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(In These Times) Wendell Berry Defends Rural America Against an Attack by New York Review of Books Writer

EXCERPT: Not concerned with the book itself, Berry’s critique takes issue with Rich’s parroting of the now ubiquitous mainstream narrative: That the election of Donald Trump was primarily the result of a nostalgic, racist and sexist subculture that resides in a still-reeling-from-the-Civil-War, socially-backward and monochromatic “rural America.”

“This is provincial, uninformed, and irresponsible. Mr. Rich, who disdains all prejudices except those that are proper and just, supplies no experience or observation of his own and no factual and statistical proofs…

“…The business of America has been largely and without apology the plundering of rural America, from which everything of value—minerals, timber, farm animals, farm crops, and ‘labor’—has been taken at the lowest possible price.

“…It is true that racism, sexism, and nostalgia have counted significantly in the history of rural America until this moment. But to attribute the approximate victory of Mr. Trump only to those ‘southern’ faults, and to locate them only in rural America, is a driblet of self-righteous ignorance.”

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