L. Neil Smith's
Number 328, July 17, 2005

"Because the Government is evil and stupid..."

A New Libertarian Paradigm For Making Montana Free
A Libertarian Proposal: Real liberty for you and your grandchildren
by Ben F. Irvin and Greg Garber

Exclusive to TLE

"The problems of this world are only truly solved in two ways: by extinction or duplication."
—Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. "The Dummy," I, Etcetera (1978).

Thesis: After over thirty years of failing to start a revolution through persuasion, it is time for libertarians to reproduce themselves the way successful cultures and groups do: by generating a large number of children, either naturally, by adoption or ideally, by both.

History affords many unfortunate examples of groups that failed to propagate their cultural beliefs and adapt their behaviors to changing circumstances and environments. Some of these groups were absorbed or otherwise eclipsed by larger groups that came to dominate them, while others suffered complete cultural extinction. A prime example of the latter is the Shoshonian Sheep-Eaters of the American West, who, in the 1700s, numbered in the thousands and lived the good life. Their traditional lifestyle limited family size to only one or two children, putting them at a distinct disadvantage when tens of thousands of aggressive foreign tribes moved in on them in the early 1800s and drastically changed their environment. The Sheep-Eaters failed to adapt to the new situation. They changed neither their reproduction rate, nor their way of life. They also failed to recruit new members from other tribes. The new people, unwilling to accommodate or even tolerate the Sheep-Eaters way of life, created an environment hostile to the Sheep-Eater's cultural and physical existence. In the mid-1800s the last few destitute surviving Sheep-Eaters asked the Crow tribe for protection. During the next fifty years, the Sheep-Eaters became culturally Crow, resulting in the extinction of Sheep-Eater culture, values, language, and philosophy.

Perhaps the Sheep-Eaters could have engaged in rational debate with the hostile tribes and won new members to their own tribe, thus ensuring their tribe's continued existence. However, it is more likely that the Sheep-Eaters could have survived by simply adding more children to the tribe, either via procreation or adoption. Their failure to do so resulted in their becoming an unfortunate example of cultural extinction, and a social/political model to avoid. Libertarians by emulating the Sheep-Eaters Model are perhaps only a generation or two away from the same fate.

To avoid the Sheep-Eater's fate, libertarians should look for successful political-cultural models, not only for survival purposes, but also for expanding liberty in Montana and the West. The best example of a successful Western model is the Mormons (Latter-Day Saints). With only a few thousand hardy pioneers, the Mormons picked the very worst area of the real West to immigrate (the Great Salt Lake and surrounding barren desert), and within two generations created a Greater Zion that reflected their philosophy. Rather than waste their efforts in futile attempts to convert their numerous critics, they invested their energies to creating and adopting children.

Mormons have always recruited to expand their ranks, as have various other waning or floundering groups, such as Lutherans, Unitarians and the Flat Earth Society. Doubtless, there are other factors involved, but it seems that having large families was the most significant factor in the rapid growth of these groups. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young knew that to guarantee the success of their cause, they needed to persuade Mormons to make more Mormons at a much faster rate than their enemies. Mormon culture encouraged families to be as large as possible, and to adopt children if they could not conceive them. Indeed, not too many years ago, Mormons looked down on families with less than nine or ten children. The Wyoming Mormon "Wild Bill" Hickman had 34 known children (perhaps a bridge too far).

In the mid-19th Century, when the Sheep-Eaters were dieing-out, a Mormon nuclear family (not polygamist and 80+% of the LDS) averaged eight to nine children. The population of the Mormons grew from 11,999 in 1850 to 44,000 in 1860, to 87,000 in 1870. to 143,000 in 1880, and to 277,000 by 1890. Some of the growth can be explained by conversions, but a large factor in the growth was their large number of children both naturally conceived and adopted.

Several other factors aided the Saints in their domination of greater Zion, most of which libertarians in Montana can replicate:

A. Parents, as well as passing on their genetic make-up, also tended to pass on their beliefs and values to their children.

B. Relative isolation from hostile groups helped in generating the society desired by reducing outside influences.

C. Geographic concentration of their reproductive efforts within Utah and greater Zion increased the speed and probability that the local environment could be changed or kept suitable for making more Mormons. If early Mormons had dispersed across the nation, they probably would have faced extinction in a hostile environment they were powerless to change.

D. Loosely structured grassroots' leadership constantly encouraged the philosophy of the Saints.

The Mormon Procreation Model has accomplished the following in Utah and greater Zion (among others):

A. A state and culture that reflects their values at all levels: political, economic, social, cultural, and moral.

B. Recognition and acceptance outside their culture by others, whether those others like them or not.

C. Because the Mormons have won the war of numbers in greater Zion, smaller families are now possible (a luxury that winners can afford).

In Montana and the Triad (Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming), it should be possible for serious libertarians to follow the Mormon Procreation Model. The New Libertarian Paradigm Model should be similar to the Saints in regards to family size and in the selection of a gathering point for us to live—the libertarian's Zion of Montana, and "Greater Zion" of Idaho and Wyoming.

If libertarians would commit to having large families, real liberty in the lifetime of the young would be a reality in less than fifty years. It isn't possible for some libertarians to have giant families because of age or economic conditions, a fact that makes it even more important for younger Libertarians in the middle-income group to have more children (8-12+ children). If libertarians followed the Mormon model in Montana, there would be ever increasing gains in liberty over the next fifty years. Adjusting for today's drastically lower infant, child, and adult death rates, the Mormon model suggests that if 8,500 libertarians moved to Montana by 2010, by the year 2060 there would be 250,000 new libertarians in the state. That number when combined with the native freedom-seekers would give libertarians political control of Montana with or without conversions. However, it should be expected that so many new liberty-minded people would generate thousands of converts. Of course, if each libertarian averaged more than just five children, Montana would become a liberty zone even faster. The New Hampshire Free State Project intends to get 10,000 freedom types there in the near future. Such numbers in Montana, if the New Libertarian Paradigm is followed (at just the 5-child rate per libertarian), would generate enough libertarians by the second generation to permit virtual political control over Montana, and in another single generation, over the entire Triad.

Even with a 250,000+ increase in Montana's population (counting all three generational survivors), the state would still have far fewer people than many Eastern states that are considered rural. Montana is also several times larger than most states. Thus, such numbers would have minimal impact on elbow-space and the Western way of life (Metro Spokane, Washington has more people).

Some libertarian friends are prone to note that they cannot afford to have over one or two children, and certainly not five or six. Perhaps libertarians are less industrious than Zion's Mormons and Montana's Hmong and Hutterites (all rapidly expanding groups). Maybe it is because the here and now materialism and the good-life (remember the Sheep-Eaters) is more desirable to them than their survival or the rapid expansion of liberty? Liberty isn't free, and economic sacrifices (?) are needed for freedom to flourish and spread. It should also be mentioned that Mormons et al. believe that large families make things much easier for them in old age. Seven or eight grown children can help take care of their parents much better than one or two or none.

In summation, Libertarians moving to Montana (or the Triad) should commit themselves to:

A. Having large families (Thomas Jefferson Model) of at least five or six children via procreation, adoption, or, ideally, both.

B. Instilling and promoting libertarian values to all their children, and not wasting effort on those who will never accept libertarian philosophy.

C. Making the necessary (if needed) sacrifices in the short term to guarantee liberty in Montana (or the Triad) in two to three generations.

D. Consider reducing family size once Montana (or the Triad) is a liberty zone.

Individuals interested in becoming involved with the Montana and Triad movement might wish to join chats groups such as the Western Alliance for Liberty (W-A-L) and the Free Montana Project, or the Free Western Alliance.

Both Ben F. Irvin and Greg Garber are active in the Western free states movement (the Triad of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming), and especially in the Montana Free State Project.

Ben Irvin is an educational and political consultant that lives in Pocatello, Idaho, and Greg Garber is an artist and farmer that lives near Saint Cloud, Florida. Ben was the primary organizer for the 2003 Grand Western Conference in Missoula, Montana that featured several noted libertarian speakers: Vin Suprynowicz, Jason Sorens, J. J. Johnson, Claire Wolfe, Nancy Johnson, etc.


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