Citizenship Papers

Citizenship Papers

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by Wendell Berry
     
 

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There are those in America today who seem to feel we must audition for our citizenship, with "Patriot" offered as the badge for those found narrowly worthy. Let this book stand as Wendell Berry's application, for he is one of those faithful, devoted critics envisioned by the Founding Fathers to be the life's blood and very future of the nation they imagined. Adams,…  See more details below

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There are those in America today who seem to feel we must audition for our citizenship, with "Patriot" offered as the badge for those found narrowly worthy. Let this book stand as Wendell Berry's application, for he is one of those faithful, devoted critics envisioned by the Founding Fathers to be the life's blood and very future of the nation they imagined. Adams, Jefferson, and Madison would have found great clarity in his prose and great hope in his vision. And today's readers will be moved and encouraged by his anger and his refusal to surrender in the face of desperate odds. Books get written for all sorts of reasons, and this book was written out of necessity. Citizenship Papers, a collection of 19 essays, is a ringing call of alarm to a nation standing on the brink of global catastrophe.

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Cagey uses of the essay as a town meeting to air threats to the commonweal. Our times are uneasy, Berry (Jayber Crow, 2000, etc.) states; critical elements of the American democratic tradition are being lifted wholesale from the foundation and carted away in broad daylight. A case in point is our new national-security policy, which "depends on the acquiescence of a public kept fearful and ignorant, subject to manipulation by the executive power, and on the compliance of an intimidated and office-dependent legislature." That ignorance will spell our doom, as will the "selfishness, wastefulness, and greed that we have legitimized here as economic virtues." Berry doesn't flinch when exhorting us to meet "the responsibility to be as intelligent, principled, and practical as we can be." His agrarian argument, which he has been making and remaking for decades, requires the recognition of our dependence on and responsibility to nature, and the concomitant responsibility for human culture. Likewise, Berry champions human-scale projects and an intimate knowledge of-not to mention reverence and gratitude for-our landscapes. "Consumers who understand their economy," he contends, "will not tolerate the destruction of the local soil or ecosystem or watershed as a cost of production." His refusal to abandon the local for the global, to sacrifice neighborliness, community integrity, and economic diversity for access to Wal-Mart, has never seemed more appealing, nor his questions of personal accountability more powerful. Where did the meat on our plates come from? Under what conditions were the clothes we're wearing made? Does biotechnology make sense considering the unforeseeable consequences? Mostblistering of all: "How many deaths of other people's children by bombing or starvation are we willing to accept in order that we may be free, affluent, and (supposedly) 'at peace'?" A clangor of worries, offering the antidotes of civility, responsibility, curiosity, skill, kindness, and an awareness of the homeplace.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781593760007
Publisher:
Counterpoint Press
Publication date:
07/28/2003
Edition description:
Essays
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
6.28(w) x 9.26(h) x 0.85(d)

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Citizenship Papers 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Especially thought-provoking in this period of American history where most of us seem to have forgotten our inheritance. Should be required reading for all politicians and citizens who care about being involved in the democratic process. Wendell Berry is a beacon in this dark time!
Guest More than 1 year ago
ONE CANNOT DICARD THE IMPORTANCE OF SUCH GREAT WRITING AS DONE HERE. THE GREATNESS OF A WRITER SHOULD BE BASED ON LOOKING AT ISSUES DISPOSSIONATELY NOT ON SHORT TERM EMOTIONAL FEELINGS.THIS WRITER CONTINUES TO DEMONSTRATE GREATNESS IN THE WAY HE HANDLED OUR CURRENT DIFFICULTIES IN THE WORLD.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author showed great insight into the future of our shaky democracy. A clear departure from the current dangerous and irresponsible display of patriotism