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.