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So I just returned from an all-too-short vaca in the mountains – far and away my favorite place. The experience, as always, was near picture perfect.

Part of the reason I seek out the remoteness is to get away from the utter madness and bother of the reality of falling America. Bluntly, I like to leave the post-modern people behind.

Yet, even in the hills, I found it hard to escape the new realities, this time around.

Two things before I go any further:

One, I in no way, here, disparage the people of Appalachia, nor Bryson City, nor that town’s fine newspaper. This is more of a warning to them or, better, a warning to us, through them.

Two, the following reminded me of an older movie about the region in which an elderly woman stubbornly refuses to give her land to some government agent. I cannot recall the name at this time…

Anyway, somehow amidst all my hiking, riding, musing, etc., I found a copy of the Smokey Mountain Times. THIS ONE, for Thursday, July 20, 2017.

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Those children look happy and probably are. Maybe we shouldn’t be. SM Times.

It’s a paper, like that of many smaller towns, of feel-good news. I, for instance, did not know about the coming eclipse until late last week. Snorkeling is fun. Planning the week can be beneficial.

But two headlines grabbed my attention, my jaded attention.

The Military is bringing free healthcare?

Last week I had a big rant about how bad the American “healthcare” system really is. And it is bad. But is this the solution?

Undoubtedly many will reap the rewards of the care. That is a good thing in itself. But the issue isn’t wholly self-contained. My main point is that this isn’t how it’s supposed to work in a free and prosperous country – accepting government handouts for basic care.

For charity’s sake, are there no local doctors or nurses available?

And accepting the freebies from the imperial military at that?! Since when was the role of the military to bring free medical services to mountain people? Posse Comitatus? Well, probably not, not here. I can’t see this as the enforcement of any civil law. And I doubt anyone would complain anyway, because free.

But this is an intrusion, in a most unobtrusive manner, of the standing army into daily lives. It’s big government, at its best, doing its worst. It’s a demeaning admission that something is terribly wrong. It’s just as bad as this:

We need “Feeding Programs” in America? And they’re growing?

How the hell is any of this good? Well, outside of some hungry people getting meals, how is it good culturally, systemically? It isn’t.

This is further admission of gross failure. Your government and its owners have so wrecked the economy (and you’ve helped them right along – vote, vote, vote) to the point that the only solution is to accept more government handouts for basic needs.

It’s bad enough that we collectively turn our children over to the Great Father in Washington or Raleigh during the school year. Raising and feeding your kids is your responsibility. It’s not the government’s. Now, it seems, the children need Uncle Sucker’s help to eat during the summer months.

We shouldn’t even have a U.S. Department of Agriculture, let alone have it run a “feeding program” for our children (maybe some adults).

Are there no families or independent churches to do this for the parents?

Again, bluntly put, these two stories sound like something of an aid program designed for some third world country. “Feeding programs” and free medicine seem more suited for Rwanda than North Carolina.

Maybe the 21st century is seeing the blurring of the two worlds.

In that old movie, the older woman was as proud as any in the region ever was. She embodied the spirit of Appalachia, of America – defiant even in seeming poverty – independent. The land agent tried to swindle her into signing away her land, her freedom, for some fake welfare BS. She wasn’t having it and blatantly stated why. What was her’s was her’s and she did not need any “help.” I really wish I could remember the name of the film.

There’s a concept the people of Swain County and the rest of what’s left of this country need to remember. Independence and self-reliance are freedom. Handouts and graft, no matter how well-intentioned or how well received, represent slavery.

Sallust, saw his name yesterday on the back cover of a Loeb Classic, warned us that this is all most people hope for. I hope the great people of Appalachia, like their elevation, are just a notch above.

There is no free lunch, nor free doctor.

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