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    Some Thoughts On Homesteading 

   Since the Homestead Act of 1862 was repealed for all states except Alaska 
by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, the term today cannot 
mean in practice what it used to mean under the provisions of the original 
law. I suggest that a suitable working definition can be obtained from one 
of John Denver's fine songs: 

   Blow up your TV, throw away your papers, 
   Go to the country and build you a home. 
   Plant a little garden, eat a lotta peaches, 
   Try to find freedom on your own. 

   In essence then, homesteading today has several aspects, some of primary 
definitive importance and others of lesser consequence. Among those of the 
first order of importance I would place these: 

   Leave the city and establish residence in the country. 
   Become as economically self-sufficient as you conveniently can, 
concentrating especially on the areas of food self-sufficiency and energy 
self-sufficiency. 
   Forsake exposure to prolefeed. 

   I think that if these three criteria are met then the activity you are 
engaging in can legitimately be called homesteading, regardless of the 
specific nature of such minor aspects as: 

   Type of dwelling - you may live in a houseboat on a Louisiana bayou, a 
log cabin on the plains of Nebraska, or a cliff dwelling in the mountains of 
New Mexico, and still satisfy the definition of homesteading. 
   Method of food provision - you may depend primarily on hunting in the 
wilderness areas of Wyoming, fishing in the coastal area of Oregon, or 
farming in the hills of upper New York. The extent of your gardening and/or 
animal husbandry operations does not really define the homesteading 
activity. What is important is that you become as self-sufficient as you can 
and as separated as possible from the complex and delicate system of food 
supply which staves off imminent starvation for 95% of the general 
population. 
   Source of entertainment and intellectual stimulation. Here there is such 
a wide range of options available that I don't think any specific comments 
are needed. I do believe one thing strongly however--you gotta blow up that 
goddam TV. I think a homestead with a TV is, psychologically, a 
contradiction in terms. One of the fundamental movtivations behind the 
homesteading activity is the need to find freedom from many of the 
cognitively debilitating effects of modern society. And surely the most 
devastating of these is the pernicious influence of television programming. 

   Of course there are many other non-essential characteristics of the 
homesteading activity which in the practice of different lifestyles assume 
different degrees of personal importance. This is especially true in the 
matter of energy self-sufficiency, since different lifestyles are based on a 
wide range of levels of energy utilization. I omit them from consideration 
because my purpose here is only to show the fundamentally important 
principles of homesteading: Self-reliance, Economic independence, and 
Psychological sovereignty. 
   There are varying degrees to which these ideals can be attained by 
individuals. You can begin living a life of increasing simplicity and 
independence wherever you are Right Now. You gradually, one step at a time, 
master a series of skills, until you are ready to divorce yourself from the 
enclosing grid of American culture entirely. You may never get to the level 
of total independence, but any step away from fragmented living is an 
improvement. 

   Ralph Borsodi: 
   "Living in the country has been called "the simple life." This is not 
true. It's much more complex than city life. City life is the one that's 
simple. You get a job and earn money and you go to a store and buy what you 
want and can afford. The decentralist life in the country, on the other 
hand, is something else again. When you design your own things and make 
plans about what you're going to produce and really live in a self-
sufficient manner, you've got to learn...you've got to master all sorts of 
crafts and activities that people in the city know nothing about." 

   The satisfaction lies in making your own living, as opposed to making 
money and buying your living.  




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