Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Mother Earth Reader Strikes Back...

About a year ago, I wrote a piece for the Mother Earth News. The thing continues to have a bit of a subterranean life on the Mother Earth News website. They even have a forum to discuss it. Most people hate it. This (written today) has been my favorite "I-Hate-You" response thus far:

"This article is one of the most idiotic and infuriating things I've read in quite some time. I'm really surprised and disappointed that the editors approved its publication. If the author showed up at my place and started taking liberties with my property to suit himself, I'd take his stupid walking stick away from him and beat the bejesus out of him with it. By his reasoning, I should be able stop by his place, pass personal judgement on anything I see, and make whatever changes I prefer. Can I smoke in his living room? Can I make a pass at his wife? I don't happen to like cats, so can I remove his? Can I paint his house a different color?

What's the point of burdening myself with the expense and trouble of property ownership if any drunken moron can come along and assert his 'rights' over my property? I happen to own my little place and can and do establish any rules I see fit, and can also hang up any 'obnoxious' sign I choose. If someone doesn't find that to be satisfactory to his personal sense of aesthetics, that's just one more good reason to stay the hell away.

I used to manage a beautiful 10,000 acre ranch, and dealing with trespassers was always a huge problem. I had horses shot, elk poached, expensively stocked trout ponds fished, fences cut, cattle rustled, pastures trashed by ATVs, forest fires started, you name it. When challenged, many trespassers voiced the rather socialist sentiment that the land was 'too beautiful' for the owners to keep to themselves. I would always respond that they were welcome to make an offer on the place, then maybe they could make the rules. Then the day came when a lady who had the owner's permission to play on the property managed to injure herself. She successfully sued, and will never have to work again.

But that's not the point. There are huge problems in the world that I have no power to control. One thing I do have a little power over is my personal environment, small as it is, and I'm very thankful for that. I also happen to work very hard to pay for it and I'll be damned if anybody will violate it without a fight. This author needs to haul his belly full of booze down to the local real estate office and purchase a piece of land big enough to satisfy his wandering proclivities. He would, however, likely have to work harder than he'd prefer in order to pay for it.

He also needs to reread Thoreau."

I don't think he will be sending me a Christmas Card this year....


Allan Stellar said...

There is a good discussion of this on my other blog:



Ruahines said...

Kia ora Allan,
Good on ya mate! I am with you and Ed Abbey on this one. Access rights to our beautiful parks and mountains, rivers and sea is an ongoing issue here as well since so much of our wild places is surrounded by farmland. For the most part it works well as there are defined access routes granted to the government, but there are always a few trying to make a dollar out of it, fencing in tracts of land to make game farms for rich tourists to come and "stalk" and "hunt" animals with no escape. I shall check out your discussion on your other blog.
Ka kite ano,

Allan Stellar said...

Thanks Robb,

I learned through the publication of this essay that not many people agree with me. I was impressed that Mother Earth News ran it (given all the people who called this thing tripe, chastised the editors and who threatened me with shotguns, dogs and beatings). Looks like the back-to-the-landers have become a bit Redneckish.

I understand your adopted country is quite beautiful. And the Sauvignon Blanc is outstanding (at a fair price)...

I hope to visit and take a hike some day...


greentangle said...

Nice article. Love his user name. Yeehaw, just another Computer Cowboy who thinks he can own everything. Read some of the comments--I do like the idea of wiring a place against ATVs and such.

Came here first. I'll go see what the other says.