Back to the Shire: From English Village to Global Village and Back Again - Intercollegiate Studies Institute: Think. Live Free.

Back to the Shire: From English Village to Global Village and Back Again

ARTHUR W. HUNT III is Assistant Professor of Communications at the University of Tennessee at Martin. He is currently working on a book titled Surviving Technopolis: Finding Balance in Our New Manmade Environments.

Another wave of Middle-earth lore is
coming our way as Hollywood prepares
to offer up the first installment of The
Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien’s prequel to The
Lord of the Rings. As with the Ring trilogy,
the story of The Hobbit is anchored in the
Shire, a place where “peace and quiet and
good-tilled earth” are held out as ideals of
the good life.

We are attracted to the Shire for the
same reasons we are drawn to those little
window-lit figurine buildings resting on
a bed of cotton snow that are displayed
in Wal-Mart during the Christmas season.
The Kinkadesque homes, churches,
and stores remind us of a time lost, a time
when, perhaps, people were happier and
rooted to something more permanent. Few
of us make the connection between the
big-box store we are standing in and the
disappearance of what the display in Wal-Mart signifies. But, in truth, one smashed
the other. The big global village ate the
little local village.

Strictly speaking, a shire is any county
belonging to Great Britain. However, if
we define it as Tolkien idealized it, then
the Shire is a community of people dependent
upon each other and on the land that
contains it, striving to live in a continual
state of harmony and peace with nature
and nature’s God.

Loss-of-community grievers like me
sometimes wonder if it is possible to reclaim
the Shire. The subject is difficult because
what all progressives loath—and we are all
progressives now—is any suggestion that
we ought to “go back” to something older,
slower, and simpler. Visions of toil, premature
death, and loss of hard-won freedoms
dance in the head so that the conversation
never gets beyond, “What do you mean
more of us should grow our own food?”

I am not Amish, but Presbyterian, and
I am not suggesting we return to the days
of slavery, travel by horseback, or surgery
without anesthesia. I am just wondering if
there is a place within the American Dream
where agrarians and New Urbanists can
carve out an alternative way of living that
is not as artificial and volatile as what we
have now, which continues to swell up and
engulf our lives.

Despite all its obvious shortcomings, at
least pre-industrial society possessed a cer
tain ecology of life where family, church, and
community were interwoven. But these
old identity-forming institutions have been
dismantled under the shadow of technological
society, a low-humming Machine that
recognizes no common good but the values
of a marketplace gone hyper-consumer.

I am compelled to agree with the
French social theorist Jacques Ellul, who
said that “we have forgotten our collective
ends . . . . In this terrible dance of
means which have been unleashed, no one
knows where we are going, the aim of life
has been forgotten, the end has been left
behind. Man has set out at tremendous
speed—to go nowhere.”1

Shire living existed for thousands of
years and is not exclusively Christian.
Thomas Jefferson idealized it, as did
Cicero. Christianity, however, brings
unique elements to it. Tolkien’s Shire is
a Christian culture to be sure, although
vaguely so because his story is non-allegorical.
Nevertheless, he sheathes his
Christian metaphysics in a world similar
to our own.

Middle-earth is the world before the
assembly line, electricity, modern advertising,
and social planning. So we might
say Tolkien’s habitation of hobbits is based
on a pre-industrial English village. He
even claimed as much, saying that Bag
End was patterned after the Worcestershire
countryside.2

In the early seventeenth century, threefourths
of England lived in or close to a
country village. A typical Elizabethan
community was composed of about seventy
families, each averaging four or five members.
3 These were close-knit social units,
bound by common beliefs and behavior.

Despite any disagreements the Puritans
had with the Church of England, they
still considered themselves English and
therefore carried over with them the laws
and customs of the mother country. Early
colonial towns were actually transplants of
medieval-like villages, with the primary
difference being that the settlers were not
tenants, but land owners who had pledged
themselves to a covenanted corporation.

Once the Massachusetts Bay Company
was up and running, entire congregations
made the voyage across the Atlantic to form
townships, each averaging about thirty-five
square miles. Most New England towns
consisted of a central church building, a
town hall, a school, and a village green.
Radiating from the hub were the homes,
and farther out, the farms and common pasture
lands. These towns observed agreedupon
limits and stopped granting lots once
an optimum size was reached.

The citizens of the Puritan communal
system made a conscious attempt to build
the most perfect society they could possibly
arrange for themselves. They possessed a
postmillennial eschatology that gave them
reason to be optimistic about their community-building endeavors; they were,
after all, going to help usher in the Kingdom
of God. We who are accustomed to
pluralism wonder why the Puritans could
not have developed some kind of theory of
toleration. What we fail to understand is
that all peasant utopias, the medieval norm,
were closed societies, whether Catholic or
Calvinist.4

By the time Jonathan Edwards had
established himself in Northampton, Massachusetts,
four generations removed from
the landing of the Mayflower, the capitalist
market revolution was making itself known
in the American hinterlands. Edwards did
not care for how the new free-wheeling
economics based on self-regulation was
affecting his congregants. He noted how
community members were increasingly
motivated by individual interests and personal
ambition rather than the common
good. Liberal capitalism had the potential
to bring out the worst in human nature,
and he therefore preferred price regulation
by magistrates.5 He saw the new economic
order, as he did almost everything, as a
moral issue.

By the mid-eighteenth century, the
Puritan experiment of community building
had come to an end. After a century,
many original townships had reached
their population limits. The young and
restless were compelled to move on to
unsettled areas.6 The Great Awakening
undercut the authority of the pastors and
elders who had been the stewards of wisdom
and truth. “I won’t worship a wig!”
complained a Northampton youth brought
before a church discipline committee.7 He
was referring to what was on Edward’s
head. The little episode foreshadowed the
removal of the minister as a primary arbiter
of truth in Western society. The Awakening
enlarged the notion of religious liberty
and eventually infused itself with New
England politics where a younger generation,
the New Lights, saw individual freedom
as a desirable quality for a new nation.
On the eve of the Revolution it could easily
be said that the Puritan had become a
Yankee.

It is an interesting coincidence of history
that The Wealth of Nations was published
in the same year as the Declaration
of Independence. Adam Smith’s treatise
challenged the old mercantile system,
claiming it was outdated and needed to
be replaced by a “more perfect liberty” in
which state-sponsored restrictions on trade
were removed. America, sitting there,
largely unexplored and unexploited, added
impetus to Smith’s argument. In effect,
Smith wanted to shift the economic locus
from the nation to the world.

Rational calculation, standardization,
and specialization—the accepted tools of
science—were now applied to economics
as a controlling technique. If the correct
technique were applied, a factory could
produce 48,000 pins a day through the
division of labor. As Ellul points out in The
Technological Society, the Industrial Revolution
would have never occurred, were it
not for this kind of technical invention.8
Due to the socio-political upheavals created
by the Renaissance, the Reformation,
and the swelling Enlightenment, Europe
was much more malleable than it had been
two centuries earlier. England and France
led the way in new methods of agriculture
and commerce that reduced the small
landowner and the yeoman to proletarians,
or eliminated them altogether, forcing
them to move to urban areas to work in a
factory. Thus, the new market revolution
sucked the life out of the peasant village.9

What the South wanted to preserve in
the Civil War was not so much the institution
of slavery (less than 5 percent of
Southern whites owned slaves),10 but an
agrarian way of life that was threatened by
the Industrial Revolution.11 An agrarian
is someone who identifies with a spot of
ground, wrote John Crowe Ransom in I’ll
Take My Stand. A person finds it natural
to think upon, explore, respect, and love
a spot of ground, and one cannot do this
with a “turn over” or a “natural resource”
or “pile of money.”12 In the humble opinion
of the Fugitive-Agrarians—and it was
a humble opinion—industrialism dehumanized
life.

The “Southern tradition” was actually
the “English tradition” before the
economic tumults of the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries swept them both
away. The principal question the twelve
Southerners were addressing centered on
whether the South would permit the new
economic order completely to eradicate
its customs, landscape, and philosophy of
life. These arts included dress, conversation,
manners, the table, the hunt, politics,
oratory, and the pulpit.13 These were not
the arts of escape, says Ransom, but of liv
ing; they were also arts the entire community
could enjoy, not just one particular
class. The Fugitive-Agrarians saw empty
promises in the rhetoric of progress. What
they feared was societal deformity brought
on by a vicious cycle of material pursuit.
Industrialism brutalized and hurried
nature’s design. It transformed cities into
large artificial habitations, giving a false
sense of exercising power over the natural
world; nature would become lost in artifi-ciality; all mystery would be drained out
of it. If everyone became a consumer, then
the notions of vocation and leisure would
have to be redefined. Religion would have
to be redefined as well, because sacredness
is determined by a correct view of nature.

The Tennessee town in which I was
born now marks its city limits with signs
that read: Clarksville: Gateway to the New
South. If by this, city planners mean “free
of racial prejudice,” then I am happy for it.
But I think the planners are saying something
else. What I think they mean by
“New South” is non-agrarian, corporatefriendly,
and economically progressive.
Like so many Southern towns, Clarksville’s
farm-based economy slipped away
just after World War II, never to return.
Although I am glad Southerners remain
a friendly, well-mannered lot, what the
Fugitive-Agrarians warned us about has
come to pass. Industrialism and its successor,
globalism, has rolled over us.

During the summer of 2006 my wife and
I made a road trip from Clarksville to Pensacola
for my daughter’s wedding. Joining
us was my oldest sister, who allowed us to
pack the bed of her pickup truck with my
daughter’s belongings. Several years previously,
my sister made what she considered
to be a rational decision never to drive on
the interstate system again, believing there
were now too many eighteen-wheelers
on these roads, and the chances of getting
crushed to death by one of them was statistically
probable, especially if under an
inevitable panic attack. So we determined
to take the local highways and enjoy the
countryside, even if what was normally an
eight-hour trip ended up lasting fourteen
hours.

We were pleased to find some expected
beautiful interludes of scenery spread out
between the towns and traffic lights, but I
was disappointed when traveling through
the city of Huntsville, Alabama, a place
I had visited some forty years before as a
child. We should have taken the interstate.
I have been told there are attractive places
in Huntsville, but I did not see any. What
I saw were miles of asphalt, billboards, box
buildings, business signs, cars, communication
towers, convenience stores, electric
wires, gas stations, McDonald’s golden
arches, metal buildings, overpasses, Pizza
Huts, telephone poles, traffic lights, traffic signs, traffic, trucks, underpasses, and
Wal-Marts. It was as if the city planners of
Huntsville had sat down and asked themselves,
“O. K., how ugly can we make this
place?”

In the past a community was considered
to be an embodiment of its values. What,
then, does our current landscape suggest
about our belief system? We cannot love
or care about places that possess so little
beauty. Tolkien described Mordor as a vast
wasteland: “Here nothing lived, not even
the leprous growths that feed on rottenness.
The gasping pools were choked with ash
and crawling muds, sickly white and grey,
as if the mountains had vomited the filth of
their entrails upon the lands about.”14 The
subtext of the Ring trilogy is obviously
about the violation of the earth, and the
culmination of the story is the scouring of
the Shire. When the hobbits return from
their quest they find the Shire ravished by
the Sharkeys of the world: “‘This is worse
than Mordor!’ said Sam. ‘Much worse in
a way. It comes home to you, as they say;
because it is home, and you remember it
before it was all ruined.’ “15

When this band of brothers returned to
the Shire they were shocked by what they
saw—thugs running things, smokestacks,
displaced hobbits, ruined gardens, and ugly
houses. The veterans of Mordor immediately
rolled up their sleeves and went to
work restoring their community.

When the Greatest Generation returned
from the European and Pacific theaters,
they also rolled up their sleeves. But unlike
Sam and company, the veterans of World
War II applied their newfound courage
and skills to erecting bigger factories, displacing
more people, and building an even
more powerful economic dynamo of mass
consumption. The assembly lines of guns,
tanks, and planes were simply replaced
with assembly lines of cars, dishwashers,
and television sets. There was nothing
malicious about ratcheting up the economy
a notch or two. The goal was to make our
lives more comfortable. After all, this was
progress.

And what American wants to argue
with progress? Perhaps a better question
would be, what American can argue with
progress? The fl y in the ointment of classical
economic theory is moral neutrality,
which prevents us from questioning
its excesses. Actually, classical economics
is not totally neutral because it favors
utilitarian individualism, as Tocqueville
quickly perceived. So, it is just understood
by everyone that one does not question the
values of bigger, faster, and more.

The era of Reagan represented a mindsplit.
On one hand, it was determined
that laissez-faire economics should have
its sovereign way, and, on the other hand,
it was determined that something should
be done to win back what was lost during
the tumultuous Sixties and Seventies.
But few adherents of the Moral Majority
ever stopped to consider how the first front
(unbridled consumerism) squelched the
second one (traditional morality).

Ann Coulter once blurted out, “God
gave us the earth. We have dominion
over the plants, the animals, trees. God
said, ‘Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it.
It’s yours.’ “16 Tolkien would have been
repulsed by such an assertion. What is odd
is that the sentiment comes from a political
“conservative.” Coulter fails to see any
incompatibility between unbridled consumerism
and traditional morality. For this
reason, her outlook is thoroughly liberal
rather than conservative. Radical individualism
is now established doctrine for both
political parties. Democrats do not want
anyone limiting the use of their genitals;
Republicans do not want anyone limiting
the use of their wallets. Self-restraint, community
building, and passing on a heritage
to our children get little play on either side
of the political aisle.

Bigger and faster and more are insuffi-cient values upon which to build a community.
And yet these are the major tenets
of technological society. There exists an
older, deeper conservatism that has already
forcefully criticized modernity. One of
our best tools to evaluate technological
society comes from the Christian humanist
tradition. Progressive liberals should heed
the warning of C. S. Lewis’s The Abolition of
Man that the conquest of nature could easily
become nature’s conquest of man: that
when the old task of transferring wisdom
from one generation to the other ceases—
only to be replaced by a manipulation
of humanity by those who have the raw
power to do it—the purpose of man has
been abandoned.17

T. S. Eliot was essentially making the
same warning in The Waste Land. His
poem looks to the past and not the future
for solutions to modernity’s bareness. The
poet was saying, “Nothing holy can exist
here. Civilization is not progressing; to the
contrary, it is sliding.” In the Waste Land
we see desolation:

What are the roots that clutch, what
branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? (11. 19–
20)

Futility:

“What is that noise now? What is the
wind doing?”
Nothing again nothing. (11. 119–
20)

Despair:

I see crowds of people, walking
round in a ring. (1. 56)

Tolkien was making the same warning.
Technological society is the black fist jutting
up from the hollowed plain of Isengard
where no green thing grows. It is Mordor,
that “vast fortress, armoury, prison, furnace
of great power . . . which suffered
no rival, and laughed at flattery, biding its
time, secure in its pride and immeasurable
strength.”

Tolkien was appalled at industrialism,
but now industrialism has taken on a red
hue as we slide into what Marshall McLuhan
called a universal consciousness where
everybody is connected to everybody.
Some celebrate this interconnectedness;
others exploit it for profit. When Thomas
Friedman says in The World is Flat, “If it can
be digitized, it can be outsourced,”18 I am
reminded of Wendell Berry’s quip: “Global
thinkers have been and will be dangerous
people.”19 Friedman is a celebrant of change
and this is why he tells his readers that a flat
world is “inevitable and unavoidable.”20 Is
this not the voice of the Dark Lord?

In a 2004 interview with Newsweek, Sergey
Brin, cofounder of Google, remarked,
“Certainly if you had all the world’s information
directly attached to your brain, or
an artificial brain, you’d be better off.”21
Brin’s comment is not unlike the cold line
of The Borg of Star Trek fame, blurted just
before it puts your brain in an electronic
vise-grip: Resistance is futile. The Borg cube
comes at you at Warp 10 speed, hell-bent
on sticking a nanoprobe under your skin,
rewriting your DNA, and transforming
your organs into machine parts. They
are not interested in a truce. They will
not smoke the peace pipe. They will not
be happy (if they can be happy) until you
and everybody else have been assimilated.
And once that is done, once the silicon
tube is jutting out of your neck into your
new skull mask, you have not only lost
your soul, but you are working for them.
“They took everything I was,” Picard tells
his brother after being borged, “They used
me to kill and to destroy and I couldn’t
stop them.” When one of the founders of
Google says we would be better off if the
entire world’s information was attached
directly to our brains, then the times they
are a-changin’.

I am not so naive as to suggest that we
can recapture an idyllic agrarian past. For
one thing, I am not sure an idyllic agrarian
past ever existed, even in Bag End.
Pre-industrial villages were not miseryfree.
Back-breaking toil, early death, and
the plague could be found in Old World
communities. What agrarians and New
Urbanists want are alternatives to the
depressing monoculture that is now wrapping
its tentacles around the globe. Our
current economic crisis should make us
pause and ask if there is something inherently
wrong with the excesses associated
with modern capitalism. There has got to
be a better way.

One might think that agrarians would
be suspicious of the word “urban.” But
both movements share a disdain for what is
bland, artificial, and hideous. Both movements
are deliberate in their attempts to
resist the Machine and, conversely, to create
something more organic, sustainable,
and livable. Agrarians and New Urbanists
understand that there is a correlation
between what a culture makes and what
that culture becomes—this is a spiritual
truth for them. A more beautiful and livable
infrastructure is not the cure-all for spiritual
impoverishment, but ugly human creations
are certainly a symptom of it, and building
better places to live is one important part of
restoring family, church, and community.
These institutions are not thriving now, and
I doubt if they could thrive in a Matrix-like
existence, which is where technological
society seems to be heading.

So imagine, if you will, a very small
town (a polis of about 1,000 people), as
opposed to what used to be a neighborhood,
where you walk to church, school,
and the grocery store. Only, it is not called
a grocery store, but a community market
with locally grown foodstuffs. (The polis
is not zoned for Wal-Mart or McDonald’s.)
The items in the market were not raised
on an industrial farm 2,000 miles away, or
overseas, but on a family farm or the Commons
close to where you live. What you
call the “city” is twenty-five miles as the
crow flies, and urbanites take the rail on
weekends to hike, bike, fish, or purchase
produce at the market. Your husband takes
the same rail to work two days a week.
You have solar panels on the roof and a
wood-burning stove next to the kitchen.
The stove is heated by timber fuel harvested
on a hillside within the Commons.
When you look out the window you can
see your oldest child milking Betsy. He
wants to work at the Commons this summer
with his friends. “Everybody’s doing
it,” he says. The middle child is building
a tree house in the apple orchard with the
kid next door. The youngest is trying to
catch a chicken in the backyard. The dog
is barking. Not all the neighbors have as
many animals, but every year some new
species seems to get added to the eight-acre
spread. Your husband walks through the
backdoor with a cut of roses in one hand
and a bucket of asparagus in the other. You
stop him at the threshold. “Why don’t we
take the kids to Hub Hall tonight? Cousin
Thaddeus is playing in the Bluegrass band,
and I hear they’re really good.” Grandma,
who is standing at the stove stirring a pot
of soup, turns her head and says, “I want
to go, too!” For someone who is 102 years
old, she still has lots of energy.

We might call this a new agrarian vision
for the twenty-first century, and maybe
centuries to come. Idyllic? Somewhat.
Attainable? Perhaps. Needed? Absolutely.
The Shire represents permanence, a sense
of place, and harmony with nature. Mordor
is endless and reckless growth in the
name of “progress.” The agrarian vision is
more than nostalgic longing; it is the antidote
to what ails the earth, and to some
extent what ails our souls. The antithesis
to this vision is George Jetson rotating
round and round on his treadmill outside
the Skypad Apartments shouting, “Jane,
stop this crazy thing!”

Returning to the Shire is a necessity
for three reasons. First, our current way of
doing agriculture is vulnerable to acts of
terrorism. For that matter, any far-flung,
fossil-fuel dependent economy is vulnerable.
Localized economies are less so, which
is why the best homeland security begins
with the home and its immediate surroundings.
Second, Mordor is not sustainable. It
will eventually collapse upon itself. The
possibility of an ecological meltdown is
real. We are past the time when an economist
can make a forecast and not consider
soil erosion, water and air pollution,
deforestation, and global warming. Third,
the materialist paradigm of consumerism
is spiritually impoverished. Most of us
are oblivious to this malady, but we cannot
deny our increased sense of unhappiness
and despair, what Søren Kierkegaard
referred to as a feeling of dread, of being
utterly overwhelmed.

As to the attainability of the new agrarian
vision, several obstacles are standing
in its way. First among these are the
large corporations. The question really
boils down to this: Who is going to have
control over the land? Will it be the giant
psychopaths who have shown a pattern of
abuse and disdain for local things, or will it
be men and women who naturally care for
the land because they live on it, work it,
and love it? We need legal incentives that
would allow for the resettling of farm land
by many owners and users, not just the
few. To go one step further, there needs
to be a constitutional presumption that
favors families, communities, and local
regions over the corporation, a condition
that might only be achieved through stripping
corporations of their “real person”
status. Economic policies that favor largescale
production, long-distance distribution,
and environment-wrecking practices
need to be reversed so that small once again
becomes a beautiful word. E. F. Schumacher
eloquently contended that what we
need is an economic framework designed
for small business and the little person.22

Being green is now fashionable, and
there seems to be a promising conversation
about eco-friendly technologies. The
new agrarian vision is not anti-technology.
Such a stance is the equivalent of being, as
Neil Postman put it, anti-food.23 All technologies
are extensions of our bodies, and
therefore appropriate scale and ecological
impact become the yardstick of technological
wisdom. The use of energy-efficient,
renewable, decentralized, technologies like
solar and wind power become the standard
within the new agrarian vision.

A major obstacle that prevents us from
returning to the Shire is the doctrine of
inevitability, which says you cannot go
back; you cannot stop progress. We must
answer that life would not be worthwhile
if we had no choice in the matter. If we say
it cannot be done, if we corner ourselves
into impotence, then it is all over. Man has
been abolished, and the shadow of Mordor
has prevailed.

Finally, a return to the Shire is futile
if a deliberate sacramentalism does not
accompany it. Such a sacramentalism must
include an understanding of what people
are for and the recognition of a divine
moral order. A healthy metaphysic that
acknowledges words like “sin” and “greed”
and “idolatry” serves to restrain utilitarian
individualism run afoul.

The remarkable virtues of Frodo and
Sam are courage and fortitude, and these
are the virtues needed to take back the
Shire. But we must imagine it first and see
the necessity of it. The odds are daunting,
the hour is late, but the stakes are too high
to do nothing.

NOTES

  1. Jacques Ellul, The Presence of the Kingdom, trans. Olive
    Wyon (New York: The Seabury Press, 1967), 63, 69.

  2. See Humphrey Carpenter, Tolkien: A Biography (Boston:
    Houghton Mifflin, 1977), 176.

  3. Francis J. Bremer, The
    Puritan Experiment: New England Society from Bradford to
    Edwards (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1976), 172.

  4. See
    Kenneth A. Lockridge, A New England Town: The First
    Hundred Years (New York: W. W. Norton & Company,
    1985), 19.

  5. See George Marsden, Jonathan Edwards: A Life
    (New Haven, CT & London: Yale University Press, 2003),
    303–4. See also Ian H. Murray, Jonathan Edwards: A New
    Biography (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1987),
    85–86 for Edwards’s view of the changes in Northampton
    under an increasing free-market economy.

  6. This pattern is
    documented in Richard L. Bushman, From Puritan to Yankee:
    Character and the Social Order in Connecticut, 1690–
    1765 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1967).

  7. See Marsden’s account of the “young folks’ Bible” case
    in Jonathan Edwards, 298–302.

  8. See Jacques Ellul, The
    Technological Society, trans. Robert K. Merton (New York:
    Alfred A. Knopf, 1967), 43.

  9. Ibid., 57–58.
  10. John Hope
    Franklin and Alfred A. Moss Jr., From Slavery to Freedom,
    7th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1994), 123, cited
    in James Webb, Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped
    America (New York: Broadway Books, 2004), 212.

  11. See
    Frank Lawrence Owsley, “The Irrepressible Conflict,” in
    I’ll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition,
    ed. Lewis P. Simpson (Baton Rouge, LA & London: Louisiana
    State University, 1980), 87.

  12. John Crowe Ransom,
    “Reconstructed but Unregenerate,” in I’ll Take My Stand,
    19–20.

  13. Ibid., 12.
  14. J. R. R. Tolkien, The Two Towers
    (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1954), 617.

  15. J. R. R. Tolkien, The Return of the King (New York:
    Houghton Mifflin Company, 1955), 994.

  16. Ann Coulter,
    “Th e Wisdom of Ann Coulter,” The Washington Monthly
    Online, October 2001, at www.washingtonmonthly.com/
    features/2001/0111.coulterwisdom.html.

  17. See C. S.
    Lewis, The Abolition of Man (New York: The Macmillian
    Company, 1947), 87–88.

  18. Th omas L. Friedman, The
    World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century:
    Updated and Expanded (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux,
    2006), 15. To Friedman’s credit, it should be noted
    that he has recently restrained his optimism about a flat
    world, calling for America to lead in a “green revolution”
    in his new book Hot, Flat, and Crowded.

  19. Wendell Berry,
    “Out of Your Car, Off Your Horse,” Sex, Economy, Freedom
    & Community: Eight Essays (New York and San Francisco:
    Pantheon Books, 1993), 19.

  20. Friedman, The World is
    Flat, 49.

  21. Quoted in Nicholas Carr, “Is Google Making
    Us Stoopid?: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains,”
    The Atlantic, July/August 2008, 63.

  22. See E. F. Schumacher,
    Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered: 25
    Years Later (Point Roberts, WA: Hartley & Marks Publishers,
    1999).

  23. Neil Postman, Building a Bridge to the 18th
    Century: How the Past Can Improve Our Future (New York:
    Vintage, 2000), 44.

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