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Backwoods Home magazine Offers Hopelessness for the Future


Despite living at my current address for roughly four years, I still get mail for the previous occupants, who were, when last I checked, in jail. Most of the mail is court related, or notices from the city, so I dutifully write a note on the envelope and send it back. Last weekend, though, one of them got a trial issue of a magazine I couldn't bring myself to relinquish.

magazine, based in Oregon, offers "practical ideas for self-reliant living," and its philosophy is neatly summed up by the January/February issue's cover illustration "America on the Edge," which features a ship under full sail heading for a waterfall. In case that image is too subtle, the inside cover explains that it is intended to "get the stark reality across that America faces real danger."

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Much of the danger comes from above--in the form of the federal government--and relies on one's acceptance that the current occupant of the White House plans to:

a) take away all the guns

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b) silence right-wing radio

c) institute socialism, and

d) create a domestic police force to implement all of the above.

If that is your thing, then the Libertarian-leaning

Backwoods Home

is the magazine you will want with you as you take to the hill country to wait out the coming storm. Articles include tips on recipes for rice and beans, butchering game meat, building your own house, and survival strategies from the Great Depression, all served with a heavy portion of doom.

Of particular interest was the detailed instructional "Bury a Gun and Ammo for 15 Years (and be assured everything still works when you dig it up)," based on the author's own experience. Without giving away too much of the method, it involves digging a hole--and he is likely correct in his assertion that it will "keep it safe from all but the most determined government goons."

Backwoods Home

walks a fine line between back-to-nature simplicity and armed-compound survivalism. An article detailing "13 Simple (and cheap) pleasures," moves quickly from Scrabble to the coming economic disaster before delivering the author's suggestions (No. 7: "Wash your car," No. 11: "Learn how to juggle").

The author doesn't mention it, but

Backwoods Home

implies a fourteenth way to relieve the crushing boredom: wait for a really good excuse to take up arms against the federal government. It kills the time between Scrabble games, anyway.

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