Four Letters Re: Rourke on Real Estate Development Proposal Ideas

Wanted to comment on your reply to Rourke. I agree with you that independently managed homesteads are superior to the communal style that Rourke describes, but for a different, much simpler reason: human nature. In ANY communal system where fixed resources are shared, some members consume more than others, and the others get jealous. This is the basic reason that communism is untenable. A small group of people (family size) can emphasize frugality and make it stick, because wasting resources really may kill a loved one. The more extended the group becomes, the less well people know each other, the less ‘real’ the threat is to any individual, and the more envious of others any one may become. Rourke’s idea of banding together for common defense is certainly a good one, but unless someone can ensure that all of the participants begin with equal resources and consume anything communal at an equivalent rate, then the seeds for destruction will have been sown. Just to be clear, I am not denigrating human selfishness in any way. I, in fact, defend rational self-interest as the well-spring from which society has emerged. But I also know that while self-interest is in the nature of every man, rationality is not. Keeping the groups small and self-managed, in a voluntary association with others, is the only tenable arrangement for long term survival. – M.W.

I received this earlier this morning: “You might pass this on to the blog from Joel Skousen. Rourke doesn’t have a clue about how ugly the infighting and disagreement can be in among independent-minded and argumentative survivalists–especially those that start out as religious communities. I’ve seen virtually every survival community blow apart or split into various factions over the knotty decisions about shared facilities! Bad idea. JWR is right–keep it all private except for perhaps the water supply.” Great site and blog, – W.

I just saw your letter from Rourke regarding survival communities. What he’s describing is very similar to a concept called “Co-Housing”. [It] combines both private property with commonly-owned (or controlled) property. Good information about the concept and implementation variations available at   Hope this helps! Debra (at The Claire Files)

Mr. Rawles,
The Rivendell community in rural Virginia was set up along similar lines in the buildup to Y2K. The folks there were interested in forming an explicitly Christian, Reformed, home schooling community that would foster group self-sufficiency. Their website ( is still active, but seems to have changed to theological study.  – TFA303