241 CHRONICLESnpublic and more permanent system ofnwelfare was needed. However, I amnnot sure that the evidence presentednproves the point. To begin with, thenrural and urban problems of the Depressionnwere different. It is not at allnself-evident that a welfare system designednfor industrial relief was the bestnanswer to rural distress.nWoodruff’s treatment falls into anrecognizable genre of liberal complaint.nRelief must not simply relievendistress, it must get to the root of “thenproblem of poverty”—that is, it mustnbe political. The charitable institutionsnwhich assisted in the Southernncrisis must, by definition, be judgednfailures. They did not try to use theirnleverage to alter the social structurenwhich enlightened urban thinkersnconsidered to be the fundamentalncause of the problem. Heaven forbid,nrelief was even administered throughnlocal landowners and officials, whonalso were not political.nAt the root of the analysis, thoughnhere expressed in a very mild andntemperate form, is the urban intellectual’snhatred and fear of the landownernor any rural person above the dependentnclass. Not sharing the urban liberalnscale of manners and values, suchnpersons represent a threat. The fear ofnthe countryman is a persistent themenin American manufactured popularnculture from the time of SinclairnLewis. In television drama, the humanensensitive urbanite is always violatednby the vicious small-towner,nnever the other way around (despitenwhat statistics tell us about comparativencrime rates). At present, thousandsnof the best minds of the East and WestnCoasts lie awake nightly into the weenhours, fretting in fear that primitivenChristians from the boondocks maynactually rise up and put a crimp in thendrug traffic and pornography industry.nThis attitude, in a much more virulentnform, accounts for the worst excessesnof the Bolshevik Revolution. The Bolsheviksndid more than adopt a mistakennfarm policy; they deliberately setnout to exterminate or enslave all independentnand productive farmers, fornwhom they had an irrational hatrednbuilt upon feelings of vulnerability andninferiority.nIt is not clear to me that Woodruff’snevidence demonstrates that the oldnways were completely hopeless, and itncertainly does not demonstrate that thenwelfare and farm subsidy programsnthat have since grown up were the bestnor only alternatives. The most seriousndistresses seem to have been localized,nlike the credit crunch in the Arkansasndelta, for instance, or to have involvedna marginal lumpenproletariat of thensort that had always existed in thenKentucky mountains. It is not at allnclear that the farmers who reluctantlynasked for help in extremis were in thenleast interested in political revolution,nAnd the landowners and smalltownersnwhom the author finds controllednby their own narrow interestsnseem to me to have been, for the mostnpart, decent, public-spirited, and commonsensicalnfolks who were doing thenbest they could, and whose moralnconcern for their fellow man far transcendsnthat of most Federal officials orncollege professors.nIf As Rare as Rain is a political tractnmasquerading as an academic monograph.nBreaking the Land offers a pastoralnlament cast in the form of socialnhistory. Daniel tells the story of hownthe South moved from its 19thcenturynway of life (and it was a way ofnlife and not simply a way of business)nto modern commercial agriculture. Itnis a transformation in human affairsnwhich he considers (with only slightnexaggeration) “as significant as the enclosurenmovement that revolutionizednthe Old World.” For anyone whonknew the South as recently as then1940’s, there has indeed been a revolution.nAny early-middle-aged SouthnCarolinian can remember when almostnevery available patch of land wasnaglisten with cotton in the summer,nand the mule and wagon was the mostncommon moving sight on the roads.nOne has to look hard today to find ancotton field, and mules are about asnnumerous as zebras. Millions ofnSoutherners, white and black, havenmoved to the North, the West, and thenSouthern cities. They have left behindnthem in the country a mechanizedncommercial agriculture employingnonly a fraction of the population; thenremnants of a yeoman class which getsnmost of its income out of day labor innthe city, though it still clings to thenland; and sizable pockets of black communitiesnwhich have not yet beennintegrated into the modern economynexcept insofar as it is represented bynnnthe Federal welfare system.nDaniel is less interested in the economicsnof Southern rural life in thenlast century than he is in the humannstory of the replacement of a way ofnlife. The human experiences of thenrevolution are presented in Breakingnthe Land with vivid detail, withoutnsentimentalizing the old way of life butnwith a sympathetic awareness of thengenuine loss involved in the destructionnof its more consoling features.nThe author has another theme thatnwill strike a responsive chord for all ofnthose who are not willingly enfeoffednto the gospel of limitless material progress.nThe course of the changes thatnovertook the South was dictated, asnportrayed by Daniel, by the decisionsnof large capital and government policy,ndecisions which often involved deliberatenchoice from an ideology ofngigantism and maximum productivity.nIndeed, it is quite fair to give the NewnDeal farm policies in the South thengreatest share of credit for the pocketsnof dependency (as opposed to merelynpoverty) in the South, and as a secondnconsequence of the same dislocations,nthe Northern urban nightmare. Butnthere were indeed other alternatives,nalternatives that, had decisions beennmade from a different scale of values,nmight have worked toward the preservationnof the viable small farm, ownednor tenanted, and toward an optimumnrather than a maximum productivenrelationship with the land. Such policiesnwere, in fact, suggested in thenI930’s by Southern Agrarians and othersnwho were enamored neither of bigngovernment nor big business. Amongnthe many appealing proposals, nonenwas more drastic than the suggestionnthat unemployed or underemployednfamilies be staked to a homestead,neven subsidized, to remain on the landnand produce.nThis is doubtless a shocking proposalnto the coterie of sophisters andncalculators, calling themselves conservatives,nwho have recently discoverednthat the production of the staff of life isnjust another form of corporate enterprise,nthat our farm support programsnrepresent a nonsensical nostalgia, andnthat we must let the “marginal” farmerngo to the wall so that the market cannwisely redistribute resources. But evennmany who hold no particular brief fornthe present government price systemn