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ANYTHING PEACEFUL

Sovereign Living: Could You Move Off the Grid?

JULY 22, 2013 by MAX BORDERS

Meet the Blush family. They represent a growing faction of libertarians that mix the rugged individualism of Spooner with the self-reliance of Thoreau. And they’re making a reality show.

You might think they’re crazy. After all, they’re weaning themselves from the grid in order to opt out of the structures they believe have been corrupted by state control and corporate cronyism. That means giving up plentiful energy, convenient food, and economies of scale.

But is it crazy?

I sure couldn’t do it—not unless I had to. I’m totally dependent, as most of us are, on regulated monopolies to feed our appliances and big boxes stocked full of cheap goods. I like economies of scale. I also like manufactured pharmaceuticals, wireless gadgets, and air travel—despite the fact that all of these industries are corrupted to varying degrees.

But people who engage in sovereign living are often happy people. They have tight communities and are not worried for a second about brownouts or the crash of the dollar. If the zombie apocalypse comes, they’ve already practiced being truly free. They are more resilient. And most importantly, they are participating in the construction of the counter-economy.

Sovereign living is another form of agorism, which is a specific class of libertarianism where one tries—where possible—to engage in any form of peaceful behavior outside the auspices of the State. Sometimes this takes the form of simply opting out. Techno-agorists bring you Leviathan hacks like Bitcoin and Tor. Agorists engaged in sovereign living are taking “go local” to a whole new level. And both are finding elbow room in the interstices, workarounds in the rules.

When it comes right down to it, human action is about free choices. And even if the life someone chooses seems harder to us, there may come a time when the folks who've learned to live this way have a thing or two to teach us.

If nothing else, "Sovereign Living" is good TV. A whole season is being developed as you read this.

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ABOUT

MAX BORDERS

Max Borders is the editor of The Freeman and director of content for FEE. He is also cofounder of the event experience Voice & Exit and author of Superwealth: Why we should stop worrying about the gap between rich and poor.

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Around the world, people are struggling to throw off authoritarianism, with deeply mixed results. From Egypt to Venezuela, determined people build networks to overthrow their regimes, but as yet we have not learned to live without Leviathan. In this issue, Michael Malice and Gary Dudney discuss their glimpses inside totalitarian regimes, while Sarah Skwire and Michael Nolan look at how totalitarian regimes grind down the individual--and how individuals fight back. Plus, Jeffrey Tucker identifies a strain in libertarianism that, left unchecked, could reduce even our vibrant movement to something that is analogous to the grim aesthetic of architectural brutalism. The struggle for our lives and freedom is a struggle for beauty; it begins inside each of us.
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