The Feast of the Freecoast Address 12015

Mike Vine Local Activism, Making The Move, Scrapbook

Hello everyone! Welcome to the Feast of the Freecoast!

It is said that the feast is the earliest form of holiday. When the planting season was over and crops abundant, the feast was a chance to gather together and enjoy having plenty.

But y’know what? Feasting has become an anachronism. We do it out of habit and because it’s fun, but we are completely divorced from the “lean months” of the year that made the harvest feast so joyful. We have no concerns about having to put on a few pounds to help us survive the winter.

Then again, that gets to something very worthy of celebration. Today, we can feast to celebrate our everyday abundance – and honor our ancestors who worked, invested, and fought so that we would have a better life. We live at a time that most of human history would consider ‘post-scarcity’. Most of our day-to-day decisions are motivated not by immediate concerns of survival, but questions of will: Do I want Mexican food or Italian? Do I prefer a convertible or a coupe?

Do we all realize how miraculous this is?! Look at the food all around us – ingredients from every corner of the Earth. And not the result of a harvest surplus; just because we all decided to go to the grocery store and cook something delicious for each other.

The natural condition of mankind is abject poverty. Even today, most human beings live at a subsistence level – they work specifically to feed and house themselves. If they get sick, then they just don’t eat – or the roof goes unrepaired and rain gets in their bed. They lose children to malnutrition and disease. If they do manage to scrape together some savings, they have no place to invest it and it risks being stolen (well, until they learn about Bitcoin).

Should we feel guilty that we have so much and they so little? Here’s where it helps to get philosophical: what is the purpose of an emotion like ‘guilt’? To motivate us to action. Mises writes, “The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness.” Does it help to carry around guilt about a situation you didn’t cause and can’t correct? No.

But wait! Surely we can sell our surplus belongings and donate the funds directly to those who are less well off. And no doubt a 50 thousand dollar check would make a big difference to a Guatemalan villager. Even a 5 thousand dollar check would make an impact on 10 villagers. Or maybe we spread 500 dollars to 100 villagers… It does seem to dissipate pretty quickly, doesn’t it?

And even with that money, some things just won’t be accessible in that economy: top doctors, the global supply chain which brings us quinoa and ripe bananas 4 seasons a year, respect for property rights which reduce interpersonal violence. For we are wealthy not just in money, but in skills and institutions. Though we know it is in decline, we still have a culture that celebrates entrepreneurship. A culture that does not behave like lobsters in a tank – seeking to pull down anyone with the gall to try to break free. We are still the inheritors of a grand experiment in unleashing the power of individual ingenuity unshackled from the tyranny of customs.

No matter our best intentions, none of this can be given away. In the words of Jefferson, our culture is inalienable. It cannot be given – BUT, it can be taught. I think the following is enough of a cliché that we can all say it together: “If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. If you teach to him to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.”

Here’s the point: America has plenty of fish to go around. So much so that most people have forgotten where the fish even come from. The people in this room know and respect the vast catallaxy of voluntary exchanges that led to everything we enjoy here today. We among us hold the key to not just bringing 1 or 10 or 100 people out of poverty, but rather any human being who will listen to the philosophy of liberty with an open mind.

Today we should enjoy our feast in gratitude for each other and pride in being the stewards of the philosophy that brings this abundance into the world, despite the nature of entropy.

We’re not just libertarians, we are Extropians. This term was coined by a group of technolibertarians in the 1980s to signify that our goal – really the goal of living beings whether intentionally or not – is to overcome rising entropy, the natural habit of nature to fall into greater states of disorder. Entropy is why our job isn’t easy. Entropy is why the natural state is poverty and wealth is the exception. Entropy is why it’s easier to destroy than to build, and why what’s happening in this room is cosmically exceptional: here, a group of beings have consciously committed themselves to extropy – to living, to thriving, to crafting a world of such abundance that our descendants will look back in shock at OUR poverty. And not only are we so historically exceptional, but by Jove we’re growing!

Can all those who have moved to the Freecoast in the past year please come stand in front of the stage?

Today, we feast to you!

Can all those who have, over the past year, volunteered, cared for your fellow Freecoasters, or helped to raise the next generation please step forward? WAIT, DONT MOVE! That’s the whole room!

Today, we feast to you!

Can the Justice family raise their hands? Thank you for organizing this wonderful day.

Today, we feast to you!

There is an ongoing struggle between the forces of entropy – ignorance, darkness, and deprivation – and the forces of extropy – knowledge, enlightenment, and abundance.

Today we celebrate all that is good.

Today, we feast to the Freecoast!