A few years ago, I had an idea. It was more than an idea - it was a compulsion. It was an urgently felt need to create a space where people who care about the human flourishing that happens when we are free could come together.
That was it. Not a plan for saving the world, just a place where we could hang out with each other, share our ideas, commiserate, and feel at home. And maybe, by virtue of doing all of this, we would come up with some ways to make a real difference in the world. Or maybe we would just feel a little less alone in that world.
I spent some time brainstorming with a friend about setting up some kind of platform for this, and finally decided to launch my idea as a podcast. And in March of 2020 - the week that California Governor Gavin Newsom decided to forcibly shut down our lives - I recorded my first episode, with Jeffrey Tucker, then with AIER, and soon to become one of the brightest lights in the battle against Covid tyranny. I’ve recorded many more episodes since then, with some of the best and most interesting advocates of liberty, at a time when human freedom is under unprecedented assault all around the globe.
I’m proud of my podcast. But it’s not quite what I set out to create. Mostly: It’s not very interactive. And so after a lot more brainstorming, I’ve decided to launch a new online community: Building Parallel Solutions. It’s a little different from my original idea, in that it is focused on creating solutions rather than just hanging out together. (Although there’s certainly room for that too.)
We’re starting out on Substack, as a private publication, I’ll be adding a private group on a social-media platform (probably MeWe), and we will also have occasional online video meetings. I will also be adding a paid membership option for those who want a little more direct support in creating solutions - I’ll post more about that later.
For now though, I think that what I said in my podcast manifesto fits nicely here:
It's the "nearly" that I'm interested in.
That–possibly very small, possibly not so small–number of people who can see and think for themselves. Who understand for themselves the difference between right and wrong, who don't need to have anyone else tell them that it is wrong to make another person your slave, or to lock another person in a cell when they have harmed no-one.
That's who I think of as the audience for my podcast ("What Then Must We Do?") You might call what I'm doing "preaching to the choir", but that's not it. I'm looking to reach the people who already recognize the problem, and who want to do something about it…
Maybe none of us is powerful enough to defeat the violence that is the state. Maybe even together we are not enough. But I am certain that if there is any hope for us at all, it lies entirely with this group of people.
Oh, and if I sound a little elitist, as if I think the "Non-Nearlys" are somehow inferior to the "Nearlys"… well, yes, I do. I do think that thinking for oneself is superior to not thinking for oneself. I also think that great masses of people who don't do much thinking for themselves, who don't have their own moral compasses, are one of the most deadly threats to all of humanity, and always have been.
But here's the thing about being among the "Nearly" (or, as Albert Jay Nock called them, the Remnant): it is a choice. Anyone can choose to start questioning what they have been taught their whole life. Anyone can choose to listen to their own conscience over the values and opinions that are fed to them by the people and institutions around them. Anyone can do this.
"What then must we do?" I honestly don't know. The forces arrayed against individual human beings just living their own lives as they choose seem more powerful and more entrenched than ever before. So, do I know how to change that? To defeat the people and institutions that wish to (and do) rule over us? No, I don't. But I do believe that between us–between all of the "Nearly"–we can figure this out.
“Building Parallel Solutions” is an invitation-only publication for people who are serious about - you guessed it - building parallel solutions. If that’s you, and you’d like to be a part of this, just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, with “Please add me to BPS” in the subject line.
I look forward to seeing you there!