What would society be like without laws? This is a complex question, and one that will inevitably produce a wide range of answers depending on who you ask. Some will claim a lawless society would be a paradise, while others will say it'd fall into unsustainable chaos. No matter your stance, it's an interesting question to consider, and one that's applicable to the survivalist mindset. After all, a post-apocalyptic world has often been referred to as WROL — without rule of law.
We recently came across a 20-minute short documentary that takes a look at a community that exists without organized and enforced laws. “The Last Lawless Land in America” was created by the indie filmmaking duo known as the Flutter Brothers for their YouTube channel Off the Cuf. It examines Slab City, an informal settlement in a remote patch of the California Badlands.
Slab City grew from the remains of Camp Dunlap, a U.S. Marine Corps training installation that was decommissioned and torn down in 1956, leaving behind an assortment of concrete slabs. Squatters took up residence on the abandoned land, and improvised buildings and art installations there over the decades. The land is officially owned by the state of California, so state and federal laws still apply, but officials seem to have no interest in dedicating resources to enforce them. It's therefore considered effectively lawless by its residents — or at least close enough.
The resulting community is difficult to describe, including solitary hermits, peaceful hippies, heavy drug users, and all sorts of misfits. According to a woman known as Cornelius, the self-appointed librarian of Slab City, “Everybody's always talking about how it's an anarchist utopia, they'll say everything's perfect and wonderful. And then on the other side, you get people who are like, ‘it's a tweaker dystopia, and it sucks.' It's kinda both of those things at the same time.”
Watch the short film below for a glimpse of the “lawless land” of Slab City.