Agrarianism

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DrHenley

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Not really sure where to post this as this is more of a philosophical discussion.
Let's start off with a quote.

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.
Ecclesiastes 1:9-10


Preppers aren't exactly notorious for waxing philosophical, their concerns are pragmatic. But they do have a philosophy. As I studied the Agrarian philosophy, the Southern Agrarian philosophy in particular, it struck me that it is quite similar to prepper "philosophy."

Preppers generally have an innate understanding that big cities aren't the place to be in the SHTF. Many have already eschewed city life and made the move into the country. The ones that still live in the city often have plans to get out of the city.

Preppers understand that the ability to grow your own food will be a paramount self sufficiency skill in the SHTF. And self sufficiency is the primary goal of Prepping.

This trend has come up many times in history, in many different countries, and it has a name. It is called a "Back-to-the-land" movement. It has surface a number of times in the U.S. My generation had Foxfire, a popular publication that covered topics of the lifestyle, culture, crafts, and skills of people in southern Appalachia, with a mixture of how-to information, first-person narratives, oral history, and folklore. Then Mother Earth News came along.

But before my time, and indeed going back to the founding of this country, there was a "back-to-the-earth" movement called Agrarianism. Thomas Jefferson was a proponent of agrarianism. Jefferson modeled Jeffersonian Democracy around the notion that farmers are “the most valuable citizens” and the truest republicans.

There have been agrarian movements around the world many times, and often they are associated with socialism or communism, such as in China. The American agrarian movement, however, was staunchly anti-Communist.

In the early 1900s, there was a group of students and faculty at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, that were known as the "Southern Agrarians." The felt that the increasing urbanization and industrialization in the South was causing a loss of Southern identity. They published a book in 1930 entitled I'll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition warning of the dangers of urbanization and industrialization. The book was seen as prescient, because the Great Depression began about that time, and people were forced back into a more agrarian lifestyle.

Although I grew up in the city, we had farmland in the Mississippi Delta that I visited as often as possible. That is where my BOL is. And I had "country cousins" that I spent a lot of time with. I always felt that something essential was missing in city life, but I couldn't put my finger on it.

With these things in mind, take a look at how the writer M. Thomas Inge defined agrarianism:
  • Farming is the sole occupation which offers total independence and self-sufficiency.
  • Urban life, capitalism, and technology destroy independence and dignity while fostering vice and weakness.
  • The agricultural community, with its fellowship of labor and cooperation is the model society.
  • The farmer has a solid, stable position in the world order. He "has a sense of identity, a sense of historical and religious tradition, a feeling of belonging to a concrete family, place, and region, which are psychologically and culturally beneficial." The harmony of his life checks the encroachments of a fragmented, alienated modern society.
  • Cultivation of the soil "has within it a positive spiritual good" and from it the cultivator acquires the virtues of "honor, manliness, self-reliance, courage, moral integrity, and hospitality." These result from a direct contact with nature, and through nature a closer relationship to God. The agrarian is blessed in that he follows the example of God in creating order out of chaos.
 

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