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Changing Legal Impediments to Permaculture and the larger Food and Self-Sufficiency Movements  RSS feed

 
Posts: 133
Location: Missouri Ozarks
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Paying attention to events in the last five years or so, it's clear to me that big food companies and big pharma have been doubling down on their efforts to influence the media and the government in their favor. Not that there's anything entirely new going on, the battle has been around at least as far back as the 1930s, when people such as Weston Price and Royal Lee pointed out the failings or the industrial food system and the companies fought back to get the regulations in their favor. One of many examples is the battle over the legality of raw milk which is laid out in the book "The Untold Story of Milk" by Ron Schmid. Nevertheless, right now seems a particularly critical time to me. The permaculture movement has been growing as part of a larger movement encompassing organics, local food, sustainable agriculture, and holistic nutrition. Closely paralleling it and overlapping it considerably is the rise of holistic medicine. Sustainable building and general self-reliance have also been gaining traction. People come to these things for many different reasons, some start by paying attention to their health and noticing how important good food is. Some start by looking for solutions to global environmental issues and taking it to a personal level. Some start with simple frugality and realize how much less we need to buy when we can do more for ourselves. Some come to it as a prepper, seeing how vulnerable our system is to disruption and desiring to be more independent of it.

On the other hand, I'm seeing more and more of a pushback from big ag, big food companies and pig pharma, in collusion with the government, to actively stop the movement where they can't profit from it. Joel Salatin does a good job describing how the increased regulatory burden has had a disproportionate effect of small, sustainable food producers. This not only affects the farmers but everyone who wants clean, nutritious food. Add to the list zoning and building codes that prohibit so many effective, sustainable and low-cost methods from being practiced (or at least keeping people using them "off the radar") in so many places. Add to the list pharma-influenced regulations that force small herbalists and other natural practitioners to jump through ever-increasing hoops, legal kidnappings by the state of children and the elderly who's families won't comply with the system (see Medical Kidnap and This Case for examples), ever-increasing numbers of vaccines pushed on the population. The mainstream media keeps feeding us canned polemics that insist anyone who thinks for themselves is a a fool or dangerous. Or sometimes, the message is re-framed by someone who's supposedly on our side but then insists that these alternatives are only good as a hobby and the industrial system is the only thing that will gver work on a large scale (I'm thinking of This Thread as one example). I'm all for constructive criticism and debate about permaculture, holistic medicine or anything else, but so often there isn't any intention of having a costructive conversation, the other side is simply shut out and straw men are brought forth repeatedly to shout them down.

Personally, I'd rather ignore the talking heads and just live my own life as an example of a way that's healthier and more regenerative to the land. I just find myself paying attention to the political stuff going on because so often it's actually illegal to live the way that makes the most sense, and we're threatened with the noose getting tighter with each passing year unless something changes. I do also happen to think it's more and more likely that things will change as more people have a desire for something other than industrial food, medicine and housing, but at this point many things could happen and I see the next 5-10 years as a critical time for this. For me, change at the personal level is always important. after all, these corporations are so rich and powerful because so many individuals continue to support them with their dollars. Also, hypocrisy just doesn't tend to go over very well. When Al Gore with his energy-hogging mansion became the most prominent spokesman for climate change, most people didn't take him very seriously. I do believe climate change is a very real and serious issue, but its most prominent spokesman living such an energy-intensive lifestyle is kind of like if someone campaigned against drunk driving and then drove drunk himself.

Personal change is important but it isn't always enough, and I think considering what we're up against, there's a great need for the disparate threads of these movements I've described to see our common interests and be better able to affect change. There's not even a single word or phrase to describe the whole movement that I see. While some permaculturalists would place it all under permaculture, the fact is that there's plenty who share common interests but for whatever reason don't want the label permaculturalist. It would be nice if there were a specific word or phrase that describes people who advocate for the freedom to pursue more sustainable, self-reliant lifestyles, and do business with others who are working toward similar goals. Sure, there's plenty of disagreement within this movement, but there is within any movement and that doesn't mean there isn't a large group of people who share a lot of common interests. Another strength of the movement is that people come to it from very different places on the political spectrum, it could be a fatal mistake if the movement got lumped together in the public eye with other political (or religious) ideals, such as happened to the mainstream environmental movement. We all have other issues that are important to us, but if we insist that freedom to live a sustainable, self-reliant lifestyle has to be linked to specific views on abortion or welfare, it can only be a disservice to both causes.

Similarly, I now see "Libertarian" as being problematic in its own way too. I've called myself libertarian before at times, but it now seems to me that the big corporations are using Libertarianism as an excuse to get themselves out of being regulated, while the burden increases for the smaller players. Most ordinary libertarians are in it because they want the sort of freedoms I've expressed, but the term has been abused so much to further corporate interests that I no longer describe myself as such. Also, linking freedom to live sustainably with libertarian politics on other issues would end up causing the same problems that linking it with leftist or right wing politics would, driving away others who share common interests.

All I'm looking for personally is a level playing field. There's already a growing number of people who are looking for and/or practicing low tech/sustainable solutions in building, food and medicine, and it's my belief that if the playing field was leveled in terms of subsidies and regulations, the more sustainable solutions would grow and take over on their own, as the cultural change is already in motion and fossil fuel depletion, the decline of the American empire, and increasing chronic illness make the industrial system increasingly unaffordable and unattractive. I wouldn't complain if a few of those subsidies ended up going toward permaculture-oriented projects instead, but I'm not necessarily looking for that, leveling the playing field and letting what works proliferate sound like a good bet to me. Re-localization is a good idea for many reasons, one which I haven't heard talked about much is that if many things are being done in different places, some will fail and some will succeed to varying degrees. Then, the ones that succeed best will be examples to others. Any one-size-fits-all solution, even if it comes from the best of intentions, is putting all of our eggs in one basket, never mind being inflexible and not resilient to local conditions. All the debate within permaculture about different methods is a good thing, as long as we can recognize our common interests and not get too caught up in the enemy being the permaculturalist who does things a bit differently.

Here's a few examples of tangible things that I have hope could eventually happen in the political scene. Yes, they may seem a bit pie-in-the-sky at the current moment, but taking the longer view, other things that seemed less likely have happened in America when there were enough people determined to make it happen, like giving women the right to vote. One would be to disallow patenting of genes. The Diamand vs. Chakrabarty Supreme Court case in 1980 paved the way for all that Monsanto has done since. If the supreme court hadn't allowed patenting genes in the first place, the whole GMO thing would likely never have been very profitable for Monsanto to begin with, and they wouldn't have been able to go after other farmers who saved seed that crossed with theirs. The Supreme Court has already disallowed patenting of human genes, so disallowing patenting of any genes would probably be a more feasible path to go than trying to ban GMOs outright, although of course there's be huge pushback from the industry.

Another thing that I've been thinking of since getting the idea from Joel Salatin is that freedom to make our own choices about food (and medicine too) should be a right as important as the freedoms granted in the Bill of Rights such as freedom of speech, the press, religion and association. Could constitutional amendments be passed guaranteeing freedoms to make informed choices about the food we eat and the medical system we use? It's a long shot for sure, and I don't speak legalese so don't have a clue how it would be worded, but I just wanted to throw it out there and see if it's picked up by the collective consciousness at all.
 
pollinator
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The city near me recently legalized urban farming throughout the city. http://therivardreport.com/city-council-makes-urban-farming-legal-throughout-city/
 
garden master
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Richard: I 100% agree. I am brawling with codes to build a house that is above their codes (but unfamiliar to them) I'd love to run a business again, but the regulatory hoops are stupidly complex and tilted against small businesses. I will end up one of the "attempting to fly under the radar" folks, when I don't see why I should have to do so at all.
I also try not to use the label Libertarian, but I don't see a better one for what I think.
To me, breaking down the world into "food" "medical" "social" "political" just ignores the fact that it's a very complex system. Maybe it's just too complex for most people to get a grip on, I don't know. My mind has no problem with it, but I'm often told I'm not normal :)
You want a "level playing field" I'd also vote for having our own field, let them have theirs, we have ours, and see who has a better life. I hate the idea of playing their game at all, on any field. If we have our own fields, and our own balls, why must we play by their rules? It's OUR game!!

Too sick to make much sense this morning. But I agree with your whole post, and I'd love to know what the rest of us can do, besides just hide as much as possible. I don't want to have to hide who I am and what I do, when I'm not hurting anyone.
 
pollinator
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Words words words. Where to start?

The first thing that caught my eye was the mention of "...ever-increasing numbers of vaccines pushed on the population."

If you seek to make change, first make sure that the changes you want to make are sensible ones. Did you die of polio or diptheria as a child, or of any of the other diseases that we are immunized against as children? No, of course you didn't, because you're alive to have opinions. Even if you yourself weren't vaccinated, the fact that your very vulnerable self wasn't exposed to any of these historically common diseases is testimony to how effective they are at controlling dangerous disease. This is where the typical anti-anti-vaxxer T-shirt says, "...Thanks, Science!"

I would feel much more comfortable with your suggestion if you did a little more delineation of motivations between your prime actors in this play. Big Ag, Big Food, and Big Pharma aren't acting in collusion with the government. They are effectively bribing people within it. Phrasing it the other way suggests conspiracy, which just sounds paranoid, which I know wasn't your intention.

You're right that these private business interests have been acting in their own interests. How would you expect them to act? I think the best way to change this dynamic is to take money out of politics. Make private or corporate campaign donations illegal. No more bribes, no impetus for your elected officials to act for anyone other than those people that elected them.

Make politics run on a budget. Cap election spending for candidates on every level at the same rate at their respective levels. Obviously it's going to cost more to run for Senator or Governor than for a lower level of government, just as it will cost more to run for President. Also, perhaps it's a good idea to have a minimum number of volunteer hours for every level of government. I know that volunteer work is anathema to the sort of character that would get into politics for profit.

As to libertarianism, I think the place it falls down is with people who read Ayn Rand and take it seriously. Making all your own decisions and doing it all for yourself is a great idea, as long as you don't mention the part about having to be your own police force/army, making sure food and water is safe (I know, the current system isn't too great at this, but thinking it couldn't be worse is an exercise in lack of imagination), enforcing the law in non-criminal cases, etc...

I think Permaculture should be the larger banner under which all sustainability and resiliency tools exist, and the measure for evaluating said tools. It is a philosophy, and a very correct one. Some of the "other" measures that don't wish to be associated with the Permaculture label miss the point, or are choosing to opt out for reasons of politics and not being tied to things people are mis-labelling as permaculture. Others I honestly believe find the tenets of permaculture onerous, which means that their methods are more likely to miss the point. The reason the tenets may be found cumbersome is because designing something like a microclimate or a whole biome is complicated, with wide-ranging problems if it isn't done taking all variables into consideration. Bubblegum-on-a-stick permaculture, as Paul has termed it before, as well as super-purple permaculture, has damaged the permaculture label for some people, mainly because of half-measures and shortcuts.

I would love to see it made illegal to patent genes along the same model as human gene patenting is illegal. That's a lot of legal backtracking, but it is becoming problematic in the states, and needlessly costly for farmers. But it will be irrelevant if broadacre permaculture can be shown to work better for the average farmer. That is only going to be more likely as petroculture kills more and more soil. If the soil is dead, no chemicals will revive it, and they sell chemicals and their seed, which is only of any use in a chemical bath designed to kill everything else. In places where everything is already experiencing this, it should be easier to promote change from a position of soil rejuvenation, as at that point, all pouring more chemicals on it will do is waste them.

It's a tough row to hoe. Education is getting worse and people are getting dumber. The ability to separate fact from falsehood seems to be rarer each day. People think that science is snakeoil, and vice versa, and get obstinate about what they think they "know." I don't think a lot of people are equipped to deal with a world where they are required to make choices for themselves, largely because of the political process; a populace is easier to fool and lead around if they're gullible and uninformed.

I think that the only change I could get behind right now would be one of regulatory attitude. If regulations were based on outcome rather than procedure, as Paul has pointed out in his podcasts dealing with this very subject, it would be easier to both get things done on a homesteading scale, and it would be easier to determine if the actions taken were harmful or beneficial to the metrics being measured (water and air quality and waste leaving the site being of prime importance).

-CK
 
Richard Kastanie
Posts: 133
Location: Missouri Ozarks
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Chris,

I have been heavily researching and paying attention to the vaccine issue for the last few years, so I've heard your argument plenty of times. Suzanne Humphries has shown in her book "Dissolving Illusions" how changes in sanitation and living conditions were the major driving force behind the decline of the common diseases of the 19th century, most of which had a negligible death rate in the US by the time mass vaccination started. Polio followed a different pattern, that is discussed extensively in her book as well. Even if the vaccines were an important factor in some of those declines, the vast majority of those declines happened before 1970, the vast increase in vaccinations pushed on children and increasingly adults too since then has coincided with far fewer changes in disease mortality.

Meanwhile, there's a whistleblower at the CDC, William Thompson, who has admitted that the CDC has manipulated data in their studies purporting to show no link between vaccines and autism. The mainstream media won't touch the story, journalists risk losing their job if they cover it. Lance Simmons, a long-time writer for the Huffington Post who had written over 100 articles previously, many on controversial subjects, wrote a positive review of the movie Vaxxed (which is about the CDC whistleblower story) and had it promptly deleted. He'd never had anything deleted before. None of the studies that are supposedly conclusive proof that vaccines and autism aren't related even looked at vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children, only a single vaccine (MMR) and a single ingredient (Thimerosal). No major study has compared health outcomes of vaccinated vs unvaccinated, this small study of homeschool children suggests a signicant increase of autism and many immune related disorders. Not too surprising, as aluminum hydroxide, an adjuvant used in vaccines, is routinely used to cause autoimmune disease, allergic rhinitis, and food allergies in animal studies. Larger studies are warrented before making a defitive conclusion, but just getting one done will be quite an uphill battle considering all the pharma funds going into medical science.

The research scientist James Lyons-Weiler used to believe the mainstream position about vaccines until he looked in depth into the issue and realized the level of corruption involved, he tells his story here.  Kent Heckenlively has written extensively about the politics surrounding vaccines in his book "Inoculated". There are more and more people waking up to the fact they've been deceived about vaccine safety from observing adverse reaction in their children or themselves. None of us has all the answers but many of us have good reason to believe vaccines cause a lot more negative reactions than the official line says is possible. None of us have all the answers, but it's pretty clear to me from the actions of the CD< pharma and the media that searching for the answers isn't what's on their minds. Instead they seem like people desperate to keep their storyline intact.

As someone with an appreciation of science as a method and tool for discovery I have been very disturbed at the increasing use of "science" as a buzzword to mean towing the official line about an issue, whether vaccines, GMOs or anything. The history of science is full of people who's work was rejected and ridiculed for many years before finally being accepted, Alfred Wegener's theory of continental drift being just one example. Some of it's just because scientists are human like all of us, making mistakes and wanting to gratify their egos, but the amount of corporate money and influence pouring into medical science guarantees it will in no way be objective. I think that equating science with belief in a dogma rather than a tool to understand the world is going to backfire and chase more and more people away from science.
 
pollinator
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Maine tends to be on the forefront of agriculture, and things are getting better. When people ask me how things are going, I always say, "Building and battling", because it tends to be true.

I took the USDA-NRCS to Federal Court last year and no one was more shocked then me that I won. It was the first time that happened in the state and they were reeling from the blow of what happened, so the little guy can take on city hall and win occasionally. Since then I have heard of a few other Federal Lawsuits that farmers have also won across the country, so I see a slow shift in policy and enforcement as restrictions get eased back, so definitely some much needed relief on the farming ulcers.

In other areas, I just am more passive-aggressive. I worked for the railroad for many years and it was always said, "Nothing is a problem until it becomes a problem." Last week one of my foresters and I were talking about logging this small piece of ground and he mentioned what I wanted to do was in violation of some forestry law. Basically this law mandates that I have 2 years to convert it from forest to agriculture; a pretty hard thing for me to do because I always work alone; literally me and my chainsaw taking on the forest. He was all worried about it, but this farm has been here for 272 years, well before this country was even a country, so I was like, "What are they going to do, arrest me for farming?" I am a full-time farmer, with a wife, 4 young daughters, and have cancer...there is not a jury in the world that would convict me because I did not get 30 acres logged off in a 2 year time frame! But that is the point, if I did not move forward on things because someone said I could not, I would never get anything done...forester opinions included.

For every one person that says something can be done, 15 people say it cannot. There is some value in pessimism; it should make a person revert back and think things through, but it should not always be a dead end.

I designed a new axe and I will never forget a person's reply to it. They disliked the hinge mechanism and stated that it was "a great attempt, but that the hinge would break, good try, but that I should continue thinking creatively". I just shook my head. What arrogance! Like it was a total failure because THEY thought it was. Like I am going to listen to someone who only saw a picture of it online, has a strong opinion about something that has never even happened yet, and immediately not move forward with my new invention? Yeah right.

Sometimes you just cannot move forward true; but you can always pick your battles.
 
gardener
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At least in my area, there is a thriving black market for locally produced, non-licensed food: Meat, eggs, cheese, breads, preserves, prepared meals, clandestine restaurants, wine, beer, vinegar, lacto-fermented veggies,  etc, etc, etc. Heck, it's even illegal in my county to take a vegetable to the farmer's market that has an insect on it. Who's going to enforce that law? The local, state, and federal governments are way past bankrupt. They simply don't have the resources to enforce the laws.

There are  similar thriving black markets regarding housing, medicine, transportation, etc. And similar inability to pay for enforcement.
 
Chris Kott
pollinator
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Richard, I am in no way dogmatic about my approach to science. When I use that word, I don't think I am referring to the kind of thing you're talking about, where a scientific methodology is used to find or create support for a preconceived notion of whatever sort, usually funded by people with a financial stake, nor do I refer to lazy people who won't engage mentally to understand what they are being told, and so simply accept it, and when later challenged on it, can only say "...because Science." The former is greed and manipulation, but it doesn't represent real science. The latter is making a deity out of an abstract idea about science as the new granter of miracles, which is also not real science.

So as I am not one of those who need to be enlightened, let me clarify my point of view.

Herbalism makes a great deal of sense to me. You're simply sourcing your medicine from nature. I have a cousin in Texas that runs an herbalism school. Really good fire cider, apparently.

Homeopathy has never made sense to me. Nobody has ever been able to explain to me the mechanism at work, seeing as how, as I understand it, very small quantities of ingredient are mixed in quantities of water sufficient to ensure that most doses from the mixture won't contain any of it. The idea that the patterns of molecular motion of the ingredient imprints itself on the water, and that the water then imparts a healing effect would have to be proved empirically.

The concept of vaccines makes sense to me. You're basically updating your immune system's virus software. That said, I don't get the flu shot. Never. I am not at risk, it is not guaranteed to work on every strain of the flu that presents itself in a given season, and I don't spend time with immune compromised people on a regular basis. Also, I would love for large studies to be done on the issue of vaccine safety, and not for any snarky reason. How else are we supposed to determine if there are safety issues with any of the ingredients used in any of the vaccines?

That, by the way, is a valid and overlooked point. One of my concerns is that everyone be able to get the same high-quality medication, but we do need to keep making sure that the ingredients are safe. I, for instance, have no great love for fluoridated municipal water systems, or the fact that all the off-the-shelf cosmetic and medical products contain inert ingredients that include metals and unpronounceable things. But I suppose that my point is, the whole anti-vaccination position seems to lack focus. It embodies an "Oh, won't someone think of the Children!" mob mentality mixed with an indignant refusal to be told what to do by the gub'mint, just cuz, or on religious grounds, and all really driven by fear and insufficient understanding of the issue at hand. Is it the physical act of introducing dead/inert viral material to prompt an immune response and prepare it to defend against real attack that is dangerous, or is it that the ingredients aren't as safe as they're purported to be? Is it possible, in your view, to formulate safe vaccines, and that it's simply not being done because it wouldn't be profitable?

I must admit that I truly dislike the whole profit motivation where it comes to things that directly bear on people's health and wellbeing, like the areas of medicine and food. But the whole science = bad mentality is counterproductive, especially when the mentality really turns out to be unrestrained profit motive = bad.

I also need to say that the only cases of medical kidnapping by the state that I am aware of have to do with the government intervening in situations where a parent elects not to provide adequate care to their dependent minors for whatever reason. When parents put their religious or personal beliefs ahead of the welfare of their children, in my opinion, that makes them incompetent, and they should have their children removed from their custody for as long as it takes to save their children's lives with necessary treatment. Children shouldn't have to die of staph infections or tetanus, or endure a lifetime of crippling debility from scars of otherwise preventable medical conditions because Mom and Dad decided to pray the sick away, or decided that they wouldn't let some uppity gub'mit o-fficial walk all over them and tell them what to do with their own children.

In another way, one of the impediments you mentioned to permaculture being widely accepted and used to influence policy on the largest scales is its link to unreasoned reactionist movements that have great potential to cause harm, from the point of view of the vast majority of people. You are essentially talking about trying to change the minds of these people, as they are the ones to determine policy and legislation with their votes, and to a lesser degree with calls of complaint to their respective representatives. Those people are standing on the outside, looking at the conversation, and saying "Oh yeah, permaculture. They must be back-to-the-land anti-vaxxers. Why would we take their opinions on anything?" This makes it very hard to get people to look at legitimate permacultural ideas, especially if what's being asked, as in the case of farmers considering permacultural approaches to food production, will directly impact their bottom line, one way or another. What they know is that their families were all vaccinated, so they didn't die of a childhood disease like their great-uncle might have, and didn't have to suffer as a polio survivor the way Grandma might have, so anybody talking about how vaccinating is evil and should be illegal has already lost credibility, even if they're not frothing at the mouth about it, because they're applying moral judgements to an issue where they don't apply, and because they more often than not can only talk about the one fraudulent paper published linking MMR and Thimerosal to autism.

We're asking farmers to believe what we're telling them about how soil-building through permaculture can help them get off the petroculture teat, get out of the debt machine, and become self-sufficient, and profitable, perhaps even lucrative, depending on niche markets. If it's real policy and legislative change we're after, we need to pluck the low-hanging fruit of permaculture and make pies out of it. Once they taste the pies, others will work to reach the higher fruit. That, in my opinion, is the surest, fastest, and most efficient way to bring the world to permaculture. Pies. Everything else is distraction.

Although I really want pie now, as you probably do, I want to offer an example of what I'm talking about in the real world: the widespread adoption of low to no-till farming practices, green manure cover crops, riparian buffer zones to stem topsoil runoff and offer pollinator habitat, and spot-spraying. These, except for the last one, are examples of permacultural low-hanging fruit. The last, incidentally, made it in there as an example of how permacultural ideas can influence non-permacultural practices, which, while not perfect, does show the ability to impact outside our direct sphere of influence. The pies made from these fruit are  reduced topsoil loss, increased soil fertility, and better pollinated crops, and if the farmer also keeps bees, more and better honey. A better return on the investment of the farmers' labour and money, in other words. That is how to make the change we seek to see. It is necessary for people to be shown, and then to do it themselves, and to see that they do, in fact, profit from permaculture. The other benefits will have to follow, because they are less immediate, if no less important in the long run. But with limited resources, as Travis mentioned, it is important to pick your battles.

Joseph, I wish I knew where to get raw milk in my area. I live in downtown Toronto, and drive a couple hours out of town every month to get my girlfriend to where she works in the country from time to time, so I am looking for options en route. I am sourcing ingredients to start experimenting in cheese making, and most of the cheeses I want to make are said to be better with raw milk. My family has in the past participated in a sub-quota free-ranged egg club, where we'd get a dozen a week delivered to their work for about the same as market price for battery eggs. And I am brewing my first gallon-sized batch of beer at home this weekend, all-grain, no extracts, and fistfuls of hops, I'm so excited (I have assisted in the process a few times before, which greatly aided my understanding, but this is the first time by myself)! I want to be able to make and sell cheeses I make from raw milk, and beer I brew (when I get it good enough). I want it to be easy for urbanites, as urban backyard chickens become increasingly common, to be able to have local markets for their eggs and other home and garden produce. In an era of Living Wage pilot projects, I like to see mechanisms put in place that bolster and augment pushes for self-sufficiency and resilience.

-CK
 
Richard Kastanie
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Location: Missouri Ozarks
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Chris,
OK, I understand your position better now. As for my own position, I don't believe that vaccines "are evil and should be illegal", I advocate for informed consent rather than government mandates. I started researching the issue carefully in 2015 when California passed much more restrictive mandates. I don't live in California, but the saying "as goes California, so goes the nation" has proven right enough times that I realized the potential was there for an encroachment of medical tyranny in other states or at the national level. So far nowhere else in the country has done as much in that direction California, but there have been lots of attempts to with a lot of money behind them, and other countries such as Australia and Italy also are going in that direction.

As for your question of whether safe vaccines could be formulated, I'd say we don't know for sure, it all depends on your definition of safe and what risks are worth it. Already, certain vaccines cause a lot more adverse reactions than others, the HPV vaccine seems to be turning out to have particularly nasty side effects. I would be much more hopeful if the CDC and thee media would tackle the CDC whistleblower story head on and not try to keep any mention of vaccine injury from the public. If you have any doubt that's being done, check out what happened when Robert de Niro tried to get the film" Vaxxed" shown at his Tribeca festival, and how all the mainstream media reviews seem like they're almost copied from one another, and they don't even mention the CDC whistleblower at all, which is the main focus of the film. There are plenty of critics of vaccine policy with a lot of different opinions and levels of knowledge, the media lumps them all under the "anti-vaxxer" label.

I disagree about homeopathy because of my experience and research. I was pretty skeptical too, until I fell in a way that should have given me a bad bruise but didn't because someone gave me homeopathic Arnica. That first time didn't completely convince me completely but intrigued me, and i've used a number remedies since. There's one I use fairly regularly that gives me noticeable relief from some chronic issues I deal with, although it isn't a cure-all. As for as studies go, the assertion by so many that there are no studies that show homeopathy to be no more effective than a placebo is not backed by the research I've done. There are some that show that, many seem to have been contrived out of either ignorance of some of the basics of homeopathy or a desire to have a negative result. Others do show a positive result, as this site documents. It's true there's no mechanism currently known to science that explains it, but that doesn't really trouble me because objects fell from the sky long before Newton formulated his theory of gravity.

As far as the medical kidnapping goes, I'm thinking of stories like this one. The debate about what are the rights of the family versus the state isn't one with any cut and dried answers, but I gather I'm a lot further toward the rights of the family end of the spectrum than you are. When I've had these sorts of debates with others it rarely results in anyone changing their opinion because so much if it comes down to a difference of values. For myself, if i look at is from a historical perspective i see that throughout history there have been lots of people that believed they knew the right way to live, and invariably other people came along later with sharply differing ideas. I don't believe there's one right way to live, raise a family etc, although there are ways that tend to work better than others, and some ways that worm fine for certain individuals in certain situations but not others. Humans have always had cultures as well, and there's always a push to conform to cultural norms. However in this increasingly globalized world where increasingly similar mandates and regulations are pushed in many countries around the world, we run the risk of greater disaster from anything that has unintended consequences. And, while corporate greed certainly magnifies the risk of harm, even the most well-intentioned efforts are knowh to have unintended consequences. I personally consider the naming of humans Homo sapiens to be an act of arrogance, Homo ignoramus would be better, even the geniuses among our species know little compared to the vastness of all that is. Erring on the side of more freedom for people and their families seems sensible to be, more people trying different things there's more chances for better solutions to be among there somewhere.
 
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For anyone interested in the vaccine debate I would recommend Bad Science by Ben Goldacre Very interesting discussion about the role of the press in all this .
 
Travis Johnson
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As a person with seizures,I am well aware of the mysteries and chemical reactions of the brain, and the misfiring and the trauma that it causes. So I have a healthy respect for chemical interactions and the drug company concoctions. Granted I have been on some medications that were downright dreadful, and yet others that I have been on for years that have taken care of the issue, enough so I can drive, run a chainsaw and even bulldozers and skidders.

However I also believe as a Christian, God has given us plenty here on earth to draw from, and while Dr's and traditional medicines may be part of that gift to us, herbal medications are available as well.

I used to build houses with my Uncle and he used to say, "Level, plumb and square are the three tools of home building, but it is knowing when to use each one that makes a great carpenter", and so it is in health I think. At times medications may be the right choice, but other times herbal remedies may be better. I think as society we just need to get better at knowing when to reach for each one; medications and traditional medical help, or holistic health.

Cancer is the most difficult because the fight is immediate and aggressive. I think there is amazing potential for herbal and holistic remedies for cancer, but I also realize the degree to which cancer can spread and mutate makes it very difficult to battle holistically. When a person has cancer they are not really into "trying" something, as in giving them what has proven the best to work. I can say that with clarity because I have cancer. But a brain disorder...something Dr's have not even begun to really understand...there are a lot of medications for. In my case, I have many I can chose from that stop my seizures from happening, but that is not how I pick them; like most people, it is based on what side affects I can and cannot live with.

 
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