New Culture Links on Localism/Agrarianism

As one who considers himself aspiring to covenantal “urban” agrarianism, I have added some new links, three blogs and website. I have added three new links for blogs that promote agrarianism/localism. The first is Crunchy Con by Rod Dreher who “is an editorial columnist for the Dallas Morning News, and author of “Crunchy Cons” (Crown Forum), a nonfiction book about conservatives, most of them religious, whose faith and political convictions sometimes put them at odds with mainstream conservatives.” His blog is more academic (like Front Porch Republic) in dealing with issues such as politics and life and is very helpful.

Next, I’ve added a personal blog from a Reformed family in Florida that is living the agrarian lifestyle. The Suburban Agrarian blog provides some great resources for all things agrarian, as well as, the Reformed faith.

Lastly, I have created a new category in the right hand pane for “Culture.” First in the list that I have provided is a link to a website that promotes all things Wendell Berry called Mr. Wendell Berry of Kentucky. Technically this is a blog as well, but it provides a storehouse of information from online writings about Berry to a wealth of primary sources written by Berry (including much prose and poetry). Second is The Deliberate Agrarian. This blog has been around for about four years. This blog, too, provides a lot of helpful resources, but also has a lot of how-to material. Although this site is also technically a blog, the author, Herrick Kimball, recently stopped daily blogging and has transitioned to providing once a month letters. If you like his writing, he has also published a book Writings of a Deliberate Agrarian that you might like to check out.


Shop at Your Local Mom and Pop

Jeremy Beer over at the Front Porch has posted an excellent idea for supporting local economies. There is a much better and easier way to build your local economy, as well as provide help to those in need, than by having politicians erode your freedom by increasing your taxes. To put it simply–spend your money at local businesses. Read below for the basics of the 3/50 Project, and then go to their website for more information.

Lincoln vs. Localism

As many of you are aware, 2009 is the quincentenary of John Calvin’s birth, but it is also the bicentenary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. Given that our new President has been going out of his way to compare himself and his vision for his administration to Lincoln, it would seem important to become more familiar with Lincoln.

John Fea has a great little blog post on Lincoln over at Front Porch Republic that is definitely worth reading. Lincoln is certainly the central figure of one of the most complicated times in American history, and as such, there are many different interpretations of him and his administration. Fea seems to provide a well balanced perspective that one does not often see or hear. He attempts to provide both a postive and negative critique to highlight some of his accomplishments as well as being honest about his faults. But like so often, an uncritical embrace of something we consider good can become negative when we see the effects that come with it.

The thrust of the post is to critique Lincoln’s Whig nationalism and its effect on post bellum America and American values especially with regards to localism, “Lincoln’s real legacy was the promotion of an American nationalism that has resulted in the slow erosion of local places and an agrarian way of life.” Fea’s assessment of the effects of Lincoln’s nationalism on localism can be summed up in this excerpt:

The Northern victory, which Lincoln secured by resorting to total war against southern civilians, unleashed a devastating assault on a Jeffersonian version of agrarianism that connected happiness and human well being to real communities and real places. Liberty, as defined in terms of “improvement” and “mobility,” has resulted in a rootless cosmopolitanism that has produced millions of people who claim to “love humankind,” but who do not live in one place long enough to know, let alone “love,” their neighbor. Moreover, the national infrastructure built to connect people and unify the nation economically and culturally has come at the expense of the environment. The result of a “Whig” economy has produced an ever-expanding commercialism that tempts people with products to fulfill their every desire, all in the very American quest to “pursue happiness.” Such consumer capitalism makes it all the more difficult for Americans to practice virtues of self-restraint.

If you have never read anything critical of Lincoln, this is a good place to begin. Fea knows its risky to say something negative about a man that did accomplish many good things, and that such criticism “must be advanced with great care and caution,” but as Fea concludes, “it is important for any student of American history to ‘come to terms’ with Abraham Lincoln.”