Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal

This is actually not quite true, but it’s true enough.  It’s also the title of a delightful and terrifying book by Joel Salatin that I cannot recommend highly enough.  I was told about it yesterday morning, got the book by noon, and finished it this morning at 7.  Compulsively readable.  Frustrating.  Scary, even.  But required reading, I think, for anyone that lives in the US.

As you know if you read this blog, I am an avid microfarmer.  We keep chickens for eggs, grow grapes, apples, peaches, apricots, cherries, walnuts, strawberries and raspberries, and have a very healthy and quite large vegetable garden.  We use no pesticides (normally).  We can and preserve everything we are able to.  We take a large interest in making our land produce the maximum it possibly can.

A good number of the things we do are illegal.  And we do not care.

No, that’s not correct.  We do care.  We care intensely.  We would love to live a fully legal life, but we find that we cannot.  When one cannot collect rainwater without running afoul of city and state ordinances – really, you ought to look this up – then it becomes impossible to live a responsible life without also becoming a criminal.  And this is where we are in almost every city in the US.

Salatin’s book points out his running gun battle with the local, state, and national authorities just to be able to do things on his farm in a way that makes sense.  In every case, what he does is better, cheaper, more responsible, and more contributory to a healthy life than what the government mandates, and still, the pinheads come and start flinging around “compliance”.  It reminds me powerfully of what happens in the mortgage industry when I show people a Good Faith Estimate that is federally mandated to be obscure and absolutely misleading.  It is wrong, just flat wrong.  I spend a great deal of time going through alternate, non-federally-approved documents to help my clients understand what is actually happening with their mortgages, because I care more about the client than about the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  One day it will probably get me in trouble, but I do it anyway, because I can’t live with myself if I don’t.

Get the book.

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