Charles Mahron has opened up what I think to be a great, even essential, discussion that fans of localism and sustainability and community of every possible stripe ought to have:
[L]iving in a place is a little like a marriage. There are times, especially early on, when it’s bliss, but there are way more times when it’s simply a lot of work. Marriage–or some form of binding two people together–isn’t an institution that has been around for all recorded history because it is easy. It’s endured because a committed relationship provides benefits–security, support, hopefully love and fulfillment–that are worth the effort….[B]ut being born in a specific place should not be akin to an arranged marriage. It’s okay to leave. If it’s not the right place for you, if the opportunity for you is not there, then go someplace else.
The question of moving or staying put–of learning to love and stick with the where you are, or making the individual choice (whether in response to disaster or curiosity or different priorities or plain opportunity-seeking) to travel elsewhere to find another, perhaps better place–has been a part of the Front Porch Republic discussion from the beginning. FPR founding father (at least in the eyes of some of us) Rod Dreher’s journey back to his hometown of Starhill, and then his departure from there, shaped a huge amount of early discussion on the blog. And, of course, Wendell Berry’s thundering pronouncements about “boomers” and “stickers” and the like have loomed over us all from the beginning. So consider this another iteration of an old argument, as old as modern individualism and as new as the latest struggle over urban design. If you can move, should you?