Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Offsite Post: ‘Is There Hope in Hemp for Southern Agriculture?’

The rural areas of the States have fallen on hard times:

Starting in the 1980s, the nation’s basket cases were its urban areas—where a toxic stew of crime, drugs and suburban flight conspired to make large cities the slowest-growing and most troubled places.

Today, however, a Wall Street Journal analysis shows that by many key measures of socioeconomic well-being, those charts have flipped. In terms of poverty, college attainment, teenage births, divorce, death rates from heart disease and cancer, reliance on federal disability insurance and male labor-force participation, rural counties now rank the worst among the four major U.S. population groupings (the others are big cities, suburbs and medium or small metro areas).

In fact, the total rural population—accounting for births, deaths and migration—has declined for five straight years.

Part of this is due to the disruption of the local farm economy.  Its focus has been mostly global rather than the traditional task of meeting the needs of a household and their neighbors:

The Farm Belt is hurtling toward a milestone: Soon there will be fewer than two million farms in America for the first time since pioneers moved westward after the Louisiana Purchase.

Across the heartland, a multiyear slump in prices for corn, wheat and other farm commodities brought on by a glut of grain world-wide is pushing many farmers further into debt. Some are shutting down, raising concerns that the next few years could bring the biggest wave of farm closures since the 1980s.

The U.S. share of the global grain market is less than half what it was in the 1970s. American farmers’ incomes will drop 9% in 2017, the Agriculture Department estimates, extending the steepest slide since the Great Depression into a fourth year.

But hope may be on the horizon.  The 2018 federal farm bill passed by Congress and signed by President Trump contains a provision that takes hemp off the federal government’s list of harmful drugs for the first time since 1937 (when it was lumped in with marijuana in the Marijuana Tax Act, https://ministryofhemp.com/hemp/history/), since it contains little to no THC, and allows farmers to cultivate it freely, provided the State in which they live will likewise allow its being planted.

Already 39 States have some sort of hemp farming pilot program in place under a provision of the previous federal farm bill passed in 2014: 

The versatility of hemp’s finished products is a source of great promise.  Not only could it allow more farmers to stay on the land, but its industrial applications could also bolster local, small-scale manufacturing for those who enjoy the mechanical arts. 

A wide range of products, including fibers, textiles, paper, construction and insulation materials, cosmetic products, animal feed, food, and beverages all may use hemp. The plant is estimated to be used in more than 25,000 products spanning nine markets: agriculture, textiles, recycling, automotive, furniture, food/nutrition/beverages, paper, construction materials and personal care.


The numbers being predicted in the hemp market help strengthen those promises:

The U.S. hemp market pulled in $820 million in sales in 2017, according to Hemp Business Journal. Because selling American hemp is still largely restricted, parts of the market are highly reliant on products imported from China and Canada. With growth projected at almost $2 billion by 2022, optimism that American growers can take a chunk of this market share is abundant.

A balanced, farm-based, local economy could thus potentially be restored in many places.  The shaded areas of this map show where hemp can be grown in the lower 48 States:  . . .


Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!

Anathema to the Union!

Friday, January 25, 2019

St Agnes, the Virgin-Martyr of Rome

Holy Agnes, as you keep watch o’er Rome,
Pray also for us sinners here at the South,
Who likewise are citizens of Romulus’s home!

A hymn of praise for St Agnes (+304, commemorated 21 January), written by the Orthodox Spanish ascetic and man of letters Prudentius (348-c. 413):


The Passion of Agnes 

The grave of Agnes is in the home of Romulus; 
a brave lass she, and a glorious martyr. Laid within
sight of their palaces, this maiden watches over the
well-being of Rome's citizens, and she protects
strangers too when they pray with pure and faithful
heart. A double crown of martyrdom was vouch-
safed to her, the keeping of her virginity untouched
by any sin, and then the glory of her dying by her
own will.

They say it happened that as a young girl in her
earliest years, scarce yet marriageable, but warm
with the love of Christ, she bravely withstood godless
commands, refusing to make herself over to idols
and desert her holy faith. For though she was first
assailed with many arts, now with seductive words
from a smooth-tongued judge, and again with
threats of cruel torture, she stood firm with strength
indomitable, and even offered her body for the sore
torment, not refusing to die. Then said the savage
persecutor: " If it is easy for her to overcome the
pains and bear the suffering and she scorns life as of
little worth, still the purity of her dedicated maiden-
hood is dear to her. I am resolved to thrust her into
a public brothel unless she lays her head on the altar
and now asks pardon of Minerva, the virgin whom
she, a virgin too, persists in slighting. All the young
men will rush in to seek the new slave of their sport."
" Nay," says Agnes, " Christ is not so forgetful of his
own as to let our precious chastity be lost and
abandon us. He stands by the chaste and does not
suffer the gift of holy purity to be defiled. You may
stain your sword with my blood if you will, but you
will not pollute my body with lust." When she had
thus spoken he gave order to place the maid publicly
at a corner of the square; " but while she stood
there the crowd avoided her in sorrow, turning their
faces away lest any look too rudely on her modesty.
One, as it chanced, did aim an impudent gaze at the
girl, not fearing to look on her sacred figure with a
lustful eye; when behold, a fire came flying like a
thunderbolt and with its quivering blaze struck his
eyes, and he fell blinded by the gleaming flash and
lay convulsed in the dust of the square. His com-
panions lifted him from the ground between life and
death and bewailed him with words of lamentation
for the departed. But the maiden passed in triumph,
singing of God the Father and Christ in holy song
because, when an unholy peril fell on her, her vir-
ginity won the day, finding the brothel chaste and
pure. Some have told that being asked she poured
forth prayers to Christ that He would restore sight
to the prostrate sinner, and that then the breath of
life was renewed in the young man and his vision
made perfect.

But this was only the first step that Agnes took
towards the court of heaven; then she was granted a
second ascent. For frenzy was working up her
blood-thirsty enemy's wrath. " I am losing the
battle," he complained. " Go draw the sword,
soldier, and give effect to our lord the emperor's
sovereign commands." When Agnes saw the grim
figure standing there with his naked sword her glad-
ness increased and she said: " I rejoice that there
comes a man like this, a savage, cruel, wild man-at-
arms, rather than a listless, soft, womanish youth
bathed in perfume, coming to destroy me with the
death of my honour. This lover, this one at last, I
confess it, pleases me. I shall meet his eager steps
half-way and not put off his hot desires. I shall
welcome the whole length of his blade into my bosom,
drawing the sword-blow to the depths of my breast;
and so as Christ's bride I shall o'erleap all the dark-
ness of the sky and rise higher than the ether. O
eternal ruler, open the gates of heaven which
formerly were barred against the children of earth,
and call, O Christ, a soul that follows Thee, a virgin's
soul and a sacrifice to the Father." So saying she
bowed her head and humbly worshipped Christ,
so that her bending neck should be readier to suffer
the impending blow; and the executioner's hand
fulfilled her great hope, for at one stroke he cut off
her head and swift death forestalled the sense of
pain. Now the disembodied spirit springs forth and
leaps in freedom into the air, and angels are round her
as she passes along the shining path. She marvels
at the world that lies beneath her feet; as she
mounts on high she looks at the darkness below and
laughs at the circling of the sun's orb, the turning
and intertwining of all the universe, the life that is
lived in the black whirlwind of circumstance, the
vanities that the inconstant world seizes on, kings,
despots, power and rank, the pomp, of dignitaries
swollen with foolish pride, the masses of silver and
gold which all seek after with a furious thirst by
every wicked means, the gorgeously built dwellings,
the empty vanities of fancily embroidered garments,
anger, fear, desires, hazards, the alternations of long
sadness and short-lived joy, the smoking brands of
black spite that darken men's hopes and honour,
and the foulest of all their ills, the filthy clouds of
paganism. All this Agnes tramples on and treads
under foot as she stands and with her heel bears
down on the head of the fierce serpent which be-
spatters all earthly things in the world with his venom
and plunges them in hell; but now that he is sub-
dued by a virgin's foot he lowers the crests on his
fiery head and in defeat dares not to lift it up.
Meanwhile with two crowns God encircles the
unwedded martyr's brow; recompense issuing sixty-
fold from eternal light makes the one, profit an
hundredfold is in the other.

O happy virgin, glory unknown before, noble
dweller in the height of heaven, on our gathered
impurities turn thy face with thy twin diadems,
thou to whom alone the Father of all has granted the
power to make a very brothel pure! I shall be
cleansed by the brightness of thy gracious face if
thou wilt fill my heart. Nothing is impure which
thou dost deign to visit in love or to touch with thy
restoring foot.


Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!

Anathema to the Union!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Good News from Mexico

Some praiseworthy things have been happening lately in a town called Cheran in Mexico.  They rose up against and threw out the corrupt police, drug runners, and forest destroyers who had been ravaging their place; raised and armed their own defense force to keep the peace; banned political parties and their campaigns; their elections are by public voting rather than private ballots; their people do not participate in any other local, state, or federal elections; and those who are elected to office cannot bow out:  They must serve, despite their other obligations. 

In a dark globalist world, it is nice to see a little bit of localist light.  May God help them.

Use the links below to find out more if you’d like:

(Thanks to Mr C for the links.)


Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!

Anathema to the Union!

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Limits of Politics

Politics has its place in the life of mankind, but these words of Deacon Haralambos are worth thinking upon ne’ertheless:

Today we face much cultural turmoil and seemingly unreconcilable differences. Our discourse often becomes harsh and even hate filled. It seems we have lost a Christ centeredness in our lives. We seem to be trying to solve our cultural value issues thinking we can change it through political ends. We use social media to spew out our differing opinions thinking that this will make a difference. But history clearly tells us changing a culture is not so easily done.

Is it possible that Christians today have taken the wrong track in putting their energies into political action and social media? When we engage in these arenas don’t we become one with the culture we don’t like. Do we act in a way that exhibits the life and teachings of our Savior? Our actions do not communicate an alternative to the present potpourri of ideas and values. Sociologist James Davidson Hunter demonstrates that political action has never been the cause of cultural shifts even though some good things can happen in this way. More often it leads to oppression of minority views, more division and greater discord. If we truly want to bring Christ back to the center of our lives, a different approach is necessary.

We are creatures of God called to something much higher than life in this world, the Kingdom of Heaven. To reach this kingdom, Scripture makes it clear, we must become continually better at living like Jesus Christ and become an active participant in a true compassionate faith community. To achieve our God given calling and make a difference in this world, our lived life in our faith community must be different from the general society.

This view is clearly spelled out by the acclaimed sociologist Dr James Davison Hunter in his book, To Change The World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World. I suggest you read it.
He writes,

“Contemporary Christian understandings of power and politics are a very large part of what has made contemporary Christianity in America appalling, irrelevant, and ineffective—part and parcel of the worst elements of our late-modern culture today, rather than a healthy alternative to it.” Pg 94

 . . .


Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!

Anathema to the Union!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Offsite Post: ‘The Necessity of Agrarianism’

Southerners have pointed to the benefits of an agrarian way of life for generations, that it is the mode of life best suited to caring for the creation and for inculcating virtues in man:  humility, dependence on God, patience, generosity, hospitality, supplying the needs of one’s household, patriotism, and so on.

But there is something more in agrarianism that seems to be overlooked here in the South at the moment, something key to ‘working out our salvation with fear and trembling’ (Phil. 2:12):  The hard work of tilling the earth (and the contemplation of the creation that is closely bound up with it) is both a spur to repentance and right living and a safeguard against sin.  In exploring these intertwined ideas, we will delve into the writings of the Holy Fathers of the Church, those most helpful guides to the Christian life, who are also a part of the Southerner’s Christian inheritance but whose writings often go unread by them.

St John Chrysostom (+407), the ‘Golden-tongued’, one of the greatest preachers to arise in the Church, with his commentary on Genesis 3:17-19, is a good place to begin.  In it one will hear emphasized, amongst other things, the familiar theme of human limits often found in Southern agrarian literature:

3:17-19  And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it:  cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.  Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat of the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken.  For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return (KJV).

 . . . Behold the reminders of the curse!  Thorns it will bring forth, He [God] says, and thistles.  I will do this so you will endure severe labor and cares and spend your whole life in sorrow, that this might be a restraint for you, that you might not dream that you are higher than your station; but that you might constantly remember your nature and might henceforth not allow yourself to come to a similar state of deception.

“Thou shalt eat of the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.”  See how after his [Adam’s] disobedience everything was not as it had been before in his life!  I, He says, bringing you into this world, wanted you to live without afflictions, without labors, without cares, without sorrows; to be in contentment and prosperity and not be subject to bodily needs, but to be a stranger to all this and enjoy perfect freedom.  But since such freedom was not of benefit to you, I will curse the earth so that henceforth it will not be as it was formerly, giving forth fruit without sowing and cultivation, but will do so only with great labor, exertion and cares.  I will subject you to constant afflictions and sorrows, and force you to do everything with exhausting efforts, that these tormenting labors might be for you a constant lesson to behave modestly and know your own nature (Genesis, Creation, and Early Man, p. 269-70).

Another remarkable Father, St Symeon the New Theologian (+1022), speaks in a similar way:

And so it is that these are our sins, that is, that we do not patiently bear the temporal chastisements of God and do not give thanks for them but becoming presumptuous as if we were enemies of God we go in a certain sense against that Divine decree that states in the sweat of thy face thou shall eat thy bread (Gen. 3:19), and we exert all our strength so as to find repose and we do not find it because there is no opportunity for us to escape from labors and sweats, and from this being yoked to needs, no matter what we might do.

Therefore, fortunate is he who endures all these temporal chastisements with gratitude, confessing that he has been justly condemned to them for the ancestral sin.  Yea, he will find repose from his labors; for by reason of these chastisements the All-good God has given death to men, so that those who bear them with gratitude might rest from them for a time, and then might be resurrected and glorified in the day of judgment through the new Adam, the sinless Jesus Christ and God Who was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification (Rom. 4:25) (The First-Created Man, p. 61).

This is a warning to us not to live a life of ease (which has become the goal of modern man) that dulls the soul.  Without hard work to humble us, our pride will swell, and another disastrous fall into evil with all its terrible consequences will follow.  Too much mechanization, labor-saving devices, and the like - that is, attempts to undo the Fall and to conjure up Eden here in the world apart from God’s ways - are a threat not just to human dignity, sound economics, and the like, but to our spiritual health, our very salvation.  But here our memory can be put to good use - in particular, the memory of the Paradise we have lost:

 . . . let us note the spiritual benefit of being close to Paradise, of still seeing the place and state from which man had fallen and to which he is called to return.  St. John Chrysostom writes:

The view (of Paradise), even if it aroused in Adam an unbearable grief, at the same time afforded him much profit:  the constant beholding (of Paradise) served for the grieving one as a warning for the future, so that he would not fall again into the same (transgression) (Genesis, pgs. 285, 288).

But can we see Paradise at all today?  In a sense we can.  Blessed Fr Seraphim Rose (+1982) says,

Even in our fallen state, can we not be reminded of Paradise and our fall from it in the nature that surrounds us?  In the animals it is not difficult to see the passions over which we should be masters, but which have largely taken possession of us; and in the peaceful murmur of the forests (where so many ascetic strugglers have taken refuge) can we not see a reminder of the Paradise of vegetation originally intended for our dwelling and food, and still existing for those able to ascend, with St. Paul, to behold it (p. 252)?

Here we find a great encouragement not to transgress, lest we mar what few traces of Eden remain in this world.  Toward such remnants the South has been keenly attuned from her beginning, and this may partly explain her slowness to embrace ugly, urbanized Modernity.

Abba Dorotheus of Gaza (+565), another highly gifted spiritual teacher, also enjoins us to remember Paradise, this time, however, as a goad to advancement in the spiritual life:

 . . .

Please note:  Since the intrepid, neo-Puritan guardians of morality, from Silicon Valley to Washington City, have gotten their underbritches tied into a knot over an alternative news and opinion site like USA Really, you may have trouble viewing it on some web browsers.  If so, try an indie browser like Brave, https://brave.com/ .  But like all good hypocrites, these neo-Puritans are busily doing the very things they are accusing others of doing:  They have no trouble cramming their own nihilistic vision of freedom, etc. down the throats of unwilling people.  Case in point, the pushing of sexual perversion onto the traditional peoples of the Ukraine, Serbia, Uganda, Georgia, etc. by various federal agencies of Washington City and/or NGOs.  On the Ukraine in particular:


Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!

Anathema to the Union!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Opposing Trends

Here in the States, we are witnessing two forces at work, politically speaking.  The first desires greater centralization in Washington City, the further erosion of the States as unique personalities and independent countries.  It may be seen in proposals by the Progressives/the ‘Left’ to make the apportionment of [u.] S. senators based on population like the House:

It may also be seen in proposals by the Evangelicals/the ‘Right’ to end the filibuster in the Senate, to make it proceed by a simple majority vote in nearly all cases, rather than preserving the spirit/ghost of the institution, which regards each senator as an ambassador of his State, not a replaceable cog in a political party apparatus.  The former view requires a more graceful and measured approach to debates and votes in the Senate; the latter leads only to Nietzschean ‘will to power’ maneuvers of a bare majority.  This leaves the minority with little protection against the majority, a situation many of the federal Constitution’s supporters claimed to be horrified by (one is justified in thinking they were less than truthful in describing their great anxiety for protecting the hinterland minority in order to win their votes for ratification of their replacement for the much less centralized Articles of Confederation).  It will also come back to haunt the ‘Christian Right’ in the future when a Leftist majority of 51 or 52 senators steamrolls through an agenda that eviscerates what is left of Christianity in the States.  At any rate, here is one evangelical’s plea for ending the filibuster:

The other force at work is one of decentralization, of strengthening local cultures rather than imposing a single, atheistic, urbanistic culture on whole populations.  It is at work in several places in the (unnecessary) Union.  For ensample:

We probably ought to embrace the latter course, or else we will face the ugly outbreak of civil violence now on display in Europe and which is rumbling very loudly now just beneath the surface in the States:


Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!

Anathema to the Union!