Agrarianism and the Good Society: Land, Culture, Conflict, by Eric T. Freyfogle

By Eric T. Freyfogle

Each society expresses its basic values and hopes within the methods it inhabits its landscapes. during this literate and wide-ranging exploration, Eric T. Freyfogle increases tricky questions about America's center values whereas illuminating the social origins of city sprawl, dwindling flora and fauna habitats, and over-engineered rivers. those and different land-use crises, he contends, come up often as a result of cultural attitudes that made experience at the American frontier yet now threaten the land's ecological cloth. To help and maintain fit groups, profound alterations might be required. Freyfogle's seek leads him down strange paths. He probes Charles Frazier's novel chilly Mountain for insights at the therapeutic strength of nature and exams the knowledge in Wendell Berry's fiction. He demanding situations newshounds writing approximately environmental matters to get past well-worn rhetoric and clarify the real offerings that american citizens face. In an imaginary task commercial, he concerns a decision for a countrywide environmental chief, picking out the abilities and information required, being attentive to cultural hindrances, and looking out seriously at intended allies. interpreting contemporary federal elections, he principally blames the conservation reason and its inattention to cultural concerns for the lowered prestige of our environment as a decisive factor. Agrarianism and the great Society identifies the social, old, political, and cultural stumbling blocks to people' concord with nature and advocates a brand new orientation, person who starts with fit land and that higher displays our utter dependence on it. In all, Agrarianism and the great Society deals a severe but hopeful advisor for cultural swap, crucial for someone drawn to the advantages and inventive chances of accountable land use.

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That being so, who could decide which species were valuable and to what degree? The Progressive Era conservation movement was premised on the notion that humans could manage lands to maximize the long-term yield of useful life forms. But what happened when the line between the useful and the useless blurred or disappeared? Some species obviously had direct value for people. As for the rest, who was to say? Leopold for one believed he could not. What he did know was that the whole of nature was important and that this natural whole could be more or less healthy in its functioning.

The land provided clues on what humans should value and how they should live. Good land use required careful attention to the peculiarities of a given place. That attentiveness could arise only within a person who loved the land and felt attached to its many inhabitants. These conclusions and related ones, Leopold believed, formed an integrated set of values and understandings. Together they gave structure to a land-based culture tailored to place and thus likely to last. As it gave rise to new values, wilderness also provided a means of promoting them.

3–5. 26. , 18. 27. , 26. 28. , 110. 29. , 117–19. 30. , 178. 31. Aldo Leopold, “Wilderness as a Form of Land Use,” 1925, in River of the Mother of God, 135. 32. Leopold, Sand County Almanac, 112–13. 33. , 200. 3  THE EDUCATION OF ADA It is early one morning, August 1864, in the mountains of western North Carolina. Ada Monroe has risen and sits on her house porch. The life she has known has wound down and come to a halt. Kinless and nearly friendless, alone and immobile, she has no idea what to do.

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