Last week in the comments section, CS posted a good bit on community and the need for it in our uncertain future.
He asked me for a response & I’ve been thinking on it. In fact, I think the subject is going to become the topic of a future article or articles.
Meantime, I’ve touched on it in past blog posts and articles, including this one, which first appeared in the print edition of BHM.
Just one additional observation at the moment. Obviously, community-building is hard for individualists (herding cats and all that). Well, really it’s hard for anybody. The history of the U.S. is littered with “intentional communities” that failed, particularly in the nineteenth century. A lot of them were built around some communal ideal, and they fell apart almost as soon as they formed — or as soon as some strong, inspirational leader died off. We point at them and say that communalism doesn’t work. But based on my own experience, I think that what really doesn’t work is trying to build a community around an ideal. Any ideal. Idealism is for books and ivory towers.
A freedom community (a resilient community, as the thing is called over at Global Guerillas) will be built not on sunshiny ideals, but on real, dirty-gritty need. The need for other people’s skills. For mutual protection. For trade. Whatever.
I don’t entirely agree with John Robb (as quoted in CS’s comment) that we’ll all have to become prey or predators if we don’t build communities. Maybe. In some cases. More often I expect that in rough times we’ll simply discover communities, more than create them, among our existing neighborhoods and networks. Our communities probably won’t be composed of people who share our ideals. Bnd that could be good (idealists can be such air-headedly stubborn cusses), and the communities that develop may be all the stronger because they’re based on something more ultimately useful than a shared philosophy.