Anarcho-Pelagism, beyond having something of a funny sounding name, is meant to be a way of framing and envisioning what a truly voluntary society would look like by restructuring the social and political hierarchy away from the classic Feudal model used by some Neo-Reactionary and Anarcho-Monarchist types and instead towards a more... oceanic model.
The proper way to conceptualize AP on a micro level is with a ship. A ship has a Captain, a man who for all intents and purposes is the absolute ruler of his property, which in this case is his ship. His ship exists for whatever purposes the captain deems fit. If the Captain wants to turn a profit with his vessel by moving cargo or fishing, then that is his prerogative. If the Captain wishes to sail around on a pleasure cruise, this is once again his prerogative. The various members of the crew serve aboard the ship and are compensated for their time. The crew has no direct control over the grandiose course of the ship as it is not their property and they are merely assisting in it’s operation. However, the Captain must respect his crewmen as they have the actual practical control over the ship in that they are what make it function. The crew wants to get paid, and the Captain wants his ship to function smoothly.
The relationship is a simple one and is guided by simple and easy to understand financial incentives and signals. This is far more reliable than metaphysical concepts such as honor which can be reinterpreted at the drop of a hat or cultural oaths of loyalty which can end up being conflicting with one another. In the Captain-crew relationship, the wants of the various parties involved are respected and if irreconcilable differences emerge then the relationship can be terminated and the parties involved may go their separate ways.
If a Captain is able to own several ships then one might consider him an Admiral and that his various assets are administered by a corps of Officers hired by him to maintain his fleet. Even in this situation the Captain-crew dynamic still stands, it merely shifts in scale. A group of independent Captains may come together and appoint an Admiral as an administrator if needed.
Obviously, nothing said so far is ground breaking. It’s just a reimagining of the fairly straight forward relationships involved in concepts such as Anarcho-Capitalism, Anarcho-Monarchism, or even Neo-Reactionism. In effect, Anarcho-Pelagism is nothing more than a redressing of those ideas into something with a parrot and a tri-fold hat. For the most part this is true, especially in the here and now. Saying that AP is just another abstract idea to come off the internet wouldn’t be an unfair assessment.
Where Anarcho-Pelagism does come into usefulness however, is in a few centuries when we as a people are stepping out away from the nest that is our home here on Earth. Space is something of a hobby of mine and I’ve always been inclined to look forwards to where I would like humanity to be in the future and to create systems based on what problems lie ahead.
Given current engine technology it would take a couple of days to travel between the Earth and the moon, months to travel to Venus or Mars or the Belt, and years to get to Jupiter or Saturn. As humanity expands and seeds the worlds of our home system a group of people will emerge who will make a living on the arduous journey between the various planets and moons which dot our home. These men and women and their ships will sail between the celestial bodies for years without any realistic oversight from the Governments of those bodies if those bodies have a Government at all.
My hope is to encourage a shift in the way that we think about the future of Libertarian societies as we move forwards into the unknown. Privatized habitats such as Bernal spheres, O'Neill Cylinders, or simple habitat rings make the possibility of the creation of privatized societies truly a real possibility, albeit in a few hundred years. Imagine the possibility of an AnCap society on Saturn’s moon of Titan, or a White Nationalist refuge in the craigs and craters of Vesta, or a string of Monarchies as habitats at the lagrange points of Venus. Even if all of these eventual colonies are part of some United Governing administration they will still need supplies and any Libertarian minded individual should be highly interested in owning one or more of these ships when the time comes.
Creating a Libertarian or Reactionary or Monarchist society in the current modern climate is difficult if not nigh impossible without infringing on the territory of an already pre-established state. Trying to take land which is already owned by a state would be problematic and acquiring it through peaceful means in such a way as to be truly independent is unlikely. In the end, the best chance anyone of those persuasions have to achieve their ideal societal goals is to either take the unlikely option of seasteading in the short term, or to take to the stars in the long term. In either event, the logistical situation presented by these possibilities opens incredible opportunities to anyone looking to achieve some form of Voluntary society and what form that society will likely take is something similar to Anarcho-Pelagism.
Editorial note: Having had many conversations with the author, I feel as if the piece does not place enough emphasis on the potential of anarcho-pelagism. First, it provides a better and more immediate replacement for seasteading and applies the fantastic theory of space libertarianism to a terrestial and attainable model. Furthermore, the potential of trade, especially within the territories controlled by corrupt governments is immense. Smuggling is a very profitable enterprise.