Living Off the Land is Illegal (NOT)

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on March 7, 2017

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Oh, woe is life – The System says you can't even go off-grid, it's illegal !

The thing is, living off the land is only illegal in SOME jurisdictions. The authorities don't make up these rules because they want to keep you enslaved, although that may be the outcome. They do it because the cheapest way to provide amenities is to do it for everyone in a service area and share out the costs as much as possible. If you could then say "I don't want it and won't pay my share for it", that would make it more expensive for everyone else, your neighbours – a charming philosophy.

Of course the problem of finding an unserviced area when you live in the USA is hard, but it isn't hard in Third World countries, where people want be ON services but can't afford it. Just move to a Third World country, like I have – problem solved ! The first place I lived here didn't have ANY services. I never managed to convince anybody that THAT was a good idea, I don't know why, unless they were thinking of their comfort in old age. Are you expecting to have comfort in your old age? – ha ha ha ha, no chance. You're either going to be fit and strong and working hard dawn till dusk, or you are going to be dead.

The place where I am now has electricity, water and telephone – a really posh area, rent ~US$130 /week for a modern house (100 m2) on 8 acres of rainforest. The rent pays for reticulated water, but I don't use it, I collect rainwater off a tiny part of the roof (it rains a LOT here). When you collect your own rainwater, they still want you to pay your share of the cost of providing reticulated water.

5,000 Litre tank, 200 L barrel, 1,000 L open trough

The telephone doesn't actually work in the wet season, because the local watertable is so high it shorts out the copper wire junctions, so I've had it disconnected, and use an internet satellite dish instead (12 Mbps), which doesn't work when it's raining hard:

No reticulated sewerage, septic tank instead. (Note the tree branch which snapped off yesterday, that would have killed anyone standing under it):

No broadcast TV, radio or cell phone reception, only satellite dish again – a different one:

When you add in maintenance of the roads, rubbish collection, police services (which implies courts and prisons), ambulance services, nearby hospital services – all that stuff is nice if you can get it, especially when you are getting older, but it all costs money so you have to pay your rent, that's only fair.

When it comes to selling your excess garden produce to the public, First Worlders have got "the right" to expect that the food isn't going to poison them. So then there's got to be some kind of regulation: licensing and inspections and fees and taxes. In the Third World you have no such right, so things are much simpler.

After The Collapse, the USA will have much further to fall than here. But I still can't persuade any Amerikans to leave and get themselves organised in advance. Instead they fantasise about communities which are only going to cost a million dollars to set up, which of course is why they can't start now. They need (apparently) to buy the land first, even though all that property ownership system is certain to collapse. They need concrete and steel and timber and power tools – imagine nailing without a nail gun, so much hard work!

Over the weekend I saw an archeology doco on TV about life in the Scottish islands 4,000 years ago, where they had answers for all these things – stone houses, stone fences, stone tools. How do you shape a stone into an axe? – chip it lightly with another stone a thousand times, then grind it with sand, water and your hand. How do you make a hole in it for a handle? – get a dowel and some grit, and rotate back and forth a million times between the palms. What do you mean, you haven't got time for all that? – too busy watching TV and reading stuff on the internet?

Round here there are thousands of discarded stone tools. They mostly seem to be good for processing Pandanus fruits – scraping off the edible flesh from the bristles, and prising open the woody part to get at the nuts inside, which are tiny but nutritious.

The Stone Age is coming again soon, but no one wants to know, not even Diners:

"It's easy for you, you're single – my wife wouldn't let me."

"Amerika is the greatest country on Earth, and I'll shoot anyone who says otherwise !"

"I want to, but I can't afford it yet. Gotta work a bit longer first."

"I'll be dead soon anyway, so it doesn't matter, even if they torture me for being a dissident."

5 Responses to Living Off the Land is Illegal (NOT)

  • Bob Malooga says:

    Why do you spell America with a k? Does this have some meaning that I'm unfamiliar with, or are you just trying to be edgy?

    Anyhow, your advice seems to be "Stupid Amerikans, just move to a third-world hellhole if you're worried about your quality of life!" Not exactly practical advice, don't ya think?

  • RE says:

    Why do you spell America with a k? Does this have some meaning that I'm unfamiliar with, or are you just trying to be edgy

    "Amerika" is a Gonzo spelling convention Diners use to demonstrate disgust with the general behavior of Da Goobermint of the FSoA (Fascist States of Amerika).

    RE

  • Palloy says:

    Amerikans with a "k" believe Amerika is exceptionally good.

    I certainly didn't say hellhole – paradise would be my word for it. 

    This is the Doomstead Diner, and all articles are set in the context of an imminent collapse of civilisation, so no one is worried about improving their quality of life.  I'm suggesting taking a cut in lifestyle now, and learning about how the local people survived as hunter-gatherers as recently as a hundred years ago.   Shocking, isn't it?

  • JJGrey says:

    The problem with moving anywhere is the existance and response of the natives. 

    Once the crumble hits, the locals will look at the outsiders that are so different from them (or at least that arent born around there) and ask themselves "why should we let this guy use our resources? It used to be he had something of value (dollars), now he gives nothing of value, and is strange and arrogant."

    Of course that will also apply in any place that one moves to, even to a lesser extent locals. It is just a bigger factor the further afield you go to find a new place. 

    So community ties are probably the #1 prep you can make. 

  • Palloy says:

    You could be right, but outside of the First World people are much less suspicious and mercenary, and much more welcoming and into community/extended family.  If I was more into community myself, it would probably be to my advantage, but I always was a bit of a loner, even more so in old age.

    What do I have that they might want, apart from dollars?  Internet/mathematical/programming skills, books on local plants and their uses, practical plant identification skills – probably nothing that they need, or don't know already.

     

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