When talking to people, especially older people who sometimes don’t understand why anyone would want to “go back” to raising and slaughtering your own meat, growing your own food and working your own land, they often point out that they are “fine” eating the modern products and processed foods of our current world. They are right, of course; at least sometimes, or partially.
But the real point is lost on them; the point is not just the healthy aspect, but also the moral aspect. We humans have somehow lost the necessary respect that life deserves and demands. It is not just for health reasons that we till our own gardens and raise and slaughter our own meat. It is healthier and better (lacking the additives and antibiotics) but is most certainly a more moral choice (respect for life and the living): a better choice.
A respect for life is the cornerstone of the agrarian lifestyle. This does not preclude, but does not necessarily include, a religious adoration of life, but it is a necessary moral choice that does much to define who we are at the end of the day. People that were raised on farms eighty years ago seem to remember the drudgery and forget the community. They seem to remember the hardships and forget the rewards. I’m not sure why and perhaps I will too at some point, but I hope not.
The irony of talking to older people who have had such “lifestyles” is that they seem to look upon the new crop of self-sufficient people as being a bit spoiled, but I would argue that the new farmers of old ideas are not spoiled, but curious and willing to do the work. Although many people will fail at these new old endeavors (because the physicality and harshness of the work have not changed) there are many who have found solace and education in pursuing “non-progressive” ways of life.
I think that when an honest lifestyle is dismissed so easily by others that it is because those that dismiss it have never really thought about their own life. To do so, like the new agrarians will find, is physically and morally demanding; no less than the new- life that they have chosen to lead.