Wendell Berry's Time Is Now

25 10 2008

Rod Dreher writes that Wendell Berry’s time is now, and gives an overview of Berry’s thoughts on foreign policy, the economy, food, community, and the environment.

Dreher’s point is that our time provides the perfect backdrop to understand the relevance of agrarianism in general, and Berry’s thinking in particular. Floyd couldn’t agree more, because not only are things bad, but we seem to be coming to a point where the consequences of those bad things are on the event horizon.

Here’s an excerpt from Dreher’s article I found compelling:

A sense of place

Mr. Berry’s argument with the U.S. foreign policy establishment, the industrial leadership class and, indeed, with most of his countrymen, depends on his most radical critique of modern American life: its rootlessness.

We find it all too easy to misuse and abuse our own places, and the places of others abroad, because so few Americans in our highly mobile society come from any place anymore. He writes bitterly:

“In order to be able to desecrate, endanger or destroy a place, after all, one must be able to leave it and to forget it. One must never think of any place as one’s home; one must never think of any place as anyone else’s home.”

Fidelity to one’s place and the people in it, not to upwardly mobile careerism, is a fundamental moral principle of Mr. Berry’s thought. In a commencement speech last year to college students, he wondered aloud why we support an education system devoted to preparing young people to leave their homes.

Ours would be a far better country, he believes, if folks would learn to love their own little piece of ground and be loyal to it. As he concludes his poem, “Stay Home”:

I am at home. Don’t come with me.
You stay home too.

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