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  • The Pickled Prepper

Free Yourself; Don’t Give in to Pressure

There are lots of entities out there that want you to do things, even when these things are not in your best interest. It can range from something as minor as the store encouraging you to buy a sticky sweet dessert by putting it on an end-cap display near your checkout lane to the government using the tax code and their bully pulpit to convince you to spend more to buy an electric vehicle. Sadly, these efforts are often effective because too few people stop to think for themselves.

It’s no wonder, really. We are trained from a young age to do what others tell us and to want what others want so we can be socially acceptable. We are taught to listen to our parents and teachers, to obey that man in uniform, and to desire whatever cheap, Chinese-made toy is advertised during our favorite network show. Then there is human nature, which often prompts us to want what someone else has. You may have never wanted one before, but the same thing that made Eve want a bite of the apple makes people covet that which others appear to enjoy.

Some programs are run by commercial businesses, others by special interest groups. The worst are supported by the government and use fines, penalties, taxes and threats of jail time to alter your behavior.

Sometimes they appeal to our self-interest by promising we will be happier, thinner, or more attractive if we do what they want. Others use rules and regulations that force us to do things, incentives to encourage us to do other things, and disincentives to change our behavior.

True independence is making up your own mind, regardless of what the advertisers, regulators and people in authority want you to do.

Be True to Yourself

To be truly independent, there are times when you have to paddle against the current. It is up to you to decide when and where to exercise your independence because fighting against everything is not only exhausting, it will brand you an extremist. Where to resist the current? Pick your battles. Pick spots that matter to your lifestyle and belief system. Go with the flow when the outcome doesn’t matter to you, but invest your time and energy to fight for what you feel is important.

For example, the decision homeschool your children will have multiple consequences and require changes in your lifestyle. If the most important thing to you is avoiding public schools, you may decide to send them to Christian school instead. It’s a compromise, but it is still a way to fight back against the indoctrination they will receive in government-run schools. On the other hand, if you believe strongly in home schooling, then don’t let anything stop you. Do what you think is best for your kids and their future.

You can exert your independence in small ways and in large. When I ignore a gun-free zone sign and carry a concealed pistol in a restaurant or store, I am declaring my independence in some small way, even if no one else knows it. Likewise, it is a small protest when I bring my registration to a gas station where I know my state-mandated vehicle inspection will take place without them even laying eyes on the car or truck in question. Even small actions like these can help keep you independent rather than a lackey bowing down to the man. Small steps also prime us for bigger steps to come.

Fighting Back

Many rebelled against wearing face masks while others did not. It is a choice. Rebel against what is important to you, not necessarily what is important to others. And when you agree to support someone else’s cause, make sure it is because you agree with it, not just because they are a friend. Influencers exist outside of social media; don’t allow yourself to be influenced by someone who does not have your best interests at heart.

One way to fight back is to go against the norms. This could be as simple as having four or five children instead of none or one. Even homesteading could be seen as fighting back, especially if one or both of you don’t work outside the home. You could take it a step further and jump on the trad-wife band wagon. (That will piss off the liberals.) But do trad wife in your own way, to whatever extend you want. Be independent.

Going against the norms could also mean not using a smart phone. It could be giving your child a pocket knife instead of a phone. Maybe you could turn off Wi-Fi for 20 hours per day or, dare I say it, unplug the router for good. (Think of all the extra hours you would have in the day.)

On the smaller scale, you could hang your laundry on the clothesline instead of using a dryer. You could subscribe to a newspaper – you know, the paper kind that gets left on your door step.

You can also reject consumerism, which seems to define Americans. Start by never visiting a big box store, not eating in a chain restaurant, and supporting only small, locally-owned businesses.

Facing Adversity

The first step in exerting your independence is to achieve independence of thought. This is a critical step because you cannot act independently until you admit in your mind there is a better course than following the lemmings. When you achieve this stage, you will follow the crowd not because you are caught up in it, but because it is the path of least resistance, and the time to change your behavior has not yet arrived. When you finally make the break, your independent thought will have led you to independent action. It may appear sudden to those around you because only you will know you have been thinking about it for months or years.

Just keep in mind that when you fight against the norms, they fight back, often via social pressure. When you can resist the pressure and make headway paddling upstream against the current, you will know you have achieved independence of both thought and action. For example, if you want to prep, don’t let naysayers stop you.

Independence of both thought and action is like a muscle you must exercise to strengthen it. When you have done so, you will be well on your way to being an independent being. Like Neo in the Matrix, you will have freed yourself.

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