My Gitmo

There exists in southern Cuba, as many of us in the post-9/11-Afghanistan war world know, an American naval base lifted out of relative Cold War-era obscurity by the establishment of what amounts to a maximum-security POW camp, replete with facilities for interrogation of detainees, and the staging of military tribunals.  This feature has received a lot of publicity over the past two decades since its construction, but US Naval Station Guantanamo Bay – or GTMO/Gitmo for short – has been around since the Spanish-American War.  That’s 1898.  Since 1903, if you count the post-SAW Cuban government’s acquiescence as the true starting point.  Fidel Castro came along in 1959, and then the US military closed the navy base’s gates, became water and electricity independent, and has ever since existed as an autonomous enclave over the loud objections of the communist government in Havana.  It is supplied by both ship and aircraft arriving from stateside, and its rotating military and civilian population enjoy a lifestyle on base not much different than that of a Florida community.  There are even such amenities as swimming pools, waterslides, golf courses, movie theaters, nightclubs, and restaurants.  Indeed, Baskin-Robbins, Pizza Hut, Subway, and good old McDonald’s call Gitmo home.  A far cry from the impoverished Marxist landscape outside the gates, beyond the multi-layered razor-wire fenceline, and Cuban cactus curtain replete with Soviet-era minefield.

Of course, a military base – even an American one – is ultimately based more on socialism than capitalism (though many facets of its existence may enjoy substantial assistance from the latter economic model), but that fact lies beyond the scope of my present allegory.

Gitmo is a kind of ideological, as well as physical, fortress.  For all of its inherent statism, it still presents a very different philosophical face than the communist country that surrounds it.

Kind of like my little 20 acres here in Vermont.

No, there’s no concertina wire surrounding my property line – save for a bit of barbed wire along the top of some metal gates placed once upon a time in order to close off an old horse-coach trail.  Gitmo south has its Northeast Gate dividing it from communist Cuba. Gitmo north has its Southeast Gate. Otherwise, I simply have a series of NO TRESPASSING: PRIVATE PROPERTY signs tacked to trees spray-painted with blue dots every 20 feet or so around the entire perimeter – along with a few bright orange WARNING: FIREARMS RANGE ones. I don’t want to impede the migrations of any wildlife, just humans.  That said, even in spite of the extensive fencing and minefield, Gitmo south still boasts a large iguana population.  They’re endangered outside the gates, evidently. People living under communism often resort to them for food.

My driveway is open to the relatively isolated dirt back-road I’m situated on so that utility-providers and occasional welcome visitors can access it – though I keep it posted with NO TRESPASSING and private security system signs.  My mailbox (well, really the federal government’s mailbox, according to their legal code) sports a Gun Owners of America sticker, and is protected by a woodland camouflage snowguard.  This, I’m sure, pisses off the octogenarian leftist assholes who live just across the road in no small measure – as I’m sure the American flag flown at Gitmo south’s Northeast Gate, and elsewhere on base – pisses off the Cubans.  There is some small level of satisfaction in that.

There are several other features on the property to which I have rendered names, in addition to the Southeast Gate: There’s Lysander Spooner Hill, Iraq Rock (it’s shaped just like it on a map), and Target Trail, both north and south, featuring one of the aforementioned shooting ranges.  I have several outbuildings sporting a variety of flags: Anarcho-Capitalism, the Green Mountain Boys, and Gadsden’s Don’t Tread On Me. In my art studio, I occasionally create abstract paintings – a CIA Cold War counter-propaganda weapon (albeit, sadly, many if not most of the actual artists considered themselves Marxists). There’s a welding and general workshop, room for fuel storage, and a tractor. I have my own well, and plan to install a hand pump in the near future. Reading, writing, music, radio-listening, hiking, camping – all of it can be done here. The Internet and telephone provide outside communications, along with CB radio.  I’m stuck with the government postal system (though UPS and FedEx are available locally for higher rates), and most electricity in Vermont now comes from Canada – thanks to the closure of Vermont Yankee – but my gas-powered welder doubles as a generator. I have a Ford truck with a snowplow.  I have a stockpile of food.

Like I said, this is my fortress.  My Gitmo.  A small enclave where the philosophy of freedom still exists.  Outside, in much of the rest of Vermont, is an ethical and intellectual wasteland filled with devious, diabolical, destructive, and downright evil ideas such as critical race theory, socialism, gun control, suppression of free speech, and cultural Marxism.  Those things are not welcome here.  Not on my 20 acres.  Not at my Gitmo.

Don’t like that?  Want to try to intrude upon my sanctuary, my individual and as-autonomous-as-humanly-possible haven of liberty, based on my values and not yours?

Imagine what would happen to communist Cuba if the regime in Havana tried invading Gitmo.  No, true, I don’t possess the defensive force necessary by myself to repel a full-on government onslaught of my property, and I have no plans to even try.

But my attitude towards the dominant mindset that so sadly and insidiously pervades modern-day Vermont remains precisely the same.

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Alex R. Knight III is originally from Groveland, Massachusetts, where he grew up listening to rock and roll, reading J.R.R. Tolkien, and the comic books of the 1970s.  He today lives in rural southern Vermont where he welds, plays guitar, paints abstracts, reads avidly, and writes.  He is the author of the short fiction collection, Tales From Dark 7in addition to the novels The Morris Roomand Empty World.  And, he is a Voluntaryist. Visit his MeWe group here.