The Citadel website states that the development will have canals, ponds, waterfalls and public gardens that will offer “picturesque retreats” and “enhance the experience of residents and visitors alike”; organizers also plan to protect “up to two full square miles” of the compound behind the aforementioned walls and towers, with interior neighborhoods having “lower defensive walls, dividing the town into defensible sections.”
Prospective residents must sign a “Citadel Patriot Agreement,” which requires them to:
“Annually demonstrate proficiency” with rifles and handguns by hitting “a man-sized steel target” at an on-site firing range.
Maintain a “Tactical Go Bag or Muster Kit to satisfy the Minuteman concept.”
Keep their homes stocked with sufficient food, water and other essentials to sustain their needs for an entire year.
Carry a loaded sidearm whenever visiting the Citadel Town Center.
Despite the focus on firearms and survivalist preparation, organizers insist they are neither “militia separatists,” nor “wackos.” To the contrary, they intend to follow all state and federal laws and have the Citadel function as a tourist attraction, much like Disneyland.
“The model will be similar in many ways to that of Disneyland,” says the community’s website. “Millions of people visit Disneyland and interact peacefully. It’s exceptionally rare to hear of any serious problems. The key is that those people want to be there and understand what is expected of them. Surprisingly similar to what we are doing.”
The city of Independence, Mr. Beck said, would include a working farm, a downtown marketplace, a multifaith house of worship and a front gate modeled after the one on Ellis Island.
Perhaps most importantly, Mr. Beck also plans to build a film studio where his production company can create movies and television shows that stand apart from popular Hollywood fare by not “constantly assaulting all the things that we all stand for.”
“Again, there’s a sense of creating a counterculture, the attempt to create a counter-intellectual world,” Mr. Rosenthal said. “Especially in their plans to be visited like Colonial Williamsburg, these communities seem like a cross between the Henry Ford Museum village and the Creation Museum in Kentucky.”
Of course, there’s a major difference between those projects and the proposed Conserva-topias: Only the former actually have been built.
According to Details magazine, Mr. Thiel’s Seasteaders hope to create moveable, linkable, 12,000-ton floating structures that house nearly 300 residents; currently, however, they have yet to convert even a single passenger ship.