Archive for January, 2010

Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties

Last winter I bought a copy of the book Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties by Carol Deppe. I’ve been going to write a review for quite a while but have been putting it off for some reason. Its long overdue so I’ll get it done now.

This book is probably the most important garden book published in the last decade. I don’t say such things lightly. We have seen a great deal of interest lately in growing food. Many people that read this blog have, over the past couple of years, made great strides in weaning themselves off the store shelves and turning their homes into productive places that can feed themselves. Covenantal agrarians should not stop here. Producing food is wonderful, but there is more to husbandry than mere cultivation. Praise God, there is a renewed interest in seed saving. As important as preserving the genetic material of heirloom varieties is, producing the heirloom varieties of the future is even more important. This book gives us the tools to accomplish that task. Deppe is an educated lady with plenty of “letters after her name”, but she is not your typical scientist. First she recognizes that husbandry is as much an art as it is science, she appreciates the work of small time breeders and doesn’t have the typical elitist attitude that some in the “science” community have. Second, she teaches the science you need to know in a way that resembles a conversation between two farmers over a barbed wire fence. When Deppe teaches genetics, she does so by teaching its practical application. I have taken a few genetics classes in my day and I learned more from this book than all the classroom hours combined! I really enjoyed the time she spent telling the stories of some of varieties and their breeders, such as Glen Drowns and his wonderful Blacktail Mt watermelon. This book has more practical information and experience between its covers than all the other books that share its shelf. Multigenerational agrarians with an optimistic eschatology and a vision for the future will read this book and get excited.

Advertisements

Allan Carlson, The Servile World

Came across another fine article by Allan Carlson called SERVILE WORLD:HOW THE BUSINESS GOVERNMENT,THE LOATHSOME THING CALLED SOCIAL SERVICE AND OTHER DISTRIBUTIST NIGHTMARES ALL CAME TRUE”. There is a lot of good stuff here even if I might not agree with every jot and tittle of his proposed solutions. One thing that stands out is just how wrong thinking in “left/right paradigm” or the “capitalist/communist paradigm” is. This I think is one of the major stumbling blocks for the masses in having any understanding of what is at the core of the economic crisis. The Money Power is just as happy to use the communist system as they are to darwinistic capitalism. As Carlson points out…

The winner in all this, of course, will be the Servile State: Hilaire Belloc’s label for a system where monopoly capitalists, financiers, and government bureaucrats merge into an entity practicing state capitalism. Under its terms the capitalists and bankers gain order and protection of their wealth and property while property-less workers receive welfare benefits specifically tied to their wage labor, such as unemployment insurance, which provides security but also confirms their servile status. Indeed, Belloc offered the odd warning that this system would tend toward a form of compulsory labor, a modern version of slavery. For his part, Chesterton called this arrangement a “Business Government” which, he says, “will combine everything that is bad in all the plans for a better world…. There will be nothing left but a loathsome thing called Social Service.”

and…

This is the Servile State. The model of Business Government – not Capitalism nor Communism, nor Socialism, nor Fascism – this model won the great ideological contest of the 20th Century. We also see this victorious system in contemporary Russia, where “Mafia capitalism” and state-favored oil and gas companies have grown among former KGB agents and their ilk, to create a class proudly self-labelled “the oligarchs.” Meanwhile, a crude welfare state inherited from the Communist time keeps the Russian masses alive… and propertyless.

Journey to China, and there you find still another iteration of the Servile State. Western corporations have moved their production lines to the Peoples’ Republic, where an authoritarian regime – a reliable Business Government – keeps the laborers cheap, docile, and strike free. Indeed, in 2002, the Communist Party of China actually invited capitalists to join its ranks, cementing another kind of partnership. Neither Belloc nor Chesterton would have been surprised over this merger of Capitalism and Communism, finding it the predictable consequence of a common materialistic world-view.

Did Christ Condone Usury?

Over the years I’ve had many conversations with fellow Christians about usury. When people find out that I believe the charging of interest is a sin, most folks demand an explanation. I explain my position, spending a good deal of time in the Old Testament. Without fail, the person I am speaking with smiles and says, “now Scott, you make a good argument except you fail to explain why Jesus condones usury in the parable of the talents. My response is simply that Jesus did not condone usury but condemned it! Lets look at the text in Luke 19 verses 21-23.

For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’

And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, [you] wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow.

Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’

You see that the wicked servant was “Judged out of his own mouth”. He is saying “look if I’m a wicked austere man who reaps where I do not sow, why did you not put my money out at interest Just Like The Wicked Do”. You see Christ is hardly condoning usury but rather condemning it as sin, just as the rest of the Bible dose!

The notes on Mathew 25:27 from the Geneva Bible are very telling.

Bankers who have their shops or tables set up abroad, where they lend money at interest. Usury or loaning money at interest is strictly forbidden by the Bible, (Exo_22:25-27; Deu_23:19-20). Even a rate as low as one per cent interest was disallowed, (Neh_5:11). This servant had already told two lies. First he said the master was an austere or harsh man. This is a lie for the Lord is merciful and gracious. Next he called his master a thief because he reaped where he did not sow. Finally the master said to him sarcastically why did you not add insult to injury and loan the money out at interest so you could call your master a “usurer” too! If the servant had done this, his master would have been responsible for his servant’s actions and guilty of usury.

I wish the modern church would get up the guts to address this issue. I’m not holding my breath. After most of my usury conversations the person walks off like the rich young ruler, sad because of all the money he has drawing interest. One in ten cares enough to act on the Truth.