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


Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category


Your “squatter” article

Monday, May 14th, 2012
Hello Claire,
About your “squatter” article, I wanted to thank you so much for writing it. You are very compassionate and that is refreshing to see. Also, you did not hold back on the legalities of “squatting”. That is good for all to know more about. I watched a movie last night that had me in tears. It’s called “Missing in America”. It’s been around awhile but Danny Glover was in it and some other pretty, well known actors. It was about an area(looked like around Ranier in the movie) where a few veterans were living in the woods.I couldn’t stop thinking about it this a.m. so I just googled “living in the woods” or something like that, and found your article. Anyway, all I wanted to do was let you know I read it and appreciated it so much. I am almost 60, returned to college for a 2 year degree in Medical Administrative Assistant so I can hopefully get a decent job for as long as I can keep working. I am unmarried(divorced 16 years now)no children and I stayed in a homeless shelter recently just so I could get my bearings and figure out what to do next. I don’t drink, do drugs or smoke, but yep, I was among the homeless. If I were not a woman I might try living in the woods but also, I have always tried to be law-abiding and do respect others rights and properties.

I hope all the info you provided gets around to as many as possible. Caretaking could be a good thing for both parties. It’s hard to think about the millions of homeless though and especially those that can’t bear to trust or be near people anymore. I can relate a little but I know they have been through much more than I ever will experience.

Thank you again,
Denise R., OR


Ron Paul and the VA ‘Loyalty Oath’

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
Went to vote before work this morning. Back when the candidates on the ballot were announced, there was a big brouhaha in the Republican Party about being forced to sign a statement supporting whoever is the eventual candidate. I didn’t have to sign anything today, I was just verified as a registered voter and off I went. So please let your Virginia readers know: don’t be intimidated, just go out and vote your conscience.

And yes, I voted for Ron Paul. I will never vote for Mitt Romney.

Matt Maynard

Editorial on “Real Problems”

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

No sane person could disagree with your editorial (guess that leaves out congress critters and bureaucrats), but does anyone in their right mind believe Congress or anyone else in a “position of authority” would allow these problems to be mitigated or eliminated?  One small example; a huge proportion of the country did not want a debt limit hike this last year. Poll after poll, etc. showed this.  Guess what happened?  And, if there was ever a more pathetic example of a leader than John Boehner, I’d be hard pressed to even imagine him.  Our last, best hope was the Republican majority in the House of Representatives and they have completely and utterly failed us at every turn.  Don’t even mention my home state senator, McCain, and his authorship of detention under NDAA.

Yes, the problems are easy to enumerate, but I don’t see them getting anything but worse.  Anyone that thinks a “major event” will be anything but cause to bring out more force is strictly an overactive “rose colored glasses” optimist.  Worst part is, I think most of our country could care less.

Enough ranting from an old guy.  I remember, with sadness, the title of G. Gordon Liddy’s book, “When I Was a Kid, This Was a Free Country”.

And, I really enjoy Backwoods Home.


Vic Safranek


Tackling the real problems that face us

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Dear Mr Duffy,

I enjoy your articles and agreed with all your points regarding real problems we face. I would have been happier to see you mention the demographic time bomb  America faces from massive and totally unnecessary immigration. The only people in favor of massive immigration, benefit from it and pass on all the economic,social and environmental costs to the communities.

I think we will soon become a divided ethnic and tribal nation, unable to govern or agree on anything and become a weak nation ripe for the picking. Diversity does not make a nation stronger, Unity does.


Robb Moffett


Ron Paul article

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Mr. Duffy,

Thanks for your excellent article defending Ron Paul. Things don’t look good for Ron now, but November is a long way off. During the 1996 campaign, I “cursed” a friend of mine for voting for a third-party candidate instead of Bob Dole. I told him to vote for Bob Dole in order to keep Bill Clinton from a second term. Well, this year it is I who will be doing the protest vote. If Ron Paul wins the nomination, I will vote for him. If he runs as a third party candidate, I will vote for him. If he doesn’t even run the race, I will still vote for him. If he dies before November 4th, I will still vote for him.

The only thing that can save America is a return to the Constitution. Ron is serious about the Constitution. We moderns are great at technology, sports and conventional warfare. However, the people of the 1700s were superior to us in politics, education, marriage, family life, art and music. The Constitution can’t be beat. Only the Bible is superior, but most people won’t follow the Bible, and they fight about it.

Here’s an idea; have the people in the states decide controversial issues like abortion, gun control, drugs and other things. That way, conservatives can move to conservative states and live under laws they like. Liberals can move to liberal states and live under laws they like. Isn’t that the way the Founders wanted it to be anyway?

Dave Salmon

Sparta, NJ


Ron Paul

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

I was very pleased to see Ron Paul’s name on the cover of the latest issue as well as the articles!

Keep up the good work.

Dan Dzak


I linked to one of your Hardyville essays

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Hi Claire-

I just wanted to drop you a line and say “thank you” and tell you I’ve linked to one of your Hardyville essays. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read or thought about the words you wrote…

Now that I have my own burgeoning readership I’ve come to appreciate the occasional email that says, “I read your blog every day and just wanted to say ‘thank you’!” Mark Twain once said he could live two weeks on a good compliment and I’m right there with him. My readers words keep buoying me up when times get tough.

Your words… “Are you racing like a little maze-rat, just to keep yourself in fancy toys?…When it comes right down to it, do you choose convenience over independence? Then you’re not on the road to Hardyville. If you want to be on the road to Hardyville, then turn around”

They made a difference. I started thinking about the life I wanted and how I could get it. It also woke me up to the fact that the whole rat race and more toys and crap were NOT what I wanted. It wasn’t an overnight change, but we are well on our way. And I’ve got a good life, one that makes me happy, and that’s better than it was.

I just wanted to remind you that you touch a lot of lives.

Christine Shuck


Ron Paul

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Thanks Dave,

Excellent article and to the point.  It is time for the status quo to go.

Restore America Now!


Steve Williams


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


You Are Wrong Claire – Despite Your Good Intentions

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Dear Claire,

I always enjoy your articles and agree with nearly everything you say, however I do disagree with your article entitled Sex, Drugs, and Good Deeds: Being Boldly Bad in a Good Cause .

I do pity poor animals who are mistreated, but not enough to boldly smash the most basic law of freedom – the Libertarian Non Aggression Principle or Axiom. As you might be aware that states that:

“The libertarian creed rests upon one central axiom: that no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of anyone else.”

I care nothing for the state’s laws but your justification of this – admittedly with an extreme example to make us sympathise with the thief – opens up the door for wholesale theft of another’s property and can NEVER be justified.

Using your example, seeing a rancher’s cattle were not as fat as they might be, I might decide that they were suffering and in their best interest I should steal them all so that I might fatten them up or give them to someone else who might treat them better. I might believe that his wife was suffering and take her too and give her a better life with me! After all if you are going to ignore the state’s laws and also smash the most basic law of society, hey – anything goes!

If you don’t afford others the protection of the most basic law of freedom, then how can you expect that you yourself deserve that protection? Should others be able to steal from you if they thought it was in a good cause?

I believe that you have allowed a good heart to blind yourself to logic and the whole basis for freedom and justice for all.




About “The joys of idleness”

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

I liked your article. But:

You said “Russell, Black, and their rare little ilk are sort of like theologians who can paint a whiz-bang picture of hell but who can’t even attempt to conjure up an image of a heaven that’s worth aiming for”.

I think this is not true. One of the Russell’s point was that many great minds of past were rich and idle people(Newton, Darwin) and if people work less they’ll have more free time, some of them will solve one or two big problems of society or science etc.




Ron Paul is a disaster for Republicans and Democrats, but not for America’s freedoms

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Dave Duffy’s article, “Ron Paul is a disaster for Republicans and Democrats, but not for America’s freedoms” is posted today, Thursday, January 5th, at  (gee, I wonder who asked Mike Rivero to post this really good article….)

What Really Happened website has a vast readership (and listenership for his daily radio program on Rense radio) of people all around the globe.  So hopefully this will expand exposure for your truly cool website.

Ron Paul 2012 !!!!

Thanks very much. This is the article I wrote in my blog Dec. 28.

–Dave Duffy


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


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.


Article on Government with not enough to do. Thank you…

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

Very good article, refreshing. I am often on Newsvine, and will put this up on there.

The sad truth of this nation seems to be that people have (also chosen) to have too little to do. I see thousands of people on Newsvine and other comment sections that believe they have nothing to do, yet every one could be contributing to food for this nation, freeing ourselves from this tyranny of which you speak, and taking care of not contributing to this social disease: government.

Good article, and glad to see I can share it.

Thank You,

Gloria T.


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.




Dave’s recent columns and complainers

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

This country has been on the wrong track for well over 2 centuries, yet some Republicans and Democrats remain oblivious to the fact that their political party leaders are responsible for what has happened in recent decades. The letter writers who complain about Dave’s political views going too far should examine their premises. Contrary to the naysayers; I’m of the opinion that Dave, John, and O. E. McDougal don’t go nearly far enough, for they appear to believe that restoring Constitutional government is possible and desirable.

Before some of you dig out your pitch-forks in preparation for attack: Let me inform or remind you that the ratification of the Constitution had its strongest opposition from the most liberty-minded people back then! Patrick Henry of “Give me liberty or give me death” fame, when asked why he refused to attend the constitutional convention, declared:”I smell a rat!” I also recommend the reading of the anti-federalist papers.

My disagreement with this view stems from principles that perhaps they have not yet considered. I am a strong believer in the Non-Aggression Principle, which means that I take a moral and principled stand against force, aggression, and power: nobody, with or without badges or ballots, has the right to agress on any other. We live in a violence based society because we have always had a violence based government.

Had the founding leaders truly believed in freedom for all, then they would have set up a voluntary societies similar to the church congregations that many of them were members of, which raises funds via voluntary donations. Instead, they imposed upon us a coercive government with the power to rob us. Indeed, not long after the ratification of the Constitution, President George Washington led an army to Pennsylvania to rob people that wished to keep their whiskey, which for them was a form of currency. This became known as the Whiskey Rebellion. Alexander Hamilton and his ilk claimed that they needed the revenue to pay off government debts. If it is immoral for a gang down your street to rob a store for the purpose of acquiring enough money to bail out a jailed friend, then it was also immoral for a group of people that call themselves “the government” to rob people for the purpose of repaying investors. The citizens didn’t consent to the loan, and saddling them with the debt ex-post facto was also wrong. The debt could have been paid for by the sale of land, or the debt could have been defaulted on.

There is no question that the people who attended the constitutional convention were highly educated and very intelligent. How is it then that such sharp lawyers, judges, and politicians would include language into the constitution that imposes a death penalty for treason, yet imposes only slaps on the wrists of the ruling class for violating “the supreme law of the land?” This cannot possibly be a mere accident! Indeed, President John Adams and the Federalist congressmen passed the Sedition Act, which was clearly unconstitutional, during the founding generation; yet they were not even impeached, let alone imprisoned or executed. Therefore: we should not cast blame at our fellow tax slaves for failing to remove today’s tyrants from office since our forefathers could do no better with a much smaller government that lacked today’s weaponry. Isn’t it amazing that the very minarchist document which was supposedly intended to limit government led to the most powerful government in world history in so little time?

Improving the Constitution would be of no use because we would have to babysit the government 24/7 in order to make it behave; so why replace it once the government collapses? There has never been a moral government in this world, nor will there ever be one! The very second that a government becomes established; there becomes 2 classes of people: the ruler(s) and the ruled. The belief that government is needed because mankind is evil is erroneous thinking. “If men are good, you don’t need government; if men are evil or ambivalent, you don’t dare have one.”-Robert LeFevre

Positions of power attract busybodies and evil people, and power corrupts even otherwise good men. No man should have power over another in a moral and free society!

Genuine free-market solutions to problems is the moral way of solving problems and filling wants. Natural Law is easy to understand and is explained at the Lysander Spooner website link below.

So, what should lovers of liberty do? Free yourselves! Freedom is mostly a state of mind! Most decisions made by people every day are anarchic in nature despite the state’s existence. I used to be a statist conservative republican, but my thirst for knowledge drove me and drives me toward self-improvement and gradually toward wisdom. I can state from personal experience that the truth will set you free!

Here are some free educational resources for your consumption:

and most certainly BWH’s very own columnist Claire Wolfe:

Please folks; educate as many people as you can. If this government were to collapse today, the masses would foolishly promote an election to choose representatives to form a reincarnated state to replace the one that just failed.

Brian Mast
Abolitionist from Stover, Missouri


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


Animal rights Loonies

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Dear Editor,

I found your site from a link from and somehow ran across the article of the Animal Rights Activists ruining what must be a totally hysterical event at your local fair.

I do understand their point but I do realize there are limits on what an activist group can do. Caving into to them only gives them power, but since that has already happened…I have a better idea!

For a close knit town, you can starve them out. As a retailer, you can refuse to sell anything to anyone and not have to justify it. Gas stations can refuse to sell fuels, grocers refuse to sell them food. You get the picture.

As Jim Rawles says, if you don’t like what is going on around you, vote with your feet and move. When all the town gets behind this movement, the activist will get the idea that he or she is no longer welcomed and move on. It wouldn’t hurt for someone in a restaurant to take away their fried chicken special stating they are contibuting to animal cruelty. If they got half a brain….they will leave, probably just before the local police or sheriff decides to join the unwelcome wagon.




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