“How to Start Your Own Country” by Erwin Strauss (Approach #4: Vonu)

Recently, I began reading Erwin Strauss’, How to Start Your Own Country; Strauss was a long-time editor of Libertarian Connection and was well apprised of the attempts at founding new libertarian nations, whether they were sesteads or otherwise. That said, one of the approaches he presents is vonu, so of course I have to mirror it here for your delectation.

It’s worth noting that vonu is brought up a few more times in the book, but it is mostly in the vein of comparing/contrasting with the other approaches presented. For listeners of The Vonu Podcast or students of libertarian history, I highly recommend this book–I’m about halfway through and am finding it highly valuable. Enjoy.


Approach #4: Vonu (Out of Sight and Mind)

“Vonu” is a term that was coined by members of the Free Isles project described in the Case Histories chapter, after they gave up on the project. It describes the concept of living “out of sight and mind” of the government claiming the territory one lives in. This is a style of living like that of the legendary “Mountain Men” of the last century. The areas favored by the originators of the “vonu” concept were in the Siskiyou Mountains of Eastern Oregon, and the interior of British Columbia.

Other promising areas for the practice of “vonu” are uninhabited islands in the Pacific and other oceans. A guide to these islands is identified in the Access chapter. Still another possibility explored by the original “vonuans” is nomadism: living as gypsies in campers and such, spending the night wherever one happens to be at the end of the day. Even in the last part of the 20th Century in the United States, it is surprisingly easy to drop out of sight of the authorities in one way or another. The continuing inability of the authorities (called “bludg” — from “bludgeon” — in vonuspeak) to track down the Posse Comitatus fugitive in the Dakota Badlands illustrates this point.

Living a “vonuist” life, you can pay essentially no taxes, educate your own children as you see fit, forget about draft registration, and otherwise live as you choose. The physical necessities of life may require a bit more effort, but those who value freedom may find this a small price to pay for liberty. A book detailing the theory and practice of “vonu” is listed in the Access chapter.