W. R. Collier Jr.- Do you want to break free from the cultural prison of a civilization based now on libertine collectivism? Then you must consider THE MULTI-FAMILY EXTENDED HOUSEHOLD which I refer to as “The Shirehold Community.”
People familiar with The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit have heard of the “shire” in those movies and books. People familiar with English History might know that “Shires” were the word for what we today usually refer to as Counties. But the most ancient roots of the word Shire denoted a self-contained territory, generally on the shore or on an island, that had its own governing authority, was self-reliant, and yet was connected to a larger territorial sovereignty. The concept of a “shire” is somewhat like Thomas Jefferson’s “Ward Republic.” But in general I use the term “shire” community to mean “any body or group of people connected to greater communities, self-governing, and self-reliant by means of mutual assurance and cooperation.”
It is not merely a concept but, I propose, an alternative lifestyle to the current libertine collectivism of Western Civilization in which all individuals are loosely connected to one another but all are collectively dependent upon and managed by the state, with few intermediary institutions between these lone individuals and the apparatus of the state. The modern collectivist will often cite social cooperation, help for the poor and needy, and mutual assurance as justifications for high taxes and regulations to care for everyone: but, in reality, this is removing the role and responsibility of what was once a much larger insitution of the extended family and transferring it to the state.
Within any shire community, at the level of face to face interaction and communication between deeply connected, there would need to be some form of interdepenent relationship between each person and individual families that is rooted in mutual assurance and cooperation of a more extended family nature. In short, this is an extended multi-family “household” of people which cares for its individual members in the same way an extended family who all live close to one another use to care for individuals.
By combining the words “shire” and “household” with the overall concept of a community defined by free association, we derive the new term “shirehold community” to describe this revived, but modernized and modified, term for an intentional multi-family extended household community that cares for its members as if it were a extended family group. I often just use “shirehold” for short. So your nuclear household becomes intentionally connected through mutual assurance and cooperation to other households which share your overall convictions, values, morals, lifestyle, and vision.
I do not propose that this would be easy. But history has, I believe, shown that such extended multi-family household communities have been the backbone of advanced civilization and their diminishment has led to moral and every other kind of corruption, leading ultimately to the demise of a civilization.
In the coming future one must choose between being an un-connected individual who is prey to a collectivist culture and its immoral institutions or being intentionally connected to a culture of high moral and civic virtue through such extended households of interdependent individuals and families.
This does not mean everyone has to “live together”, only that such people will live close enough to each other to have the potential for daily interaction and communication on a face to face basis. Certainly, some of these groups of up to 120 or so persons MIGHT all live on one single peice of land, many might see 1/3rd of their members living on a shared plot of land with the rest living nearby, and many more might have a shared “common house” for group activities and nothing more.
A Shire Community would be a coalition or network of connected, mutually supporting and accountable, Shireholds acting for a common vision and the common good and might, within a given locale, include a thousand to a few thousand participants of shirehold communities- this support system would facilitate the developing, nurturing, and maintenance of shireholds and place multiple layers of cultural protection between the individual and the current libertine collectivist culture without physically removing or isolating the individual from the members of that other culture.
The point is that shirehold communities, or something like them, are the only real alternative to the current libertine collectivism of Western Civilization and people who want to be free from the control and influence of that dying culture will have to intentionally create such alternative, unilateral “institutions” based on free association among people of like-minded convictions who share a similar vision.
If you oppose the libertine collectivism of this current culture and refuse to consider the creation, with other people, of intentional alternative institutions, such as the shirehold community (by whatever name you choose to call it), then you are, I would argue, not really serious about your intentions.