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"Paradise is exactly like where you are right now… only much, much, better."
What if I told you that we're already living in Galt's Gulch?
What if I told you that we don't actually need to find a bunch of like-minded people and go in on a big piece of land together, far away from everyone else, and build our own societies from the ground up?
Not that there's anything wrong with that of course.
But it's not necessary. We already have the tools at our disposal - most of them anyway - to create and maintain free societies right where we are.
Volumes have been written, some of them very very good, about how a stateless society might operate, how rights might be protected and crime dealt with in the absence of a monopoly on violence and the justice system.
But we already have a body of law that upholds the rights of individuals, protects their property, and defends contracts. It exists in stark contrast to the multitudes of laws created by politicians and their cronies – laws that often directly violate this older and more fundamental body of law. And it is enforceable.
Dale Brown, founder of the Detroit Threat Management Center, understands this. When he saw police failing to protect people from crime in one of the worst neighborhoods of Detroit, he moved in and started doing it himself. As he told Tom Woods, back in 2016:
"Any citizen can take someone into custody if they commit a violent act,” said Brown. “(I’ve learned better ways of crime prevention) because I have to. I'm accountable. I have no qualified immunity. That means, if I put my hands on someone it has to be legal. There has to be a way for me to explain it as a civilian. As a result, we've had no court date in 20 years. No lawsuits... in 20 years.”
Brown's methods rely on common-law principles. He and his Threat Management team only take action against those committing genuine crimes against people or their property. Because they are not agents of the state, they do not enforce laws against drug use or other victimless "crimes." And they employ the power of citizens' arrest, which is available to all of us.
Imagine how our world might look if there were Threat Management-like operations in every city. With the abject failure of police departments to protect people and property, their willingness to commit violent acts against those they are sworn to protect, and their inherent lack of any real accountability, private solutions like this have never been more necessary.
Others are using principles well established in contract law to hold accountable those in positions of power, using tools such as the Notice of Liability to stop city governments, school districts, and other entities from committing acts of trespass, for example; or
We do not need to establish a brand-new system of laws in order to begin protecting ourselves from political aggression.
Likewise, we do not need to isolate ourselves in order to create parallel institutions and services to replace the crumbling state-dominated ones. Nor do we need to isolate ourselves geographically in order to build real, in-person communities based on a respect for individual liberty.
For many years, alternative-medicine practitioners and others have operated under private membership associations (PMAs), serving members only and not the general public. Their PMA status places these operations outside of the jurisdiction of much of the regulatory state, creating a space within which free-market activity can flourish.(For more information about PMAs, or to establish one yourself, see here and here. Here's ours.)
Meanwhile, creative ways are emerging to assist people in exiting broken systems, forging new ones, and connecting with others who wish to do the same.
HOW MIGHT WE USE THESE TOOLS?
Here's how all of this might come together:
The Jackson family starts a PMA school in Pleasantville. Students (or their parents) must be members of the PMA in order to attend. Over time, as the Jacksons' school proves its worth, families who aren't interested in what government "schools" and more traditional private schools have to offer start to migrate to Pleasantville.
Meanwhile, the Henderson family gets together with the Wu family and create a PMA hospital. It's small, nothing like the oversized and impersonal mega-hospitals in the big cities. But it is capable of treating most emergencies, has a respectable labor and delivery wing, and most of all, treats patients and their families like human beings and respects their right to choose their own medical procedures and treatments. There are no masks required, no demands to show vaccine status or any kind of test result in order to be admitted. And no patient is ever prevented from having family members or others with them at any time.
The combination of the school and the hospital serve as "magnets" to attract both freedom-loving people, and more businesses to serve them. Without having to come together in any formal way, or buy a big piece of land together… or even having ever met each other or interacted in any direct way… a bunch of people with similar values have created a community for themselves.
Someone else starts up a franchise operation of Dale Brown’s Threat Management private security business, maybe in an area that was experiencing crime problems – and the drop in crime attracts even more families and businesses to the area.
A geographic community has now been created - not by any explicit plan, not by a bunch of people getting together and deciding to live by the same rules, but simply by people who value liberty taking advantage of already existing rules and structures to create solutions, and naturally gravitating towards others who do the same.
Alongside this geographic community are various online communities and markets. The “214Calm” (Community Activation and Launch Methodology), for example, provides benefits for keeping economic transactions within the community, but does require that participants do so; And XClave Bux provides an independent currency that is linked in concept to a physical intentional community, but does not require that users also live in that community.
Already, individuals are creating the solutions to government dysfunction that will be the foundation of a free society. This is no longer something we need to plan for, but something that is already happening.
This nation was founded to a large degree by people seeking freedom from persecution. It was founded by people fleeing from worlds that did not tolerate their way of life or their values, by people who chose to come to a new land and start anew, building communities based on their own values.
But what do we do when we've run out of physical frontiers? When the people and institutions that would control every aspect of everyone else's lives can reach all around the globe and demand compliance with their will?
What we do is we fight back from where we are. The solutions are not as complicated as many of us think they are. We do not need one all-encompassing answer, but a decentralized assortment of tools from which each of us can choose, in order to create the new worlds we desire.
We already have those tools. It’s happening now. And we’re already here.
Bretigne Shaffer is host of the podcast "What Then Must We Do", and author of Annabel Pickering and the Sky Pirates, and Urban Yogini: A Superhero Who Can't Use Violence. She recently created Freogan Fellowship Learning (part of a private membership association) to provide a powerful educational and cultural antidote to government schooling. She blogs at Bretigne.com.