Speaking of Community and Agrarianism

I was revisiting a site from our friends down the road a piece.  I forgot about all the writtings Franklin put out on his site about the farm.  This one is a great read if you haven’t seen it.
Franklin talks a great deal about community and what that means to our families and how we manage community in the midst of this corporate model of life.

PRACTICAL COMMUNITY CONSIDERATIONS   We must have communities to survive.  Through communities we can enjoy and establish for our children and ourselves a lifestyle independent of the present world.  Call it modernism or techno-fascism or simply insanity, I don’t want to live there anymore, and I want to leave something better to my children.  This is what I call “cultural secession.”…

He also talks about the glories of the “simple life” and all that glitters about agrarianism, but then proceeds to give a realistic expectation to anyone seeking this lifestyle.  But the overall theme really goes the distance in discussing what we have to gain by the sacrifices we make in embracing the idea of community and establishing a local economic system that will stand the test of time.

THE HOPE   So does that mean we ought to tuck tail and run back to the city before we all die of muscle cramps and lockjaw?  Absolutely not.  In the first place, the romantic visions of agrarianism are not mere hype.  They are the cream of agrarian life, even though the way to that cream  leads through a trail of tears, mud, and manure.  Above all there is the hope –the great hope — that even in an insane and inhuman modern world agrarian living can restore sanity and humanity for our children and ourselves.  Speaking as one who for years has butted his head against the granite fortress of modernism, I am more convinced than ever that our only way out is cultural secession.
What is cultural secession?  To build, in effect, a new world parallel to the existing world.  I am not talking about monastic communities where we just retreat into our cells and let the world go to hell as it may.  I am talking about building a new world right in the middle of the old world, rebuilding society along lines more fitly proportioned to the nature of man, a world that moves at man’s pace for man’s ends, and not a machine’s pace for a machine’s end.  (And let me make myself clear, I mean nothing coerced.  Agrarianism must be voluntary or it will be stillborn.)
To build that new world we will have to build not only new communities but also new institutions.  We have to examine the values of our modern world – money, power, success, Big Brother government, frenzied consumption, the ever-bigger-ever-better notion of progress – and we have to ask which ones really fit into the Christian civilisation we want to leave our children, and which do not.
We have to reject all the prizes and rewards of modernism, in other words, we have to re-align our own values.  Then we have to build the institutions that will support those values and credential our own leaders – families, communities, schools, universities, professional and trade and business organisations.  We have to transfer our loyalties to these new institutions, honour their credentials, and we have to abandon and boycott the old institutions.  We have to build a new world parallel to our old, dying world.
Nor is this a new idea.  It is exactly how the primitive church grew to change the entire Western world.

The quotes are great, but if these ideas peek your interest, you must read the entire article to get the connections between what is wrong with our modern system, what we need to do to correct it, and what the fruit will be for future generations!


  • Sarah says:

    I just want to know, as idealisticly as this guy writes, does he cobble his own shoes? Fashion his own bricks, grow his own trees to use the wood to build his house. Make plastic and microchips so he can form his own computer? Make his own ink and paper so he can print and bind his own book? Lets not be so quick to shun the wonderful things that progress and the “evil city” has given us.

  • PaulTN says:

    Really it’s about selective shunning. 🙂 It’s not about stuff, it’s about how can we live and remain faithful to our God and the duties he has given us. Raising faithful children, being salt and light to the culture, “one anothering”, etc…
    It’s definitely not about cities or the country. But when you start down the path of trying to be free to live according to the scriptures, you find it very difficult to accomplish in the cities of today.
    There is a difference in the industrial cities of today and the cities that existed from Genesis until the industrial revolution, or as some like to say from father Abraham to Abe Lincoln. All of the progress has transformed our culture at a rate that we were not able to keep up with and now our culture drives us, we no longer drive the culture. That is the distinction that is being made.
    Just as a point of reference people had clothing, bricks, wood to build homes with, ink to write with and everything that was needed to live a descent life prior to the industrial revolution. We did not have computers, but I am convinced that we still could produce tools like the computer without the industrial model. But that is a topic much further down the “local economy” writing list.
    Here is a great and short picture essay that goes to the heart of this issue: