Global Gold Talks to Vít Jedlička, the President of Liberland
Vít Jedlička is a Czech politician, publicist and activist. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Economics, Prague in 2009 and his Master’s degree from CEVRO Institut in 2014. Since 2009, he has been a member of the Free Citizens Party, where he was elected the first Regional President in the Hradec Králové Region. Vít Jedlička considers himself a libertarian with liberal views on individual freedom and has described himself as a Bastiat-influenced anarcho-capitalist.
The Liberland coat of arms
Jedlička is also a Eurosceptic and highly critical of the European Union as an institution, as well as the general conduct of some of its member states. On 13 April 2015, he founded and proclaimed the Free Republic of Liberland on land between Serbia and Croatia unclaimed by either nation and became its first president.
Vít Jedlička, the first president of Liberland: “Socialism is the false belief that the state will spend your money better than you would.”
Photo credit: Jan Husák
Claudio Grass Interviews Vít Jedlička
Claudio Grass, Global Gold: Vit, it is a pleasure to have this opportunity to talk to you. Let’s dive right in and start with the topic that made headlines this year: Liberland. Can you tell us when you first envisioned the idea of creating Liberland? Could you explain to us the ideas and events that led you to take this step and how this project came to life?
Vít Jedlička: Most people that come to this world wonder how they can make it a better place. I was no exception. When I started understanding the world at the age of around six, we had the Velvet Revolution in the Czech Republic. Lots of things dramatically changed for the better. That convinced me that things could be improved even more. When I was 13, I read “The Law” by Frédéric Bastiat. This book motivated me to get politically involved and to stand up for more economic freedom in the world. I spent the last five years campaigning in the Czech Republic for lower taxes and less regulation. Our Libertarian party now even has one member in the European Parliament, but to me this simply is not enough. Libertarian and free market concepts are often dismissed, because as the argument goes “they don’t work in the real world”. I created Liberland to create an example of how these concepts can be implemented in reality.
Global Gold: What would you consider the core values that the state of Liberland is built on to be?
Vít Jedlička: Liberland is a model of how a minarchist state built on classical liberal values should look like. We truly believe that governments do more harm than good when they meddle into people’s affairs. In my view, the state should be severely limited to its proper role, which is diplomacy, security and justice. In today’s world, even so-called free market countries such as Switzerland or Singapore have evolved into organisms that are extremely over-regulated.
Global Gold: What would you say to someone that says that declaring Liberland is nothing more than a PR-stunt to position yourself and your political party in the Czech Republic? How high do you think the chances actually are that in ten years time Liberland will have a population, a running state apparatus and be accepted by the international community?
Vít Jedlička: I would strongly disagree; Liberland was never a PR-stunt. Despite its size, we have every intention of turning Liberland into a prosperous free market-oriented country with a solid rule of law. Obviously, I know that this will not happen overnight. We currently have almost 400,000 people interested in citizenship. I have met countless applicants; they are all highly motivated and want to help build Liberland. With this starting position, I am confident that we will be able to build a completely sovereign state built upon libertarian values in the long-term.
In a recent CIA report about Liberland, the chances of Liberland gaining statehood was described as being “higher than zero”. I believe that Liberland is the best chance we have in this century to set up a truly libertarian state. The best way of predicting the future is to actively shape it, so that is my goal with Liberland in the coming years. Regarding acceptance by the international community, I am confident that we are on the right track: Liberland is already widely recognized by the diplomatic community and we are in discussions with many governments regarding the official endorsement of Liberland.
The location of Liberland – it will be a micro-state in terms of its territory, but the EU is apparently already scared of it. What if it turns out that people actually like liberty?
Map by Elevatorrailfan
Global Gold: The papers have described Liberland as anti-EU. You’ve established relations with the Swiss SVP and with Nigel Farage from the UKIP party. Can you tell us your main points of criticism regarding the EU?
Vít Jedlička: The philosophy behind Liberland is to set a positive example for other countries and to be allowed to live peacefully. We do not want to fight against anybody nor are we against anybody. We “only” want to set a good example for how a free society can function. So describing Liberland as “anti-EU” is incorrect, however in many ways the ideas behind Liberland are not compatible with large bureaucratic bodies that set minimum taxes and generally tend to over-regulate. In many ways, I am sympathetic with Swiss SVP and UKIP policies. Although we do not want to fight Brussels, we are offering a feasible alternative. We are aware of the fact that whenever new taxes are introduced and further harmful regulation is passed in the EU, that it will lead to more citizenship applications for us.
This cartoon illustrates nicely what scares the eurocrats and the bureaucracies of the surrounding nations about the Liberland idea.
Global Gold: Regarding citizenship applications, how many applications have you received so far? Could you explain to us the criteria of an eligible citizen? In other words, how do you ‘filter’ your citizenship applications?
Vít Jedlička: So far we have exactly 387,397 people who registered on our website, from these applications 75,315 are eligible for citizenship. People are eligible if they don’t have a communist or extremist history, share our national ideology which embraces freedom, and they are actively willing to help us get the country up and running.
Global Gold: As you mention communists, Nazis and other “extremists” are not eligible for citizenship. Would you prohibit or restrict these communities by law if they develop over time? How do you make sure that such legislation is not misused to rid Liberland of persons critical of the government by calling them “extremists”?
Vít Jedlička: Legislation can always be misused and we took that into consideration when drafting the constitution so we have a several safety mechanisms in place. For example: It is extremely difficult to change the constitution, because a change in the constitution requires a unanimous decision by the assembly. With this mechanism we hope the spirit of the republic will last much longer than it did in the US.
The inauguration of Liberland on May 1 2015
Photo credit: Darko Vojinovic / AP
Global Gold: What kind of people and companies do you think will call Liberland their home? Are you targeting specific sectors or industries to re-domicile in Liberland?
Vít Jedlička: Several sectors have already voiced their interest. The biggest interest we have received thus far is from IT companies and financial institutions. Due to the absolute freedom of speech that we offer in Liberland, several media companies are interested in relocating to Liberland.
Global Gold: As a libertarian you are likely to have some views that are considered “radical” amongst non-libertarians, such as views on drug laws or arms trafficking. Liberland, however, is not an “island” in Europe, so it is likely that some laws will be enacted so that the international community takes Liberland seriously. As a libertarian head of state (in the real world), how do you define what role of government is to be considered permissible and what not? What regulations and restrictions will there be?
Vít Jedlička: That is not an easy question but what we will do is try to find the right balance between international norms and our own ideology. Of course we will have to make some compromises every now and then. We have no intention of making Liberland a place for drug and weapon trafficking. I also mentioned that financial institutions are interested in Liberland. Although, we strongly oppose the overregulation of the financial industry, we will have anti-money laundering legislation so that we can make sure that Liberland does not turn into a money-laundering hub. All this would hurt our international reputation.
A close-up of Liberland’s location: it is the green patch referred to as “Siga” on the map – neither Croatia nor Serbia claim sovereignty over it, but both are trying – hopefully in vain – to keep Liberland from happening.
Map by Tomobe03
Global Gold: Croatian and Serbian legal experts claim that, under international law, you have no right to claim this land. Which laws are they basing their assessment on, and which laws do you refer to when claiming that you have the right?
Vít Jedlička: I also noticed that the press referred to some experts, who claimed we have no right to claim Liberland. However, they were never mentioned by name and I have never read any of their arguments. Liberland was formed on what was formerly known as Gorna Siga. This area was terra nullius, meaning that no other country claimed sovereignty over this area. We claimed it and declared a new state, which is absolutely legal under international law.
Global Gold: You, your staff and supporters of Liberland were detained by police when trying to reach Liberland. How did the authorities justify this? Will there be a legal challenge from your side? Is it currently possible to visit Liberland?
Vít Jedlička: The court of higher instance remanded a case for another round of appeal to a lower court. We see this as a big victory, since Croatia’s own legal system is starting to recognize that if Croatian police try to prevent people from entering Liberland (or even enter Liberland) that they are operating out of their jurisdiction. We have now also found ways to enter Liberland without any harassment by Croatian police. We are currently organizing everything so we can settle in Liberland comfortably and permanently during the spring, when temperatures are warmer to build permanent establishments in our country.
A design proposal for the future Liberland
Global Gold: How will you protect yourself and your borders against outside harassment, or even worse, aggression? Which institute, organization, or entity will you resort to if your disputes with your neighbors escalate?
Vít Jedlička: We are in the middle of negotiations with a large private security agency that will take active steps to secure our borders in the near future. Securing our borders is a vital aspect for the success of Liberland.
Liberland as it looks today…
Photo credit: Cropix / SIPA / REX
Global Gold: Could you tell us what your short-term, mid-term, and longer-term plans for Liberland are? What are you highest priorities at the moment? When do you expect to hold the first elections?
Vít Jedlička: Currently, our first priority is our architectural competition. We want to show the world how we are going to develop this area to the benefit of all parties involved. We are also very active in diplomacy. Just in the last two days I have met with six ambassadors in Prague and we are organizing a presentation for them next week to explain Liberland and what we are planning. International recognition would be helpful, but it is not as crucial as having good relations with Croatia. Building up our diplomatic and PR presence in Croatia is very important to us. We are still waiting for the results of the power struggle which is happening there now after the election. Another key element is the proper organization of our nation. That is why I am announcing the members of the new government this week and this is also why we are developing an application that will make communication between the government and the people very easy. Our long-term plan is, of course, to build the most libertarian and prosperous country in the world.
What Liberland could look like in the future…
Image credit: skyscrapercity.com
Global Gold: How would you describe the economic road map of Liberland? How would you describe the role of the government in the market?
Vít Jedlička: The government’s role should be exclusively limited to security, diplomacy and justice. We want to go even further and leave parts of these functions to the private sector as well. I believe we can outsource security with an UBER-style approach and parts of the justice system can be delegated to private courts.
Another Liberland architectural design proposal
Global Gold: You devised a currency called the “Merit”. Could you tell us a bit more about this currency? Why did you think it is necessary for the state of Liberland to create a currency?
Vít Jedlička: A currency is one of the symbols of statehood. We took the best out of the fiat and cryptocurrency system and introduced a well working currency from which everybody will benefit. Merits are used as a reward system for people who help our cause; these Merits represent a claim on the future revenues of Liberland. You could describe Merits as a kind of “private equity currency”.
We should mention that we believe in the importance of competing currencies, we will therefore not pressure anybody to use our currency. Inside Liberland, everyone is free to use the currency they choose for all transactions and also when dealing with the government.
A Facebook group calling itself the “Liberland currency authority” has designed commemorative gold coins for Liberland called “Vits” after the founder and president
Global Gold: As Global Gold, I am also interested to learn your thoughts about gold?
Vít Jedlička: I have been a gold bug since 2003, when I wrote my thesis on foreign reserve systems. I even organized a Gold Initiative for the Czech Republic very shortly before I started Liberland. Lukas Reimann, the Swiss SVP politician, was the key-note speaker at the conference. The Czech central bank faces similar challenges to the Swiss central bank as it has accumulated large amounts of foreign reserves. The Czech central bank currently only holds 0.8% percent in gold, which is a shame.
Global Gold: Thank you very much, Vit, for this opportunity to speak with you and for sharing your views with us.
About the author: Claudio Grass is a passionate advocate of free-market thinking and libertarian philosophy. Following the teachings of the Austrian School of Economics he is convinced that sound money and human freedom are inextricably linked to each other.
It is that time of the year again – our semi-annual funding drive begins today. Give us a little hand in offsetting the costs of running this blog, as advertising revenue alone is insufficient. You can help us reach our modest funding goal by donating either via paypal or bitcoin. Those of you who have made a ton of money based on some of the things we have said in these pages (we actually made a few good calls lately!), please feel free to up your donations accordingly (we are sorry if you have followed one of our bad calls. This is of course your own fault). Other than that, we can only repeat that donations to this site are apt to secure many benefits. These range from sound sleep, to children including you in their songs, to the potential of obtaining privileges in the afterlife (the latter cannot be guaranteed, but it seems highly likely). As always, we are greatly honored by your readership and hope that our special mixture of entertainment and education is adding a little value to your life!
Bitcoin address: 1DRkVzUmkGaz9xAP81us86zzxh5VMEhNke
One Response to “Liberland”
Most read in the last 20 days:
- A Striking Chart
The Economy and the Stock Market As long time readers know, we are always paying close attention to the manufacturing sector, which is far more important to the US economy than is generally believed. In terms of gross output it is the largest sector of the economy, and it should of course be obvious that saving, investment and production are the only ways to create wealth. What's left of the Brooklyn Domino Sugar Refinery. Photo credit: Paul Raphaelson Contrary...
- Trump and Putin Narrowly Escape Assassination Attempt
The Gloves are Coming Off First a little bit of recent history. Readers are probably aware that some questions about the occasionally malfunctioning Deep State android... no, wait, we'll start again. Questions have recently been raised about the health of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton by various “alt-right” tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy theorists, such as this one. The monsters are normally hiding under Hillary's bed, but lately they have come out into the open...
- Donald’s Electoral Struggle
Wicked and Terrible After touting her pro-labor union record, the Wicked Witch of Chappaqua rhetorically asked, “why am I not 50 points ahead?” Her chief rival bluntly responded: “because you’re terrible.”* No truer words have been uttered by any of the candidates about one of their opponents since the start of this extraordinary presidential campaign! Electoral map (note that the coloration may no longer be applicable...) That Hillary Clinton is...
- Why the Fed Destroyed the Market Economy
What Have You Done for Me Lately? Swing voters are a fickle bunch. One election they vote Democrat. The next they vote Republican. For they have no particular ideology or political philosophy to base their judgment upon. The primacy of the wallet. They don’t give a rip about questions of small government or big government. Nor do they have any druthers about the welfare or warfare state. In effect, they really don’t care. What’s important to the...
- Janet Yellen’s Shame
Playing Politics In honest capitalism, you do what you can to get other people to voluntarily give you money. This usually involves providing goods or services they think are worth the price. You may get a little wild and crazy from time to time, but you are always called to order by your customers. In the market economy, consumers reign supreme. There is no such thing as a “lost” vote in the marketplace; every penny spent affects production. Mises noted: “Consumers...
- Get Ready for a New Crisis – in Corporate Debt
Imposter Dollar OUZILLY, France – We’re going back to basics here at the Diary. We’re getting everyone on the same page... learning together... connecting the dots... trying to figure out what is going on. The new three dollar bill issued by the Apprehensive States of America. We made a breakthrough when we identified the source of so many of today’s bizarre and grotesque trends. It’s the money – the new post-1971 dollar. This new dollar is green. You...
- The Economy, the Stock Market and the Fed
John Hussman on Recent Developments We always look forward to John Hussman's weekly missive on the markets. Some people say that he is a “permabear”, but we don't think that is a fair characterization. He is rightly wary of the stock market's historically extremely high valuation and the loose monetary policy driving the surge in asset prices. The S&P 500 Index and the NYSE advance-decline line. Most market internals weakened steadily until early February 2016, but...
- Hanjin Marooning in San Pedro Bay
Global Trade Reversal Expansions and contractions in global trade have played out over long secular trends for thousands of years. The Silk Road, for example, was established by the Han Dynasty of China in 130 BC, and allowed for continuous trade between East and West for nearly 1,600 years. In addition to economic trade, the Silk Road was also a conduit for culture and knowledge among its network of civilizations. A map of the main ancient Silk Road - click to...
- Great Causes, a Sea of Debt and the 2017 Recession
Great Cause NORMANDY, FRANCE – We continue our work with the bomb squad. Myth disposal is dangerous work: People love their myths more than they love life itself. They may kill for money. But they die for their religions, their governments, their clans... and their ideas. Famous French hippie and author Voltaire. He wears the same sardonic grin in every painting, whether he's depicted at a young or an old age, doesn't matter. His real name was François-Marie Arouet; he...
- The Donald Versus Killary: War or Peace?
War: A Warning from the Past Although history does not exactly repeat itself, it does provide parallels and sometimes quite ominous ones. Such is the case with the current U.S. Presidential election and the one which occurred one hundred years earlier. The Donald probably has the better slogan... The dominating question which hung over the 1916 campaign was whether the country would remain neutral in regard to the horrific slaughter which was taking place on the...
- A Rift in the Space-Time Continuum
Weird and Unnatural NORMANDY, France – First, a quick look at the markets. The Dow bounced on Monday, recovering 239 points of the nearly 400 it lost on Friday. Why the comeback? FOMC member Lael Brainard: her comments on Monday were touted as the “reason” for the stock market recovering half of Friday's losses. We suspect the real reason is the triple witching on Friday... Photo via twitter.com The financial press has a ready answer: “Stocks gain...
- Crimea: Digging For The Truth
Renewed Escalation This summer witnessed a renewed escalation between Russia and Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of sending saboteurs to attack Russian troops, targeting “critical infrastructure”. Kiev denied the allegations and claimed Russia’s “fantasy” was nothing but a false pretense to launch a “new invasion”. August 10: Russian president Putin announces that there was an altercation involving a group of Ukrainian saboteurs at...