“Give me [food] or give me death!”

“Give me [food] or give me death!”

What’s that you say? You need to consult with the others, but I’ve got the quote wrong?

I’ll wait.


Fine. That’s not how the original went, but it’s the version that’s been rolling around my head for the last six months.

In a literal way, it’s a true thing; no food = death. Moreover, a lack of real food also equals death, albeit a slower one. Historically, though, food has been one of the ways the ruling government controls its populace is to control its food. Today is no different.

I touch on this idea of egregious, governmental food control in the CLFA anthology, Freedom’s Light, and my contribution, Dollars on the Nightstand.

Let’s pretend that I’m your neighbor. I’ve invited you over to dinner. We ate a delicious, crispy-skinned broiler chicken that was free-ranging on my grassy pasture yesterday. As a family, we processed it, slicked it with butter made from my cow’s milk, and then seasoned it with herbs from our herb garden. The green beans were canned from last year’s harvest, and the water is from our well.

Everything is delicious, and as we’re cleaning up, you notice that I have an excess of raw milk in my fridge.

“Can I buy some?” you ask. “Let me at least help pay for some of the feed and work you’ve put into it.” You know how I keep my animals. You see that they’re happy and healthy, and you’ve had the milk before. It’s creamy and delicious.

“Nope, sorry, it’s illegal. They might take all my animals and arrest me for selling you a little milk.”

Really? Yes. Really.

You know what’s insane? Minus the last one hundred years, the very thing I just described was a normal occurrence. AND WE SURVIVED IT! WITHOUT government invention. This was life. We bartered as a way to survive. We shared our excess of one thing with out neighbor, and we were the better for it.

In place of this, the government has institutionalized food that’s chemically mass produced and emptied of all goodness. Chickens are housed in miserable conditions. Cattle are kept in feedlots, living miserable lives, shot full of antibiotics and fed diets that are not meant to keep them healthy, but meant to make them gain weight. We eat obese food, and we’re shocked that the country is suffering from obesity. There have been two studies hinting at the link between these two things.”You are what you eat,” as grandma used to say.

The USDA manages all aspects of our food industry, based on recommended daily allowances. However, their RDAs are based on the *minimum* allowable of calories, vitamins, and minerals that will net a passably health human. Actual needs are usually much more and not often met by what is now the standard American diet.

But when it comes to the small farm, the USDA invades with oppressive regulations, fees, certifications, and laws that make it nearly impossible for a small farm to bring a livable wage to the small farmer. They can enter a farm without permission, run a single test, and euthanize entire flocks without explanation. Personal autonomy and liberty is ignored.

“In the 1930s, the United States was home to 6.3 million farms; today, there are approximately 2.2 million, and fewer every day. The average age of today’s farmer or rancher is 59 years old, and many are retiring without a successor, as their children don’t want — or can’t afford — to take over the family business. Thus, as farms’ inheritors increasingly abandon the farm, a vacuum of stewardship opens up, leaving many wondering who, or what, will take their place.” — From Down on the Farm by Gracy Olmstead, National Review, August 15, 2016

(Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/438983/small-farms-big-business-family-farms-struggle-against-industrial-agriculture)

Food shortages will be a real thing in our future world. Yet it will not be from a lack of individuals that would love to take on the task, but from the inability to enter the industry without millions in pocketbook capital.

DSC_1309As Patricia Foreman, one of the founders of the Chicken Underground, likes to say, “It is a constitutional right for people to feed themselves and their neighbors, if they choose. We lived this way for thousands of years.” The USDA allows unhealthy, over-crowding in chicken houses that require HAZMAT suits and protocol to walk through, but demand egg washing that removes the bloom (natural protective coating) from fresh eggs. She also likes to point out that Europeans usually do not wash or refrigerate eggs as it isn’t necessary for fresh-from-the-farm eggs. Indeed, if you compare a standard store-bought egg with an egg from a pasture-raised chicken, you will find significant differences in the color and consistency as well as the nutritional content.

DSC_1216According to Joel Salatin (a self-proclaimed “…Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic“), founder of Polyface Farms, Inc., author of Everything I Want to Do is Illegal, there is a prejudice against scale. Crop-insurance doesn’t benefit the health of the agricultural market or increase productivity. It insures that the current degenerative farming practices stay in place, depleting the soil and ruining the land for generations, while insuring that regenerative farming practice that use common sense over the “we can chemically engineer it so we will” attitude (example: Round Up and the plight of the honey bees and other natural pollinators).  “Innovation starts embryonically, creation starts small,” he says.

But, for us, for our family, it’s more than that. It’s a throw-back to a simpler time when kids were connected to the value of life and the value of hard work.

Or more simply…

“I reject your reality and substitute my own.” — Adam Savage

Farming is a way to be free and unplugged from a societal breakdown. They can riot in the cities when the government decides to face the music and stop printing money; we’re working our sustainable plan. Society can collapse. Permaculture farming is the ticket to a kind of freedom that has been in short supply since Big Gov took over the food industry (and schooling, but that that’s a story for a different day). We’ll still have food and food to share.

At least until we’re arrested for selling milk. But you didn’t hear that from me.

“Give me [food] liberty or give me death!”

Live and Let Bite {Declan Finn}

If you’re interested in signed copies of Declan’s books or looking for a discussion about the industry with A Pius Geek, Declan’s 2017 appearances include RavenCon, LibertyCon, and DragonCon.

live-and-let-biteCongratulations to Declan Finn on the release of Live and Let Bite (Love at First Bite Book 3). In honor of the feat, he’s agreed to share his thoughts on writing… and a question most writers face… Why?  



Usually, when people tell me “I want to be a writer,” I tell them, “Turn back now.” When people tell me “I have to be a writer,” I tell them to go on full speed ahead, because there’s really no other way to do it.

Why do we write?

Why not?

The honest answer to the question is that I have to write. I have to. Must. I am obligated to write. Call it compulsive. Call it obsessive. But I have annoying people in my head talking to me, urging me to write stuff down … if you don’t understand it, you must not be a writer. There’s a reason I call being a writer legalized schizophrenia.

Usually, when people tell me “I want to be a writer,” I tell them, “Turn back now.” When people tell me “I have to be a writer,” I tell them to go on full speed ahead because there’s really no other way to do it.

To be perfectly honest, people who want to be writers don’t know what they’re in for. People who have to be writers don’t have any other choice in the matter, so much as well lean into it and charge ahead at full speed.

On the one end, you could say that writer’s are playing God. Technically, we are. We’ve created worlds, people, history of a planet – even if it’s just the fictional background of characters. On the other hand, as Dorothy Lee Sayers brought up in The Mind of the Maker, being god of your own little world isn’t as easy as it’s cracked up to be. After a while, the characters will start making decisions on their own. Which helps me, because I’m lazy and I don’t outline, so I just let them run rampant all over the place.

Some people write to entertain, which is probably the best way to go about it. Some people want to slip a message in there to go along with it, which is fine, as long as they keep the story going. Personally, any message I slip in comes from my own point of view. I am a monotheist, Thomistic philosopher. I have certain ideas of how the world worlds. I see things from a certain point of view.

Take, for example, my Love at First Bite series. There’s one character who believes themselves a blood-thirsty monster, even though they’ve only ever killed someone in self-defense. We have another one who is a vampire, and working on redemption….Yes, a contrite vampire. Because why not?

What happens when “the blood-thirsty monster” enjoys killing … but only does it when the life of self or others is at stake? Is that person evil because they enjoyed doing what was necessary? Especially if the intent is to save lives, but the enjoyment was a side benefit?

If your answer is “Yes, X person is evil,” then you must also condemn Winston Churchill and George Washington who remarked on the thrill of “being shot at without effect.” Does that means every soldier who has ever done a victory party that they survived a shootout must be evil because they’re happy to have survived while the ones trying to kill them didn’t?

If your answer is “No, this person isn’t pure evil, because his actions were good, but his thoughts are impure,” then that might be closer to the truth.

The first person who is pure may step up and throw the first rock.

As a Catholic, our catechism tells us that God made us to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, so we can live with Him forever in Heaven in the next.

But we all know God in different ways. Thomas Aquinas knew God through reason. Francis of Assisi knew Him through nature.

And some people know God by dying for Him.

When a world consists of evil vampires trying to take over a city by slaughtering innocent people, sometimes knowing God means being a soldier for Him.

For He has died to make men Holy. Some will die to make men free.

Is it a message? Maybe. At most, I just figure it should be a conversation starter about the nature of redemption. Of what’s black, and what’s white, and what’s a shade of gray – and not a collection of bondage porn.

Being a writer is who I am. It’s what I do. It’s all I really know how to do well. I just try to write some fun stories and throw some ideas in there for the audience to chew on and let any “message” attend to itself.

14971387_10101562879084690_146218567_nDeclan Finn is the author of books ranging from thrillers to urban fantasy to SciFi. This most popular of these books includes the 2016 Dragon Award nominated novel for Best Horror, Honor at Stake: Welcome to New York City, where vampires don’t sparkle, they burn. The sequel, Murphy’s Law of Vampires and Live and Let Bite are already out.

Finn is one of a legion of writers over at The Catholic Geeks blog (a legion, for we are many). Other books he has written includes the comedy-thriller It Was Only on Stun! where he blows up a sci-fi convention (no, not this one). The sequel is Set to Kill, a novel that spun off of his parody, Sad Puppies Bite Back.

He co-authored the science fiction espionage novel Codename: Winterborn, and Codename: UnSub. However, he is most proud of his The Pius Trilogy – book one of which, A Pius Man, will be rereleased from Silver Empire Press in 2017. Finn also hosts the Catholic Geek Radio show and can be found wherever someone is starting trouble.

If you’re interested in signed copies of Declan’s books or looking for a discussion about the industry with A Pius Geek, Declan’s 2017 appearances include RavenCon, LibertyCon, and DragonCon.


Honor at Stake


Murphy’s Law of Vampires


Live and Let Bite