Saturday, March 18, 2017

Other Kinds of Violence: Wendell Berry, Industrialism, and Agrarian Pacifism

Thinking this evening about my deeply held views of pacificism that have in great part have been informed by Wendell Berry.

If Berry's enduring subject in nearly five decades of poetry, novels, and nonfiction is the diminished and diminishing health of the land and its dependent rural communities, his agrarian vision also manifests as an oft-neglected political commitment to sustainable local food sources and their relationship to the febrile debates over national security. Indeed, we really cannot understand Berry's agrarian ethic without digging through the basement of his political philosophy. When we do, we find not only a farmer whose obligations to land and community arrive out of daily contact with both, but also a theorist whose deepest fealty is to a pacifist ideology well outside of current mainstream political thinking. Like the hedgerows on a well-executed farm, Berry's pacifism encompasses and nourishes his deeply felt agrarian commitments, and vice versa. As was the case with Carson, the political ecology that undergirds Berry's agrarianism arrives as a reaction to post-World War II military-industrial practices—which are also and tragically agricultural practices as well.

Other Kinds of Violence: Wendell Berry, Industrialism, and Agrarian Pacifism

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