On the occasion when I explain my upbringing in Ananda Village, California, to fellow libertarians, I am often met with funny looks or a halfhearted, “That’s neat,” in response. Ananda, founded by J. Donald Walters (also known as Swami Kriyananda), is an intentional cooperative community celebrating its 43rd anniversary this year. The community of Ananda is, quite simply, a gathering of individuals who follow the spiritual teachings of the Indian yogi, Paramhansa Yogananda (author of “Autobiography of a Yogi”). I was born and raised in Ananda, and the community itself is a haven of individual creativity, dedication, and entrepreneurship.
In fact, there is no rule book or set constitution for communities to adopt. There is nothing mandating that communities have to be collective socialist communes where no one can so much as own their own shirt. Communities are basic structures, they are whatever people create of them. Some individuals might prefer a community that focuses on promoting entrepreneurship, others a community that centers on building birdhouses and widgets. Regardless of the intended community focus, the key concept is an intentional community provides a foundation for like-minded individuals to come together, collaborate, and work toward on a common goal.
Libertarians often try to change things through a legislative process in government, which is a great and noble goal.