“Community is not something you have, like pizza. Nor is it something you can buy. It's a living organism based on a web of interdependencies- which is to say, a local economy. It expresses itself physically as connectedness, as buildings actively relating to each other, and to whatever public space exists, be it the street, or the courthouse or the village green.”
-James Howard Kunstler
The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape
I have mentioned before that my favorite book by ZH contributor, James Howard Kunstler, is his non-fiction work, The Geography of Nowhere. He does a great job of describing many of the problems of our current living arrangements, and how they came about. The solutions to these problem, however, are much more difficult to come by.
Let's imagine that I have identified a small town in Texas, with a population of less than 2,000 people. It is on a waterway and railway, has fertile soil, receives plenty of rain, and has a long growing season. It rarely ever snows. This little town is located at least 100 miles from the big cities, and not on a major interstate. It was once a vibrant farming and ranching town, with mills, canneries, and meat packing. There are several large and beautiful old homes and the remains of a central business district. The area's natural gas fields provide plenty of cheap electricity, and the location also allows for more than 5 kWh/m2/day of solar energy. The surrounding land is pastoral and very beautiful.
Ten acres of land, part pasture and part woods, with electric service but no other utilities, costs about $50,000. A nice home in town with 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2 car garage, on a 1/4 acre lot costs about $150,000.
This is a real estate photo of the type of land surrounding a similiar Texas town.
Sure, most of the area's farmers and ranchers are doing fine. However, the townsfolk have seen better days. Most of the people living there are just barely hanging on to life with their social security retirement and government pensions. On the plus side, there is no Wal-Mart, so the few local businesses are still able to make a go of it.
What if some like-minded people on ZeroHedge decided to create a new community in this town? Farmville...but not virtual...real! One of the ZeroHedge Symposium attendees in Marfa referred to this crazy idea as, "Libertyville,"...having the libertarian priorities of maximum freedom...and minimum government.
James Wesley Rawles wrote a fiction book called, Land of Promise, where a group of Christians with a libertarian bent create their own nation in Africa. It isn't his best work, but certainly on topic. The fact is that regular people have colonized actual towns, from scratch, in less than ideal places, since the dawn of civilization, with far fewer resources than are available to us.
Using the very basic process of ADDIE: Assess, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate, I propose we use the comments section of this article to begin to assess the viability of this idea. What would be our goals? What would be the big hurdles? If the discussion goes well, then we could follow it up with some design articles, more discussion, and so forth. Some obvious topics are politics and law, commerce, technology, security, education, dealing with the current residents. etc.
Because it is possible that we may decide to keep the town's identity secret, I will keep it to myself, for the time being. This is not a real estate investment deal. It would have zero chance of working if it was. I do not live or own property there, nor have I revealed the town's location to anyone. You have my word on it.
If the hippies could have communes in the 60's, and the second coming of Jesus has his amazing place in Siberia, today...
...then why can't we have Libertyville?
Now, let's all play for a bit in the comments section!
Peace, prosperity, love, and liberty,