Paul R. Vaughn's "Agrarian" Essays

As I have developed an interest in the subject of agrarianism and
Christian-agrarianism in particular, I have become keenly aware of
the "problem of corporations" and the supporting role they play in
our wayward industrialized culture.

A recent session of Google surfing (something I’m inclined to do
when I get really tired, instead of just going to bed like I should)
brought me to a series of particularly insightful blog essays by
Paul R. Vaughn.

I recommend these to you for your instruction and edification while
I continue to remain in blogging exile for the rest of this month:


Is Walmart Evil?--Part 1: Corporations

In this essay Mr. Vaughn contends that corporations are unbiblical
(and I believe he is correct). He also provides a memorable quote
from R.L.Dabney:

A corporation doesn’t have a soul to damn or a butt to


Is Walmart Evil?--Part 2:Corporations Continued

Is investing in a corporation acceptable for a Christian? Mr.
Vaughn doesn’t think so.


Is Walmart
Evil?--Part 3: Capitalism vs Industrial Capitalism

Mr. Vaughn makes a distinction between capitalism (what he later
calls "true capitalism") and "Industrial capitalism." This is
the first time I have ever heard of such a distinction and I found
myself questioning the terminology....


Is Walmart Evil?--Part 4:
The Fruit of Industrial Capitalism

The great industrial capitalists, Carnegie and Rockefeller, like
Sam Walton, were considered "good Christian men" because they
went to church and gave a measure of their wealth away. But what
was (is) the true fruit of the businesses they established?


Is Walmart Evil?--Part 5: The
Fruit of True Capitalism

In this essay, Mr. Vaughn returns to what he calls, "true
capitalism." At one point, after explaining what "true capitalism"
looks like, he says "By now you’re probably saying, "That sounds
a lot like agrarianism." But then he dismisses agrarianism and
says that what he is speaking of is "true capitalism."

This is where I respectfully disagree with Mr. Vaughn. I do not believe the
antithesis of "industrial capitalism" is "true capitalism." It is
"Christian agrarianism" or "Bilical agrarianism." That which he describes as the ideal alternative to industrial capitalism is surely not
another form of capitalism.

I think Mr. Vaughn may not realize there is such a thing as Biblical agrarianism, and/or his understanding of it is very limited. Or, as is the case with many who start to learn about Biblical agrarianism, they don't want to let go of a terminology they were once led to believe is fundamentally good.

If you were to read through this final essay and insert the term,
"Christian agrarian" for "true capitalism," the essay would be, in my
opinion, far more accurate, exciting, and compelling.

But, no matter what you call it, Mr. Vaughn is so right in his analysis. The fruit of these two economic systemsis clear, as stated at the end of his final essay....


But as a summary, the fruit of industrial capitalism is:

* A work place that removes father and mother from the home.

* A government funded education system that socialises the
children to be good producers for the industries.

* An androgynous society where neither men nor women have
specific roles to play or a purpose to fill--Each are

* Marrieage is not valued or needed, divorce rates soar, abortion,
child abuse and neglect rise.

* Money is the solution for all things and the measuring stick by
which all things are judged

* Reckless giving of great sums of money.

* Great amount of debt and voluntary enslavement.

In contrast, the fruit of true capitalism:

* Properly ordered home and society.

* Divorce rates are low and the family is respected and revered.

* The home is the place of industry and education.

* Biblical order is the measure of success, not money.

* A close community provides for the crisis needs of a family and
brings accountability.

* Land ownership and freedom are the norm.

Imagine what our modern lives might look like if we owed no
money, lived and worked with the ones we love, and enjoyed the
friendship of others who shared our beliefs.


Thank you Paul R. Vaughn for a hard-hitting and thought provoking series of essays.


Carla Lynne said...

WOW, Herrick... there are no coincidences are there?

I read Mr. Vaughn's essays and was moved to write alot about capitalism, consumerism, and how it has been manipulated to serve the large corps. and separates the family. Dearest husband read and I attribute these essays, and some other pertinent writings, to confirming our path to no debt and no mortgage when we purchase our new land.

Did you have a chance to read about what we are about to do on my blog? I have had a TREMENDOUS response... would covet your observations and thoughts, Herrick.

When you have time, of course... ;)

Carla Lynne

Anonymous said...

Great essays! I feel sometimes like mice in the land of the Elephants. Constantly having to watch out being stepped on. The corporations will keep growing, until they blot out the sun. Maybe the rest of us mice can live quietly at the edges, hopefully, tending our faith and families. I have come to hate anything BIG, goverment, corporations, etc. Anything that treats humans as THINGS, or PROFIT, which both do, has become disgusting to me.

Missouri Rev said...

Mr. Vaughn is on the right track with identifying the problem; he now needs to see the solution . . . biblical agrarianism, which is none other than a entire reformation of the culture, beginning with God’s people. Thanks for posting his work. I left a lengthy comment there.

Herrick Kimball said...

Hello Carla,

Wow. What you are doing is remarkable and encouraging and I believe your family will be greatly blessed by the experience.

I look forward tor eading more in the days ahead.

I appreciate your analogy of mice and elephants.

Pastor McConnell-
I am disappointed that, for some reason, your lengthy essay can't be found at Paul Vaughn's blog. Did you save them? Can you post at your blog or here?

Missouri Rev said...

I left a lengthy comment there and after 3 days it was removed, for what reason I do not know. I didn't save it. I have moved on, as we are now in one of the most dangerous phases of our training . . . hillside logging, so I am putting the lion’s share of time I have in to that.

Herrick Kimball said...

Pastor McConnell,

I'm disappointed that I did not get to read your response. But I'm even more disappointed that your comments were removed. Your insight and admonition is always welcome here!

Paul R. Vaughn said...

Tom - Sorry for the delay on approving your post. We have been on a hiatus of late as we transitioned out of corporate america and are closing on our farm in two weeks. ;) One day when there is time to blog again we will tell more of this providential move.

Herrick, thank you for your kind words and your critique. I would like to discuss your comment on Biblical Agrarianism verses what I termed True Capitalism some day. I'll admit I'm not satisfied with the term, but felt that agrarianism carried a connotation of limited creative invention.

I fully recognize the creative inventions it takes to run a farm and the adage about the farmer that can fix any problem with a little bit of bailing wire, I would claim to be true. However, I was thinking more of making use of the Earth's natural resources and using them for good.

There is a natural progression (not to be confused with progressivism) that comes with creating things that will be useful to mankind.

It is only in this regards that I feel agrarianism as a label falls short. It may be my own mis-understanding of what others mean by agrarianism - most of which I think I agree with. But I think there is more to our life than just living simply off the land.

I would be interested to hear your thoughts on where inventions, machines, and the like fit into agrarianism. You have probably already covered it somewhere if you'd direct me to that location I'd be happy to read it for myself.

Thanks again for your encouragement and for the work you do.

- Paul TN