Perspectives: Rightful liberty and the right to be left alone

OPINION – Thomas Jefferson defined rightful liberty as, “unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.” But there is something about peaceable individuals seeking liberty that invariably brings out the “Mommy Dearest” tendencies in others.

An example of this phenomenon can be seen in the reactions to a proposed self-sufficient patriot community in Idaho. “The Citadel” is being touted as a liberty-driven community where residents will share a common bond of patriotism, American exceptionalism, self-reliance, and physical preparedness for man-made or natural disasters.

The proposed community is expected to house between 3,500 and 7,000 families who wish to live lives of their own choosing with like-minded citizens.

Promoters of “The Citadel” readily admit that a lifestyle of freedom, preparedness and self-sufficiency will not resonate with everyone. They come right out and state that, “Marxists, Socialists, Liberals and Establishment Republicans will likely find that life in our community is incompatible with their existing ideology and preferred lifestyles.”

The idea behind “The Citadel” is that a liberty-minded people don’t need the ministrations of a nanny state to dictate their every move. This is why its promoters say, “There will be no HOA. There will be no recycling police and no local ordinance enforcers from City Hall.” But rejecting these supposed blessings from the political class carries a degree of risk.

Reasonable people would look at “The Citadel” and, if it weren’t their cup of tea, would simply say, “that’s not for me.” But we no longer have a society of reasonable people who still believe in the Jeffersonian concept of live and let live.

Much of the news coverage of the proposed fortress community has been fair but skeptical. But many of the reader comments reveal a curious mindset of naked hostility.

Here are a few examples: “Nothing like building a self-contained terrorist training camp right here at home. At least they will be easy to keep under surveillance.”

“We need more leper colonies like this (no offense to anyone with that terrible disease).”

“It’s ok, I am sure they will be serving Kool-Aid soon enough.”

Has American society become so acclimated to the institutional paranoia of the all-powerful state that we now view anyone who doesn’t subscribe to it as a threat?

Those who would choose to move to a liberty-driven community do so voluntarily because they see value in it. Persuasion, not force, is the dynamic by which they would conduct their business with one another. Rather than being a burden on society by calling for the support of the collective, they seek to be left unmolested to live their lives and raise their families according to their own wishes. So why are they the ones being accused of narrow, cultish thinking?

It’s possible that part of the antipathy toward “The Citadel” community stems from the fact that firearms ownership is one of the responsibilities expected of its residents. But it’s not the hatred of firearms that offends the controlling nature of its critics; it’s the fact that those firearms are not in government hands.

Writer Stephen Greenhut explains the rationale of this pathological distrust of our fellow citizens: “Without the authorities toting guns, liberals couldn’t force us to do all the things they constantly are forcing us to do. Conservatives don’t want us to resist their plans either, but at least they are more consistent – they want the government to be armed to the teeth, but they are willing to allow the rest of us to be armed also, although to a lesser degree.”

The irresistible desire to control others has become a part of our national consciousness. Like crabs in a bucket, when someone looks like they might make it to freedom, we feel it’s our duty to drag them back into bondage.

For the record, I’ve been tempted many times to separate myself and my family from a society that is clearly in rapid decline morally, economically, and politically. But I’ve come to understand that it’s very difficult to accomplish any lasting good in the world when we close ourselves off from it. It would be even harder to accomplish when you’re building a what others perceive as a prison around yourself.

To those who would seek refuge in a community like the Citadel, I wish you the best and hope you find the liberty you seek there.

And to those who would fault them for pursuing freedom in an increasingly unfree world, I would ask, by what moral authority would you deny them?

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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  • Brad January 17, 2013 at 11:08 am

    YES, go please, all of you. Build a big wall around Alabama, neither will be missed.

  • BJ January 17, 2013 at 11:43 am

    I am a new resident to the area and live in Hurricane. When I moved here I had to search through the city ordinances online just to find out if I had to license my dog. While conducting that search I ran across an ordinance that prohibits my neighbor (he is only the largest offender) down the street from maintaining a literal junkyard on residential property. He has a huge junkyard, covering several lots, yet the Hurricane police are more interested in harassing motorists than enforcing their own city ordinances. If there is no HOA and the city will not protect property values and public safety, then I would rather live in a place where there were no ordinances, because then I would not have this quixotic expectation that they would actually be enforced.

  • Ron January 17, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Anyone taking bets on how long it will be before the residents of “The Citadel” start shooting at each other? Living in a totally “free” and unregulated environment means your neighbors are free to trash their houses and the neighborhood, let their pit bulls run “free,” party all night and all day, and just generally be “free.” If that’s what you want, go for it. I’ll defend your right to live like that, but please, build a wall around it, won’t you? I’ve been there, and it ain’t as “free” as you think it is.

  • Robb Willie January 17, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Good for the Citadel people. It’s unfortunate that people must now go to so much trouble to simply be ‘left alone’. BTW, I moved from Utah to Alaska 4 yrs ago. I just bought 2 acres on a lake. My goal is to be left alone too.

  • tara January 17, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    No one’s angry or bitter about this except the people who don’t like criticism of it. People think it’s ridiculous and/or a scam, but we don’t actually care that a bunch of suckers think the only forms of liberty that matter are being able to carry a gun everywhere and not having to recycle. I do feel badly for the kids, though.

  • Jon January 18, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Very nice article. I guess the only question now is whether it’s irony or tragedy that the comments made so far only serve to prove your point. Liberals are great at projecting their own behavior on others. I can easily see a group of gun-toting leftists (perish the thought!) turning on each other due to the realization that everyone is on an even playing field and can’t be bullied. Animal Farm comes to mind.

  • mark boggs January 18, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    “The irresistible desire to control others has become a part of our national consciousness. Like crabs in a bucket, when someone looks like they might make it to freedom, we feel it’s our duty to drag them back into bondage.”

    Is this the same rationale that you use when addressing your opposition to the equal rights of all citizens to marry? Seems you’ve got a blind spot.

    • Roy J January 18, 2013 at 6:37 pm

      I agree: bigamy and incestual marriages should be the right of ‘all citizens’…oh wait I’m kidding. Maybe you have some blind spots, too?

      • mark boggs January 18, 2013 at 8:16 pm

        If consenting adults want to arrange contracts with each other to guarantee inheritance, medical visitation, etc. why do you care? Why do you get to abridge their liberty?

        Or does your blind spot only cover the things you find offensive. Offense is not harm.

        • Bryan Hyde January 19, 2013 at 6:52 am

          If you’re using the state to force others to accept a legally binding redefinition of marriage, that is failing to live and let live.
          Contract law can address the concerns you’ve listed.
          Getting the state out of the institution of marriage entirely makes more sense than making it the final arbiter of how marriage is defined.
          If an idea is so good that it has to be forced on us, maybe it’s not such a great idea after all. Good ideas take hold when people accept them voluntarily because they see value.

          • mark boggs January 19, 2013 at 9:02 am

            I would have thought stable families would be a highly valued scenario. Or is it just the “yuck” factor that people find offensive. I’m promised by many SSM opponents that the “yuck” has nothing to do with it.

            And I’m all about getting the state out of the marriage business. And contract law is hugely more financially burdensome and still easily challenged by blood relatives.

            “Good ideas take hold when people accept them voluntarily because they see value.”

            So all the laws currently on the books are laws you find acceptable? Because, as you state, these things take hold when people see value. Surely, we wouldn’t have laws passed by lawmakers that right-thinking people would disagree with, would we?

  • zacii January 18, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    I’m a bit skeptical of the Citadel. Not because of the principles that they profess, but because it seems like dubious characters are drawn to these types of communities. On the surface it looks like land grabbers trying to make a buck on the backs of resourceful people.

    If people want to do, I don’t care. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

    Not for me, though.

  • Roy J January 18, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    I searched this Citadel website and am still reading and trying to track down the authors of this project…it is rather irritating that none of the developers mention themselves by name. Also searched the III arms project listed under sources of revenue (to be constructed!!) , also no developers or names of people involved. Found this, however, and it is worthy of noting though I haven’t any conclusions of my own just yet.
    (Re: the Citadel project controversy)
    “The criticism is sparked by the fact that one of the key players linked to the unlikely-sounding venture is three-time convicted felon Christian Allen Kerodin, a Maryland contractor who has apparently used various aliases and whose birth name was Christian Hyman. His wife or partner, Holly Ann Kerodin, has been involved in questionable charity, counseling, publishing and other ventures that have failed, various critics say.
    In the past few days, attacks on the much-ballyhooed Citadel fortress and its planned gun-building plant have come from Alabama Patriot leader and blogger Michael Brian Vanderboegh and survivalist author and so-called “sovereign citizen” James Wesley, Rawles. Rawles (who, like many sovereigns, punctuates his name in a bizarre way) generally is credited with coming up with the idea of building a fortified community in the Pacific Northwest — what he has called the “American Redoubt” — for Christian Patriots.

    Kerodin, public records show, was convicted in 2004 of federal extortion, attempted extortion and possession of an illegal firearm charges. The accusations were filed in Virginia after Kerodin, purporting to be a counter-terrorism expert, attempted to coerce shopping mall owners in the Washington, D.C., area to hire him to develop better security. He served 30 months in federal prison and now can’t legally possess firearms as a felon.”


    “Tuesday, November 16, 2010Three-letter frog in Kerodin’s pocket? Anecdotes of the Kerodin career. A convicted extortionist. Turns out his real name is Christian Hyman.
    Actually, calling this guy a “toadsuck” is an insult to honest folks in Arkansas.

    These links were provided by some helpful readers. Obviously my concern about Kerodin is merely a manifestation of my “over-inflated ego.” (See comments defending Kerodin in previous post).

    When Helpfulness Becomes Extortion.

    “Across the business spectrum, the vast majority of companies are taking a far too lax posture on this security issue,” says consultant Christian Kerodin. “You need someone to identify the weak spots for the landlord and offer him some deterrent without breaking his budget.”

    But Mr. Kerodin allegedly took an additional step toward dealing with the terrorist threat. In the process, he was arrested as a criminal.

    Kerodin wrote top mall CEOs in the Washington, D.C., area and offered his services as a consultant. Allegedly included in the deal was exclusion of their shopping centers from mention in an upcoming blistering report he said he was preparing on mall security.

    Not easily intimidated, the mall CEOs pooled their resources to investigate Mr. Kerodin, whose real name is Christian Hyman. After discovering that his experience as a security consultant was questionable, they called in the Department of Homeland Security. A Secret Service officer posing as a developer met with Hyman, who was arrested and charged with extortion after allegedly asking for a $120,000 payoff to “go away.”

    Man admits to obstructing audit
    In the extortion case, Christian Kerodin, 36, of Alexandria pleaded guilty to telling several local companies that he would showcase them in a report criticizing D.C.-area mall security unless they hired him to do security assessments. He faces up to 30 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. ”

    Like I said, I haven’t finished tracking this down yet, but I thougth some of the rest of you might be interested. Woot!

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