Thursday, October 23, 2014

In Distrust of Movements

Wendell Berry's 2001 essay "In Distrust of Movements" Passed along from the Orion Magazine...

The movements which deal with single issues or single solutions are bound to fail because they cannot control effects while leaving causes in place.

I have had with my friend Wes Jackson a number of useful conversations about the necessity of getting out of movements - even movements that have seemed necessary and dear to us -when they have lapsed into self-righteousness and self betrayal, as movements seem almost invariably to do. People in movements too readily learn to deny to others the rights and privileges they demand for themselves. They too easily become unable to mean their own language, as when a “peace movement” becomes violent. They often become too specialized, as if finally they cannot help taking refuge in the pinhole vision of the institutional intellectuals. They almost always fail to be radical enough, dealing finally in effects rather than causes. Or they deal with single issues or single solutions, as if to assure themselves that they will not be radical enough.

Read the rest here.