Think tanks and activist organizations are complementary
From an email I received from an FSP participant:
David Boaz just spoke at Dartmouth and had this response to a question about the FSP:
"My own attitude towards the Free State Project is that the federal government should move to New Hampshire and leave the rest of us free,” Boaz joked."
He just blew an easy opportunity to say something nice about a fellow libertarian organization.
(Boaz is the Executive Vice-President of Cato).
This attitude is silly. Yes, national reform would be way better. It would also be way better if I shat gold bricks instead of poop and the Miss America Pageant included a category on sexual prowess with me as the judge. The FSP's goal may be far more modest, but at least their goal is not a fantasy and their methods have at least some chance of working.
Policy think-tanks have a valuable role in helping libertarians signal affiliation, showing how flawed the current system is, and generally building culture and momentum. But that diffuse culture and momentum have to be eventually concentrated so that our small movement can have real impact. Projects like the FSP and seasteading are examples of concentrated efforts.
I'm glad that Cato helped promote seasteading, and I wish they would work with and promote the FSP. The apparent attitude that the FSP is a quaint provincial group makes no sense given the strategic landscape for libertarianism. Only such groups have a chance at radically increasing liberty, and that is (or should be) Cato's ultimate goal.