One problem with the “Benedict option” is that people who deplore the decline of community end up withdrawing from their local communities to form smaller, more perfect ones. This ironically ends up further weakening the broad social fabric. Now, some residents of the the California suburbs have decided they can have it both ways:
The stay-at-home convenience of the cul-de-sac commune is, as Smith sees it, a solution to the biggest design flaw of its predecessors.
“In the past, utopian communities have often failed because people who started them have really insisted that the best way is to leave your old community, leave society, leave culture and start over, and it’s a valid idea in many cases, but, it also leads to failure,” she said. “So what we’re interested in doing is make them effective as part of a culture, not a counterculture this time.”
The idea of building a sustainable community-based culture in the exurban wasteland (what Walker Percy would call “Love in the Ruins”) seems well-nigh impossible so long as such developments rely on things like a petroleum-based economy.