The fundamentalist 1970s back to the land movement was funded with food stamps and welfare

This was also true of the more left-wing hippies.  There was an interesting confluence during this time of far left and far right starting “self-sufficiency” communal living experiments with the help of welfare.  I didn’t read a book for this one, although you can find little allusions in memoirs about some of this, and the very occasional one-off reference.  Mostly you can find out what happened by looking up the history of the food stamp/SNAP/WIC nutrition support programs on wikipedia.  During the 1970s, some changes were made to what was then still called “food stamps” to permit seeds, gardening equipment and some other tools to be purchased with the stamps instead of money.  A fascinating side effect was that a number of fundamentalist groups/cults/etc. decided to leave the cities and go try to live out in the country off the land.

What I find really interesting about this is that the right wing appears to have no history for this.  The entire Crunchy Con, fundie-hippie, prepper/survivalist, homesteading subset of conservatives finds its Ur-model in the Back to the Land movement.  And this movement that was all about surviving off the grid self-sufficiently away from The (Liberal) Man was jumpstarted by food stamps and cash welfare.  Yet as far as I can tell, it might as well be knowledge hidden under a rock to the modern conservative equivalents.

Economic defensiveness isn’t a good look

  • “I SAHM because daycare costs”
  • “Breastfeeding is cheaper than formula because BOOBS R FREE”
  • “Attachment parenting is cheaper because ALL BABIES LOVE SLINGS”
  • “Cooking at home is cheaper and more nutritious every single time!”

There are plenty more, but they all boil down to “Cheaping out is better because it makes me feel better about not having moneys.”

Needless to say, this is not as compelling an argument as people think.  I don’t think people who make these arguments about cheapness being superior parenting are conscious of the implication, but I can assure them, that’s what average people are thinking.  They are thinking “defensive about being POOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRR”.  They are not thinking such people (disproportionately conservatives) are brilliant geniuses for not spending money on their beloved children.

A while back I looked up food stamp data and found that (proxied) conservative families were avoiding meat so they could avoid food stamp use, while non-conservative families were getting food stamps so they could have meat regularly.  Yeah, people don’t think you’re superior or better or wiser for avoiding access to high-quality protein out of ego-defense issues.  Tangentially, the lethargy that low protein causes probably makes having a larger family easier in fairly obvious ways, but that’s just a side effect.