This review is part of a series covering each installment of the serialized novel Higher Cause, written by John Hunt and published by Laissez Faire Books. To catch up, start with the announcement, the book’s link-rich table of contents, and the first review.
The next installment takes us into a new phase of the book, about a year forward in time. The project is coming together, with The Island being developed at a break-neck pace. Trouble looms, however, as the project’s enemies have not given up.
The first chapter gets us up to speed on the various aspects of the project. More investors have been found, the right island chosen, and many of the financiers have their own sub-projects under way. The chapter ends with an ominous conversation from a group we have seen before.
Right before we are privy to this meeting, there is a nice passage when Petur takes a moment to relax, stares into the night sky and ponders the heavens. It is a nice moment of thoughtfulness, and a view into an aspect of the character, between episodes in the plot. I quite liked it.
The next chapter gives us a tour of the island. It is shaping up to be a marvelous setting, perfect for a science fiction/epic adventure story. And the end shows us one of the the machinations of the enemy.
It is interesting to note the trend among anarcho-capitalists to look for little micro-worlds in which to escape the state. Higher Cause fits well in this trend. There seems to be a school of thought that the state is such a monstrous beast that liberty lovers need to escape it to thrive, instead of trying to overthrow it from within. Patri Friedman, to that end, is working on a gigantic floating city where a few can live outside the state’s reach. My own work of fiction features something similar to Higher Cause: an island, sheltered from tyrants, where liberty can sprout roots and take hold.
The Shield that Fell From Heaven (read my review) by William Kerr has a character who states that freedom is always to be found on the frontier. If a people want to stay free, they need to keep moving, always on the edge of civilization, just out of the state’s reach. What happens, though, when there is no true frontier any more? It would seem that the drive for the frontier turns into a quest for bubbles of freedom, like the Seasteading Institute. Until space travel and colonization becomes obtainable and cost effective, or until we convince a critical mass of the population of the superiority of the nonaggression principle, these little bubbles, either in real life or in fiction, might be our best bet.