In his speech, “It All Turns on Affection,” environmental activist and writer Wendell Berry draws attention to our turning away from the land, and by extension, each other. At his argument’s core, he posits that if we care for our land—that is, if we serve as loyal caretakers—then we ought to care what becomes of it as well. Berry means this mostly in an environmental sense—particularly as it applies to the demise of the family farm—but the sentiment can be extended to other situations. For instance, if “affection” for a place ensures that we care for that place, does a lack of affection imply that we won’t? Though it’s clear that the mob in Duluth had little care for the lives of men, were they equally careless toward their land? Did they fail to recognize the reputation that would linger as a result of their actions, a scourge that—for nearly a hundred years now—have left men like me staring helplessly into the water?
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