Sunday, July 13, 2008

I Love Libertarian Farmers

Over at Maggie's Farm the Dylanoligist writes about the overlap of Left and Right when it comes to food issues:

"Take Michael Pollan's recent book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, where the left-wing New Yorker, anti-corporate and anti-factory-farm Pollan finds his utopia not in some Berkeley commune or fetishized indigenous village, but on a Virginia farm - not too far from Monticello, incidentally - run by a right-wing Christian fellow. The anti-corporate and pro-animal welfare concerns of the left and the anti-government, pro-traditionalist views of the right approach each other and, for an instant, cross paths. In its hurried dash away from big agriculture, the Left does not run into Karl Marx, but into Thomas Jefferson and the image of the virtuous republican farmer, tending to his fields and animals without help from nitrogen fertilizer, tomatoes from Monsanto, or growth-promoting antibiotics."

The right-wing Christian fellow mentioned above is Joel Salatin who, in addition to being a farmer, is also a writer. Here is an excerpt from Salatin's essay "Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal":

"I don’t ask for a dime of government money. I don’t ask for government accreditation. I don’t want to register my animals with a global positioning tattoo. I don’t want to tell officials the names of my constituents. And I sure as the dickens don’t intend to hand over my firearms. I can’t even use the “U” word. On every side, our paternalistic culture is tightening the noose around those of us who just want to opt out of the system — and it is the freedom to opt out that differentiates tyrannical and free societies.

How a culture deals with its misfits reveals its strength. The stronger a culture, the less it fears the radical fringe. The more paranoid and precarious a culture, the less tolerance it offers. When faith in our freedom gives way to fear of our freedom, then silencing the minority view becomes the operative protocol."

Wow. Sounds as if Salatin and Gene Logsdon would make quite the pair.

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