The Missouri Free Suburb Project
Regular readers will recall the debates we have had over the recently repealed "Village Law," which made forming one’s own incorporated town much easier too easy, in my opinion. To give a quick recap, I objected to the method used to pass the law in 2007, as well as the idea that anyone, whether well-intentioned or, more likely, a crackpot, could just go and form their own municipality to do whatever they wanted without regard to the previously existing laws established by the residents of that area. Supporters of the Village Law admitted to the problems with the process while whistling past it, and defended the rights of anyone who feels violated by their government to form a new government, in the proud tradition of prior Americans. I found those arguments to be either unrealistic or anachronistic, to put it mildly. Libertarians have many fine intellectual qualities, but respect for the hard work of democracy is not one of them (with the large exception of the Ron Paul movement).
Which gets me back to the point I was originally trying to make. Some of you may be aware of the Free State Project, in which dedicated Libertarians declared their intention to move en masse to New Hampshire in order to bound their voting power and principles together in one state. This would have been another exception to my above statement, if it had worked. Needless to say, far fewer people have actually followed through on their commitment to make the move to a new state than hoped. According to Wikipedia, 269 Libertarians have followed through on their promise to move to New Hampshire during the past two years, which was probably dwarfed over the same time period by the number of Massachusetts liberals who moved to southern New Hamphire for more standard reasons. Within New Hamphire itself, the Free Town Movement was born, with the idea of making Grafton, N.H., a libertarian paradise. This, too, has not succeeded yet, and was not helped by the involvement of lunatics who advocated legalizing cannibalism, among other things. (Third-party movements always have difficulty with extremism, almost by definition.)
OK, now I am finally at my original point. There is a perfectly legitimate and also viable compromise between the village law, respect for democracy, and libertarian principles. With that, I urge the libertarian community here in Missouri to consider the Missouri Free Suburb Project. (My family will happily remain in University City.) It would be EASY to take advantage of the number of small cities in Missouri, and in particular the smaller suburbs of our larger cities, to establish a voting bloc to create as much of a libertarian community as possible, via pure democracy. To do this, you need not convince tens of thousands of people from across the country to more to another state, you just need to convince 10 people in St. Louis County to move to Champ. Or 100 Ron Paul supporters to move to Mackenzie. In Jackson County, you just need to find 200 libertarians to move to Sibley. This isn’t quitting your job, picking up your entire life, and moving to a new state. This is staying within your own metro area.
Once a voting majority was established within an existing community, you could do a number of things to promote local libertarianism. You could get rid of planning and zoning laws, forbid the use of eminent domain, take the radical step of allowing pickup trucks to park overnight on the street (forbidden in many suburbs), completely privatize every service possible (such as trash collection), and contract with larger governments to provide other services (such as police protection, which probably would not be needed as you would be living in a utopia). If you kept your own police force, the elected officials could instruct the chief to de facto decriminalize certain things like drug possession, although legalization would probably not be valid.
This is really a great idea. All it takes is for one 1950s-style Irish-Catholic libertarian family of 13 to move to Champ (population 12), and you have control. You don’t need to convince yourself that someone in the Ozarks who just wants to build a casino is the next Daniel Boone in order to achieve true freedom. It’s right here for the taking.