Part 6 of
Allan C. Carlson's
"The Natural Family
Where It Belongs"
(a book review)

Dateline: 15 February 2014

I am reviewing Allan C. Carlson’s new book, The Natural Family Where It Belongs: New Agrarian Essays (Click Here if you would like to begin with Part 1 of this series). 

Chapter 6 of the book is titled Wilhelm Roepke’s Conundrums over the Natural Family, and Chapter 7 is titled Russell Kirk: Northern Agrarian. These chapters serve to introduce each man and his contribution to the political-social-economic discourse.

Wilhelm Roepke (1899-1966) was a German-born, Christian, anti-industrial thinker who understood the importance of property ownership and productive families on the land. Roepke is quoted as follows...

“the industrial worker... can and ought to become at least the proprietor of his own residence and garden... which would provide him with produce from his own land.” This alone would render each family “independent of the tricks of the market with its wage and price complexities and its business fluctuations.”
Indeed, Roepke held an almost religious faith in the transformative power of the private garden. As he wrote, the keeping of a family garden “was not only ‘the purest of human pleasures’ but also offers the indispensable natural foundation for family life and the upbringing of children.”

One of Roepke’s conundrums was a preoccupation with overpopulation; on the one hand, he was an advocate of the natural family while, on the other, he was opposed to big families.

Russell Kirk (1918-1994) was a conservative heavily influenced by Southern agrarian thinking. Here is a quote from Kirk...

To plan effectively the nation’s future we must foster Jeffersonian principles. We must have slow but democratic decisions, sound local government, diffusion of property-owning, taxation as direct as possible, preservation of civil liberties, payment of debts by the generation incurring them... a stable and extensive agriculture... and, above all, stimulation of self-reliance.”

That was written in 1941 and it reflects a true conservative ideaology.

In reading this chapter, I discovered that Russell Kirk was a friend of Richard M. Weaver, another Southern agrarian conservative, and the author of Ideas Have Consequences. Weaver was a deep thinker and a consummate intellectual. His book is one of the hardest I have ever read.

I have made the review of these two chapters brief because neither of them was especially interesting to me (though I found them far more interesting than the one about the Iowa poet, Jay. G. Sigmund). 

There are three chapters left in this book. I hope to read and report on them over the next two days.


Click Here to go to Part 7 of this book review.

1 comment:

Thoughts At My Back Door said...

Mr. Kimball,

You might be interested in Heinrich Pesch's Christian economics.

God bless,

Joshua Mincher