A Declaration of Out-dependence - What Happened to Self-reliance?

When founding fathers of the USA Signed the Declaration of Independence they must have known that their lives were about to change.

They knew separation from Britain would bring hardship, war, death and suffering to many.

They also knew, that after the breakaway, they would be in danger. Even if independence could be accomplished without war, they would not only govern themselves, but they would pretty much provide for themselves. Freedom wasn't going to be free; it would cost a lot.

The Signing, by Trumbull.
The Signing, by Trumbull. | Source

For a long time, people understood the deeper basic meaning of INdependence.

They had to depend on what was IN them, their own skills, their own knowledge, their familial and community cooperation and, most of all, their own hands-on labor, to self-produce most of their everyday needs.

America would have to be self-sufficient through its earliest years, and that kind of independence made it stronger as the country grew.

Pioneer Spirit

As pioneers established towns on the expanding frontier, a general store may have stocked some of the necessary tools, materials and staple food items they needed, but people did most of the building and "processing" themselves.

But now it seems --somewhere along the line-- we must have signed a Declaration of Out-dependence.

Wherever you live today, especially in the U.S., there is access to inexpensive power, public services, a well as wide variety of inexpensive, processed and prepared foods,chemically formulated cleaning and personal-care products, cheaply manufactured tools, ready-made clothing, furniture and other consumer goods in a dizzying variety of choices.

We no longer make our own stuff. Increasingly, the stuff is made somewhere far away from where we live, and it is mostly made, not to last, but to be thrown away and replaced again and again.

Everything you need

Source

Declaration of OUTdependence --of the Fifty United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for people to strengthen the economic and acquisitive bonds which have allowed them to compete with one another in the acquisition of stuff, and to assume opportunity to which they are entitled, requires that they declare causes which impel them to be dependent on others for their needs and desires.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are equally endowed with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life with all the modern conveniences, liberty to buy anything at any time with credit, and the pursuit of Happyburgers.

That to secure these rights, we depend on plenty of fuel for energy, cheap labor from economically disadvantaged countries to produce goods, and the Almighty executive, legislative and judicial entities to provide health and social services [as well as economic bailouts when we fail].

For these needs and wants from the consent of the governed, we pledge our total dependence on China, big box stores, big business and big government forever and ever,amen.

And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of the government, we mutually pledge to give up our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

Having it All

We have become accustomed to having a huge selection of cheap mass produced goods available to us at a moment's notice.

You can even buy a modular home to set up within a few days with all of the fixtures in place. It won't last as long as the home your great-grandfather built, but what does? In earlier days , homes were meant to last a lifetime or more.

Do you need a special gift or a pair of shoes to match a new outfit today? You can find it at the local mall. Need a special battery for an indispensable gadget? Order it on line and get in in a couple of days. If it costs more than you have in your wallet, you can always charge it.

Beyond such things as food and consumer products, we are also dependent on someone to provide energy.

We have become big consumers of electricity and fuel. We depend on others to provide systems for communication, transportation and even entertainment. Most of us even depend on someone to provide us with water.

Air is still free, but If things continue in the same manner, people may someday be buying disposable plastic air tanks so we can breathe (and pay for) clean air.

Only few generations ago, our not so distant ancestors self-produced much of what they needed or wanted. Who was it that signed us on to the idea that we should pay dearly for someone else to do everything for us?

What happened to the idea that "do it yourself" was the practical way to save?

The Founders vote for INdependence. from the miniseries "John Adams"

Making your own Stuff.

Today's troubled economy is actually making some people to think about what they can do without, or what they can still do for themselves.

Even modest homes, not so long ago, had a pantry or a cellar for storing self-preserved food. Fruits, and vegetables from a home plot were "put up" in jars, or dried for later use.

Often that same small house might have a sewing room where curtains and quilts, and clothing were made.

Sewing , knitting and needlework might be a hobby for some-- not the necessity it once was. Today, a few people have gardens to grow vegetables. Not too many people do canning -- a lot of people don't even cook any more.

Look at your supermarket meat counter, chances are more than half of it is filled with prepared and re-heatable entrees that are prepared in a factory hundreds, even thousands of miles away. They are packaged in plastic containers, poly bags, cardboard cartons and over-wrapped with plastic film.

If you buy them, you are bringing home a lot of paper and plastic trash to toss, along with a long list of additives, preservatives, and other questionable ingredients. The price people pay for these processed foods is often MUCH higher than they would have paid to make them, from scratch. How did we get used to this? Who signed?

John H. of the big signature.

Source

Time to re-learn?

It might not be a bad idea to start teaching some basic skills to ourselves and our children.

It might be time to relearn cooking, or carpentry. There might come a time when blacksmithing and metal-working could come in handy. Learning to repair or make clothing, might be a good skill to have.

I recently heard a statistic about the Great depression of the 1930s that said 80% of the U.S. population lived on farms and in small towns at that time, and only 20% in cities.

Those stats have now flipped with the 80% living in cities. Few people still have the experience of basic living skills our great-grandparents had.

Even those who fled the ruined farmlands of the dust-bowl in the depression years-- still had their experience and knowledge of how do do things for themselves. They built on those homely skills with hard work.

My grandfather knew how to build a house without power tools. My other grandfather could shoe a horse, build a bicycle and repair pocket watches. He built a multi-faced street clock, by hand. He could also re-sole shoes and play several musical instruments.

If times get tougher here, a lot of people will have no clue how to become truly independent again.

As for the Declaration of Out-dependence, John Hancock would never have put his pen to it.

More by this Author


Comments 42 comments

Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor

Oh man, Rochelle, you are right on the money. This is the most intelligent article I've read all day (I've been trying to do my tax returns).

Yeah. I'm learning how to be a plumber's mate.

My father and grandfathers could fix anything, make anything, and my mum could knit the most beautiful Aran sweaters. Dang we need to get back to that.


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

couldn't agree more. It's embarrassing if a family can't, between them, cook, sew, knit, preserve, etc


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks

Rochelle, I agree. We should make more of our own things. This will require us to have time to spend on sewing, canning, growing, harvesting, slaughtering our own meat and preserving it. We will be so busy doing all these things that we won't have time for a job, much less the need for an income. Because of this, there will be a lot less money circulating, so the public sector, which feeds on taxing us, will collapse. It's not just a way to reduce dependence on importers and manufacturers. It's also a way to cut the government down to size!


DonnaCSmith profile image

DonnaCSmith 7 years ago from Central North Carolina

Rochelle, yes, yes, yes! When I was growing up my Daddy fixed everything. We never took our car to a garage, called a plumber, etc. Mama and I made our clothes. I made prom dresses, everything. I love "making do" when I can.


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

I have often felt that we should re-learn basic survival skills. I am sure many children think eggs come in plastic egg holders, chickens come skinned, shrink wrapped and clean. milk comes in plastic cartons etc etc. how many could fetch eggs from the hens, slaughter, pluck and clean a chicken, never mind a sheep or a heiffer. What about milking the cow by hand. I pose a question , what would we we do if all our technology, cars, TV, cellphones, computers etc stopped working overnight. Could we survive?

Great hub Rochelle


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida

Great advice!!! I plan on starting my own veggie and herb garden in a month or so. I grew up with clothes my mother made me, and now she makes them for my daughter. I never did get the hang of the sewing machine. Maybe it's time to try my hand at it again...


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Thanks, Teresa: You mean this sounded more intelligent than tax directions?  See, that's why I use TurboTax like the new cabinet financial guy.  I like plumbing. I think it is the one essential element in contemporary civilized society. I really don't know how most of our ancestors lived without proper plumbing.

London Girl:   I think people in your country have held onto these things better than many Americans (who seem obsessed with the newest and latest Thing).  Yes I think every family should designate a member to do one or more of these tasks.

Aya: -- Now, you have taken the idea to a whole new level.  Unfortunately I think consumerism had become too ingrained.  Yet there is a chance that it could come to that., and I'd be all for it.Donna: My hubby won't give up his OLD Chevy-- we have a newer vehicle, but he can still fix the old one himself (doesn't have all them dang modern computer components).

sixtyorso:  I don't know if we could survive. I live in a rural area where a lot of kids still participate in youth groups that still teach farming. "home arts"  and animal raising-- they may be the last remnants  preserving a past way of life.

Anna Marie:  There's something very satisfying about having a home garden. It's practical, healthful and fun-- especially when you pick that first delicious juicy tomato.My mom could sew and knit anything, too.  I didn't learn, either, but my daughter-in-law is very good at it.

A belated "Thank you"  to all


RGraf profile image

RGraf 7 years ago from Wisconsin

This is great. We've been thinking of how dependent we are and we don't like. We are trying to find ways to be more self-sufficient. I'm looking into a root cellar and other things that we can do to prevent the dependancy and expense that we've acquired.

As usual, a GREAT hub!


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 7 years ago from USA

We'll be back in Oklahoma in a few months, and plan on getting back to basics.  You're so right, most people now don't know how to plant anything, and have to search for a place TO plant. I don't want to be in that line-up.  The pendulum swings...and we are at the point of breaking down to re-build.  Exciting, scary, and challenging.  What will we choose?  Panic or preparation? 

great hub, Rochelle, putting things in perspective.  What we are going thru is a natural consequence of the greed and production stuffed America....however, the effect of greed and crime trickles down on those on the ground who were merely trying to do the right thing, most of the time.  Still, we must all be more practical and inter-dependent thinkers...now's our chance, now's our time. 

Shall we bloom? =))


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country Author

I'm ready. Thanks for your comments.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America

My martial arts training included several winters of Survivalist Training in the Summer and the Winter on 3-day weekends, the hottest and coldest of the year. No indoor plumbing in the winter, either. No TV, no gadgets, no telephones, little food brough it. This really helped me to survive disasters, accidents, and recessions. Thank God I can survive many bad situations now, because of it.


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

Best hub I've read today! It should be required reading. I believe it's going to take people understanding that they must be self-sufficient to survive all of this.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Patty, I think knowing that you CAN do difficult things is half the battle, because it promotes confidence and optimism.

Thanks, Jerilee. Yes, more people haveto think about it.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America

Well said, Jerilee and Rochelle!


perfectweight profile image

perfectweight 7 years ago

I couldn't agree more. Thanks for reminding us about skills we need to get back to.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Thank you, perfectweight.

Some of the skills are just to useful to lose.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

Excellent hub! And as well as useful skills, we should also encourage cultural skills that don't consume resources but make life worth living - conversation, playing music, writing, painting, dancing etc


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Yes, I think you are right about that paraglider. Making music, storytelling and sharing family history is important too. Playing games with the children can strenthen inter-generational ties as well as teaching, math, logic, coordination, cooperation and thinking skills. . . . but then all of that could be another whole hub. Are you going to write it?


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

I love eating apples crom my parents tree and my mom still cans apples, tomatoes, pears, and she makes wonderful jellies and tomato ketchup. These are so much better than the store variety because all the fruits and veggies are home grown and organic.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country Author

I made plum jam this past season-- first year our tree had enough fruit to make a dozen jars. Also got enough pears to make a few jars. Tomatoes are really easy to can.

Starting to get the urge for gardening, but alas we still have about a foot of snow on the ground with more to come this week. In the past 12 years that I've lived in the mountains, this is the most snow I've ever seen here.


Cagsil profile image

Cagsil 6 years ago from USA or America

That was a great read Rochelle. Thank you for suggesting it in the forum. I took a different tact about self-responsibility in my hub. Plus, I wrote Degeneration of Value to talk about America's currency problems. Thank you for writing such a wonderful hub. I'm very glad I took the time to read it. :)


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Thank you, Cagsil. Your hub was more philosopical, but philosophy and practicality can co-exist.. in fact, I think they should.


PETER LUMETTA profile image

PETER LUMETTA 5 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

I've done just about everything I need to stay alive in all kinds of environments and can take care of myself as long as I stay healthy. I will survive, Peter


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

Fantastc, Rochelle...the signs are out there...hard timed could come around and we are miserably prepared. Thanks for sharing! WB


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

I see that you wrote this 2 years ago. How much more timely it is with today's news of the stock market plunging and times being hard for so many. We definitely need to get back to basics! Up and useful votes!


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 5 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Thank you Peter. Nothing like experience to give confidence. Too many people have too little of either-- they should do something about it.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 5 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Thanks, Wayne Brown.We have to take stock of what we have and prepare to do what we can.

Thanks to you, too, Peggy W. Maybe it's a wake up call. People can do more for themselves than they may think. Government will soon be in no position to help anyone when they obviously don't know what needs to be done.


CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 5 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

Funny that this should come up in my feed just as I have been reading about the rioting and looting in my home town in London. The tragedy of the young people involved is not that they are poor and disadvantaged, but that these areas of London have had millions of pounds pumped into them, but nobody has ever asked them to give something back. These kids are truly disadvantaged because they have been fed a shallow, materialistic culture where they have been taught that they are victims who should be given anything they want immediately they want it. If the infrastructure that is providing trainers, blackberries and benefits ever fails, they will be as helpless as babies to provide for themselves and their families. Here in the UK we have a big challenge to re-educate our youth away from needing immediate self-gratification, and teaching them the skills they will need to build productive, satisfying lives


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 5 years ago from California Gold Country Author

I have seen some of the photos, CMHypno.

The destruction is horrible and it is hard to understand why people think this makes things better for anyone. It makes one wonder if there is any hope for mankind, when so many people do not understand the basic principles of productive satisfying lives.


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 5 years ago from A small southern town

Changing lives.......self reliance,...Repair.....

you have left SO LITTLE for me to add......

FANTASTIC hub.........I am proud just to have read it!


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 5 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Thanks so much, onegoodwoman. Please feel free to add even a little. I'm proud to have you comment.


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 5 years ago from A small southern town

I am so overcome..........is there anymore to say, than to say " hang on"...........

There is so much fear and distrust in the modern world.

Learn and grow.......learn and know..........that is the bottom line.........

God bless our humble efforts.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 5 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Thanks, again.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York

Excellent hub. I agree with you-- we seem to have lost our resourcefulness, our ability to fend for ourselves. When our ancestors came here, it was a wilderness. They got food and shelter from nature. We seem to have completely forgotten how to do that. We can relearn it quickly if we have to; I think we will have to, eventually, and then we will. People don't get out of their comfort zone unless the back is to the wall!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Rochelle, all those "home arts" you talk about - canning, sewing clothes, quilts and curtains, etc - used to be done by moms who didn't have to work outside the home. Making things from scratch was their "job". Then we fell into the madness of buying too-expensive homes in "good" neighborhoods and those pretty things for sale at the mall that Dad's income alone couldn't cover, so two-income families became the norm.

As Elizabeth Warren lays out in an hour-long video, the two-income families of today are actually poorer and less well-off than one-income families of the 1940s, '50s and '60s. An unsustainable amount of the income of a two-income household goes for a too-high mortgage, child care, health "insurance", and convenience goods like take-out food, ready-made clothing, and the latest electronic gadgets. In even worse shape is the single-mom, one-income household.

Luckily, I grew up knowing how to sew, crochet, knit, grow food (although I never got the hang of canning). Thanks to my dad, I know how to use a saw, hammer and screwdriver, and do basic car maintenance and repairs. I shudder when I think of how many kids today don't have a clue how to grow food, make basic dishes from scratch, make clothes, or do any of the myriad things that only a couple of generations ago *everybody* knew how to do to take care of themselves and their families.

I was heartened, however, by a segment of a PBS program about an FFA (Future Farmers of America) chapter in (if memory serves) inner-city Philadelphia. Just as in rural areas, these kids from low-income high-rises learn to raise vegetables, cattle and chickens, and how to preserve and cook them. A very eye-opening experience for all!


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 5 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Paradise, you are probably right, but the relearning process will take awhile. It might happen after everyone is finally standing on street corners with cardboard signs asking for a handout.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 5 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Thanks for commenting, JamaGenee. Too many people didn't realize what a slippery slope they were on when everyone thought they had to have everything.

I saw that PBS special, too. I don't think that is happening in enough places, but there are still a few trying to preserve the knowledge that used to be common.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

I foresee a resurgence of WWII Victory Gardens and more people trading goods for "lost" skills and vice versa.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 5 years ago from California Gold Country Author

I wouldn't be surprised if that happened. I've already got the victory garden.


anonymous 3 years ago

Got it! Thanks a lot again for heilpng me out!


SANJAY LAKHANPAL profile image

SANJAY LAKHANPAL 2 years ago from Mandi (HP) India

We are becoming increasingly becoming dependent on other people especially machines. In a way it is a loss of independence and a sort of global dependence has occurred due to consumerism and materialism which has isolated us from our natural roots. DH Lawrence and Walt Whitman often spoke of commune with nature and blood instinct. Even our feelings are not independent, they are miserably programmed. Nice hub and voted up.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country Author

I especially appreciate your comment, Sanjay Lakhanpal. When I wrote this, I was thinking more about the USA, but it seems that the principles apply worldwide. Governments want to "help and protect " us, by taking away incentives for personal initiative and freedom. Citizens of many countries are treated like children that need to be looked after.

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