Monday, December 08, 2008

The Weekly Review - England’s Land Policy in War Time

by Fr. Vincent McNabb

Two Questions of urgency:

I— England is the most urbanized country in the world.
II—How far this policy must be modified under war conditions.


1—The country is not for the town; but the town is for the country.
2—The unit of land work is the family.
3—The family is the co-operative unit of a co-operative state.
4—The family is not for production; but production (by the family) is for the family.
5—The aim of a land policy in time of peace is not to encourage production of commodities by the land, but the settlement of families on the land.
Settle families on the land; and the families will see to production.


6—The end of war is the defence of the realm by destroying the force attacking the realm.
7—Hence the end of war is not production for the sake of the family; but production for the sake of destruction.
8—War means the suspension of some of the national ways of life.
War should never mean the destruction of national ways of life. Hence
9—No land policy in war-time should destroy the land policy needed by peace-time.
10—England’s land policy in the Great War increased production (by urban methods of mass production); but wounded agriculture almost to death. Hence no attempt should be made to apply to the land those methods of mass production which are ruining the town. The size of holdings increased. The number of independent farmers decreased.


II—The town is essentially based on Waste of material; Waste of time.
Hence the town (and especially the large town) is uneconomic.
12—On the land we need not (though by our sloth we may) lose an ounce of material or a moment of time. Hence in the town waste is necessary; in the countryside waste is not necessary.
13—As the land worker lives on his work, and as his work yields the necessities of consumption, the area of living is co-terminous with the area of work, and the area of consumption is co-terminous with the area of production.
This gives the most scientific and stable foundation to the realm.
14—The primary co-operation is that within the co-operative unit (the family).
Secondary but necessary co-operations are between family and family, between land workers and handworkers (wood-workers, leather-workers, non-workers, weavers, millers, etc.).
15—England could be divided into self-supporting units, which might be looked upon as economic blockhouses.
The existing county divisions might be the limits.
16—The present “schooling” could be changed from the system of teaching tokens to a system of teaching realities.
But it should be remembered that Political Economy is the child of Domestic Economy, the best school for realities is a good family.
17—Although for the moment war demands, as primary ends, increased production, it must be remembered that the end of war is peace.
Now the primary end of land policy in time of peace is not production, but is the settlement of the family.
This settlement of families on the land seems almost a matter not only of urgency but of possibility. The evacuated hundreds of thousands provide an unprecedented opportunity. 18—The “real” education of the children of such families should be a first national policy because, a first educative necessity.
Children could be shown how all things come from the earth’s soil, and man’s toil.
19—The elementary needs of food—clothing—housing are easily seen. Love of their own homes, and a patriotic love of their homeland can be set before them as a motive.
20—Community (or co-operative) hamlet life and work should be encouraged.
The old co-operative spinning groups (with their spinning songs) should be revived.

It will soon be seen that, not town life but only a well-developed country life is a full social life.

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