In his “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front”, Wendell Berry names a refreshing approach to our national political theatre:
“So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag . . .”
Not that I’m going to take him seriously, mind you. I mean I still believe all that prosperity gospel stuff from the 70s and 80s. I’m just waiting for the Lord to bless me. It might help if I’d send in my “seed money,” but since all the old time evangelists are gone, I’ll just keep it in case I get the gift myself!
Sometimes I think the economy of our nation is run on nothing more substantial than the raw greed and psycho-spiritual hocus pocus that we have been steeped in for over a generation now. I am convinced our foreign policy is based on it. I have become so flat-out stunned by it that I refuse to listen to the news anymore. It’s all theater. Just so much showmanship to wager for votes from an electorate that is no more ethically astute than the monkeys who are running congress.
Wendell Berry has it right. We need to “Praise ignorance, for what man/has not encountered he has not destroyed.” The way of the fox is a good way to practice right now. Running around in circles, making more tracks than necessary so as not to get caught by the “corporate system” that is trying to pry into our brains and deny us any freedom.
My favorite scene in “Gone with the Wind” is when the impermeable Scarlett O’Hara kneels down in the dirt in her father’s garden and finding very little of comfort in the roots of a dead plant sets her fist in place and slowly raises it to heaven. She gathers up her resolve and declares “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again!”
Now there’s a line it wouldn’t hurt Americans to learn. We may find ourselves in the dismal gardens of our own making during the aftermath of the national default, wishing for something on which to peg our hopes. The tea may even run out. Can we find strength in the ground beneath us?
Wendell Berry again:
“Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.”
I’m sure there are more than a few stock brokers and investors who are dreaming of a different career right now. I’m sure there are more than a few politicians who need to be dreaming of a different career, as theirs is pretty much over, if there is indeed any sanity left.
And the need for joy has never been greater, has it?
Our last quote from Berry:
“Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.”
I envy the people who can do that. What the world needs right now is some joy-filled people who can laugh in spite of the failure of our greatest free economy. Look at what all you still have! Love and life and joy are free! And credit ratings are made by people who gamble too much anyway!
I refuse to be depressed in a time such as this. I think I’ll go to Dollar General and buy something I don’t need, just to disappoint the talking heads.