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SOVEREIGN MAN

Community — and 12 People Siding With Government to Ruin a Man’s Life

March 28, 2011
Phoenix, Arizona, USA

I had a really great weekend. Ernest Hancock, the of the libertarian radio show ‘Declare your Independence’ invited me to his 50th birthday party at his home in Phoenix after our interview on Friday; I happily accepted and hopped a flight.

I’ve met few people in my life who love freedom as much as Ernie does, and the people in his circle definitely fall in the pro-liberty camp.

I remember attending the Libertarian National Convention in 2004 in Atlanta, Georgia. I met Aaron Russo (who died just one year later), the filmmaker who produced ‘America: Freedom to Fascism’ and Michael Badnarik, who eventually secured the party’s nomination that year.

What struck me about the 2004 convention was that the attendees, while devout Constitutionalists and hardcore advocates for liberty, were mostly dreamers who were happy to simply complain about the rise of big government… but never take any action. It seemed like the entire thing was just an intellectual exercise, nothing more.

Conversely, I met some really fascinating people at Ernie’s party who understand that their freedoms and currency have been steadily eroded by the government, and they’re taking steps to reduce the risks.

Ernie himself has been raising livestock and cultivating a small garden; he already has his own water supply, and he has plans to install solar paneling soon.

These actions will increase his self-sufficiency and reduce his overall dependence on major systems (food, energy, water) which are controlled by a small, elite group of companies and heavily influenced by the government.

To a lot of people, it sounds crazy. “Grow your own vegetables?!?! You must be nuts!”

Sure, it might seem farfetched in western suburbia, but personal, small-scale agricultural production is still the norm in much of the world, from China to South America to Central Europe. One day (probably soon) these ideas will become the norm once again in the west.

I intend on taking the concept much further; I’ve written extensively, both in this forum and to Sovereign Man: Confidential members, about burgeoning plans to design a resilient community overseas.

This is a place that is capable of generating its own food, water, security, energy, and economic activity… and hence withstand major shocks to the system.

The best part about it is that, while casting a wide net, the community will attract people who share common values. It’s a heavy burden to go through life alone, especially in the Age of Turmoil. Developing strong relationships with people of similar mind is tremendously important.

On that note, I want to tell you about the biggest letdown of my weekend. I read an article in the New York Times about a man named Charlie Engle, 48, who was recently convicted, sentenced, and incarcerated in a federal prison for committing mortgage fraud– as a borrower!

The IRS moved heaven and earth to find something, anything, to put this guy in jail. They succeeded. The government’s star witness, a shady mortgage broker who himself had been convicted of fraud, asserted that Mr. Engle provided false information and overstated his income on a ‘stated income’ liar loan application. Pot. Kettle.

The jury didn’t buy it and acquitted Mr. Engle on the charge of providing false information. Yet somehow, they still managed to find him guilty for mortgage fraud (which is based on providing false information!)

The doublethink is unparalleled… and exceptionally unfortunate. It’s shocking to me how 12 Americans could side with the government and ruin this man’s life, and I think it’s a sign of things to come.

This is one of the biggest reasons why I think it’s important to build strong relationships– there is an overwhelming mass of people who are rapidly becoming a tremendous danger to freedom, happily towing the line and supporting Big Brother all the way in exchange for false promises of hope and prosperity.

That’s why, in the resilient community, the ‘community’ part (focus on building relationships) is just as critical as the ‘resilient’ part (focus on self-sufficiency and withstanding system shocks).

I’ve been talking over my plans and getting feedback this weekend with several friends of mine who are influential Atlas 400 members. More to follow soon.

About the author: Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, permanent traveler, free man, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter and crash course is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://justen.us Justen Robertson

    Growing your own vegetables in a suburban environment is actually not as far fetched as common wisdom would have you believe. Using square foot gardening and/or biointensive techniques you can grow enough to supply all the fresh produce needs to a single adult in less than 100 square feet of space. You may even be able to raise chickens, goats, ducks and sheep depending on local laws and house nazi (HOA) regulations. There are several examples of people providing all the food needs for 4 or more people on 1/10th of an acre (roughly the combined size of an average suburban front & back yard).

    The upfront investment can be costly – it’s about $5/square foot and a couple weekends worth of work to do it “right” based on my experience – but once you’ve got it set up it becomes a self-sustaining source of food which will only cost you a couple hours of your time to maintain every week. For a family of 3 based on our produce expenses (as vegetarians / healthy eaters) this will pay for itself in 2-3 years. That’s not accounting for the dividends it pays in health and general well-being, of course.

    If you’re vegetarian and in a good climate you may be able grow 100% of your food at home in suburbia. Even in a poor climate you may be able to cover 30-40% of your yearly needs with a little more maintenance. Whether or not you’re worried about economic collapse, this makes good sense. If you’re in or above an upper middle class income bracket, it may even make financial sense to pay your landscaping service to maintain it for you if it doesn’t seem worth your time (or better yet, look for volunteers to do it for you in exchange for experience or some of the produce).

  • Anon Cowherd

    Sometimes you say we’ll be alright if we “diversify our sovereign risk”, whatever that means, and now you’re implying we should become farmers.

    Which one is it? I’d really like to know.

    But you know, if the shit really hits the fan enough for these farms and communities to matter, even if yours has water, electricity, food – everything you need for as long as necessary, all it takes is _one_ outsider to find your community.

    If the situation is “Mad Max” outside of your little safe haven, the outsider will just bring some other people with him, and they’ll do whatever they want with you and your resources.

    Just like that Argentinian who survived the 2001 crash there said, you won’t be sitting on your porch with your rifle, picking off attackers as they run towards you from far away in their bright-coloured clothes. They’ll come silently in the night, and they’ll get you (or others will).

    Now for you and all the other rich people reading your posts, luckily none of _this_ matters either. You’ll be safely tucked away in your heavily guarded rich-people-enclaves, where you’ll have everything you need. Or you’ll be transported to safety across the ocean, if needed.

    I’m interested in somehow spreading out my meager wealth, to “protect” myself a little.

    But I’d like to avoid having to become a farmer, because it would mean going through a huge amount of trouble and putting my whole life on hold for several years, and because all that trouble might ultimately be for nothing, if the world doesn’t go Mad Max after all.

    On a related note, I recently saw Chris Martenson suggest people on the West Coast of the good old US-of-A should buy iodine tablets because of Fukushima. That made me want to disregard everything he says.

    Well, what do you think?

  • index1000

    I must admit to complete amazement at the story of Mr Engle’s treatment at the hands of the US Government. With people like that IRS agent Americans must sleep well at night.

  • http://www.mynotetakingnerd.com/blog Lewis LaLanne – NoteTakingNerd

    If “The Man” wants you down and you aren’t prepared to defend yourself against him, you’re going down, innocent or not.

    That’s why guys like you and Ernie are an asset because you shine the light of awareness on the issues most sleep on and show us how to avoid them.

    Thanks for sharing what you do here Simon!

  • Iamthecountry

    I for one would like to express interest in intentional community. It isn’t just for hippies anymore. It is for people that recognize that food, water, and energy security are important. In the end, I agree that it is one’s community relationships that is of the most value.

    • GeorgeG

      I agree with you. I have been studying the intentional community movement for over 15 years and it is no longer about ‘escaping’. It is about consciously creating the world we want to live in. Or, as I like to call it: ‘culture design.’

      In this instance I am completely fascinated by the fact that the idea of a Resilient Community, is basically the same solution as that of the left. Yet for what is perceived as seemingly completely different reasons: one wants LIBERTY first, while the other wants COMMUNITY first.

  • Abacktoourrootsamerican

    I am a big supporter of the “Simon Black Ideals” and I believe that part of those ideas are the acceptance of responsibility for one’s actions. Isn’t part of the problem of the collapsing real estate market because borrowers bought properties that their income could not support and now they can’t pay for them? If Mr Eagle actually did (and I don’t know whether it was proven that he actually did) overstate his income in order to obtain the loan, shouldn’t he be responsible for that? I understand that the lenders probably did worse things and also wanted to ignore income, but 2 wrongs don’t make a right. I live in Singapore where you are always (no excuses) responsible for your decisions and actions. I think that you, Simon, promote responsibility, so we either believe in it or not, not just when it suits our agenda.

    As for the backyard gardens and international community, I couldn’t be more of a supporter of such initiatives.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/JSYOT7FEMLVPOPTCSP7CQLBMIE __A_YAHOO_USER__

      Overstating income on a application is not deserving of prison. Only people who did something violent should be in prison. If the loan company wants to sue him, fine – that’s a civil matter not a criminal matter.

  • austin marshall

    what about hospital and good doctors for you so called resilient community ? nothing without them

  • Seanolearyoz

    Okay, the political agenda of “sovereign man” is now clear. Libertarianism, as Rand Paul illustrates, is nothing but the Austrian school of fascist economics on steroids. Sovereign man’s agenda is not about sovereignty at all, but about Mussollini and Schachtian extremism.

  • Seanolearyoz

    Abacktoourrootsamerican: The Simon Black Ideals are to have no ideas or morals. Which is precisely what libertarianism is about.

  • Never44

    “It’s shocking to me how 12 Americans could side with the government and ruin this man’s life”
    … or how they would ruin Bernard Madoff’s life since all he did was overstate his investments returns, only that he overstated them a bit more than the mortgage application liars.

  • MV

    Why do you think people overstated their income to get a mortgage? it’s because the system allows them too. The mortgage officers are even the ones looking for banks who would not even look if the applicant is qualified to have a loan. It’s simple arithmetic. The whole system is broken! In layman’s term it’s like the government built a road system where 20 miles ahead there’s a detour but no sign informing the driver what lies ahead right after the detour. This could potentially lead the car to a hidden cliff if the driver did not make a sharp left. Now whoever built that road knew all along of this potential risk but didn’t feel responsible for it because his job is only to build the road according to the blueprint. And besides, as agreed he’ll be collecting fees everytime someone is using that road. So why would he raise red flag on his bread and butter? He’s making a lot of money from the deal. It should be the governments responsibility that this road is safe for the public but it’s too lazy and complacent to even take a closer look. The attitude it took is oh what the heck nobody is complaining so that road must be ok so why bother to check. It took the reactive role instead of being proactive until its too late. But the caveat is whoever falls off the cliff should be put in prison because the premise is he must be over speeding that’s why he fell off the cliff! So for those who cannot grasp who really is culpable in this real estate mess, blame it on the driver who didn’t anticipate the danger ahead and put him to jail for overspeeding.

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