I occasionally say on Twitter that conservatives should stop giving to the Republican Party and use the money to build autonomous parallel communities. What does that look like? Let's sketch it out.
So vast a topic, well laid out too. Where to start contributing to the ideas?
1) Separateness by religious convictions. A neo-Quaker group is my interest. One which clearly disallows military participation at Federal level. Permitted would be the city-state militia and possible national militia (similar to very powerful Chechen Nation within the Russian Federation).
2) Illegal for land to be sold outside of kith and kin citizens of polity.
3) Illegal to have foreign ownership of business within polity. No franchises, chain-stores, and the owner must live and work within the community.
4) Full Citizenship is not immediate. Several Generations are required before elligible for governance and leadership in polity.
5) The town-center is not owned by developers and rent-seekers. The town is owned and developed by the town. Rent is kept at a non-profit level (similar to non-profit Credit Union Bank covers its costs and salaries). The town decides what tenants occupy downtown. Low rents allow lower prices for goods and ability to compete with the likes of Walmart and Amazon outside the polity’s borders.
6) Finance and banking is a big topic. But Credit Unions and a separate currency are obvious. Forbidding usery as Christ preached and the Muslims have done successfully is wise and Godly.
Hello Kruptos. Both Johann Kurtz and th3e Librarian of Celeano linked to you today, so here I am! Happy to be here.
As I read this, the thing I am struggling with is getting my teen kids to buy into it. We are very much on the wrong foot in this regard. Maybe they'll consider a career working with real things, but we are a long way from getting them to focus their lives within a day's walk (we as a family haven't, to be sure). And the easiest way to fall off of the purview of the government is to get off line; and that will be asking a lot of them.
On a more hopeful note, what you are talking about rings true with our human nature, being made in the image and likeness of our creator. AI may be a match for the rule followers (doctors, engineers, lawyers); but it cannot comprehend a high school dropout.
I would say "count me in." But I look at my marriage, my church, my community: the Holy Spirit can bring what you are describing about, but that is the only way; there is too much, that is too easy, working against it.
I have been thinking along these lines for years, though not in the more developed way you have expressed them here. I even mentioned something like this in my sermon a couple of weeks ago (I’m a conservative Presbyterian pastor.)
I think the biggest obstacles are philosophical and cultural. The distinctive curse of the contemporary West is the incoherent philosophy of expressive individualism. We all bathe in and drink the waters of expressive individualism simply by being Americans.
The kind of people who are going to be attracted enough to this idea are by definition individualists who are quite far down the scale. They are willing to buck social convention, go their own way, and pay the costs society imposes for doing so. They are almost by definition low trust individuals.
But creating a parallel society requires a cohesive group identity. It requires regularly sacrificing your personal self interest to the group self interest in the expectation that the group will take care of you and the sacrifice will be worth it. On a very basic level this means things like paying 30% more to buy the same product from a group member’s store instead of going to Wal Mart and getting it cheaper. Or not sending your child to the good government school or college they could attend, in order to send them to your group’s school and keep them in the community. So they will never be the pro football player/musical superstar/world famous physicist they could have been. They’ll be helping Uncle Leon on the pig farm and marrying someone local instead.
I think it will be shown that low-trust individualists aren’t able to consistently do those things, and so the community will fail to form. I’ve heard rumors of just this sort of thing among RadTrad Catholics who tried to form their own cohesive communities. It turns out that if you’re willing to buck both the state and the Vatican, you’re also belligerent enough to buck everyone else who tried to tell you what to do.
I know of no way around this except the group cohesion that sometimes gets formed in persecution.
Yeah, I've been preaching this for years. You might want to add manufacturing to that list.
A word of caution to those that wish to run to the hills in isolation, poverty, and irrelevance. The original inhabitants of Vietnam included the Hmong and they are more related to Polynesians than Chinese. The Chinese migrated into Vietnam and the Hmong have dwindled to irrelevant minorities that dwell in the mountains while the Chinese rule and conduct commerce.
City-States and Nations and families reproducing your next generation of successful citizens are essential. Homesteading is a very small component of society. Reclaim the economically desireable ports and traderoutes. Avoid building cities that we all intuitively hate and which we flee to the suburbs. Keep cities and democracy at a human scale.
Civilization is a business. Be the owner. Also, make food production and meeting survival needs the basis; everyone eats. If you build it they will come. Also, get a copy of Robert’s Rules. Don’t forget the law. Getting a lawyer in on your project from the beginning who shares your vision is crucial for long term success.
This is one of the best definitions or descriptions of a parallel society, or culture that I’ve ever heard.
Very interesting piece and echos much of my thinking, not implemented, over the past years. History is littered with those communities which tried to separate themselves from the ills of society. Many have failed because they did not rightly understand the human condition, including the Mayflower pilgrims. The Plain People have done exceptionally well at developing parallel community and dealing with the many challenges from within and without. It works in both rural and urban environments because it is first a community.
We are very far behind the curve in the US but if we are to find our way it will be by the small steps of exploiting the networks we have and developing new ones. Rod Dreher is correct in principle in his Benedict Option that these networks must be developed before the crisis comes; though God is not to be discounted.
I look forward to a continuing conversation.
Even those who are not particularly interested in this venture can see feasible detailed plans are being drawn, an alternative can be a reality and I believe it strengthens our position immensely and makes our position far more attractive.
This emboldens me but best of all right now it lifts the spirit.
I think it would be fairly easy in the culture I live, as homesteads are common and large numbers of our ancestors were yeoman farmers.
Quite a good thought experiment.
It occurred to me what you fleshed out greatly resembled (not in a bad way) the separatists groups and communities, in existence today. mainly the Amish and Mennonites.
Those two are keen examples, when considering your version of a parallel or alternative polity.
The obvious benefit being their easy and present availability and their openness, in talking about their communities.
Likewise a study of their Anabaptist forefathers would be wise, to understand, just what members of these fledgling polities face, in their infancy. While the Anabaptist movement was mainly for faith based reasons - they faced the same establishment hurdles back then (church, government, finances, legal/justice system, etc.). Again, much time, effort and treasure can be saved with the benefit of hindsight, if used.
Here is a very good source for exploring the Amish community and lifestyle.
He has videos, that deal with many aspects of Amish life - technology, homo-sexuality, heating homes and more. One aspect I think always emerges as a "consideration" for separatist groups, is how to interact with outside communities (it's inevitable unless your isolationists) and still be able to maintain an ideological homogeneity - especially within the younger adult ranks - where exploration and curiosity are natural and unavoidable.
One thought that came to mind about governing models, is that you will need one and that a melding of the secular and religious - while the long touted elusive ideal - is problematic, as our country has clearly shown. The Amish by comparison have endured (with their problems and issues to be sure) since the mid 1700's with much less dismantling of their communities by comparison. I would argue, that is because of a church based governing system.
I think many have had thoughts about what their version of Gault's Gulch would be like, if they had the means to create it, to include myself- so I appreciate this post and your efforts to assemble the framework.
My husband and I have talked about a similar idea/vision for quite sometime now with close friends and likeminded family.
How did i miss this article?
I just came across your work via Dave Greene's piece The Bones of a Dark Age Academy. Without repeating my comment from over there, I would love to discuss this offline as I just released my book Birthing the Symbiotic Age: an Ancient Blueprint for a New Creation as a free weekly series in my channel.
It's all about building a parallel society. In fact here is a short piece I wrote:
I have been following this call, building real-world parallel community approaches, for forty years. It is great to hear other voices coming forward.
We don't have to re-invent the wheel as there are some concrete examples, including Vaclav Benda, a catholic, in Czech in the late 1960's and 1970's in reaction to communism.
The early communities of Jesus followers in the Roman Empire; Mahatma Gandhi's work on building village economies (he was inspired by the Sermon on the Mount); and my friend and mentor Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne of the 65 year-old Sri Lankan Sarvodaya Movement.
Here is the basis of the approach:
Many blessings, Richard
Would love to chat more
Extremely intriguing as we try to form a picture of what could be... Thank you for creating/sharing this, Kruptos