An island free-market utopia on the Detroit River, a Glenn Beck "city-theme park hybrid" and a fortress where guns are mandatory would house those who want to escape the U.S. government without crossing a border.
Almost immediately after President Barack Obama was re-elected to a second term, petitions for states to secede from the United States were posted to the White House website.
The White House responded to the eight petitions that received more than 25,000 electronic signatures, as is its policy, but the news wasn't good for would-be seceders.
"Free and open debate is what makes this country work, and many people around the world risk their lives every day for the liberties we often take for granted," Office of Public Engagement Director Jon Carson wrote in the official response. "But as much as we value a healthy debate, we don't let that debate tear us apart."
But for those who still hope to separate themselves from the U.S., at least three proposed independent Libertarian communities would operate on U.S. soil with their own laws, economies and currencies.
The Citadel, which organizers hope to build in Benewah County, Idaho, would house between 3,500 and 7,000 families united by "patriotism, pride in American exceptionalism, our proud history of liberty as defined by our Founding Fathers, and physical preparedness to survive and prevail in the face of natural catastrophes — such as Hurricanes Sandy or Katrina — or man-made catastrophes such as a power grid failure or economic collapse."
Guns figure heavily in the plans for the Citadel. Kids would be "educated in school rather than indoctrinated," and that education extends to marksmanship and gun safety.
All able-bodied residents over the age of 13 would be required to demonstrate their marksmanship with a rifle, a handgun and an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle once a year, and one family member would agree to undergo militia training once a month.
An artist's conception of the Citadel grounds shows both a gun museum and a manufacturing plant for III Arms, which claims to make "the only firearm in America that is designed by patriots, built for patriots, with the sole purpose of defending liberty."
It costs $208 to apply for residence, and organizers accept pure gold and silver coins as well as PayPal. Anyone can apply, though the website stresses that "Marxists, Socialists, liberals, and establishment Republicans may find that living within our Citadel community is incompatible with their existing ideology and preferred lifestyles."
Belle Isle, Detroit
A plan to turn Detroit's Belle Isle into a U.S. commonwealth has the attention of Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, the country's biggest chamber of commerce, and Detroit Economic Club head Beth Chappell, according to The Detroit News. They are among the 50 people set to hear the pitch Jan. 21.
Under developer Rodney Lockwood's proposal, the cash-strapped city would sell Belle Isle to private investors for $1 billion. The 982-acre island park in the Detroit River would then secede from the U.S. and become a city-state with limited government and no personal or corporate income tax.
It would cost $300,000 to become a resident, but exceptions would reportedly be made for immigrants, artists and entrepreneurs who can't foot the bill. Citizens would be required to be fluent in English and have no criminal record.
Lockwood admitted that his proposal was unlikely to pass, but told The Detroit News, "You have to put ideas out there — especially now, when so much is up for debate."
Taking inspiration from both Ayn Rand and Walt Disney, conservative commentator Glenn Beck describes his vision for Independence USA as a "city-theme park hybrid."
"With the rest of the country and the world going away from the values of freedom, responsibility and truth, Independence would be a place built on the very foundation of those principles," Beck says on his website.
The ambitious plans include residential and commercial sections, a ranch, a technology research and development center, a multimedia studio and a church modeled after the Alamo. Beck estimates the price tag at more than $2 billion.
"Independence is very much a dream at this point," according to glennbeck.com, but Beck's news site The Blaze claims that the former FOX News host has toured "three possible sites in three different states" and spoken to two governors about the project.
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