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Letters and email from readers about Backwoods Home Magazine and the BHM website


Archive for the ‘John Silveira’ Category


Stashing Junk Silver for bad times

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Mr. Silvira;

In your article you stated a good amount of junk silver to have would be around $300 to $400 dollars worth. My question is, is that amount in face value of junk silver or would that be the amount you would spend to have some junk silver?


Grant Underwood


That’s my mistake.  I should have stated it clearly that that’s $300-$400 in face value in junk silver.  Nowadays, you’ll spend a several thousand to get it.



Issue 133 Last Word

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

I’ve been a subscriber of this magazine since the late 90’s and I found your article belittling conservatives to be nauseating. I don’t like being lumped together with neoconservatives (they do not have the same values that true conservatives have) and I don’t believe that I am alone out there.

We believe in the Constitution and capitalism with freedom. We were every bit as angry about the Wall Street bail out and hostile against the Patriot Act.

Why don’t you do an article on the differences between libertarians and Liberal socialists and see which group sounds better you then.

Stephen from Texas


Duffy on Ron Paul

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Ron Paul shows up in the coolest, most unexpected places !!

I was standing in the checkout line at my local health-food store and discovered your magazine.  And there on the cover was listed an article about Ron Paul.  Pretty amazing!

Mr. Duffy has written a clear and concise article recapping why we so desperately need Ron Paul as president, one of the better articles on the subject (and I’ve read most of them …. a huge fan since 2008).

Thank you Dave Duffy.  I am going to forward it to Mike Rivero at in the hopes that he posts it and gives you and your writing the exposure you both deserve.

Thank you again.

T Quigly

RON PAUL 2012 !!!!!

(Now that I’ve discovered you, will be checking out your website as I am interested in ideas about living on the land)

Thanks very much. I’m a solid Ron Paul supporter, but the article you refer to was actually written by the magazine’s long-time senior editor, John Silveira. — Dave


We don’t need no steenking 2nd amendment

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

I read every edition cover to cover, I read all Jackie’s Q & A’s. I have you in my Facebook feed. But nothing I have ever read has been as important as this second amendment article. It should be required reading for every person in congress. All students should read it. The government needs to remember that they work for us and that we don’t NEED them to tell us what to do.

Thank you for this. If I ever think about cancelling (not likely) I’ll remember that this one gem of information is worth more than I would pay in my lifetime. You’ve just given me, if you’ll pardon the reference, all the ammo I will ever need to go against the tide of gun control idiots!!

Thank you,

Dixie Dever


John Silveira and Claire Wolfe

Monday, December 12th, 2011

WOW what a mag. John Silveira’s description of a Libertarian was great. He managed to hit all the bases in a very short article. And in ‘My view’ his treatise on Ron Paul true and accurate. I sure hope Claire Wolfe continues to write for you also. Apocalypse, when? was very eye opening. I’m retired and on a small budget, I’ve cut back on some of my magazines but yours is the best. All of your writers are great and Annie, you’re doing a great job.

I do have one request. How about an article on Pikeminnow fishing. I have heard some stories about some of those fisherman making a lot of money. If I could just pay off my mortgage it would really help. I almost went to try it myself this year but my wife is blind and would not go. Maybe if I could convince her it’s a real opportunity we might go in 2012. Or maybe it’s not?

Thanks anyway,

Keep up the good fight.

Dan Day in Tennessee (retired trucker)
Dolly says Hi


Your EMP article

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Dear Sir,

Thank you for writing this article. Words cannot describe the frustration I feel at the lack of attention this EMP doomsday scenario is receiving. (This lack of attention is tantamount to negligent homicide by our political leaders if we are subject to an EMP attack. They have commissioned studies and conferences on this scenario and are well aware of the consequences and yet do nothing.)

To my reason for writing: I have been studying this country’s preparation for many doomsday scenarios in an effort to better prepare myself and my family. The EMP attack scenario is by far the most scary for prepared survivors, even when compared to an all-out nuclear war. (With the nuclear war scenario, we will at least have a chance at maintaining a manufacturing base, with EMP we’d better learn how to make everything by hand first in order to rebuild a modicum of manufacturing infrastructure! Imagine making everything thing by hand to get ONE manufacturing plant back on-line, much less what it would take to get the power generating facilities and conveyance on-line to get power back to the manufacturing plant! By hand! without aid of anything electrical or electronic! And how would we get the fuel to the power generating plant? It’s a nightmare scenario!)

But there is one aspect to EMP attack that a nuclear war will not have that I cannot seem to get my head around. In my thinking the two scenarios that will cause people to become unrestrained looters without regard for common decency for a sustained period of time will be nuclear war and an EMP attack. In other scenarios we should be able to present to these roving hoards at least a road to a relatively quick recovery. With nuclear and EMP, it will be so devastating that “quick recovery” won’t even be in the vocabulary. But the “downside” (in regard to my family’s safety and well being) to EMP, is that it will leave a HUGE number of people alive to roam the countryside looking for food.

And there-in lies the rub: how can I keep these huge numbers of people away from my supply without resorting to massive violence? Any attempt at deception will eventually be found out when I appear well nourished. I cannot by any means store enough for everyone. And imagine the stampede when it is “rumored” that so-and-so at such and such place has a lot of food…I couldn’t live far enough away to prevent a migration to my front door. (And that is not to mention if an EMP attack is followed up by a conventional attack by a hostile country or countries…how could I feed and defend myself against an army or militia?)

I know that it is a bit more complicated than a simple email exchange can allow, but I’m at a loss here, so any direction/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you! And I love your magazine (I just cannot afford a subscription YET!)

John M.


Telemarketing column

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Hi there,

I just read the article written by John Silveira called Why I’m nice to telemarketers and I had to write you a quick message to thank you. I work as a outbound call centre agent (which is what we telemarketers like to call ourselves haha) almost a year ago, and unless you’ve worked as one yourself I’m not sure you understand how much we appreciate people like you. We talk to a lot of unhappy people every day, and we truly do appreciate those who let us finish our little speech and politely decline. My coworkers and I actually brag to each other about the nice people we talk to.

So thank you for being nice to telemarketers and for writing an article about it.




Getting the State Out of Marriage

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

I liked your article. I would only add that marriage confers many rights to couples, which is why the “gay marriage” and “poly marriage” debate matters. There are state and Federal estate laws, laws about who can make decisions for someone who is incapacitated, laws governing retirement plans, etc. that grant special privileges to married couples. The state does have an interest in these matters, as you mentioned, in the role of arbiter. Poly marriage presents unique problems in that several spouses of the deceased/incapacitated would make the arbiter’s role more difficult, especially if they didn’t agree unanimously on a course of action. That does not mean that the government has the right to decide who can and cannot marry, just that they have an interest in the union.


Jeff Yamada


John Silveira’s article: Getting the State Out of Marriage

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

Hello John,

I am another long time believer in removing marriage licenses. However, I see the compromise, as the states are highly unlikely to change tax code, would be to offer a state “civil union” status that would accept any interested adults who meet criteria (same address, shared expenses, etc) and offer the same tax breaks and status as married couples have currently. I am married, but I feel that the union is a matter of religion, as marriage has always been a religious custom around the world that has stepped into popular use in secular custom. As we see a move in our culture away from traditional marriage, separating the state from that union is increasingly important. My Christian brethren will probably accuse me of wanting a world where marriage has been defiled, but if we let our governments define a God-defined entity, then we already have done so. I’m not sure if there are a lot of others who believe in removing marriage licensing (I know most state comptrollers would argue against losing the revenue stream) and most of my friendly debates on the issue result in the similar “But we need the government to control marriage for no explainable reason” rebuttal.

It’s gladdening to know that there are at least a few others out there that agree with this viewpoint, hopefully with both conversation and articles like yours, we’ll see a few more join the ranks.


Justin LaFee


Smart guy

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010


Just read your editorial Getting the state out of marriage and you are dead on.  In fact this is something I have been known to pontificate myself.  So there are at least two smart guys left in this country.

I think marriage actually started as a legal thing, not religious.  It was more about keeping track of who owned  what land and such.  I believe it became associated with the church because those were the guys who could read and keep records.  But then, as things go now, something that gets started as a practical matter gets blown out of proportion and taken over.  So, yes, for a long time it has been in the realm of religion.


Howard Peer


Double dip recession

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

[In response to How deep can this recession get? How do we escape from it? ]

You people are so full of crap it’s not funny anymore.

Carl Aresco


Most Free Nations

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Most Free Nations

Hi, John.

You state “What, on paper, would appear to be the freest society in the world appears, in practice, to be among the most oppressive. Does this bother anyone besides me?”

I would like to agree with you. It bothers me for two reasons.  And not the reasons you might think.  You see I’m not American though I have been visiting the USA for 20 years or so for vacation and business so have the perspective of an outsider.

The two reasons are that (i) the people in the US seem to be oblivious to the inexorable legalistic technocracy that the nation is becoming and (ii) since US culture is globally influential through media and multi-national businesses there is a creeping legalism in countries where common sense normally prevails.

Over the years when I have left the US to head home to the UK, I have felt that I was leaving a police state for the land of the free…a slight exaggeration to make the point, but not far off.  I have felt that common sense is disappearing from the US social life and being replaced by laws,  To take 2 very simple examples which should be considered just as examples of a wider point not as important cases in themselves…In the UK there are no laws against jaywalking (except on Freeways) …you will not be booked for crossing a road when the man is on red.  The lights are to advise adults when it is safe to cross rather than treating people as children to be caught for being naughty.  You will not be booked for failing to give your seat at the front of the bus to an elderly or pregnant person, but will culturally know that it is something you should do.  And signs will encourage everyone to give their seats to people not able to stand rather than indicating a fine if you don’t.  There is no need for laws to punish offenders because children are taught acceptable behaviour from a young age.

I try to understand why the US needs to regulate the social world through so many laws.  I can only conclude that it is because (i) there is no universal cultural model that acts as a common sense norm set of behaviours (ii) it is a fundamentally legalistic rather than common-sense based country…adversarial rather than collaborative.

Nevertheless the impression I have when visiting the US is that (i) really, it is the least free country I regularly visit (I now work in Australia and spend a lot of time in Asia and Europe too) (ii) people are told/brainwashed that the US is the land of the free (iii) things are getting worse.  The most insidious part is point (ii).  It is an example of American Exceptionalism.  Which is to say that since the US is the biggest economy in the world there is a natural extension to “the US is the best in the world….at everything”.  Though the US certainly is the best at some things, I would argue that most of these are in the economic sphere rather than in the social and that the US is walking zombie-like down a de-humanising path of over-regulated social and cultural life.  I hope the US wakes up to this because of the influence it has outside of its shores.




Who were the best…and worst U.S. Presidents?

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

I disagree with your statement “The Civil War wasn’t about slavery….:  [Click to read article]

Lincoln was elected on a platform that opposed expansion of slavery into the territorries. Lincoln made his anti-slavery views in the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Lincoln also dealt with the issue in his Coppers Union speech before the election.

When  Lincoln, an anti-slavery northener, was elected Presdient, the South expected that the slave states would become outnumbered by free states, and they would lose control of Congress, and would ultimately be forced to end slavery. In order to preserve slavery, they seceded. The Civil War was a Rebellion to Preserve and Expand Slavery.

Lincoln went to war to preserve the Union, not to end slavery. But Lincoln refused to say slavery was a rightful institution or agree to the expansion of slavery in order to avoid the South’s secession.

South Carolina was the first state to secede. In it’s “Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union” South Carolina complained, in part:

“A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.”

The South seceded in order to preserve and expand slavery. Lincoln went to war to preserve a Union which he believed was intended by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to be perpetual.

Ross Arneson


Compliment of issue #125

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed “the gee-whiz page” in issue #125. I thoroughly enjoy all the articles that include any insight from O.E. MacDougal.  I have learned a tremendous amount over the past few years of reading back issues that featured John Silveira‘s recounts of conversations with MacDougal.  The series about the first ladies was especially interesting.

Thank you for including history in Backwoods Home Magazine.

Marlana Ward
Mountain City, TN


California’s marijuana initiative

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Dear Sir,

I appreciate your opinion in general regarding the legalization issue. Unfortunately I must disagree with you on the positive spin you have given the upcoming “The Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010”.

Reading the specifics of the legislation I’m sure you would agree that this is a far cry from a freedom-based initiative. You made some very sound arguments in the article but did not address some of my main concerns. Specifically the regulation aspect limits the amount that can be grown and possessed, which begs the question of just how the authorities would monitor the plants grown on an individual’s private property; will the authorities be inspecting homes? I cannot in good conscience support this initiative because it doesn’t decriminalize marijuana, it simply changes the terms of what is considered criminal activity according to the law. Furthermore, collecting taxes on something that is grown and consumed privately seems quite impossible to me.

The skeptic in me also is extremely leery of any “step” the government takes in any direction. More often than not, legislation is bastardized through endless amendments and adjustments as time goes on. Rarely do these actions result in less intrusion on individual rights.

Best Regards,




Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

My kids got an electronic monopoly game for Christmas. I wondered why you got 2 million dollars to pass go.  Could this be the first step in desensitizing us to hyperinflation?

You just gotta wonder.

Sue Pulen


A quick Tour of Hyperinflation

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Great article. My husband, Bob, and I saw this coming back in 1974 and have been spreading the word since then, to small avail.

One point not made was that the government has mortgaged away our country to other countries like China. When the whole ball of wax starts to melt, those mortgages are going to be called in and we, who were born and raised here in the USA, will find ourselves tenants on land that is no longer American owned. Actually, we are tenants already; most people just don’t know that… yet.

Also, remember the Federal Reserve isn’t federal at all. A wise banker once said, “Allow me to control the money and I don’t care who runs the country.”

Obviously, there is no simple fix. No, we cannot predict the future, but by looking to the history of once great nations, we can see the natural results of hyperinflation. Thank you for sharing in such a wise and concise manner.

Lizzie Hough


The Path to Another Depression

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Dear Editor:

Although largely unresearched, I generally agree with the thought process in Mr John Silviera’s The Path To Another Depression.  My feeling is that in the constant clash between politicians and the economy, most generally the economy suffers in order to benefit the politician’s quest for monetary/political gain.

However, in the third to the last paragraph, one of Mr. Silviera’s conclusions is; “Hence, GM’s Saturn, Chrysler’s PT Cruiser, and other small car disasters that have befallen Detroit.”  I have read and heard several times over the past few years that the PT Cruiser was the most successful new car rollout since Ford’s Mustang in the early sixties.  Obviously, my current understanding of the success of this rollout seems to be in direct contrast to Mr. Silviera’s conclusion.

If Mr. Silviera’s statement is correct, why was the PT Crusier a disaster?

If I am correct – the PT Crusier was the most successful new car rollout since Ford’s Mustang – what other statements in the article are incorrect?  or is the article just the personal unresearched feelings on the issue by the author?

Thank you,

Stan Thibault

The PT Cruiser may have started out with a bang, but by 2007 Chrysler was losing money on it and was trying to get rid of it.  (Here’s one site talks specifically about the PT Cruiser: .  You can find others on your own.)

The reasons Chrysler was trying to get rid of it were many, customer complaints about quality being among them.  But because of average-mileage constraints placed on the fleets of cars each of the “Big Three” manufacture, they are obligated to keep small cars in their fleets, even when they’re losers, otherwise they face congressional and bureaucratic wrath.



Article by Mr. Silveira, Issue #121

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

To the editor,

I am always thankful for the arrival of BHM. I believe the magazine is an excellent example of how people can live together, live more fully and more free.

I always enjoy reading Mr. Silveira’s articles because of his depth of knowledge and willingness to say what he feels. I don’t always agree with him though, and must take exception to his use of Plaxico Burress as a good example of a right-to-carry case. Mr. Burress was carrying a locked and loaded firearm in an unsafe manner. He endangered everyone around him by doing so. It is only luck that he and not an innocent bystander was shot.

I’m in favor of concealed carry without restriction generally, but am willing to grant that some mandatory training and qualification could be a good thing. Carrying in an unsafe manner should be a punishable offense, regardless of whether he was carrying legally.

It is this case specifically that makes it harder and harder for gun rights defenders to get their points across. Your magazine is a first rate source of gun information. I believe this article, while communicating many good points, went wide of the mark in citing this example.

Thanks very much for all that you do at BHM,

Bradley Levy, Berwyn, IL


Silveira on health care

Friday, November 27th, 2009

John is right on target, here.

As a 30+-year veteran RN, I’ve seen countless, real-life examples of the problems he discusses here. Health care and rest of the system is going to fail, mainly because it was designed that way!

As John intimates, there is a better way and, if ordinary people can just decide they want this better way, they will have it!!! Cuba can deliver good healthcare (free!!!) to all its citizens, yet still send thousands of doctors abroad to help other countries. The fact that the USA can’t do the same—or doesn’t want to—is shameful.

After Goldman-Sachs, the AMA should be the next to be strung up!!!

Bill Byford RN
(Still hoping for a healthcare system we can be proud of.)



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