"People have often been willing to give up personal identity and join into a collective. Historically, that propensity has usually been very bad news. Collectives tend to be mean, to designate official enemies, to be violent, and to discourage creative, rigorous thought. Fascists, communists, religious cults, criminal 'families' — there has been no end to the varieties of human collectives, but it seems to me that these examples have quite a lot in common. I wonder if some aspect of human nature evolved in the context of competing packs. We might be genetically wired to be vulnerable to the lure of the mob." ~ Jaron Lanier
So Ali, If You're So Smart, Where the Hell Is Your Enclave Already?
Every time it seems that someone wants to rip on me hard, they throw that question at me. As soon as these words are spoken or shouted, the taunter's face takes on an expression of sadistic glee mixed with triumph.
So I have decided to explain this issue directly and publicly and so be rid of it as I did with that other nagging question1 that was put to me ad nauseum. And explanation is my intended meaning. I do not mean excuses, alibis, or any of their synonyms.
A deliberate community is formed when a group of people decides to live among each other in a specific geographic area. A decision to do so is made voluntarily and with conscious intent.
Whether one calls a deliberate community an enclave, commune, colony, affinity group, barrio, ghetto, ethnic concentration, extended family, or any other common or academic name, it does not change what it is.
When I write about enclaves, people often contact me wanting to know how to 'join up.' This has happened frequently over the past three years. The problems come later when we meet up.
People misunderstand what my purpose is. I am not planning on setting up a migration to Costa Rica, or an island based sea colony, an undersea colony, a Sealand-type offshore community, or a moon colony, or anything else quite so exotic. Those things, while maybe being technically feasible, would require a huge amount of capital spending, skill training, and a commitment to a an extreme sort of lifestyle. So for those reasons alone, I think those listed above are practically impossible and unlikely to succeed.
Here is what I believe is possible and can work: A group of 100 people, singles, couples, and family units, could gather together to populate a selected area or region, preferably one that is unpopulated, or sparsely so.
These settlers would have to have capital, marketable skills, good health, and enough commitment to stay the course to build the kind of community and lifestyle that they desire to have. I see those as the four core necessities for the concept of enclavism to succeed. Without those four conditions being met, an enclave definitely won't work, as numerous examples throughout both modern and ancient history have shown.
The problem stems from those conditions as well. Consider Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. In Atlas Shrugged, you have a secret and well-hidden Gulch populated by Rand 's ubermensch community of brilliant, wealthy, and committed individuals who have removed themselves from the tyrannical and theft-and-violence-based collectivist dystopia that the world for them has become. John Galt, her main protagonist, has developed a nearly free form of electrical energy generation, and helped another brainiac member of their band devise a working 'cloaking field' that hides Galt's Gulch from view or discovery.
Galt's Gulch is the very embodiment of a successful deliberate community. But is it a realistic or achievable model to base a plan on? I would have to say no, it is not.
In real life, people like John Galt, Francisco d'Anconia, Dagny Taggart, Ragnar Danneskj'ld, and the rest are not especially interested in dropping out of society to form a secret enclave. Instead, they are interested in living their very accomplished and successful lives. That is reality as opposed to a novel's plot.
After I quit my last employment situation in 2002, I had to scrape together every penny I had saved or could borrow to open my business. Then I had to work 12-16 hour days just to break even. I did this because I just couldn't stand working as a wage slave who was making other people rich. Now when I work hard, the benefits of it go to me. In the past three years, my situation has steadily improved. In another year or so, I'll be making the same income as when I sold agricultural chemicals. After a few more years, I'll make more, and hopefully a lot more. The point is that things are looking up for me. I have made a life and a livelihood for myself that satisfies me.
So why then should I have any further interest in giving up what I have and what I could likely get just to 'live free'? What I have learned from my review of history on this matter is that it is usually the malcontents, cranks, misanthropes, crooks, oddballs and other misfits who strike out for new territories.
Some people have no choice but to start over in a new place, such as refugees or the persecuted. The Pilgrims, Quakers, and others came to America to escape persecution for their religious beliefs in England . The African slaves came to America because they had no choice in the matter.
What makes it hard for me to want to pack up and move on to something new, which may or may not succeed but definitely will be hard, time-consuming work, is that my life is steadily improving. The motivator for me to consider enclaving is the rapid downward direction of societal decay that America is on as well as the racial, ethnic, and religious tensions that are caused by it.
So the choice I am faced with is, should I do it so my family and myself can live free, safe, and secure, or just dig in and try to ride out Leviathan's collapse? This is not an easy choice to make. John Galt and the rest of the Randian ubermensch didn't have families to raise and provide for, but I do.
People contemplating making such a commitment have quite a struggle making it. One need only look at how the Free State Project has bogged down and now struggles to maintain its momentum, and all they ask is for you to move to New Hampshire , and nothing more.
Many of the people that approach me to include them in my plans are often unsettled, insecure, very needy, and are in search of a messiah to lead them to freedom and utopia. The ones with money, skills, and ability don't see the need for a separation from this society because they are usually succeeding in it. The dreamers, the unfocused, and the uncertain are the ones who are the most willing and eager to try something new or start over. But are they enough to bet my future on as well as theirs?
So please forgive me, and grant me your patience, understanding, and forbearance on this matter. I am fully and even painfully aware of how short life is, and the necessary ramifications that fact implies. If you can't or won't, then you should consider forming your own enclave, or joining a group already out there. But you can't and shouldn't blame me for not leading you to freedom, Nirvana, utopia, or whatever else you seek. Remember what Brian said in that wonderful movie The Life of Brian:
'You don't need to follow me. You don't need to follow anybody! You've got to think for yourselves. You're all individuals!'
I am just a guy.