Here is another item I am wrestling with. It seems to me that if I am going to help start up some sort of community, there are two basic models. The Strong Leader model and the Consensus model. A true community, less than 100 souls or so seems to be ideal based on Diane Leafe Christiansen’s research, doesn’t require representative leadership. It’s plenty small for direct democracy…if that is the model that serves best.
Consensus can take many forms. Most Protestant, especially Baptist, churches operate on a sort of consensus. That may or may not be encouraging. A lot of the Intentional Community groups are based on consensus in one form or another. Paul Wheaton in a recent podcast reported on his visits to a great many IC’s and his impression was that those with a consensus model usually exhibited a large degree of social stress and internal politics. This isn’t definitive research, but it conforms to what I would expect to find, based on my own association with a great many varied Baptist churches.
He is an advocate of the Strong Leader model. If you have read any old Westerns, it is the situation you find on Old West ranches. You have a ranch owner who owns the land and the primary means of income and who provides room, board and income in exchange for work. The ranch owner couldn’t be too much of a tyrant or he would lose the good hands to a ranch down the way, nor could he be incompetent or he would lose his ranch. The best had a sense of obligation to their men and families which engendered legendary loyalty. Read up on the Lincoln County war and rancher Tunstall’s cowhands for how far that can go.
I am, frankly, convicted. My training and inclination lean me towards Strong Man. But, with all I am reading on freedom, individual Liberty, free markets and free will I am having trouble believing that I can, or even desire to, lead such an endeavor. After all, if I was looking at such a situation would I enter into it without being the leader? I think I can answer that yes, as long as I have trust in the leader. But, I don’t know that it would be optimal for me. If I feel that way, why would anyone, especially anyone I was hoping would develop an intense belief in their own self worth and freedom, feel any different?
There are any number of compromise situations that spring to mind. I guess what I am wondering is if I can find the courage to help create something and then truly let it go to grow into whatever it wants to be. How much am I willing to risk investing, financially, time wise, emotionally and with my family?
I don’t know yet.