America spent the weekend celebrating its independence from tyranical government. Michael Fargo hopes to join the celebration some time after 4 o'clock today.

That is when the 39-year-old Lawrence, Kan., resident goes to Douglas County Court, ostensibly to fight an eviction order but in fact to try to keep a government agency from thwarting his long, slow climb toward independence.

Fargo, once a successful designer, fell victim to a seizure disorder in 1984. Unable to pursue his profession, he lost his job, his home and ultimately had to declare bankruptcy. His doctors told him he'd have to got to a nursing home.

"I actually got on the waiting list for a nursing home," he said in a telephone interview. "But then I heard about an opening in a HUD 202 project {a federally subsidized apartment complex for the aged and disabled} and, in November 1985, I moved in.

"It was heaven. It was comfortable, it was cheap, and it wasn't a nursing home. But I didn't like being on welfare {Social Security disability assistance} and food stamps."

The plucky Fargo said he realized that, while his disability made it impossible for him to hold a regular job, he could manage eight hours of work within a 24-hour period. That realization led him to take a computer course at the Lawrence Independent Living Resource Center.

A friend lent him a thousand dollars to buy a personal computer and ("incredibly, considering my bankruptcy") a bank lent him $500 for a printer. Starting last January, he began picking up small data-processing jobs from the nearby University of Kansas. The income wasn't much -- only just over $1,100 so far this year -- but it was enough to get him off food stamps and Medicaid. He had hoped during the remainder of his nine-month trial work period to earn enough to become completely independent, even to the point of moving out of his subsidized apartment.

Meanwhile, however, a number of complaints he filed on behalf of himself and other tenants apparently got him in trouble with regional officials of HUD. As a result, he said, the federal agency and the local housing manager started harassing him with petty complaints: charging him with refusing to allow exterminators, who had given no prior notice, to fog his apartment ("I had bread rising at the time"); ordering him not to keep the bicycle he used to pick up his data-processing jobs in his apartment.

Then, in April, he got two notices: one telling him that, because of his data-processing income, his rent would rise from the $65 a month he had been paying to $161 a month starting in June; the other saying his lease would be terminated as of May 18.

"I thought they were telling me to go on working," he said. "After all, the rent increase was based on the income from my work. Since they accepted my payment of $161, I thought they were saying it was okay to work."

Not quite. On June 10, the sheriff's department served him with an eviction notice based on a complaint that he "has operated and continues to operate a business on the premises in violation of the lease, rules, and the regulatory agreement."

The HUD regional office has been adamant. "The Regulatory Agreement between the owners {of the complex} and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development states the owner shall not, without prior approval of the Secretary, permit the use of the dwelling accommodations for any purpose except the use for which it was originally intended, or permit commercial use greater than originally approved by the Secretary," a regional officer told Fargo's Legal Aid lawyer.

This notwithstanding the fact that Fargo's modest business does not advertise, generates no traffic (since his customers do not come to his apartment) and is, in fact, less obtrusive than the craft shop the apartment management runs downstairs to sell the work of aged and disabled tenants.

HUD's Washington headquarters has declined to grant the self-sufficiency waiver its own rules allow.

And it all seems so punitively silly. The same Reagan administration that makes such a deal about bums and "welfare queens" ripping off the system refuses to help Fargo in his salutary determination to become independent.