More on Mieville

Unsurprisingly, given his vituperation about libertarians, Mieville is a socialist:

He stood unsuccessfully for the British House of Commons in the 2001 General Election as a candidate for the Socialist Alliance. He is a member of the British Socialist Workers Party, and his left-wing politics colour his writing (they are particularly evident in Iron Council, his fourth novel).

Not that this excuses his piece. After all, I think that socialism is miguided and often hateful, yet I think that the fact that seasteading would enable socialists to make more socialist societies is a good thing. I have opinions, sometimes strong opinions, about my preferred type of society, but they are not facts. I might be wrong about what turns out to be a good way to live.

But what I am quite sure about is that increasing the amount of experimentation with types of new societies is a good thing, and will only lead to better ones, to more diversity and better serving of niche markets for government types (like socialism). You can believe that without believing that you have the One True Answer. In fact, a healthy skepticism about whether the One True Answer exists is one reason that I am so in favor of experimentation. Let's all test out our opinions - and may the best one triumph, and mutate, and merge, until we get amazing social structures that we never would have imagined beforehand.

That's my vision - a better world for people of all political persuasions. But I guess that doesn't make for as pleasurably condescending a story as Mieville's tale of selfish and politically narrow-minded elitists.

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Socialists are full of

Socialists are full of tricks. They've figured they lost credibility criticizing the domestic "poverty" created by capitalism. The modern and hip socialist will now explain that modern capitalist country are outsourcing the poverty they produce in the third world through globalization - as if sweeping the dust under the rug.
Thus, they would believe that a capitalist seastead cannot be tolerated as it produces poverty in the socialist seasteads. (And since poverty is relative to them, they'll even be right)

Yep

I once wrote a review of Mieville's Perdido Street Station in the early days of the blog. Great book, but I could sense his anti-market bias in the book. It was subtle but clearly there.

Longtime readers of rec.arts.sf.written may remember a hilarious flamewar between Mieville and Eric Raymond a few years ago in whch Raymond uttered the famous words, "China Mieville is not a monster - but he could easily become one."

But what I am quite sure

But what I am quite sure about is that increasing the amount of experimentation with types of new societies is a good thing, and will only lead to better ones, to more diversity and better serving of niche markets for government types (like socialism). You can believe that without believing that you have the One True Answer.

No, I don't think you can. You do believe in "One True Answer" apparently, only your "One True Answer" is some sort of extremely diverse society with niche markets for government types. Whereas others' "One True Answer" is ancapistan, or Marxist utopia, whatever. So you believe in diversity whereas others believe in uniformity, and both groups think their answer the one true.

Of course, you could say that your desire for diversity is not a fact, just another preference. Which is defensible, but your rhetoric above ("I am quite sure... increasing the amount of experimentation... is a good thing") implies the opposite.

As you did,

I also checked out the background of the website ("In These Times is dedicated to informing and analyzing popular movements for social, environmental and economic justice") and the author ("He is [...] active in left-wing politics as a member of the Socialist Workers Party. He has stood for the House of Commons for the Socialist Alliance, and published a book on Marxism and international law."). All this confirmed my impression that MiƩville already had a left-wing ax to grind when he wrote the article. I suppose he doesn't want any of the party faithful leaving for the "free minds, free markets, free society" camp.

But on the theory that no publicity is bad publicity, I revisited your seastead.org site for the first time in a couple of years and added the RSS feed to my list of blog reads. I still have in mind to spend my retirement island hopping with my own sovereign vessel. It would be nice if there were at least one place out there I could dock occasionally that recognized my sovereignty. Good luck with the project!

Curious

It's always difficult having your ideas become the object of someone else's ridicule. After reading Mieville's piece, what most surprised me was that so much erudition (I had to look up "post-Corbusier functionalism" and "cack-handed") was wasted on such a Pie in the Sky idea.

Subjectivism

"In fact, a healthy skepticism about whether the One True Answer exists is one reason that I am so in favor of experimentation."

So you suspect that "There is no One True Answer" might in fact be the One True Answer?