Quietly, Quietly, The Revolution Arrives

by Wendy McElroy
Mar. 01, 2012

The Revolution is rapping on my door. And, in response, I garden.

I live down a gravel road on a 40 acre farm in Canada...and the Revolution still finds me. It is everywhere. Blogs. Forums. Twitter. Conversations overheard in the grocery store. The rebellion against governments is all-present even though the most important front may not be obvious to some. The deepest Revolution in North America is the quiet and largely invisible withdrawal of people from dependency on 'the system' into self-sufficiency.

By "dependency" I do not mean people who receive tax-funded entitlements such as welfare. I mean people who work hard, pay their own bills and are now so disillusioned with 'the system' that they no longer trust government data like inflation, government promises like social security, government 'services' like the public schools. And least of all, they trust politicians.The mass of disillusioned fall into two general camps: those who still trust the political method and those who realize politics can bring no value to their lives. The politicos join the Tea Party or its like and campaign to elect the One Man Fit to Rule Us All. The non-politicos realize that no one man is fit to rule and, so, they take control of their own lives. They often do so silently because many of the peaceful, productive activities are illegal or could otherwise rouse the resentment of the bureaucracies they eschew.

It is illegal to sell food or meals you prepare without permission. It is illegal to repair or extend your own home without government inspection. The taxman eyes barter as tax avoidance. Home businesses must be reported and income assessed. Homeschooling is under attack. And the fight to own a gun in self-protection seems never to end.

No wonder self-sufficiency is a quiet Revolution. Speaking of it leaves you vulnerable not merely to the authorities but to anyone who bears a grudge, who envies you or who simply is a righteous busybody. But a Revolution it is.

And, so, I garden. Or rather, with March snow still covering the farm, I plan out my garden for Spring and contemplate when to start the indoor seeding so that I can relocate healthy little plants into the warm soil. Soon there will be rows of tiny pots under the grow lights that I bought one at a time so the hardware stores would not report me to the police as a possible marijuana grower. If we build a greenhouse or other construction this year, I will go to the store in a town farther away because the local one comments on cash transactions; one clerk murmurs "no paper trail" under his breath and has a tendency to 'talk' to the local building inspector.

No wonder self-sufficiency is a quiet Revolution. This makes it not less but more of a rebellion. It means that people understand the risks of minding and taking care of their own business in a society where everything is taxed at one level or another, all activities are regulated and all dissent is suspect.

And, so, unobtrusively I will grow my own tomatoes and peppers, green onions and herbs, garlic and zucchini... When food prices soar in the stores due to inflation, I will be largely out of 'the system' and feasting on preserved goods. I will be part of the Revolution merely by minding my own business.

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