Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Disappearance of "The Farmer"

Fellow blogger Z, proprietor of the very popular geeeeeZ, featured a beautifully illustrated video of Paul Harvey’s moving tribute to “The Farmer.” [The late Paul Harvey, whose distinctive voice and manner I remember hearing with fascination on the radio from my days as a toddler back in the 1940’s, was still making daily broadcasts when I was well into my sixties, and continued up until the day he died just a few short years ago in 2009. He stood for something fine and sturdy, and remained a living symbol of Sanity and Stability all his long life. Very sadly his passing has marked the end of an era.] 

Z asked if it were still possible for future generations to develop in themselves, and benefit from the splendid, staunch, foursquare, admirably dependable, self-sufficient character of “The Farmer?” 

Here is my answer:

Thanks to Industrialization, mass production, and all the modern inventions we regarded as Great Blessings, we also got Mass Communication which brought the Glorification of Vulgarity and Immorality first through Radio, then TV, and now the internet, we no longer plow the fields and scatter the good seed on the land. Instead we work in "Dark Satanic Mills" where regimentation has dehumanized and alienated us. 

Industrialization destroyed rugged individualism, and thus made it all-but-impossible to take pride in our work anymore. Because our tasks are now fragmented, we feel no personal association with the finished product, and working on production lines has rendered us robotic as well as moronic -- and deeply resentful.

Thanks to the emergence of Freudian Psychology and the glorification of False Education via the creation of "The Helping Professions," and useless, worthless, purely theoretical fields of non-productive endeavor such as Economics, Sociology, Political Science, and later the degenerate, divisive fields such as Black Studies, Women's Studies, Queer Studies, etc., we have turned away from honest labor and now spend most of our time sitting on our fundaments, getting fat, increasingly lazy, restless,  and fixated on grossly sensual pursuits wondring why we feel so unhappy. 

Instead of doing genuine productive work and enjoying real sports, we neurotically pursue artificial "fitness" by joining "gyms" where we grimly "work out" on MACHINES not unlike those found in the dark satanic mills from which every upwardly mobile person has sought to escape.

Endless Criticism and Complaint, increasing emptiness in our conversation, and hostility in our personal and social relationships have become our Way of Life –– our substitute for healthy participation in community affairs, absorbing interest in worthwhile hobbies, and the joy that comes from CREATIVE, PRODUCTIVE endeavor, and pleasant social interaction where The Art of Conversation is practiced over delicious, Home Cooked Meals followed by Card Games or Board Games, joy is taken in Growing Vegetables, Roses and other flowers in gardens we proudly tend, ourselves, and share with friends and neighbors in an attitude of friendly competition.

Sadly, it is no longer possible for people to become "farmers" either in the literal or the metaphorical sense of the word. We have lost much of our virtue for two reasons: 1.The endless pursuit of easier, more comfortable, less time consuming, less demanding ways to perform necessary tasks, 2. Moral degeneration caused by turning away from God and toward Freud and Marx and the increasingly hideous, demoralizing, disgusting, truly wicked public exhibitions that now pass for Entertainment and Culture that have come in the wake of the militantly anti-Christian moguls who not only create and control the Advertising and Entertainment Industries, but also the dissemination of News and Information.

Bearing all this in mind is it any wonder the square, hardworking, thoroughly decent individual represented by the Farmer has all-but disappeared from our society?

Paul Harvey (1909-2009)


  1. I think you're absolutely right, FT, and there's no going back.
    I do believe the farmer is a metaphor for something much bigger than 'just a farmer'...and that's another scary thing.

  2. I agree. You must be a fellow Erskine Caldwell fan.

    Modernity has brought us much, but as you say, it has left us physically, morally and intellectually flaccid.

    Put the average person back in the 1890's, and he would struggle to survive.

    -- Miniver Cheevy

  3. Well FT you aren't going to revoke the Industrial Revolution.
    The great god Capitalism which you always omit in your rants won't allow it. Bad for profits.

    I think of Antonioni's Red Desert. Monica Vitti looking at the stacks of the factories spewing smoke and wondering if it kills the birds. She's told that the birds learn how to avoid it.
    I felt Antonioni was a little half hearted in his contention that we can adjust to the new landscape. At least without simply ignoring it.

    Or we can use Paul Harvey's lens and wax nostalgic about an idealized landscape that may never have existed. But that's just another method of ignoring it.


  4. The Necessity for Irony

    by Eavan Boland

    On Sundays,
    when the rain held off,
    after lunch or later,
    I would go with my twelve year old
    daughter into town,
    and put down the time
    at junk sales, antique fairs.

    There I would
    lean over tables,
    absorbed by
    lace, wooden frames,
    glass. My daughter stood
    at the other end of the room,
    her flame-coloured hair
    obvious whenever—
    which was not often—

    I turned around.
    I turned around.
    She was gone.
    Grown. No longer ready
    to come with me, whenever
    a dry Sunday
    held out its promises
    of small histories. Endings.

    When I was young
    I studied styles: their use
    and origin. Which age
    was known for which
    ornament: and was always drawn
    to a lyric speech, a civil tone.
    But never thought
    I would have the need,
    as I do now, for a darker one:

    Spirit of irony,
    my caustic author
    of the past, of memory,—

    and of its pain, which returns
    hurts, stings—reproach me now,
    remind me
    that I was in those rooms,
    with my child,
    with my back turned to her,
    searching for beautiful things.

  5. Any number of factors: efficiencies, markets, technology
    among them. Today's farm is a corporation with illegal immigrants doing the work. I am
    old enough to remember family farms, the values, the families
    (married a farmer's daughter!)
    the 24-7 work schedule and the
    good-natured fun. Such is progress.

  6. FT,
    There are still pockets of farmers who are toiling away as farmers have done for centuries -- albeit with modern equipment. They are scratching out a living in their hard scrabble lives, but all blut the most stubborn (East Tennessee?) often require government subsidies now because agribusiness dominates the farming industry.

    There are still the Amish and Mennonite farmers, the former, with only 8th grades educations most of the time, actually toiling away in the farming tradition that has served them well for so long; many Mennonites, however, have been corrupted by the Information Age and overall tone of today's society.

    I must say that farming is no longer seen as a task for people of intelligence. After all, "Everybody should go to college." But let me tell you this: my father was an excellent farmer, and the knowledge required was extensive and complicated. Not book learning, of course, but still knowledge. Have you ever tried to grow all the food that you yourself consume year round? Ye, gods! A small family won't do!

    I strongly agree with this paragraph:

    Industrialization destroyed rugged individualism, and thus made it all-but-impossible to take pride in our work anymore. Because our tasks are now fragmented, we feel no personal association with the finished product, and working on production lines has rendered us robotic as well as moronic -- and deeply resentful.

    As that comic strip stated, "We have met the enemy, and he is us." **sigh**

  7. Industrialization destroyed rugged individualism, and thus made it all-but-impossible to take pride in our work anymore. Because our tasks are now fragmented, we feel no personal association with the finished product, and working on production lines has rendered us robotic as well as moronic -- and deeply resentful.
    Funny, that's what Marx said.

  8. No one pays any attention to you F.T. Your comments demonstrate why.

  9. Ducky: Marx was a keep observer of life and society. It is his crack-brained economic theories that were laughable.

  10. Adam Smith, "The Wealth of Nations"

    That the Division of Labour is limited by the Extent of the Market

    [01] AS it is the power of exchanging that gives occasion to the division of labour, so the extent of this division must always be limited by the extent of that power, or, in other words, by the extent of the market. When the market is very small, no person can have any encouragement to dedicate himself entirely to one employment, for want of the power to exchange all that surplus part of the produce of his own labour, which is over and above his own consumption, for such parts of the produce of other men's labour as he has occasion for.

    [02] There are some sorts of industry, even of the lowest kind, which can be carried on nowhere but in a great town. A porter, for example, can find employment and subsistence in no other place. A village is by much too narrow a sphere for him; even an ordinary market town is scarce large enough to afford him constant occupation. In the lone houses and very small villages which are scattered about in so desert a country as the Highlands of Scotland, every farmer must be butcher, baker and brewer for his own family. In such situations we can scarce expect to find even a smith, a carpenter, or a mason, within less than twenty miles of another of the same trade. The scattered families that live at eight or ten miles distance from the nearest of them must learn to perform themselves a great number of little pieces of work, for which, in more populous countries, they would call in the assistance of those workmen. Country workmen are almost everywhere obliged to apply themselves to all the different branches of industry that have so much affinity to one another as to be employed about the same sort of materials. A country carpenter deals in every sort of work that is made of wood: a country smith in every sort of work that is made of iron. The former is not only a carpenter, but a joiner, a cabinet-maker, and even a carver in wood, as well as a wheel-wright, a plough-wright, a cart and waggon maker. The employments of the latter are still more various. It is impossible there should be such a trade as even that of a nailer in the remote and inland parts of the Highlands of Scotland. Such a workman at the rate of a thousand nails a day, and three hundred working days in the year, will make three hundred thousand nails in the year. But in such a situation it would be impossible to dispose of one thousand, that is, of one day's work in the year.



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