Uncle exhales, looks down at the table, then back up at Matt. “They haven’t been able to do anything to us yet. Before that community was built, nobody cared what we did back here, and the property taxes were low. Now the township police are enforcing every damn code down to the letter, and they keep raising the taxes. They want us to get rid of the livestock, the bees, and cut the meadow like it’s a goddamn suburban lawn. If we do that, we can’t afford to live here and pay the taxes. If we don’t do what they want, we can’t afford the citations. We’re stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place. On the positive side, the codes are so vague, that I can argue in court that our use is permitted.”
Matt breathes a sigh of relief. “Okay, then what’s the problem? We go to court with good legal arguments, and we win.”
“The problem is that the rules are so vague that we are breaking them. That’s how they getcha. They keep adding rules, bureaucrats, police, code inspectors, and before you know it, everyone’s breaking the rules. It gets so damn oppressive that you can’t live without breaking the law. Then the state has all the power to enforce against any undesirables.”
“Anybody opposed to the state in general, or anybody opposed to individuals working for the state. So if a cop or a township official has it out for you, or a connected neighbor doesn’t like what you’re doing, then they can make your life miserable. Everybody’s breaking the rules, but they get to choose who to crack down on. That’s the power of the state.”
Matt hangs his head and rubs his temples. “So what do we do now?”
Uncle removes his reading glasses and wipes them off with his handkerchief. “I requested an appeal to the citations, and we have a hearing next week. If we lose, … well, … we have to win.”
Author: Phil Williams
Genre: Contemporary / Coming of Age / Political
A tyrannical high school principal.
A young anarchist with nothing left to lose.
One way or another, this place is goin’ down.
Matt Moyer is an orphaned teen growing up on a primitive farm in the Pennsylvania coal region. He’s homeschooled by his eccentric and philosophical great-uncle, who’s a stickler for logic, reason, and intellectual honesty. Despite his uncle’s reverence for veracity, inconsistencies arise regarding the old man’s shady past and the teen’s parents.
Through a harrowing sequence of events, Matt is forced to attend a public school. The feral teen finds it difficult to cope with the hypocrisy, propaganda, and misinformation that adults and children so readily accept. Faced with the possibility of expulsion, arrest, and ostracism, he must make a choice. Will he choose the easy lie or the hard truth?
Adult language and content.
Phil M. Williams is an author, activist, blogger, and consultant. He lives in Central Pennsylvania with his wife, Denise, where he writes and tends his permaculture farm. He is the author of Fire the Landscaper, Against the Grain, Stone Lake, and co-author of Farmer Phil’s Permaculture. His new releases can be read for free at PhilWBooks.com.