Law, at its most basic, is intended to resolve conflict. Law provides a set of rules. Equal application of the law assures everyone plays on a level playing field. Law is inherently neither good nor bad – although specific laws can have positive or negative consequences.
I understand there are many libertarians and anarchists on this board. I also understand there is a fierce independence in almost everyone thinking about seasteading. It may be the ultimate answer to my question is “neither”. It’s possible that a sovereign city-state seastead will have its own unique legal structure and its own system of jurisprudence. But to assume that there will be no law is simply unrealistic given human nature. (Use the word “rules” instead of “law” if that makes you more comfortable.)
I’m not thinking about building codes, selling unpasteurized milk, growing opium poppies or licensing your dog. I’m thinking about stuff that hurts people or the seastead.
If you espouse a paradise where “anything goes” then you basically support the idea that “might makes right”. Eventually there will be a person, or a group of people, who see an opportunity to be gained by working in their own self interest in opposition to the larger community. What will prevent that from happening?
How would grievances be settled? How would criminal offenses be resolved? Even if the preferred resolution was “ex-communicado” there is no chance to un-rape or un-assault a person. There may be no way to restore property destroyed or stolen. What would happen in cases of fraud? Does the transgressor just leave with a promise (or a threat) to never return?
The legal framework must apply to property and people. It also must be fair, enforceable, scalable to a large community, and designed to last over time.