Cultural Secession

David Trammel's picture

While I personally believe that you should stay engaged in your local community, I recognize that in some cases the "community" you live in could become different enough you would no longer feel you could engage. This article at the Atlantic talks about "cultural secession".

The Christian Withdrawal Experiment
(Use the private browser Brave, if you can't access the article.)

Feeling out of step with the mores of contemporary life, members of a conservative-Catholic group have built a thriving community in rural Kansas. Could their flight from mainstream society be a harbinger for the nation?

"Dreher addressed his book (The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation) to fellow conservative Christians, but in calling for a strategic retreat from society, he tapped into an impulse felt by a range of groups in America. In Philadelphia, Baltimore, and D.C., contemporary followers of Marcus Garvey, the 20th-century Pan-African activist and thinker, have built infrastructure designed to free black people from systemic oppression: community gardens to provide food in neighborhoods devoid of grocery stores, and Afrocentric schools that teach black pride. Young leftist Jews skeptical of assimilation have founded a number of Yiddish-speaking farms in upstate New York, in an effort to preserve their ethnic heritage as well as Judaism’s agrarian tradition. Environmentalists have established sustainable settlements in rural Virginia, which serve as both utopian experiments in low-impact living and shelters for the climate disasters ahead.

These groups ostensibly have little in common, but they share a sense that living according to their beliefs while continuing to participate in mainstream American life is not possible. They have elected to undertake what might be termed cultural secession. Katherine Dugan, an assistant professor of religion at Springfield College, in Massachusetts, who studies Catholicism in the U.S., describes the desire for protected, set-apart communities as “a natural American response to not liking what the cultural context is.”


There will be a place for the skills Green Wizardry teaches in such communities but I don't think walling ourselves off into singular communities is the answer though. The problems we will face in the Long Descent are too big to stand alone. And that's not just religious people, it includes environmentalist and Green Wizards too.

"At a time when American politics is so fractured and dysfunctional, the idea of huddling among our own holds undeniable appeal. SSPX parishioners believe they know God’s way and try to follow it, largely unencumbered by those who do not share their views. But there is peril in the premise that we would all be better off living among our own. Democracy depends on the friction that comes from encounters with difference. The movements for abolition, enfranchisement, labor dignity, and civil rights all stemmed from factions of Americans demanding rights and basic respect from their neighbors. If the country’s most fervent believers, whether Catholics, evangelical Christians, civil-rights advocates, or environmentalists, were to simply give up their visions for a better nation, the American project would stagnate."

People have, when given the chance, always banded together in like-minded groups. That's what the Pilgrims did, fleeing oppression in Europe and crossing an ocean so they could live by their beliefs.

I live in central Pennsylvania with large Amish and Mennonite populations. I grew up in central Delaware, which also had large Amish and Mennonite populations. It worked.

How different is this from moving into an HOA and then (because you didn't bother to read the bylaws) discovering you can't do all kinds of things including having a flag pole with the National Ensign?

No matter how hard these groups try to isolate themselves from the greater population, they'll fail. The Pilgrims did. The Shakers did. The Amish have their own problems but the larger society acts as a safety valve of sorts: those members who can't manage to fit in, can leave so the group doesn't have to change its own rules too much. (Even though they sometimes do, a little at a time. That's how you get buggy lights and reflective orange triangles or at least reflective gray triangles).

Teresa from Hershey