The Scoop

Landship Foods is inspired by the conviction that growing and eating healthy food is one of the most important things we can do for both ourselves and the broader communities of which we are a part. The name comes from the language of pre-industrial Europe. Before the enclosure movement and the associated rise in notions of private property swept England, the suffix “-ship” (as in "relationship," or "friendship") referred to an object or an abstraction with collective duties and mutual rights. Thus, the term “landship” suggests that land was an entity through which humans were joined to each other by a set of rights and responsibilities. I advocate for a revival of this awareness.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Homegrown Terror

Just a few days ago I was enjoying the brisk and sunny weather on my walk to school when I caught out of the corner of my eye the newspaper headline with that dreaded "T" word: Terror.

This time it was not some "foreign" threat, but a very local one. The article reported that four northeast Georgia men were arrested for manufacturing ricin, a toxic gas, and trying to secure other weapons and poisons. This was, of course, shocking but nearly as unsettling was the fact that these men were all over 60 years old and at least one over 70! Another source pointed out that, as with many other bad decisions, this one was hatched in a Waffle House.

Some of the online chatter about this event portrays it as a kind of hopeless criminal caper: four deranged old farts with too much time on their hands. While one could no doubt make a comical film based on these characters, I can't laugh at the reality. Several of them were militia members and carried a web presence from the days of the state flag controversy. I know they are extremists, but I also know too many other good-ole boys and girls who take the FOX News/libertarian/get-the-government-out-of-my-life/"No New Taxes" line seriously enough that after a couple of months of unemployment they might join the Waffle House gang, or at least elect one of them for city council.

A few blocks after I read the newspaper headline I passed a car with a bumpersticker on it that read in an ornate gothic text, "Secede!" In the corner was a portrait of Robert E. Lee. There were also several other stickers which identified the owner of the new Jeep Grand Cherokee as a wealthy, white college kid from rural Georgia (Bulloch County, to be precise). Why does he want to secede, or even sport such a bumper sticker? Dear reader: This is not a rhetorical question, please send me an e-mail with your thoughts...

I think the UGA undergrad and the Waffle House gang have a common politics rooted in the myth of rugged individualism. National politics is growing increasingly polarized and the right continues to offer the stale rhetoric of "free" market capitalism as the seedbed of deserved prosperity: less government intervention ensures that those who work hard reap "their" rewards. I disagree. There is no such thing as individual success or failure; all outcomes are the result of social relations. As Wendell Berry succinctly argues: There is no such thing as autonomy. There is only responsible and irresponsible dependence.

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