Selling pork for cash looks weird to urbanized 2014 America but it’s OK. Bacon is not a crime!
Flashback to a zillion years ago. I was young and broke and needed to get from point A to point B to take a shitty seasonal job. (This was back when poor people had jobs and I had better hair.) I bought, at a pittance, a used commercial vehicle. I licensed it, insured it, learned the magic voodoo of double clutching, threw some scrounged tools in the back, and hit the road. It broke down over and over, I patched it together over and over. So long as it kept rolling I was happy.
I lived in that beast while I worked. It sucked compared to a real house but the rent was cheap and I was tough. Besides, real houses suck too. I saw a lot of the country. I never paid for a hotel. I tried to pick a nice view every time I moved. Deserts, mountains, plains, and coasts; for a while, it was my personal back yard.
When I was at the wheel, with all my shit stowed and food in the cooler and a bed to sleep in and Mrs. Curmudgeon happily riding shotgun… what more did I need? I was the pauper captain of my own rusting leaking barely running ship. Some men never feel that free. I was lucky and I knew it. I still miss it.
Flashback to a zillion years ago minus a few. The vehicle was gone and I’d wound up in Europe; once again chasing a job. (This was back when Europe had jobs.) Some local friends and I were discussing our various exploits and I mentioned my days as a nomad.
“But that’s illegal.” They gushed.
“What’s illegal about a shitty old vehicle?” I asked.
“It’s a commercial truck. How could they let you own one?”
“Let?” I bellowed. “They don’t let me do a god-damn thing. There’s no magic about it. If I can afford it, I can have it.” I pointed to a small (European sized) paving truck across the street. “If I feel like driving around in a cement mixing truck and can afford the truck and the fuel, it’s nobody’s business but mine.”
“But you have to be a cement company.”
“No you don’t.”
Luckily the discussion veered to other topics and more wine arrived. I still remember that moment. It realized that Americans really are a different breed. I was shocked that my good friends simply assumed something was illegal because it was unusual. (Heck, it was stupid and expensive too, but it was definitely legal.)
Everything which is not forbidden is allowed. I believe that. I intend to stick with it until they plant my ass in the ground.
That was then and this is now. In my life I’ve seen a lot of water pass under the bridge and I’ve learned that freedom is a living thing. It’s complicated. It comes from within.
Freedom is relative. It’s not about tanks in the streets if your HOA wants to nitpick about the color of your mailbox. It’s not about freedom of speech if you really need your job and your boss is a tyrant. It’s not about gun rights if you own a business in California and you’re worried about being trapped there as the forever hated (and perpetually exploitable) 1%.
It it freer to have gay marriage and a smoking ban? Is it freer to have a president who smoked pot by breaking the law, or a state created medical marijuana monopoly, or legal pot and cops stopping cars at the state line?
America is different but the same. Americans are different but some are the same. Europeans? Who fuckin’ knows. I wish them well but they seem doomed. If I ever go back I’ll drop by London and ask around. Perhaps young Muhammad of London still believes Europe is free or maybe he’ll just say that while playing with his smartphone (monitored by the NSA?) under the eye of a CCTV (monitored by who?). The world is a confusing place. Concealed carry is old news to me, a new but viable thing in Russia, legally granted but bureaucratically impossible in D.C. , and the once mighty but now supine Brits are debating cooking equipment. So which is freer? A Brit with a constitution that can’t carve a turkey or a pistol packing Russian who’s getting shaken down by the cops?
I went a bit afield there eh? Drank too much coffee I guess.
The point is that I’ve had many people, a few on the blog and many more privately freak out about homegrown food. What worries me is that they’re so quick to give up. Bureaucratically annoying is not the same as impossible. Not yet at least.
Yes there are a lot of regulations. Yes, it’s a pain in the ass to follow them all. Yes, the government would be a lot happier if I’d stay in a cubicle and buy my food at Wal-Mart.
Even so, it’s legal to raise food and (provided you jump through hoops) sell it. It’s legal to make cash transactions in a parking lot. (I report it on my taxes.) I think all of us, who value freedom so highly, should endeavor to do all those things which are legal but annoy regulators. It’s our civic duty. Don’t bail out on the easy freedoms which are still available to us.