Alaska (was Re: hang loose state)

James Rogers (
Sun, 26 Sep 1999 20:15:43 -0700

At 11:12 PM 9/25/99 -0700, you wrote:
>> > Texas fitting INSIDE of ALASKA!
>> wrote: hmmm . . . I'm still not entirely convinced that
>> just a distortion caused by map projection.
>It has been said that Hawaii is the hang loose state, well forget that!
>*Alaska* is the *real* hang loose state. After vacationing there a
>few years ago I realized this place is a real libertarian kinda place.
>The authorities really dont give a damn what you do there.

It really goes beyond that. It isn't that the authorities don't give a damn, it is that there is essentially no force of law in terms of State and Federal authority. Many locales are simply too remote for traditional authorities to project force. Things can get really weird in some places; in some cases, it is like being in a completely different country. Also, there is so much unused State land, that you can pretty much do what you want, as long as you aren't bothering anyone else (which is improbable as the population density is extremely sparse in most areas. Nevada, where I live, is similar.).

Instead of centralized authority, you essentially have these interesting little kingdoms and duchies that are run by whatever group owns them. The same people that own them are also usually the local sheriff/judge/legislature and make and enforce laws to suit their whims. Some of the areas are amazingly oppressive, and others are pretty much anarchic in nature. Having traveled briefly in some of these areas, I find it to be an interesting experiment, really. Most people live in the nice, loosely regulated (i.e. non-oppressive) areas. The only people who live in the oppressive areas tend to be those who are in a position to benefit from the local regime. In many of the most oppressive areas, Constitutional rights are often routinely violated, but one has to pretty much accept this to live in the oppressive areas.

What is even more interesting is how the law is dealt with when it involves multiple local jurisdictions, particularly as it applies to enforcement of contracts and apprehending criminals. What has evolved looks not dissimilar to the PPA model of law and contract enforcement, with the PPA being the government of whatever little locale you live in. (Note that the locales in the areas I've visited have populations ranging from dozens to maybe a couple thousand people, with most areas having a few hundred).

I don't have time right now to go into this, but Alaska is a really interesting experiment-in-progress regarding what happens when people are left to themselves with no outside law imposed upon them. The result is that one can find a locale that will suit just about anyone's tastes. My overall impression was very favorable and the net results seem to be roughly what is predicted by some anarchists and libertarians. Unfortunately, I don't think the experiment has fully developed because the population densities are simply to small for it to reach its full potential. I'd love to see this happen in a state that has a somewhat higher population density.


-James Rogers