They’re usually very similar. There may be hills in one place, or flat terrain in others. It could be seventy-degrees in January, or minus-twenty. With all of their aesthetic differences, these locales usually have one thing in common: the spirit of libertarianism permeates the culture.
A gentleman who resides in Alaska was asked: “why did you move to Alaska from Washington State?” The interviewer pointed out that some of the weather was similar but it was so much colder in the 49th state which makes life a bit harder. The interviewee pointed out that Washington State, for the most part, had a culture of “just leave people alone.” But he lamented the power that the big cities had and how they had a tendency to dominate the culture. And that culture doesn’t have a “leave people be” attitude. The man feels that Alaska has a culture of rugged individualism that suits him better. Rest assured, someone reading this who currently resides in Alaska will probably find room to disagree with the man who is only being used as one data point.
Anyone living in, or around, a big city notices that the further they get away from the metropolis, the more there is a spirit of independence. Sure, someone may retort that those places tend to be more pro-police, as an example. Does it have to be pointed out that police in a smaller town tend to do less? Or that if you’re a resident of that town the local officer may be a friend from high school. The world is not all black and white. There are shades of gray and many tend to be fixated on the black/white model because it makes it easier to judge the world. It also allows one to sit atop a higher horse. When one’s thinking only functions in the black/white paradigm they, unfortunately, sound as if they live in the world they want and not the world they’ve got.
In a town like the one this author spent a few days in recently, COVID-tyranny doesn’t exist. The local store and restaurants don’t care about mandates handed down from the governor, much less a president they view as illegitimate. No, they go about their day, mind their business, and continue to call people sir and ma’am from uncovered mouths. In a town that is reliant upon tourism their worries are geared more toward tornado watches and whether the jets are working on the hot tubs in their rental cabins. They concern themselves with ice patches on the road that bends around old man Wilson’s farm and not whether their neighbor has gotten “boosted”. In fact, they don’t care whether you’ve been vaxed at all. They consider information like that private and wish you would shut up about it.
While we libertarians dream about what a world with less government intervention would look like, a lot of your fellow countrymen are living it. Is it a mirror of the society Rothbard paints in “For A New Liberty?” No. But it’s closer to what Hans-Hermann Hoppe lays out in “What Must Be Done.” Believe it or not, there are small towns strewn across the U.S.A. that operate as if the federal government doesn’t exist. This doesn’t mean that these towns are privatizing schools, or that there may not be a local “politician for life,” but what it does mean is that most of the problems they are dealing with are handled amongst themselves (yes, the outlier exists). It is not uncommon to find towns where local budget shortfalls are handled through raffles and bake-sales. This is to be applauded, not ridiculed.
Another benefit of living in a lower population, more rural area, is knowing your neighbor. Many who live, or have lived, in a big city have had the experience of “living down the hall” or across the street from someone for years and not knowing their name. People in rural areas know each other. This is probably why the crime rates in small towns are significantly below that of more populous, transient areas. Individuals who know each other are less apt to commit violence or property crimes against one another. This is just common sense and anyone offering up an example to the contrary verifies the claim. Again, libertarians wish to live in a society where property rights are respected and fail to see those already exist. Of course, the chief predator is always lurking in the shadows but is usually concentrating its efforts in bigger locales.
Many, including this author, pine after a day when a society that is not controlled by a monopoly on force and violence is realized. What we have to accept is we’re not even close to that actualization. After the last 20+ months there is the hope that more people have woken up to the fact that the State desires power over every aspect of their lives, including their bodies and health, and that a true “resistance” is rising among us. What that would look like and how it would be organized is yet to be seen. What can be taken away from an examination of the existing culture is that much of what many libertarians desire already exists. Libertarians just need to get out of their own way and not let the perfect become the enemy of the good. There is much good to be enjoyed.