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Love and Democracy

Love and Democracy

(p.128) 7 Love and Democracy
Agrarianism and the Good Society
Eric T. Freyfogle
University Press of Kentucky

This chapter uses Wendell Berry's 2000 Novel Jayber Crow, to describe the challenges involved in living ethically within a small agrarian community. As responsible members of the community, Jayber Crow and his neighbors strive to comply with the tenets of Christianity, especially the admonition to love all their neighbors. But because of their high regard for individual freedom, they were unable to organize themselves against the threat of bad land use. In the end, the novel implicitly claims that the key to moral growth is to love one another. However, a strong and effective democracy should have better enabled the community to deal with the tradeoffs between individual autonomy and secure social bonds. As the same attitude continues to exist in real-world landscapes, there is evidently a need for thoughtful citizen-leaders who can identify a sound path ahead and help move people down it.

Keywords:   agrarian community, community membership, Christianity, individual freedom, democracy, land use

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