Thursday, November 17, 2005

Preparing To Take the Plunge

It has been little over 6 months since I came to the conclusion that I had to make a change for myself and family as far as our life model goes. There has, in recent years been a slowly welling realization that something is not right in the prosperity I, and many of my people, are now enjoying. I am currently doing better than ever financially. We have a nice house in the suburbs of Washington DC with a decent plot of land; we have no debt except for our home mortgage; my income has been very respectable for the norms of this region; we lack neither food, nor clothing; we are on friendly terms with our neighbors and belong to a friendly, perfectly respectable church. For all these things, and even more importantly the health and wellness of my wife, children and me, I praise God. This should be enough to make any man a conservative – to want to maintain the status quo, right?

As much as I appreciate what we have, I believe the Lord has spoken to me through his Word (and in turn through many of his prophets here on earth) that our current prosperity is not to his liking. Our children see us “going to Church” on Sunday but living just as the pagans live, with God invisible or in a, very little, box. My children know Dad “goes to work” to pay for our needs and wants. When we need food we “go to the store” and there it is on the shelf. When we need money we “go to the bank”. Life seems not to be something we are experiencing but something we are watching pass us by. No wonder children abandon their parent’s lives; they are devoid of meaning. This whole transformation in my thinking gained great momentum based on my wife’s research on healthy eating. It has led us to look to the Bible for guidance on eating and on living – a guidance that is virtually ignored by the contemporary Church. In parallel with her research on food I continued to delve into socio-economic and political issues and eventually saw the crystal clear truth – that our whole contemporary situation, and much of our history is a sham. The world has been and is about an elite group of people obtaining, maintaining, and growing their wealth, fame, and power at the expense of any who are in their way. I suspect most people would acknowledge this point in the general sense but are unwilling to see the extent to which its truth makes our existence in this model untenable. The thread that was sticking up on a few issues I have pulled on and pulled on until the whole ‘garment’ is a pile of garbage. This whole issue I have touched on in other posts as have many minds greater than mine and though it deserves much greater discussion I will not do so here. I merely wanted to set that as a backdrop for why I, and maybe you, should consider being a new generation of pioneers.

What is the “model” I just referred to, this model that is untenable and we should consider leaving? It is the current Standard American Lifestyle. David, at his blog Covenant Corner recently captured it in a nutshell:

“The home has become a place consisting solely of consumerism. Because no one in the home makes whole goods, the family is made up purely of consumers. Workers go out away from the home to work and gain the financial ability to buy (consume) goods and services. Rather than being a place of industry, artistic expression and production, the home has become a place of idleness, boredom, and often times discontent.”

There is an economy to the world that this lifestyle is mocking; an economy that says you must produce to survive, REALLY produce, not sit at a desk, attend meetings, make loans, litigate, legislate, or otherwise just reshuffle the deck that our betters have created. How many people in America are real producers anymore? They are becoming less and less and as their numbers shrink their yoke is made heavier by the consuming classes who have the faux-power the establishment now shrewdly grants. Many forward thinking and Godly people have expressed this same truth. We Americans are sitting atop a worldwide economic plantation that is exploiting and raping the truly productive here and abroad. Our natural wonders, as well as our own bodies, minds, and spirits are ravaged by the current paradigm. How we (Americans) are still able to stay atop I don’t know yet. I have read bits and pieces that make sense but I have not been able to tie it together yet. But acknowledging that America is now on top of the world should not blind us into thinking that this will last. The world is a very competitive place and there are many well motivated and successful people groups that are rising fast (China and India being notable). Some establishment lackeys continue to blather about a rising tide lifting all boats. I don’t see this as being the case. Why will these competitors want to continue to shine our shoes when they are harder working, smarter, and tougher than we are? They won’t.

Most American farmers are now hirelings to corporate giants like Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, Monsanto, Tyson, etc. The farmer is the serf producing an undifferentiated commodity that then relies on the ‘value added’ supplements provided by the corporation, be they hormones/steroids, chemicals, economies of scale, ‘efficiency’, seed stock, name recognition, and/or slick ads. The farmer must toe the company line as Massa commands. Massa makes the bucks and pulls the strings; farmer does the work. The situation is just like the movie A Bug’s Life whereby our farmers are the Ants and Massa is the Grasshopper, only our farmers don’t see this – at least most of them don’t. Renegades like Joel Salatin (Polyface Farm), Lynn Miller (Small Farmers Journal), and the folks at Acres USA, to name just a few, are out there but they are greatly outnumbered and outgunned. They emphasize the farmer (or any producer) as free and artisanal, directly dealing with his customer, and cutting out the parasitic and enslaving middle man. Is the tide turning? I don’t know but we can make a difference.

Though, these are by no means exhaustive explanations as to “why” I think leaving the Standard American Life is prudent they are seed-thoughts to motivate the change. If you were to conclude that a change is desirable, maybe even necessary, then what? I have been investigating this for only a few months now so my current thoughts may still change a bit but here’s where I am at right now. This is not ‘advice’, only my germinating plans.

Be Productive. Engage in enterprises where something raw is transformed into something directly usable. There are many options here: food production (crops, orchards, dairy, meats, etc.), animal by-products (leather, wool, etc.), clothing production, wood-crafting, blacksmithing, and many others. If/when things turn down in the macro-economy these skills will be in demand, not only so that we produce for our own families, but also produce things people will really need.

Be Diverse. Enterprises must have symbiosis; that is, multiple activities need to be undertaken that collectively are more productive and efficient, than if they were done alone. For example, beekeeping and orchards are better together than by themselves, since each benefits from the other. Diversity also is more interesting and more adaptable to changing market conditions than specialization, such as only raising beef cows.

Emphasize Sustainability. Building something and emphasizing methods that will last is important in several ways. First, we are being good stewards of the domain God has blessed us with: we are being true to him. Second, we are not negatively impacting our neighbors with externalities (those side effects that others have to pay for due to our sloth or greed): we are being true to our fellow man. Third, sustainability involves pulling our children directly into the production process, as early as makes sense, so that they inherit it and ultimately improve upon it: we are being true to our posterity.

Be Flexible. Whatever I end up doing will initially be based on my best guesses and intuition. Though this may provide a decent starting point, it will no doubt require correction as failures occur and experience is gained. One of things that strikes me about people who live off the land is how adaptable they are, since nature can be cruel and very unpredictable. We must learn to adjust as is required.

Be Communitarian. Just like a diverse operation helps to ensure success, being part of a healthy community does as well. It is the ultimate insurance policy since a good community should be there when catastrophe strikes. We cannot, alone, deal with the worst that may hit us in this fallen world. The virtual insurance, normative today, that has outsourced community to extremely rich and powerful outsiders is a poor (though sometimes needed) substitute. Community not only provides for these practical needs but also provides much of the richness to life and will continue to be rewoven through intermarriage.


With all those concepts in mind where I am currently leaning is towards a home centered on a wood-working enterprise. Preferable is sufficient land with timber to harvest, sustainably, this wood and use it to make furniture and other products for the home, barter, and sale. In addition to this we would free-range chickens, for meat and also raise our own eggs. For milk I would prefer goats though my wife prefers a cow but we’d end up with one or the other. The other things I’d like to do include modest orchards for apples and beekeeping. Pickling will be a must along with other creative types of fermentation to deal with the cycles of natural production. I’m hoping my daughters would eventually develop the skill to make clothing. There are many possibilities, especially for secondary activities.

Lynn Miller emphasizes getting ‘off the grid’ as much as possible. That is, becoming independent of non-sustainable inputs, which come from outside the community and can only be obtained with cash. I believe this is a good objective to strive towards but in the short term I know I would use electricity as well as some petrol. I strive to reduce the amount we use but not elimination; I have too many other things to learn without that as well.

There are still a lot of things to work out but I am aspiring to make a move within the next year or so. Caution and ignorance are being replaced by urgency and knowledge.

If you are contemplating anything similar please let me know your thoughts.

23 comments:

jlh said...

WGJ,

Best of luck to you. I'll be following your progress closely as you move toward this goal. Good to see you back up with a new post.

wjg said...

JLH,

Thanks. It's funny how time flies. I find it so much easier to listen than to speak; especially when there are so many gifted writers in the blogosphere. There's an old saying that the best way to keep a suspicion of ignorance from being a known fact is to not speak. In spite of that risk I still post :)

jlh said...

I find it so much easier to listen than to speak; especially when there are so many gifted writers in the blogosphere.

Very true for me as well. After an initial flurry of posting and commenting, I find myself exhausted mentally and spiritually. Following these bitter arguments such as we have seen at Majority Rights and between kinists and those xanga paleocrats who don't know that they are liberals has worn me out temporarily. I'm trying to sort through this stuff. I was re-reading just now some of the posts at MR between you and I think "phil" where "phil" tells you that as regards the JQ, there isn't any enemy of that description. His point was that if what you are saying is true then the fight has already been lost and everything is in vain. And your reply was most apt: that if New Zealand for instance tried to enact a WN solution it would meet with such overwhelming media and bureaucratic censure that it would effectively be out of the picture as a nation. People who, when given a proper description of reality, don't intuitively grasp the truth of an observation like that are beyond the reach of argument. It does all become rather wearisome at that point. Plus there is the "risk" as you say of posting one's foot in one's mouth so to speak. You really have to have your powder dry in the blogging/commenting business.

David McCrory said...

WGJ,

I commend you for expressing yourself openly and honestly. I can see you have made the "cultural secession" from the capitalistic mindset, to the agrarian. That is the first step. It is better to make a gradual change rather than "headin for tha woods". Like you said, start finding ways for you and your family to be productive, self-sufficent.

I came to the conclusion a few years ago that our family needed to start heading in that direction. I believe you'll find a wholesomeness in your efforts you have never experienced before. And it is comforting to know that there are many other people out there just like you.

May God richly bless all that you set your hand to do.

Mark said...

I understand and sympathize with the feelings you are having that make you dissatisfied with your current life and enamored with the idea of a back-to-the-earth lifestyle. I have spent a lot of my adult life thinking the same thoughts. But could I throw a few thoughts out there to the contrary?

The reason that society evolved to the way it is now, with a lot of division of labor rather than subsistence farmers, is because it provided more of what most people want. It's kind of ironic that that great-grandchildren of the people who left the farm to try to give themselves some possibilities for more are now thinking of giving it up and going back to the farm.

The affluence you enjoy now is not to be taken lightly, I think. It is probably actually not possible on a farm in a practical sense. You will likely find yourself stretching every month to get by and to pay the very necessary, very real bills for things like medical care that you are probably not willing to give up. You will likely find that the charm of the idea of woodworking has worn off after about the third piece you've made and barely broken even on, if that. And that the satisfaction of manual labor wears off as well once the monotony sets in. There was a reason that people sought to get away from having to "work with their hands" in favor of "work with their minds".

I think you are too hard on capitalism. It is true that when your work is highly specialized, you don't see as much of the chain from raw materials to satisfied purchaser. But our society is only able to have the prosperity it does because of the productivity of this division of labor, capitalist organization of things. And our safety and strength in the world is only possible because of our prosperity. You mention China and India as up-and-coming countries. They aren't increasing in power and wealth because their people are "getting back to the earth." They are increasing in wealth and power because they are finally adapting the very elements of capitalism which made our nation so powerful. It would be a disaster if everyone in our country did what you are proposing...we would be sent back to the economic level of a third-world nation, or something close to it, and would be very vulnerable to invasion and exploitation.

I don't think that a society can go backwards. We have to continue to strive for quality and look for ways to improve, if for no other reason than that we are in a life-and-death competition with other societies for survival and dominance. Division of labor and specialization and capitalism is a great improvement over individually-hand-made materials and subsistence farming. Those things only have charm now because they are relics of the past. There is a place for niche production of some of those things, but not for society as a whole to decide that that's what we'll go back to. I believe that that is actually the philosophy of the North Korean regime - "juche", or "self-reliance". They force everyone to be a subsistence farmer for the same kind of reasons you cite -- the supposed superior morality of manual labor, the evil of capitalism with some "leeching" off of others' work, etc. It is not a system that is working for them.

I guess I would sum up my main point by saying this: your desire for quality in life does not mean you have to throw away the progress our ancestors made in getting away from subsistence living. You can pursue quality and excellence in the job you have now even if you can't see the entire production chain from your spot in the organization. Your ability to focus and specialize in one area rather than trying to be a jack of all trades on a farm actually provides you with more opportunity for excellence because you aren't required to have to do everything well, just your speciality.

Capitalism and free markets are not evil. They are the mechanism that society evolved towards because they provide much much more of what people want, and they provide a competitive advantage over non-capitalist, competing societies. It is not a friendly world. The solution, I think, is not to retreat from capitalism and competition, but to work in an excellent manner to master it.

I think you denigrate the free market system too unfairly. You paint your work and the work of others like you as -

Mark said...

Please ignore that last partial sentence - it was left accidentally from my editing of what I'd written.

wjg said...

JLH,

I become exhausted too because I spend most my internet time trying to piece things together. Any learning experience is trying especially when the truth, seemingly at least, has been intentionally clouded by conventional sources.

The JQ is one of these pieces. There is either a tendency to dismiss it as anti-semitism or inflate it to the level of panacea, if resolved. That NZ "what if" scenario was a guess but one based on history and intuition and it was ignored by those who think there is no "them" opposing us. Many like Phil still expect our opponents to passively submit to our empowerment like we did to theirs. They aren't that dumb. They hurl invective at us while we follow Roberts Rules. It's like Bunker Hill in reverse: "No, it is not fair to shoot the Brits from up here, let us form lines and charge them with fixed bayonets." Insanity.

The sad thing about never stumbling is the fact that many who we should be looking at as allies jump on any 'slip' to score points ("Nazi!", "Anti-Semite!", "Leftist!", etc.) as if this is some college debate. The fact that our people are struggling for survival becomes secondary.

It is often wearisome but I find it still more rewarding than the alternative.

Hang in there. Your contributions are much needed.

wjg said...

David,

Thanks. I want this to work, for now and the future, and it can if done wisely based on how I'm seeing others do it. I grew up in the standard american consumerist lifestyle so it will be a struggle to break even but my hope is that this would be a foundation for the next generation to build on. I have committed to this mentally but we still haven't passed the point of no return. If it turns out there are rational reasons not to do this I don't want to be so proud as to not reevaluate; but I don't want to lose my nerve just because this path is unconventional.

Do you have anything to share as far as what has happened in your transition? A blog post perhaps?

David McCrory said...

wjg,

I am still making my transistion. You can't undue years of living a certain way very quickly. But I began by gaining knowledge of agrarian living. I would suggest reading both philosophical and practical literature on agrarianism. Richard Weaver, Wendell Berry, I'll Take My Stand are all good for gaining an agrarian mindset.

As far as practical guides, go to your local bookstore and look for books dealing with gardening, farming in your area. It will vary depending on where you live.

We have planted a nice garden the last several years and have been able to enjoy our labors from it. I have began looking into several home-based businesses, we've been conisdering some places in rural areas to which we'd like to move, getting our house ready to sell, and so forth.

Also, you mentioned wood-working, thats good but your ROI can be low, if you consider all your labor. I'm still exploring my options as to what would be best in terms of producing goods.

I know I'd like to farm enough to sell some produce, but I'd also like to manufacture goods as well. I'm dabbling (sp?) in candle making, which my wife seems to like.

But what I believe the first generation needs to accomplish more than anything is instilling in their children the principles that we have come to be convinced of. For if we don't, our generation will have done all this in vain.

wjg said...

Mark,

First off, thanks for sharing. Your thoughts are appreciated, especially since they are constructive.

"The reason that society evolved to the way it is now, with a lot of division of labor rather than subsistence farmers, is because it provided more of what most people want. It's kind of ironic that that great-grandchildren of the people who left the farm to try to give themselves some possibilities for more are now thinking of giving it up and going back to the farm."

Agreed, if you are talking about subsistence (i.e. barely making ends meet) farmers as opposed to prosperous, diverse, and sustainable farming or other productive activities. Keep in mind though that many farmers acquire the subsistence adjective because of the manipulations and power of those at the top of the 'capitalist' pyramid.

"The affluence you enjoy now is not to be taken lightly, I think."

Depends on what you mean by affluence.

"It is probably actually not possible on a farm in a practical sense."

Agreed if the affluence described is the consumerism of the standard american lifestyle. To me, that's part of the reason to abandon SAL to a more productive life (though not necessarily farming).

"You will likely find yourself stretching every month to get by and to pay the very necessary, very real bills for things like medical care that you are probably not willing to give up."

Very true but isn't stretching such that we are living a much more modest lifestyle a desirable, and ultimately necessary, change? I do wonder about medical care. Our system is corrupt and we hope to opt out as much as possible, putting a much greater emphasis on wellness, but what to do when a loved one gets very sick? We might try to get some basic medical insurance but I don't know the answer yet. This area will probably require a step of faith.

"You will likely find that the charm of the idea of woodworking has worn off after about the third piece you've made and barely broken even on, if that. And that the satisfaction of manual labor wears off as well once the monotony sets in."

There is a risk of this but that is one of the reasons to have a diverse operation. If one were a woodworker at a factory and was always doing the same task (though this same argument could be made for almost any 'conventional' job) this tedium is unavoidable but what if every project ever worked on is at least a little different? Since I haven't done this before I don't know for sure but I suspect my tedium will be less than it is now. I bet I speak for most folks in saying that the 'work' (and I use the term very loosely) I do now is itself very dull. What makes work bearable are the human interactions; but even those interactions are with relatively unimportant people. The people that matter most to me, my wife and children are far removed. My job is a complete abstraction to my family. Yes, my job allows me to do well by the standards of our time but are the costs greater than the benefits? That’s the question.

"There was a reason that people sought to get away from having to "work with their hands" in favor of "work with their minds"."

Did people really "seek" this or did they leave that work because of the twin blows of unfettered capitalism (e.g. the Industrial Revolution, etc.) and the consumerism it spawned? They both had to leave and wanted to leave but in so doing lost their ability to be free and independent.

“I think you are too hard on capitalism. It is true that when your work is highly specialized, you don't see as much of the chain from raw materials to satisfied purchaser. But our society is only able to have the prosperity it does because of the productivity of this division of labor, capitalist organization of things.”

What is real prosperity? As much as we may be pleased with where our ‘prosperity’ has currently taken us, it is now a thing unto itself which must constantly be fed through growth because prosperity is the end that the engineers of capitalism seek for themselves. The little people do get a trickle down effect from this but this includes both good things (iPods and Plasma TVs) and bad things (cheap immigrant labor). New markets must be found, more wealth obtained, new prestige gained and there is definitely a trickle down here as well. It can never be appeased.

“And our safety and strength in the world is only possible because of our prosperity.”

I used to believe this but now I’m not so sure. Our prosperity is what gives us an imperialistic mindset and the aggressive military to back it up. What does it really take to defend one’s homeland? I believe MUCH less than what is currently spent on ‘defense’. Will we maybe lose some edge over time on the latest technology used for warfare? Yes, but we will also become much less of a target by becoming less imperialistic. I’m now of the mindset, because of the fratricidal bloodletting of the White Race in the 20th Century, that we need to mind our own business and focus on ourselves. I have no illusions about the world becoming some place of peace but we can make ourselves a much smaller target through our actions: militarily, diplomatically, economically and culturally.

“You mention China and India as up-and-coming countries. They aren't increasing in power and wealth because their people are "getting back to the earth." They are increasing in wealth and power because they are finally adapting the very elements of capitalism which made our nation so powerful.”

What is so great about the power that capitalism gave us? The power to be an arrogant empire? To me it seems more a curse than a blessing.

“It would be a disaster if everyone in our country did what you are proposing...we would be sent back to the economic level of a third-world nation, or something close to it, and would be very vulnerable to invasion and exploitation.”

The 3rd World is more a function of normative genetic endowment than economic system. If by 3rd World you mean squalor, crime, disease, and degeneracy I would say our wondrous capitalism is doing a great job of implementing that right here. If by 3rd World you mean simple, sustainable, and Godly life styles then I wonder what is the problem with it. Are the Amish 3rd World? Is New Orleans 1st? Simple agrarianism leads to the former, capitalism to the latter, or so it seems to me.

“I don't think that a society can go backwards.”

What is backwards I wonder?

“We have to continue to strive for quality and look for ways to improve, if for no other reason than that we are in a life-and-death competition with other societies for survival and dominance.”

I completely agree (except for ‘dominance’ which is a dangerous objective; balance I think is much preferred) though we define “improvement” differently 

“Division of labor and specialization and capitalism is a great improvement over individually-hand-made materials and subsistence farming.”

Being a hireling is better than a freeman? Your assertion really boils down to that which you value. Is wealth better than freedom? Is ‘efficiency’ better than sustainability? I would say no on both counts, though they all have their place. From where do we derive our morals and how do we put them into practice become the more foundational questions here.

“Those things only have charm now because they are relics of the past. There is a place for niche production of some of those things, but not for society as a whole to decide that that's what we'll go back to.”

I agree that part of the appeal is nostalgia and a respect for tradition but for me the greatest appeal is the cold hard fact that it works in a way I believe is most consistent with a Godly life of stewardship and dominion. The reason I think it is a good model for society as a whole is an extension of that same principle and because I believe the ‘prosperity’ we are currently experiencing will not last. The exploitation and growth that drive us today can not continue much longer but my crystal ball may be defective 

“I believe that that is actually the philosophy of the North Korean regime - "juche", or "self-reliance". They force everyone to be a subsistence farmer for the same kind of reasons you cite -- the supposed superior morality of manual labor, the evil of capitalism with some "leeching" off of others' work, etc. It is not a system that is working for them.”

The North Koreans may have some kernels of truth they are attempting to follow but they are driving this from the top down by threat of force; this is inconsistent with sustainable agrarianism, especially the Christian variety. People must do this voluntarily though better laws would help. The Bible condemns usury, making money off of money. Why? One reason is that it is not real work. Someone has to do real work to put food on the table but it is certainly not the banker. The banker is a metaphor for the ‘work’ done by the average westerner anymore. Who is feeding us? Who is clothing us? Who is sheltering us? Those folks are at the bottom of the inverted pyramid. When the government shut down for 2 months in 1995 did anyone give a crap? No, because they “do” next to nothing other than get in the way. I was actually hoping the shut down was going to keep going since traffic was greatly reduced in the DC area. The private sector is not that worthless but even it is similar and gets much of its revenue from the very same government. Think what would happen if the 2% (or whatever it is) of the population who are farmers stopped working. Not all work is valuable and the market’s compensation mechanism is certainly not helping matters.

“I guess I would sum up my main point by saying this: your desire for quality in life does not mean you have to throw away the progress our ancestors made in getting away from subsistence living. You can pursue quality and excellence in the job you have now even if you can't see the entire production chain from your spot in the organization. Your ability to focus and specialize in one area rather than trying to be a jack of all trades on a farm actually provides you with more opportunity for excellence because you aren't required to have to do everything well, just your speciality.”

I disagree with the leap from subsistence living to our specialized, consumerist capitalist life of today. There was a step in between that was predominant in America from colonial times until the IR. It is agrarianism and goes far beyond just subsisting. A certain amount of specialization did occur but not nearly to the degree that is prevalent today. It was rewarding, diverse, peaceful, sustainable, familial, and communitarian; almost the exact opposite than life today.

“Capitalism and free markets are not evil. They are the mechanism that society evolved towards because they provide much much more of what people want, and they provide a competitive advantage over non-capitalist, competing societies.”

Don’t do a bait and switch. There is a big difference between a free market and capitalism. A free market is where producers can exchange their outputs for other goods, services, or medium, at a value determined by supply and demand. Capitalism is a system where production is subordinated to wealth creation; where production is exploited for the purpose of wealth creation. Capitalism is far from free; it is the casino and brothel for the elite. The capitalist does seem to have an advantage to the non-capitalist when it comes to some competition, like warfare, but once let off its leash it will ultimately consume its master. I would rather lose a war then poison the wellspring.

“It is not a friendly world. The solution, I think, is not to retreat from capitalism and competition, but to work in an excellent manner to master it.”

I agree with the first point but wonder how we can master capitalism. It seems to be mastering us.

I must end by saying most of your points are very reasonable, at least on their face, and since I am an amateur, only moderately learned in these subjects I may rethink them soon. But I wanted to give an attempt at semi-rational answers. Much of the discussion hinges on the proper definition of terms such that we don’t talk past each other. The rest comes down to differing visions on what will best work for us in the future.

wjg said...

David,

I still haven't read Berry though he seems to be a must read.

The ROI may be low for woodworking but right now it is my "A" pick. There are a lot of factors to consider. One of the reasons I shy from farming, as our primary enterprise, is the steep learning curve and vagaries of nature; especially if done organically. My home garden was a flop this year. We plan on raising the majority of our own food but may only sell non-produce food.

I agree with you about instilling principles. It may not be our place to see the promised land but to help lead some of the next generation to it.

I am doing a lot of investigation on location but have a ways to go.

wjg said...

David,

By "woodworking" I am referring specifically to making furniture using power tools, not carving things by hand as the word oft implies.

My limited investigation points to it having a lot of potential. Think of what the particle board furniture in most stores sells for. And that furniture is pure junk. People want the real thing and many are willing to pay a decent price.

John Brown's body said...

WJG,

Oh, good. You came back. And now the saga can continue...

I believe the theme of your article is “I can build a better life for me and my family if I become a farmer.” Perhaps you are correct. I admit that I have a strong inclination to do the same, although, in my case, I’m sure it is because I can’t see the down-side to it, having never been a farmer, as well as, having absolutely no idea how hard it is to be one.

It just so happens that yesterday I was on the net looking at land for sale and I found 55 acres of gentle rolling land—only 10 acres wooded—for just $104,000. From the pictures, it looked perfect, like a well-manicured golf course. And the surrounding scenery…just one word: omygawd.

I could picture a long gravel driveway up to the house I’d have there. The drive would be tree-lined. Then I thought no. Instead, I’d have an apple orchard lining both sides of the drive. Seems easier than “toilin’ the soil”, while, at the same time, allows me to shed my “city-boy” persona. But, alas, the property is two counties from where I live and I am not familiar with the area’s demographics. By the time I find out enough to make up my mind whether to buy, it will surely be gone. Oh, well…

I will get this train back on the tracks now.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, you want to farm and I can relate to that desire, because…me too! The question is why? How did our society get so foul that you and I, and countless others, want to escape it—by heading to the farm? Here’s my simple computation:

1. 1900…Almost everybody is a farmer...life is good.
2. 1918…WWI ends…War advanced technology…many ex-soldiers do not go back to farming…life is better.
3. 1945…WWII ends…War generates an explosion of technological advance…a huge number of ex-soldiers say good-bye to the farm…life’s possibilities seem boundless.
4. 1953…Korean Conflict ends…continued exodus from the farm…life’s tomorrows seems only brighter.
5. 1968…Vietnam War going badly…MLK killed…blacks, liberals, communists, Jews, hippies, Democrats, etc. create great turmoil in American society as they heat up their demands that the country adopt a subversive, alien ideology that they deceptively call Civil Rights…quality of life definitely takes a down-swing.
6. 2005…poof!

Although there have been some advancement in technology during the last 35 years, it has been nothing like the explosive advances in the 1900-1960 period while we were mostly unfettered by the chains of Civil Rights. During that small window of opportunity, we ravenously went for knowledge, science, and technology, and look at all we achieved.

Imagine what we could do if we could crush the Left’s Civil Rights and establish our own White Rights in its place. Imagine what could be done with all the money we now foolishly waste on failed programs for non-whites. Imagine what we could achieve if white children were no longer victims of a dumb downed school system which cheats them of an education so that coloreds can feel less inferior to whites.

Go to the farm if you feel you must. A man’s gotta do what he thinks is best for his family. But, you know the quality of your life, and the life of your family would be just fine right where you are now if we had this country on our terms, not theirs.

Could be some things are worth fighting for.

Mark said...

WJG,

Reading your responses to the points I made I can tell that you are yearning for a meaningful lifestyle that satisfies. I empathize with this. As I mentioned, I have also thought that getting back to the land was the way to go.

You made many points and it would be clumsy so to respond to them by cutting and pasting your whole post, interspersed with my comments. So I will just make some general comments based on having read your post.

You mention the Amish. I think the Amish are an excellent example of a strong community with an agrarian focus that prosperous and works. That's great. My objections to using the Amish as a model, though, are the following:

(1) There is no modern medical technology in the Amish model. People do want the best possible medical treatment when their loved ones are ill, and the Amish must "leech" this technology off of a society that they would never have created themselves. Same with their need to use phones sometimes or other modern technology.

(2) The Amish are surrounded by the most prosperous, strongest nation in the world. They need make no provision for self-defense at all. They can afford to be pacificists because other Americans do the defending of the homeland for them. A nation full of Amish would be utterly helpless in the face of an invasion from a modern military. In addition, they are surrounded by the oldest existing democracy with protection of civil rights, and a fantastic econonmy that provides a marketplace for their goods. In other words, they have it very, very good and they can afford to live a utopian lifestyle because someone else is doing the heavy lifting of providing defense, advanced medical technology, and so on.

One of my main points is this: that maybe you/we could foreswear modern life, but our enemies will not. Recall how brutal the Japanese empire was. The North Koreans and Chinese are brutal as well. The history of the world is largely the history of invasions, and I don't see this ending. A nation of agragrians in the modern age is not going to be able to defend itself.

My worldview and idea of what is necessary is this: we (white people) need to wake up to racial realities. (This we agree on, I'm sure.) We need to start thinking in terms of white Americans as being our people, and seeking to have a nation for our people and our people alone, like the Icelanders and the Finns (and until recently other Nordic nations) did. And we need to always be at the leading edge of military technology, and that requires being the leading economy.

When I look at the danger white people are facing from the growing minority populations within our countries, and from the ascendant countries in Asia, my prescription is that we should all buckle down and work hard at saving, and learning and improving in our skills. Particularly important are the skills of financial investment and management. The Jews have been a small persecuted minority in Western nations throughout their history but they focus on high-level, macro skills like financial management and the professions and it provides them with tremendous leverage for determining their own destiny. Put bluntly, if whites want to continue to be the strongest race in the world they need to be the most financially powerful.

Many of your comments seem to express a disdain for financial matters or financial careers (like banker) because you feel there is something basically dishonorable about that sort of work. Respectfuully, I think you are ignoring the services that the financial and management people provide that earns their money. People do not pay money for nothing. Bankers make money because they provide the service of taking the risk of losing money they are lending. People who need capital to start or grow businesses go to bankers, who evaluate the riskiness of the loan, and if they give the loan, take the risk it won't be paid back. In return they earn interest. If you eliminate "usury", i.e. interest, then no on will loan money. You might loan a certain amount to a friend or family member, because you are willing to assume the risk out of love or affection. But you will not loan money to a stranger who might have a great idea for a business that could employ thousands and bring important new technologies into the world that benefit everyone.

We apparently use the word "capitalism" to mean different things. The definition of capitalism is: "An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market." The alternative to private ownership (and corporate ownership is a form of private ownership (shareholders) is socialism, and that is a disaster on any level higher than a family or extended family.

But leaving aside arguments about what capitalism is or how selfish business is, my main point would be it doesn't matter whether you like capitalism or not because capitalism is the way a country becomes and stays strong and able to defend itself. The Chinese are starting to concede that their communism was inferior to capitalism for creating wealth and giving them the ability to protect themselves. We must be masters of capitalism, economics, production, and finance if we want to be able to defend ourselves in the long term.

You also suggest that being a rich country leads us to be imperialistic. I think they are two separate things that do not have to be linked. Rather than seek to become poorer as a nation by becoming agrarian in order to avoid the temptations of imperialism, we should seek to master the impulse to be imperialistic. The Swiss are wealthy and are not imperialistic. (Frankly I don't think the US has been imperialist either, except when we took the Phillipines in 1898.) Our goal, I think, should be to be very productive, very prosperous, at the cutting edge of technology, and keeping to ourselves within our borders, and have our nation be white people only.

All of this is not to say that you personally could not adopt an agrarian lifestyle and find it rewarding. You certainly could choose that. But in the coming hard times of the next century with the rise of ever-more-hostile alien populations in our own country, and the rise in power of potentially hostile foreign peoples like the Asians, we as a people are doomed, I think, if we all try to retreat to agrarianism and put our heads in the sand. No offense!

wjg said...

JBB,

Good to have you back. Your points are all good ones. We need to take back our country, or at least the portion of it that ends up being ours.

I don't mean to be suggesting that by contemplating a return to the agrarian lifestyle I am advocating surrender - far from it. I think many of us need to return to what I call productive work, partly for the sheer goodness of it, partly to allow us to weather the storm of our on-going economic slide, and partly to no longer support the rotten system that can only stay afloat because of us.

It is probably the norm that when we hear of someone returning to a simpler life they are giving up on the world. In my case, and for I think most blogging kinists, it is a way to regain true and sustainable dominion.

"Could be some things are worth fighting for."

I completely agree though the fight will be happening on many fronts. A diverse approach will serve us well.

wjg said...

Mark,

It's funny; I've made the same points about the Amish myself and I don't think they are a perfect model. Your points are precisely why I believe there is need for, at least some, government, especially as it relates to defending sovereignty. Still, I think there are many things we can learn from them.

You are using the term capitalism in a much more benign way than I. I see it almost as an antithesis to communism - to play its part in the Marxist progression - than as a natural and desirable system. I don't believe it is fair to say the only economic models are capitalism and socialism. Private property is a good thing; capitalism is a corruption of this good thing. When fiat currency, debt, and usury are added to the natural, free economic order you end up with capitalism. I don't know how to stop it, and it is desirable to socialism, but it is playing a large part in our destruction as I see things. Capitalism is not a friend to nationalism and localism but to internationalism and amalgamation. The New World Order is its socio-economic and political fruit. Up until a year ago I was as praiseworthy of it as you still are.

My 'definition' of capitalism is fuzzy but I think its real meaning vs stated meaning is out of the same word-twisting dictionary as "racism" and "anti-semitism" and "sexism", etc. They all involve doublespeak, and we must be very wary of it.

We approach imperialism differently also. To me imperialism are the acts to create, maintain, and defend empire. Merriam-Webster's definition comports:

"the policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas; broadly : the extension or imposition of power, authority, or influence"

The USA has been an Empire since Lincoln's War. Just because the territories we have placed under our power were not made explicit possessions (e.g. the Phillipines) doesn't absolve us from imperialism. Free Trade resulting in treaties like NAFTA are imperialistic. The native self-sufficiency of places like Mexico have been greatly undermined both lining the pockets of our respective elites and displacing the Mexican peasants and hurling them here. International Capitalism gets a twofer: rape and exploitation of a third world country and the use of its people as peaceful invaders to bring us down.

Your usury/interest point is a good one. It would make it hard to get loans and it would greatly hinder the growth needed to feed capitalism. The hostility to usury is rooted in subordinating ourselves to Biblical authority. It's a tough call both at an individual and societal level.

One of my main reasons in starting my blog was to talk about the decline of the White Race and ways to possibly reverse this trend. We are clearly desirous of the same goal though we differ on possible solutions.

I really think more of our people need to return to primary production of one sort or the other. Without this we will not only be very susceptible to the continued downturn of our paper prosperity but desirous to bring into our midst the very folks who are. This is consistent with an economy strong enough to provide for an effective defensive deterrant.

Once we enter the realm of the latest high-tech super weapons and staying on the cutting edge of this is where a large 'capitalistic' and imperialistic power gains an edge over a republic subordinated to a very tight governing document.

Based on the troubles we currently face, largely imposed from within, I am willing to risk letting it be greatly reduced. Unless our people survive, strong and independent, all the other things don't amount to a hill of beans, as I'm sure you agree.

Let us strive for having complimentary, though often diverse, methods of achieving that end.

Laurel1861 said...

I started to leave a comment for you here, WJG, but realized it was turning into a 4 page blog post, so that's where I put it...over at Natural Consequences, my blog. http://naturalconsequences.blogspot.com/

It's titled "Growing up Semi-Agrarian: the Plusses, the Minuses, and the Goats."

I couldn't but read your original posting here at Fallen Freedom without some pretty funny memories rising up and taking hold of me...better to put them on "paper"!

God bless,
Laurel

wjg said...

Laurel,

I checked out your post and it shows some of the treasures of living a simpler life. BTW, I am partial to goat's milk instead of cow's because it tastes as good and the animals aren't so darned big. Thanks for sharing.

Scrape said...

Too tired to read all the comments, sorry...

I do think the capitalism, or pretty much any other -ism for that matter, is largely incompatible with Scripture. I do think our culture is a house of cards ready to collapse. And, I think concerns like China and India are irrelevant -if- we are pursuing a Godly, Scriptural mode of living... which today's isn't. So, I appluad WGJ.

As an aside, you mentioned woodworking. I'm a budding woodworker myself... I've started building musical instruments, with a vague hope that I can develop the skill sufficiently that maybe someday I can make my living doing such things... maybe...

Anyhow, I noticed you mentioned growing timber, and I figured I'd point out what may be obvious, just in case... producing good lumber out of trees is not a quick proposition. As I understand it, drying the wood sufficiently can take years. (I can't just go out, cut down a tree, and hew a guitar out of it, for example.) Maybe it's not as much a factor for furniture or other wood products, I don't know.

wjg said...

Scrape,

You're right, though I am still early in the learning curve. The lumber has to be dried in a kiln though I don't know for how long; probably depends on a lot of factors, such as type of wood and kiln. Also, growing the trees is a multi-generational proposition. My vision is to try and have enough wooded land that sufficient trees can be harvested to make a living but not so much as to prevent them from being naturally replenished. As new trees grow up in place of the old ones, hopefully it will be my son who is one day harvesting them, and so on.

Best wishes on your endeavors to make musical instruments; it sounds like a great craft to master.

John Brown's body said...

Well, I was just a’molderin’ in that little plot of earth that I fondly refer to as mi casa, groovin’ to Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt Kicker 5, pondering the imponderables, when I got the urge to come up from the underground—been lying low since me and the gang blew it out ‘Ween Nite over here at the o’ Ponderoo-sa. (Whatta bash)—and check on some of the sites I routinely haunt.

So, here I am.

No offense, man, but it’s like a tomb in here.

Here’s a site concerning illegal immigration, from the illegal’s point of view. Check it out. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on it.

http://www.ilw.com/micasa/home.htm

Although the comments are old, it’s still amazing that so many of them think we should ignore their criminality and let them come into the country—just because “wee haf learnd hour lezzon, amigo”.

Oops, gotta run. Some body is callin’ me on my cell bone.

wjg said...

JBB,

A tomb huh? :) After groovin, lying low, and blowing it out who needs the boring old internet. That ain't ebonics now, is it? BTW, who are those that you are groovin to?

Fortunately there are many good bloggers out there (check out my links) so my infrequent posts shouldn't be too much of a drag. I am not a natural writer like the best bloggers seem to be; I have to be prodded a bit. Listening and trying to learn is much more my preference. There are about 20 letters I have started in the recent past that I haven't had enough content or energy to finish.

The whole immigration situation is critical and has been for a while. I don't think I can take reading what a bunch of wetbacks think; it might be worse than reading liberals. Even if we were able to reinstitute a 1920s-style moratorium (very doubtful) it just buys us time. I am not saying it should be ignored, only that it is a symptom, not the disease.

Almost every destructive movement we face points back to the same source. To win any conflict we must be on the offensive and right now we are cowering from this power. Until we take on and defeat this enemy, any other victories will be shallow.

All legitimate channels have been cut off so we are left waiting, venting, preparing, and striking new trails outside the mainstream.

jlh said...

I think the Crypt Kicker 5 are the guys who did the "Monster Mash."