Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Simple Life

"More than others, you live in permanent contact with nature: in material contact, by the fact that your life is passed in places as yet far removed from the excesses of an artificial civilization and is also wholly directed towards producing from the soil, under the beneficent rays of our Heavenly Father's sun, the abundant riches that his loving hand has hidden therein; in contact that is profoundly social also, because your families are not only communities of consumers but, more especially, communities of producers. From the fact that your life work is so profoundly and at the same time so generally and completely based upon the family, and therefore so fully in conformity with the order of nature, arises the economic strength and, in critical times, the capacity for resistance, with which you are endowed, and also your oft-demonstrated importance in the development of justice and order, public as well as private, throughout the whole people. Finally, the stability of your family life is the reason of the indispensable function you are called upon to exercise as the fount and bulwark of unsullied moral and religious life, as well as the reservoir of men, healthy in mind and body, for all the professions, for the Church and for the State." - Pope Pius XII, speaking to Italian farmers

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Splendid Vision

"The splendid vision of wedded love, granted by God to the heart of youth, seems but divine mockery when met by town conditions, which make the begetting of a family seem a crime against the State.
It is to the credit of our sober days that amongst the most sober fugitives from that proximate occasion of sin called “the modern town” are to be found young men and women whose heart is stirring with the self-sacrificial desires of wedlock and parenthood.
It is in these aspirants to wedded vows that poor prodigal, man, turns from the squalor of a stye and the company of swine to a home furnished and adorned with husband and wife, parent and child.
In that holy place of human love, room and need will be found for the parent, now become the grandfather or grandmother. How ill-organised is a world that has no other place than an “Institution,” a Workhouse, for the wisdom of the old. But what a school of human and divine love, and therefore of wisdom that springs from love, is a Home made possible and safe by the Homestead. Modern seekers after the true method of education will seek in vain until they recognise the wisdom in the phrase once uttered by a woman of the crowd: “I had nothing but home-schooling.” Yet the home-schooling now almost absent from town life is so fundamental that, in another phrase of a Priest of God: “Political Economy is the child of Domestic Economy.” This only says, in language of the Schools, that God has made the Family to be the unit and model of the State, and that the greatest praise of Sovereign Power is to call the wielder of that power the “Father of his People.”

- Fr Vincent McNabb

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Manufacturing Needs

"In order for industrialism to take root, and for it to have its intended impact on the lives of rural Americans, an intensive period of colonization and brainwashing was necessary. Remember, by 1909 the rise of “super cities” was well on its way. The island of Manhattan had a population of over 2 million in 1909; more than it has today. Eastern population centers were bursting at the seams with workers who needed jobs because they no longer provided for themselves. There was capital and there was labor...what was needed was consumers.

Have you ever thought of the word “needy”? Jesus said that man only needed sustenance (food,water) and clothing – which by logical extension includes shelter – but “needy”? It was the urban masses, the bankers, and the industrial elite who were “needy”. They needed suckers (consumers) to buy things they didn't yet know they needed. After all, what is it to be “poor”? Isn't it not to have the things you need? How then do you make people want things they don't need? If the American “peasant” only bought the things he needed (food and raiment), what would happen to the millions who were piled on top of one another in the cities? How do you sell people who have all that they “need” a new lifestyle of consumption?

It's actually quite easy. You tell them they are “poor” and that they are missing out on the good life that they deserve.

Why be poor when you can have the good life? Advertising agencies would be enlisted to vividly portray the ease and comfort of the good life, and of course, anything short of the good life = poverty.

My grandmother's generation was even then being taught that they were poor and “backwards” and bereft of all “the good things in life”, and that the only solution to their newly understood condition was to fully embrace the onrushing of a new and Great Society – the home of the good life. A couple of generations before her people had lived much the same way that she did; but none of her ancestors would likely have considered themselves to be poor. My mother and aunts and uncles told me they had no idea they were poor...until they were exposed to the rest of the “world” through the burgeoning media, radio, magazines, television, and travel.

In the Bible, the “poor” were widows, orphans, and those who because of some infirmity or affliction were forced to beg for food. In other words, if you were not begging bread, you were not poor! No one working the land and with food and raiment considered themselves to be poor. The concept of someone being poor just because they did not have all of the most modern conveniences would have been strange. The word “poor” didn't come into its modern usage until the Industrial Revolution – by way of advertising, marketing, merchandising, and consumerism. It was a marketing ploy, a rhetorical button. It was all about engendering rampant covetousness and the burgeoning consumerist mentality. In the early 20th century, everyone who lived without electricity and without the newest modern time-saving conveniences (which is to say everyone who lived exactly like their parents and ancestors had lived) was to be convinced by the advertisers and the marketers of the new order and by the public educators and prophets of the Industrial religion that they were the pitiful poor. According to the new thinking, everyone was poor except the very rich, and everyone was inundated with mass advertising and with cultural and social pressure that they should want more than anything else not to be considered poor. Upward mobility was the new hallmark of success, and financial condition was measured solely by how assimilated a person or family had become with the new consumer world, and within that society or mindset there was no other more objective way to measure one's spiritual or physical condition. Either you had electricity, or you did not; either you had running water, or you did not; either you had an automobile and refrigerator, or you did not. It was unthinkable that someone would not embrace and rush out to purchase these things...unless they were (gasp!) poor. The poor were to be pitied and not admired. No one would choose to deny their flesh such “necessary” toys, that is, nobody except someone who is crazy. It was understandable if you did not have the latest gadgets, but it did mean that you were poor. The only possible excuses for simple living was either poverty or insanity. If you did not choose to be without gadgets, you were poor. If you chose to be without them, you were backwards. This became the new thinking, and it does not take long for “new thinking” to become common, and for common thinking to become gospel. Your parents think the way they do because their parents were made to think that way. It all rolls downhill."

- Surviving Off Off-Grid, Michael Bunker

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gardening like Eden

The full movie may be found here:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Area Recon

This weekend we visited an area that we are considering as a potential location for the homestead: Springfield KY. The whole region is strongly Catholic, and it is within a few minutes drive of Gethsemani Abbey, St Catharine College, St Rose Priory, St Martin de Porres Lay Dominican Community, as well as many parishes. The town is tiny, about five blocks long down one main street, and surround by beautiful rolling hills and farmland with lush pastures and clear streams. 

Valley Farmland

Owain enjoying the tractors at work

Eve running off to explore

                                                       Gethsemani Abbey from the hilltop

We were very impressed by what we saw in the area and we will be continuing to research that particular area, among others, as we seek to discern where God would have us settle and build.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Warfare Against Our Own Nation

"America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father's role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts -- a child -- as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters" 
And, in granting this unconscionable power, it has exposed many women to unjust and selfish demands from their husbands or other sexual partners. Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being's entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be declared to be contingent, on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or a sovereign."  -- Mother Teresa

Friday, August 12, 2011

Economic Plan for America

"But if the productive activity of the multitude can be stimulated by the hope of acquiring some property in land, it will gradually come to pass that, with the difference between extreme wealth and extreme penury removed, one class will become neighbor to the other. Moreover, there will surely be a greater abundance of the things which the earth produces. For when men know that they are working on that which belongs to them, they work with far greater eagerness and diligence. Nay, in a word, they learn to love the land cultivated by their own hands, whence they look not only for food but for some measure of abundance for themselves and their dependents. All can see how much this willing eagerness contributes to an abundance of produce and the wealth of a nation. Hence, in the third place, will flow the benefit that men can easily be kept from leaving the country in which they have been born and bred; for they would not exchange their native country for a foreign land if their native country furnished them sufficient means of living."  - Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum