Might the government be able to legally take your food supplies from you?
This is the first part of a three-part article about the risk of having everything we’ve stored taken from us – not by force by a gang of armed violent looters, but by color of law, by local or federal law enforcement agents or the National Guard or even regular Armed Forces.
This is one of the most important articles we’ve published. Please read it carefully, because if you don’t understand these issues now, you’ll surely be sadly surprised when they become relevant in some future emergency.
In the first part, immediately below, we talk about how such ‘un-American’ acts like taking one person’s possessions and ignoring concepts of private ownership (what we used to call, with revulsion, Communism) are becoming the normal accepted situation, and we talk about how such a seemingly flagrant breach of the Constitution could in fact occur. It is important to understand this, because too many preppers – while open to the possibility of so many different types of future disasters – are insufficiently open-minded about the type of response from the rest of society when such a disaster occurs.
The second part switches from talking about what might occur and instead focuses on what laws are already on the books. There are already laws that empower the President to command the Armed Forces to take almost everything we have, in an apparently lawful manner. These are laws, in effect today, that have been passed and approved by (of course) both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and which have not been constitutionally challenged.
The third part introduces you to an appallingly un-American concept, civil forfeiture.
The first part is dismaying, but the other parts are terrifying. Please do bravely read on.
We call ourselves preppers, and we stockpile food and other essentials in case of a breakdown in the normal functioning of our society and an inability to continue to live as we normally do. We feel this is a sensible and prudent thing to do, and something to be encouraged.
But not everyone sees things the same way we do. Instead of what we consider to be prudently stockpiling in good times, then carefully conserving and using up our resources in a future emergency, some people will describe us as selfishly hoarding. Of course, such accusations will never be made in the present day times, not while our consumption-driven economy benefits from people buying as much of everything as they can afford, and then some more too.
But what about in the future, when all of a sudden, things which were formerly commonplace become rare, and even the most basic essentials of life – food, water, shelter – become precious and scarce? Will the people who sneered at us for prepping simply ‘suck it in’ and say ‘Our bad, you were right, we were wrong, so we get to starve while you get to live’? Or will they say ‘It isn’t fair that these selfish people have more food than they need, while we are without food – it is only right they be forced to share their food fairly with us’?
Historically, America rose to greatness on the basis of the first response – people were responsible for their own success or failure. If they worked hard and did well, they got to enjoy the fruit of their labors and the flowering of their success. If they made bad choices, or were lazy, then they suffered the consequences.
But at some point in the last 50 years or so, that has flipped around. Successful people are no longer praised and respected for their success, and failures no longer feel humbled and embarrassed by their failure. Now we see successful people viewed suspiciously, while people who have failed in their lives through laziness and lack of work now are proud of their failure and demand to be supported. Our entire ‘progressive’ tax system penalizes success right from the get-go, and we increasingly hear the mantra being chanted ‘The rich must pay their fair share’.
But how much is ‘their fair share’? Certainly, we agree that everyone should pay tax, but is it fair that some people should pay five or ten times more tax than some other people? Is it fair that some people should pay one hundred times more tax than the average person, and is it fair that half the country should pay no tax at all? Increasingly, it seems that many people believe these scenarios to be true.
There has been a steady shift from the overall tax burden being broadly and equally shouldered by all, to more and more of the taxes being paid by fewer and fewer people.
Here’s a fascinating chart that shows this steady trend over the last 30 years, taken from this article.
Is it truly fair that 1% of the country pays almost as much in taxes as the other 95%? Indeed, the people who clamor that the wealthy are not yet paying their fair share seem to think that the 1% should pay even more and more.
Furthermore, the government’s role in the nation’s economy is expanding. Our economy is increasingly revolving around government activity rather than around private enterprise, and that’s a recipe for economic disaster – just ask any of the failed communist regimes. What that means is that increasingly people rely on the government for their income – they either work for the government or work for a company that contracts to the government or receive benefits from the government – this is a growing mass of people who have no history of making a living in the private sector; people who have learned to view the government as the source of everything they need in their lives.
This article here has a series of charts that shows how our economy is becoming increasingly a government based economy, but it only covers the last ten to twenty years in most cases. It still provides a terrifying read of where our economy is headed.
But to look at a longer series, look simply at this chart which shows – in inflation adjusted dollars – the growth of the annual federal budget from 1962 through until 2015. The chart was taken from this article.
One last point on this topic. We’ve shown you the growth in federal government. Now match that with growth also in state government, county government, city government, and all sorts of pseudo-government organizations. The transition of our economy from one predominantly featuring private industry to one now made up of government organizations is even more widespread than you might have thought.
So what does this commentary on our nation’s tax system and growth in government have to do with the main theme of this article – the risk of having our stockpiled supplies taken from us?
We have looked at the nation’s evolving attitude towards ‘compulsory sharing’ – another name for taxation – to show how there is a growing belief, and maybe already one held by the majority of voters, that wealthy people have an obligation to sacrifice the wealth they have created and to give it to less wealthy people. If you agree with us at this interpretation of our changing tax collection policies and social expectations, then you understand the first point we are going to make.
US Society Now Condones Compulsory Taking From the Wealthy
Our point is simply this. Today it is now normal and accepted to take from the ‘haves’ and distribute to the ‘have nots’, through an increasingly unbalanced tax system and via an ever larger and larger governmental process.
People say it is ‘fair’ that wealthy people should pay more and more, and people say it is also ‘fair’ that not wealthy people should pay less and indeed be actively subsidized – not only do such people not pay taxes, but they become net recipients of welfare support.
We’re the first to acknowledge that there is truly a small percentage of the country’s population that needs support and assistance through no fault of their own. But we don’t believe that this ‘small percentage’ is actually half our entire population. Our definition of fairness, and our view of the obligations of citizens in general, is that all people should pay taxes, albeit to a varying degree. If only a small section of society pays taxes, our democratic process becomes perverted whereby the majority can impose whatever taxation policies they wish on the minority – all cloaked in the nebulous concept of ‘fairness’, of course.
There’s another element to compulsory taking as well. We’re not just talking about the taking of abstract money from people who have ‘too much’ money. We’re also talking about the increasingly aggressive use of ‘Eminent Domain’ powers for public bodies to take private property and to repurpose it for ‘public good’. Eminent Domain is when the council takes your land to build a new road, for example, and compensates you ‘fairly’ for the taking (if it is land that has been in your family for generations which you don’t want to lose at any price, the council’s view of ‘fair’ may not coincide with your own).
But the concept of ‘public good’ has insidiously expanded – there have been examples of councils taking land for commercial developments such as shopping malls. The most celebrated example of eminent domain abuse – Kelo vs New London – was contested all the way to the Supreme Court, which, alas, approved the taking of the land – here’s a short and easily read article on this particular case.
There are many other dubious and arguably unfair uses of eminent domain – a search for “abuse of eminent domain” on Google brings 1.28 million results.
Our point is simply that society’s respect for private ownership – whether it be money or land or pretty much anything else – is dwindling. And that is happening during good times – imagine now, if you can, how quickly the last remaining elements of respect for private personal ownership will disappear in difficult times.
The Social and Practical Basis for Taking Our Food and Supplies From Us
There are several things to think about when it comes to considering what would happen WTSHTF. We of course discuss these things regularly with other people, and a significant number of people refuse to accept that anyone would wish to take anything of theirs. Much as we wish their views to be correct, we sadly disagree. But it is interesting to see the full spectrum of opinions and denials offered to us.
Some people will acknowledge that a very small minority – unlawful gangs of ‘bad’ people – might wish to do that, but that the overall forces of law and order will prevent such things from happening.
Some people will acknowledge that there might be pressure to take our supplies from us, but that the police would never enforce an unlawful order.
But let’s look at past experiences and events to see if these two denials are founded in fact.
For the first point – the police and other agencies will protect those who ‘have’ from small groups of unlawful gangs, we have three words to offer. Los Angeles riots.
Look at what happened during the LA riots in 1992. During six days, large swathes of Los Angeles were in total anarchy, a known 53 people were killed, and more than 2,000 were injured. More than 3,600 fires were set, more than 1,100 buildings were destroyed, and total damage probably came in at about $1 billion.
The Los Angeles police were supplemented by thousands of other local, state and federal law enforcement officers, and by the California National Guard and regular US Marines and other Armed Forces too.
All of this happened due to protests about the Rodney King Police Officers trial and verdict.
Now ask yourself. If a mere court case can cause this, which takes six days to get under control, and requires the airlifting of tens of thousands of additional public safety personnel to bring the lawlessness under control, what happens when a more major event occurs, and when tens of thousands of police reinforcements are not available?
Note also our article by a police veteran, where he clearly says ‘the police won’t be able to cope and cities will collapse stunningly quickly’.
For the second point (the police would not enforce unlawful orders), we’ll again offer up three words, although one would be enough. New Orleans Katrina. The local police and sheriff’s offices seemed to take more pleasure than expected, and to use more zeal than is common for the Big Easy’s finest at doing anything, when it came to seizing people’s firearms – a blatantly illegal act, and carried out in an area where firearms ownership is generally positively viewed.
If that’s not enough, how about another three words. Boston Bombing Manhunt. Thousands of law enforcement personnel, dressed in full combat gear like they were each about to singlehandedly go to war against the entire muslim world, went door to door through Boston suburbs, carrying out house to house searches. They had no search warrants. They had no reasonable cause or suspicion. And, furthermore, their searching was all to no avail – the two bombers were not detected as a result of this house to house searching.
Make no mistake. People weren’t being politely asked if they could have their houses searched. Their houses were being searched at gunpoint, and refusal was not an option.
Now add to this the fact that after TSHTF, police officers will be as hungry and needy as most other non-prepared people. They will have a vested personal interest in complying with orders to search and seize food and other valuable supplies. Maybe they’ll even get a ‘finder’s fee’ bonus based on how much food and supplies they seize.
We’ll be generous and accept that a small percentage of police officers might refuse to go along with any such orders. But for every police officer refusing to comply, there’ll be a dozen volunteers willing to take his place.
All of the preceding has assumed that taking our food and other supplies from us would be illegal. But that’s not necessarily a valid assumption. Alas, quite the opposite. Please keep reading.
Future Legal Support for Seizing our Food and Supplies
There already is probable legal support for having our supplies taken from us, but we’ll leave that for the second part of this two-part article. Let’s assume, for the moment – as most of us naively do – that there are no laws or regulations authorizing the authorities to take our food and other supplies from us. So let’s think – how could such laws be created, and what would we do?
Don’t get on a moral high horse and say ‘It is unconstitutional and so could never happen’. Unconstitutional laws are enacted every day, and constitutional laws are applied in unconstitutional manners – that’s why we have the legal system, all the way up to the Supreme Courts of our state and of the entire US – to protect us from either inept or wrong-thinking law makers. Every day, courts throughout the country find laws to be badly written and unenforceable (and also, every day, courts also choose to enforce badly written laws that should not be enforced). So it is plenty possible that an unconstitutional law could be enacted (and far from certain that the courts would toss it out, even in good times).
And, think about it. Politicians are not renowned for either their high moral principles, or their own foresight and preparedness, are they. When things go bad, they’ll be among the first to be starving, and among the first to be demanding that we share our food with them.
So, there’ll be an emergency session of – you name it. Maybe even your homeowner’s association. Your local city council. The county council. And/or the state legislature. There will be legislation drafted in double-quick time, and passed almost unanimously even quicker.
The legislation will probably have at least the semblance of fairness associated with it. It will offer you compensation for the food and other supplies taken from you. You’ll probably be given a check for some fair value for your food based on what it would cost in normal times, or possibly you’ll be given a voucher that can be used to get replacement food at some future time when food becomes plentiful again.
But how much value is a check, when the banking system has failed? For that matter, how much value would cash be, when there’s no food for sale at any price? How much value is a voucher, when you can’t redeem it for anything and will have starved long before normalcy returns?
The stark reality is that you’re likely to find yourself confronted with a properly enacted law that ostensibly empowers other people to take just about everything you have from you.
Now, as for the judicial review of this law and the takings carried out under its authority, how well do you think that is going to go for you? Whether you are liberal or conservative, you’ll probably concede that judges no longer impartially enforce the law (always assuming that they ever did!), but rather, they selectively and actively interpret the law based on their own personal beliefs and values.
Keep in mind that the judge is being asked to decide if he, too, should be able to share in your food, or if he too will starve while you survive. How impartial a judgment do you expect to get if/when you can get your case heard in a court?
And there’s the other problem – will the court system still be operating? Even if it is, if you get a hearing in a month, and a judgment in two months, what will you do for the two months (or more, especially if you lose and then have to appeal) while you’re waiting, having already given up your food? One thing’s for sure – the way this will work is ‘take first, argue about it in court later’.
Our prediction is that if society’s collapse occurs slowly enough for legislative bodies to continue to meet, there will definitely be high-minded seeming emergency laws passed to make ‘hoarding’ illegal. But you’ll quickly discover that the definition of hoarding makes you a hoarder.
If you think that is unlikely, people were arrested and prosecuted for ‘hoarding’ when they attempted to get ‘too much’ petrol during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in the New York area in 2012 – even in cases where one person was the ‘designated driver’ going to get petrol for multiple families.
All fairness, all reason, all logic – all these things will be abandoned in the panic that will follow TEOTWAWKI.
Continued in Part Two and Three
Our point in this first part of the three-part article series is that a large part of society – perhaps even the majority – condones taking from other people and transferring their wealth and even their property so that other people can benefit. You probably consider this immoral and wrong, but the 50% of the country who pay no taxes seem to have no difficulty with their consciences while all the time demanding that the rich pay more and more, which the takers ludicrously describe as ‘paying their fair share’.
Even people who might find this an uncomfortable situation at present will get a very different perspective when they see your house as the only one with power, heat, and light, and smell the rich smell of food cooking, in a scenario where they have none of any such things. Some people may respond by simply trying to steal food from you at gunpoint, others will throw themselves on your mercy and beg for food. But the biggest threat will be the people who pass a new law to force you to share everything you have.
But wait. There’s more. Please now turn to part two (and then subsequently on to part three), where we stop considering future possible scenarios, and instead focus in on the actual laws that are already on the books, and how they give close to unlimited unrestricted power to the President to take anything he wants from anyone at all, for close on any reason.
We know that sounds impossible to believe, so we back up everything we say with links to formal proof of each statement we make.