Sunday, September 16, 2012

Define Self-sufficiency

I found this through Instapundit the other day; a very good read. I guess I liked it because we have a man of superior education who agrees with me.

The modern world is almost completely cut off from self-sufficiency. Some of us like to think we are self-sufficient, but in reality we are as dependent on others for survival as the biggest welfare queen.

For example; say your water heater goes out. You call a plumber, he installs a new one, and you pay the bill. Not very self-sufficient.

Now lets say instead of calling the plumber, you install one yourself. That's self-sufficient you say?

Maybe. Did you make the water heater, or did you drive on government roads in a car you bought to a big box store where you bought a new water heater that somebody else made and somebody else shipped in a truck made by somebody else on the same government roads you are about to haul your new water heater home on?

The 19th century, and earlier, idea of being self-sufficient is completely different than today's version. Very few people lived in towns, because town did not allow enough ground to raise you own food- both flora and fauna- and to hunt from the wild what you didn't or couldn't grow. Like trees for housing and fuel.

a 19th Century man knew where his bacon and eggs came from; he had raised the hogs and chickens, slaughter the hog and cured the bacon in a smokehouse he built from the stones he cleared from his fields over a fire he fed with wood he had cut from his own land.

Or he lived in town, and created something he was able to sell that would allow him to purchase what he needed from those who had excess. And even in town he would have had a few chickens.

There is a family farm near me that has been in the same family for generations. Around a hundred acres, that farm is still producing, just like it did in the 19th Century. But the same farm that once supported a family in style solely from the work they did on the farm, now does not. The farm still produces the same, but our modern life style requires us to be dependent, and not self-sufficient.

A 19th Century farm will not produce a new water heater, nor the electricity to run it, nor will it produce enough excess to create the cash needed for these items, or the hundreds of others we now 'need' for survival.

Go back just 40-50 years and think about the lifestyle we all lived. One TV; black and white usually, but maybe color. And only 3 channels; maybe 5 if you have a UHF tuner. One phone; black, with a dial and tied to the wall with a fat cord. I could go on; as could you. In a little over one generation, look at what God hath wrought.

And every change has made us less self-sufficient and more dependent.

Some of us know how dependent we are, and some don't. I like to believe that those of us who know we are dependent are the conservatives. We know the cost and value of labor, and are willing to share with those incapable of laboring.

And then there are those who don't know the cost or value of labor, and are willing to share yours with anybody else.

I think we need more people in this country who know that bacon doesn't come from Kroger's, but comes from the hard labor of a lot of folks; just like they did in the 19th Century.

No comments: