Come on in. Have a seat. I'm Alan. No telling who else might
show up to Chat. I saw you drive into town. I'll
try to answer any questions you have about New Liberty Village.
To ask any of these questions, chose by clicking on them ...or scroll on down the page
Question: Where am I?
Question: What if you want to sell your cafe?
Question: Can I have some of that applesauce now?
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You're at New Liberty Village, an online forum, and an experiment in better ways of Living. I'm one of the Cyberians who lives here. You might want to read the Welcome letter later, if you haven't already.
Is New Liberty Village some kind of sect or cult? What do you all believe?
That's about the first thing I wondered! I have yet to find any charismatic leader trying to find followers, to get everyone to think alike, look alike, or adopt some closed belief system. By our name, you can see how much of a premium we put on Liberty. Anything here that makes us different from any other town is likely to be geared towards greater expression of individuality, not the dimming of it.
I can't say what we all believe, because we all believe differently. My answers to any question are my own understanding, others in the village think much differently. Together, a lot of us are just trying to figure out better ways of doing things. It would help to understand that we are, first of all, just a town. Some persons were raised here. Others arrived for any number of reasons, or coincidence, and anyone can leave just as easily. Just pick up and move, just like where you live, hopefully. Again, all kinds of people live here.
Along the way certain persons had some ideas they thought might work, and tried them. Others liked the results, and saw the sense of it. Plenty of people here couldn't care less. We don't encourage them to leave, or try to convert them. True, there are enough of us that in our democratic government, that as far as human rights laws go, we have real influence. So does everyone else. But it stops there! In our personal lives, or even our economic lives, other persons have no say. Well, anyone can say what they wish. I sure don't have to do it, or even listen very long if I don't want to!
Alan, what brought you here? Do you own this cafe?
I came here about three years ago to visit a friend who had moved here. He kept telling me I ought to check it out. I figured he had lost his marbles. I'm not a joiner, and I'm slow to follow anyone else's views on anything, let alone someone's idea of a utopian dream world. I am pretty much my own man, as they say.
I always have liked the idea of being my own boss, and felt frustrated that I couldn't afford to start up my own business. All I knew is that the boss had new cars, I took the bus. Something about the boss/employee thing always was demeaning, like I was somehow less of a person than they were in ways other than the fact they sometimes knew more or had more experience. I didn't have beans to say about anything, even though I was spending the largest part of my life on the job. I wanted to learn some other trade, if I couldn't do better than I was. I have many other interests. You know, no money for training -- too hard to even consider. I sure wasn't about to back myself into another corner where I had even less choice of how I spent my time, or even directed my thoughts.
Finally I visited, not really knowing what to expect. I ended up staying with him and his wife for several weeks, looking around and talking to just about everyone. There are all kinds of person's here, like anywhere else. There is no program enforced on anyone, just a few more opportunities, I have come to believe.
I didn't have money to buy a building and equip it for a restaurant. About the second week here, I stopped by the Talent office some people run, across the street there, down the hill. They started by talking with me about what I'd do if I could do anything I wanted, then what I might have to do to get there. They explained that there are things that their board decides the town could use, and that there were funds available from investors. Turns out another restaurant was one of them. These are private people, not government. Really, it is pretty simple. I was looking out for hidden agendas and traps.
It turns out they were right about the need for a cafe, and it has turned out to be pretty profitable. First they told me of courses I could take here for management training, and told me they could introduce me to other's who might like to work with me. Some have skills I had not developed yet, others I could teach things I knew, that they didn't. For instance, I'm not much up on accounting. Jill Carmine does the cafe's books for us as well as for several other businesses. She also is her own boss, and contracts with me and other business's for her services. Everyone is self-employed, for real, but help is available in areas where one is weak. Arrangements were made for honing up my chef skills working a few months with the school cook, who is also self-employed working in that work association. Here, it's what you know, and how good you are at it, that is the main thing. If you want to learn something new, you can. Because of my experience and skills, they were willing to support me financially as the owner and entrepreneur. My interest in the business is down on paper, as is everyone else's that is involved.
Part of my work is teaching others the restaurant business. But when some people heard me play at the community center one night, a bunch wanted me to teach them guitar. Turns out there are other things I am good at and know, that a number of persons wanted to learn, and I sort of barter lessons with others. I am taking up things I never even dreamed of doing. It's just that here, there are more opportunities to associate with others when you want to, or need to. Money isn't the total King it was back home. But to answer your question, yes, I now own controlling interest in this cafe. If someone else wants to buy me out, I get what I can for my part in it.
For a year or so, I earned my living expenses, plus a little more sometimes, even a lot more occasionally, till I got really good at what I do. A certain percentage always went back to the talent association, and soon that amount added up pretty fast when the business got going. They were using the investor's money, and had to have a return on it 'til the business paid off it's commitment. Every thing was spelled out very clear, and mutual contracts were tailored just for our situation. The building and equipment is still not completely paid off. If we want to continue till it is paid off, then it will be ours in deed. They could foreclose if we do not meet the terms of our agreement, as on any debt, but our type of business relationship would result in more negotiation or finding alternatives than established business practices normally allow. If it came down to disputes, then it would go before our local New Day Human Rights division, our town government, for arbitration and council.
Lisa, who works the next shift, has her part of this enterprise, herself. She hasn't the experience and training I have had, so I am ahead of her in the sense I know more so I actually produce more. She recognizes this, and understands why I make more, accordingly. Each person working here works out their own contract with this association. When she is ready, she will be able to oversee, and direct her own restaurant. Maybe it will be something else, by then, that she has discovered she has talents for. Actually, we are becoming more and more like business partners, we might even work out a full partnership.
Ownership is an interesting topic around here.
Someone's writing a paper on it, from our new perspective. Be glad when she finishes it.
The Library will have it soon if you are interested. Ownership today is closely associated
with a person's sense of identity and individuality, and is not looked down upon, for
sure. Any way, I enjoy running this business, cooking, and meeting all the persons who
come in. My work is not a rock about my neck. There are other things I can do when, and if
I choose to. For now I am happy being right here!
How does one become a member of New Liberty Village?
No memberships allowed! No really, there are no cards to carry, no lists to join, no dogmas to believe in. New Liberty Village on-line is purely educational in purpose. Participation in one of the many forums does not mean one is a "member", nor that he or she believes in anything beyond what he or she states in the posting. Take what you can, give what you will. No strings attached.
Here in the Village, some of us have voluntarily contracted with each other to work at some economic activity or another, like this cafe. These associations do require a certain amount of being true to one's word, and working out personal relationships so they can continue from day to day, or as long as one wishes. But one can chose not to associate with his associates at any time. He can even go to work for McDonald's if he wishes! Likewise, there are no membership fees to pay!
Are there any New Liberties in the "real" world?
Interesting question. It's a pretty big world, that real world. You must be from there. I see that skeptical look upon your face. I hope to go there someday. There could be. Any of the many principals we espouse might be applied in some form, somewhere. We sure would like to hear about it. The New Liberty Beacon, our newspaper, will have a section devoted to what's happening in the real world. There is no New Liberty Village on any map, as far as I know. We expect that as more people hear about us and our way of doing things, they too might see what we see. Eventually insight has a way of manifesting itself all over. That's particularly good news if the present ways of doing things falters, and an urgent need for alternatives becomes imperative in short order. Actually, many lives could actually be saved, and much pain avoid. We are working on safe and efficient ways that real persons might actually communicate and network together, like scheduling local meetings in the real world to discuss these matters. Got any ideas? Chatting is one way to talk with real persons to learn if anyone else is interested in such things.
Who is in charge at New Liberty Village?
This is where it is helpful to begin to understand the practice we have begun of differentiating, and dividing, our social life, the life we live with other people, into three distinct areas. Each of these provinces is a world to itself, though it becomes clear, how, after the fact, a unified, living organism is formed, each part functioning it's characteristic way. The one area of social life where we are not free, is when questions of human rights arise. Do I have the right to cause someone else pain without restriction or justice? When my actions tread on the rights of another human, then social, or group action is authorized in New Liberty Village, and only then. So who determines what these rights are, and makes the laws? We are not without laws.
We believe our human rights section, our courts, police, our governing body, is truly democratic. Each of us, simply by being human, share equally certain needs and traits. Equality could be said to be the by-word for our type of government. We each have one vote of equal power and voice. Our representatives are elected directly by tallying our votes.
The important thing, in answer to your question, is to remember: we are talking about only one aspect of our lives, that of our human rights. No elected official has any say how I educate my kids, or myself, what I believe, or what I say. Nor is it possible he be expert in every economic activity. It is not up to him to tell me how I can, or can not cut my apples, nor how much profit I make on my applesauce ... so he keeps his hands out of my economic life as well. Now if someone is going to get sick from my applesauce, that is a different matter. Our government can and does pass and enforce sanitation ordinances and maintains inspectors and testing laboratories. Our government has a very well defined sphere of influence. here. That influence can be mighty in it's own way, because as much as possible, it is the will of all the people. We do pay taxes to support it: the police, the army, the operation of the courts. We all benefit from the protection of our rights, and we all, pretty much, are aware of how much we are in reality, not glorious sentiment, determining what these rights are. We pay these taxes to even ensure our right to non-interference in our lives from our politicians and government, and to make sure they stick only to what they are supposed to be concerned with, our rights.
Don't worry, it usually takes time and actual observation of the nitty-gritty details to see how three separate divisions end up forming a whole, viable social body. Old ways of thinking can prematurely close us off to something new and valuable if we don't watch out for it. Nobody is asked to swallow anything until he has tasted it and sees for himself if it is nourishing, or if his tastes like it. One is wise to not just gulp down anything someone else offers. Look at the effects on us. I, for the first time really feel like I am in charge of my own life, my own boss. That is a change for me. But that's my experience. It doesn't work that way, today, to simply adopt someone else's point of view. Got to see for oneself!
Is New Liberty Village some type of communism or socialism?
Hey, I just wrote a term paper, just on that very subject! I won't quote the whole thing to you now, don't worry.
What does communism or socialism mean to you? Somebody, or some group of some bodies telling you, and forcing you to do whatever ... whatever being just about anything, right? This includes politics, economics, religious beliefs, where you shop, what you buy, how much you pay, even what you wear, how many kids you can have, where you live, when you can leave ..... what else could be worse!!! A good part of the world has rejected this. I'm afraid though that not everyone really has been able to see clearly the fallacies and facts that allow, or determine that putting the power to order individual and economic life in others hands, always will have such horrendous results.
But how to provide the apparently positive aspects of such a system? Shouldn't we be concerned for the greater society, and have an intelligent, conscious choice in the directions we take, the products we produce, the size of our cities, the formation and education of our kids? Isn't it, in fact, noble to provide for the poor, and those unable to care for themselves? Should some persons be allowed to buy diamonds while others starve? These are all questions which must be addressed. It is not just "thinking pink" to consider them. It's being part of the human race, we think.
In the end, after all is said and done, each person has to answer these questions for oneself. I can say that I believe we are approaching these matters in a unique, and may even prove to be, revolutionary way (though not violently, to be sure). Neither socialistic, nor capitalistic models of the past encompass the facts we are manifesting. But you will have to see this for yourself. If you are inclined towards stereotypical thinking, as we all are with the very nature of our thinking and language, you may have problems fitting us into comfortable slots until you get new information and self-won insight. Stretching hurts sometimes, unless one has a very elastic mind! Then it's not so bad.
Hints to answer your question? Be wary of any ONE-STATE system. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, each in it's proper, and only place ... our tact is to divide social life into three areas, each separate and treated according to their own needs. Not three separate states, either. Only one, the human rights order, has the function or character of government, then concerned only with well defined matters, the equal rights relationships between persons. The other two, the Economic Life, and the Spiritual/Cultural Life work under entirely different sets of principles, fraternity and freedom. You sometimes got to move around to see all sides of a question. Check us out.
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Well then , is it Capitalism? Are you anti-American? What do you think of democracy?
I'm really not that much of an economics' philosopher, but my common sense tells me that letting the free-market of supply and demand determine prices, and how much, or what, is to be produced and sold, is a hard system to beat. A controlled market hasn't worked yet, though even in Real America, the market is not absolutely free. We believe that how much profit is made in an economic endeavor tells us much information ... especially the demand and need for an item, or an over-abundance of it. If something is profitable, usually both the buyer and the seller, and all the myriad's of persons involved in producing the products way back down and ahead in the line are benefiting, not just the person who is making the final sale. I don't think there is anything wrong with profit per se.
Though we do think that the free market way of doing business is the best way discovered to date, there are developments that cause us not want to be stereotyped as Capitalist, however. You've opened a large subject. You might check out our New Day general store, and other enterprises around town. Maybe you'll have more questions and comments to submit. We are forever discussing such things as capital, private ownership and such. Our minds are not made up into neat little conclusions, and we too have more questions and searching and sorting to do. We do know that in most places, economics has undue influence in matters that do not really concern it, when thought out aright. You will be able to read up on the subject in the library when it is fully functional, and please look into the New Liberty Village Discussion Group. If you have some views on these matter, or questions, throw them into the ring! We want to entertain all thoughts, and it is entertaining and valuable to hear and read what others think. Anything!
The ideas and principles that the United States' forefathers proposed and established were, and are, at the forefront of social progress and evolution, I believe. We have digressed from some of them, never applied some of them, and we believe it is not anti-American in any way to continue to be open to new understandings about anything, our country and it's government, included. Water has passed under the bridge, and our view, over time, should give us more understanding about the river. The direction of it's flow might change, and if we are not observant, we might find ourselves patting each other on the back, yakking away over dry land, the water having flowed elsewhere! (Guess I've about drawn all I can from that analogy! Excuse me.) We do have to examine why it is we have reached the state we are in, now. If one is satisfied with the way things are, great. Fine and dandy. That person probably won't be open to looking deeper, but that will not stop me.
As to democracy, yes, all the way when it comes to human rights. The majority should
not however, decide how my children are educated, how I think and speak. Neither should it
decide how to best build kitchen cabinets, or make applesauce! It's important to
differentiate these three areas of social life, we believe. There is one area where only I
reign supreme, that is the world of ideas, individuality, tastes and culture. Then there
is also, at the same time, a different area where knowledge and skills will determine who
leads the way, in our form of free economic associations. Then there is the rights life,
which concerns each of us equally in matters we share alike by being human beings in the
earth. The principles of democracy rule or apply only in our rights government. See
what I mean? If you see differently, we want to hear about it, please.
Will you accept my money for a cup of Coffee? And what if you want to sell your cafe?
You kidding? That's what I'm here for! Ahh, you must be wondering about our money system. Another one of my favorite subjects. We use the going price and wage scale as a frame of reference for our economic dealings, and the good ole' American dollar as the method of exchange, just like you do, if you are from the US of A. There are major differences from the standard, accepted way of doing business here, at least among those who are trying our new ways. Economics, human rights, and the spiritual spheres each have separate and different considerations when money or capital is involved. We find it imperative to keep these distinctions in mind at all times to prevent every thing getting all mixed up. Money is, no doubt, a very interesting and important subject, too deep to address completely here. Our bank has brochures (under construction) discussing our monetary philosophy in greater detail, and you might want to check out, or submit your ideas and questions and comments to the Economic Discussion Group.
How much do you offer me for this cafe? Seriously, if I wanted to sell my interests in the business, I am free to make any arrangement I wish at any time, including outright sale. Since I have put a goodly amount into the property and the building mortgage, I'd also be reimbursed for that, and the balance of payments towards the talent trust company contract would have to be paid off or subsumed by the purchaser. Not so different from now. The land itself is a different matter. Like the original keepers and users of the land, the American Indians, we see ourselves not as owners, but stewards. I maintain a right to use the land in perpetua as long as I am fulfilling the basic human right agreements concerning land we all have a hand in defining and enforcing. It is not my right to bury toxic wastes and plastic refuse in the ground because it is "my" land. The persons down in the valley all would have there say about that if it came up in their water. Ten generations from now, the persons who use this land also have a right not to have the unsightly, non-decomposing wastes surface in their front yard. If I continue after someone has complained, and negotiations have failed, the right to use the land can actually be taken from me for someone else to use aright. So we keep our awareness tuned to our environment. Rights, again. We are developing novel ways of looking at inheritance, and ways to keep our capital circulating, and other related issues. Keep in touch if you find this kind of thing fascinating, like I do.
Can I have some of that applesauce now?
applesauce! 'fraid I haven't got much done. Since I'm getting paid for what I produce, not
my time, guess I better get to it. Just remind me to keep peeling!
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