A while back, I was presented with an interesting idea by a long-time friend and hunting buddy of my husband.
He was talking about mutual assistance living (more or less), which is the idea that a group of people or families can band together to help each other, support each other and protect each other.
I’m not talking about communes. I’m not talking about shared belongings or alternative lifestyles, communism or socialism. This is all about people doing things for themselves, for their own families, while having others nearby that they can depend on. There are a lot of different ways for people to go about mutual assistance living and a lot of different circumstances under which a group of people might want to choose that lifestyle.
Our friend has access to pretty large plot of family land. For a long time now, it has been primarily used for hunting. There’s a cabin on the property that can house up to about 12-14 people at maximum capacity (if everyone is willing to share a bed with someone) and you never know who might show up but it’s always a good time. There are always people coming together at this little cabin in the woods, hunting together, cooking together, sitting around a campfire roasting hotdogs. Everyone pitches in and does their part whether it’s preparing meals, washing dishes, doing laundry or cleaning up. To sum it up, there’s always a lot of love at this place.
So a few years ago, our friend mentioned an idea to us (somewhat in passing) about how nice it would be if he and his wife, my husband and I, and a couple of other families built houses on the property and we all moved in to form our own little community. We would be neighbors living on the same land, but we would be more than that – we would be helpers. We would watch out for each other, we would hunt with each other and help take care of the land together. And in the event of a catastrophe or societal collapse we would protect each other and help one another survive. In fact, I believe that with the cache of weapons, ammunition and good old-fashioned know-how that these families would bring together, we could survive almost anything.
But why? What could mutual assistance living accomplish that we couldn’t accomplish on our own? The answer is nothing, really. My husband and I have guns and ammunition of our own. We know how to hunt for and grow our own food. We know how to can and preserve. We are both decent marksmen and neither of us would be the slightest bit shy about defending ourselves with deadly force.
We don’t really NEED other families to help us and neither do any of the other families proposed to go into this arrangement with us. The whole idea is really just about like-minded living. We could live in the community we live in for the rest of our lives and do perfectly well on our own, but who is to say that the people living in the houses around us believe what we believe? Who is to say that our next door neighbors will be OK with our ownership of weapons? And if the time comes that the weapons we possess are less legal than they are now, who is to say one of our kindly, law-abiding neighbors won’t throw us under the bus? Who is to say they won’t be the ones would have to defend ourselves from to begin with? But if we all moved in together on the same land, our friends and ourselves, with all of our similar beliefs and ideals, with all of the “do-what-it-takes” mentality between us, we would become a force to be reckoned with. We wouldn’t have to be wary of our neighbors. We wouldn’t have to constantly watch our backs because there would be others around watching it for us. (Not to mention the convenience of running next door for that literarily trite “cup of sugar.”)
I am not going to prattle on and on about what a great life it could be. I’m not going to try and convince anyone to choose that path. And I certainly don’t think that mutual assistance living would be for everyone and for all I know, we’ll never end up in a situation to even give it a shot (And let’s hope that the state of the world improves and we’re never forced to). But for the sake of argument, it could be a beneficial way of life. So, if you’ve never considered it (or heard of it), the idea is at least worth consideration.