Prominent Czech libertarian Vit Jedlicka has a vision: a libertarian micro-state on the banks of the Danube River located on “terra nullius”, or no man’s land, sandwiched between Croatia and Serbia. As the land in question is claimed by neither Serbia nor Croatia, Jedlicka claimed it in the name of the Free Republic of Liberland, in April 2015.
The new nation is based on principles of limited government, free trade, personal responsibility, and maximized social, political, and economic freedom. In two years, nearly half a million people have taken initial steps towards acquiring citizenship in Liberland. While skeptics suggest the forested 7 square kilometer island has little chance of achieving international recognition, the project continues to pick up steam and media coverage.
- Read More: Freedom for Liberland: Celebrating “Live and Let Live” Nation’s First Anniversary
- Read More: Liberland is an Idea Just Like Any Other Nation
Jedlicka notes that the difficulties he encountered working within the current political system motivated him to look for a radical opportunity to create a society from a new beginning…freed from current political and economic structures: a shining beacon on a hill where lovers of liberty could aspire to live.
PanAm Post English editor David Unsworth recently sat down with President Jedlicka at FreedomFest in Las Vegas to discuss recent developments in the Liberland project.
“I’ve been working on pushing libertarian ideas for many years in the Czech Republic. Our youTube channel has probably more than 20 million views right now. We founded a political party which now has members in the European Parliament; but after all these years I realized that it doesn’t have that much merit, it doesn’t really change anything, even if we had a majority in the European Parliament we wouldn’t be able to change the system. And the system is very much flawed. It is the combination of oligarchy and democracy…which always lead to more socialism and state control.”
He notes that the administrative state, and its tax-and-spend policy, while unpopular, is still expanding in Eastern Europe.
“It’s almost impossible to fix existing countries in Europe, so we decided maybe it’s easier to start a new country than to fix an already existing one, and maybe it’s also more efficient. We can actually be a good example for other countries…One thing is political freedom that we might have right now, but the other thing is economic freedom, and I’m telling you that the state is taking more than 50% of what people are making in the Czech Republic, if you combine all the taxes together.”
While Serbia has taken a relatively laissez-faire approach to the Liberland project, Croatian police and border guards have made it difficult for Liberland activists to access the territory. They’ve arrested many for illegal border crossings, and even confiscated boats trying to access the island.
“I think there is some political pressure from above on Croatia from the European establishment to give us some trouble…if you go there from Croatia they arrest you for leaving a border crossing, and you are exiting the Schengen Zone according to all the current court cases…we need to work on our systems of governance and our security systems.”
But what happens if Croatia ends its legal battle with Liberland? In fact, there are encouraging signs and positive developments on the part of the Croatian government, which appears to be taking a more laissez-faire approach as well. Indeed, the Croatian government has recently allowed access to the territory.
“If it continues like this that Croatia doesn’t interfere with our efforts in Liberland…if we are able to maintain the status quo, which was achieved a couple of weeks ago, where we could see that they are not interfering with our activities inside of Liberland, that’s the only thing that we need.”
So should libertarians worldwide pack their bags and head out to this impressive new micro-state?
While the territory itself has yet to develop the necessary infrastructure for a society, the political and legal future ahead looks brighter than ever before. Liberty lovers worldwide will be paying keen attention in the coming months to the Liberland project as it seeks to forge a new political and economic identity…a libertarian vision flourishing after the onerous burden of half a century of Soviet Communism.