The Liberty Village Phenomenon
The concept of Liberty Villages is a phenomenon which is gaining a national following. People are beginning to realize the urban lifestyle is not necessarily the way they had envisioned living. Land is at a premium. Urban land use regulations are becoming increasingly oppressive. More and more pressure is being put on developers to make “cookie cutter” neighborhoods where every house and plot of land look identical. Zoning regulations repress the individuality of each homeowner forcing them to conform to certain aesthetics which, though orderly, may not necessarily be appealing.
Ideologues from everywhere seem to want to force all people to conform to a certain set of moral values. Values which may not agree with some people or may be in direct conflict with their Faith. An increasingly deteriorating education system no longer stresses academic excellence, but rather, mediocrity. No longer is it important that a student excel in anything. Gifted students are no longer rewarded for their talents. Now, they are required to “dumb down” so as not to hurt the feelings of those less gifted. More and more people are turning to virtual schools to avoid this outrageous conduct.
Political strife throughout America is approaching a fever pitch. Never before has our nation been so polarized as it is now. Federal, State and Local governments are using propaganda and fear to pass laws “for our own safety” which are thinly veiled attempts to curtail Freedom. If you think that is not so, ask yourself this question: how many times in the last 10 years have your State and local politicians used your fear of prisoners and fear for your child’s safety to get laws passed? Recently the United States Congress passed a law that would allow the President to issue an arrest decree (not a warrant) for any American citizen, have them detained without having been Mirandized, detain them indefinitely without legal access and convict them without trial. This was, not shockingly, signed into law by President Obama. The reason behind this law: to protect us from terrorism.
Hillary Clinton has made it very clear that she is very much opposed to the First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution. She does not hide the fact that she is working back door channels to force these Amendments to become obsolete. She has publicly declared these things. She has worked tirelessly to achieve her goals and is close to achieving them.
Energy costs are through the roof. The outrageous price of gasoline is forcing people to cut back on luxury items and vacations. Thermostats are turned down to as low as 60 degrees during the winter months in an effort to cut back on home heating costs. This article is being written just two days before Christmas. Traveling through town makes it quite apparent that people are cutting back on their electric decorations. Lights that used to stay on from dusk to dawn 20 years ago are now turned off by nine o’clock. Fewer and fewer houses are even bothering to put up lights.
Food prices, in spite of what the government propaganda tells us, have doubled and tripled over the past five years. Unemployment (the REAL unemployment) is close to 20%. People are spending less money on discretionary items and more on emergency stores and supplies. Crime has become an increasingly troublesome problem in every major metropolitan area in the country. The value of the dollar decreases, seemingly exponentially, every day.
In short, things in America are not looking very good. Our economy is dying, our politicians are openly corrupt, the division between the wealthy and the poor is increasing daily and the social fabric of our citizenry is quickly unraveling.
Liberty Villages provide a calming and relaxing alternative to urban living. Springing up in remote locations and even suburban areas all over the country, they are offering people a means to remove themselves from the oppression and repression of the normal way of living in America. Though Liberty Villages can differ greatly in their approach to living, they tend to have a few things in common.
The main concept of Liberty Villages is Freedom. People who buy into these villages are most often given a plot of land, typically between one-half acre to one acre, and are rewarded with the freedom to build whatever type of structure they desire. If one wishes to build a replica of the Starship Enterprise, they are free to do so without fear of reprisal from some overzealous homeowner association member or even zoning restrictions.
Most Liberty Villages also have environmentally responsible living in common. It is not uncommon to see Earthships, geodesic domes and other eco-friendly structures built on the members’ land plots. Additionally, power is generally created via renewable sources such as wind turbines, solar, geo-thermal and other means. Water is frequently collected via means other than wells, wherever practical. Sustainability and recycling are the norm, rather than something your crazy, hippie neighbors do.
Nor is it uncommon to see an eclectic variety of pets within the village. Chickens, rabbits, goats, pigs and such are more commonly found than cats and dogs. This variety of pets allows the community to maintain a higher level of sustainability than will typically be found in most urban areas.
Lest you think most of the population of these communities is comprised of hippies, communists or gun-toting, anti-government radicals, the typical village is comprised of a variety of skilled and professional artisans. Electricians, doctors, veterinarians, carpenters, architects, etc., all make up the citizenry of the village. Often, these members are hand selected for their skills in order to ensure the village can operate smoothly.
Micro economies are very quick to set up within the villages. In most cases, barter is the currency of choice. If Fred has a chicken and Tom needs one to feed his family, Tom may trade a gallon of goat’s milk for the chicken or agree to perform some sort of labor for Fred. However they work it out, it is always a mutually beneficial arrangement. Regular currency, like the USD is seldom used within these communities and reserved for purchases outside the community as one will generally not find a Walmart within the village.
Since these communities are usually very small, typically between 20 and 50 people, they often will set their community up as a co-operative. Food grown or items produced by the community are sold outside of the community for profit. Each member even shares in those profits, usually quarterly, semi-annually or annually.
Interest in this concept is gaining in recent years largely because of the endorsement by Senator Ron Paul. His call to citizens of the U.S. to form these types of villages and get back to the core values that made America great has spurred many into action to do just that. Home school advocates, environmentally conscious persons, those with a longing for a simpler, slower life and those who just wish to live a lifestyle free from the overbearing repression being forced upon them by their respective governing bodies are investing in these communities building a better life for themselves and their children.
If you are considering such a lifestyle change, you need to ask yourself a few basic questions.
First: is this something I am going to do for a short time or is it going to be a lifelong investment? Some communities will offer you the option for short term living arrangements, say a year or two and then accept a new investor as a replacement for you once you leave. This is not how most village members approach their community. For most Liberty Villages, this is expected to be a lifetime commitment on your part. This is due to the fact that often the members are hand selected based upon their skills, knowledge base or some other necessary criteria which ensures the success of the village. People who are involved in the process merely for the experience of it or just to get away from “normal” life for a year or two, create a void in the community after they leave. If you have a skill necessary to the survival of the community, that skill now has to be taken on by other members of the community until such time as a replacement can be found. More often than not, the interviewing process for an individual or family takes months in order to ensure that undesirable people are prevented from entering the community. Most of these communities don’t want radicals, extremists, people who wear tin foil hats and the likes in their village. To ensure the right fit, they engage in a months long interviewing process to weed out the “wacko’s” so to speak.
Second: is the village to which I am applying for membership one that shares my ideals, values and beliefs? Some villages are very selective in their membership. For example, they may only accept people of the same religious indoctrination as they. Some may hold more conservative moral values. Some may be more liberal and others more moderate. You have to involve yourself in the interview process vigorously to ensure that THEY are the right fit for you. If you are an ultra conservative person and you end up buying into an ultra liberal village, you are going to find yourself being very unhappy. If you are a Baptist and end up buying into Catholic dominated village, you are going to find yourself being very unhappy. So do yourself a favor and make sure you are very well informed about who is intended to make up the citizenry of the community and make sure you can live with them.
Third: does the concept of this village really make sense to me? Some people who are forming these villages are promising you pie in the sky dreams. Things are going to be rosy and easy and you are going to spend your days by a pool sipping mint juleps and being waited upon by gorgeous members of the opposite sex who are scantily clad. If this happens to you, run! These people are not interested in your values and beliefs. They are only interested in the status of your checkbook and your gold card. The fact is, a legitimate village opportunity will not promise you anything other than hard work followed by more hard work. Each member of the village is expected to do their share to ensure the success of the village. Whether that means tending the village mercantile, managing the herds, working land, constructing another building or whatever, it is going to be a lot of hard work. Life in these villages will be very much like life in early 1800′s America only with modern conveniences. Every member is essential to the success of the village.
The alternative to this type of village is the suburban village. These are typically not much better than a homeowners association or gated community. They are usually more interested in living a green lifestyle and will require you to build a green dwelling of some sort. They will not have the same village mentality, but rather, the environmentally conscious mentality. That is fine, if that is what you are looking for; and this is a way of life which needs supporting. However, most people looking at a Liberty Village as a way of life are interested in a specific set of core values to which they wish to return.
Fourth: Am I suited to the lifestyle of this village? If you are a person who is used to comfortable living, a sedentary life and a nine to five workday, you probably don’t want to get involved with a community which is just starting out. The work is hard and often from sun up to sun set or later. You may even find yourself sleeping out of doors for a while with a rock as your pillow.
More importantly than your lifestyle choices, is your health. Some of these villages are located very far from any town or city. Medical issues may have to be handled locally until paramedics can arrive. In some cases, this can be more than an hour’s wait. If you may require immediate medical attention for a known condition, you may want to look into a suburban village rather than a more remote one. Which brings up another item to consider: insurance. Many villages will require you to have your own health insurance. This is because most often, the land is privately owned. The landowner does not want to incur the expense of your medical emergencies or the resulting increase of his own insurance. Besides, it is just plain rude and uncivilized to make the landowner pay for your medical situations.
Fifth: Can I afford to do it? Can I afford NOT to do it? This is probably the most crucial set of questions you need to ask yourself. There will be a financial obligation to just about any village to which you wish to belong. This financial obligation may be a one time payment. It may be a down payment followed by monthly payments for a certain period of time. Frequently, the fee is divided into half cash and half some sort of resources the community may need, say, food stores, equipment, supplies, livestock, etc. It is important that you fully understand the financial obligation you will have to either the landowner or the community.
As to whether you can afford NOT to do it, well, that is a question only you can answer. Is your current lifestyle making you happy? Are you finding fulfillment in your life? Will your current lifestyle hinder or help your children? Is your current lifestyle going to work for you as you age, mature and change? These are just a few of the questions you need to discuss with your family as you are considering making this change.
Most people who start the process will not finish it as they realize they aren’t up to the challenge. This is fine. Village life isn’t for everyone. But for those few of you who are willing and able to make the sacrifices and changes necessary to adapt to the lifestyle Liberty Villages offer, it can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for you and your family.
Robert Rowe is currently starting up a Liberty Village in south central Oregon. Using many of the concepts he has outlined in this article, and his unique leadership abilities, he believes this village can and will be a phenomenal success. For more information on his Liberty Village start-up, please visit his Google+ page at: https://plus.google.com/103188194179445086382/posts