Elliot Coleman: Integrating gardening into your life

” … in many people’s minds, the idea of supply most of their food seems like a large, complicated chore outside of their experience. But the truth is that growing food is the most basic activity of human civilization, not some mysterious industrial process. You do not need a large-scale operation. Your food is now produced in bits and pieces around the year. You are integrating the garden into your life in the same way you integrate other important activities such as helping your children with homework, playing catch and talking with them, sharing in household chores, an helping out your neighbors. You don’t hire others to do these jobs. You do them yourself because they are meaningful, joyful, and important to your family’s spiritual welfare. Your food is of no less importance.”

— Elliot Coleman, The Four Season Harvest

Napoleon Bonaparte: Public schooling, nationalism, and control

“Of all our institutions public education is the most important. Everything depends on it, the present and the future. It is essential that the morals and political ideas of the generation which is now growing up should no longer be dependent upon the news of the day or the circumstances of the moment. Above all we must secure unity: we must be able to cast a whole generation in the same mould.”

–Napoleon Bonaparte, on the importance of state-controlled public schooling as a form of mass indoctrination

Collapse of Russian monarchy was result of crises brought about by modernization/industrialization/urbanization

“The collapse of the [Tsarist] autocracy was rooted in a crisis of modernization. From the 1860s, and particularly from the 1890s, the government tried hard to keep abreast militarily and economically of the major European powers by modernizing Russia’s economy. By 1913 Russia had become the fifth largest industrial power in the world. However, economic modernization was carried out in an external and internal environment that was deeply threatening to the autocracy. The empire was challenged by Japan in the Far East, leading to war in 1904; by Germany in central Europe and the Ottoman empire; and in the decade up to 1914 by instability in the Balkans. Internally, the modernization was menaced by the deep social tensions that scarred this backward, poverty-stricken country. The government hoped that it could carry out modernization whilst maintaining tight control over society. Yet the effect of industrialization, urbanization, internal migration, and the emergence of new social classes was to set in train forces that served to erode the foundations of the autocratic state.”

— S.A. Smith, “The Russian Revolution: A Very Short Introduction”

John Curl: Work as employee vs. as a free laborer

“The vast majority of working Americans today are employees, and most spend their entire occupational lives as one. Yet, only 200 years ago, just a tiny percentage of the workforce were employees, and the vast majority of free working people were self-employed farmers, artisans, and merchants […] Being an employee was considered a form of bondage, only a step above indentured servitude. One submitted to it due to economic hardship for as short a time as possible, then became free once more, independent, one’s own boss. As the country industrialized during the 19th century, the transformation from a nation of self-employed “free” people to a nation of employees took place relentlessly, and continued through the 20th century. In 1800, there were few wage earners in America; in 1870, shortly after the Civil War, over half the workforce consisted of employees; in 1940, about 80 percent; in 2007, 92 percent of the American workforce was employees and the number of self-employed was under 9 percent.”

–John Curl, For All The People: Uncovering the Hidden History of Cooperation, Cooperative Movements, and Communalism in America

Eugene Debs: Demands

“The earth for all the people. That is the demand. The machinery of production and distribution for all the people. That is the demand. The collective ownership and control of industry and its democratic management in the interests of all the people. That is the demand. The elimination of rent, interest, profit, and the production of wealth to satisfy the wants of all the people. That is the demand. Cooperative industry in which all shall work together in harmony as a basis of a new social order, a higher civilization, a real republic. That is the demand.”

—Eugene V. Debs, 1902

Richard Dawkins: Bible is cobbled together collection from random authors, just plain weird

“To be fair, much of the Bible is not systematically evil but just plain weird, as you would expect of a chaotically cobbled-together anthology of disjointed documents, composed, revised, translated, distorted and ‘improved’ by hundreds of anonymous authors, editors and copyists, unknown to us and mostly unknown to each other, spanning nine centuries”

― Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

Richard Dawkins: God of old testament is a racist, sexist, mass murdering, maniac

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

― Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

“We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.”

― Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion