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Of loyalty and place

Permanent Linkby wisconsin_cur on Sun Jun 28, 2009 3:03 am

Wendell Berry has written at length regarding the colonization of rural areas by urban economic interests. Like any other colony, rural areas are stripped of their raw materials: their minerals, their soil, their best and brightest young people and sold finished products from the cities. In one of his essays Mr. Berry even complains memorably that even the pastors that are assigned to rural areas are interns who are just biding their time, waiting to get a better assignment in the city and, as such, are not really invested in the people they are called to serve today.

Even if they lack a liberation vocabulary to give voice to their frustration, the frustration of the colonized is felt in many rural areas. Upon successfully completing my first interrogation by neighbors when we moved to our current location they disclosed a disdain for the "big city millionaires" who build their McMansions near their farms and then complain when in spring farmers, as has been done every spring since the area was settled, spread cattle manure on their fields and the smell drifts across a neighbor’s manicured lawn or a clod which fells off the spreader splashes up on a Mercedes. They were genuinely apprehensive when they heard someone was moving in from St. Paul. They were visibly relieved when I shared that I grew up in one of the least densely populated counties in IL. They felt validated when we shared that we had lived nearby in the past and (part) of our rationale in moving here was to raise our children here and to make the area our home.

The logic of globalization is a logic of commoditization and inter-changeability. People become human resources. Land becomes its maximum annual production for market. Neighbors described a geographic reality rather than a relationship. Loyalty, any loyalty, is an emotion to be repressed because it interferes with master goal of maximizing profit. Value of place, person and competency are lowered to the price of real estate, wages and legal qualification. Love it or hate it this has been the ascendant theology of our age and all who rejected it were tolerated only as romantics, heretics or as quaint craftspeople on the economic fringes of society. But that age is coming to an end and the craftsperson shall again move to center stage.

The guy who cleans the bathrooms where I work knows about loyalty to place. He misses the old neighborhood which he cannot afford to live in anymore due to gentrification. Those people derided for living just a few miles from where they grew up, know about loyalty to place. They have felt it since an early age. Those who have wandered and tasted the fruit of globalization only to find the hangover not worth the high have an opportunity to find the joy that comes with loving a place if they give it a try and can bring themselves to commit to a place and a people.

Those, however, who have drunk the globalization kool-aid, those who see everyone but them self as a resource and even the home they own as an asset that can be sold to the highest bidder, they will not make the transition, at least not without time to de-program themselves from the death cult to which they have sold themselves. If they think they can just buy a bug out spot and instantly be accepted when TSHTF, they have another thing coming. Social systems are like organisms and foreign substances are often rejected as threat of infection.

Today, one can find a degree of acceptance in a new place if an effort is made. When TSHTF, our circles of solidarity will get much smaller and the border much more difficult to penetrate. The logic of globalization and interchangeable parts will be gone. Every community is a piece of unique craftsmanship created by the people who live there. Parts are not interchangeable because the local economy is fashioned in such a way as to accommodate inherent weaknesses and emphasize certain strengths. The communities of the future will not come off of standardized assembly lines, they will be crafted as if from fine Maple. If one is not there when the tool is carved it will be very difficult to find a way in. One will not be accepted as an interchangeable part but only as they have proved their worth and loyalty.

If you want to be a part of a place, if you want to be part of the communities which will be created after economic and societal collapse which is bound to fall upon us even if you believe it to be decades in the future, best get busy creating.
Last edited by wisconsin_cur on Sun Jun 28, 2009 3:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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Re: Of loyalty and place

Permanent Linkby smallpoxgirl on Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:14 am

I think that's the basic motivation for the colonization or imperialist process: Once you've exploited the areas closest to home to the extent possible, you start spreading out looking for other areas to devestate. Colonizers always start by colonizing them selves. The mass murder of the Indians was preceded by the mass murder of the Inquisition.

Civilization is a steadily progressing cancer. As best I can tell, the original hub of it all is the middle east. That's whence the current waves of civilization started, and it gives us some insights into where it's all headed. Complete ecological catastrophe. Majestic forests and fertile land converted into barren deserts. Gross overpopulation leading to centuries of nearly continuous battles for lebensraum and resources and extremist religions to justify same. Ahhh what we have to look forward to.
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