Apart from creationism, there are few things I enjoy reading more than a good rant about libertarian fantasies. As weird as the whole story is, this one part caught my eye in particular.
On Freedom Ship there will be a jail, a “squad of intelligence officers,” and a “private security force of 2,000, led by a former FBI agent, [that] will have access to weapons, both to maintain order within the vessel and to resist external threats.” And while technically the law applied would be that of whichever state lends its flag, Freedom Ship officials make no bones that “the captain’s word will be final.”
Zoinks! Who the hell is going to be stupid enough to sign up for that?!?
I think this little detail is a perfectly distilled example of what is wrong with libertarianism. In stripping away a planned government, which includes detailed rules and restrictions on what the government may not do, they have simply pared away all possible civil protections in order to reach the smallest possible government: one guy. One completely unaccountable guy who makes all the rules.
Look, what people call "big government" exists for a reason. The United States has an elected, distributed, multi-faceted government, composed of different people who do not agree and who do not have absolute power. This in itself is the best way to ensure that people are not ruled for long by petty tyrants. Richard Nixon expressed the opposite point of view in its most pure form:
FROST: "So what in a sense, you're saying is that there are certain situations, and the Huston Plan or that part of it was one of them, where the president can decide that it's in the best interests of the nation or something, and do something illegal."
NIXON: "Well, when the president does it that means that it is not illegal."
Yep, that's what Nixon said, right before he resigned in disgrace. (He gave his farewell speech exactly one month to the day before I was born. As my dad once said about himself and Mussolini, "He must have seen me coming and figured the jig was up.)