Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Quote of the Goddamn Day: Wendell Berry

In a society in which nearly everybody is dominated by somebody else's mind or by a disembodied mind, it becomes increasingly difficult to learn the truth about the activities of governments and corporations, about the quality or value of products, or about the health of one's own place and economy.

In such a society, also, our private economies will depend less and less upon the private ownership of real, usable property, and more and more upon property that is institutional and abstract, beyond individual control, such as money, insurance policies, certificates of deposit, stocks, and shares. And as our private economies become more abstract, the mutual, free helps and pleasures of family and community life will be supplanted by a kind of displaced or placeless citizenship and by commerce with impersonal and self-interested suppliers...

Thus, although we are not slaves in name, and cannot be carried to market and sold as somebody else's legal chattels, we are free only within narrow limits. For all our talk about liberation and personal autonomy, there are few choices that we are free to make. What would be the point, for example, if a majority of our people decided to be self-employed?

The great enemy of freedom is the alignment of political power with wealth. This alignment destroys the commonwealth - that is, the natural wealth of localities and the local economies of household, neighborhood, and community - and so destroys democracy, of which the commonwealth is the foundation and practical means.

― Wendell BerryThe Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays


Big Mark 243 said...

It makes me sad to know how accurate he is with his assessment of today's global society... we all have our particular place and we occupy it as best we can... the concept of "freedom" is forever one that is in the abstract, that is to say, and imagined thing that those without material wealth may never know...

...but even in saying that, I cannot help but think of myself as "free"... the choices that I made which has led me to this place very easily could have been choices that put me among the storied 1%... and I do not think that the responsibility of being the subjugator is any less stressful that that of being economically suppressed... to each his own... I feel as free as Warren Buffet... and with that, I will eat my two-for-one Whopper's and chillax..!

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Big Mark,
I think you are really healthy. That's a great way to look at things.