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Dear all,

as some of you may know the tiny nordic country of Iceland is in great trouble due to the financial crisis. In just a matter of days Iceland was thrown into a major depression which threatens to destroy the country. The depression was caused by a combination of a corporatist central banking system and irresponsible banksters who gambled Iceland into a debt depression.

This is of course sad for the Icelandic people, but also poses a major opportunity for liberty. I have created a movement for helping Iceland become debt free in return for creating a laissez-faire haven for the helpers. The deal is as follows:

1. A non-Icelandic individual pays a one-time fee of $25.000+1% of the wealth he wants to have protected under Icelandic law. Similarly a non-icelandic corporation pays a one-time fee of 5% (minimum $500.000) in order to operate freely on Iceland.

2. In return the individual becomes a Charter Citizen of Iceland and the corporation becomes a Charter Corporation, which gives them FULL ECONOMIC FREEDOM. In practice this means:

- they pay ZERO taxes

- they may freely choose their means of trade (gold, dollars, chickens, you name ut.)

- they may perform any economic activity WITHOUT REGULATION provided that the activity is generally legal in Iceland. (E.g. narcotics may be illegal, but banking is legal and hence Charter Citizens may operate FREE BANKING)

- they have ZERO welfare rights

- all Charter Citizen/Corporation contracts are protected by Icelandic law

Or put briefly: Iceland becomes debt free and the Charter Citizens become tax and regulation free.

Even if you do not intend to ever become a Charter Citizen of Iceland yourself I strongly urge you all to support this enterprise. You can do that by joining the Facebook page called Free Iceland and to make sure to spread this information to all your friends and liberty-oriented associates.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Free-Iceland/115876108423846

Transforming Iceland into a liberty haven can have enormous consequences for global politics. I am particularly fond of the notion that gold is recognized as a means of payment. Therefore please do not let this opportunity escape you.

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Dear all,

as some of you may know the tiny nordic country of Iceland is in great trouble due to the financial crisis. In just a matter of days Iceland was thrown into a major depression which threatens to destroy the country. The depression was caused by a combination of a corporatist central banking system and irresponsible banksters who gambled Iceland into a debt depression.

This is of course sad for the Icelandic people, but also poses a major opportunity for liberty. I have created a movement for helping Iceland become debt free in return for creating a laissez-faire haven for the helpers. The deal is as follows:

1. A non-Icelandic individual pays a one-time fee of $25.000+1% of the wealth he wants to have protected under Icelandic law. Similarly a non-icelandic corporation pays a one-time fee of 5% (minimum $500.000) in order to operate freely on Iceland.

2. In return the individual becomes a Charter Citizen of Iceland and the corporation becomes a Charter Corporation, which gives them FULL ECONOMIC FREEDOM. In practice this means:

- they pay ZERO taxes

- they may freely choose their means of trade (gold, dollars, chickens, you name ut.)

- they may perform any economic activity WITHOUT REGULATION provided that the activity is generally legal in Iceland. (E.g. narcotics may be illegal, but banking is legal and hence Charter Citizens may operate FREE BANKING)

- they have ZERO welfare rights

- all Charter Citizen/Corporation contracts are protected by Icelandic law

Or put briefly: Iceland becomes debt free and the Charter Citizens become tax and regulation free.

Even if you do not intend to ever become a Charter Citizen of Iceland yourself I strongly urge you all to support this enterprise. You can do that by joining the Facebook page called Free Iceland and to make sure to spread this information to all your friends and liberty-oriented associates.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Free-Iceland/115876108423846

Transforming Iceland into a liberty haven can have enormous consequences for global politics. I am particularly fond of the notion that gold is recognized as a means of payment. Therefore please do not let this opportunity escape you.

You bring up a very interesting proposal. This would no doubt interest foreign companies to invest, but do you think it will happen quick enough so that Iceland can recover by at least in five years? Either way I think it would be a good idea for Iceland to have this system or something similar as it has nothing to lose from this sort of legislature.

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You're suggesting a complex scheme of lowering taxes to attract investors to Iceland. You might as well join the local conservative party, which I'm sure is after the same thing.

Objectivists however advocate individual rights, on principle, not a deal where individuals can purchase certain privileges from a government. So, sure, if you manage to enact that system of taxation, I would look into the possibility of doing business in Iceland, over other countries. If there is a strong demand for what I can offer, the taxes you are suggesting are far lower than in other countries, so it is definitely worth my time at least considering the possibility.

But I would never actually advocate for that plan. It is entirely inconsistent with my philosophical beliefs, since I do not recognize the right of the nation of Iceland, who's mistakes landed them in debt, to organize against me, and charge me a tax for what they see as the privilege of buying property or working on the island they live on. I do not consider such a nation free. A free nation is one that does not in any way impede the right of individuals to life, liberty and property.

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The deal is as follows:

1. A non-Icelandic individual pays a one-time fee of $25.000+1% of the wealth he wants to have protected under Icelandic law. Similarly a non-icelandic corporation pays a one-time fee of 5% (minimum $500.000) in order to operate freely on Iceland.

2. In return the individual becomes a Charter Citizen of Iceland and the corporation becomes a Charter Corporation, which gives them FULL ECONOMIC FREEDOM. In practice this means:

- they pay ZERO taxes

- they may freely choose their means of trade (gold, dollars, chickens, you name ut.)

- they may perform any economic activity WITHOUT REGULATION provided that the activity is generally legal in Iceland. (E.g. narcotics may be illegal, but banking is legal and hence Charter Citizens may operate FREE BANKING)

- they have ZERO welfare rights

- all Charter Citizen/Corporation contracts are protected by Icelandic law

Do you have the authority to make this deal?

John Link

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Would such a proposal even get off the ground in Iceland? What is the outlook there of the people on issues of capitalism and corporations, or kickbacks/benefits for corporations. I'm guessing that the people are probably thoroughly dismayed and pissed off at the situation, and just like in America, blame free enterprise and the corporations for the mess. Are the people choosing to stay in Iceland freedom loving people, or will we see more statism in that country due to their failures?

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Samuraidude123:

even if it happens in as much as 5 years, that is a world of difference compared to what the Icelandic people are facing now: 1-2 generations of debt. But I think it can happen much much faster than 5 years, possibly in less than one year. Iceland only has a population of 300.000 people. Their per capita debt is huge, but their total debt is fairly small. It doesn't take a lot of corporations to move to Iceland to pay down its debt.

You're suggesting a complex scheme of lowering taxes to attract investors to Iceland.

No, I am not. Carefully read what I wrote, once more. I am suggesting the introduction of a special kind of citizenship where the ticket price is a single one time payment. After that: ZERO taxes and FULL economic freedom, not for all Icelandic people, but for these special Charter Citizens. It is not very complex at all to create a law that gives full economic freedom to Charter Citizens. If the Icelandic people want the same deal and want to make a similar system for themselves they are of course free to do so.

You might as well join the local conservative party, which I'm sure is after the same thing.

I can guarantee you that the local conservative party has never considered this particular idea as it is brand new.

Objectivists however advocate individual rights, on principle, not a deal where individuals can purchase certain privileges from a government.

This is not about purchasing certain privileges from government. In order for this arrangement to have credibility with international investors Iceland needs to make a very binding commitment for the foreseeable future. There needs to be a popular vote in Iceland for the deal, where the result is the support of the overwhelming majority, and the arrangement itself needs to be to written in stone in Icelandic law, preferably into the very constitution itself so that it becomes rule of law, not a privilege given by the whim of the majority.

But I would never actually advocate for that plan. It is entirely inconsistent with my philosophical beliefs, since I do not recognize the right of the nation of Iceland, who's mistakes landed them in debt, to organize against me, and charge me a tax for what they see as the privilege of buying property or working on the island they live on. I do not consider such a nation free. A free nation is one that does not in any way impede the right of individuals to life, liberty and property.

I believe it is extremely important to avoid falling into a rationalistic trap, an unfortunate tendency of some Objectivists. Listen to what you are really saying: you have two alternatives, to support or not support the creation of the first pocket of full economic freedom in the world, not in some distant future but right now for real people made of flesh and blood, and you are choosing NOT to support it? The primary principle of Objectivism is to always, always act in one's rational self-interest. In this case it should be completely obvious that it is in your self-interest for there to exist such a beacon of economic freedom in the West. Can you please explain to me how this could possibly NOT be in your rational self-interest?

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Iceland is democratic, look to your own people to make this dream a reality and then I might look to join up. Till then, well, there isn't much use pledging any sort of support is there?

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Would such a proposal even get off the ground in Iceland? What is the outlook there of the people on issues of capitalism and corporations, or kickbacks/benefits for corporations. I'm guessing that the people are probably thoroughly dismayed and pissed off at the situation, and just like in America, blame free enterprise and the corporations for the mess. Are the people choosing to stay in Iceland freedom loving people, or will we see more statism in that country due to their failures?

Well, let's look at Iceland *prior* to the financial crisis. Starting in the beginning of the 1990s Iceland moved quickly in the direction of economic liberalization and privatization, rendering Iceland to one of Europe's freest (and richest) countries. However, since the financial crisis there has been a reversal in the direction of more government intervention. The people ARE thoroughly dismayed and pissed off at the situation. Some blame the free market, capitalism and America, but equally many are pissed off at the actions of UK and other governments. The UK used its newly created *anti-terror* laws to freeze all Icelandic accounts in the UK and Iceland was deemed a terrorist nation! They have experienced stalling on delays in help from the IMF and their neighboring countries such as Norway has proved to be completely uninterested in lending them a hand, so they are not very impressed by government actions either.

To show how desperate Iceland is, they have applied for an EU membership now despite the fact that there is generally massive resistance to the EU in Iceland. This shows that Iceland at the moment is willing to go to pretty extreme measures to solve their national crisis.

It is in this context that you must see IceFree. What they are currently facing is this:

- 30 years of painful, devastating debt

- EU membership (which they generally oppose)

- The humiliation of being labeled a failed nation and even a terrorist nation

What our alternative is:

- debt free in just a few years

- no EU membership necessary

- their international reputation restored

All they need to do to get this is to enable Charter Citizenship. I.e. they will have to "endure" that some foreigners and foreign corporations get to be completely economically free in Iceland. To most Icelanders this should be a no brainer. My guess is that IceFree would get the support of the vast majority.

I am surprised to find that there are Objectivists who are not excited about this plan, and some even oppose it! To me that is completely mind boggling. For the first time in a generation there exists a realistic plan to quickly achieve a huge amount of economic freedom somewhere in the West, including legalizing gold as a means of trade and free banking. I thought that this would be a place where people immediately would see the monumental benefits of IceFree, but clearly I need to explain it:

1. The Hong Kong effect

Hong Kong was a small Chinese island, but due its lingering freedom it changed China and rendered Maoism obsolete. True, the Chinese have not embraced freedom, but can anyone really doubt the positive contributions to world liberty that Hong Kong has made? It is a living, shining example of what freedom can achieve.

Ideas rule the world, and since most people in the world think very visually and concretely about ideas they need firm visual, concrete evidence of ideas in order to fully understand and believe them. We all need heroes to look up to, visions of something better that inspires us and shows what is possible. Hong Kong did that to China and the East. FreeIce implemented on Iceland can similarly do that to the West.

There is particularly one topic that is crucially important to show to the world: free banking and gold money. Gold is today illegal as money all over the world. Therefore there does not exist a single visible example of gold actually working as money in the world. Therefore it is infinitely hard to change people's mind about gold and free banking. It is too abstract. FreeIce changes all that. All of a sudden gold becomes money for the first time in many, many decades. For this reason alone FreeIce is extremely exciting and worth pursuing. The world has seen low tax regions, but never a free banking region.

2. Giving private enterprise a better name

Today many Icelanders are disenchanted by capitalism, which they feel have failed them. What happens if capitalists all over the world come voluntarily to Iceland and pay down their entire public debt? When their neighbor governments have failed them and even labeled them terrorists, the contrast is glorious. They will be received as heroes and they will restore the belief in free enterprise. Icelanders will experience very profoundly first hand how freedom and voluntary action can strongly benefit them and how capitalism can be a force of good in their lives. When everyone else let them down, the capitalists came to their rescue. How is that for a happy ending?

3. A unique opportunity

FreeIce creates a unique opportunity to explain to an entire people the failings of corporatism, central banking and the welfare state. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make lasting changes in a culture in the direction of liberty.

I hope I have been able to shed light on this marvelous opportunity FreeIce represents and generate some excitement.

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Iceland is democratic, look to your own people to make this dream a reality and then I might look to join up. Till then, well, there isn't much use pledging any sort of support is there?

What an absolutely horrible thing to say. This is what Objectivist intellectual activism is about? Go home to "my own people"? There is no point in pledging one's support to the fight for liberty!?!? I really hope that you are not representative of the average Objectivist because that would make the outlook for Objectivism extremely bleak.

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I definitely support your idea, and would seriously consider moving to Iceland if this system were implemented, and I could pay the fee. I have signed up for your group on Facebook, although I am not sure what this accomplishes other than a token gesture of support, as I have no power to affect the situation in Iceland. I certainly wish you the best of luck in spreading your idea. Could you give us some indication of how much support this idea has at the moment (sorry if you have said already, and I missed it)? Is it just you and some friends, or have you been able to inform a significant number of people?

What an absolutely horrible thing to say. This is what Objectivist intellectual activism is about? Go home to "my own people"? There is no point in pledging one's support to the fight for liberty!?!? I really hope that you are not representative of the average Objectivist because that would make the outlook for Objectivism extremely bleak.

That being said, I think Zip has a point. What do you hope to gain by convincing people outside of Iceland of your idea? You said that the population of Iceland is around 300,000. Given that, your task may not be hopeless. Shouldn't you be focusing on convincing them, however, instead of us? Or have you been; and if so, what measures have you taken?

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I definitely support your idea, and would seriously consider moving to Iceland if this system were implemented, and I could pay the fee. I have signed up for your group on Facebook, although I am not sure what this accomplishes other than a token gesture of support, as I have no power to affect the situation in Iceland. I certainly wish you the best of luck in spreading your idea. Could you give us some indication of how much support this idea has at the moment (sorry if you have said already, and I missed it)? Is it just you and some friends, or have you been able to inform a significant number of people?

I greatly appreciate your support, and I hope you spread the idea to your friends. Let me explain why this is important. Support matters. If there exists a facebook group with 100.000 people who support FreeIce then that matters to the people of Iceland. They get a visual feedback showing them that some people out there in the world care about their situation and that IF they go through with this idea, then there really are people out there in the world who want to move to Iceland or corporations who want to move to Iceland. Support like this makes it so much easier to say yes to the idea. If they can picture 100.000 people ready to buy Charter Citizenship then that matters to them and MOVES them, moves towards a decision.

This is about psychology. The Icelanders are depressed right now. They are in a dark place and don't see a way out of their troubles. This colors their decision making. This colors their view of life. Imagine what it would do to their collective morale and culture if *capitalists* reached a helping hand out to them in their time of dire straits, when no-one else would. At the moment all the "loving" and "caring" governments of the world show that they absolutely do not care about Iceland. If capitalists care, then Iceland will know who their friends truly are. It teaches them who is good in the world and who is evil.

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After that: ZERO taxes and FULL economic freedom

Full economic freedom would mean that I can live and trade in a free country, where everyone is entirely free to trade with me, not that I personally can pay a small tax once, that you conveniently call a "ticket", not a tax.

I can guarantee you that the local conservative party has never considered this particular idea as it is brand new.

That's because they know it has no chances of ever becoming reality. You should too, and abandon it. (actually, you should abandon it because it is immoral to charge people for their freedom, but if you don't, this is another good reason)

[edit] By abandon the idea, I mean the specific idea for this legislation, not the movement for creating a haven of freedom in Iceland, which is a noble and courageous cause you should keep fighting. But fight it fully open to the possibility that you don't know everything, and sometimes your position will have to be adjusted.

This is not about purchasing certain privileges from government. In order for this arrangement to have credibility with international investors Iceland needs to make a very binding commitment for the foreseeable future. There needs to be a popular vote in Iceland for the deal, where the result is the support of the overwhelming majority, and the arrangement itself needs to be to written in stone in Icelandic law, preferably into the very constitution itself so that it becomes rule of law, not a privilege given by the whim of the majority.

It is exactly a privilege. If this hypothetical Iceland considered it a right, they wouldn't charge me for it, they would simply acknowledge that I have it, and act accordingly.

I believe it is extremely important to avoid falling into a rationalistic trap, an unfortunate tendency of some Objectivists. Listen to what you are really saying: you have two alternatives, to support or not support the creation of the first pocket of full economic freedom in the world, not in some distant future but right now for real people made of flesh and blood, and you are choosing NOT to support it? The primary principle of Objectivism is to always, always act in one's rational self-interest. In this case it should be completely obvious that it is in your self-interest for there to exist such a beacon of economic freedom in the West. Can you please explain to me how this could possibly NOT be in your rational self-interest?

Absolutely. Your proposal rests on the following arguments:

1. an unsubstantiated claim about my reasoning (rationalizing means I'm relying on faulty logic to reach some preconceived conclusion: you fail to mention where the fault is in my logic)

2. a false definition of freedom

3. a bare assertion fallacy (where you claim it should be obvious that you're right)

So, it should be obvious that it is not in my self interest to associate myself with such a poorly designed political position, and instead continue to advocate for Ayn Rand's perfectly argumented suggestion of Laissez-faire Capitalism.

Listen to what you are really saying: you have two alternatives, to support or not support the creation of the first pocket of full economic freedom in the world

No, I have the choice to advocate for an ideal society, or any of the millions of imperfect ideas people come up with every day, yours being one of them. (what you're doing here, by the way is nr. 4: the false alternatives fallacy)

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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Jake,

before I take this discussion any further I need to assess your reality connection. Please answer the following question:

Suppose a party managed to arrange a popular vote on whether to introduce 100% laissez-faire in your country, except for a small one time fee of, say, one cent. Would you then a) vote for it, or :) vote against it and vigorously oppose it on principle on the grounds that the one time fee is immoral?

If your answer to this is b then you have proven yourself to be a perfect example of a reality detached libertarian and there is then no basis for a rational discussion. If on the other hand you again choose a, then I don't see the problem with IceFree which is more or less the above scenario, although not with 100% laissez-faire and with a larger one time fee. Can you explain why you would support the above proposal, but not IceFree?

That's because they know it has no chances of ever becoming reality.

This is quite pretentious. The idea of a Charter Citizen is unknown and brand new. Neither the conservative party nor anyone else has heard about it before. In other words, you have already at this point proven that you don't know what you're talking about.

It is exactly a privilege. If this hypothetical Iceland considered it a right, they wouldn't charge me for it, they would simply acknowledge that I have it, and act accordingly.

It is not a privilege if it is a possibility that is open to ALL. Icelanders who want to become Charter Citizens can obviously also do the same thing. I will grant you that it is not an ideal platonic solution, but it is a major leap forward for liberty. Since I am not a Platonist I do not mind that there are remnants of immorality in the law so long as the changes are unambiguously in the direction of liberty.

No, I have the choice to advocate for an ideal society, or any of the millions of imperfect ideas people come up with every day, yours being one of them. (what you're doing here, by the way is nr. 4: the false alternatives fallacy)

Let me just remind you that Ayn Rand was NOT an Idealist. That belongs to the tradition of Plato. If you insist on advocating the ideal society to the point of rejecting intermediary solutions on the way towards the ideal society then you are a libertarian Platonist, not an Objectivist.

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No, I have the choice to advocate for an ideal society, or any of the millions of imperfect ideas people come up with every day, yours being one of them. (what you're doing here, by the way is nr. 4: the false alternatives fallacy)

What is your opinion of the countless Objectivist intellectuals who advocate for concrete political measures (for example voting for/against a given candidate or proposal)? They routinely attempt to convince far more than 300,000 people to take a specific action, which will not lead to a completely free society, but which will either slow or counteract the rise of collectivism. Leonard Peikoff has said that it is useless to try to run a purely Laissez-Faire based political campaign in the United States today, and this is true. Such a campaign would never succeed given the current state of the culture. As the original poster said, however, Iceland is a tiny country facing a major crisis. Also, the measure being advocated is a concrete step towards LF (albeit a large one), not an attempt to create an objectively perfect government. I remind you that several smaller nations, such as Hong Kong and New Zealand, have significant LF policies in place, while not having perfect governments or cultures by any means (see http://www.heritage.org/index/). Why should it be impossible for Iceland to follow these examples, and even take them further? I am not saying that the OP's idea is likely to succeed (such ideas usually are not), but the potential benefit is large, and I see no reason it should be impossible (keep in mind that convincing all of Iceland would be approximately like convincing a single, medium-sized city in the United States).

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Suppose a party managed to arrange a popular vote on whether to introduce 100% laissez-faire in your country, except for a small one time fee of, say, one cent. Would you then a) vote for it, or :lol: vote against it and vigorously oppose it on principle on the grounds that the one time fee is immoral?

If your answer to this is b then you have proven yourself to be a perfect example of a reality detached libertarian and there is then no basis for a rational discussion. If on the other hand you again choose a, then I don't see the problem with IceFree which is more or less the above scenario, although not with 100% laissez-faire and with a larger one time fee. Can you explain why you would support the above proposal, but not IceFree?

This is a false dichotomy, given the dropping of important contextual information.

In reality, your choices include ignoring a libertarianish proposal, vigorously supporting and voting for it, vigorously opposing and voting against it, and other options. The first question that an Objectivist should ask is "Is this a possible outcome in reality, or is this just a rhetorical game?". Since this is just a rhetorical game, you treat it differently than you treat a real proposal. The second question is "What are the alternatives, actualized and potential?". Included in the potential alternatives, something that could easily be made actual (and I don't understand why the originators did not do this) are "Become a 'Charter Citizen' for no cost, with no taxes, and no restrictions on business" -- i.e. real laissez-faire capitalism.

If you want to make a comparison to electoral politics, look at the forthcoming Kentucky senate race with (I presume) Rand Paul vs. Daniel Mongiardo, where it is plausible but not self-evident that Rand Paul will win the seat. Contrast that with Ron Paul vs. Anyone for president, where it is obvious that Ron Paul will not win. Voting for Rand Paul might be the correct choice if the realistic alternative is worse.

This proposal has the following basic problems. First, the people behind the movement are not even organized enough to register their domain before posting links to non-existent web pages. Second, you are asking us to believe that the Icelanders are actually going to make such a massive change in their political structure that materially benefits foreigners but not Icelanders. You have not given us any reason to believe that this will happen -- you are asking us to accept as true a proposition that is arbitrary. Third, you are asking foreigners to have faith that these benefits are immutable (taxes could not be imposed later) -- remember that we're not real citizens so we can't vote on the issue or vote for anti-tax politicians. Fourth, you have not shown that the problem is one that properly involves any government involvement. Analogous to the bank bailouts in the US, this is not a matter for proper government, and a government-subsidized bailout of Icelandic banks cannot be supported on Objectivist principles either.

the proposal is concretely implausible, since it amounts to shoving money down the geyser. What do I get for my $25,000? The right to not pay Icelandic income tax (what, do I also get a little tax-free card that exempts me from all VAT?). But I already enjoy that right, for free. Do you believe that Iceland will pass a law that any money I make in Iceland (how, I don't know) can be taken to the US and not be subject to US taxes? I guarantee you that Iceland does not have that power. If a proposal like that came in my email, it would end up in the scam-spam folder. It is simply not a realistic, believable proposal.

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What is your opinion of the countless Objectivist intellectuals who advocate for concrete political measures (for example voting for/against a given candidate or proposal)?

I don't know. Name the person and give the quote of what he said, and I'll give you my opinion.

Why should it be impossible for Iceland to follow these examples, and even take them further?

Why is it more likely for them to accept a set of radical and philosophically incorrect plans over a set of radical but philosophically correct ideas formulated by a genius philosopher?

The reason I'm not advocating for anything other than LFC is because I personally would never accept anything else as an intelligent model for human interaction. I don't intend to treat those I'm speaking to as inferior and try to sell them on what I consider a less intelligent suggestion.

I'll just tell any interested Icelanders about Laissez-faire, and then they can make an informed decision on whether to support Onar An's idea, or not, on their own.

before I take this discussion any further I need to assess your reality connection.

Not until you first prove that you're qualified to assess a person's reality connection. If we're setting standards for each other, that's a pretty reasonable one for me to set, before I submit to your test. So go ahead, make your case in 100 words or less.

It is not a privilege if it is a possibility that is open to ALL. Icelanders who want to become Charter Citizens can obviously also do the same thing. I will grant you that it is not an ideal platonic solution, but it is a major leap forward for liberty. Since I am not a Platonist I do not mind that there are remnants of immorality in the law so long as the changes are unambiguously in the direction of liberty.

Let me just remind you that Ayn Rand was NOT an Idealist. That belongs to the tradition of Plato. If you insist on advocating the ideal society to the point of rejecting intermediary solutions on the way towards the ideal society then you are a libertarian Platonist, not an Objectivist.

There can be no compromise on basic principles. There can be no compromise on moral issues.

There can be no compromise between a property owner and a burglar; offering the burglar a single teaspoon of one’s silverware would not be a compromise, but a total surrender—the recognition of his right to one’s property.

That's the Objectivist position.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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I don't know. Name the person and give the quote of what he said, and I'll give you my opinion.

Yaron Brook springs to mind. I remember him talking warmly about a proposal quite similar to IceFree. As a way to improve the housing market in America he proposed that foreigners should be given a work permit if they bought a house. Here you have all the components of IceFree in place: an initial fee (buying a house) to service a debt crisis which gives permission to stay and work in the country. This would count as a "privilege" in your wordbook and hence "immoral." I respect Yaron and many other of the top Objectivists precisely because they are NOT rationalists. They genuinely understand Objectivism and are able to implement it in their own thinking to a high degree.

Why is it more likely for them to accept a set of radical and philosophically incorrect plans over a set of radical but philosophically correct ideas formulated by a genius philosopher?

a) there is nothing philosophically incorrect about concrete plans which brings us ever closer to true laissez-faire capitalism, directly (through the zero-taxes) and indirectly (through the beacon effect). :lol: it should be completely and utterly obvious to any reality oriented person that convincing a welfare state oriented person to accept Charter Citizenships (which involves only a few foreigners) is MUCH MUCH easier than to convince him to accept laissez-faire (which involves EVERYONE). I am actually quite shocked that such obvious facts about reality needs to be explicated at all. This is basic human psychology.

The reason I'm not advocating for anything other than LFC is because I personally would never accept anything else as an intelligent model for human interaction.

Again you display a complete reality dysfunction. You DO accept something other than lfc RIGHT NOW in your OWN COUNTRY. You are living under a rule which is moving in an ever more fascistic direction, and you accept it every single day of your life.

There can be no compromise on basic principles. There can be no compromise on moral issues.

Agreed to both, but WHAT principles? WHICH morality? Let me explain what MY principles are: the highest directing principle of any organism is self-interest. To act in one's self interest means to preserve one's identity such that A is A. For non-living things this comes automatically, but the living needs to act to be alive, to be self-interested.

We humans have as part of our identity that we are rational and social beings. In order to be self-interested we humans therefore have to act rationally and preferably live peacefully with other rational beings.

In order to live self-interested nature has equipped us with a wonderful survival tool: morality. The moral organ is an emotional tool which motivates us to act strongly and profoundly according to the principles we perceive as good and against those principles we perceive as evil. If we use our rationality to program our moral organ with the correct value hierarchy then we will optimize our natural emotional system to make the appropriate judgments in our lives. This is necessary both for ourselves and for society at large. The correct hierarchy of values that optimizes our self-interest is as follows:

1) self-interest & reason

We must at all times have our own identity as our highest value and act accordingly. Reason ties self-interest as #1 because without it we have no tools for acting in our self-interest and understanding our values. Reason is such an integral part of our human identity that it is impossible to be self-interested without being rational.

2) morality & universality

Next to reason our moral organ is our most powerful tool for acting in our self-interest. By programming both ourselves AND others with the right morality we nurse our self-interest. As social individuals we are dependent on OTHERS having the right moral values to ensure the best possible breeding ground for our self-interest. We must thus preach universal moral values.

3) peaceful coexistence (sociality)

The most important universal moral value that we wish to propagate through society next after self-interest/reason and morality/universality is peaceful coexistence. It is in our rational self-interest that peace (non-coercion) becomes a universal moral value. (Because we profit from trade and peace) This moral value is a universal RIGHT, which means that we can defend them violently if breeched.

4) equality (humanity)

Next after peaceful coexistence the most important universal moral value that is in our self-interest to propagate is equality. Not material equality but treating each others as equals. This means treating each other humanely, as equal partners in our life journey here on earth. It means treating others benevolently and respectfully. If you can manage to make this part of the moral code of our entire culture then you as an individual will benefit greatly from being treated with respect and dignity everywhere you go. This universal moral value is not a right because that would violate the more important value of peaceful coexistence.

This is not an exhaustive list but these are the essentials.

Many libertarians typically put some principles (such as peaceful coexistence) above self-interest. This leads them to the ridiculous notion that in an emergency situation you should rather die than break into a peaceful citizen's cottage to save your own life. Some libertarians even think that non-violence as such is a higher value than self-interest. They insist on pacifism even when their enemies slaughter them down with brute force. Other libertarians put put the homesteading principle above self-interest and consider children their own *property* which they have mixed their labor with. Other libertarians insist on not paying taxes, even if it means jail, because they value the principle of property over their own life. They might even refuse to receive food paid by tax payers in jail because the food is bought with stolen money, which is immoral, and thereby starve to death. This means that they place the principle of non-violence above their own life. You, Jake, place yourself among these libertarians, although perhaps not as obviously. You place secondary principles out of context and before self-interest and for the same reasons as the libertarians.

There can be no compromise between a property owner and a burglar; offering the burglar a single teaspoon of one’s silverware would not be a compromise, but a total surrender—the recognition of his right to one’s property.

Well, let's check that a bit. Are you paying your taxes today? Did Ayn Rand pay her taxes? Why isn't that a moral compromise? Or is it? Well, let's check our list of values above to see if we can sort it out. Property is of great value to you but if an armed robber threatened YOUR LIFE you would give up your property in a heartbeat because being alive is more important to you than your property. Ayn Rand paid her taxes because JAIL was her alternative, and she valued the relative amount of freedom that America provided compared to jail. Was that a compromise or a rational decision in accordance with her objective value hierarchy?

If paying your taxes isn't a moral compromise then clearly Ayn Rand was talking about something completely different. She was talking about the philosophy of pragmatism. There ARE absolutes and it IS in your self-interest to act principled, provided the principles are right. For instance, it IS immoral to appease a dictator when we actually have the power to crush him militarily. It is NOT immoral to appease a dictator by paying your taxes when your only option is escaping the country or jail.

By the same token it is NOT a moral compromise to propose a plan which will increase liberty dramatically even if not perfect laissez-faire UNLESS there exists a better alternative for creating the same amount of liberty in a similar time frame and similar effort.

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Yaron Brook springs to mind.

Yaron Brook is an advocate of LFC, on principle and in practice. He does not advocate for any scheme that would require people to buy their freedom.

Again you display a complete reality dysfunction. You DO accept something other than lfc RIGHT NOW in your OWN COUNTRY. You are living under a rule which is moving in an ever more fascistic direction, and you accept it every single day of your life.

I don't. I reject it every day, just as I reject your idea. The fact that I don't bash your or Obama's head in over it doesn't mean I'm in agreement with either of you.

In order to live self-interested nature has equipped us with a wonderful survival tool: morality. The moral organ is an emotional tool which motivates us to act strongly and profoundly according to the principles we perceive as good and against those principles we perceive as evil.

That's ridiculous. I'm not even reading the nonsense that I'm sure will come next in your long winded post.

Well, let's check that a bit. Are you paying your taxes today? Did Ayn Rand pay her taxes? Why isn't that a moral compromise?

Ayn Rand explained why. And I would help you learn why, if you had the decency to first admit you aren't well read enough to judge me in my knowledge of her work.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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This proposal has the following basic problems. First, the people behind the movement are not even organized enough to register their domain before posting links to non-existent web pages. Second, you are asking us to believe that the Icelanders are actually going to make such a massive change in their political structure that materially benefits foreigners but not Icelanders. You have not given us any reason to believe that this will happen -- you are asking us to accept as true a proposition that is arbitrary. Third, you are asking foreigners to have faith that these benefits are immutable (taxes could not be imposed later) -- remember that we're not real citizens so we can't vote on the issue or vote for anti-tax politicians. Fourth, you have not shown that the problem is one that properly involves any government involvement. Analogous to the bank bailouts in the US, this is not a matter for proper government, and a government-subsidized bailout of Icelandic banks cannot be supported on Objectivist principles either.

the proposal is concretely implausible, since it amounts to shoving money down the geyser. What do I get for my $25,000? The right to not pay Icelandic income tax (what, do I also get a little tax-free card that exempts me from all VAT?). But I already enjoy that right, for free. Do you believe that Iceland will pass a law that any money I make in Iceland (how, I don't know) can be taken to the US and not be subject to US taxes? I guarantee you that Iceland does not have that power. If a proposal like that came in my email, it would end up in the scam-spam folder. It is simply not a realistic, believable proposal.

Hi David,

I've always enjoyed your intelligent responses. First of all, I am not asking anyone for money, simply to *support* the initiative. And while not important we *have* registered the domain www.freeiceland.org, although currently there is nothing on that page.

Second, Iceland has already shown that they are desperate and are willing to do things that they ordinarily would not do. They have applied for EU membership, and during the midst of the crisis there was even suggestions about making Iceland the 21st municipal of Norway. (Norway respectfully declined) IceFree is a much, much, much less intrusive proposal than EU membership which calls for Iceland to give up its national sovereignty. (In practice, EU membership would cost them fishing quotas.) and IceFree bleaks in comparison to making Iceland a part of Norway. In other words, if they can say yes to EU-membership and possibly even consider becoming part of Norway to solve their problems, they can certainly consider IceFree.

And what do you mean by Icelanders not benefiting from IceFree? What Iceland gets in exchange for enabling Charter Citizens and Charter Corporations is a one time fee which is likely to be so as to pay down all of Iceland's public debt. And more importantly, IceFree will restore faith in Iceland and strengthen their national currency. This relieves ordinary Icelenders of their *private* debt which is nominated in foreign currencies. So for Icelanders IceFree means:

1) massive tax cuts (for servicing public debt)

2) massively reduced private debt burden

I cannot quantify the numbers exactly but we are talking about a total reduction of debt in the order of 50-100,000 dollars per capita. That's a LOT, and I assume that the only reason you think that Icelanders do not benefit from IceFree is because you were unaware of the details of the Icelandic debt situation. Basically IceFree promises to make Icelanders debt free and all they have to do is to give Charter Citizenship to their benefactors. I think this is a no-brainer for the average Icelander. If they truly believe that this will solve their problems they will gladly accept this deal.

Your third point is a sticky issue, but there is a solution. Iceland has lost the confidence of the international community and they know it. Iceland knows it has to work hard to regain that trust. Precisely because of that they also know that IceFree needs to not only become law, but also part of the constitution and/or secured in a similarly strong fashion, making it hard to reverse. They also know that IF they pledge IceFree to become permanent law (or at least a 100 year treaty) then the credibility of Iceland will suffer a massive blow if they ever were to back out from it. They would know that the fate that then awaits them is so horrible that they will not even consider it.

Your fourth point I don't understand. First of all there are no proper governments in the world so your point is mute. Second, we are here talking about *private citizens* all over the world *voluntarily* making a deal with the *citizens* of Iceland (through democracy). If this ever comes to pass, Iceland will hold a public referendum on IceFree and private citizens and corporations all over the world will voluntarily pay for Charter Citizenships in Iceland. I honestly don't see the problem here. The involvement of government in this case is highly unusual since it is only a facilitator between private citizens, but although unusual it is not against Objectivist principles because it is based on voluntary gifts to the Icelandic people.

Your fifth point is an understandable objection. What do YOU get for your $25,000? If you don't move to Iceland: very little. I know that I would buy such a Charter Citizenship even if I were NOT to move, simply as an insurance policy. Iceland would be a safe place for me to move IF Norway becomes even more totalitarian. Given that I have everything to lose if Europe goes completely fascist, $25,000 is a small price to pay. Most of the benefits from Charter Citizenship comes from actually MOVING to Iceland. While this is not something very many private citizens will do (my guess: probably less than 10,000, certainly no more than 100,000) However, CORPORATIONS would to Iceland with their headquarters. Ireland is currently the European headquarter capitol precisely because of its low taxes. If Iceland had ZERO corporate taxes then corporations would flock to Iceland. Of course, in order to credibly be considered a headquarter the move has to be real. Real people would have to move and work in Iceland, thereby creating industry, jobs and economic activity in Iceland. (from which Icelanders obviously would benefit)

And just to clarify: you WOULD become a citizen of Iceland. You would get an Icelandic passport and be recognized as a citizen by Iceland protected by Icelandic law. It's just that on Iceland you have a certain legal status. You cannot vote, you don't pay taxes (just like Icelandic children) and you don't have any welfare rights.

While some countries are rather fascist when it comes to how they treat their own citizens who move abroad (Norway being one of the worst), most countries (such as the US) do NOT tax their citizens (with dual citizenships) when they work and live in another country. Therefore IceFree would be an attractive option for hundreds of thousands of people and corporations all over the world. You CAN take your money back to the US without taxation if your money was earned ON Iceland.

While Iceland is an arctic/subarctic country which climate-wise is not very attractive for most people it does have many attractive features:

1) stable rule of law and security of property

2) low corruption and low crime

3) an intelligent and educated population who all speak English very well

4) a mid-sized city (Reykjavik) which allows for a modern urban lifestyle

5) surprisingly centrally positioned between New York (6 hours by plane) and London (3 hours by plane)

6) a beautiful and powerful arctic nature

This combined with zero taxes makes Iceland very attractive for many people (myself included).

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Yaron Brook is an advocate of LFC, on principle and in practice. He does not advocate for any scheme that would require people to buy their freedom.

And yet he supports a scheme which allows people to buy their way into the United States.

That's ridiculous. I'm not even reading the nonsense that I'm sure will come next in your long winded post.

If it's so ridiculous you should have zero problems explaining exactly how what I wrote (which BTW is 100% consistent with Objectivism) is ridiculous. Go ahead, explain away.

Also, choosing to not read what people write is certainly ok, but you are then signalling that you are not engaging in a rational discussion with that person. Normally I would not mind that -- the world is full of bastards -- but you are not just representing yourself as an individual. You are an outspoken advocate of Ayn Rand, and your actions reflect on *her* philosophy (and therefore on ME), and from the very start in this discussion you have behaved in a way that is prototypical Randroidism and extremely damaging to Objectivism. You are uncivilized and impolite, and you have so far displayed low understanding of Objectivism combined with extreme arrogance about your knowledge of it. By behaving this way as an outspoken Objectivist you are dragging Ayn Rand's name into the dirt, and I resent that. I strongly urge you to learn from far more superior Objectivists like Yaron Brook who manages to be humane, understanding and benevolent without compromising their own values. Another great example is Andrew Bernstein. It's hard not to like him.

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If it's so ridiculous you should have zero problems explaining exactly how what I wrote (which BTW is 100% consistent with Objectivism) is ridiculous.

I won't explain, I'm going to suggest you read up on what morality is, and where it comes from, in Ayn Rand's view, on your own.

Normally I would not mind that -- the world is full of bastards -- but you are not just representing yourself as an individual. You are an outspoken advocate of Ayn Rand, and your actions reflect on *her* philosophy (and therefore on ME)

I guess you'll just have to come over and try and stop me then, to protect your good name.

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In other words, if they can say yes to EU-membership and possibly even consider becoming part of Norway to solve their problems, they can certainly consider IceFree.
The IceFree proposal contains something utterly unprecedented: the creation of a new, privileged kind of citizenship that is not even open to Icelanders, one not subject to Icelandic tax requirements, but otherwise entitled to the costly benefits of nordic socialism, save for the direct dole. This is a pretty radical constitutional change. Article 65 would have to be amended, idem Article 76. Of course we can trade doubts and confidences about whether the masses will support the idea until the goats come home. We will see how / if this movement grows among Icelanders.
And what do you mean by Icelanders not benefiting from IceFree?
I mean that Icelanders will not be allowed to enjoy the tax-free life, though these foreigners will. That is a pretty hefty benefit, amounting to something on the order of 40% of your income.
And more importantly, IceFree will restore faith in Iceland and strengthen their national currency.
I don't see how it will. First, I don't understand what "faith in Iceland" refers to. It can't mean "faith that the Icelandic people have the 'right stuff' and can get themselves out of this mess", because that's exactly what this proposal says they can't do on their own: they need outsider intervention to survive. Second, it 'strengthens the national currency' only by delaying the inevitable reckoning with reality, caused in part by government action such as suspending foreign exchange and freezing bank accounts (real confidence-eroders) and in part by the government bailing out the banks. Confidence ought to be earned -- what is Iceland doing to inspire confidence?
This relieves ordinary Icelenders of their *private* debt which is nominated in foreign currencies. So for Icelanders IceFree means:

1) massive tax cuts (for servicing public debt)

2) massively reduced private debt burden

I can't imagine how this helps credit card debt, mortgages and auto loans for example. Nor do I see how this will result in any tax cuts. At best it will ameliorate tax increases that would otherwise be necessary to keep the central government solvent.
That's a LOT, and I assume that the only reason you think that Icelanders do not benefit from IceFree is because you were unaware of the details of the Icelandic debt situation. Basically IceFree promises to make Icelanders debt free and all they have to do is to give Charter Citizenship to their benefactors.
I remain sufficiently uninformed about the debt situation that I really cannot believe the claim that Icelanders will do this. Maybe you can get the organizers to do a better job on the information front.

Regarding the voting question, let us suppose that the tax protections become constitutionally guaranteed (necessary, since they are currently constitutionally prohibited). As a prospective customer for this proposal, you need to persuade me that it's easy enough to change the constitution to do this. But you also have to persuade me that it's not equally easy to undo this. How? Faith, I guess, and yet the government actually did do the unthinkable, voting to join the EU.

My fourth point is related to the point that you don't address (about the alternative for real laissez-faire capitalism), the most important one from the perspective of Objectivism. Objectivism and Objectivists do not advocate taxation of any kind, nor any restriction on the market. In contrast to actual elections with hard-coded dichotomies, the Freeiceland proposal is unacceptable to an Objectivist in light of the alternative of real capitalism. You present the situation as though there are only two choices -- greater government interference and lesser government interference. This ignores the alternative of no government interference. You have not made the case that an Objectivist should support some government interference over no government interference.

Second, we are here talking about *private citizens* all over the world *voluntarily* making a deal with the *citizens* of Iceland (through democracy).
That latter clause about "citizens of Iceland... through democracy" shows clearly that this is not a deal between individual, it is a deal between the individual and the state. The Icelandic state (possibly) wants external assistance in digging itself out of this hole. This is not a negotiated individual arrangement between me and Þorsteinn Hallbjörnsson who owes a million krónur because of a house loan, it only indirectly involves Þorsteinn and Gunnar and 300,000 other Icelanders who are threatened with higher taxes. I sympathize with that plight -- we're facing the same tax increases here. I don't see why the Icelandic state is involved at all.
What do YOU get for your $25,000? If you don't move to Iceland: very little. I know that I would buy such a Charter Citizenship even if I were NOT to move, simply as an insurance policy. Iceland would be a safe place for me to move IF Norway becomes even more totalitarian.
That's a pretty expensive insurance policy, and is predicated on believing that future life in Iceland is politically safer than in Norway (for you) or the US (for me). Maybe for you it would be more of a lateral move.

But let's focus on whether this is a plausible proposal. Maybe as you say 10,000 people will decide to take the offer and move to Iceland. That yields a quarter of a billion dollars, which is a tiny fraction of Iceland's external debt. For this proposal to work, either the buy-in must be much higher (more than two orders of magnitude), or the proposal must be sold to huge numbers of foreigners. We could start a thread on how likely it is that Iceland could survive with a million new disenfranchised residents. And if I don't move to Iceland? The benefit is absolutely zero.

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