Intolerant Catholic

“In the world it is called Tolerance, but in hell it is called Despair, the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die.” --Dorothy Sayres

Friday, October 06, 2006

Kansas et al.

Over on Rod Dreher's blog, there was recently an interesting discussion around an article in the NY Times. The article basically chronicles the death of a small town in Kansas. I posted what I thought was a good comment, and I'm duplicating it here on account of I'm so wonderfully humble.

The basic problem in Kansas is that commercial agriculture has become de-humanizing. Working hard is one thing, spend every waking moment in the fields is quite another. A modern commercial farmer needs to harvest a thousand, or 5000 acres to make his equipment payments, and to buy fuel, synthetic fetilizers, weed killers, bug killers, and genetically modified seed.

And of course, that means that the farms are huge and other people are far away. The village as an institution has already died in this country, replaced by pre-fab migrant labor housing. The towns are on their way out, because the pressure to increase the size of the farm is always there.

And when the old man dies, what will become of the land? Most likely leased out to ADM, or ConAgra to be farmed by hirelings. Very few individuals have the kind of cash or credit it would take to buy enough land to get started.

I do have a suggestion to reverse the trend though. Bust the farm up into 40-100 acre parcels. Sell them cheap to people (there are plenty of them) who want to farm using organic/sustainable or even horse-powered methods. Instead of one family on that thousand-acre parcel, there'll be 10 or 20. The work will be on a human scale, and there will be a place for a people-person like Travis.

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