Victor Davis Hanson
...offered by Dn. fdj, a sinner at 10:21 AM [+]
Some of my foraging into the realm of ancient Greece lately has brought up a number of interesting things. Beloved sparring partner Rick re-introduced me to the historian Victor Davis Hanson and I have been very much enjoying his blog. Some of you will find his straight forward conservatism a bit unsettling, but I find it a breath of fresh air coming from Academia.
At present, at the library, I am putting on hold a couple of his works on ancient history and I happened upon one of his books that surprised me, entitled The Land Was Everything: Letters from an American Farmer Well as it turns out besides being a conservative professor of Classics, Victor Hanson is a sixth generation orchard-keeper! Hmmmm...check out this little review:
Victor Davis Hanson, a California professor of classical history and a sixth-generation orchard-keeper, revisits an old tradition in American letters, writing social criticism from an agrarian point of view that takes the farmer to be the foundation of any democracy worthy of the name. That Jeffersonian argument is not widely aired these days, apart from the essays of Wendell Berry and a few like-minded nature writers, and it takes on a specifically political force in Hanson's thoughtful, sometimes angry meditations on the decline of farming and the virtuous values that farming once instilled.
The enemies of farming are many, Hanson declares. They number not only drought, insects, fire, and fungi, but also political leaders who are content to watch the fertile countryside be carved into arid seas of look-alike homes, housing consumers who demand factory-issued foods in all seasons. Their demands are met--and, barring disaster, will continue to be met--by corporate agriculture, which, Hanson holds, values appearance over taste and prizes short-term profits over the long-term health of the land. The ascendance of that corporate system of food production means that fewer and fewer small farms can survive, and that agriculture will seem an ever more alien enterprise to the coming generations, conducted far off in the hinterland, "the corporate void where no sane man wishes to live."
This all means, Hanson suggests, that the farmer of old who knew how to fix tractors and fences, how to wage war on predators while shunning the use of poisons, and how to live self-reliantly is a thing of the past. The disappearance of that American archetype is all to the bad. As Hanson writes, "We have lost our agrarian landscape and with it the insurance that there would be an autonomous, outspoken, and critical group of citizens eager to remind us of the current fads and follies of the day." Resounding with righteous fury and good common sense, his book is a call to turn back the clock and set a more civilized table.
CLICK goes the hold button at the Kitsap Regional Library website.
Ha! I'm reading that very book right now. I'll probably be staying over in the ol' trailer tomorrow night, and should be finished with it by then , so I'll loan my copy to you. VERY good reading!
As far as I remember, I enjoyed his book Fields Without Dreams: Defending the Agrarian Ideal. You may want to give it a look.