It’s one of the ironies of American history that the capitalists who created America’s industrial economy were often uncomfortable with some of the effects of capitalism itself. One of the most common methods of reducing the “creative destruction” was the creation of planned communities, where the industrialist controlled not just the factory but the development of the surrounding community. From Lowell, Massachusetts to Hershey, Pennsylvania, these were attempts to preserve some ideal of civic life or to give back something to the area.
The champion industrialist of planned communities was Henry Ford, who created many like Kingsford and Pequaming, Michigan and Muscle Shoals, Alabama. This all culminated in his massive undertaking in Brazil, Fordlândia.
Now there’s a new sort of planned industrial community, and this doesn’t look like the kind you want nearby. From the Seattle Times:
Survivalist group eyes Northern Idaho acreage
The Citadel, which arose on the Internet, envisions a walled and armed community in the mountains.
The plan calls for a fortified castle and firearms museum in addition to typical city features like a bank, jail and library. The complex would have 3,500 to 7,000 families on about 2,000 to 3,000 acres in Benewah County south of Coeur d’Alene, according to the website.
At the center of the development is a firearms-manufacturing company, III Arms, that would employ residents and raise money to help fund the Citadel. The company was incorporated in Idaho in August, its headquarters listed in Gaithersburg, Md., a suburb of Washington, D.C…
III Percent — seemingly a reference to the “three percenter” militia movement — and Citadel Land Development were created in Idaho last month, according to state records.
I imagine this as the setting for a new Bioshock game. The main character is exploring a bullet-riddled wasteland, occasionally passing a decapitated statue of James Madison or Jefferson and the tattered remains of the Stars and Bars. What happened here? Some alien virus? Zombie apocalypse? Did a secret government drug experiment drive everyone crazy?
And then you’ll stumble across a copy of the Citadel Patriot Agreement, with clauses like, “Every able-bodied Patriot aged 13 and older governed by this Agreement shall annually demonstrate proficiency with the rifle of his/her choice by hitting a man-sized steel target at 100 yards with open sights at the Citadel range,” and “Every able-bodied Patriot of age within the Citadel will maintain one AR15 variant in 5.56mm NATO, at least 5 magazines and 1,000 rounds of ammunition.”
Oh, THAT’S what happened.