It was apart of our Creator’s initial assignment for man to cultivate the land and care for the beasts of the field. It is an invitation for us today in the 21st century to rediscover what it means to be human – to be innovators of a project larger then ourselves. Such a project would draw us back into a community-focused pioneering spirit of progress that has inspired and given hope to people for centuries. In America specifically, the pioneering front has been the catalyst that has always moved us forward. It has been hesitancy to change that is largely a contributor to many evils Americans uniquely face today (debt, obesity, depression etc.) Of course, while some change is good, other change is definitely not good. Such change would be a change of character. While a change of clothes may certainly not produce a significant alteration of our national anatomy or physiology, a change of character would. It has been the later that has slowly transformed America. It has been the deprivation of character that has slowly given rise to government-dependent individuals who are essentially impoverished. Our current financial system in America is not helping to resolve the matter, with credit options now actually increasing rather then decreasing.
The top-down political negotiation can and should continue. However, just as the Pilgrims of 1642, the Patriots of 1776, the Homesteaders of 1862, and the Industrial Revolutionists of the 1860’s; it would seem a logistical pioneering effort is needed to arouse the American spirit once more. As a Northwest-born American, I am familiar with the stories of the fur traders and the Hudson Bay Company. I am even more familiar with the picture of the Oregon Trail expedition, or the Lewis and Clark expedition before that. I am acquainted with the stories of the ‘cow towns’ as a result of the influx of cattle being driven across the land by traditional cow boys, and even draw a certain excitement from the such a prospect of a ‘cattle drive’. Even so, these are the events that follow the support of a paying market. Consumers it seems, pay the way for certain extravagant business propositions.
But there is still a frontier to be approached. We can begin to physically rebuilt the way of life America has always been known for – by the literal process of building it! I am not suggesting (to use the pharmaceutical metaphor) that all pills are evil or ineffective, but for the process of character transformation, getting our hands dirty again might do our souls some good. The development of community homesteads, developed first in areas where there is presently wilderness, (or dilapidated urban slums) would give people work, where so many have been deprived of it. Second, this brings people together, out of the societal hierarchy ever-evident yet so subtly silent. The development of communities where everyone directly contributes to it’s progress and function would produce citizens who care for and take pride in where they live and who they are. Second, this would open up some new business options as new communities begin to survey the exportation potential of their plot of land. While some may be able to grow potatoes, others may extracting raw metals from the earth. The nation can again be a united states where each contributes something to the greater community, linked together less by strict federal law enforcement, but more so by local and self government.
The creation of communities, or homesteading is already apart of our history. And I don’t speak from pure imagination – I have seen it.
Land in America is not scarce – the western front still has wide-open pastures:
states such as Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Kansas are very underpopulated. Having said this, such undertakings would be extravagant to say the least. These landscapes are undeveloped. Interaction with nearby established communities would be necessary prerequisites, yet there would be the freedom to develop a community out of over urbanized claustrophobia. For some, the urban jungle is a vibrant atmosphere where growth can happen. But I come from the West, and have merely traversed much of the real estate of our great country and propose more can yet be utilized of it.
Join me in considering what American can be when our financial crisis reaches critical mass. Political policies will redevelop improvements on paper, but what lingers may lead us back to the same destructive habits. The giants of the Industrial Revolution, as iconic as they were, produced the mechanical process of mass production, leading to the dehumanization of most of the products that still have to go into our stomachs, force us into crammed automotive situations, and keep us busily under pressure in tiny cubicles during those beautiful daylight hours God gave to us. Please just dream with me. We are at the edge of a season, lets consider what can come next, if we aren’t afraid to dream as a people who live in what once was called the “Land of Opportunity”.