I read a friends blog the other night, sometime after the election. I was left wondering the same question that he raised in his blog. His blog was “How Would Jesus Vote?” I will begin by saying that in general I don’t really think that God takes sides in things like this, no more than does when people on the opposite sides of battlefield invoke his name prior to commencing the fight. On the other hand, I think that perhaps it would, just as the friend suggested, be a good thing if all had prayed for his guidance and hand in the matter without invoking him to be on one side or the other. Continue reading “WWJD”
As I have identified myself with both, I felt it important to explain my thoughts, how I see both of them as being ideas that can co-exist, and maybe a little bit of how I arrived where I am. There are probably a lot of people who see those two things and think that they can not be the ideas of the same person. However, I will hold up Thomas Jefferson (a later blog posting coming – look for it) as an example that it can. Though he did not use the terminology, there is no question he was extremely libertarian. Perhaps one of the most libertarian idealists of our founding fathers – which in a general sense was a huge driving force for our American War of Independence from Britain when you get down to it. Further, Jefferson felt strongly that our country should largely be made up of yeomen farmers, who worked the land, in passionate ways.
Now some of you are probably already jumping to the idea that a large part of the agrarian movement has involved both agriculture and deep Christian religion believe and thinking that is not Jeffersonian in nature. I don’t necessarily hold that agrarianism has to have christian believes as some do. Further, a large number of folks who label themselves as agrarians do not believe that is required either. I tend to define agrarianism as being a good steward of the land, and through sustainable and natural practices, leaving land that is in better shape to the next steward of that land when your time is over. I do believe that there is a tendency, with that deeper connection with growing things, both animals and plants, as well as seeing the miracle of life happen all the time, for agrarians to move toward a deeper spirituality – but I don’t necessarily think that such spirituality necessarily has to be Christian in nature. That would hold well with Jeffersonian ideas of true freedom of religion incidentally.
The libertarian holds the view that individual freedoms and rights should basically trump those of everything and everyone else, until those individual freedoms and rights begin to interfere on someone’s ability to enjoy the same. In other words, in its most basic simplistic form, I can do whatever I want to do so long as I don’t keep you from doing what you want to do in the process. Now obviously, for the function of society and to keep it from being total chaos, there has to be some simple rules and agreements, or limits to define when my rights exercised begin to interfere with your ability to exercise yours. Hence the obvious ones – stealing and murder are bad. A few more are going to be required, but generally they should be limited in both scope and function to as simplistic an application as can conceivable be gotten away with. This of course leads to the idea of very small government being required, which is a good thing as well.
Now put the two together. Agrarians are by some definition farmers. Farmers have generally almost always been a go your own path and support yourself – take care of your own and live and let live basically. That fits in nicely with the idea of liberty above. Problem is that most farmers are so independently minded, and even more so the agrarians in my opinion, that we can’t ever agree on any one way of doing things. And if we ever did, there would be someone who would up and do it their own way anyway. Of course, having said that, I use that term farmer lightly given the nature of corporate scale farming that exist in a lot of places today – that are readily looking for the next support payment from the government in order to survive.
Working the other way, the individual freedoms that you can have on a farm that is truly your own is probably the one place in America you can still have such and extent to freedoms on how you want to do things. And if you just think in terms of not only those around today, but those that will be here on the morrow after you are gone, it is easy to see how the agrarian thoughts of sustainable (and hence likely) natural practices will be readily adopted.
So I had been thinking about things that I am currently reading, listening to, and occasionally watching. I have tried to update some of those items as well as a current favorite or two on my accounts for MySpace and Facebook, as well as a few other places. I have since decided it just too much work to maintain it in separate places and will, going forward on a semi-sporadic time scale, post a message here in my blog that contains what I am reading, listening to, or watching – as well as any current favorites and what I have recently finished (and for those I plan to give the a rating out of 5 stars)
- Man O’War: A Legend Like Lightning by Dorthory Ours
- The Essential Agrarian Reader: The Future of Culture, Community and the Land edited by Norman Wirzba and foreword by Barbara Kingsolver (re-reading)
- Marching Through Culpeper: A Novel of Culpeper Virginia by Virginia Beard Morton
- The Knight Triumphant: The High Middle Ages, 1314-1485 by Stephen Turnbull
- Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
- Native Dancer: The Grey Ghost: Hero of a Golden Age by John Eisenberg – A good little work of history regarding the horse Native Dancer. A horse that became even more famous because of his gray coloring and the contrast that gave him on the new fangled device in the early 1950’s that we call television. Despite having lost the Kentucky Derby and having a reputation of being a lazy horse toward the finish once he knew he had the victory, his record crunchy times and his later huge winning progeny definitely make him one of the better horses of the last century, some accounts placing him as high as 3rd (even without a triple crown). Good background for where America is and what is going socially and such at the time too. Only thing I would say is, maybe written at a bit of an elementary level at times. Rating: * * * *
- The Life of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir – A good account of Elizabeth and her reign, as Weir is noted for having done with several monarchs around about the same time. I found a couple of her theories on things a bit implausible, but she doesn’t really say one way or the other, but rather presents them as possibilities that have been considered by scholars at one point or another. Overall, you get a really good feeling of just what court life would have been like during the reign, especially as she is establishing and consolidating her power during the early years of her reign. You can also really appreciate the tricky balancing act Elizabeth played over the years with her many suitors, while all the while knowing full well as soon as she had a husband she would be submitting to his rule over her in all likelihood. Rating: * * * * 1/2
- about anything they have out by Pythia – Interesting cross between old style music and lyrics with a very heavy metal instrumentation and presentation. I need to break down and by a CD, but so far I have just playing off of their MySpace page. Be sure and check out Tristan and My Pale Prince (now humming aloud “Dark Lord hold me, you control me, you should know me, by my faithful heart…”). Beside all of that, Emily Alice is HOT!
- Ghost of a Rose and The Village Lanterne by Blackmore’s Night – Another cross of old world styled lyrics and instruments with some pop style riffs and updating. I am pretty sure that most of material is original lyrically, but I am not 100% that some songs are not old lyrics re-done. Again, you can at least get an example of their sound at there MySpace page.
- Greatest Hits by Willie Nelson by Willie Nelson – Obviously, if you have read other post in this blog this should not come as a surprise. What is surprising is this is the only Willie recordings I own, and there are only like maybe eight to ten tracks. How do you reduce his greatest hits to that number, I am not sure? Anyway, I think this is a very old set of music and I am thinking that I should get his version of the ‘immaculate’ collection in the boxed CD set (One Hell of a Ride) that was released not to long ago, which I think a total of over a 100 tracks.
- Survivor – I am not even sure where they are doing the current season. There was a year or two there where I watched this show often. The couple of episodes I watched sort of here and there while doing other thing recently was more than enough for me to get my fill. Basically the same thing is still going on – it is much more a political suck up game the anything about actual survival.
- CSI – Again, a couple of episodes caught mostly in full view after having finished other things that were being worked on. This is the original one, set in Las Vegas – and I admit to at one time a few years back having been sucked into the other two CSI shows as well, though I was never as fond of the one set in Miami (guess I was just to set on it they should be working Crockett and Tubbs). Anyway, as I felt before, there is a lot more depth to and development of the characters in the original CSI. However, while the science is mostly sound, I still get agitated about how quickly things tend happen, how there is a computer database available out there for everything material composition of everything ever made to tire tread and shoe tread patterns, and of course the desperate we need a break by point X in the show and then tah-dah – there it is with just enough time to wrap up the story line – but almost everything is always solved. And yes, I admit to not having much for a willing suspension of disbelieve of the last few years in case you are wondering.
So I am currently re-reading parts of the book entitled The Complete Agrarian Reader, a collection of essays by agrarians and their opinions on things. Probably the book that first introduced me to the idea. Actually, I should say, that made me realize it was not necessarily a some romantic notion that I alone had, that there were other people with similar thoughts on things.
Anyway, there is an introduction to the book by Barbara Kingsolver. In it she talks about her days in college and in the world at large where she in as many words hesitant or even almost ashamed of her background of having grown up on a Kentucky tobacco farm. Both the tobacco and the farm were considered less than desirable things to bring up in her circles of associations in a positive light so instead she stayed quiet. I have been there with her. I knew exactly what she was talking about. I would never deny, but there were times when I tried to distance myself from my own personal history.