Being for the Benefit of Mister Mogg

The younger Mogg is a hard-line British conservative politician, and a favorite butt of the UK satirical magazine Private Eye. This week, they honor him on the cover.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, retro-brit, as seen by Private Eye magazine.

Mogg senior, however, is currently the object of my attentions. The Guardian newspaper carried an article this week on New Zealand—normally that wouldn’t get my attention, and it was a very long-winded piece—but it focuses on the likes of Peter Thiel.

Thiel is a Silicon Valley billionaire—two orders of magnitude below Jeff Bezos, but still worth a respectable 2.5 billion dollars. There’s nothing unusual about tech entrepreneurs being wealthy, but Thiel is unusual because he supports Trump.

There’s a group of extremely wealthy folks who believe the apocalypse may be around the corner, and that the safest place to view it from is… New Zealand. Apart from the mystical vapors of Tolkien, the attraction appears to be its distance from… well, anywhere, and the fact that there’s plenty of clean air and water.

Some of these beliefs are fruit of a book called Sovereign Individual: How to Survive and Thrive During the Collapse of the Welfare State, written by James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg, and published in 1997. The late Mogg was editor of The Times of London, and is the better-known of the two names.

I don’t like basing articles on reviews, so I did my best to locate a copy of the book. You can get it from Amazon in analog, but I wanted instant digital gratification—it didn’t prove easy. I browsed the deep web, using esoteric tools like, but I couldn’t access the real deal.

Like the Guardian author, I don’t plan to enrich the Mogg estate, so I’ll have to wing it. Mogg Major was apparently one of the first to predict the arrival of bitcoin, and deduced that this would free capital from taxation, since it would make it impossible for governments to trace income.

If I had a bitcoin (sing to the tune of If I Were a Rich Man) I could buy the book. At today’s rate it would cost me ten bucks and change.

The authors also suggest that democratic governments currently force folks to pay for health and education—the shame of it!

In this dystopian vision, sovereign individuals and corporations replace ineffectual democracies, and an entire new world order is created. The digital paradigm is at the center of this acid trip, and for those who are buying up apocalypse-free land in faraway places, there’s yet another hallucination—seasteading.

Seasteading looks like upmarket island living to me—a trip on a concrete petal (image from the Huffington Post).

The word is a little weird, which matches the concept itself—man-made islands where humans… live differently.

The Seasteading Institute empowers people to build floating startup societies with innovative governance models

The concept merits a book—written by someone aptly named Joe Quirk. French Polynesia seems to be on board, if you excuse the pun, and these man-made islands will of course be resilient to climate change, because—duh—they float.

The institute’s head, who does sound like a bit of a nutter, preaches the seasteading gospel.

Our venture is poised to launch a seasteading industry that will provide environmental resiliency to the millions of people threatened by rising sea levels, provide economic opportunities to people in remote and economically deprived environments, and provide humanity with new opportunities for organizing societies and governments.

Ambitious? Moi? Steady on, chaps…

The India Road, Atmos Fear, Clear Eyes, and Folk Tales For Future Dreamers. QR links for smartphones and tablets.


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