The word revolution conjures up scenes of violence and mayhem, but as history has shown us violent and political revolution often leads societies backwards towards the historical reasons for the revolution rather than forwards towards a better, more progressive approach to the original problem. The French revolted, and the original problems of the time still exist today. In America much is the same after the American Revolution. While the ruling class is not longer the British, oligarchy still reigns over this country. This oligarchical control is not governmental, however, but corporate.
Perhaps it is the nature of revolutionary acts to be cyclical? Perhaps it is the nature of human beings that we must make the necessary mistakes, take the necessary shortcuts in order to learn that mistakes only count if we actually do learn from them, or that shortcuts are illusionary? But we must learn from them, and understand that shortcuts are only as good as our reasons for taking them. If revolution in all its forms is cyclical, then the ethical perspective relies upon the intention that instigates the revolution in the first place rather than the consequences of the acts themselves.
It is typically the intention of military revolutions to overthrow a government and the implication of that act is for the revolutionaries to become the governing body. The intention, it can be said, is to govern and thus the cycle is complete. The corporate food industry claims that its’ intention is to feed the world, because (it claims) more traditional methods fail to do so. It has “overthrown” traditional methods and thus the cycle is complete. However, like the military revolutionaries that become dictators, the industrial food complex has become the very problem that is proposed to solve because it has not acted honestly and with the right intentions. Revolution fails if the intentions are not honest, and are not honestly come by.
Consider the reasons behind the corporate food revolution of the 40’s and 50’s: surplus chemicals from the Second World War; the surplus of corn because of technological advances, and the need for the government to create jobs, summed up in the Nixon administration by Earl Butz and his constituents. Food ceased to be a human necessity and became an economic opportunity.
There is Truth in food and it must be the intention of those that revolt to turn from the shortcuts and mistakes made in the name of the almighty dollar and define themselves and their actions by the natural limitations that exist. The comfort of Supermarket shopping and packaged goods and the ease of “just add water; makes it own sauce” mentalities must change and will change. The question is how? Will these changes come at our intentional beckoning or will they come in the form of catastrophic damages as a result of fuzzy thinking, lazy attitudes, greed and avarice?
The present food revolution leads us towards a place that we have visited before: the agrarian lifestyle, but we can only hope that unlike the military and political revolutions, we are the prodigal sons realizing our mistakes and hopefully learning from the corporate shortcuts that we have chosen to follow. The food revolution is ironically progressive, ironic because it forces us to realize that the sustainable lifestyles lead to greater happiness because they are natural, not in lieu of being natural. We must revolt, but we must do so quietly, concertedly and with the right intention. But, most of all we must do so honestly.