Perspectives: The inconveniences of freedom are worth it

OPINION – I’m grateful for little things like dust, spiders, flies, and mice. I don’t actually like any of them, but they remind me how many modern comforts I take for granted.

I realized this when my wife Becky and I took the kids up to Navajo Lake to stay at a friend’s cabin this past weekend. It’s a rustic old cabin that has been in the family for generations. It’s also far off the beaten path with no electricity or running water.

When we first entered the cabin, the spider webs, mouse tracks and dead flies were a bit unsettling. But by the time we were ready to head home, we barely noticed them. It was amazing how quickly we adapted to a more primitive lifestyle, though not everyone could muster the courage to use the outhouse.

As we drove home, we talked about how things like pest control, hot water and electricity are nice, but a meal cooked over coals is pretty decent too. My youngest daughter at one point asked if I wished I could live up in the mountains forever. That got me thinking.

Most of us have never had to adapt to a long-term situation where all the conveniences of modern life are simply no longer available. Our camping trips may have a few drawbacks, but we can always jump in the car and head home when the going gets too tough.

What if that was not an option?

Self-reliance has been a priority of mine for many years, but I’ll never feel as though I have all the bases covered. Other preppers feel the same way. One of the biggest challenges would be keeping our families fed during a prolonged crisis.

Considering how few people actually think far enough ahead to be prepared for the unexpected, this could become a serious problem. It’s not so much a matter of there being a shortage of food as a dependency upon others to feed us.

One place where this mindset of dependence is most clearly seen is in the staggering number of Americans receiving food assistance from the federal government. Not all of this assistance is in the form of food stamps. It also includes school breakfast and lunch as well as the WIC program for women, infants, and children.

The fact that there are needy in our society is not shocking. But government efforts to get more people on food stamps are reminiscent of how a drug dealer operates. It is the promise of something for free right now that will eventually lead to long-term dependence.

Fox News has reported on a deliberate campaign to sign up more people for food stamps at a time when government spending and debt has never been higher. It’s not surprising that some folks would take advantage of these handouts to live on the productivity of the taxpayers.

But there is a Faustian bargain in the works when people choose to accept these state-granted benefits. This is especially true when it relates to our sustenance.

Daisy Luther who blogs as the Organic Prepper warns:

“The government wants to be in control. They want to control what you eat, where you acquire the food, and how you pay for it.  And eventually, they want the ability to use that access to food as a tool for manipulation. It’ll be great while it lasts – your family might end up with an extra $200 in groceries – ‘Hey, honey – want lobster for dinner tonight?  Uncle Sam’s buying!’

“But when it ends, you will be left poorer than you were before with no means of feeding your family except capitulation to the machine.”

When people have been trained to feed on handouts, their freedom is contingent on obedience to those handing out the favors.

This dependency eventually spreads to encompass not just food stamp recipients, but also the stores where they do their shopping. Stores that accept the electronic benefits cards, known as EBT, make thousands of dollars in sales to food stamp recipients. Their livelihood also depends upon U.S. government goodies.

On the first of the month, when benefits are received, it’s not uncommon for stores to see people shopping at midnight waiting for their government assistance accounts to be replenished.

To avoid the food stamp snare, we can carefully build up a store of foods, grow a garden, cook from scratch, and live within our means.

We must be willing to endure these minor inconveniences in order to retain our personal freedom. In the long run, it’s worth it.

 

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives talk show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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27 Comments

  • Craig August 20, 2013 at 7:19 am

    “We must be willing to endure these minor inconveniences in order to retain our personal freedom. In the long run, it’s worth it.”

    Since when is fending for yourself an inconvenience?
    Since when is growing a garden an inconvenience?
    Since when is feeding and providing for your family an inconvenience?

    We need to change the mindset of those who accept handouts. They need to know they CAN do for themselves. Sure, there will always be people too are too sick , too old or disabled and they will need assistance.
    However, there are MANY who are taking advantage of the system which keeps them trapped on the ferret wheel, and the government keeps them there. How much of an effort is made to find the absentee fathers of the babies we are feeding? And, this isn’t only in the larger cities. It’s happening right in our own backyard in Hildale as the polygs “bleed the beast.” How many of those “extra wives” and children are on foodstamps? We need to change the entitlement attitude and make it harder to obtain FREE food, housing, medical and everything else that comes along with welfare.

  • Karen August 20, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Opinion pieces should have facts to support opinions, but sadly, this article is lacking. I was curious about Mr. Hyde’s mention of a “staggering number of Americans receiving food assistance” so I clicked on the link he provided and was greeted by the headline “101 Million Americans Received Food Aid Last Year”. That is a shocking number but it is totally false. By the way, the website appears to be run by Jim DeMint’s Heritage Foundation. Anyway, back to my point. The outlandish claim of 101 million Americans receiving food aid claimed to come from a USDA report so I read that report. Nowhere does it have that figure of 101 million Americans. And then I figured out where the Heritage people got that number. All they did was add up the columns of the report of Americans receiving food assistance which, obviously, has overlapping numbers if one actually cares to read the report. In fact, the whole point of the USDA report is to try to reduce the programs so that there are no overlapping programs. To put it in a simple comparison, the Heritage group would claim that I have 20 children because each of my four children qualified for scholarships at 5 different universities. That is the argument they are making. I would suggest that Mr. Hyde check his resources more carefully in the future.

    • Bryan Hyde Bryan Hyde August 20, 2013 at 12:05 pm

      Numbers can certainly be fudged to favor a particular outcome. Don’t dismiss the message just because you don’t like the messenger. I don’t agree with the Heritage Foundation very often.
      .
      But even the USDA’s own numbers show one in seven Americans are receiving food stamps while the government seeks to sign up even more. How is that acceptable?
      .
      The main premise of the article is that too many people are becoming dependent on government to pay for their food. Any number is too high considering what that portends for our society.

      • Karen August 20, 2013 at 4:17 pm

        Liking or not liking the Heritage Foundation has nothing to do with my response. Mr. Hyde is the one who is claiming “staggering” numbers of Americans receiving food assistance and then linking to a website that cannot do basic math. The “staggering” numbers are not “fudging” by the Heritage Foundation, they are just plain wrong.

        Mr. Hyde then asks how it is acceptable to have “the government” sign up even more people for food assistance. It is “acceptable” because the Great Recession of 2008-2009 caused so many more people to need food assistance, a fact ignored by some. Please remember that according to the Congressional Budget Office, three out of four SNAP households included a child, a person age 60 or older, or a disabled person. That low-life surfer dude featured in the Fox News “expose” about food stamps is hardly “the new face of food stamps.”

        • Bryan Hyde Bryan Hyde August 20, 2013 at 9:50 pm

          Karen, this is not a problem that was unique to our society. It is one of the shortcomings of human nature. Cicero saw this in 55 AD when he said:
          .
          “The budget should be balanced, the treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work instead of living on public assistance.”
          .
          If you can tell me where he is wrong, I’d love to hear your reasoning. You do recall what happened to Rome eventually, right?

          • Karen August 20, 2013 at 10:29 pm

            A quick google search confirms that the Cicero “quote” is from a fictional book about Cicero by Taylor Caldwell. Interestingly, Rep. Passman from Louisiana on April 25,1968 changed the wording to say the “mobs” should be “forced to work.” It is a public record for anyone to read. Then in 2008, the blogosphere took the quote and removed the rather inflammatory “mobs forced to work” phrase and returned it to the original fake quote and plastered it all over the internet. Again, I call on Mr. Hyde to be more accurate in his research.

          • Bryan Hyde Bryan Hyde August 21, 2013 at 8:35 am

            You are correct, Karen, the Cicero quote is misattributed. Now…can you debunk the principles at stake? For that matter can you disprove that a disproportionate number of Americans are being encouraged to become dependent upon government largess to provide their food? That is the real issue at hand, isn’t it?

  • philiplo August 20, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    You say “the government seeks to sign up even more” people for food stamps. Could you point me to the government recruitment programs in charge of this effort? I’d like to know more about them. For instance, are they truly trying to create more people dependent on government assistance, or is it just reaching out to contact those who already qualify yet do not know how to utilize the programs?

    • Bryan Hyde Bryan Hyde August 20, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      The Fox News story linked in the column is 40 minutes long but explains this in great detail. Look at the millions being spent right now to convince people to claim the benefits: http://www.wmctv.com/story/18876644/government-encourages-food-stamps-sign-ups
      .
      Our government has a severe spending problem that it refuses to bring under control. It derives power by promoting widespread dependency upon its services. It can only provide those services by taking from tax-payers.

  • Karen August 21, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Mr. Hyde has now acknowledged the inaccuracies of his article. There isn’t a “staggering number of Americans” receiving food assistance. The whole Heritage Foundation number of over 100 million is completely bogus. And, Cicero never said Mr Hyde’s supposed “quote” about big government and those dreadful people who live on government assistance and won’t work. But now even with his previous inaccuracies, Mr, Hyde still wants us to believe that “Americans are being encouraged to become dependent upon government largess to provide their food” Where is his proof? I read the link he provided and I do not see any evidence whatsoever in that report. From the story: “The campaign (to get people to sign up) is targeted at the elderly, working poor, and the unemployed.” Since when is helping people to have basic nutrition a government plot to do something evil? Oh right, with the advent of the Tea Party who have forgotten that they used to be about taxes but are now so wrapped up in conspiracy theories that they have wandered off into the weeds.

    • Bryan Hyde Bryan Hyde August 21, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      So in other words, you’d rather nitpick over what you call inaccuracies without offering a single bit of evidence to support your own viewpoint? Karen, I’d gladly consider your point of view, but you’ve yet to offer one.
      .
      You disagree with the Heritage Institute’s numbers but you provide none to support an accurate count. There are numerous links in the story that corroborate the reality that our government is actively recruiting more people to the welfare rolls. Why won’t you address this, Karen?
      .
      If you have proof to refute this trend, you should offer it for everyone’s benefit. If you just want to fight, it’s in your best interest to avoid the topic.

      • Karen August 21, 2013 at 6:39 pm

        In other words, instead of nitpicking, I explained very carefully how the Heritage Foundation as quoted by Mr. Hyde came up with the outrageous number of Americans receiving food assistance. It is a simple matter of addition. The error made by them occurred by adding the same Americans over and over again. My analogy about my children’s scholarships was supposed to make it simple to understand the math error. It is not my “viewpoint” but simple math. I’m sure Mr. Hyde can do his own research to find out the correct number. May I suggest researching the USDA website?

        As to Mr. Hyde’s query about the “reality” that the government is “actively recruiting” more people’ to receive food assistance, I was clear about that point as well. The government programs to sign more people up for assistance are targeting the poor, the elderly, and the disabled so they can receive basic nutrition. Not surprisingly, there are more that need assistance because of the recession. The USDA indicates that the number will drop as the economy improves, just like it always has done in the past.

        • Bryan Hyde Bryan Hyde August 22, 2013 at 7:43 am

          Can you not see the folly of creating greater dependency upon government especially for sustenance? You’re trying to make this about numbers, Karen, when the numbers are not the real issue.
          .
          We can agree that the numbers will change depending upon how they are crunched, that’s the job of statisticians after all. But the bottom line is that people who depend upon government to feed them, put their liberty at risk because food becomes a mechanism of control. How else could Joseph Stalin have “pacified” the people of Ukraine without starving millions of them to death first?

          • Karen August 22, 2013 at 9:01 am

            Mr. Hyde’s comparison of the US food stamp program to the forced starvation by Stalin of the people of the Ukraine is truly astonishing. For one thing, the fertile Ukraine was the breadbasket of the entire Soviet Union and the p Ukrainans were the farmers who produced the food. Stalin didn’t dole food out to them, he just took it all they produced. Mr. Hyde’s comparison makes no sense.

            As to Mr. Hyde’s fear of losing our freedom because of food stamps, one could, if one wanted to do so, fear the same with our water supply as the second driest state in the nation. One can always grow some food, but if the feds decide to shut Utah out of its share of the Colorado River, I guess we’d be quite thirsty. A topic for another column, perhaps….?

          • Bryan Hyde Bryan Hyde August 22, 2013 at 10:09 am

            Don’t over think it, Karen. Food was a mechanism of control for Stalin. It is a mechanism of control for corrupt governments in our day. The battle to keep our freedoms is taking place on many fronts. Food is one of them. I do appreciate that you seek out and comment on my columns.

          • philiplo August 22, 2013 at 12:04 pm

            Bryan, why do you hate the poor?
            .
            The assistance programs you rail against are designed to help the poorest among us maintain at least some baseline level of health and sustenance. Yet you would deny them this lifesaving pittance (hey, they’re not getting rich here) because, philosophically, you believe they’re being chained to government control? What would you have them do? Should they starve themselves and their children in support of your Randian ideology?
            .
            Do you know why those people you mention are “shopping at midnight, waiting for their government assistance” monies to be replenished? Perhaps it’s because they haven’t had food in the home for two days, and would like to have something for their children to eat?
            .
            In your article, you used the “staggering number” of people receiving assistance as support for your argument. Then, when the number was questioned (debunked), you said the numbers “are not the issue.” Would you say it was a mistake to include erroneous and misleading numbers in your writing?

  • Roy J August 21, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    “Why be inveigled into legislative pettifogging and unrelieved hard work when you can be loudly denouncing the government and prattling about freedom?”
    You got him on the ropes, Karen.

  • Roy J August 21, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    SNAP monthly data:
    http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/34snapmonthly.htm

    National School Lunch monthly data:
    http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/36slmonthly.htm

    School Breakfast Program monthly data:
    http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/35sbmonthly.htm

    WIC Monthly data:
    http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/27wilatest.htm

    I believe that this is more or less what Karen was pointing out as overlap…maybe not.
    However, here are some timelines of these programs, too.

    SNAP Annual summary 1969-2012
    http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/SNAPsummary.htm

    School Lunch Annual Summary 1969-2012
    http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/slsummar.htm

    WIC Annual Summary 1974-2012
    http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/wisummary.htm

    I think these numbers support the rising trend notion, but they’re just statistics, and could mean anything. Also the rising trend is constant from the beginning of each program to today, so it’s nothing new and nothing we haven’t heard since their inception. I would bet that if you looked at any federal government agency or bureau or department you will find similar rising statistics. So maybe Bryan Hyde is right, but given the constantly rising number of welfare recipients for over 40 years, so what?

    • DoubleTap August 22, 2013 at 8:33 am

      Roy and Karen….I won’t tell anyone you guys sold me your food stamps if you promise not tell anyone.
      By the way, I’ll wait for you guys at the same local market next month with cash for your food stamps again.

      • philiplo August 23, 2013 at 8:39 am

        That type of fraud is called “trafficking.” The latest statistics show it as representing just 1.3% of SNAP benefits. And this has got your panties in a bunch?
        .
        And now that you’ve completed your transaction, you have the SNAP benefit, as well as whatever percentage you took as your cut of the deal. Do you feel warm and fuzzy about taking cash from someone who is already poor enough to qualify for SNAP?
        .
        I sincerely thank you for your service, Double Tap, but don’t try to pretend that cutting off aid to the poor represents an American ideal.

        • Sweet Jude August 24, 2013 at 11:19 am

          Shut up with all the mindless numbers and senseless babble you enjoy carrying on with your so-called “wisdom.” It means nothing. The only real issue at stake is the difference between right and wrong. Get on the right side and recognize that the government’s job is NOT to take care of your every need; only to help you motivated and going again.

          • alter ego August 24, 2013 at 1:07 pm

            Phew we can all rest now the queen of mindless babble has spoken!

          • Roy J August 24, 2013 at 1:54 pm

            Note to Citizenry: please stop firing at the castles in the air from your glass houses…this may cause them to deflate and squash your beautiful, but impractical living space.

  • Matthew Sevald August 21, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    I believe most are losing sight of the forest through the trees.
    .
    The issue at hand isn’t that more Americans are on food stamps, or even if the government itself is recruiting them. The issue is that ANY Americans are dependent on the Government for sustenance, rather than themselves. That’s the point of the article, written by someone who believes in being self-sufficient.
    .
    “I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.” – Benjamin Franklin “On the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor” (29 November 1766). http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Benjamin_Franklin
    .
    Let individuals, families, friends, charities, and churches dole out alms when needed, but as for the federal government, it is not constitutionally allowed. Remember the Tenth Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution
    .
    It is indeed moral and worthwhile to take care of our fellow man, but the further removed from the problem that the helper is, the more awkward, ill-fitting, and wasteful the fix. This means that state and large city governments should also be very wary of getting involved in the welfare game. We will always have the poor, but hunger can be a strong motivator. I don’t believe it is callous to let them go without if they won’t attempt to provide for themselves. I would rather have many private organizations and people doling out help to those in their circles of effect in meaningful ways as well as guiding those out who can be helped to help themselves, rather than Leviathan hamfisting handfuls of cash at bureaucracies and poorly run and under supervised programs.

    • Karen August 22, 2013 at 10:57 am

      I’m sure that the Founding Fathers would not be pleased about the tendency by some to misquote and mischaracterize their writings and speeches. It appears so very often by those who seek “take back the Constitution” try to justify their positions. Ben Franklin’s quote about the “poor” is a case in point. Luckily the entire letter is available for all to read. Fully ten years before the Declaration of Independence he wrote a letter of complaint to a London newspaper. As a farmer, he was unhappy that he could not export his corn to get a higher price in Great Britain because of that country’s laws and their excuse that denying exportation by the colonies would help the poor of Great Britain. He then waxes poetically about the poor in Great Britain as is quoted in the Wiki quote but then goes on to say that “there is no country in the world where so many provisions are established for them. I affirm that there is no country in the world in which the poor are more idle, dissolute, drunken, and insolent”. The whole letter is satire, everyone. He is complaining about the the various acts passed by Great Britain to subjugate the colonies. Taking his words out of the context of the letter is ludicrous. Luckily we have the internet and can read what our Founding Fathers actually said and wrote.

      • Matthew Sevald August 22, 2013 at 10:35 pm

        Satire Karen? Are you out of your mind? It is a letter railing against big government because of how it tramples the hardworking in order to further keep down the poor. Your social agenda is blinding your ability to comprehend what you read.
        .
        Your consistent attacks on quotes are a red herring; you have yet to refute the main premise of this article and my own comment that reliance upon government is a bad thing.
        .
        Be that as it may, let us ignore the quote I correctly cited from Ben Franklin. What say you of the tenth amendment? What of government’s inability to effectively deal with poverty? Should it not lie upon the individual as best they can to provide for themselves, and for charity and assistance to not only fix the current need but teach so as to eliminate further need?

  • DoubleTap August 22, 2013 at 8:36 am

    “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day…..teach a man to fish, and he eats for life”.

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