It’s nothing short of ironic that this nation, which was founded, explored, and made great by adventurous and self-reliant people, has now become a haven for those who insist on being cradled and sheltered by convenience. Responding to the demand that this has created, the government has increasingly made it more difficult to be self-reliant and now seems thoroughly dedicated to preventing anyone from taking care of themselves and their families.
The threats to a sustainable and individual lifestyle are legion these days, but just as with any list, there is always a small group of items that take the top spots. While the threats to life and limb in the early days of our country were almost purely natural, today the primary threats to self-sufficiency come from the government that we put into place and their idea of what should and shouldn’t be regulated.
Here, then, are the five top threats to off-grid living – all from the government:
1. The EPA
There is no doubt whatsoever that the Environmental Protection Agency has done some good since it was established in 1970. After all, if it weren’t for some rules, our skies could look like those over Beijing and we could all be walking around with protective masks.
Despite the good things the agency has accomplished, it has become a force against liberty as the years have passed. I personally consider the EPA, IRS and FEMA to be the triad of agencies that threaten freedom, and the ones most likely to lead to more intrusive government and perhaps even usher in a totalitarian state. This is done through force of regulation, not legislation, and the EPA excels at over-regulating.
The two most recent and egregious examples of this are the regulations on wood-burning stoves and the change of wording in rules related to the Clean Water Act, which gives it control of essentially any body of water — including ponds and ditches — within US borders.
The wood-burning regulation is a direct attack on off-grid and “plain” living, as only around 10 percent of homes in the US use wood for heating. The idea sounds good on paper — as most of them usually do — but is almost ridiculous in real-world application. Vehicles on the road give off exponentially more soot than the few wood-burning stoves in use.
The ability to control water usage and heating in an off-grid situation is vital, to say the least. Unbridled, it’s foreseeable that this dangerous agency would simply remove our right to even have a campfire, let alone heat our homes with wood. And seizing control of any pool of standing water means seizing control of all the property surrounding the water, too.
As with any law or regulation, you really have to look at both the minutia and the big picture to understand the impact of the Affordable Care Act, lovingly known as Obamacare. It’s in the details that people are hoodwinked. “But, it does this or that good thing” is an insane argument when the overarching effects are overwhelmingly negative.
The first threat that Obamacare poses is in the idea that every citizen is required to purchase a certain product – even people off-grid, 100 miles from the nearest big city doctor. That itself is the antithesis of liberty and a free nation. If everyone were required to purchase anything else — a generator, for instance — at double to quadruple the price, there would be revolt. But because it’s health insurance, it’s justified as being for the public good. As the argument goes: Your poor health affects my bill at the doctor’s office.
But aren’t generators that important, too? What happens when the next Katrina strikes? Generators save lives, so shouldn’t everyone be required to keep and maintain one? And that is how the argument spreads. Next thing you know we’re all being penalized if we don’t have one.
At a higher level comes the real fear, though. Government control over health care, in even the tiniest form, means complete and total government control of health care at some point down the road.
Never mind the fact that the law which was supposed to make sure everyone has medical coverage has actually lowered the percentage of covered people. Those pesky facts aren’t important.
3. Local laws
Off-grid living, at its essence, is exactly what it says — living unconnected to the power grid. There are also many other self-sufficiency aspects, but it all starts with “unplugging.” So what happens when not being connected to the grid becomes illegal?
In Florida last year, a woman was actually threatened with eviction because she wasn’t connected to the city’s power grid or water supply. She had been living off-grid using solar panels for electricity, a rainwater collection system for water, and a propane camp stove for cooking. According to some outdated and inane city (and international!?!) codes, this was unacceptable.
Other cases in Florida, and elsewhere, have seen property owners in trouble for growing vegetables in their front yard. It’s one thing to have family and other people look sideways and disapprovingly on someone’s decision to disconnect from the system. It’s another thing entirely when those other, disapproving people wield the power of local codes and laws that are silly at face value and dangerous to freedom at deeper levels.
4. Gun Regulations
In a real self-sufficient situation, hunting and gardening are the two primary means of eating. We’ve already seen that growing your own food can be and has been a cause for legal actions, but those cases pale in comparison to the ongoing assault on owning and using guns.
Rarely does a year go by that hasn’t seen yet another “progressive” attack on US citizens owning guns. Don’t be fooled by the rhetoric; they don’t simply want “assault rifles” or high-capacity magazines to be illegal. They want there to be a complete and total ban on every day, law-abiding citizens owning or using guns. That is a right, in their twisted minds, that should only be reserved for law enforcement, the military, and perhaps celebrities or politicians (is there a difference anymore?) that have armed body guards.
The Second Amendment was the “second amendment” for a reason. It was for protection, from enemies foreign and domestic, and because deer tastes good. And when we are no longer allowed to hunt or grow food, unplugging from the electrical grid becomes a practical impossibility.
5. Restrictions on Religious Liberty
There are physical aspects of freedom, and then there are the mental and spiritual aspects. For a religious people, everything else derives from what God says is good, bad, allowable, necessary or forbidden. That is why oppressive governments throughout history have had atheism as a primary driver or at least a denial of Judaism or Christianity as a valid religion. Once they can crush the spiritual aspect of life, all else will fall into place under their control.
The Judeo-Christian religions and traditions are based on family-centric communities that help each other and live as harmoniously as possible with each other and the land – sometimes off grid. The Amish, with their centuries-old way of living, are a great example of this type of lifestyle and proof that it can be done still today.
It should be no surprise, then, to see the kinds of attacks that we see today on religion and religious liberty. The bill recently passed and signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana regarding religious liberty is simply a reflection of bills that 19 other states already had and that President Clinton signed as a federal law in 1993. Yet the attacks on Pence, the state of Indiana, and the bill were fierce and unyielding.
This shows how far the anti-religion portion of the country and government have come. Any new occurrence that supports religious liberty will be shouted down as bigoted, racist or intolerant going forward. This makes it all the more important to teach our children well and consistently about God and the Bible at home, because once they walk out the front door, they will be told by everyone else that these things are unimportant, imaginary — and even dangerous.
What do you believe is the greatest threat to off-grid living? What would you add to the list? Share your thoughts in the section below: