Every once in a while I come across a book which has a lasting impact on me.
Freie Privatstädte (Free Private Cities) by Titus Gebel is such a work.
While I mostly read books in English, because the original works about topics which interest me are usually written in English, and many times when I read a book which was translated from English to German I was not happy with the quality of the translation, so why bother with crappy translations when I can have the original, now I have come across a groundbreaking work which is written in German. The English translation might come out in the course of this year.
With his seminal work Titus Gebel catapults himself to the status of a worthy succsessor of the great German anarchist thinkers, a title he himself might not like, because he is more of a classical liberal than a leftist anarchist. After studying law he became a very successful entrepreneur who, after selling his business, can afford now to reside in Monaco with his family, so not the typical guy I would normally fall for because I am more of a classical leftist anarchist, but hey, consistency is for boring people.
And I have one character flaw which always prevented me from being a “good“ anarchist, I have an almost sexual relationship with money, so I never really subscribed to Proudhon´s “Property Is Theft“, one of the ideological pillars of classical anarchism, though I absolutely enjoy Bookchin´s rant about libertarians being proprietarians, yes, I know, I am full of contradictions, pretty weird, right?
Bookchin Dissing Libertarians
But I always have been a pragmatist as well, so while some of my anarchist friends preferred being stuck in a shitty minimal wage job, dreaming of the revolution with almost religious fervor, they framed that as being true to oneself, I decided to make some money and travel the world and found out that Germany was not such a bad place after all, with all its social security and stuff. Other countries I visited were more free than Germany in certain ways, but there you were also free to die if you were poor. So through travelling I lost a lot of my juvenile black-and-white thinking where “the revolution“ was the answer to everything, “if only people were as smart as I was and had all the answers like me.“
Titus Gebel also had his fling with politics in his former life, but instead of becoming a street fighting man, he joined the FDP (Free Democratic Party) the German center-right liberal party, trying to change society by means of parliamentary democracy.
Quickly did he learn that the real meaning of democracy is crazy people, a system where politicians make promises to the stupid majority in exchange for votes, then engage in clientele politics, trying to please their donors and usually work in their own best interest. He doesn´t blame them, he even understands them because this is how the political incentive system works, you would basically be a fool to not take advantage of this system of mutual favors, patronage and lucrative job offers after your political career.
He came to the conclusion that freedom and change were nowhere to be found in the system and tried to create an alternative to the “best possible system, parlamentary democracy“.
Titus Gebel being interviewed by Jeff Berwick
So he wrote his book to educate people, founded his new company, Free Private Cities Inc., tried to find a state which would give up some territory to install a free private city there and apparently has found Hondurras which allowed him to start his city on a few uninhabited hectars on the island of Roatan.
The constitution was changed to allow other, already existing, native communities on Roatan to join the private city, in case the city becomes a success story and the communities so decide. So maybe, one day, the whole island of Roatan will be one big free private city.
You can find more information on his website.
Maybe I will also, in another post, elaborate a bit on the content of his book which is so brilliant that, after getting the ebook for myself, I then went to get a hardcopy as a present for some friends who were also very impressed after reading it.
In this book there is one of the most impressive, unpretentious, pragmatic and clear analyses of the state ever, its duties and obligations (which it often neglects) to its citizen, the onesidedness of the power structure basically turning once free citizens into tax slaves, etc. Any anarchist reading this analysis will beam with joy, albeit the solution Titus Gebel offers is not to smash the state in a more or less violent and bloody revolution, and history has shown that revolutions do not really have a good track record in improving the lives of people, just ask the millions killed by Stalin, Mao or Pol Pot, but to offer an alternative to the existing paradigm in the form of free private cities.
Never in the field of human conflict has this murderous ideology been dissed so funnily!
In a private city a private contractor provides the services of the state, like security, jurisdiction, arbitration, etc. for an annual fee. The one big difference, compared to the state systems we are accustomed to, is that the “social contract“ between the citizen of a private city and the provider cannot be changed arbitrarily all the time by the provider to the disadvantage of the citizen like governments like to do.
Changing laws or passing new ones, raising taxes for the sake of East Germany, compromising the security situation by allowing thousands of foreign nationals to cross the borders without proper identification and using the taxpayer´s money to accommodate them. Once them taxpayers find themselves dead under a bus, driven into a Christmas market by some terrorist, they know, they got a bad deal.
If Berlin was a private city, the relatives of those dead people could now sue the provider in an international court for negligence, for not holding up his part of the deal. That would not bring back the dead, but just the possibility of being sued incentivizes the provider to prevent those attacks, whereas the State cannot be held accountable and surely won´t pay any damages to the families of the victims.
Titus Gebel, Creating Free Private Cities
While I do not agree with all his ideas, I am for example against nuclear power and not to fond of genetic engineering, Titus Gebel´s book is thought-provoking and illuminating in many aspects and a godsend for all freedom loving folks.
For those of you on whom it dawns that "the revolution" might never come, he offers a valid and feasible alternative in which you can implement your dreams of freedom on a smaller, local scale, in a free private city.
An almost sexual relationship with money might also help there with the realization of your dreams, because I guess, especially in the beginning, free private cities are more suitable for people with money.
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