The Wrong Drummer

It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigour. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

I must confess a hidden predilection for the agrarian ideal and more specifically, a nostalgia for the simple virtue of America’s rural past. While I imagine much of the lore describing this time paints a much rosier experience than was actually the case, there is something to be said in favor of the rural life and its attendant wholesomeness and naturalness.

It’s hard nowadays to identify exactly where our moral security as a nation rests. The many institutions that claim to safeguard us from degeneracy and corruption seem incapable of keeping the sacred fire alive, especially as they grow in size, wealth and power. From whence comes our help?

Time marches on and now more than nine-tenths of our population lives in urban cities as compared to one-tenth in Jefferson’s time. The industrial and information ages ushered in an era of unparalleled change in the way we work, live and relate to one another. As spellbinding as the last century-and-a-half has been, the jury is still out on the net effect of this so-called progress. Has it benefited humanity or merely perpetuated its march to the wrong drummer?

This morning I have more questions than answers. If my experience holds true, however, the ability to articulate the question is the first step to getting into position to receive the answer.

Maybe you have some thoughts?

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8 Responses to The Wrong Drummer

  1. Rebecca Ledet says:

    There is something about the agrarian life that tends to inspire a certain solidness, practicality and appreciation for life. In the urban environment, it is quite different, where often a certain “groundedness” in life is lacking. I’m not sure if either is the answer, but I agree that the “manner and spirit of a people” defines our society. I’m sure there are ways that this can be engendered in any environment, but from personal experience, growing up in a rural environment had quite a positive effect on my life.

  2. Coco says:

    I saw an American Experience PBS on the Amish people. They have embraced the Jeffersonian ideal of maintaining an agrarian society in spite of the “progress” that has swiftly surrounded and sometimes threatened their lifestyle. It was interesting to see how they’ve managed to sustain themselves but the one thing that stood out to me was their ability to face each hurdle as it tested their faith as well. Every new idea such as mandatory public education had to be met in court or in the court of public opinion. All of a sudden the way they lived, which used to be like everyone else, was considered illegal and they were prosecuted by the law for it. The courage and intelligence it took to meet each of these obstacles is worthy of respect. Our present homeschooling trend had the way paved by their bravery in the 1950’s.
    Their ability to forgive, not dealing in vengeance individually and as a group was sorely tested when 10 of their children were shot, killing 5 while in school. The commentator said their entire life was one of surrender to God so they were in the habit of not playing God not trying to usurp his authority, trusting him as ever to do his part and judgement was his.
    I’m not suggesting that their faith is the answer. I’m saying their way of life has maintained some habits such as family, work ethic, patience, forgiveness that have greatly benefitted humanity.
    Sometimes I think it’s perfect to have questions with no immediate answers it keeps me curious and open. Thanks for your post.

  3. Beth C says:

    Perhaps one very basic result of the move from the rural to the urban lifestyle is that people become divorced from and ignorant of their basic food and water supplies. It doesn’t take much imagination to foresee the many implications in this for health, financial enterprise, or political power. The antidote, it would seem to me, is simple yet profound in implication- personal responsibility in the choices we make every day. Thanks for introducing this subject.

  4. Vincent says:

    It is curious how concentrations of people tend to produce so many unexpected oddities – isolation, crime, physhosis of various sorts, not to mention the systematic depletion of resources. It surely does raise questions, at least, and one would hope the questions are asked not just of ‘society’ but of ourselves as individuals too.

    Do these larger societal tendencies point to individual choices? Are there ways to live within these concentrated situations that allows for some real regeneration and wholesomeness to appear? I would say yes, but what I say probably matters less than what I do!

  5. Colin says:

    I think part of the problem is that people feel that they are too important for morality or that the rules should not apply to them. I believe this stems (at least at the origin) from a lack of internal control where people have the self-discipline to do the right thing no matter what is going on around them. At least in the agrarian society, while this internal control may still have been missing, there was always the external check of nature to put people in their place. It didn’t matter how tough you thought you were, a cold winter could humble you. In the city (and even the country) nowadays this is missing, and the government has tried to take over this control as people still are not showing internal control. The problem with this is that the government is made up of people with the same issues as everyone else! You can’t have an external control unless it is impartial, and even an impartial external control is still a brutal solution compared to an internal self-control that has the potential to be graceful.

  6. I appreciate your blog which gives representation of the right drummer. If ever a question is to be asked is how can we hear and beat to the right drummer consistently through our days and life.

  7. Reyes says:

    ”Manners and spirit ”excuse me,selfishness and the almighty dollar have replaced the afore mentioned.For decade’s their has been a degeneracy, an unseen decline into an abiss of materialism. Were all about. ”me myself and i.”Simplicity has been overtaken by the provocative,agrarian,the ”sweet by and by”It’s to easy to say oh! ”those good old day’s”.The jury will be back in court soon,and we will be found “WANTING”

  8. Joshua says:

    I daresay that an Almighty cosmic plan is underway, and the apparent acceleration and proliferation of unparalleled change that has occurred globally is a wisely calculated part of that plan. Through trusting our inherent intelligence within, we each have the privilege and opportunity, through our day to day lives to share in the wise contribution to the victory. It would seem a tipping point is about to be reached, and a glorious day it will be when it all comes crashing down, certainly for the ones who have taken advantage of the opportunity present here and now.

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