By any sane and logical standard, personal responsibility and preparation, especially as a hedge against disaster, should be considered morally upright and desirable anywhere.
But, the standards of today and the laws that constrain us, implemented by those that govern us, are neither sane nor logical, and right now, in the 21st century, there are prohibitions and laws in states from coast to coast that keep you from generating your own power, going without sewage or electrical service and even, wonder of wonders, catching rain.
So, is prepping illegal?
Prepping is not illegal per se, but several components of prepping like going off-grid, power generation, rainwater collection and homesteading are increasingly regulated or punished by municipal and state governments.
On Grid, On the Payroll, On Life Support
Make no mistake your government prefers you dependent on them. If you are dependent, you can be influenced, and if you can be influenced you can be controlled. Keeping you under control, paying taxes and participating in the Big Sham is the name of the game.
If you think you are free, try to stop paying taxes on something you ostensibly already own free and clear, be it a house, a piece of land or your own damn car.
If you are not dependent, you can think for yourself. Governments don’t like people who think for themselves since they don’t make good subjects and worse taxpayers.
But you can be doled out a certain amount of slack in your leash if you keep on pay, pay, paying up in the form of taxes, fees and services.
Try to stop paying, or opt out, or invent a better (read “cheaper”) mousetrap and you’ll find out who is really pulling your strings.
Government intrusion into our lives and activities is already so pervasive and constant at all levels of society most people are numb to it. But a few shockingly egregious trespasses deserve special mention for the impact they’ll have on preppers in particular.
I wish it weren’t so, but they are weather vanes showing what’s going to keep coming in greater and greater profusion.
No matter what the punishment is- citations, fines, charges, jailtime outright- the end result is always the same: prison. Incarceration. You don’t pay the ticket you get a letter.
Wipe your ass with the letter and you’ll get a door knock. Shoo off the muckrakers and you’ll get cops. Resist the cops and you get beaten, pepper sprayed, tazed or shot, then imprisoned.
Every law, every single one that is and has ever been on the books, is a hungry pair of handcuffs, eagerly waiting for someone. Wake up.
Services and Utilities
In many municipalities and states, it is straight-up illegal to not be connected to the power grid. Some especially heinous states and cities make it a crime to generate your own power via solar or wind means.
In many places, if you are within range of the city sewer system, you must be connected to it under penalty of law lest they throw you in jail; whatever kind of alternate system you have, no matter how clean, sanitary and foolproof, it is not okay.
The power generation issue is the most insidious. Why, oh why, would that not be okay? I mean, what with the massive societal drive in some sectors to “go green,” eliminate waste, reduce strain on aging infrastructure and all that jazz why would that be punished? Couldn’t be because people make big bucks charging you right out of your ass for power, could it?
Consider that Nevada, a state with some of the most hours of clear sunshine per year, recently started charging home solar power users a fee to employ it, while at the same time reducing the credit they received for putting their surplus power back into the grid and you’ll start to get some idea of how cockeyed the situation is.
Even in rural areas, counties and states are making it so that it is illegal to go completely off-grid, and they’ll enforce it with fines (i.e. robbery under threat of imprisonment). Don’t believe me? Look up the case of Robin Speronis, Cape Coral, Florida.
I defy anyone to come up with one answer to the question of why it is not okay for you to take your property off the power grid. Let me qualify that: one answer that is not bootlicking and freedom-hating. Have at it.
Restrictions on Goods and Quantity
As has ever been the case in liberal strongholds, we are finally seeing the dawn of an era where your purchasing of guns, ammunition, powder and more is being throttled.
While not entirely unexpected and in many conservative areas laughed off as just desserts, this is no laughing matter: they won’t stop with guns, and as the liberal cities go so goes the rest of the nation. We see it time and time again, year after year- liberal laws become the law of the land over time.
If a ruling body has the means to throttle hoe much of anything you can buy, they have the means to keep an eye on who is buying what. That’s trouble in the making.
It isn’t just guns, ammo and explosives, either. Fertilizer, anyone? When is the last time you tried to buy any chemical in bulk quantity, for any purpose? For Pete’s sake, people. We get carded to buy cough syrup!
Laugh all you want. Self-sufficiency means doing it yourself, and when someone else is holding the scepter and all the keys to all the doors of commerce, that makes you dependent on them. Kiss the ring and bow.
“If it pleases the Crown…”
Forbidden from Harvesting Water that Literally Falls from the Sky
The most egregious of all these laws against responsibility and freedom are those that prevent people from catching rainwater.
Rain. Yes. Rainwater. Not taking rainwater back off the ground, not taking it out of reservoirs, but actually harvesting the water that falls on your house and your property. I kid you not.
And this is not just the pure and unfeeling calculus of agricultural and desert communities, either, though states with plenty of both are some of the worst offenders.
No, states and biomes as diverse as Arkansas, California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Oregon, Utah, Rhode Island and even Texas have regulations governing citizens use and/or collection of rain water.
These laws run the gamut from merely meddlesome and extortionary, as in the case of Arkansas who mandates any rainwater collection system must be designed by a professional engineer to Colorado’s blanket cap of only allowing you to collect up to 110 gallons of rainwater.
Some states are pro-collection, but far from all. The fact that any have laws regulating it at all is travesty enough.
The apple-of-the-eye goal for quite a few preppers is going off-grid and living as self-sufficiently as possible away from the congestion of society.
A herd of animals, some crops and sustainable building and living practices means it is possible to get back to living like your great grandparents might have. “Not so fast,” says the government man!
We’ll have to be sure these animals are being kept and raised appropriately, and that you are following all 124 laws, rules and regulations governing the sale of their products. Furthermore, you cannot drink the milk from the cow you milked yourself; it might not be safe!
It sounds like a Nannyism nightmare, and it is, but odious regulations increasingly encroach on even the most austere and pastoral of lifestyles. A cursory search on Google will reveal hundreds of instances of invasive screw-turning perpetrated by the government against people that just want to live their life their way.
In some places, trying to live a homestead-life may actually garner you more scrutiny, not less.
It is not illegal to prep, not yet, but there is no denying that the slow march of time only sees us labor on under more and more laws, becoming ever closer to being tax slaves akin to the petty serfs of old. With enough restriction and regulation, being independent will soon be a capital crime.
Charles Yor is an advocate of low-profile preparation, readiness as a virtue and avoiding trouble before it starts. He has enjoyed a long career in personal security implementation throughout the lower 48 of the United States.