“But rather let all your energies be bent on occupying the advantageous position first.” Sun Tzu
Each of us is apart of a community whether we believe so or not. A community is defined simply as 'people living in the same area or people with a common goal'. Community can also be defined with regards to the state, however, for the purposes of this article we will not need that definition, as it does not apply.
Over the past two decades, I have found that regardless the community where I reside, philosophically and physically, I am often at odds with some. This is to be expected of the libertarian and anarchist mindset. Those who are on the path to liberating the mind from the state's hold are often quite individualistic in their mentality. They tend to think on their own and are a breed of people who rarely desires others' assistance in life. From experience it is difficult to accept help, and even more difficult to ask for it. However, once the ability to accept and ask for assistance is re-learned the person who is now a freely thinking, acting individual often finds that community is more than just their values.
Acceptance of others' ability to freely think and act outside of what we believe to be correct or moral, is necessary, to be able to further build one's community into something that works for all of us. The goal is not to simply accept all behaviors but more to understand that not everyone will think the same. Personally, I believe in the Non Aggression Principle, and community is a large part of this. I believe that if we teach those around us the simple steps of the Do No Harm Principle or the religious expression 'Do Unto Others', we will fit quite well together as a community. This, of course, does not mean that violence or crime will not occur, however, it does mean less by volume will naturally occur.
In a state-based society like we see across most of the world, regardless of personal political stance, the result is always the same. A majority or vocal minority will always seek to force all others to follow their approach to life. And therein lies the problem: using force to dictate morality will always end with more crime, death and visible vice than if one rejects this approach and learns to live along side those whose lives they may not agree with but are not attempting to harm you or others by doing so. This is why across the span of history whenever an area of land was without a centralized state, that area of land was generally more productive, less crime ridden, and saw large leaps in innovations. It was only when a consolidated state attacked and eventually took over that region that it would see rapid declines and any number of issues such as famine, slavery and more.
This is why I work within my local community of individuals to promote solidarity and progressive action. I do not mean that I am working to politicize or change the political nature of what currently exists. What in fact I am doing reflects the natures of the tribal cultures. I actively promote and use local farmers' markets, and I attempt to get to know my actual neighbors as well as those within my philosophical community. I promote volunteer-ism and attempt to contribute time and effort without expectation of payment or public acknowledgment. As some in the religious world would say, by my actions they are saved, though I am not attempting to save anyone of course.
An active community of individuals who willingly interact if only on a financial or physical level benefits me as an individual within that community. This is the selfish nature of the approach I have taken. And yes, I willingly admit to being selfish in this. My family and my own well-being is primary in my life. I understand that I cannot simply pick up and move to the furthest, darkest corner of whichever continent is least populated by humans and expect my family to thrive. We may survive in this manner, but there is no logical way that this approach will enable or allow them to thrive. Of course by doing this, I am also forcing my views on them, or using coercion to obtain this goal. Because my beliefs are set on a bedrock of voluntary interaction and action, I cannot do this.
Instead, I teach my family and those I interact with that we can and should work with others regardless their personal (not our business or responsibility) beliefs. Over the past two decades, I have made a habit of opening my home to others. While I do place restrictions on some behaviors, these restrictions are quite generous in nature, which unfortunately, has led to several bad experiences. Alternatively, it has led to many wonderful and long lasting friendships and mutually satisfying relationships. What I have found is that most humans are genuinely good people, many have been taught bad habits thanks to state based education. However, most humans are good and only want what we all want, that which is best for themselves as individuals. I have been able to share my approaches to gaining that, not by using others as those negative individuals did, but by working with others as most have.
My goal for the community I reside in is quite simply to be able to interact in a voluntary manner in every way. So when I am asked questions about what traits I see as important to myself, my response will almost always be the same. Voluntary interaction, mutually beneficial relationships and individuals ownership of themselves and their minds. The community of tomorrow is my community today, and it is up to me and those I work closely with to help others see that life without the overbearing state presence is entirely possible, natural and beneficial! We should pursue with great energy that which is mutually beneficial as it will only help make our future that much brighter.
Free the mind and the body will follow
Jesse Mathewson is an individual who believes in Liberty, Non-Aggression, Self-Defense, Self-Ownership and a Free Market without state interference it is his firm belief that we should all be better students in life. He is also the author of the popular blog, jessetalksback.com and provides commentary to many varied places based on a background that includes education in criminal justice, history, religion and even insurgency tactics and tactical training. His current role in his community is as an organizer of sorts and a preacher of community solidarity. As a voluntaryist and atheist his life is seen as crazy and wild by many, though once they get to know him most realize he is a bluntly honest individual who will give you the shirt off his back if he believes it is necessary to help you.