Many wonder if voluntarist communities that avoid state entanglements are workable. Critics of anarcho-capitalism ponder whether this idea is a pipe dream and a libertarian utopian fantasy. Voluntarists might try to refute this line of thinking by looking for concrete examples of such communities throughout history or in the present day. Few possibilities are usually mentioned from the present day, but many a podcast or an article has explored this topic citing such places as the Republic of Cospaia, the free cities of medieval Europe, medieval Iceland, the American Old West, and Gaelic Ireland.
There are, however, right here in the U.S., many Conservative Mennonite and Amish communities in our midst that won’t join the military, won’t accept social security, won’t accept Obamacare or Medicare, send back stimulus checks, won’t vote, won’t sit on a jury, won’t sue anybody, won’t run for office, don’t watch TV, won’t put their children in state schools, and don’t use internet connections except for mapping, weather, and email, etc. so that they don’t get affected by the lies perpetrated in the mass media. They want nothing from the state. Their motto could be described simply as “No King but Christ.” They will not worship the principalities and powers of this world or promote their centrally-planned theft schemes or wars or salute the flags of the various regimes.
Parents teach their children to be friendly and hard-working. Their elders will not take payment for their services in the church congregations so as to avoid distortion of the scriptural message for gain and to avoid cults of personality. The ones that live the most like regular Americans are the Conservative Mennonites (as opposed to the Amish). They drive cars, have electricity, have cell phones, use power tools, etc. They aspire to be self-employed entrepreneurs and often run very successful family businesses. I have lived around and associated with this type of people for decades in the Southwest, Midwest, and in Latin America. They are not boobs. They are learned articulate people and know history and can speak about the separation of church and state and can give historical examples of the state co-opting churches / religion and society. Children attend home school or a private church school. Many people in these communities have German and Northern European roots, so they also display a low time preference and a vision towards the future for their families that is typical of traditional peoples from Northern cold climates as Hans Hermann Hoppe has pointed out. They also have large families which helps to perpetuate their anti-state ideas over the generations in these days of waning family size. The viability of these voluntarist communities would probably be appealing to many who are considering homestead living and want to avoid state entanglements. To obtain a directory of these congregations across the U.S., go to this link.
These communities present a strong example of what has come to be known as “opting out.” Opting out doesn’t end state plunder, but it is a means by which individuals or whole communities undermine the authority of the state peacefully and voluntarily. A little bit like a Free State Project, but with no focus on politics. Within these voluntary communities, there are zero public school students, zero military members, zero support for wars, and zero state-run courts. Disputes are handled privately by appealing to other brethren in the Church—not a state court, to wit:
1 Corinthians 6
1. Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? 2. Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3. Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? 4. If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. 5. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? No, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? 6. But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.
There stance on war, is also derived from the Bible:
43. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44. But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
You may think that these friendly people may be vulnerable to tyrants, but surprisingly, they mostly get left alone because the state parasite always seeks philosophical support from the host. These people will never lend their moral support to the state.
A warning: There are many groups that use the word “Mennonite” that don’t abide by these principles and are just as messed up as other modern denominations. The “Conservative Mennonites” associate with and visit other like-minded communities across the country and around the world like themselves for the purpose of marriage, fellowship, philosophical integrity, etc. You might be surprised at how well these communities work with no desire for state involvement.
The majority of Americans use the label “Christian,” but don’t use the tools in the Bible that would remove many state influences from their lives and their communities.