Poppy Michael, my grandfather, with his Jersey bull calves and cart on the far right, barefoot at 10 years old in 1933 in West Virginia. They chose to leave the farm for the city just a few years later. We've managed to get back, thank God.
As a teacher who has been cursed with a good deal of historical knowledge–both academic and practical–I am always marvelling at the inability of people born in recent generations to understand anything about the world before the 1900s. Industrialization offered traditional, “normal” families the opportunity to trade in their lands, skills, knowledge, family traditions and cultural backgrounds for cash and in the early 1900s just about everyone was buying.
My own family made the jump around 1940, when my great-grandfather (far left in picture below) chose to leave their farm in West Virginia and move his family to New Brunswick, NJ for factory work. The thought of this move torments me. Had they only had the opportunity to read the warnings of Cato, the Roman philosopher who warned men of this tempting decision:
“It is true that to obtain money by trade is sometimes more profitable, were it not so hazardous; and likewise money-lending, if it were as honourable… But when our ancestors would praise a worthy man their praise took this form: “He is a good farmer”. One so praised was thought to have received the
greatest commendation. The trader I consider to be an energetic man, and one bent on making money; but, as I said above, it is a dangerous career and one subject to disaster. On the other hand, it is from among the farmers that the bravest men and sturdiest men come, their calling is most highly respected, their livelihood is most assured and is looked on with the least hostility, and those who are engaged in that pursuit are least inclined to be disaffected.”
That has been known to be the truth since the beginning of history. The problem is that few know history. Anyway, great-grandpa was by no means the only one buying into the promises of the Wizard of Oz. The yellow brick road to the city promised to bring them something wonderful “over the rainbow”. Of course, 75 years later, we see the fraud of it all. 7,000+ years of farm-based culture and 2,000 years of farm-based CHRISTIAN culture have unraveled and now those who chose the city are voting for socialism. One well-known personality called this “the greatest generation” in history. I beg to differ. I’d call it the most terribly duped generation in history.
Men gave up farms that have produced 30, 60, 100 fold since the beginning of time. They preferred to throw themselves into the hands of men rather than remain in the hands of God. They were lured away from true wealth by the promise of less work and more leisure. Today, the cry is of unemployment among the millions of landless men packed into the cities and suburbs, while the farms are managed by GPS-driven combines that require no help.
I beileve (hope) that wise men will be working to turn back their family history and get back to the farms. Our children’s future is not in our hands if we remain in the cities and suburbs, but we can give our children a stable future if we can give them a farm. As Cato said, “this calling is most highly respected, and this livelihood most assured.”
What, then, are we doing in the cities? Need we more evidence that it is so? Cowper said, “God made the country, man made the town.” Where would we rather raise our children? Where would we rather live? Where would we rather die?