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Thread: The Libertarian Solution To End Homelessness

  1. #1

    The Libertarian Solution To End Homelessness

    I truly hope that everyone will see this upcoming documentary film called Destiny's Bridge. It is about the "Tent City" of Lakewood, NJ, where I am currently a resident:

    Tent City is a voluntary institution that exists as the result of local supporters and mutual aid, saving the taxpayers 1-2 million dollars a year! It is a perfect example of how more can be accomplished on a voluntary nickel than on a dollar that has been stolen from the taxpayers by the corrupt and inefficient racket called the Welfare State! The government here has done nothing to help the homeless, and everything that it could think of to try to shut this place down... The film covers the personal stories of several individuals, as well as the never-ending harassment from the local government.

    This film is an authentic look into the lives of otherwise-homeless individuals living in a little village of about 100 tents and shanties - a homestead that has been built on "public" woodland over the past 7-8 years. This film will be particularly enjoyable to people interested in off-the-grid living, agorism / homesteading, the small house movement, government corruption, protests / civil disobedience, and voluntary charity. It also explores some very complex issues, like the underlying causes of homelessness in America, artificial scarcity, sustainable living, personal responsibility, addiction, love, hope and despair...

    When this documentary is a success, it will attract donor and volunteer attention to help set up another voluntary village for the homeless, someplace where the government wouldn't be quite as oppressive as it has been in Lakewood, NJ. (I'm obviously promoting the idea that the best place to do this is the Free State of New Hampshire.) The name of this new project (a 501c3 charitable organization), like the film, is Destiny's Bridge.

    Libertarians are often mindlessly attacked for "not caring about the poor". Tent City is living proof that the very opposite is true - it's the government that hurts the poor, and it's the voluntary sector that has the power to help them! My quixotic efforts to keep the government from shutting down this existing Tent City will continue, but that is a separate battle - Destiny's Bridge is an idea whose time has come!

    Please help me spread the word about this documentary film! Please share the trailer with your friends. Visit for more info, and subscribe to it on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.
    Last edited by Alex Libman; 06-20-2013 at 03:02 PM.

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  3. #2
    What's the libertarian solution to panhandling?

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by anaconda View Post
    What's the libertarian solution to panhandling?
    That's not what this thread is about. But - on private land, it would obviously be up to the property owner to set policy. "Aggressive panhandling" (and aggressive anything else) is obviously out.

    Now, let's get back to the issues of this thread - the Tent City of Lakewood NJ, the Destiny's Bridge documentary, unemployed people living cheaply in tents / shanties, etc...

  5. #4
    The government doesn't like people taking care of themselves.
    "The Patriarch"

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Libman View Post
    That's not what this thread is about.
    This is an awesome development, and great to see! I am interested in the movie! I will be interested to see how they approach the difficult problems of "homelessness" that extend beyond the availability of housing. Uptake for drug abuse, antisocial behavior, sickness, job skills, etc.

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Origanalist View Post
    The government doesn't like people taking care of themselves.
    I suspect that, all kidding aside, that really is one of their motivations, at least on some level of group-subconsciousness. Tent City is saving the taxpayers lots of money - as Minister Steve Brigham (who is the lead organizer of this Tent City) pointed out recently at Town Hall here... It's really making the government bureaucrats look bad...

    Quote Originally Posted by anaconda View Post
    This is an awesome development, and great to see! I am interested in the movie! I will be interested to see how they approach the difficult problems of "homelessness" that extend beyond the availability of housing. Uptake for drug abuse, antisocial behavior, sickness, job skills, etc.
    Thank you very much for your interest! I'll post updates on this thread about local screenings, future digital distribution, etc.

  8. #7
    I suspect that, all kidding aside, that really is one of their motivations, at least on some level of group-subconsciousness.
    Oh, I wasn't kidding. And I don't think it's subconscious at all.

  9. #8
    I can't really talk about this film about Tent City without also talking about my own experience at Tent City, and vice-versa...

    The local bureaucrats here have a pretty effective plan for destroying Tent City - lure everyone away with "one year of free housing", and then, when they don't have as many people to deal with, send in the bulldozers and tear everything down! Needless to say, I'm not taking that deal, but most people are... Talk about selling out for a mess of pottage! I think they'll regret it. The housing will probably be one year at an overpriced (for the taxpayers) fleabag motel whose owner is friends with the legislators. And some people may get kicked out over drugs, etc. And what will they do when the year is up??

    Perhaps a good way to explain my position on Tent City, as it fights for its very survival, is to quote my prepared remarks that I've previously read at the Town Hall. The first is from the Lakewood Township Committee Meeting on April 18, 2013, when the legislature passed an ordinance essentially banning homelessness... *[FB] [G+]

    I am here to speak out against this ordinance, and any other ordinance that seeks to harass low-income individuals on so-called "public" land.

    I am not homeless. I am a resident of Tent City, which is a voluntary community of low-income individuals. We are not the caricatures of homelessness that exist in many people's imaginations - we are human beings, flawed but nevertheless worthy of our Natural Rights!

    What does it really take to shelter a human being, in proportion to his or her labor? I do not know any resident of Tent City who has not earned the Right to a few square feet of space, to put up a tent among the trees to call home.

    In a competitive free market, the cost of housing would reflect economic reality - there is an abundance of land, and 21st century science and technology make shelter ever-cheaper to construct. We can pull our economic weight! And we can help each-other.

    The root cause of homelessness among low-income individuals is government intervention into the marketplace, through countless restrictions and taxes and regulations and zoning laws that create artificial scarcity and multiply our cost of living. It would take not 3 minutes but 3 bookshelves to describe all the ways in which the government hurts the poor!

    The land upon which Tent City is built was stolen from the marketplace by the government, until it was homesteaded about 7 years ago and put to a very good use.

    We've built Tent City! The government has done nothing but stand in our way!

    Tent City is supported by many great volunteers from every community within Lakewood - Christian and Jewish and Muslim and Atheist alike. We are working hard to solve the problem of poverty in America - the only thing we cannot solve is the "poverty of the spirit" within the government of Lakewood!

    I cannot speak for other residents of Tent City, but I personally do not seek and will not accept any handouts of tax-payer money. All that I want from the government is the recognition of my negative Rights - to life, liberty, and property. These are the principles upon which this Great Nation was founded, and that this ordinance would sadistically betray.

    Please, please stop hurting low-income individuals. We are your neighbors, and prospective employees. Let us all work together for mutual advantage, through voluntary cooperation rather than government force. We can make Lakewood a better place to live for everyone, tent-owners and mansion-owners alike.

    Thank you for listening.
    The official minutes for that meeting were never made public.

    On May 23rd, I gave them a fully-fledged libertarian rant: [FB] [G+] [TW]

    Hello. My name is Alex Libman. I am a resident of Tent City.

    I am here today to tell everyone about a gang problem that we have at Tent City. There is just one gang, but they are armed and dangerous, and they have a total hegemony of power over Tent City. This gang is harassing all residents of Tent City, and many other people who live in Lakewood Township.

    I've lived in Tent City since March 1st of this year, and I personally have not experienced any acts of theft or violence, except for the theft and violence that is routinely perpetrated by this gang. Whenever I am fortunate enough to find some work, like loading and unloading trucks at the Lakewood Industrial Park, this gang demands a fraction of my paycheck as protection money. Whenever I go out to buy something, this gang demands payment as well. For example, if I was to buy a pack of cigarettes, this gang wound demand tribute of at least 3 dollars.

    The people involved in this gang seem to identify themselves by wearing certain gang colors. The enforcers of this gang wear blue, and have shiny pieces of gang jewelry pinned to their chests. Persons wearing those gang colors routinely harass residents of Tent City, and sometimes abduct individuals who haven't done anybody any harm and put them in a cage. They also routinely harass the supporters of Tent City, by preventing them from driving into Tent City to drop off donations, and putting their names on some sort of a vindictive "list".

    In another example of their harassment, the enforcers of this gang routinely bully Lakewood residents who are trying to peacefully solicit a ride from a friendly stranger driving past them. On this gang's turf, hitchhiking seems to be a protected privilege.

    This gang believes that Tent City belongs to them. Such claims are an insult to the rational principle of Property Rights, as understood by philosophers from Aristotle to Thomas Aquinas to John Locke to Thomas Jefferson to Ayn Rand; and economists like Bastiat, Mises, Hayek, and Friedman. To the best of my knowledge, this gang has no legitimate rational argument to the land upon which Tent City is situated. They didn't originally homestead this land from the wilderness by bringing it into the human economy, nor did they buy it from a legitimate owner through a voluntary sale of property. They didn't build Tent City - it was built by various homeless individuals and their supporters, over the course of approximately seven years, under the undisputed leadership of Minister Steve Brigham and the Lakewood Outreach Ministry Church. All of the gang's claims are based on nothing but violent force.

    Like any other gang or mafia organization of sufficient size, they do provide some protection and other services on their turf. For example, they maintain a coercive monopoly over Waste Management, and some other services used by Tent City. They often use this monopoly as leverage, providing or denying services however they see fit. In absence of this monopoly, Tent City, with the help of its supporters, could have obtained those services from another agency - one that is operating voluntarily in a competitive free market, and is thereby incentivized to provide a better quality of service more efficiently.

    This gang does many things for many people, but everything that it does is ultimately grounded in violence and theft. When it robs Peter to pay Paul, both of them are victimized and corrupted by the power that this gang obtains in the process. This gang's ultimate interest isn't in helping Paul, but in strengthening its own power, for which end it can reward its friends and punish its enemies. This gang's actions in the name of the poor create a culture of resentment and complacency, displacing a culture of voluntary charity and genuine interpersonal compassion.

    The gang of which I speak is obviously "government" - at least that is the name by which it calls itself.

    Nationwide, this gang steals-and-spends an average of about $62,000 dollars a year for every family that is below the "poverty line". $62,000 is about 150% of the median household income in Lakewood Township, and almost 4 times its per-capita GDP. Where does this money go? The residents of Tent City are some of the poorest people in America, but I don't know any household in Tent City that is getting anything anywhere close to $62,000 a year! (LOL!)

    But I am NOT out to petition that this gang steal more on my behalf, nor am I asking for a greater share of the loot. I am not accepting anything from this gang, if I can avoid it. My only demand from them is that they stop stealing in my name - and leave me alone!

    I cannot speak for other residents of Tent City, but more and more people are starting to realize every day that the Welfare State is a racket that only disempowers the poor. It reduces them to a political slogan, in whose name Trillions of dollars are stolen and misappropriated year after year!

    Tent City is living proof that more can be accomplished with a voluntary nickel than with a dollar re-appropriated by this gang! If this gang gives you free crutches, it first breaks your legs!

    I am not here to accuse any specific individuals or "departments", but the very idea of what "government" represents - a monopoly on force. A society that is civilized should have no need of violence, except in self-defense. A society that is rational should have no authority except for the recognition of empirically-verifiable facts. All (sane, adult) human beings should be equal in their negative Rights! All fundamental laws that govern a civilized society should be grounded in Reason, and not the whims of any person, no matter how popular or charismatic, claiming any "divine right" to tax or legislate another!

    I realize that we do not live a rational society yet, and even under the best circumstances this transition would require decades, but there are many things that rational individuals can do, even today. No matter how entrenched and powerful this gang may be, each individual is still free and responsible for his or her own actions. Every individual has a choice of whether they contribute to the aggression that is routinely initiated against Tent City and its residents and supporters. Every individual has the choice - if not to help Tent City, then to simply leave Tent City alone.

    Thank you for listening.
    The official minutes merely recorded that I "complained about a gang problem at Tent City"...

    And, on June 6th I wanted to set the record straight about the specifics of some inaccurate (or downright slanderous) local news coverage about Tent City: [FB] [G+]

    Hello again. My name is Alex Libman. I've now been a resident of Tent City for over 3 months, and a resident of Lakewood Township for about 3 years.

    I am here to express an opinion on several recent news stories that have mentioned Tent City, which I believe to have been inaccurate, and to help clear up any false perceptions that those stories may have perpetuated.

    On May 29th, Asbury Park Press reported on the sensational arrest of a 47-year-old man who was driving in Manchester. This story, including in its headline, repeatedly claims that the perpetrator was a resident of our Tent City.

    To the best of my knowledge, neither the police nor the press have made any effort to investigate this claim. He obviously was not in the census. No one has ever presented any evidence tying that man to Tent City. No one at Tent City has ever heard of such a man, and everyone who would know believes that this claim is false.

    This is a perfect example of how the truth about Tent City gets distorted - no one makes an effort to gather the facts, and people always assume the worst. Tent City only has a handful of "bad apples" among its one-hundred-plus residents, and they're there only because Minister Steve isn't legally allowed to evict them.

    This man arrested in Manchester was NOT one of ours!


    Another misleading news story about Tent City was published in the May 30th issue of The Voice Of Lakewood. This story uses obviously-biased sources. Some people, if you buy them a bus ticket far enough, will tell you whatever they think you wanna hear!

    It mistakenly makes references to individuals who are not actually staying at Tent City, like a couple of traveling campers from Texas. Is Tent City somehow required to prevent all of its residents from having any visitors?! Do they expect the construction of some sort of a Berlin Wall?!

    That story implies that Minister Steve is somehow *obligated* to stop being Minister Steve, and start being an unpaid border guard for the benefit of Lakewood Township! The "Consent Order" from March, in section "2-G", clearly absolves him of any responsibility. Furthermore, as "a man of the cloth", he holds himself to a higher standard of ethics.

    Minister Steve is not some kind of a landlord! No resident pays him or anyone else a cent to stay at Tent City. Minister Steve is a respected leader in Tent City; but not a member of any "hierarchy" as that article claims!

    He is a deeply religious man, who has been consistently devoted to helping the impoverished of Lakewood for more than 12 years! In his words, religious devotion to the "Hebrew Scriptures" requires him to "show mercy to the poor". I personally am an Atheist, but even I understand that a person like Minister Steve cannot be *ordered* to turn people away!

    That article makes numerous other misleading or inaccurate claims that I do not have the time to cover here tonight. This includes the notion that the Consent Order is somehow binding on individuals who have never signed it.

    Thank you for listening.
    Last edited by Alex Libman; 06-14-2013 at 12:47 PM. Reason: added FB / G+ / TW links, fixed typos

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  11. #9
    I've also written this (as comments to a news article) about the economic situation that is the root cause of unemployment:

    I've been a resident of Tent City in Lakewood since March 1st. Pretty much all Tenters I know are looking for work, if not full-time then at least part-time.

    I personally don't feel that anybody owes me anything - hand-outs, a job, or anything else. If/when I work, it should be a voluntary, mutually-beneficial agreement between myself and the employer. For example, there are some jobs that I would be happy to do even for below "minimum wage" - if that's what my labor is worth relative to everyone else's.

    The biggest problem is with all the ways in which gov't gets in the way of employers coming into the region. These "special deals" the gov makes are just for show. If the gov't gives you crutches, it first breaks your legs!

    Why would a company do something in NJ, where the gov-backed mandatory unions can demand ridiculous collective deals? Why do business in one of the highest taxed and regulated states in the nation?! Jobs are moving South / West, to the more economically free states within the US. And of course many jobs are moving abroad.

    USA has the highest nominal corporate tax rate in the world! We could get away with it back in the 20th century, when the rest of the world was even worse off, but today Russia actually has a 13% flat income tax! Etc. The point is, NJ and USA are losing their competitiveness.

    If we can't still be smarter than the good folks in India & Africa, then we should learn to live in shanties and raise chickens like they did!

    [Message break due to character limit on that site.]

    [...] there's a major documentary coming out about what it's like to fall behind on your ridiculously-inflated rent and end up "homeless" in this region.

    It's tough, but life goes on.

    But, again, the government continues to screw things up...

    Did you know that if you take all the government spending that's supposedly for the poor and divide it by the number of households below the poverty line, it comes to about $62,000 a year?!
    [FB] [G+] [TW] Think about this for a minute. [...] Needless to say, the poorest of the poor here at Tent City aren't getting anywhere close to that! (Nor should we.)

    The taxes actually hurt the poor more than they help, and they also create stigma and discourage voluntary charity in the process!

    "Welfare" is a racket!

    And it doesn't stop there... You wouldn't believe in your wildest dreams some of the things the municipal government has been doing to the homeless in Lakewood! Fortunately, thanks to Minister Steve and Jack Ballo, the people here have a voice, and it will be heard!

    People can watch some footage from the film at
    Last edited by Alex Libman; 06-20-2013 at 03:04 PM.

  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by anaconda View Post
    What's the libertarian solution to panhandling?
    Panhandling is pure libertarianism done to the bone. No politics, just the pure freedom to ask for money to keep buying the drugs libertarians want legal!

    No matter what there will always be homelessness. Michael Moore came up with putting homeless people in storage facilities, because they are heated and air conditioned. Obviously it was a joke he came up to say Americans aren't taking care of the problem. But I'd rather store myself than sleep on park bench.

  13. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by KrokHead View Post
    Panhandling is pure libertarianism done to the bone. No politics, just the pure freedom to ask for money to keep buying the drugs libertarians want legal!
    You are forgetting that restrictions on human action mustn't necessarily come from that overgrown mafia gang that calls itself "government". In a free society, restrictions can come from parents / guardians (with legitimate power over their children / dependents), property owners (with legitimate power over their property / territory), contractually-established entities, etc.

    A shopping mall most definitely can have a "no panhandling" policy - and most probably would. Homeless shelters / philanthropically-subsidized residential neighborhoods for the poor / etc can legitimately set policies about things like alcohol and drugs. I personally don't think it's good to throw people out just because they have an addiction, but that's up to the people in charge. As institutions compete for donor money as well as beneficiary patronage, the marketplace will decide... "If you don't like the rules, then go to a differently-minded shelter, if you can find one."

    There are also new alternatives to panhandling. For example, I have an idea about organizing some "homeless" folks / Tenters to pick up trash on "public property" around the town (and there's an unusually high amount of litter here in Lakewood, NJ). We'd take a "before" picture of a littered place, then an "after" picture of it all cleaned up, and then post them on the Internet, maybe make some YouTube videos of us working, etc. And we'd use that to solicit donations. "Invent your own job, and see if anybody will pay."

    No matter what there will always be homelessness.
    If there's a super-abundance of places where otherwise-homeless individuals can go, including very tolerant ones that will take anybody, then being homeless (outside of such an institution) will be just another "lifestyle choice".

    And, if all land is private, people would inevitably be some place where they have the owner's permission to stay. Homelessness is only really possible when you have a "tragedy of the commons" on gov't territory.

    But that doesn't mean homeless will have no place to go. It's a big universe out there, and all human beings have some value. People feel good about themselves when they help others - sorry, Miss Rand, some amount of altruism is hardwired into our brains...

    Michael Moore came up with putting homeless people in storage facilities, because they are heated and air conditioned. Obviously it was a joke he came up to say Americans aren't taking care of the problem. But I'd rather store myself than sleep on park bench.
    Think about that for a moment - why is it cost-effective to build storage facilities that people could live in, but not residential facilities that are just as affordable? Regulations! Duh!

    Like I've said in my Town Hall speech quoted above: "there is an abundance of land, and 21st century science and technology make shelter ever-cheaper to construct".

    Government intervention into the marketplace is the only reason why the poor are paying $1000/month rent, instead of buying a $1000 mass-produced Tiny House, placed on donated untaxed land, and being set for life!

  14. #12
    I like it. I send you my best wishes and look forward to hearing more.

  15. #13

    Lots of interesting stuff here.
    Those who want liberty must organize as effectively as those who want tyranny. -- Iyad el Baghdadi

  16. #14
    I would like to see this getting a lot more media attention.

  17. #15
    That's what I'm trying to do, but (obviously) I'm not a "media relations" / PR pro. The local rag press and MSM are against us. We could use all the help we can get, particularly with the promotion of this documentary. I'm really hoping my libertarian / Ron Paul supporter friends will help get the word out...

  18. #16
    Cock at :58.
    “One may come to the aid of another being unlawfully arrested, just as he may where one is being assaulted, molested, raped or kidnapped. Thus it is not an offense to liberate one from the unlawful custody of an officer, even though he may have submitted to such custody, without resistance.” (Adams v. State, 121 Ga. 16, 48 S.E. 910).

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  20. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by KrokHead View Post
    Panhandling is pure libertarianism done to the bone. No politics, just the pure freedom to ask for money to keep buying the drugs libertarians want legal!
    Actually, panhandling is a symptom of statism done to the bone. If panhandlers were to try to work, or make things to sell, or otherwise try to improve their lot without begging, then they immediately hit barriers.

    As my brother says: give a man a fish, and he eats for a day.
    Teach a man to fish, and now he has to get a license.

    No matter what there will always be homelessness.
    Yeah, but in a libertarian system, the homeless will be voluntarily homeless.
    When was the last time anyone in the US saw a genuine hobo? But that seems like a perfectly acceptable life to me. How come leaving your office job and putting everything you need on your back and going out into the world is only acceptable if it's a vacation?

    Back OT: definitely looking forward to seeing this, and keep up the good work!
    There are no crimes against people.
    There are only crimes against the state.
    And the state will never, ever choose to hold accountable its agents, because a thing can not commit a crime against itself.

  21. #18
    Good points, fisharmor, thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Czolgosz View Post
    Cock at :58.
    And "pigs" in the background:

    Minister Steve Being Arrested by Alex Libman, on Flickr

    Now let's be serious...

    Having roosters around is just good survivalism (even if they do wake me up at like 4am). Chickens turn old bread into protein better than any mammal, though people in Tent City almost never eat them - they also keep down the bug population, which is very important for everyone's health and safety. (The couple who takes care of the birds here are vegetarians, and so are a number of other people in the camp.)

    The shot you've mentioned is of a good man being arrested...

    Minister Steve Arrest Protest by Alex Libman, on Flickr
    Last edited by Alex Libman; 06-17-2013 at 01:27 PM.

  22. #19
    From the Destiny's Bridge blog -- Tent City / Destiny's Bridge Documentary Soon To Go Public --

    The documentary entitled "Destiny's Bridge" has been edited into an 86-minute DVD, which will be available to the public following initial public screenings, expected to begin during the first or second week in August 2013.

    Independent film maker Jack Ballo has woven a tapestry of images and stories into a compelling narrative about the plight of the people of Lakewood, NJ's (USA) "Tent City", and their hopes for a new type of community following the concept of Destiny's Bridge; it is expected that Rev. Steven Brigham (widely known as "Minister Steve") would have a prominent role in the management of such a community, as he has with Lakewood’s Tent City since at least 2006.

    More to follow...

    DVD cover:

    Last edited by Alex Libman; 06-20-2013 at 03:10 PM.

  23. #20
    I've clumsily started something like a chat-room about Tent City / Destiny's Bridge on Facebook, and introduced the situation to some of my FB friends. (Clumsily because I refused to use "social networks" before just a couple of months ago, when someone asked me to use it "for the cause", and sometimes FB doesn't behave the way you expect...)

    Some very interesting people were able to weigh in...

    L. Neil Smith [FB] [TW] [WP] [WQ]:

    All I have to contribute to the topic is this, but it is enough.

    Buy a copy of my book Down With Power: Libertarian Policy in a Time of Crisis. Over my 50-odd years as an activist and advocate, I am convinced that involuntary homelessness and poverty are the result of deliberate practices on the part of the government and its various corporate symbionts.

    We can see this clearly on the world stage, where there is widespread hunger but no shortage of food. What creates starvation is a political class whose greed and lust for absolute power stands in the way of freedom from both misery and tyranny.

    There is also the United Nations, whose upper echelons (although the "embedded media" ignore it) have openly declared that they want to see 90% of the human race exterminated.

    The only action you can take that will have any lasting meaning or effect is to read my book, and then join me in speaking out to end both taxation and economic regulation, which are the chains by which we are held captive. The result will be an immediate 8-to-10-fold increase in real wealth and purchasing power, and an end to the problem you're concerned with.

    L. Neil Smith's Down With Power: Libertarian Policy in a Time of Crisis, winner of the 2013 Freedom Book of The Year Award, is available at, B&, and other such places, in both dead-tree and e-book format.

    Mary J. Ruwart [G+] [FB] [IN] [WP]:

    L Neil Smith is correct: most homelessness is a direct result of zoning and building restrictions, which keep housing prices high. When I was renting to low income tenants, the city of Kalamazoo enforced ridiculous codes (like the length of a kitchen counter), so that landlords would have to do expensive renovations, raise rents, and drive the poor out of the city. The inspectors told me they did this deliberately and were proud of how they were "cleaning up" the city. They didn't think about the homelessness that would and did result.

    Davi Barker (The Muslim Agorist) [G+] [FB] [IN] [TW] [YT] [FTL] [SS]:

    I wrote this years ago about a particular homeless man who got himself out of poverty in a very libertarian way, entrepreneurship. Of course it was the city that came and shut him down in the name of helping him.

    Minimum wage, licensing laws, and vending permits have a lot to do with it too. I've been trying to think my way into an actual solution since I wrote this, but so far everything I've come up with would be criminal. But my short answer is, if you want to help the homeless, train them to be Agorists.

    Alex, I love what you're doing.

    L. Neil Smith:

    Here's something that may interest you.

    I first wrote this speech in the early 1970s for delivery to Libertarian Party audiences. I gave a version of it at a Future of Freedom conference in Culver City, California in 1987; among others in the audience was the great Robert Anton Wilson, who came to me afterward and praised the speech and my delivery highly. Made me blush and almost made me weep.

    The version here has been modified to support my social contract, the "Covenant of Unanimous Consent" but you can disregard that aspect of it if you wish. The general idea is the effect of freedom on the economy. I'm going to prepare a more generic version in the near future and probably make an audio recording of it.

    Here you go ...

    Unanimous Consent and the Utopian Vision -- or -- I Dreamed I Was a [Libertarian] In My Maidenform Bra

    By L. Neil Smith <lneil[shift-two]>

    "There's no single Libertarian future, but as many different futures as there are individuals to create them."

    Number 497, December 14, 2008
    Thank you, Mary. Robert LeFevre used to tell some very funny (and infuriating) stories about his attempt to open a restaurant in San Francisco. I suspect Robert Heinlein drew some of his "The Tale of the Twins Who Weren't" in Time Enough For Love from LeFevre's experience.

    One story involved the requirement for a legal occupancy notice -- we've all seen them: "This Room Seats 120 People". He had a sign maker draw him up a nice one on poster board, only to be told he was in violation: the sign had to be made in cast bronze, and by some odd coincidence, the Mayor's brother just happened to have a foundry ...

    It cost something like $800 in the 1950s. How many jobs in the kitchen did that wipe out? I've always said that poverty is the government's most important product and its proudest achievement.

  24. #21
    Hobnobbing with the bigwigs, eh Alex?

    Awesome stuff.

  25. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by amy31416 View Post
    Hobnobbing with the bigwigs, eh Alex?
    Just wait till I get to Ron and Rand.

  26. #23
    Would love to see the documentary if there are to be any screenings in the southeast or mid-Michigan areas.
    "Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost."
    ~ President John Q. Adams ~

  27. #24
    When is the entire documentary going to be available?

    I've seen a community such as the one you are living but never anything so extravagant. You guys really did good for yourselves, it's a shame the harassment you face by the local pigs. Hopefully you are able to retain your home.
    “The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.” --George Orwell

    Quote Originally Posted by AuH20 View Post
    In terms of a full spectrum candidate, Rand is leaps and bounds above Trump. I'm not disputing that.
    Who else in public life has called for a pre-emptive strike on North Korea?--Donald Trump

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  29. #25
    Okay, I do not want to make a new thread and will offer my input on the current topic before going forward. There is no libertarian solution to homelessness. It is a condition incumbent upon the sufferer or possessor to alleviate. The libertarian philosophy, as I understand it, is without artificial devaluation of property (LVT/property tax) and jobs(but there IS no inflation, tell that to a fifties dollar, punk), the 'homeless' numbers would be negligible. BUT THEY WILL NEVER DISAPPEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Liberty is a philosophy of contrasts, there will be rich and there will be poor. That is the one thing a philosophy of liberty has in common with the other lesser brands. In a free society, however, or so I believe, the rich and the poor would not be subject to the current ulterior universes. EG the rich get kidneys while the poor get dialysis or death. By simple fact of supply the poor will always be more powerful that the 'rich' (I mean the justly rich, not the haliburton types) by virture of their superior numbers. Nietzsche breaks this down in a better way, even though translated, than I ever could. Out of respect for scholarly curiosity I withhold the source.

    Indeed, since there will always be more poor they will always have more power, so long as they choose to see it. Power to tell corporations like Walmart to get $#@!ed (now, besides that, I will speak no ill of walmart since for a long time they gave me a safeish place to sleep which is more than I can say of any mom and pop that would've had me in $#@!ing irons before the sun came up... then again I am yuppie spawn, a homeless scion of sell out hippies one might say).
    Last edited by bolil; 06-21-2013 at 10:34 PM.
    Best of luck in life.

  30. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Darguth View Post
    Would love to see the documentary if there are to be any screenings in the southeast or mid-Michigan areas.
    Hopefully there will be. The Screenings page will be updated as decisions about premiere and screening locations are made. You can also follow Destiny's Bridge Documentary on Facebook, Twitter, and IMDb for more info.

    Quote Originally Posted by kcchiefs6465 View Post
    When is the entire documentary going to be available?
    We'll definitely have DVD's, and we'll see if we can do something like Netflix as well. Use links above to subscribe for the latest.

  31. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by kcchiefs6465 View Post
    I've seen a community such as the one you are living but never anything so extravagant. You guys really did good for yourselves, it's a shame the harassment you face by the local pigs. Hopefully you are able to retain your home.
    We could have done a lot better if the Township had just left us alone. (Nevermind actually helping us, even though they steal plenty of tax-victim money in the name of "helping the poor".)

    All their slander and harassment has chased away a lot of volunteers, and destroyed a lot of goodwill with local businesses and the public... Gov't stooges in the local press have constantly spread false rumors about us, like that Tent City is already closed. Without this harassment, and all the energy that has been wasted on trying to counteract it, Tent City could have been a much cleaner, greener, and friendlier place...

    I personally see it as my calling to help out in such a place the best that I can. If/when this Tent City is shut down, I'd like to help start a new one, hopefully in a much less tyrannical place than Lakewood, NJ...

    Quote Originally Posted by bolil View Post
    There is no libertarian solution to homelessness. It is a condition incumbent upon the sufferer or possessor to alleviate.
    As L Neil Smith emphasized in the quote above, we are talking about "INVOLUNTARY homelessness".

    I also prefer to avoid using the word "homeless" when talking about my fellow Tent City residents, although it is the label that most people are familiar with. I prefer terms like Tenters, tent-dwellers, or "otherwise-homeless" individuals.

    Many people would be "otherwise-homeless" without their home, and for us our home happens to be a cheap tent. I don't know anyone who is incapable of earning that much in a free market and pulling one's own weight, and of course there's voluntary charity as well. Give somebody a $90 tent (not necessarily new), and a place to put it up where they won't be harassed (plus perhaps a $25 sleeping bag, some plywood to build an elevated platform, a sheet of tarp, and a few other low-cost items) - and s\he's no longer homeless!

    The problem that I'm talking about solving is the problem of artificial scarcity and other examples of government failure. Take that away, and no truly-involuntarily-homeless people would remain, and the rights of people "homesteading government land" like us would be recognized.

    Quote Originally Posted by bolil View Post
    [...] there will be rich and there will be poor. [...]
    I agree completely. I'm not pushing for any kind of "equality of outcomes" here! I live in a tent because, in terms of my material assets, that is what I deserve. That said, in a free society, there must be equality of negative Rights. The richest and the poorest are equal in their (natural, negative) Right to Life, Liberty, Property, Parents' Rights, and Right of Contract. Bill Gates shouldn't be able to steal (or "tax") even a penny from the poorest person in the world, and vice-versa.

    Contrary to popular propaganda, it is the socialists that really hate the poor, especially when they refuse to be used as propaganda pawns to encourage the socialists' "welfare" racket. I'm sure the socialists would love me to go back to a highly-paid programming job, so that they'd get most of my paycheck, and I'd not have the time and energy to speak out against their falsehoods and injustice...

    Libertarians / pro-capitalists / free market advocates are the greatest allies that the poor people have. It is the free market that pushes down the cost of living, while the socialists / statists are raising it. The local Walmart store here has done more to help the poor (including by letting people who sleep in their cars stay on their parking lot) than all the politicians in this town!

    (I apologize for the selective and raving reply - I may do better later).
    Last edited by Alex Libman; 06-23-2013 at 02:34 PM.

  32. #28

    Bullies With Bulldozers

    On Friday, from The Lakewood Scoop -- Township Tears Down ‘Illegal Tents’ at Tent City --

    Illegal may be a relative term when dealing with an illegal encampment, but the Township on Friday tore down approximately 20 illegal tents at Tent City in an effort to crack down on those not willing to take part in the closing of the encampment -- despite the court orders -- and on those who moved in following the court order.

    After the recent court order and agreement which would officially put an end to the homeless camp by finding placement for those eligible, most of the residents present at the encampments at the time of the settlement agreed to be counted, documented and ID’d -- along with their structures -- as officials from the Township, County, and STEPS work on placement.

    However, the Mayor confirms to TLS that some decided to not take part in the program. So on Friday, those who wished to remain in the camp "illegally", saw that Officials mean business. []

    "Per our agreement, no new people are allowed to move in," Mayor Akerman tells TLS. "We gave notice to those who moved in after the court order that we will be tearing down their tents."

    And if new ones are built, they too will be torn down.

    "We will continue to do this as long as people keep moving in," the Mayor said. "People continue to come to Tent City from all over the Country, and it must stop - even the current residents of Tent City are not happy about some of the new arrivals."

    About one hundred others remain in the encampment.
    Note that by "new people moving in" they don't mean me; I came to Tent City on March 1st, and that's well in advance of their deadline - I simply refused to accept their deal. I'm just a libertarian guy living in the woods, trying not to pay the bad guys' salaries, helping out around Tent City, and fighting for the Right to homestead government land. I've complied with the census, as per my personal policy of transparency, but I've refused to take an ID card. (Enough about me, back to the article.)

    By "illegal" they mean that a handful of bureaucrats got together and decided that "public property", which the government stole from the marketplace, cannot be used by members of the "public" who they've hurt the most. This gave them exactly what they wanted - an excuse to rob the tax-victims for a few million more...

    When they reference the Consent Order "agreement" to justify evictions... It's just simply laughable! These people must have slept through the first day of Contract Law 101! Person A and Person B cannot sign an "agreement" binding Person C to do something! The majority of Tenters signed up for "One Year Of Free Housing" - I didn't. What's next, maybe those lawyers will decide to marry me without requiring an "I do"?!

    Everything in this article is wrong, including the number 20. The total number of tents marked for demolition is about 15, and only a fraction of the work was completed on that day. The bulldozers and police came back at around 8:30am today (Monday), and the demolition "work" continued.

    They're demolishing slowly and ineptly (I wonder if we can build new shanties faster!), but no doubt at a huge cost to the taxpayers... It probably costs more to run those bulldozers for a day than it does to run the whole camp for a month, supporting the lives of over 100 otherwise-homeless human beings!

    Lots of trees are being damaged by the bulldozers. The local chickens / cats / dogs / rabbits / etc might get hurt as well. I've even heard unverified rumors of reckless endangerment of human life, as some guy allegedly had to cut his way out of a tent as it was being demolished...

    And of course this article is wrong in its unreferenced claim that "even the current residents of Tent City are not happy about some of the new arrivals". I haven't heard this generalization from anybody. This resident for one would love to see more people move right in!

  33. #29

    Documentary Film Premiere - August 7th, 7:00 PM - Red Bank, NJ

    The premiere date for Destiny's Bridge -- the feature-length documentary about the Tent City of Lakewood, NJ -- has now been set!

    I hope that you can join us at the premiere event on August 7th in Red Bank, NJ!

    Please help me promote this event by inviting your friends in the area via events on Facebook and Google+.

    Other screening locations, DVD's, and possibly online distribution will be announced in the near future...

  34. #30

    'We endorse the idea of voluntarism; self-responsibility: Family, friends, and churches to solve problems, rather than saying that some monolithic government is going to make you take care of yourself and be a better person. It's a preposterous notion: It never worked, it never will. The government can't make you a better person; it can't make you follow good habits.' - Ron Paul 1988

    Awareness is the Root of Liberation Revolution is Action upon Revelation

    'Resistance and Disobedience in Economic Activity is the Most Moral Human Action Possible' - SEK3

    Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo.

    ...the familiar ritual of institutional self-absolution...
    ...for protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment...

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