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American Freedom: 247 years later...
What does American freedom look like, 247 years after we declared we are free?
Freedom means different things to different people.
Some people think ‘freedom’ means being permitted to amass billions of dollars to buy private islands, super yachts and rocket themselves into space.
Other people think ‘freedom’ equates to the government paying for your school, housing, food, childcare, healthcare, and every other need or want you have.
Neither of these things is actually freedom.
Both of these warped visions of freedom rely on imposing unfair rents and taxes upon others against their will.
The hyper-capitalist rocket-men make their billions upon the backs of millions using brute economic force, externalizing costs, and leveraging government cronyism.
The welfare-state bureaucrats take their billions by printing money or taking it from the incomes of millions who do decide to work hard everyday.
Both groups rely on big government policy to enable their rent-seeking behaviors.
True freedom is being able to work, and then enjoy the direct fruits of your own labor.
I have been fortunate to stand atop the worlds tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. I’ve been able to fly on passenger jets, and small Cessna airplanes. I have even piloted a Cessna airplane once myself. I’ve been able to climb the Great Wall of China. I recall the day I paid off my student loans. I also recall paying off my first little home. These are amazing experiences, but they did not give me a sense of true freedom.
I felt true freedom for the first time I collected eggs from our chicken coop, picked vegetables we grew from our garden beds, and then cooked breakfast with my son using renewable biogas methane fuel we produced with our methane digester. This felt like true freedom to me.
The biogas was produced from food waste, water, and methanogens. The eggs were laid from our hens who eat backyard bugs, food scraps, grain, and scrap produce. The veggies were grown from compost and seeds we’d saved. This is freedom to me. This feels very alive, and I think our American forefathers would have labelled this as freedom too. I did not pay money (or taxes) for the methane fuel, the eggs, or the vegetables. The land, systems, and seeds cost money at first. After the initial investment, we simply work the systems to produce the outputs. I put the work in with my family to enjoy the fruit of that work.
We can all feel and see the value of the US dollar diminishing rapidly. Every currency in history has either failed, or is in decline. Especially paper money. The US dollar’s devaluing is speeding up. It’s simply a historical cycle. This happens to all money, especially as an empire is in decline as America is.
Other countries are trying to escape from under the US dollar being the reserve currency, and I don’t blame them. We are printing money at unprecedented rates. Printing money from thin air is a much more effective and insidious form of taxation. Governments typically won’t raise taxes too much; the backlash would be too high. However, by printing money for their immediate needs, governments devalue your income and savings. For instance, our government has loaned massive amounts of money to the big banks, who are snapping up single family homes to be rented back to us and driving prices up for you and me.
If you’re fortunate to own a home, don’t get too excited about the huge spike in “value”. Your home really isn’t worth more. The dollar is worth so much less. Local zoning laws prevent us from building small, creative, affordable and efficient homes. Money printing is driving prices higher. Higher interest rates are jacking the costs of a mortgage. Big banks are coming for single family homes because they sniff big profits. This is not freedom. This is the beginning of societal bondage and servitude.
Food costs are increasing, as a few massive companies who own all the food supply chains are ramping up costs because they can. Billionaires are buying up the farmland because they know food will become more important as global strife and climate issues increase. Farmers are perpetually indebted, many of them tied to big agriculture systems who set the prices of the inputs (fertilizer, seed, chicks, etc) and then set the prices paid back to the farmer for the product (grain, chickens, etc). Our tax dollars subsidize corn and soy used by big ag for cheap animal feed, junk food, and ethanol. This is not freedom.
Young people are saddled with massive student debts — partially their own fault for not reading the fine print and thinking about ROI — but mostly the fault of greedy lenders and bloated school administration. Many colleges will close in coming years because young people have caught on to the scam. This is not freedom.
With the high costs of living, the unaffordable houses, the spiking food costs, increasing energy costs, educational debt, and stagnating wages, we are looking at a some very rough decades ahead of us. Freedom will have to be won anew.
Big business wants you to rent and subscribe to everything for your entire life: your utilities, your media, your car, your home, your meals, your medicine, your mortgage, your educational loans… everything. “Lifetime subscriber” might be the new modern form of an “indentured servant” or “serf”.
Senior citizens working at fast food restaurants to make ends meet is not freedom, it’s desperation. College educated people driving food deliveries for the wealthy is not freedom, it’s desperation. Families renting a home from Wall Street is not freedom, it’s because they can’t afford to buy a home anymore. Going into medical debt after being poisoned by our industrial food is not freedom, it’s entrapment. Freedom must be won anew.
Companies are racing to automate everything they can. Wall street is racing to buy single family homes. Tech companies are racing to build VR headsets to help people escape reality. AI companies are racing to replace the human brain with ChatBots. Governments are generally being directed by these interests. Most people have been asleep for the past 50 years. However, there are signs people are waking up.
For instance: homesteading, homeschooling and off-grid living are on the rise. This is a good sign. People are finding new paths towards freedom.
Cost sharing programs like Samaritan Ministries are becoming popular as they provide alternatives to the big health insurance companies; another good sign for people seeking freedom.
Today marks 247 years of American freedom. The light has shown brilliantly in the past. America has been the city on a hill. America will continue to be a materially blessed place for the top 10% economically for decades to come. However, what will America look like for the bottom 90% on the economic ladder?
Will Americans wake up? Will we see what’s happening? Will we act to reclaim freedom?
We must rebuild our communities to rebuild freedom.
You need people you trust. You need to know your farmer, your beekeeper, your carpenter, your doctor, and others who do the work that runs America. You need to have skills other people need.
In all of my research, reading, thinking, and conversations, I’m coming to some conclusions:
The only people who will help you are those in your community.
We need to learn to grow food, harness energy & build shelter again.
We must learn to care for the soil again, and restore local biodiversity.
We must master basic skills again, or else become dependent on big companies.
We must build local networks for produce, meats, services, and aid.
We must reclaim the essential skills for living, or lose our freedoms.
At Acorn Land Labs, we’re actively research the off-grid tools, methods, and systems to allow people to produce food, water, energy, shelter, and sanitation locally. This is an important part of the freedom equation, but you can’t go it alone. You need community.
American was founded by the pioneer spirit.
America’s backbone has always been Main Street, not Wall Street.
What makes our country special is the idea that people should be free to thrive.
The funny thing about freedom is that it cannot be given. Freedom must be taken, earned, and kept by those who desire freedom.
We have let freedom slip through our fingers over the past 50 years, America. As a nation, we have become indebted, unhealthy, sick, tired, over-extended, and morally bankrupt. We rely on big corporations for our food, housing, medical services, products, and services. These big corporations truly only care about profits. Not your health, your children, or your community. We got lazy. We let others do the hard work for us, and now we see the fox is in the henhouse. Freedom is looking shaky here at year 247…
Many people will give up their freedoms for comfort and convenience. They will live in a VR world, and be molded by the state and big corporations. Food will arrive on the doorstep, and they will enjoy their digital nirvana. These people will accept being a ward of the state, and being fed mentally and physically by those who own them.
Other people will not give up their freedoms so easily.
These people will learn new skills. They will grow food. They will build creative homes. They will swim upstream. They will solve problems with their community. They will teach their children. They will rebuild community and forge strong towns.
America is a huge place. There are no one-size-fits-all rules.
Here in America over the next 20 years, we’ll see some places and people become more free, while many other places lock down into a new feudal system.
Freedom is not comfort or convenience.
Freedom is not Big Macs, McMansions & hummers.
Freedom is not being a billionaire.
Freedom is not found on a rocket ship or a submarine.
Freedom is not being a helpless ward of the state.
Freedom is not binging Netflix.
Freedom is not a pile of rapidly devaluing money.
Freedom is the ability to work for yourself, to choose for yourself, to chart your path.
Freedom is what has made America the City on a Hill.
Freedom is cooking a fresh vegetable omelet on biogas on your homestead with family.
Freedom is powering your home from sunlight.
Freedom is building a home without needing a local Zoning board’s approval.
Freedom is avoiding a 30 year mortgage.
Freedom is teaching yourself new skills.
Freedom is harvesting rainwater for your gardens and livestock.
Freedom is being able to sell food to your community.
Freedom is living, working, and learning with family and friends.
Freedom is being able to control your time, body and mind.
Freedom needs limits, discipline, and steady work.
Grow a food forest, harness free energy, build an off-grid home, collect rainwater, improve the soil, teach your children, invest in your neighbors, build skills, plant trees, learn about permaculture, start a business, opt-out of big corporations, and opt-in to freedom on your own terms.
Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln both advocated for the importance of people owning their own small plot of land to grow food, establish a home, run a business, and build security and prosperity through hard work.
Freedom is always alive when people understand why freedom matters.
Happy 4th of July America. Freedom still shines for those who seek it.
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