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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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A great bonus is that he goes off on these sidetrack rants in his writing that makes it so endearing to me as I am military and so is my husband so that is how us and our friends talk so it is as if I am having a conversation with him as I read- If you have been in the military a while you know what I talking about.
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.