Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

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Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break or handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Wanna say I don't know less? Listen to stuff you should know more. Join host Josh and Chuck on the podcast packed with fascinating discussions about science, history, pop culture and more episodes. Dive into topics like was the lost, city of Atlantis Real? And how does pizza work? Say goodbye to I don't know. Because after listening to stuff you should know you will listen to stuff you should know on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her impactful behavioral discoveries on chimpanzees. It wasn't until one of the chimpanzees began to lose his fear of me, but I began to really make discoveries that actually shook the scientific world. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. I am. Great, Evans. This is behind the ********. You sure? Are you sure you're right for defence? You didn't sound so sure. You know, Sophie, the nature of identity is so complicated. Who can say who anyone is? I'm. I'm Sophie lichterman. Who is? Who is us? Who is us? This is my new podcast. Who is us? With Robert Evans, presumably. And definitely. Sophie lichterman. Definitely. Definitely so. Sophie lichterman. This is a show about bad people. It's called behind the ********. Tell you and to talk about bad people with me is one of the better people I know. David Christopher Bell. Ohh geez. Thanks. Full legal name, full legal game. Yeah. Just in case when I was confused. Work together for many a year. We lived together. For a year. We did. Our cats were once as friends. Allied together against another cat might be a better way of putting. Yes. And me. Like whenever I cat sat, your cat would have wanna have nothing to do with me and loved my cat. And you know what? Honestly, that's fine. Yeah, I'd rather it be that. Yeah. Cat allies. Cat. Cat. Cat lies. Dave, how do you feel about libertarians? Oh no. Ohh, people know that you don't tell the guests anything, right? They I that the show would not work if we told the guests coming cold intentionally. Sometimes they know the broad subject, but I don't even like that. That's not my preference. Would that bit is so good, it'll never get old. What do you think about insert heinous thing here? Yeah, libertarians. My thoughts are like anything. The most vocal people representing it are, yes, incredibly irritating. Yes, but I suspect there's a lot of very good ones who keep to themselves. I, I I was a libertarian for many years. I still think there's a lot of good stuff in in some of the things libertarians say. I think John Carpenter might be one, but he might not even know that. John Carpenter, yeah. Today we are talking about the most vocal ones and and specifically the most kind of unhinged vocal ones we are today. Dave will this week really, I'm going to give you the long history of libertarians taking to the. The Destry and establish floating nations. Oh my God. Are we gonna meet? I don't wanna spoil. Are we gonna be talking about Sealand? Ohh, you bet a little bit. A little bit about Sealand. Yeah, we're we're talking about a the whole history of it. Because spoiler every story ends the same way. Which is a bunch of people lose money and there's no libertarian floating nation. I feel like when step one is take to the sea, it does not end well, generally speaking. I mean, I've known sailors and no, it doesn't. Yeah. Yeah. So I'm sorry. I, I just, I have a blanket view of the ocean. I don't think it wants us in there and it doesn't want us to be in it. We're not we we don't belong there. And if, I mean, you know, we'll we'll talk about why people do this. And yes, for the folks who want to, there's always people who want to be like pedantic about like, I don't know if this one's really a ******* or like we'll do like 2 episodes on, like we recently did two episodes on like industrial level. Child molesters. And then we did an episode on a guy who was like an early fitness influencer and just like, kind of ****** about eating disorders. And people were like, well, they're not really like, this doesn't really matter. Yeah, they're not all going to be guys who raped 5000 kids. You know what kind of show? That would be a bad show. People would not want to listen every week. So absolutely, we're going to talk about libertarians taking to the sea to build their own nations. And yeah, most of them are ****** people, so it's fine. They belong here. OK, Speaking of which, we're going to start by talking about. Your deal. So Peter Thiel, PayPal cofounder. Monarcho libertarian, uh quasi fascist influencer on a grand cash scale and you know, just just man about town. Peter Thiel is his bank, yeah, he's running for president or he's running for senator under the name JD Vance. I believe he is currently running for Senator under the name JD Vance. Dark money kingpin. Peter Thiel has been on a couple of occasions has shotgun money out towards bankrolling and exploratory round of seasteading. Experiments in libertarian utopian living CC steads in general that refers to self-sustaining colonies of like floating. Homes, basically. So sometimes it could be a boat. It could be like a little island of these weird little hexagonal like housing units that float. There's a bunch of different designs around there. Everybody's kind of arguing about what the best version of this is, but a lot of libertarians think seasteading is the future. And Peter Thiel has put a not. It's not significant to him, but significant amount of money to normal people into backing different seasteading projects. And the basic idea is that with the seastead you'll be in the ocean, so you won't have to. You won't have to abide by any nation's law. So all of these different things, ideas libertarians have about taxes and and gun laws and age of consent laws, mainly age of consent laws, won't, won't apply. They can. You can, you can try to, you can really. It could be. I think there's an idea that, like, well, if you get enough people out in the sea living, living the way we think people should live, everyone else will see that it works, and then our ideas will take over, right? There's a number of different ways that get sold to people. And, Umm, yeah, it's it's Waterworld rules. Yeah, it's Waterworld rules. One SEC. I have the wrong document open. I just realized that's fine. You want me to just talk about Waterworld for a little bit? Yeah, talk about water world for a second, Dave. I mean, I I imagine it's water world rules down to like, yeah, Kevin Costner being like a ****** dude who like at one point I think he's going to barter the woman and child that he is with. He sure does. That is a moment in that movie. Yeah. Yeah, that movie is terrible. O you may have heard, Dave, that in September of this year, the Guardian published an article about the doomed voyage of the Satoshi, which was a cruise ship a bunch of libertarian crypto nerds had bought and tried to turn into a floating city. Did you catch this story? I vaguely caught it. I think that's one of those headlines that I was just like, not today. Yeah, no time for this one. It's it's very funny. It's it's it's a pretty hilarious failure. We'll talk about it in detail later. But like when this when it went viral that, like, libertarians were trying to, like, create. Their own independent nation, on a boat in the middle of the ocean, a bunch of people started bringing up Bioshock. If you played Bioshock. I weirdly enough, I played BioShock Infinite. OK, I do. I do remember I played a little of the first one, and I I yeah, do recall that he is making an Ocean City in that. Yeah, yeah, it's a libertarian. I haven't played the game either, but I'm familiar as an Internet person with the basics, which is that it's like a libertarian underwater city that goes disastrously wrong and everybody murders each other, right? Yeah. Yeah, that's the basic idea. So I think most people are at least broadly aware of it. And yeah, it's it's it's it's funny that people would compare libertarians buying a boat, calling, naming it after the founder of Bitcoin and then like trying to create a nation with it too. Rapture. Because the reality of the situation is that, like Rapture in Bioshock, which is that Libertarian City was itself like inspired by about, like 60 years of libertarians trying to make cities and boats. In various parts of the open ocean. Like, yeah, like, it's not like it was made as a satire. It was made as a satire. Yeah. So you you wouldn't wanna, like, watch the satire and be like, hey, that's a good idea. I should model it after that. Yeah, it's missing the point. Yeah, it's missing the point. But it's also funny to me that people are like, oh, this is how ridiculous some of these people are that they, like, inadvertently did the thing that happened in this video game. And. Like, clearly a bad idea. And the reality is that the video game was just kind of making fun of the fact that they keep trying to do this. This is like, this is, this is like two of our lifetimes of a certain kind of libertarian trying to make a boat nation. And it never works, but it's always very funny. So the history of this, this, this, this long standing, like drive more than half a century old to like create an habitat in the ocean that libertarians can try their ideas. But in that goes back to the Golden Age of science fiction. Specifically, it goes back to a guy named Robert Heinlein. Heinlein most famously wrote Starship Troopers. He's also one of the founding fathers of modern libertarian politics. He like helped create American style libertarianism. He was a fascinating guy. He was kind of like Gene Roddenberry in that like a number of his his science fiction books at the time were like ahead of the curve on things like racial justice. And not in a way that is. Particularly impressive today, but he had like a habit of, like, he'd make his protagonists not white dudes, but not make it a big deal. It was just like, you know, this this this guy is Hispanic and that's just the thing that's going on, which was not super common at the time. Progressive for its time for it's time. There's also some racist as hell stuff in some high level. Yeah. But yeah, I'm, I'm not trying. I'm just trying to give you an idea of like, why this guy is is stuck out to people. He played around with a lot of libertarian ideas and a lot of really authoritarian. Ideas he was a weird because like, Starship Troopers is like a fascist book. Like, it's it's extremely fascist, right. If I recall verhoven, his interpretation is not what the book intended is not at all making fun of the book. It's a it's. And now I know there's talk of making like a another adaptation without that satire. Yeah. And it's like we're. I think they're going the wrong way with that. Yeah, that. Yeah. Because verhoven, like, heard people describe. Parship troopers, which is the military, runs the state, which exists entirely to like service its ability to continue to do violence against these aliens that, as far as we know, had no role in provoking, like a fight with humanity. And Heinlein or or a verhoven heard that it was just like, well, that sounds fascist as hell, I'll guess I'll just make a fascist movie, right? And no one knew. I saw, I saw the screen at the time, yeah. I saw a screening of Starship Troopers, where Verhoven did a Q&A afterwards, and he talked about his exasperation. Areas like, I literally dressed them like Nazis. Yeah. I don't know how I could have been clearer. Yeah, like no one, no one realized it. Yeah, it's incredible. Yeah. And it's some of what happens with Robert Heinlein is also incredible because so in addition to some fascist stuff, Heinlein plays around with a lot of libertarian ideas, which is a big part of why he's remembered today. His book in particular, the Moon is a harsh mistress, is like a lot of people would consider it a foundational text for like, the. American libertarian movement. It's a it's a very influential book, and to kind of describe what happens in the book, I'm going to read a write up of it from the baffler. Heinen's own apparent anti government ethos is channeled through the elderly Peruvian born professor Prof Bernardo de La Paz, Prof is one of among hundreds of outcasts, outlaws and outsiders inhabiting underground colonies on the moon, or as it's known in the late 21st century, Luna Proc's cheap comrades and arms are an Amazonian blonde, rabble rouser, Wyoming knot and A1 armed computer technician, the narrator hero Manuel Garcia O'kelly Davis. The ragtag trio spearheads a revolutionary movement to make this ramshackle outpost for the marginalized into a self governing. Nation free of the repressive rule of Earth. So there's like, you see why like this? This is attractive to people, right? There's this idea that there's a lot of, like, libertarian politics in it. There's also weird stuff, like, it's a mix of Congress is dumb and like, governments can't get anything done. And also monarchy would be cool. Yeah. I mean, I get the, like, every year when I pay taxes, I become a libertarian for a second. Like, I get it. I understand the government's extremely frustrating, and there's something very appealing about going off and starting your own thing. I absolutely get it. Yeah, it's like in the DMV, everybody is a libertarian or. Yeah, exactly. Like, you just ready to burn it all down. Yeah. But no. And what's interesting there to me is kind of like with Starship Troopers. People take like a weirdly. Like the the the moon is the harsh mistress is about like people who are part of who are living in a colony that's being oppressed by a government rebelling in order to become independent. And sea steading, which is heavily influenced by this book, is about sailing to the ocean to just hide from the government and and mine Bitcoin. So I think there's a difference I I don't think. I don't think they're necessarily reading Heinlein, right. That said, Robert Heinlein probably would be in deceased studying so perhaps I'm the one that's wrong here. It also seems like. It's never a good policy to, like, start your belief structure from a fictional book or a worker fiction, because it's it's not. The writer isn't intending it to be something that you're you. You take like an instruction manual, I assume. So it just seems like a recipe for disaster in general. Yeah. I mean, I'm sure like Heinlein was playing with ideas that were interesting to him and that some of which he thought should be instituted like, that's pretty common and in fiction with a political edge, but I don't think. I don't think he was seeing it as being as influential as it was in the way that it was. I think he'd be bummed that it's mostly been used for people to steal money from other people in order to not build boats. I think he would be unhappy with that. Yeah, I think that's fair. But yeah, you can see the influence of the munisha harsh mistress and and of Heinlein in general, and like Elon Musk's plans to colonize Mars, the crypto leaders making an an in FT cartoon about apes flying to another planet to set up a colony. Like all of this. It's a common theme in in libertarian kind of angled fiction ever since now the moon is a harsh mistress was published in 1966 and in 1971 a millionaire developer from Las Vegas, a guy named Michael Oliver. Attempted to create his own libertarian utopia. So I don't know. We know Michael Oliver was definitely a Heinlein fan. I don't know which which book in particular spurred him on, but I kind of think it's the moon is a harsh mistress. So five years after that gets published, this guy Michael Oliver decides he's going to make his own independent libertarian state. And since there was no room on land, he decided to take to the sea. He established what he called the Republic of Minerva on a partially submerged reef near Tonga. It was called the Republic of Minerva. Because a boat called the Minerva had sunk there. Alright, which that's a good start. Yeah, naming it after the last failure that happened around there. My goodness. Umm, yeah, it is a little bit of a weird call. So there's a little bit of land here. It's mostly just like Barrier Reef that's barely above the water line and sometimes under it, like depending on kind of where the tide is. It's only land in the technical sense of the word. But Oliver decides, like, I'm going to take this since it's in the. It's in the it's up for grabs, right? Anyone can own it if nobody owns it, right? No. No one's gonna stop him there. They're like, yeah, sure, go ahead. That is what he thinks. He gets together two other cofounders who put in funding alongside him, and he he announces through like, magazines and stuff that he's creating a Republic. He said in these ads that he wanted to make quote, an escape from high taxes, riots, drugs and crime. Which magazines do like libertarian magazines? Yeah. We've got the name of one of them in here. It is fun because this is right after, like, the the the Holy Week uprisings after Martin Luther King's murder and and all of the different kind of protests and riots in the wake of that. So there's there's kind of a little bit of a of a white supremacy angle here where it's like all the cities are so ****** ** because of all the bad things we did to black people. Time to take to the ocean. Yeah. Evergreen statement that there's always a little bit of white supremacy in these things. Subsidies go in there too. Like, OK, yeah, I want to quote from the website curbed here about Michael's plans. They intended to build a 400 acre artificial island over the reef and turned it into a resort that would sparkle like a jewel in the blue South Pacific. According to one of the Republic of Minerva's Self published newspapers, they hope to attract 10s of thousands of residents and base their governance structure on 0 taxes, no welfare, no subsidies and no economic intervention. A coin collector and a real estate investor, Oliver used much of his own wealth to establish their Republic of a Nerva. Soon after sending a Declaration of Independence, another founder, Morris Davis, built a tower of stones on the reef. Planted a flag, a golden torch set against a blue background for the new country on it. So they got a flag now they got a little stone tower and a flag. That's step one. You get step one your flag there, then you're good to go. I do just love that. This guy with his experience speculating in real estate and collecting coins is like, I can make a country, right? That could be the founding father or something. I got this easy enough, it seems. It means founding fathers. They weren't anything. I mean. Yeah, I mean, honestly, you look at, like, George Washington. And it's like it. It is just kind of some ******* being like, yeah, I think I could make this work. Yeah, they're just bunch of dudes who hung out like at a bar. Yeah, it is funny, but you are right. Every country was just founded by a bunch of dudes at a bar, right? It's for me. It's with the libertarian stuff. It just always seems like. They're gonna accidentally invent government every time, right? Like, funny you should say that, Dave, cause that happens in every one of these stories. So because they're like, how do we pay for things? I don't know, maybe everybody gives a little bit of money. Like they start slowly stumbling on the same conclusion. It's it's the same thing that's happened with cryptocurrency is like, because all these people get all of their money stolen constantly because there's no protections or safeguards and then there's no recourse if all of your money gets stolen. And so people have like created things like Coinbase and and That are places where you store your money and you have a guarantee you'll be protected. It's like when things like we're getting out of the bank system, right? OK, Lyft was like, we're creating shuttles that go from point A to B and everybody pays a little bit and it's like, do you mean a bus? Are you talking about a bus? Yeah. But more expensive. Yeah. That's the, the the genius innovations of liberty. It's very frustrating. Just once, I would like to see some libertarians innovate in their community, but I don't know. Filling in potholes or altering the speed limits on on an Interstate that has speed traps. Go, go do something you don't have. Don't just go, don't don't try to make another boat city. It's not going to work anyway. Whatever. So the founders of the Republic of Minerva, after they they get their flag up and everything, hire an Australian boat to fill the reefs off with up with sand. And their plan is just to dump sand on these shallow reefs until there's land, right? That's the idea, right? That's probably how I do it, but yeah. That makes sense. Yeah. They wanted to get it to about 8 feet above sea level. And they figured that if they could create 15 acres of actual land, that would be enough to convince investors that they were legitimate and thus get enough money to raise up to 2500 acres. So, like, we're going to make 15 acres, and we'll use that as a proof of concept. And then once people realize how much money is being made and having a barren island of free enterprise with no resources other than sand, they'll come. Karl, they'll cut the money, will pour in. Absolutely. Yeah. There's no taxes, is there fresh water? Well, no. Can you, can you grow food? Not really. Is there shopping? No. But no taxes. Yeah. Look at all this land we got. We can play, like, volleyball and stuff. It's cool. Tax free, baby. Yeah. That said, like, there's ways that might have worked, especially if it actually had. If they've got somehow gotten you in recognition and if rich people could just claim to live there and not pay taxes. Like, I could see how this could be a money making scheme. And it might have been a money makes making scheme that worked, if not for one thing, the existence of other countries. No, no, that was the one thing they didn't take into account. So damn other countries, these, these, these barren Shoals that they're trying to pile sand onto are a little, you know, I think just a couple of miles off the coast of Tonga, which is an island in the South Pacific, an island that has a government Dave and a military right. And Tonga cease these foreigners creating. Would like a looks like they're trying to create a new country right outside of Tonga on land that on land like their naval vessels patrol and is like, well we're not really OK with this. I'm imagining, like, looking through binoculars like, yeah, I better call somebody out. You gotta use some about this. But, you know, if you don't get rid of libertarians, if you don't get rid of them quickly, you're just gonna have a nest of the ********. Oh, darn, we got libertarians. Wait, social or free market? Not a free market, *** **** it. Get the brooms out. Let's shoot them a spray. Yeah, libertarian spray. Are they at least mutualists? No. *** **** it. Yeah. So the, the head of State of Tonga sent them a letter basically being like, we're not gonna let you set up an empire on our doorstep. That's that's not OK. So the first thing Tonga does is they start air dropping just random boxes of aid supplies onto the the reef in order to establish ownership. Right? Like, if our government provides a service to this barren reef, then clearly it's part of our territory. That's also like a really good way to insult libertarians, I feel like. It's like, here, have some help. And they're like, we don't want help, *** **** it. Like, so none of them would flex. Ohh OK, no, nobody's there at the time. Maybe some crabs, maybe some crabs got some free food out of this. Yeah, this is absurd on the side of Tonga too, because they're literally just being like, well, OK, let's drop random supplies on this island with a population of zero. Then it's ours suddenly, like, right again, like, cryptocurrency does kind of accurately get across to people like, yeah. Money is nonsense. Like, it's all, it's all, it's all a ******* God game. We're all larping. Yeah, so and so are actual governments, to be fair. Like, you see it in this where they're like, oh, they're saying that's theirs. Well, we never cared about this piece of nothing before, but now let's drop some random crap on it so it's ours. It's very funny. So this did not succeed in dissuading the libertarians. They still continue to claim that they were Republic. And so in June of 1971, the King of Tonga used his military to officially seize the land, which again had nobody on it. The dream of the Republic of Minerva died, but the grift did not die, because Grifts are eternal. Michael Oliver started minting coins for his country after it was taken back by the Tongan government in order to raise funds to, I guess, reconquer it. It was kind of unclear what the money was for. I was gonna say he's going to invade donation. Yeah. Yeah. What is Step 2 here, buddy? You know what that feels like to me is that he had a really good idea for coins, and then they threw this in front of him, and he wasn't going to change his plan. Yeah, he was gonna stop making coins. Yeah, I had. I have cool designs for coins. I'm going to do them no matter what. He had a he had gold coins for $75 in silver coins for $35. And I should note now that these are Minerva Dollars 75. Nerva dollars and 35 Minerva dollars. So I don't know the actual value. I'm not certain of the exchange rate. Right. This is like when usher was it. Usher who was handing out his own usher bucks? Yes. Yeah, sounds like he's there. Usher bucks. So he advertised these, these Minerva dollars as late as 1975 in austere publications like the Libertarian Review. So the Tongan government takes them out in 71 and 75. He's selling Minerva dollars under the tagline. The world's most unusual new country inspiration for the most unique metal coin ever minted. Yeah, it is unusual to have a country with no people that gets immediately conquered. That that is not common. Yeah. I'm not sure how else you'd sell it. By being like, this is ******* weird, right? Yeah. You want a piece of this? Yeah, we made some calls, didn't we? Yeah. That said, if anyone can find any Republic of Minerva coinage, I would love that. Yeah, they come up online for sale sometimes, but I haven't found any recently. I feel like, ironically, they're now worth a lot, because it's probably. Make a problem like how expensive they are. Yeah. Oh yeah. They're probably just a collectors item. Yeah, collectors for fans of horribly failed grifts. Yeah, I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't get one just for fun to have it, like, on on my shelf or something and have a little story there. Yeah, I have a friend who got very excited to buy an Enron mug. You know, it's just. Yeah, yeah, with some of the some things are exciting. Yeah. So, uh, moving on from there. I, I, I should make a note because we're starting with the Republic of Minerva, which I think is the first example of the thing we're talking about today. But there is one other thing that kind of happened around the same time that before you get to that, it is time is time for, you know, are are you interrupting me to make us go to add, Sophie, just for capitalism's sake, just for capitalism sake and so that we can stay in our houses? Yes, I I do love staying in my house. All right. 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Let's break your handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's SPREAK. get paid to talk about the things you love with spreaker from iheart. Ohh, I do love a good house. I love a bad house. Just a big fan. Houses house music. Ah, so good. Oh, perfect house. MD. The TV show. Ohh yeah. Yeah. Great, great. Great. Great vehicle for Hugh Laurie. Laurie, that's his name. You're not seeing him in a minute. You know, there's an episode with Jeremy Renner in house. Oh no, I've forgotten. Goodness, I remember this. It's all coming back to me. Yeah. God, what a tragedy. So we're going to talk now about the Republic of Sealand, which is kind of happened right around the same time as there are public of Minerva. I kind of think Republic of Minerva is more the Republic of Sealand isn't. Quite a libertarian thing. It's weird. Alright, I'll see you talk about it. Yeah, I've always wanted to go to Sealand. I actually I was a long time ago, I wrote a screenplay with sealant in it, and I did a lot of research that I now completely forget. No, it's a principality. It's a isn't it a principality. The Principality of Sealand was established on an old Royal Navy platform that was built during World War Two to, like, protect shipping. So it's it's not not even Shoals. It's just like this big metal. Looks a little bit like a tiny oil Derek kind of situation built in in the ocean in order to, uh, put guns on it to shoot things and after the war the British take the guns away and it's just this platform and you might think, well, didn't the British Navy own it? No, because they illegally built built it in in in foreign a foreign countries waters or in international water. Sorry. And you can't, you're not allowed to weaponize international waters. So the Royal Navy builds this, this platform and they're like and then. War ends and the other countries are like, you know, it's an international crime for you to have that. And since you built it to fight Nazis, nobody's going to say anything, but you should probably bounce. So the Royal Navy leaves this platform and in 1965. The UK has all these really harsh laws about what can be played on the radio, and not so in the 60s and 70s. There's a bunch of pirate radio stations that will like take to the sea and illegally broadcast music that can't be played normally in the UK, and one of these cool that that's ******* rad as hell. It's like pump up the volume on this story. Yeah, the Principality of Sealand. There's some bad **** here because it first gets inhabited when a pirate radio crew in 1965 occupies the platform and it looks like a couple of them get in there and in September of 1967. British citizen and radio Pirate named Roy Bates occupies it, and while he's broadcasting illegal music from it, declares it an independent principality. There's a whole fun story here. Mercenaries get involved at one point. There's like a civil war in Sealand, basically, and a government in exile. A lot of a lot of wild **** happens in sea land. It's not really a libertarian. It's not a super political thing. Like, from what I recall, they do like online gambling now. Like I yeah, I. I it's it's more of like, it's more of what I can get behind, which is like, look at this thing that's just out there that no one owns. Yeah, break up the place and, like, do stuff. There's not a pretension that they're, like, experimenting with a new frontier and civilization. They're like, hey, if we take over this thing in the middle of the ocean that no one owns, we can broadcast songs without paying and gamble, which I am entirely supportive of. Yeah. I feel like if a bunch of libertarians showed up, they'd be like, no, we're full. Like, I don't think they want to build anything. Yeah, we're not. This is for your revolution, buddy. Yeah, we got here before you. Too bad leave, you know, and Roy dies. His. I think his kids are now running everything like it's basically like a gimmick. Branding opportunity for the family, I'd call it. There's a roadside attraction vibe to it, even though obviously getting there is a nightmare. So yeah, you've got Sealand, you've got the Republic of Minerva, Late 60s, early 70s, but for obvious reasons, the libertarian dream of taking to the sea to avoid regulation. It was clearly present that early, but it had to wait until the Internet age to really take off. You know, people try this back in the day, but it just it's really hard to build a libertarian boat city without modern technological resources. I should say it's hard to grift people into crowdfunding a libertarian boat city that never gets built. It's that idea. There's like this, right? There's like, there's probably, like a couple 1000 people who buy your grift. The problem is they're spread out throughout the world there. There's not many in each town, right? And the Internet has made it, you know, instead of being the person going town to town selling tonics and whatnot, you can just, like, blast it out on Twitter. And then they they all come to you. Yeah. Otherwise, you'd have to go person to person and ask like, hey, is anything bad ever happened to you? And then if they say no, say I got a deal for you. Yeah, exactly. You seem like a trusting little lamb. So in 1995, a guy named Howard Turney was he claims, and he's a liar. So he take that with a bit. He's he says that for years, before 95, he'd had a dream of, like, following in the footsteps of the Republic of Minerva, but but getting it right and creating, like, an independent nation or an independent community in the ocean that could abide by libertarian principles. And in 1995, he's hanging out in the Caribbean Sea, and he finds an A nice stretch of unusually shallow water that's in international waters. So it's underwater, but it's shallow. So with enough sand, you could actually, like, build an island out there. It's kind of his idea. So he says he finds this in 1997 and he decides to raise up new land and establish a utopia. Now, right around this same time. I'm not sure if the desire to fund the creation of a new island utopia came first or if this came first, but he changes his name to Lazarus Long. Oh my God. Yeah, that is, that is a **** star name. And yeah, I was about to say he's not doing. ****? Come on. No, no, he changes it to Lazarus long, because Lazarus long, in addition to being obviously a **** name, is an homage to a Robert Heinlein book, and I'm going to, I'm going to quote from an article independent from the in the Independent explaining Howard Turney's thinking here. He decided there were too many Howard attorneys around. And anyway, as he puts it, Prince Lazarus has a ring to it. He took his new name from a character in time enough for love, a novel by the American science fiction author, author Robert Heinlein. I admired his philosophy. It was so close to my own philosophy. As he says of his fictional antecedent, the Lazarus Long of Heinen's Epic saga is centuries old and lives in a world where aging is a thing of the past. His philosophy amounts to a series of pro individualistic slogans that can fairly easily, easily be said to represent the thinking of the man who created them. Heinlen coined the phrase there ain't no such thing as a free lunch, and among his other catchy aphorisms, are all men are created unequal, taxes are not levied for the benefit of the taxed, and beware of altruism. That is based on self deception, the root of all evil, huh? Yeah. So, OK. So going back to so Lazarus long, you mentioned there about people like living forever and like, that's what, that's what's going on, right. The Lazarus like that was a that's a reference to like, Jesus resurrecting people. Yeah, for sure. And then the long as in long. Yeah, he was, look, just a long, you know, like long life. He just wanted to make sure he had that double in the Golden Age of science. Fiction subtlety had not yet been invented. We we hadn't we hadn't cracked the nut on being subtle. So yeah, every character. I mean, let's be fair, the founding, the founding fiction piece for a cyberpunk, the the most influential piece of science fiction in in decades was hero protagonist. Yeah, yeah. No, I mean, two of the biggest sci-fi things is Star Wars against Star Trek. Yeah, the one. Both of which lead very little to the imagination and the one where they explore in space. It's yeah, we're not good at that. But like, at the same time, it sells, it works. So yeah, you don't need to be. Look, if the if the story is good, people will forgive a ****** title. Yeah, I don't know. I haven't read this Heinlein book. Maybe it was good. So before his name change, Howard had been a small town kid from Bowie, AZ who'd worked briefly as a cowboy before becoming an entrepreneur. He had definite narcissist vibes, telling an interviewer once it took me a few years to realize that I had more intelligence than the average person and more imagination. This is funny because he speaks to all of the guys who try this. And literally all of their experiments in creating new nations are the same and all in the same way. So I love the fact that he's like, I'm more imaginative than the average person. I mean, it's one of the biggest red flags. Yeah, like, if anybody is like, I'm smarter and more imaginative than most people, I'm like, alright, I'm gonna walk the other way now. We don't need to be having this conversation. Yeah, yeah. So Howard was a successful businessman. He made money in the restaurant industry and then started marketing products for grocery stores he farmed. Shrimp. He repaired and sold generators. He's just, like, makes a bunch of different businesses. And then in July of 1990, when he's 59, he reads a report in the New England Journal of Medicine about HGH or human growth hormone. And the study showed that World War Two vets injected with HGH lost body fat and gained muscle mass. So Howard starts selling GHH like he's he's like selling steroids, basically to people. This is the thing that, like Joe Rogan takes, and he he sells it for like 18 months before the Pharmaceutical industry. Realizes there's profit to be made and starts like, selling them officially. So Howard, like, gets builds a clinic in Mexico in order to sell HGH to bodybuilding. Excellent. So the pharmaceutical company was like, wait, hold on there. You can't do they make money off this. People will buy this ****. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, so he gets rich selling HGH as one of the first people selling HGH. So it's exciting that like supplements have been with with us for a while in the libertarian space. So he Prince Lazarus again. That's how he's known when the story starts. Yeah, I know, it's amazing. Pays $400,000 of his HGH money into the new Utopia project, as he calls it, which is his plan to build an island in the shallow part of the Caribbean. He estimates the total project will cost $216 million. So, like, literally every other dude in our story, and yeah, they're all dudes. He starts trying to raise money to fund this. He raises it through what's called the new Utopia. Development trust, which he registered in Belize because they don't make you pay taxes. Sure, when journalists would question whether or not this was all just a grift, he would assure them that neither he nor his governors were members of the trust, which he said was independent, and would only give a small percentage of construction costs to members of the government, which I'm sure was completely true. That was going to say, seems on the level. Totally seems on the level. Nothing weird here. New Utopia gets off the ground right around the same time as another very dumb project called Oceania. Which was another floating libertarian city that started raising money to build itself in the early 1990s, right around the kind of the same time as new Utopia. I haven't found much about Oceania and never got off the ground as more than a website, so I'm not going to talk about it in detail other than to reference how the Prince you have to call them. The Prince responded when a libertarian writer asked him why Oceania hadn't gone anywhere. So basically these two start around the same time one of them fails. A guy interviewing Prince Lazarus is like, hey, why do you think it failed? And Lazarus says. The problem was that it was conceived by a bunch of radical militiamen. Everything was going to be legal. You could carry an anti tank gun down the street if you wanted, and they were going to have dueling made lawful. Now who's going to invest their money in something like this where some drunk challenges you to a duel and kills you? There's not much incentive there feels like he's circling the point like it's that thing of like, yeah, we can't make it free for everybody all the time we have. There has to be like limits set. And then it's the question of, well. By who? Yeah. And it's like, well those people were clowns. I'm the. I'm extremely intelligent and creative. Yeah. And it's I'm. I'm not. I'm not. Obviously coming from the perspective of that like the only way to have a society is with like a top down government. But you, you you do have to think about it more than like everyone can just do everything and it's, well, what do you do if someone starts killing people? You have to have an answer to that question. Like you're right it says a lot that none of these. None. When these guys find themselves ask that question, none of them propose anything new. They just wind up recreating the government as it exists. So it's like, well, you don't actually have any ideas, you just don't want to be told what to do. But when you're angry at someone else, you just do government **** again. They want to be at the top. It reminds me a lot of when people are like, back in the day, are like, this forum is ********. I'm going to create my own forum and then they end up doing all the same stuff because it's just that they want to be in charge. And that's that's how you make 4 Chan like it's just it's it's. It's just like you either if you do complete lawlessness. It's very hard to maintain that right. You have to like, you have to have an idea about what you want to replace the laws and if your only idea is I don't think I should have to pay taxes and and should be able to sleep with 12 year olds, then your society is not going to have, you're not going to have anything ready other than, well, I guess I'll do what I just left when the problem happens, it's it's it feels the same as starting a cult because. Yeah, well, it kind of is. It is, yeah. Because it's always like if I would be fine. Someone was like, look, I just don't want to be bothered. I'm gonna go into the woods and I'm gonna live off the land, or in this case, off the ocean, and I won't bother you and you don't bother me. The problem is that then it becomes this whole thing where they, they like, want other people there and they think, they think that they can make some sort of new government and it it. It's like depressing to say it's like, yeah, it's all sort of we've we've thought it all up. Yeah, that's the that's the thing if you, if you're not coming to like here is if you're only saying, I don't think these things should be present, but you're not saying I think we should do this instead. Then you don't actually have an idea. You're just angry because things that exist are imperfect. I think there's, there's a if all if these guys are being like, hey, we're gonna start a new society in the sea, and here's how we're going to deal with violence. And here's what, what, how we're going to decide what's restricted and here's gonna be the community accountability. OK, well, maybe that'll work. You guys clearly have an idea. Other than I don't want to pay taxes or have subsidies. Yeah. Yeah. If you're creating some sort of. Yeah. Communal system where everybody. But, yeah, this feels very much have a plan, right. Like, right. It feels very much the idea that. They their ideas stopped short of I wanna be in power. Like it it's still it feels like a power grab. Yeah. I think it's yeah. The hope is I think, well, I think for most of them it's just like trying to make money. But yeah, I think for a lot of people it's the idea that, like, well I I'm I got in too late to wind up ahead in where I came from. But if I create a new place out of the sea, then I can be the king there or literally the Prince. And again I feel like we've all had that instinct. To take to the sea or to go in the woods and be like, you know what? All I'm gonna stop all of this. I'm just. But then once you if you get into that scenario, then it's like, Oh no, how do I actually serve? Yeah, doing. I mean, when I bought 1300 acres in Idaho and then cut off all of the power and Internet access to that small town, I thought it was going to be simple. But it turns out people need all sorts of things you don't. It sounds simple. Yeah, it does sound simple, but. My God, for one thing, Dave. I don't know if you know how expensive it is, but digging 6 foot holes the size of a human body? Real problem anyway. And if you get other people are real whiners about that stuff, they hate digging corpse holes, yeah? They get ****** just because you blocked food from any what would. It's a it's a real problem. But the point is I thought about it more than these guys did because I didn't have to already make land because there's lots of Idaho, right? Yeah. So and who gives a **** about that land? Yeah. You can go out there and just do whatever, Umm for a while and then for a while and then, you know, the authorities get involved. OK, good. That's good to know. Yeah, they're they're there are some laws not on the door. So yeah, but what we just talked about is like this thing you notice. Bunch is that like they don't. They always default to doing things the way they're done in the world. They left when a problem occurs and they don't have the only ideas like political theory. Ideas that they seem to want to institute are like not paying taxes. And in fact, Prince Lazarus was one of the most blatant about this. He bragged that new Utopia would quote out came in the Caymans as a place to hide wealth, so he was very open about this is just for rich people as to use as a tax shelter. Citizens of New Utopia would pay no taxes, just a $1500 five year bond that both buys you citizenship and promised to pay 9.5% annual interest to the bearer. So you're an investor if you're a citizen. So that's good. No way that could wind up with a situation that becomes slavery. Like if people who come there and don't have the bonds have to pay in labor. I don't know a number of ways I could see that going. Oh yeah, and interviews. The Prince compared this positively to the $55,000 a person had to pay in order to become a citizen of Belize for tax purposes, which is a thing you only know when you become the citizen of another nation for tax purposes. Lazarus's goal was to get 4000 citizens to fund startup costs, and by the time the Independent. Interviewed him in 1997. He had almost 500 backers. So you know. That's half $1,000,000, more than half $1,000,000. Yeah, it's not bad, six, 700,000. So if he actually did invest 400,000, he's got a good rate of return already. That was the year Prince Lazarus began agitating for UN membership for his country, which again had Farman. Or yeah, yeah, he's trying. Oh my goodness, dude. Like, I'm sorry. It's just has some land 1st and, like, like, that is literally what the UN says. Yeah. The UN is like, we would consider your membership if there was land with people on it, which is our our requirement for a country. That's fair. I think that's more than fair from the UN. Yeah, I I think so. Because otherwise you're not gonna be able to get anything done as the UN people are gonna be trying to make everything into a country. Yeah. Yeah. Oh yeah. I'd be doing it. Left and right. And I would say land with people on it is a pretty good line if you're like, minimum characteristics of a nation's land with people on it, start, we'll start there. And then we'll ask some more questions and see, like, I think there's more you can do. Is it your land? This? Is it owned by another government? Do the people know you're making them into a country? Yeah. Yeah. People. Are there any atrocities you're planning on committing? Yeah. Write the number of genocides you plan to commit next to this. And listen, if it's more than one, that's OK a lot of countries have done a lot of most countries really are on the three to five points. There's that instinct to put a 0, but it's like, we're more concerned with you being honest at this. Yeah, it's it's like if you put nothing on your customs declaration coming into the US, like, you can get away with a lot of **** if you're like, yeah, I bought some stuff, like I came through customs once and he asked if I brought any illegal drugs and I answered with I don't remember, which is not the right answer, it turns out. Oh damn. But I was just being honest. And slept in a very long time. Ohh because of the illegal drugs you took out with you? That's correct. And Speaking of illegal drugs, you know what time it is? You know who else sells illegal drugs? Dave? Ohh no. All sorts of people, I imagine, namely the products and services that support this podcast. Hmm. Delicious. Well, here's. ******** drug use. Hmm. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one meant mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. 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Ah, we're back, and we are we we just smuggled some **** into the country, then some **** out of the country, then we kind of, we kind of square danced with the country a little bit. Yeah, it's been it's been good, good times. So Prince Lazarus decides. Tonga sent their military in to take the last Libertarian island nation that we tried to establish. I don't want that to happen to me, so I'm going to get you in membership. And I can't be invaded. Famously a thing that happens when you're in the UN, right? You don't, you don't get invaded. But that that's what he decides to do. And he, he starts trying to raise money from Libertarian, saying, I need $100 million before the UN will accept me as a country. That is not how it works. Yeah, it's going to say do, do do they take bribes? Is that the idea? Just like anybody with 100,000,000 bucks you get to be ******* every billionaire would have a country if that was the way it worked. Like it would be nothing to them. Elon Musk would have like 30 each. Based off of meme coins I do love, he would be issuing passports. Yeah, ohh yeah, I love the idea that the UN takes bribes. It was just like 100,000,000 bucks. Not even like if if it's just the right clerk, you slip him $100. He's like, yeah, sure, I'll, I'll let you guys are in the country. Just imagining a shady yuan guy in a ******* trench coat in the alleys of New York. Hey, you wanna start a country? Could get real easy for you. Well, yeah, it's a good grift, yeah. So yeah, so he he he he announces this, he starts raising money, and the UN sends a response being like, we'll consider your membership when there's evidence that there's literally anything there. This ****** off Prince Lazarus, and he lashes out, telling a reporter that he didn't want to be in the UN anyway. Quote, they're trying to implement worldwide banking rules and regulations that are not in keeping with the philosophy of new utopia. Plus they have a refugee policy for all their members as a new little country. They cannot afford boatloads of people from Central America or Cuba or Haiti coming to my shores because I have no welfare system and I have no plans to have a welfare system. You also don't have shores. Yeah. You don't have a lot of things, buddy. There's, there's there's actually nothing that you have. It really seems like you're just a guy who's calling himself a country and running around and and and just like, sort of refugees. Absolutely not. Yeah. We're gonna put up my credenza. Yeah. It kind of seems like we need to call like your family and see if they could come get you. It would be funny if the if the UN had accepted him but then just started sending refugees to his house. Look man, until you get a shore, you got to put these people somewhere. He's just gotta boxes of currency and refugees. Amazing. Lazarus had another plan to make his city profitable. Unrestricted medical testing on humans. His HGH business had gotten eaten away when Big Pharma hopped on the HGH drain. And so Lazarus next got interested in anti aging. On occasion, when he was interviewed in 1997, he told the reporter that he had secret knowledge of upcoming anti-aging developments. Quote there are things on the horizon that people today can only dream about. We are not that far from being able to live multiples of. What we look at now is the human lifespan. His name is Lazarus. His name is Lazarus. Oh my goodness. And it's the same. Peter Thiel is also really into immortality. It's a bunch of like, rich white dudes who are scared of death and even more scared that someone at any point might tell them what to do. Or just that they might not be able to act with complete impunity and never consider other people or society like that's the thing that's most offensive to them. I I think part of the the money disease is that like for example, if you were to say, hey, what if I sold books online and you happen to be the first person to do that. You think that every idea you have from then on is amazing when the reality is just that you did a thing first and it was easy for you because you were in the right place for it. And. Ideas and like. Expansion seems easy in their minds and so it feels like it's a lot of people who want to cut corners. Who got successful once and assume it's always gonna be like that? Yep. Yeah, I'm sure the The Cave person who invented fire for the first time. Like, got a lot of clout for a little while and then tried some other experiment that ended with them, like, catching ***** **** on fire and dying. Also, I'm guessing people at the time were like, you didn't invent fire. Like the lightning hit that tree over there and you grabbed the fire like you you know, you just were the first. You're the damn first. Yeah. It would be funny, this. The sight of a caveman with like a burning branch with a wildfire in the background being like, look, if you guys, if you guys all invest, I can make this like this you. There's no end to how big this thing could get. Oh yeah, this fire could really spread. This fire could really spread. All the kids love on the ground, uncontrolled. Wildfire. Yeah, yeah, they kinda do. They kind of do. So, Umm, yeah, he, uh, he claimed that basically. So the claim he starts making is that there's a bunch of miracle anti-aging drugs that are totally ready for people to take and can cure death, but the damn FDA won't let them get approved, right? And so new utopia, what will make it profitable is once they get this island built, you can sell these unapproved drugs to anybody and that'll that'll. So he's like, that's why I think rich people will invest because they want my anti-aging drugs, right? Guy just keeps getting better and better. Yeah, it's it's very funny. Next, from the Independent quote, later this year, if everything goes to plan, a construction company will begin pouring piles at 30 foot intervals into these virgin reefs. Then precast concrete platforms will be placed on top of them, and on top of these a city will be erected. Plans for the initial stage of development include 1200 apartments are 350,000 square foot shopping mall, 5 hotels, a bank, 150,000 square foot Medical Center, a casino, a Convention Center, and a university offering scholarships to students from every country in the world. There will be no taxes. The new utopia, with the single exception of an import duty tax on consumable goods. Nor will there be any kind of welfare system, a constitutional sovereignty. The country will be run by a Board of Governors appointed by the Prince himself. Currently, these governors are scattered all over the world, awaiting the time when they can formally take up their posts. All of them, the Prince told me, are experts in their chosen fields. Really? Wish we knew who those guys were. Oh God, yeah. Imagine going out into the world with a degree from new Utopia Community College. Be like, no, it's a real thing. Trust me. My guess and I, I, I, I would I would wager to bet that of the governors who are experts in their field he hired to run his his country, not one of them knew how to do things with sewage. Absolutely. I'm just certain there was no one. There were no thoughts given. Like, what about all the poop? Yes, I I really get into like that that vibe that they would build the city and then they'd be like, wait, what do we put under this? Like, they they they would not have. Started there, yeah. I my guess is that they would have just shot straight into the ocean and like killed all of the sea around it and formed like this disease filled poop bog that though the darians. Yeah, I think that that's the ocean. It's right there. Yeah, I get it. I get there. I just walk into the ocean, do your business and walk out that it would be the benefit of living at sea. Self cleaning. Yep. So the first phase of construction is was scheduled to be completed by the start of September and of September 1999. And on December, the country's 1st birthday celebrations were going to be held. Would start with the the crowning of Prince Lazarus. Then he would bestow titles on those who had hoped to create the new nation. There would be celebrity guests and then inaugural speedboat Grand Prix. So they had a lot of, they had a lot of ambitions. My goodness, they sure did. Yeah, they they really did. But of course, new Utopia never got off the ground. The Securities and Exchange Commission eventually declared it a fraudulent nationwide Internet scheme. And this is like 97. So this is a really groundbreaking fraudulent on Internet scheme. Like, not a lot of precursors at that point. Really. I love that. It's like we have downgraded your new utopia to Internet scheme. Yeah, to fraudulent Internet scheme. The stark difference between what he's selling. What it actually is. It's pretty amazing. It's extremely funny. Yeah, the SEC ruled that there was, like, no evidence he'd even tried to figure out how to construct the project. Like, I don't even think Lazarus long ever wanted to make this. He just wanted to get a bunch of money. Now, the fact that the SEC, like, if he was real, the fact that the SEC had declared it a fraud, should not have stopped him if he was really motivated to make this thing. And in fact, he had told a reporter in 1997 that there is nothing, no law that could stop me. If for some reason it slowed down or postponed, I'll still make it happen. It's something that needs to happen. Lazarus Long died in 2012 at age 88, unable to obtain the immortality drugs he desperately needed because he'd never gotten this country built. Dave, that's a shame, man. It's a real tragedy. Yeah, frustration. That country going. Yeah, that's probably his last thought. Yeah, if only I got my utopia started. Maybe that's what was going through his daughter Elizabeth Henderson's head when in 2017 she announced that she was restarting new Utopia and that the project would have a completed floating city by 2021. That's heartbreaking now, Dave, as we record this, we've still got about 6-7 weeks left in 2021. So she could pull it out. She could pull this up, she could. Honestly, I have more sympathy for her and. You know, if I can help in any way I can, I'll yeah, I'll I'll help with this floating city. It's fine. She probably had a lot to deal with, I'm guessing. Yeah. I'm just thinking, like you're raised in that environment and then you you probably love your your father and you want to honor them. And it's like I'm getting into the family business. Yeah. Or it's I'm getting into the family business of committing feeling money from libertarians, which is probably what it actually is, but I like, I like to hope she's a true believer. And. Yeah, like I'm gonna make this floating city, *** **** it. Yeah. So yeah, 1997 is when the new Utopia project, like both started and blew up. It was also the year that the first boat born Libertarian Sea Nation concept really got started. So you had these guys trying to make platforms and islands and stuff in the middle of the ocean. Now we're going to have some libertarians. They're like, what if a boat was a country? They're just like, guys. We've had boats this whole time. Why don't we already exist? Let's make. In that country. The Freedom ship was the dream of an engineer named Norman Nixon in the early 1990s. Right around the same time as Lazarus found his Shoals, Norman had Norman had the brilliant and totally original idea to create a planned community on an island outside of the US. Unfortunately, wars kept breaking out around the islands that he wanted to choose, so he was unable to pick any of them. Norman decided then to build his own dam island. He brought on specialists to help him sell this idea, including a marketing director who asked him if we're going to build an island and we're going to put some houses on it. Then why not make it move? Oh my goodness. I just, you know, you're talking about reinventing the government, just like working back from island to boat. Yeah, I also love. OK, I gotta create a government. I need a marketing director. Top of the list. Top of the list. Yeah. And yeah, this is just cruise ships which are which are terrible, are horrible places for horrible people. Yeah. Yeah. And it's like, just go on a cruise. Just just just become like a waiter on a cruise. Yeah. And you'll be fine. Yeah. As this will end, I think the visions a lot of these people put forward of life in their see utopias. I would prefer to be a waiter on a cruise ship, knowing full well that's about the worst job on planet Earth. Oh yeah. O. Norman decided his new his new nation would live aboard a ship. But not just any ship. He announced. Through the same kind of libertarian magazines and online spaces as as the other people did, he announced that he was going to build the largest boat in human history. It was going to be 4300 feet long and 25 stories high, six times larger than any ship ever built. Norman put the price tag for this project at a lean $6 billion, which feels like a bargain. Yeah, I guess if he got it, if he got that. 6 billion? Yeah, why not? So the idea was brilliantly unhinged, Norman said. The ship would never dock. It would never get close to the IT would never get closer than 12 miles away from the shore. So it would always be within international waters, never crossing inside the legal boundaries of any nation. People would only be able to reach it by boat shuttles or airplanes. It was going to have an airport on it also. Yeah, yeah, just the biggest a mile long boat. Is he going to escape with all that money? It all comes crashing down, you know, the biggest boat ever, yeah. Condos aboard would start at $425,000, with a $1000 monthly maintenance fee. Because in this libertarian utopia, you're not allowed to fix your own home. Norman estimated 24,000 units would be on the ship, and he was sure sure that once he'd sold that many, he'd have enough cash to actually build it. And and by the way, again, it's worth noting he's not just talking about building a boat. He's talking about, like, the most significant construction project in human history, like an order of magnitude more complicated than the tallest building ever made, right? He's talking about the most. Amazing thing. Yeah. Yeah. Mile long ships that can grow its own food and all it needs is the money first. Yeah, it's just a money problem. Good deal. Good deal. So Wired actually interviewed Norman over this, and best of all, they brought in experts to analyze how realistic his claims were. Quote. I don't imagine that people would buy this and would live on this thing for the rest of their lives. They would see it as a sort of vacation home. I could see a lot of criminals buying condos, said Gene Feldman, an ocean an oceanographer with the NASA Goddard Space Space Flight Center. Based on his own experiences living on ships and small islands, Feldman said it's very different living in an environment where you have very definite boundaries, you can see the extent of your world and that does something to your brain. After a while, you lose your sense of time and space. Oh no, he's just like, I don't think they're thinking about what it would be like. To live forever on a boat that never gets closer than 12 miles to shore, they're creating their own prison. Yeah, like that. You're making a floating prison for everybody going back to water world. That's not a cheery look at the future. No, like us all, living in the ocean would be exhausting. Yeah, there's a lot that you have to. People aren't supposed to be in the ocean, as you so astutely noted, Dave. It literally adapt a lot to it. Yeah, it literally pushes us out of it every time we try to go in it. It doesn't want us. We we can't drink it. It's filled with monsters. Leave it alone. Just leave it alone. Leave it alone. Toss some car batteries into it and get on with your day. Give it a car battery or two for the yeah. Yeah, for the eels. Yeah, exactly. Are the dolphins? Hmm. Whenever they want to do with it, it's their card battery. Now, you know, once it hits the ocean, they own it. Yeah, which if that if we actually made that law, they might have enough nukes to stop us from destroying their environment. So they just need thumbs. That's the one thing they need. I think they could figure it out. They're smart. In media sort of like blasts and whatnot, Norman and his agents bragged that they're floating island would be a huge tourist draw with more than 10,000 hotel rooms available. Casinos, printing companies, furniture outlets, department stores, all tax free. They were particularly bullish about the promise of taking an American style mall around the world so foreigners could shop just like us, but on a boat. Did he say selling point? Did he? Did you say printing companies? Yeah, where it's like there's casinos and restaurants. Also, you can make copies and stuff. There's a good ghost. Yeah, yeah, like no government interference with you doing. You can print anything you want. Yeah, printing your scenes, even tasteful nudes of well. And then we get into the age of consent stuff again. So as it happens, the Liberty Ship organizers plan to go just go ahead and use U.S. dollars as their currency. This was justified because it was easier. Like, everybody values dollars. We'll just use those. I get it. Like, money, money. Do that later. Do that. We've already lived under the tyranny of a nation. But, like, I mean, you know, dollars. Yeah. Sorry again. You inventing your own money. It's just yeah, it's it is. It's a whole thing. If you're convinced that people need money, you might as well just use money that already exists. Hmm. Although now we have crypto, which we'll talk about in a little bit. Ohg good. Even though the ship planned to stay in international waters, the Liberty was going to fly the flag of a nation. This is a requirement for International Maritime law. Norman Norman claimed that Ireland had agreed to let them register there, and that the ship was going to fly an Irish flag. Which would mean that the people on board the liberty would be bound by Irish law, which did not, at that point, I think, allow abortion, among other things. Ohh, man. Also, you said claimed that. I know. Yeah, he said that they'd worked out a deal. You know, I I I feel like I know where that's going. Yeah. So he's saying we're gonna fly under an Irish flag and everyone will be accountable to Irish law. But then there's all sorts of principled libertarian jargon in the promo materials, like quote. There will be no intrusion into or involvement. With personal business finances or commercial transactions, which I don't know, Ireland might have something to say about, say, Ireland's like, yeah, there will be. Norman bragged that only food sanitation would be regulated, which, beyond making him FDA cocked, is still at odds with Irish law and with libertarian practice too. Why just why just food sanitation? If can people not take care of that themselves? Norman, right. This this feels like if I set up like a cardboard stand outside that sold crystal meth and called it Starbucks, you know? And it's just like, this is another Starbucks, folks. Starbucks approved. Here's your crystal meth. Like, that's. That's what they're. Yeah. Creating here. Yeah. And he's he's he's trying to get people to believe that, like, well, we'll fly fly under an Irish flag flag. But whatever crimes you wanna do when you're living here, they're not gonna have any problem with. You can run your cocaine empire from our floating boat and you're good to go. It's a real, like, don't worry my roommates. Totally cool moment. Yeah. That is what they're doing. Yeah. So. Wire did their due diligence and they reached out to experts in boat stuff to put some of the claims by the Liberty people to the test. And here's one example. David Hall of the Center for Marine Conservation said dealing with massive amounts of solid wastes generated on board is just one of many concerns. There are all sorts of questions that they'll have to deal with, such as what hazard, if any, would it pose to marine animals. Whales are hit by ships all the time, he said. It sounds as if a whale collided with this thing. I don't think it would have much of a chance. Still, the plan and the fundraising went on. In 2000, after three years of feverish propagandizing, the Freedom ship had evolved beyond just a project of Norman Nixon, and now had accumulated a sports team's worth of managers and investors speaking for it. Here's how they sold it in an article three years later. The Freedom ships creators say the vessel, whose construction is due to start in Honduras this summer, will be one of the wonders of the world. The company behind the scheme said reservations for the 20,000 homes on board have begun to accelerate and there were already plans for two other floating cities. Freedom ship will be nearly a mile long, 725 feet wide and 340 feet tall and will have room for 40,000 people, including a staff of 10,000. There will be a school in a university on board, not to mention a landing strip, a hospital, a shopping mall, a casino and 200 acres of open space. Roger Gooch, the ship's marketing vice president, claims to have 15% of the units reserved. Later in that article, which opens with the author noting that creators say the ship will be a new wonder of the world, construction was claimed to be starting in 60 to 90 days. So yeah, by this point, tourism is no longer the draw. They're not claiming people are going to, like, show up here. Gooch claims that the boat company, the people making this are just a giant landlord, and that's all they want to do is provide entrepreneurs with spaces. To do their businesses, but they also want to set up a university where it's bragged like they want to set up a university for the kids there to go to, but also so that drug companies can do unregulated tests on people. Sure, they and they love this casino thing. They really want casinos. And I get it, because it's basically they wanna, they're just trying to create a town. But then just like a shady town, that's it. It's a town to do. Just a town for just crimes and one school. Yeah, where they will. Shoot you up with unregulated drugs, right? Like, if it weren't for the shady stuff, just create a town. Yeah, you know, like, that's it. That's all you're making. You can do that anywhere. Yeah, well, not anywhere. But yeah, it's it's purely. I think that's why it's always sketchy, right? Because it's always comes down to, we want to do really shady stuff and we're going to make it seem like we're just, you know, we're ******* off into the ocean, we're doing our own little utopia where you could do anything. Like that's always like the underlining part, yeah? So here's the thing, Dave. OK, you you know libertarians, right? Eat like personally? I mean, how do you think? As a general rule, how do you think libertarians feel about the FBI? Ohh God, I'm I'm sure they like. I'm sure they really respect them. Well, you know, they understand. You know, it's a job. You know, you you gotta do what you gotta do. And they're very respectful to them if they like, talk to them. Well, any authority, David, it's funny because you're you're you're going, you're doing this because normally when libertarians and the FBI intersect, it's a gun fight, right. This, it's very funny because they hire an FBI agent to to keep track of law and order on their floating ship. Oh, wow. Well, we. Yeah. So they're just doing. Against doing in America. But with like you can you can sell drugs, I guess, right. They're just doing The Pirate Bay like that's the whole thing is it's just no The Pirate Bay would have been way cooler, Dave. Ohh, absolutely. It's just. But all these things are is just like, hey, get in on this before we're shut down, you know like that's it. And if they were honest. I don't know if I'd respect them more because, you know, some of the things they want to do is horrifying. Yeah, but like if it was like, look, we just wanna go gamble on stuff and like do a bunch of drugs. So we're creating this quote UN quote country and we don't really believe in anything, but I might be a citizen if it was exactly the if that was the what's going on. But no, these are like, look, we're just being Vegas in the ocean. Yeah, and we're, you know, you can't kill people there. You can't do like, you can't do a lot of ****** ** stuff we just want. Little more freedom. Just a little to be able to be like, like, do a little, do some stuff that's crimes elsewhere. But we don't wanna people to be murdering each other. This is not an ideological thing. We just think it would be neat if we could sell crack cocaine and operate a casino. I would be like, great, exactly. But it's like go to your casino and smoke some crack. If it's like, look, if someone murders someone, that's not cool. But if you, yeah, if you like, do a bunch of PCP and fall into our engine. I mean, that's that. It is what it is. Like that's what you're here to do. And and it's it's frustrating to me like these guys that's kind of how they wanna like they they they said they talk a good game about like liberty like no intrusions on personal liberties, all that stuff. And then they hire like so in in this article from like three years later, Mr Gooch tells the interviewer that they've hired a former FBI man to head a 2000 person security force with state-of-the-art defensive weapons. Ohhh yeah. And different he he talks about how like, oh, different every deck. And floor will have their own elected representatives. But also the captain's word will be final. Final. So it's like, so you want to have an ocean dictatorship run by the FBI with guns and no one else gets guns and you're calling yourself a libertarian, right? They're like, look, every deck has its own, like, representative. And then there's like a president of the boat like this. You're you're just it's just doing government. It's always just doing. Yeah. And we have an unaccountable, armed wing of the state that can do violence to you with no recourse and. Yeah. It's it's it's, see, we're freedom. We've developed freedom. This all reminds me a little bit. This is weird of Disney World because Disney World is like when it was established, they did a lot of stuff with Florida where they were like, look, just stay out of here. We'll have our own EMT's and stuff and like fire, like, that's essentially what they're trying to do. But like Florida obviously still or Disney still exists in the country, but it feels very much like like Walt Disney's Dream of Epcot. And stuff where he was like, I want this to be its own nation. But, you know, Disney has rights. So I guess what I'm saying is have some ******* rights on your country and I think it'll work out like if they have a like a like a log flume, I'd be like, this is great, that's great, good for them. But instead they just want to. Yeah, I don't know what they want. I guess they just want to do a bunch of illegal ****. Yep. Yeah, and and which is fine too, I guess. I don't have their own FBI to have their own FBI. Yeah, it's cool. You know what else is cool, Dave? Ohh no. You're pluggable, yes. My blue Gables. You're plegables. Are cool. Are we done? Roham? Is the episode over? Yeah, this part one is over. OK. OK. Hey, listen. Hey. Hi. I, I'm on Twitter at movie hooligan. I run a podcast network with Tom Ryman called gainfully unemployed. You can find that wherever you find podcasts. We have we we we we do stuff about movies and such. We have a Employed? Uh, there's a bunch of exclusive podcasts on that. I'm also, I'm head writer for some more news. You sure check that out as well. That's all my stuff. Well, I'm no one and you can find me nowhere. Goodbye forever. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. 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