Social Criticism Collection Most social criticism is an expression of reactive self-justification. A few individuals transcend their own limitations and write about what actually is so. Here you will find books by Vance Packard, Ralph Borsodi, Ferdinand Lundberg and many others.
Homesteading/Self-Sufficiency Collection Karl Marx defined real wealth as ‘owning and or controlling the means of production.’ He was thinking of industrial assets. But a small farm or ranch, even some garden land and a woodlot also are means of production. Self-sufficient homesteaders are fundamentally entrepreneurs who create independent simplicity for self and family instead of focusing on acquisition and economic power.
What These Two Libraries Are All About
Life on Earth could be easy and far more pleasant if only people were entirely rational about pursuing their interests and passions. But we aren’t. Scott and Helen Nearing spent decades on their self-sufficient homestead demonstrating that achieving our daily survival needs could be accomplished in only a few hours of work a day—if we did not have taxes to pay and produced most of our necessities ourselves. But as things are currently organized on Earth, most people in industrial countries are obliged to expend most of their energy most of their lives, working for what they have been programmed to consider as “necessities.” Sometimes I think we have created our planet this way because we would be bored if things were too easy. Sometimes I think we have wars and conflict for this same basic reason.
And sometimes I think the real reason in a nutshell is: instead of cooperation and a gentle allowing of others, Homo sapiens tend to focus on one of two destructive games: dominating and enslaving others, or making others be “good”—as one person conceives of “good” for the other guy.
Whatever the real underlying reasons, most people flail around ineffectively within the current scene, never escaping. But some few do escape the trap—at least to an extent—by focusing on achieving spiritual freedom, personal liberty, independence and self-sufficiency. These fortunates travel several seemingly opposing roads:
We can make a surplus of money, and save and invest and accumulate our own small piece of the big action—a share of what my old buddy Karl Marx would have called the “means of production.” This path is especially fraught with perils. At one time this library had a few books on these subjects, but they have been withdrawn (as of 27 June 2000) because I am currently confused about the ethics connected with having unearned income.
We can learn to live with ever-greater voluntary simplicity, thus lowering our needs for physical goods, and thus attain greater liberty, a feeling of security, and more free time. This path is fraught with perils, but may have the least number of perils. The worst peril is probably boredom occasioned by success.
We can homestead, go back to the land, and learn to grow our own food, gather our own heating fuel, build our own houses. This last solution is much like the first, in that we achieve ownership and control of the means of production, but do this production with our own efforts rather than deriving some benefit from the efforts of others. And it is much like the second, in that homesteaders have to accept a simpler lifestyle.This path is also fraught with perils.
These “roads” are actually parallel and interactive. They are not opposites. The Personal Freedom Library exists to encourage others to travel these perilous roads.