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Monday, July 22, 2013

Sovereign Living: Could You Move Off the Grid?

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.

  • Max Borders is author of The Social Singularity. He is also the founder and Executive Director of Social Evolution—a non-profit organization dedicated to liberating humanity through innovation. Max is also co-founder of the Voice & Exit event and former editor at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). Max is a futurist, a theorist, a published author and an entrepreneur.