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Private Cities & Public Morality: Are Non-State Communities

  • Broadcast in Politics



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Can Immoral Official State Governments Be Replaced by Private Communities of Conscience?

In Honduras, a novel undertaking has been constructed—private cities whose purpose is to maximize safety and happiness . This idea is a capitalist’s dream, but a liberal’s nightmare. And in a most fascinating manner, the idea of a privately owned commons has brought to the surface the multifarious contradictions of the modern age—with our continual demand for “liberty” while the deified state grows into a malignant colossus.

While the charter for building three private cities in Honduras was ruled unconstitutional, the idea isn't dead as the full Honduran Supreme Court must still rule on President Lorbo’s agreement. But even if the idea does die in Honduras, private cities are still an option for virtuous, libertarian minded souls. In fact, Paul Johnson, in The Voluntary City, gives the history of the development of government growth taking over self-governance in the West.

The real questions raised by the rise of private cities is what is the nature of the city, man, law and moral authority. Specifically, what is the meaning of law and the state? Further, what gives a country moral authority in which to erect statutes, establish courts, prisons and pass and enforce sentences? And how do the powers of the state intersect with religious ideals of justice and higher law? All these questions interested America’s Founders, and in a day of increasingly arbitrary leadership—we are still struggling to answer them.