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March 2012
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The Complete Text of Wendell Berry's Jefferson Lecture: "It All Turns on Affection"

Obviously there is some risk in making affection the pivot of an argument about economy. The charge will be made that affection is an emotion, merely “subjective,” and therefore that all affections are more or less equal: people may have affection for their children and their automobiles, their neighbors and their weapons. But the risk, I think, is only that affection is personal. If it is not personal, it is nothing; we don’t, at least, have to worry about governmental or corporate affection. And one of the endeavors of human cultures, from the beginning, has been to qualify and direct the influence of emotion. The word “affection” and the terms of value that cluster around it—love, care, sympathy, mercy, forbearance, respect, reverence—have histories and meanings that raise the issue of worth. We should, as our culture has warned us over and over again, give our affection to things that are true, just, and beautiful. When we give affection to things that are destructive, we are wrong. A large machine in a large, toxic, eroded cornfield is not, properly speaking, an object or a sign of affection.


Go HERE for the complete text.

On Wendell Berry's Jefferson Lecture

At a time that has followed crises in the global economy, unrest in society, and deterioration in the world's ecosystems, the National Endowment for the Humanities could not have picked a more potent speaker than Wendell Berry for this year's Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities. The essayist, novelist, and poet—a Kentuckian long known for his advocacy for family farming, community relationships, and sustainability—delivered a characteristically eloquent yet scathing critique of the industrial economy and its toll on humanity in his remarks here on Monday.

"The two great aims of industrialism—replacement of people by technology and concentration of wealth into the hands of a small plutocracy—seem close to fulfillment," Mr. Berry said. "At the same time the failures of industrialism have become too great and too dangerous to deny. Corporate industrialism itself has exposed the falsehood that it ever was inevitable or that it ever has given precedence to the common good."



Inside Higher Ed

James Bruggers


Henry County Local

Tom Eblen (

Matthew J. Franck (First Things)

Nathan Schlueter (First Things)

Rod Dreher (American Conservative)

James V. Schall (Crisis Magazine)

Christopher Shannon (Crisis Magazine)

John K. Herr (BREITBART)

On Wendell Berry at the National Cathedral

Speaking at the National Cathedral yesterday, famed environmental writer Wendell Berry delivered a clear message for Earth Day: We have a moral obligation to protect the environment.

Berry, a living legend in the environmental movement, addressed a crowd of nearly 200 faith leaders, community organizers, farmers and environmentalists at the Cathedral yesterday.

“The idea of the intractability of problems is wrong. Don’t get into this with a goal or a schedule. You must do it because it is right – because it is right, or it [your fight] will never last,” said Berry.


Blog Watch: Finding Wendell Berry

I stumbled across professor, writer, and farmer Wendell Berry in my research today. I feel a little ashamed for not hearing of him before, thinking he may be old news for some of you, but I had to share his name and the essays I’ve read to those of you who may not have found him yet either. He has contributed a great amount to the conversation on sustainable agriculture and local economic dependance.


Blog Watch: Wendell Berry and "The stories we tell"

It is fashionable, and unfortunate, that among people interested in living sustainably, having children is often seems as part and parcel with the downfall of everything good.  The usual statistics showing how the average America uses an exorbitant amount of energy and resources per-capita are presented, which I think in a subtle way, denigrates the message of a sustainable life.  It is as though people who are most committed to sustainable living are telling a story that says their children will follow the usual path of leaving home, setting out on their own and will eventually become SUV driving, McMansion dwelling boobs.  The question of who will take the sustainable way of living into the future is not dealt with (in most cases).  This is perhaps what I see as the biggest problem with the Permaculture movement as I understand it (aside from the fact that, like every movement, there seem to be a great many who want to put the “cult” in Permaculture). 


Blog Watch: "Celebrate Earth Day with poet-farmer Wendell Berry"

If I were looking for a patron saint for this blog, Wendell Berry would be a good candidate. He’s a prolific writer of poetry, fiction, and essays and has lived as a small farmer in Kentucky for decades. His essays explore various topics, but all are informed by a Christian spirituality that embraces social justice and a deep-rooted love for the earth.