Hard to imagine that this is the 90th post here at Farmingthedream.com. Seems like just yesterday that I started writing here.
I finished The Great Debate the other day, it was an excellent book. It gave me a great deal of insight into the foundations of Classical Liberal theory particularly the right and left wings of it.
As Mr. Levin discussed the motivations of Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine he made an interesting note on Mr. Burke’s ideas, among the most inherent and necessary principles of Conservatism is its relation to history.
Mr. Burke viewed society as a network of relationships through history. Each generation has a duty to respect the previous generation, and to prepare for the next. Our lives are not individual units in history, though some may think of it in that way. We are links in a chain throughout history, binding us to our ancestors and our descendents.
Our forefathers provided us with the world we entered, it has its flaws and errors, but also a great many benefits. History’s great purpose it to provide us with lessons in what has worked and failed, it grants us a look at the lives into great men and women who made this world a better place, and those who wished to twist it into their image.
We must look at this history in an frank light, not everyone did the right thing. Often they made mistakes. It is imperative to see these mistakes and learn from them.
Here in America we have been blessed with a great legacy from our Founding Fathers. They created a government as near to perfect as it was for man to make, yet is has its flaws. Our responsibility with this inheritance is to improve it as best we can.
Today people live for themselves, they rebel against the past and neglect the future. This faulty thinking will leave this generation degenerate and destitute, bequeathing an inheritance of debt, disease, and ill character to those that follow.
Agriculture is an excellent example of this. Generations of farmers working the land as their fathers before them, for their children who will come after. However, this chain to the earth is often broken. Many children of farmers abandon the legacy of their parents and try selling the land as fast as possible. Not everyone is suited to an agrarian life, but it should not be rejected with disdain.
It is encouraging to see new generations of farmers taking up the legacy from the past, reviving the ideas of the Jeffersonian Agrarian Intellectual. These valiant souls, though not always from a farming background, endeavor to pick up the broken links and learn from the farmers before them.
History should never be forgotten, because as we see often, “Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” Moreover, I recently read an interesting quote by John of Salisbury that made me think.
Bernard of Chartres used to compare us to [puny] dwarfs perched on the shoulders of giants. He pointed out that we see more and farther than our predecessors, not because we have keener vision or greater height, but because we are lifted up and borne aloft on their gigantic stature.
To kick off my phrases for 2015, this week, I’m standing on the shoulders of Giants.