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The Mad Farmer

The Luddite tradition that Wendell Berry hails so eloquently is the same, he insists, that caused the men of 76 to break from Britain. It is the Jeffersonian Democratic tradition that was partly destroyed (in both the North and the South) by the War Between the States, and almost wholly wrecked by the one-world fantasies of men like Woodrow Wilson, and the centralizing notions of men like Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In his latest book, Berry proves that the tradition, though too often ignored today, is alive and well. He has been farming and writing in his native Henry County, Kentucky, for 30 years now. He has experienced the glitz of cosmopolitanism at Stanford and New York University, yet he prefers the hills overlooking the Kentucky River to the fashionable academic scene. He prefers his community of Port Royal to virtual communities on the information superhighway. Foremost, Berry prefers truth to the drivel fed to us every day by the purveyors of popular culture.

Berry begins Another Turn of the Crank with a strike against rampant globalism. In "Farming and the Global Economy," he reminds us that "the whole population of the world cannot live on imported food." Since World War II, local farming communities have been systematically annihilated, their populations moved to urban centers. The start of this, Berry notes, was the switch from solar energy to an almost complete reliance on fossil fuels. Farmers...

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