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Our job, part II-a: What’s hard, what’s easy?

As I contemplated getting down to brass tacks on this topic of creating alternative systems to route around the corrupted, despotic, or just plain broken ones of oligarchy, I quailed.

Such huge needs. Such a small blogger.

Even with the savvy of the blog Commentariat at my back, merely writing about this, let alone doing anything about it in the real world is a colossal task.

At first my thought was, “Shall I write first about the hardest systems to create or the easiest?” That is, do I plunge straight into the rock-and-hard place of how to route around the existing medical or judicial systems or do I cop out and cheer you good readers on by opening with a look at alt-systems that are already gloriously in process, like homeschooling and unschooling?

I got stuck there for a while. Like most of the week.

Then it occurred to me that there’s no such breakdown as hard and easy. Every existing system, no matter how formidable, has its vulnerabilities, its escape routes, its windows of opportunity for challenge. Every alt-system, no matter how easy or difficult to create, has its own opportunities and risks. Some alt-systems are relatively easy to create at small scale (everything is relative here), but darned near impossible at larger scales. Some existing success stories, like the aforementioned home- and unschooling, remain vulnerable by virtue of their very achievements.

I ended up breaking the problem down like this:

(Graphic courtesy of helpful reader JB!)

It’s still an approximation, at best. But it helps clear the brain. I should also not that all the items listed in the upper right category (“infrastructure”) are in a class by themselves, being (again relatively) easy to create on a small scale and darned near impossible to create on a large scale without colossal organization and budgets.

To be sure, nothing here is actually easy.

In the “easiest” category above, for instance, we have homeschooling, where families fought (and at least one individual died) before winning back the fundamental right to educate their own children. And heaven knows that the actual task of providing good, useful education for kids is no picnic. I also call alternate schooling low-risk, and at the moment it truly is. But the recent enormous COVID and post-COVID upswing in home- and private schooling is bound to have the totalitarians in government and their union-cartelista friends thinking that those millions of newly escaped students should be dragged back by force into the government system.

Also in the “easiest” category, we have communications – which is the product of decades of brainwork, experimentation, and technological breakthroughs. Again, not easy by any usual definition of the word. But creating alt communications systems for privacy and security is a) a solvable technological problem; b) already being worked on by many, many professionals and volunteers; and c) something that ultimately our tech-capable brethern will create for the rest of us – and when they build it (hopefully) we will come. And that’s only considering modern ecommunications. History has also bequeathed us many non-technical or lower-tech means of communications. Is there risk in routing around our current heavily surveilled communications? Certainly. But not risk on the scale of trying to route around, say, the justice system or the government-insurance-medical establishment.

So as we look at some of the needed alt-sytems (I’m not sure yet how many we’ll actually consider over time), we’ll often do it in terms of both easy and hard aspects, risks and benefits.


Another discovery I made in trying to think these issues out: The best approach to creating new systems is usually evolutionary, not revolutionary.

There are exceptions – times when you really have to re-invent the wheel because TPTB has confiscated all the wheels in your inventory – times when somebody re-invents the wheel, because by golly it turns out there really is a radically different and better alternative.

But for the most part – especially with the systems I’ve labeled both HARD and risky – the way to go is to watch for new cracks in the old systems and take advantage of them. Or in many cases, take advantage as those who rebel against or drop out of the old broken systems lay the groundwork for new systems right before our very eyes.

Too much that comes from ivory towers, bureaucracies, and idealistic bloggers and other fanciful theorizers is pie-in-the-sky and the very sort of maundering nonsense that gets us in trouble when it becomes custom or (heaven forbid) law. (Someone once described the Clinton administration’s policies as “government by late-night dorm discussions at Harvard and Yale.” And OMG how much worse off are we now, when government and corporate policy is set according to purple-unicorn whims, racist rage, personal entitlement, oligarchic interests, truculence, propaganda, and creeping senility.)

Let’s remember always to stick with what’s real, what’s practical, and what — if it’s novel — can be tested on small segments of reality without being imposed arbitrarily on entire planets by fiat.

Give the weary drop-outs and the gutsy rebels their due; they know something about what works – and what doesn’t.

With that in mind, I’d like to spend the rest of the weekend’s writing talking about what’s both easy and advantageous in one of the truly HARD and risky tasks: creating freedom-oriented alternatives to the government-insurance-medical establishment. Starting with opportunities that exist now, in the real world, and moving on to the way developing cracks in that seeming monolith present us with even greater future opportunities.

Because this is getting so incredibly long, I’ll split Saturday and Sunday’s painfully completed opus in two. Today’s blog will be Part II-a of the “Our Job” series, and the rest of my weekend’s work will appear tomorrow as Part II-b of the “Our Job” columns.

Now, I beg your pardon, but I’m exhausted, braindead, and going to bed.


  1. Granny
    Granny September 27, 2021 4:56 am

    Ahhh Claire! Here’s to wishing you some respite. And thank you for writing even while you felt like cr*p! I did a copy/paste of your list so I can think it through one piece at a time and make sense in my responses. In short, I’m a long time reader of James Rawles’ Survivalblog and have over the past, wow, almost 2 decades, endeavored to become “self-sufficient” in the areas of food, water, and security. At the most basic level, those are the things that sustain a body. I finally have enough land to have a working homestead, far removed from any big city.

    Recently, I decided to drop my secondary healthcare coverage for 2 reasons. It has become grossly unaffordable, and during the “pandemic” I received almost zero healthcare while paying insane prices for the privilege, because of the draconian rules around receiving it. It seems to be a scam. I also know that you can pay cash for a doctor and medicine if needed because I’ve done it in the past. I’ve studied “food as medicine” and try to manage my health as holistically as possible. Barring getting hit by a truck, this will work. I have serious health issues that I have learned, over time, to manage.

    Fun fact 1.45 million children (that they know about) were pulled from public schooling this past year. That’s a great start! No one (almost) wants to raise little Marxists who transgender and turn against their parents. I see this as progress.

    Regarding Justice and Legal things, my tact is to “keep my nose clean” and avoid situations where that becomes a problem for me. For instance, my taxes are always prepared by a professional and the IRS always is paid. I avoid the Law by simply avoiding situations where the Law would get involved. Now, should they come for my guns, I’ll shoot in self-defense.

    I’ve made small steps should the world end as we know it. Communications seems to be a big thing to me. The Internet and Cell are two things I rely on because my family is scattered across the country. In the end, I’ll close the farm gate, hunker down, and pray I don’t have an on farm accident that requires emergency services. I’m prepared to meet my Maker in any event.

    Keep writing!! We can solve these puzzles together.

  2. Simon Templar
    Simon Templar September 27, 2021 7:01 am

    “(Someone once described the Clinton administration’s policies as “government by late-night dorm discussions at Harvard and Yale.” And OMG how much worse off are we now, when government and corporate policy is set according to purple-unicorn whims, racist rage, personal entitlement, oligarchic interests, truculence, propaganda, and creeping senility.)”

    I remember that observation about the Clinton administration (although I don’t remember the source, either). Your observations about how things have gone further downhill from there are spot-on! When you say “creeping senility” you may be pulling your punch. Not too long ago I heard someone say that probably at least a third of the Senate is on some sort of medication for various forms of geriatric cognitive decline. Given just what we see almost daily of the public behavior of Senators, it would appear that those medications are minimally effective, at best. It would also appear that quite a few more Senators might want to look into those medications, as well, for what little good they might do.

  3. Getfreight
    Getfreight September 27, 2021 7:25 am

    For financial, we can “hijack” cryptocurrency. Some are designed to be anonymous. Someone who knows more than I could figure out the best ones. From my small understanding reading about it, there are several “types”. Bitcoins has a distinction than some do not. It is limited. There are only so many out there mathematically. Think no inflation like gold. but other downsides. But they can be traded and stored offline from my understanding. Others have other pros/cons.

    A real thought as many are decentralized. I get it is scary as most of us really do not understand it and it really is just 1’s and 0’s. But is our fiat currency much different at this point? Just without the mathematical limitations.

    Throwing crap against the wall to see what sticks here. LOL

  4. Old-Trainer
    Old-Trainer September 27, 2021 7:37 am

    Another part of this is also “local, local, and local” as has been said by many before. To me this is working on ‘things’ in my neighborhood, community, personal circle of friends/family etc. It can be amazing what level of response you can get on a very local basis for many elements of a functional society (direct barter comes to mind).

    Another part of it is ‘in person’ or the concept of “meat space” for doing business or working on solutions to ‘things’ that need attention. The mighty oak from a small acorn thing…

  5. Comrade X
    Comrade X September 27, 2021 7:59 am

    As always Claire makes you think, but isn’t that what a Sage is suppose to do?

    In creating alternative systems there surely is the easy and the hard.

    One thing that I keep thinking about is the who.

    How do we find the who?

    Or if we build it will the who come?

    Methinks people who mind their own business are the best people there are, the problem today mostly is the people who want to mind everyone else’s business are the people in charge.

    This is how I am seeing it that if there is something good created that promotes what good people want then good people will recognize it for what it is and seek it when they see the need.

    IMHO with where this country is going quickly now it seems there will be many good people seeking alternative systems that work.

    So let’s built it and I do believe they will come.

    What Claire is doing is something that needs to be done.

    Thank you.

  6. Scruff
    Scruff September 27, 2021 12:26 pm

    Getfreight, if that works for you so be it. I want something I can hold in my hand that has real value. I realize the dangers of storage for such items but accept that cost/risk.

  7. Joel
    Joel September 27, 2021 2:30 pm

    Too much that comes from ivory towers, bureaucracies, and idealistic bloggers and other fanciful theorizers is pie-in-the-sky and the very sort of maundering nonsense that gets us in trouble when it becomes custom or (heaven forbid) law.

    Let’s remember always to stick with what’s real, what’s practical, and what — if it’s novel — can be tested on small segments of reality without being imposed arbitrarily on entire planets by fiat.

    Indeed – a great deal can be done to foster individually free (well, free-er) lives on a small, practical scale. Inventing nationwide “free” systems that TPTB would rather burn down the earth than allow is probably a great way to make a living if you’ve got a thinktank chair but otherwise not of any value. Value is only found in what actually helps people live more independent of an overarching government, to whatever degree it works.

    Alas even on a tiny local scale, almost any move to free oneself from government-mandated ‘systems’ involves a degree of risk since it’s probably a crime – or will surely be declared such if enough people wise up to it. Claire mentioned the risks and penalties suffered by home-schooling pioneers: Now there was a brave bunch. Therefore the second-biggest obstacle – second only to getting people to give up the paradigm of “we’ve got to convince people to vote the bastards out harder” – is the establishment of dependable trust networks. In any criminal enterprise, all the participants are potentially dangerous to one another. Without justified trust you end up spending all your time looking for snitches.

    But within a trust network (that’s working as it should) a great deal can be done within the dear old “ghosts, moles and activists” framework. Single example: If a person is so outside the system that even opening a bank account isn’t feasible, how does that person deal with checks and plastic? Answer: This is where people who are still inside the system become extremely valuable. Services become commodities. Housewives become bankers and pharmacists.

    An underground economy, largely barter-based, is quite comfortably doable but only on a very small scale. And of course adjustments must be made, sometimes quite wrenching adjustments. I was drinking with a friend the other evening: He does off-grid electrical system installations, and he laughingly imparted stories of one would-be customer after another who failed to understand that while solar power systems can quite affordably be built for a small frugal household, the system needed for a large suburban-style house with a balls-to-the-wall HVAC system, electric kitchen and massive laundry facilities would be so massively expensive it would cost as much as the house.

    I believe, and I have some experience with this, that the shortest and most direct way to a life largely free of imperial entanglements involves a near-total separation from the systems that have been distorted into weapons of enslavement. But that separation involves adjustments that aren’t going to be seen as feasible to most people in this country. “Easy for you to say, I have a family” is a valid objection. It also requires years of work (and a lot of luck) in establishing small trust networks within the local community. And that’s why I find that, although I’m following this discussion with great interest, I really don’t have anything very useful to add to it because it just isn’t scaleable.

  8. Toirdhealbheach Beucail
    Toirdhealbheach Beucail September 27, 2021 3:57 pm

    “Such huge needs. Such a small blogger.”

    You do yourself a dis-service, Miss.

    Your methodology is very sound – after all, we have to start somewhere, correct? And even if the visualization or words are not truly what is meant or intended, as least we have a starting point.

    Perhaps – and it is only a perhaps – it is not that we need a single matrix considering these issues, but a series of matrices and tools and analysis (Project Management mind kicking in). Different visualizations of data created by different tools give different facets to what is seemingly a singular problem.

    The practicality of anything to be done is paramount. Yes, there will be a certain amount of tinkering with any solution or proposed policy – there has to be, every locale will be somewhere different and Your Mileage May Vary – but systems, in order to work and interlink, will need to work at some level no matter where applied: a medium of exchange which is not a government issued currency will likely be different in many locales, but the concept of how it works will need to be the same everywhere in order for it to become widely practiced.

    It also removes an argument from semi-detractors – those that are potentially interested but just as likely to claim any such change is “unworkable”. Demonstrating something that works deprives people of the easy answer of just writing it off and either forces them to think or reveals them as being either truly disinterested in a different future or truly lazy in thought.

    I will be super interested in the Medical Establishment, as it is such a monster and so far as I know, almost completely dominated by governments everywhere.

    As always, thank you so much for taking the time to do this important work.

  9. JB
    JB September 27, 2021 8:00 pm

    A start to medical is with the direct model of the Oklahoma Surgery Center – no middlemen.
    Restore the doctor – patient relationship…

  10. Granny
    Granny September 28, 2021 12:00 pm

    My hope is that doctors who wish to opt out of the system, would. Is it still legal to own a private practice that is, well, private? How about a private pharmacy? There’s so much red tape now, it’s impossible to practice medicine without government interference – it seems.

    I pray, Lord willing, that I don’t have to seek medical care, at all.

  11. John Wilder
    John Wilder September 28, 2021 9:05 pm

    I like where this is going . . .

  12. Antibubba
    Antibubba September 29, 2021 9:53 pm

    I’m not claiming any special insight, but it seems to me that communications would be the easiest aspect in which to live free. Encrypted communications, VPNs, secure phones, and the like already exist, so nothing new has to be invented. What does need to be done is to have the will to give up the convenience of easy, effortless systems and establish the habits that make alternatives less difficult to those who practice them. Because, no mistake, Claire, the biggest weakness in these systems isn’t the technology, or the secret backdoors or 3 letter agencies. It’s US, and the temptation to use the easiest method. The path of least resistance runs downhill, right?

    The best analogy I can think of this late is amateur radio. To an outsider it is intimidating and arcane and unwieldy. For nearly any endeavor today outside of natural disaster, almost any other way of communicating is easier and cheaper. Yet almost everything one can do with mainstream comm technologies can be done via amateur radio. It just isn’t easy, and if it’s one thing that most people like, it is easy. Gardening is another example. I have no trouble getting fresh produce, day or night. Why grow my own?

    So maybe we need to define terms. The opposite of easy, in our society, isn’t “difficult”. The opposite of easy is “deliberate”. Or “conscious”.

    —That’s all I can come up with tonight.

  13. Granny
    Granny October 3, 2021 6:22 am

    Nice post. My only comment in reply is that “encrypted communications” is not necessarily a guarantee. Congress has subpoenaed 200,000 protonmail accounts – I think this is an offshoot of the fake investigation into the fake insurrection at the capital. It’s purely for reasons of persecution. We’ll see how far they get since protonmail is hosted in Switzerland…

  14. Antibubba
    Antibubba October 9, 2021 11:58 pm

    Not all hiding needs to be done through encryption; being small and spread out works too.

    I wonder if a distributed email or forum setup is possible, like BitTorrent was (P2P). The amounts of data would be minuscule compared to games or movies, and if no single person has the data, a subpoena is impossible. It would be slow as hell. But forums are as old as the old BBSs, and they don’t need to fast.

    You have to admit, “peer-to-peer” has a very libertarian ring to it…

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