Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community by Wendall Berry

In lieu of ordering the latest collection of Berry's essays, I decided I ought rather to read the signed collection I've owned for 10 years without reading. Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community was published in 1993, and I bought it in 1999 when Mr. Berry came to UVA to speak. At least once since then, I have picked it up but paid it little heed. Now that I am finally reading it (and annotating, agreeing with, and admiring it), I can say with confidence that I am only just now really ready to hear what he had to say back then. And even though the essays are dated (which prove him to be incredibly sagacious if not actually prophetic), they are so relevant still today. The first essay/foreward, "The Joy of Sales Resistance," is written in the form of a letter to the reader and had me laughing out loud and nodding vigorously in agreement. I love this comment, which falls under the heading of the political package "Preservation of Human Resources":
See that the schools are run as ideal orphanages or, as ideal jails. Provide preschool and pre-preschool. Also postschool. Keep the children in institutions and away from home as much as possible - remember that their parents wanted children only because other people have them, and are much too busy to raise them. (xv-xvi)

In the first chapter, "Conservation and Local Economy," I loved this closing:
I acknowledge that to advocate such reforms is to advocate a kind of secession - not a secession of armed violence but a quiet secession by which people find the practical means and the strength of spirit to remove themselves from an economy that is exploiting them and destroying their homeland. (17-18)

No surprise that I loved his chapter entitled "Peaceableness Toward Enemies." My favorite is:
War always encourages a patriotism that means not love of country but unquestioning obedience to power. Freedom, of course, requires diversity of opinion. It not only tolerates political dissent but encourages and depends on it. (76-77)

That's enough for today. Will post tomorrow after I finish the final essay.

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