Humanism, properly speaking, is not an abstract system, but a culture, the whole way in which we live, act, think, and feel. It is a kind of imaginatively balanced life lived out in a definite social tradition. And, in the concrete, we believe that this, the genuine humanism, was rooted in the agrarian life . . .
I'LL TAKE MY STAND, The Twelve Southerners
Donald Davidson, poet, essayist, reviewer and historian;John Gould Fletcher, poet and historian;
Henry Blue Kline;Lyle H. Lanier;
Andrew Nelson Lytle, poet, novelist and essayist;Herman Clarence Nixon;Frank Lawrence Owsley, historian;John Crowe Ransom, poet, professor, essayist;Allen Tate, poet;John Donald Wade, biographer and essayist;Robert Penn Warren, poet, novelist, essayist and critic, later first poet laureate of the United States;Stark Young, novelist, drama and literary critic, playwright.
The world today is much too centralized and complicated. Individuals have been marginalized and stripped of their sense of responsibilities, democracy relegated to the most trivial of such an idea. In this modern world of ours, everything is institutionalized, industrialized, and imaginatively colonized by corporations, special interests, and big governments.
In the US, small and medium sized towns are declining; cities are growing and urban sprawls are destroying lands and concentrating man-made problems. The urban employment markets are over-saturated, the industrial sector over-mechanized. Yet, we seem to be more willing to build bigger and better machines than we are willing to build smarter and better communities.
In China, this problem is magnified by the sheer size of their population and the demand for social improvements at the cost of stabilization. The evils that followed China’s impressive industrialization and modern developments are numerous: overproduction, over-pollution, unemployment and growing wealth gap. As more and more Chinese migrate to cities in search of their marginalized hopes for better lives, the Chinese government is beginning to recognize that de-centralization is needed more urgently than they had ever anticipated.
In this context, we find the past not a mythical golden age, but a ruminant of our hope long forgotten. With the issue of slavery behind us and civil rights to some degree achieved, we now revitalized the idea in I’ll Take My Stand—that perhaps an agrarian society is a better option for us and for the world at-large.
An agrarian society is one in which agriculture is the leading vocation, from which all other labor derive their philosophical purpose. To cultivate something, in a sense, should be elevated to the highest of our ontology; and the process of cultivation yields the highest form of our epistemological endeavors.
To grow something, then, becomes the ultimate purpose in an agrarian society; and in our attempt to grow something, a process-type metaphysics takes over the idle existential one—religiosity is replaced by a broader sense of spiritualism, and pursuit of happiness takes on meaning. In the context of I’ll Take My Stand, the culture of nourishing earth becomes a priority; the culture of simply making more gadgets and widgets readily apparent as frivolous; and the culture of democracy—that the responsibility of a society rests with its people and not the separated rich and the powerful—takes shape. . .