When Fr. McNabb published The Catholic Land Movement pamphlet in 1932, I have no doubt he had some inkling that something wicked this way comes. The Luddite riots first established a formal resistance to the inevitable march of technological progress and in many ways, Fr. McNabb picks up that flag once more in the Catholic Land Movement.
While the Luddites feared technological progress would ultimately take their jobs (and in the final outcome they are not wrong – automated robotics have taken over significant portions of the manufacturing process), our modern-day Luddism is founded on a resistance to both the overweening ambitions of globalist corporate oligarchs, combined with increased instances of poor health and autoimmune disease.
Among the middle and upper class, the fear in England at that time was that the disparity between the rich and the poor was so vast that they might have an actual revolution on their hands a la France. To their relief, the Luddite protest, founded on the right to labor (and not be replaced by a machine), was summarily ignored, withered away, and dried up on the vine, only to be justified three hundred years later:
The coming technological bonanza will probably make it feasible to feed and support people even without any effort from their side. But what will keep them occupied and content? One answer might be drugs and computer games. Unnecessary people might spend increasing amounts of time within 3D virtual-reality worlds that would provide them with far more excitement and emotional engagement than the drab reality outside. Yet such a development would deal a mortal blow to the liberal belief in the sacredness of human life and of human experiences. What’s so sacred about useless bums who pass their days devouring artificial experiences?– Yuval Harari, https://ideas.ted.com/the-rise-of-the-useless-class/
As shockingly terrible as that is, however, the Catholic Popes of the 19th century understood that the real specter wasn’t technology, but a rough beast that looked upon society with a “gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,” “its hour come round at last.” Communism would fulfill the terrible promise of godless freemasonry in an awful mockery of Christ’s fulfillment of the Old Testament covenant.
Shortly after the French revolution, communism began to cannibalize what had been a largely bourgeoisie political association. “What may be termed the first international political secret society, the Sublimes Maîtres Parfaits, was founded by Buonarroti, perhaps in 1808. Only Freemasons were admitted to it. The Elect were aware that they were to work for a republican form of government; only the Areopagites knew that the final aim of the society was social egalitarianism, and the means to it the abolition of private property.”
Later documents reveal that their real goal was to “create all the required prerequisites for the triumph of the Communist revolution; this is the obvious aim of Freemasonry; it is clear that all this is done under various pretexts; but they always conceal themselves behind their well-known treble slogan [Liberty, Equality, Fraternity]. You understand?” (254)From the Red Symphony, Transcript in Des Griffin, Fourth Reich of the Rich, p. 254, and online
In 1846, two years before the publication of Marx’s Freemason-commissioned, “Communist Manifesto”, Pius IX solemnly condemned “the infamous doctrine of so-called communism which is absolutely contrary to the natural law itself, and if once adopted would utterly destroy the rights, property and possessions of all men and even society itself” in the encyclical Qui Pluribus. His condemnation of communism was hardly the only one by a pope over the ensuing one hundred years.
The many condemnations of the 19th century were echoed in the 20th by Pius XI who said, No one can be at the same time a sincere Catholic and a true Socialist (Quadragesimo Anno (1931) and ratified by Pius XII in his 1949 Decree Against Communism, excommunicating Catholics who professed Communist doctrine.
For more than a hundred years, the Catholic Church formally fought against Communism and freemasonry, both against infiltrators within and the doctrine without. In that time, concurrent with that fight, was a growing movement of Catholic social action who, by dint of the Church’s teachings on the social kingship of Christ, came to understand that change starts at home – first with ourselves, and then with our families, and from there, in a cascading effect to the entire world.
While the world changed with an unparalleled urgency, innovations in technology coming hard and fast and building on discoveries made only days before, Luddites and Catholics found common cause in demanding sovereignty – the Luddite over the right to earn a living and the Catholic to use those earnings as they privately saw fit. They also found common enemies in both the Communists and the Capitalists, opposite sides of the same ambitious and materialistic coin.
One might assume that such a common cause would mean Catholic social doctrine eschews technology and condemns it as evil, but such is not the case. “All things in moderation,” remains the default of Catholic praxis. Any thing is an evil when it’s evil, and when it’s not, it can be used without detriment to souls. Until the case has been made, there is no reason to eschew any technological pursuit excepting its means or ends is a priori immoral.
Catholics would have to readily admit that technology has afforded the world with phenomenal aids, changing the very fabric of social exchange by changing how we obtain and maintain the needs of our lives. One might argue that the goods provided by technology are without dispute and unequivocal condemnation of technological pursuit is foolish and unreasonable.
Certainly seeing how the wonders of the modern age (i.e. two-day shipping, global supply chain, etc.) have afforded major corporate farm interests with near-global dominance in terms of consumer goods, one might presume there is no reason why it wouldn’t be sunshine and roses. What’s not to like?
The vast majority of the world labors under the belief that the continued artificial interruption of nature to produce synthetic goods for the sake of throw-away consumption is an ideal to be achieved – at the expense of not only those who must service such a system, but also of humanity’s health at large. Good health is something to be addressed after the fact, as opposed to maintained from the beginning for the perpetuity of future generations.
Children start out disadvantaged from birth as mothers, lower-income mothers especially, are encouraged and many times required to use formula that is created using genetically modified soy, canola, and A1 milk. From there the child graduates to consuming grains that, even if they are non-GMO, were forced into artificial ripening using toxic glyphosate sprayed on the fields.
These grains are presented as the optimal caloric majority of a child’s food intake based on outdated USDA food diagrams that invert the true preferred order of consumption based on lobbyists, politicians, and corporate interests. This disproportionate emphasis on grains over greens combined with glyphosate and GMO induced gut issues (including nutrient malabsorption and leaky gut syndrome) has also caused a massive epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, one which is largely unfairly blamed on the lack of restraint and gluttony of the ignorant and poverty-stricken. Is it any wonder that the poor, who are typically ignorant of these dangers and can’t afford the higher costs of eating healthy, rely upon the cheaper, addictive, processed junk?
Developed countries have the hubris to believe that if any one country isn’t taking full advantage of this brave new world of corporate-owned genetically modified food, clearly it’s due to some sort of systemic disadvantage or base ignorance that prevents them from doing so.
In a Sept. 18 article for Nairobi’s independent Nation newspaper, Anthony J. Covington… wrote that “GM crops are potentially wonderful” and accused anti-GM activists of “dazzling the ignorant with pseudoscience and false fears.” He went on: “Africa needs all the food advances it can get—and fast. Not so for a loose association of anti-GM activists from Europe… There are those who feel ill, but not at the idea of a GM meal. It is rather the sight of overfed white people lecturing starving black peasants about the need for ‘proper’ farming.”https://worldpress.org/Africa/737.cfm
The corporations who stand to profit from spreading the ‘good news’ of GMO foods demand through lobbyists and politicians that we insert ourselves into that nation’s business to rectify the situation. They argue that the democratic West not only has the ability to change the world (by dint of their amazing scientific progress, advancements, and infrastructure, entirely eschewing the fact of such a rise is directly attributable to Christianity) but the moral obligation to create it in the vision they see fit.
However, we must admit that modernity in agriculture and global infrastructure is not without its rewards.
There is much to be said for a near-continuous food supply. Modern consumer food production takes advantage of the fact that it’s always a growing season somewhere. Advances in logistics allow us to have fresh produce and processed foods year-round. Farming operations continue to increase in size, even while they are reduced to a handful of megacorporations.
Yet, global interdependence in the food supply chain has also created vulnerabilities that I doubt any of these wise and forward-thinking Cassandra’s of yesteryear, like Chesterton or Fr. McNabb, could even have considered.
Not only have we achieved a new low of reliance and dependence on food being provided for us, with very little of our personal involvement, but our detachment from the process of food production has prohibited us from having to have the skills to produce our own food.
Why is this a problem?
Outside of the fact that our inability to grow our food makes us vulnerable to system failure (cybercrime anyone?), it also means we have less guarantee that what we are consuming is what the label claims or that it is not only safe, but good for us to eat.
Granted, there are a multitude of benefits that come with commercial farming and I have no doubt every commercial farmer will be able to provide you with a laundry list as to why Big Ag is good for humanity but, is it really?
Along with the benefits of commercial farming comes a panoply of problems, the most alarming of which begs the question of whether our modern Big Far ma methods are worth all the purported advantages.
The increase in commercially viable food products results in a concomitant decrease in the diversity of varieties and foods on the market. Lack of diversity in our food creates a more narrow bacterial species portfolio in our microbiome as certain foods cater to certain gut bacteria. Optimal health necessitates catering to a wide diversity of microbial species in the gut as is made clear by study after study.
Lest we give the impression that our concerns are solely of the physical and agricultural order, however, readers should note that the wider implications of moving away from the land have been generally devastating to the cohesion and fabric of society.
As of 2016: 20%+ of people owned their homes in rural areas than in urban, were more likely to live in single-family homes, and had reduced instances of poverty. While those numbers indicate an argument in favor of rural life, it also remains true that since 1964 there’s been a massive 35% increase in single parenthood, fatherlessness, and thus, poverty, the vast majority of which takes place in major cities like “Cleveland and Detroit [which] lead the nation at 75 percent and 71 percent, respectively.”
As the inner cities are leftist strongholds and thus rife with intersectional politics, i.e. nouveau tribalism that stratifies society into a cascading series of victims and victimizers, they end up with communities that tend to be self-ghettoized, antagonistic toward outsiders, mistrustful of all authority figures excepting those who cater to their perceived plight, and inundated with poverty and crime
What is worse, in cities where leftist politicians have been put in positions of power, those cities end up disadvantaging their own citizens and ensuring that their intent to take charge of their lives, their food, and their property is and will remain an exercise in futility.
When Democrats are in control, cities tend to go soft on crime, reward cronies with public funds, establish hostile business environments, heavily tax the most productive citizens and set up fat pensions for their union friends. Simply put, theirs is a Blue State blueprint for disaster.
One might argue that this is a chicken and egg scenario – what came first? The fatherlessness, poverty, and crime or the disconnection from the land? And will a positive action in favor of connecting to the land produce a return of married couples and homeowners as a social norm?
Clearly, favoring reliance on the global consumer goods system is not necessarily causal to social catastrophe, poor health, and the loss of one’s soul, but there can be no doubt that the statistics indicate a correlation to those things in urban environs.
Even though adverse social status brought on by increased instances of single parenthood, etc. are higher in urban areas, the overall increase in both urban and rural environs means that we’ve taken what was typically a problem associated with inner-city living and exported it to almost all parts of society such that the tight-knit, interdependent rural societies of yesteryear are nearly subsumed in a new culture that favors social disconnection, cultural isolation, and a return to the barbaric and cutthroat dog-eat-dog rapaciousness of our pagan forbears.
The necessary interdependence of rural life and agricultural communities demands cooperation and self-sacrifice. And yet, at the same time, this self-same interdependence can only come about through greater independence from commercial farming.
If nothing else, as a matter of practical expediency, both in terms of societal health and individual health, setting aside any appeal to religion as so eloquently expanded on by Fr. McNabb, going back to the land, eschewing dependence on the existing food infrastructure, and learning how to provide for one’s self is the surest way to regain and re-establish our health, our societies, and our souls.
Concerned citizens across the globe have brought some awareness to Big Farma’s deeply problematic approach toward food. A Catholic vision of the farm-to-table movement draws from both Catholics like Fr. McNabb and Fr. Faber and synergistic agriculture practices to create a society that is more resilient, proactive about its health, and more attuned to the wonderful, natural resources God has provided for us. It may not be the panacea for modern ills, but considering the intent and actions of the communist titans arrayed against the world, it’s a foundational start.
Synergy Central FL Homestead is a small homestead run by a patriarchal couple living out the Western Civilization dream: lots of children, a place to put down roots, and every moment of the day guided by the Social Kingship of Christ. They write about the dangers of technology, blog about homesteading, and work to maximize what their small plot can produce using synergistic agriculture practices. Find them at http://www.synergycentralflhomestead.com. Viva Christo Rey!