By Anonymous on December 23, 2013

Ah, 'tis the season for family, friends, eggnog, chipmunks singing Christmas carols – and all-out, no-mercy, blow-'em-all-to-hell WAR.

Not war like in Afghanistan. No, no – this is the far-right's God-awful "War on the War on Christmas." In this season of Peace on Earth, these delusional hucksters are fomenting hatred of… well, of whom? Blasphemist-liberal-Democrat-atheist-humanists, they shout – those heathens who actually go around saying "Happy Holidays," rather than "Merry Christmas," as Jesus taught us to say. Or was it Constantine the Great in the Fourth Century who came up with that?

Never mind, the rightists' point is that diabolical lefties – ie, Marxists – are out to ban Christmas entirely. No less of a heroic defender of the faith than Sarah Palin has even written a thin book about this devious plot, revealing that "Happy Holidays" is merely "The tip of the spear in a larger battle to… make true religious freedom a thing of America's past." Luckily, note the Merry Christmas crusaders, such bright lights as Gov. Rick Perry of Texas are pushing state laws to by-pass the silly US Constitution and allow Christian icons and ceremonies into our schools. "A crèche in every public space," is their cry, "a cross on every city hall." To hell with Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the winter solstice, etcetera – this is war!

No, this is hokem, hoodoo, camel dung. It's also insulting that they would attempt to create a fictional piece of religious discrimination, whine that they are a repressed minority, and equate it with war. First, Jews, Muslims, and others don't get to brand public spaces as their religious property. Second, about three-fourths of Americans are Christian, so drop the martyr pose. And third, war really is hell, with blood, lifelong trauma, and death – so stop pretending you're in one.

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Photo: ollyy / Shutterstock.com.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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