ican left such as Telos. It is a display of intolerancernnot out of character for suchrnenlightened ironists as Eeo and Derrida.rnAndrea Sciffo is a poet and journalistrnin Monza. This article was translated byrnNino Langiulli, a professor of philosophyrnat St. Francis College in Brooklyn andrnauthor, most recently, of Possibility,rnNecessity, and Existence: Abbagnanornand his Predecessors {TemplernUniversity Press).rnLetter FromrnVirginiarnby Wayne AllensworthrnPeople From NowherernVirginia, the cradle of the American Republic,rnhas proved to be a particularlyrntempting locus for the designs of therncapitalist Utopians. Our own conservativernRepublican governor, George Allen,rnwith the general support of the staternparty and Washington’s Republicanrnpress organ, has led the charge of therndevelopers’ earthmovers on the state’srncountryside, the northern countiesrnbeing the target of choice, despite thernarea’s very low levels of unemployment.rnWhere Lee’s army and Mosby’s raidersrnand the Army of the Potomac oncernfought over the principles of preservation,rnthe “conservatives” and the bayingrnjackals of progress are sweeping down onrnthe green Virginia pastures and the battlefieldsrnof our great national struggle,rnacting as the vanguard of the urban andrnsuburban vandals they represent. Theyrnthreaten our heritage, both regional andrnnational, with strip malls and housingrndevelopments that spring up like mushroomsrnafter a rain alongside “greenways”rnthat pave over farms and villages andrnerase a whole landscape from our memory,rndetaching our postmodern worldrnfrom the bedrock of our past and furtherrneroding the viability of authentic communities.rnFor most of last year, the state’s politicalrnand capitalist classes devoted themselvesrnto ramming through the staternlegislature the taxpayer-subsidized developmentrnof “Disney’s America,” a sprawlingrncanker whose nucleus was to havernbeen a history theme park near the townrnof Haymarket in Prince William County,rnonly a few miles from the Manassas battlefield.rnAllen and company portrayedrnthe successful (for now) anti-Disneyrnmovement as composed solely of anticapitalistrnliberals, green extremists, andrnselfish “elite” landowners who want tornprevent Joe Sixpack from getting a minimumrnwage job at Disneyland east.rnThose who shape what passes for rightwingrnopinion in America lacked thernimagination to picture conservatives opposingrnthe creation of the Disney octopus,rnone that would probably have (andrnmay yet) spread its spin-off limbs allrnaround, threatening the area’s battlefieldrnsites and the tranquillity and sense ofrncommunity in the local small towns.rnThe Washington Times scoffed at therncontention that the places where ourrnforebears shed their blood during thernCivil War might be sacred and, therefore,rnnot for buying and selling; itrnmocked the opposition in tones reminiscentrnof the Bolshevik ideologues’ contemptuousrnassessment of the Russianrnpeople and their history: “It can’t be inrnVirginia,” the editorial page sneered,rn”not where Civil War horse droppingsrnmight have fallen. Or where Ken Burnsrnmight stumble across chicken bonesrnfrom some century-old repast.” Horserndroppings? Chicken bones? By thesernwords, the Washington mouthpiece ofrnthe official conservative movement revealedrnthe contempt felt by Wall StreetrnRepublicans for the people, culture, andrnyes, the land that is America.rnThe official right is intent on forcefeedingrnus its ideological hemlock, therntasty poison that first numbs our individualrnbrains, producing a false sensernof well-being in the citizenry, and thenrndispatches the corporate body. JamesrnHoward Kunstler’s The Geography ofrnNowhere describes the transformation ofrnmuch of the American middle class intornwhat I call People From Nowhere, thatrnpeculiar version of nomadic mass manrnthat the consumer-commuter culturernbreeds, one of the variations of 20th-eenturyrnrootlessness: “Through the postwarrndecades Americans happily allowed theirrntowns to be destroyed. They would flockrnto Disneyland at Anaheim, or later tornDisney World in Florida, and walk downrnMain Street, and think, gee, it feels goodrnhere. Then they’d go back home andrntear down half the old buildings downtownrnand pave them over for parkingrnlots, throw a parade to celebrate a new KMartrnopening—even when it put ten localrnmerchants out of business—[and]rnturn Elm Street into a six-lane crosstownrnexpressway… .They’d do every foolrnthing possible to destroy good existingrnrelationships between things in theirrntowns, and put their local economics atrnthe mercy of distant corporations whosernofficers didn’t give a damn aboutrnwhether these towns lived or died. Andrnthen, when vacation time rolled around,rnthey’d flock back to Disney World to feelrngood about America.” For now, Virginia’srnDisney battle has subsided, butrnyou can bet that the development-at-alleostsrncrowd will be back.rnIn any case, real Virginians count forrnless and less in the political and socialrnstruggles that are determining the futurernof the Old Dominion. The demographersrntell us that just over half the currentrnpopulation of the state is native;rnthat the suburban counties surroundingrnthe Imperial capital across the Potomac,rnpopulated largely by transient white cosmopolitans,rnpride themselves on hatingrntheir WASP roots; and that a U.N.-rnlover’s “mosaic” of Sikhs, Central Americans,rnand assorted wetbacks constituternan urban tail that wags the rural body ofrnthe Virginia dog. Chuck Robb’s recentrnreelection to the Senate was, in part, thernresult of the urbanized and heavily populatedrncounties around Wishington outgunningrnthe rural pro-Oliver North vote.rnThe fact that people with roots here arernbeing displaced by aliens, both domesticrnand foreign, and that the predominancernof aliens is driven by the urbanization ofrnthe state, is reason enough to oppose furtherrn”economic development.”rnThe rootlessness and alienation thatrnare so often the byproducts of unrestrainedrndevelopment are not, however,rnevident only in the capitalist West.rnValentin Rasputin’s novella The Fire tellsrnthe story of Ivan Petrovitch, a former inhabitantrnof an ancient Siberian villagernwho has been forced to move to a newlyrndeveloped logging town because his oldrnvillage has been flooded. Over the yearsrnthe old village’s inhabitants are overwhelmedrnby an influx of deracinated migrantrnworkers. These Soviet People FromrnNowhere have few of the residual feelingsrnof place that the old-timers have,rnand one night, when the town’s mainrnwarehouse catches fire, Ivan Petrovitchrncatches a glimpse into modernity’s heartrnof darkness as the migrants and, finally,rnsome of the town’s old-timers forgo at-rn40/CHRONICLESrnrnrn