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August 25, 2014
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Vail Daily letter: Won’t ask permission

Yes, Kay Cherry, there is no “free lunch”! There is no “Santa Claus” — referring to your comments in the Daily on the 19th regarding mushrooms on lands “owned” by the United States Forest Service. I too was here in the early years (1962), and can remember those days of solitude and freedom spent in sylvan wilds, all the while enjoying and indulging in the fruits of nature without direction, permission or regulation by any governmental authority — now that was “freedom” by any definition; that was personal stewardship of an asset belonging to all; and that was our personal covenant with each other to protect and preserve what we had and would become the inheritance of our children.

When you have such a perishable and ephemeral forest product such as a mere mushroom (edible or otherwise) that needs the oversight of a governmental agency to regulate, you come to realize that the term “freedom” has a much different connotation than what is touted in modern-day class-rooms or other governmental sources and agencies. All of this musing brings me to the conclusion and point that “freedom” today is issued to us all by governmental authority of every stripe by way of permit, license, registration, certification or executive order spawned by an agency such as the USDA. What we once thought were inalienable rights has been morphed into privileges granted by dictatorial decree — not from God, not from our parents, and not from an individual sense of entitlement, but simply from an omnipresent and overbearing government under the guise of protecting us from ourselves.

If we condescend and tacitly subject ourselves to such inane rules and regulations issued by the likes of the USDA, EPA, NSA, etc., then we truly have become enslaved by a master, and will continue to delude ourselves to believe that we live in a “free” country or that we are “free.” I, for one, will avail myself of a “right” to resist such a bureaucratic edict, and accordingly venture into the wilds, without a permit, to cut dead wood for my campfire, to pick a few berries and concoct a jam for my flap-jacks, and yes, to pick some mushrooms to garnish a trout or two. In this I will revisit a time when “freedom” was sourced from the law of nature or God, and not from a faceless bureaucrat that is on a control or regulatory “trip.” I find it simply embarrassing and humiliating to ask permission from some governmental hack to pick a damn mushroom on land that partially belongs to me; ergo, the taste of freedom is more palatable than a USDA-certified mushroom!

Fredric Butler


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The VailDaily Updated Aug 27, 2014 01:06PM Published Aug 25, 2014 12:08PM Copyright 2014 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.