This passage from Timothy B Lee is very good:
If all you care about is avoiding the long arm of the law, that’s actually pretty easy to do. Buy a cabin in the woods in Wyoming and the government will pretty much leave you alone. Pick a job that allows you to deal in cash and you can probably get away without filing a tax return. In reality, hardly anyone does this. To the contrary, people have been leaving rural areas for high-tax, high-regulation cities for decades.
Almost no one’s goal in life is to maximize their liberty in this abstract sense. Rather, liberty is valuable because it enables us to achieve other goals, like raising a family, having a successful career, making friends, and so forth. To achieve those kinds of goals, you pretty much have to live near other people, conform to social norms, and make long-term investments. And people who live close together for long periods of time need a system of mechanisms for resolving disputes, which is to say they need a government.
I wrote something along similar lines a while back:
Conservatism is not only about limited government, and where it seeks to limit government it does so because it sees government as a force of instability. But what about those times when government is instead a force for stability? Defense leaps to mind. Conservatism, I would argue, is first and foremost about preserving or regaining a stable society. Liberty and prosperity are two of the most profound ways we can achieve a stable civilization. Limiting government often leads to both these things, and thus it is a means to an end, not an end in and of itself.
And when limiting government actually brings about social chaos rather than social stability, then it’s outworn its use. Perhaps this is why anarchy is such an impossible goal. At some point the benefit of removing the state from the equation no longer outweighs the cost.
Then again, when shit hits the fan the seasteaders will be way ahead of the rest of us – like those guys in Water World. As long as they stockpile cigarettes.