Robert LeFevre, and not Robert LeFève, makes me so sad.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:52 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


"... waking up each morning and having coffee under that tree, telling it about my plans for the day."

This is just sedimented, brainless, ultra-privileged money talk. Once in a year or two I get to spend a night in a 5 star hotel and when I go to the buffet breakfast area in the morning I always hear someone saying almost exactly these words, followed by them looking at a free newspaper and saying that 'the president has really got it wrong this time.'
posted by colie at 1:53 PM on August 27 [5 favorites]


Their entire ideology is based around the idea that everyone is a rational actor, all the time.

That's mainstream economics, which most of them do seem to fervently believe, along with just about anyone with significant social influence unfortunately. Libertarian ideology is based around the idea of minimizing state-sponsored coercion, a naive, utopian, doomed ideal, but an admirable one.
posted by fivebells at 1:56 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


I found this bit from one of her replies to a schadenfreudalicious comment telling:
I worked for every cent I have ever made. I lived on the streets as a teenager and never asked government or anyone, anything for money I did not earn and have owing.
If you're living on the streets, you generally have three choices: 1) rely on public assistance of one sort or another, such as shelters; 2) working a straight job; 3) having some sort of hustle, which usually depends on exploiting others in some way. The three are not mutually exclusive, but she excludes the first, and the second is very difficult to get and keep without a permanent address or a shelter that will take the working poor. I think you know where I'm going with this.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:16 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


She might have been a sex worker. In a libertarian utopia, it should be perfectly reasonable for a teenager to exploit their own body, if they choose to do so.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:23 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


 /$$$$$$ /$$$$$$$   /$$$$$$  /$$   /$$ /$$$$$$  /$$$$$$ 
|_  $$_/| $$__  $$ /$$__  $$| $$$ | $$|_  $$_/ /$$__  $$
  | $$  | $$  \ $$| $$  \ $$| $$$$| $$  | $$  | $$  \__/
  | $$  | $$$$$$$/| $$  | $$| $$ $$ $$  | $$  | $$      
  | $$  | $$__  $$| $$  | $$| $$  $$$$  | $$  | $$      
  | $$  | $$  \ $$| $$  | $$| $$\  $$$  | $$  | $$    $$
 /$$$$$$| $$  | $$|  $$$$$$/| $$ \  $$ /$$$$$$|  $$$$$$/
|______/|__/  |__/ \______/ |__/  \__/|______/ \______/

posted by CynicalKnight at 2:28 PM on August 27 [17 favorites]


That's an objectivist alloy of some kind, isn't it?
posted by Mr. Six at 2:29 PM on August 27 [5 favorites]


I've worked for every penny I've made, but so does the Guatemalan lady that empties the trash cans in my office. Why do I get paid so much more than her? Almost everyone works for a living.
posted by empath at 2:30 PM on August 27 [4 favorites]


Even Alan Greenspan, who was in Rand's inner circle, has admitted that the rational actor concept doesn't work. Better late than never I suppose.
posted by cmfletcher at 2:38 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


signal: Add that to strict gun control and a thoroughly globalized economy, which is highly susceptible to the 'coming fiat currency crisis', I don't really get what they're aiming at.

I believe they've already gotten what they were aiming at, the only question is if they'll get to keep it.

Perhaps the most high-larious part of this is Ms. McElroy's insistence that the alleged usurper, Ken Johnson, is not a Libertarian or Objectivist in any way. (No True Galtian!) If that's the case... why was her supposedly Libertarian and Objectivst In Good Standing Jeff Berwick willing to partner with him?
posted by tonycpsu at 2:39 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


Their entire ideology is based around the idea that everyone is a rational actor, all the time. Everyone always has enough information to make rational choices.

Also: the current distribution of wealth is just fine, thank you very much.
posted by goethean at 3:00 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]




Sad a bunch of people got scammed. I wish the victims success in their lawsuits.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 4:06 PM on August 27


Their entire ideology is based around the idea that everyone is a rational actor, all the time.

That's mainstream economics, which most of them do seem to fervently believe, along with just about anyone with significant social influence unfortunately. Libertarian ideology is based around the idea of minimizing state-sponsored coercion, a naive, utopian, doomed ideal, but an admirable one.


No it's not mainstream economics - these are some characteristics of a functioning, efficient market in classical economics, but all legitimate schools of economic thought account for 'market failure', such as lack of information. It is generally accepted by legitimate economists that government intervention in the free market is required to correct market failures, although there is healthy disagreement about what is or is not such a failure. Libertarianism does not seems to think market failures happen, and that all markets are efficient as a natural state, therefore there is never a legitimate use of state power in the free market.

anyway - fuck these guys, I can't wait to see their floating cities sink to Davy Jones' Locker.
posted by Colby_Longhorn at 4:26 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Also: the current distribution of wealth is just fine, thank you very much.

Of course it's not fine, the looters get way too much!

Snark aside, I do feel some sympathy for the honest people who pinned their hopes on this. Yes, of course they should have done due diligence, but it's so easy for people in an ideological bubble to fall for scammers who know which buttons to push.

Hopefully this will convince some of them to get out of that bubble. That's hard, though. You have to give up that feeling of, well, drama, I guess? That sense of urgency that disaster is coming, but you, yes, you can be part of a noble experiment that shows the world a better way! You matter!

Mainstream American culture doesn't offer much to compete with that.
posted by Zimboe Metamonkey at 4:46 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


But many overthink plates and plates and plates of them.

As the old saw goes "when you think too long about a plate of beans, the beans also think about you." Let's all think for a moment about what we've learned today, shall we?
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:55 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


Socialism doesn't work if only the poor get to be socialists

Capitalism works when only the rich get to be socialists.
posted by ryoshu at 5:18 PM on August 27 [5 favorites]


Not to be confused with Galt's Gulch Chilli.

Hey, no mooching the chipotle chicken flatbread!
posted by jonp72 at 5:35 PM on August 27


Huh, actually I was parsing it the way Jimi Hendrix did with "Voodoo Chile".

I stand up next to high taxes. I chop 'em down with the edge of my hand. [feedback drenched guitar solo]
posted by jonp72 at 5:37 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


save alive nothing that breatheth: I wish the victims success in their lawsuits.

Surely you mean in their attempts to seek revenge using their own means, not the coercive power of the state, right?
posted by tonycpsu at 5:38 PM on August 27 [8 favorites]


Doesn't anybody else find any irony in picking Chile for a libertarian get-together?
posted by jonp72 at 5:46 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


The church, I think, will stand. They'll need it.
posted by ipe at 5:53 PM on August 27


I can't wait to see their floating cities sink to Davy Jones' Locker.

Just keep them away from my imaginary undersea archology socialist utopia.
posted by aubilenon at 5:54 PM on August 27


Surely you mean in their attempts to seek revenge using their own means, not the coercive power of the state, right?

No, I do not. Policing fraud is seen as a legitimate role of the state in many libertarian philosophies.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 5:55 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


No, I do not. Policing fraud is seen as a legitimate role of the state in many libertarian philosophies.

Is this before or after you drown it in a bathtub?
posted by goethean at 6:01 PM on August 27 [12 favorites]


Gonna have to wear my surprised face all day now.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:18 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


I used to laugh at Ayn Rand and her "Objectivists". But I look around these days in the US and it's a Rand, Rand, Rand, Rand, Rand, Rand world (plus libertarian Jesus).
posted by telstar at 6:28 PM on August 27


Guys, it's not Jeff's fault. He would have told you earlier, but...
posted by armacy at 6:42 PM on August 27 [8 favorites]


Gang of Four is the perfect accompaniment to this story. We'll get drunk on cheap wine!

Also, the comments in that last link are comedy gold. You statist!
posted by Existential Dread at 7:22 PM on August 27


I used to laugh at Ayn Rand and her "Objectivists". But I look around these days in the US and it's a Rand, Rand, Rand, Rand, Rand, Rand world (plus libertarian Jesus).

We need to laugh harder at these fools before they get into positions of real power.
posted by Mr. Six at 7:44 PM on August 27


This is just the greatest thing I've seen in a while.

I aim to one day find a tree worthy of my early morning, detailed ramblings about Bitcoin cons and telemarketing scams.
posted by GreyboxHero at 8:14 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Shortly after purchasing, I received an unsigned email through the webform of a site I maintain. It informed me that [Galt's Gulch Chile] was a fraud. One reason: GGC lacked water rights.
So in other words, they were dry gulched?
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:41 PM on August 27


Oh, Jeff appears to be illiterate as well as a gullible mark.

Surprised face.
posted by spitbull at 1:20 AM on August 28


What's with the lower-case t's in that final link?
posted by aesop at 2:19 AM on August 28




Jeff Berwick in his apologia linked above by armacy makes it sound like he was merely a passive observer in the GGC debacle. However this sales pitch from mid 2013 belies his claim. Host Ernest Handcock(!) is super annoying, best to just fast forward past his noise.
posted by telstar at 5:24 AM on August 28


No, I do not. Policing fraud is seen as a legitimate role of the state in many libertarian philosophies.

How fucking magnanimous. It's fine to destroy the regulatory structure meant to prevent this kind of thing in the first place, prevent access to the enforcement mechanisms available to all but the most wealthy, and completely ignore the failure of every single one of these experiments at both the micro- and macroeconmic scale. But here's this tiny little bone being thrown our way!
posted by zombieflanders at 6:24 AM on August 28 [11 favorites]


I'm very disappointed that this turned out to be a scam. Every time I hear Randians talk about setting up their own place on an abandoned oil platform or something I want to offer to do whatever I can to make this a reality. An obnoxious group with a goal to section themselves off from the rest of us? To place themselves, willingly, in the middle of the ocean? Who would stan in their way?
posted by Legomancer at 6:24 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


Poignant Schadenfreude.

Peak Schadenfreude.
posted by Foosnark at 6:25 AM on August 28




This article from the area in Chile may be of interest: Gringo de Lepe sale a encarar a su compatriota John Cobin y anuncia acciones legales
posted by telstar at 6:33 AM on August 28


How fucking magnanimous. It's fine to destroy the regulatory structure meant to prevent this kind of thing in the first place, prevent access to the enforcement mechanisms available to all but the most wealthy, and completely ignore the failure of every single one of these experiments at both the micro- and macroeconmic scale. But here's this tiny little bone being thrown our way!

Come now. When your family is poisoned by tainted food or a factory dumping pollution in your water supply, they or their estate can sue. If they are able to get the offending party into a court which the party recognizes, agree to a set of rules and punishments, fight the case and win a judgment, and get that judgment somehow enforced, then the survivors will receive monetary payment for whatever deaths or deformities they might have suffered.

Would you rather suffer under the tyranny of food safety and environmental protection laws?
posted by Sangermaine at 6:36 AM on August 28 [10 favorites]


A GGC spinoff! This guy says he's building a castle in GGC to contain "escape pods" or "microhomes" (Japanese pod hotel rooms). Fort Galt.
posted by telstar at 6:55 AM on August 28


Peak Schadenfreude.

I am pretty sure schadenfreude is an eternally-renewing resource.

Come now. When your family is poisoned by tainted food or a factory dumping pollution in your water supply, they or their estate can sue.

Well, maybe. Settlement Iceland was pretty close to a Libertarian paradise. You had small, fairly self-sufficient farmers living in little communities with their families, hired hands, and slaves, with very little central government. There was a functioning local court system, which met regularly, and a national court for major cases that met at the Allthing. Based on the sagas, the courts seem to have handed down solid decisions, generally supported by the populace as a whole. The problem was that there was no mechanism for enforcing any of these decisions. So, if a rich landowner harmed a poorer one but was willing to deal with a little social disapproval, the weaker party had no recourse outside of violence (which would generate more unenforceable court cases or a feud). If the sagas are any guide, the system pretty much fell into "whatever the surface appearance, the most dangerous side wins."

After a couple of centuries, the island was divided and fairly non-functional, and they were relatively easily conquered by Norway and, later, Denmark (where Iceland languished as an exploited personal possession of the Danish King for the next 500 or so years). So, when I say feudalism is the logical endpoint of Libertarianism, I am speaking literally.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:25 AM on August 28 [14 favorites]


I recall reading (whilst standing up in a bookstore) an article about the constellation of experimental and utopian communities in America, which thrived, or didn't, in their multifarious ways throughout the 1800s, mostly fizzling out by 1930 or so, when America really started to become the place it is now. I wish I could remember where I read it.--George_Spiggott

I'd be interested in such a book too. The one I've read about is the Oneida Community. The community is gone, but you can still buy Oneida silverware.
posted by eye of newt at 9:52 AM on August 28


Words cannot possibly convey the sheer joy I feel at watching glibertarians realizing their uppance has come.

This is just... beautiful. Shame none of the morans involved will learn a goddamn thing about how empty and self-destructive and hypocritical their "fuck you I got mine" philosophy is.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:25 AM on August 28


Would you rather suffer under the tyranny of food safety and environmental protection laws?

Lol. And what would happen when their crops inevitably failed? I would be very, very surprised if all these die-hard "virtue of selfishness" folks didn't form a cooperative in very short order, while utterly failing to recognise the irony.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:38 PM on August 28


For anyone else finding the original links a bit thin on details, Jeff Berwick's essy The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly on Galt's Gulch Chile has the details. Berwick is one of the two founders of the development project. He claims he was swindled by Ken Johnson. His explanation of what went wrong is pretty insane, even by the rich diversity of real estate fraud stories.
posted by Nelson at 3:58 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


From that link: even though I apparently own nothing of the project I will do everything within my power to fix these problems.

That sounds kind of ... altruistic. Tsk tsk.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:27 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


It's all "ecovillage this" and "sustainable that" with these LDAR's (latter day Ayn Randians) but did they realize that Ayn Rand was vehemently opposed to environmentalism?

Her fears were stirred anew by the emergence of the environmental movement, which she viewed as a virulent atavism that would drag mankind back to primitive existence. In her 1970 lecture to the Ford Hall Forum she attacked environmentalism as “the Anti-Industrial Revolution.” She imagined a grim future where a middle-class every-man made his morning coffee on a gas stove, electric percolators and ovens having been banned, and endured a two-and-a-half-hour commute on the city bus, cars now likewise forbidden.

What's that? A two hour ride into town? Hmmm.....
posted by telstar at 12:57 AM on August 29


The difference being that the ideas of one of these seem sketchy on paper but in practice that person appears decent and neighborly, while the ideas of the other seem good on paper but are petty and vindictive in practice.

It seems you think somebody whose surface presentation is nice (aw, she likes a tree) even when it overlies toxic philosophies (I myself agree with the statement that libertarianism is the morality of a thug) makes a better neighbor than somebody who's thought about said toxic philosophy and expresses their opinion of it brusquely or impolitely. Is that a reasonable summary?

Because if so, I think you're misguided. I'd rather have a cranky-on-the-surface neighbor who doesn't suffer fools or charlatans kindly but still believes that kindness to others is a good thing just because we're all human than a neighbor who talks a good game about the beauty of trees but who doesn't think they should have to abide by the social contract or aid people in difficulty or anything like that.
posted by Lexica at 6:37 PM on August 29 [2 favorites]


It seems you think somebody whose surface presentation is nice (aw, she likes a tree) even when it overlies toxic philosophies (I myself agree with the statement that libertarianism is the morality of a thug) makes a better neighbor than somebody who's thought about said toxic philosophy and expresses their opinion of it brusquely or impolitely. Is that a reasonable summary?

No. I think a person who's just been bamboozled on a bad real estate deal and lost money but who states unequivocally that the victims are the locals to whom the whole enterprise owes a shitload of money, and that these people should be paid first in any lawsuit, is someone who is

1. principled
2. decent
3. clearly putting someone else's self interest before her own.

And that's the kind of person I'd like to live next to, rather than someone who rants about how bad said person is in theory because huggabugga litertarian, so fuck them and I should save my sympathy.

It's really not even a close call.
posted by echocollate at 11:15 PM on August 29 [2 favorites]


Late to teh party, but I will point out there's another big reason this 'works for the Amish': They get to enjoy the benefits of English infrastructure.

(I'm not knocking the Amish on that, BTW. I think most thoughtful Amish would acknowledge as much. From their perspective it's not about self-sufficiency, but rather about being good with God. Making it about self-sufficiency would be prideful.)

This is pretty much true of any of the major modern utopian communities, to a greater or lesser extent -- but some are more deluded about it than others. Objectivists in general don't seem to have much awareness of how interdependency works. There are some Amish who think about it all the time.
posted by lodurr at 11:36 AM on September 18 [3 favorites]


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