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Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front Paperback – September 17, 2007
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About the Author
Joel Salatin and his family own and operate Polyface Farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. The farm produces pastured beef, pork, chicken, eggs, turkeys, rabbits, lamb and ducks, servicing roughly 6,000 families and 50 restaurants in the farm’s bioregion. He has written 11 books to date and lectures around the world on land healing, local food systems.
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There are some reviews here that say this book is just one big rant by Joel Salatin. Um, yeah, I think that's the point. Over a lifetime Mr. Salatin has been exposed to, waded through and fought tooth and nail against bureaucracy, ignorance, stupidity, and the general loss of individual liberty that continues to invade our culture on our government. "If it will save just one life, it's worth it." is the justification I've heard for many laws that our founding fathers would take arms against. 99% of it goes on without the general public even knowing. I've seen laws being made. Generally the single most clueless person involved is the one who has the vote. As it's been well said and is said again in this book, sausage and laws are two things you don't want to see made. So politically, economically, and morally I agree with Mr. Salatin. His rants are based on dealing with the inequities in the system as it stands today and are good reading for anyone who goes to the polls to vote our leaders into office.
However, the problem with being an expert on some areas is you tend to think you may be an expert in other areas. While I agree with Mr. Salatin that his rants are justified, the solutions that he espouses can be a bit simplistic. I'm a libertarian and frankly some of the views are simplistic. Drug problem? Legalize drugs. Can't feed yourself? Church and charity. The reality is that some problems are more complex, or even if the solution is that simple, getting from where we are today to the simple solution is exceedingly complex. Just saying milk is perfectly safe because we drank it for thousands of years isn't going to be good enough in today's environment. Should it be illegal to buy raw milk? Absolutely not. Should we just let it onto the open market, on the shelf beside what has become "normal" milk like Joel would seem to favor? No. It probably needs a label that is a skull and crossbone and you have to sign a waiver. I don't think Joel spent a lot of time on trying to show the efficacy of his solutions, just that there were better solutions out there. I'm sure he could expand on his ideas but one negative to the book in my opinion was that some of his solutions seemed to be just a bit out there and not really practical.
For people who believe in individual liberty, his book will read well. For those who can't imagine the government not regulating safety so we are all protected, it will read like a horror story. As for his rants, I run a farm and run a fairly large business, I can tell you that he is spot on concerning the basis for his rants and unless you step out of the consumer role and into a producer role, you never really see it.
If you plan on voting in the next election, this should be required reading.
The man is brave. He is honest. He is passionate about the things he believes. So sad that people who are afraid to know (or show) such passion have given it a few poor reviews. Whether you agree with every word or not makes no difference. The main premise of the book is that there seems to be a law against almost everything natural, these days. Most of these things were just normal a century ago. It would have been inconceivable to people to imagine that one could not slaughter an animal on one's own land. The regulations about dwellings and construction are silly in the context of the writer's way of life and his personal wishes.
We put up with these things and just keep going, but we are wrong to do so. The TSA is a travesty. The FDA is totally corrupt. But only a few people speak up. Why is this? Are they afraid? Are they asleep? Are they stupid? Or are they just sheep?
I hear all the time "The Government should do something " about this or that. NO! We should do something about it. NOT the government. When did we become such wimps? We have been brainwashed into believing we cannot change things. But we can. And we must. Joel is taking a lot of flack, but he is essentially correct.
We need an organization such as the NRA to protect the right of farmers to grow what they like. It will also protect our right to eat and drink as we please. It is hard for me to believe that (lethal) MacDonalds is legal, but (healthy) raw milk is not.
Women go to the hospital to have babies because they believe they will be safe there, when in fact they would be safer at home amoung their own germs, their own things, surrounded by people who actually care for them. Birth is natural and not a medical event at all. However we have become programmed to believe we need professional medical help. Rediculous! The AMA did a great job with propaganda when it comes to birth.
The same is true of food. I once read a funny story, but a true one about an outraged 'anti hunting' person who ranted that hunters were barbaric. He said people should go to the supermarket to buy their food because that was the civilized way to get meat. I guess he never read about how commercial beef is raised and finally slaughtered. ( I would rather eat a wild animal that had a fighting chance to get away or get shot). The sad, pathetic, unhealthy animals that make up our commercial meat supply is frightening.
Please read this book. It will open your eyes. And please don't think he is exaggerating the stupidity of regulations and of the government inspectors who enforce them. He is not. Yes, some of his passions seem to be a "rant" and that is OK, too. Why should he tamp down his emotions just to please the sleeping public? I wish he would shout them from the roof tops. Even the things I disagree with are simply his beliefs. We are all entitled to our own beliefs. No one has the right to criticize us for voicing them.
I bought a couple of extra copies of this book and plan to send it to some people who may be able to help.
The title provides everyone an ample opportunity to understand that this isn't a "How to farm" book. Besides, the author pretty much mocks politicians of all stripes, regardless of the silly letter by their elected name. No ideology is left without criticism.
In my opinion, this is a modern day "Common Sense" by Thomas Paine, using Agriculture to make very similar points.
Wake up America. You stopped being "Land of the Free" many, many sad years ago. And only you can turn it around via the ballot box, and civil disobedience.