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This week on Warriors and Company Wendell Berry, Poet and Profit I've been talking for a long time about leadership from the bottom and I'm convinced perfectly that it's happening and that leadership consists of people who simply see something that needs to be done and they start doing it and showdown over the shutdown Funding is provided by Carnegie Corporation of New York celebrating 100 years of philanthropy and committed to doing real and permanent good in the world The Colberg Foundation Independent Production Fund with support from the Partridge Foundation a John and Polly Guth Charitable Fund The Clemens Foundation Park Foundation dedicated to Hightening Public Awareness of Critical Issues The Herbalpert Foundation Supporting organizations whose mission is to promote compassion and creativity in our society
The Bernard and Audrey Rappaport Foundation The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world more information at and Gumowitz The Betsy and Jesse Fink Foundation The HKH Foundation Barbara G. Flashman and by our sole corporate sponsor Mutual of America Designing Customized Individual and Group Retirement Products That's why we're your retirement company Welcome In this broadcast you will meet an ever-vessant man who still believes we can make democracy work Later, we'll talk about those people in Washington who refuse to let it work But first, Wendell Berry A master of the written word he rarely appears on television For one thing, when he's not writing, he's farming and that can keep a fellow busy from sunrise to sunset But we met recently
and after considerable persuasion he said, okay, bring your cameras with you This portrait is the result produced with the human media center which I had We don't have a right to ask whether we're going to succeed or not The only question we have a right to ask is what's the right thing to do? What does this earth require of us if we want to continue to live on it? For Wendell Berry the defense of the earth is a mission that admits no compromise This quiet and modest man who lives and works far from the center of power on a farm in Kentucky where his family has lived for 200 years has become an outspoken even angry advocate for a revolution in our treatment of the land A warning to my readers Do not think me gentle because I speak in praise of gentleness or elegant because I honor the grace that keeps this world
I am a man crude as any Gross of speech Intolerant stubborn Full of fits and furries that I may have spoken well at times is not natural a wonder is what it is Berry rarely gives television interviews but recently here at St. Catherine College near Louisville he agreed to sit down with me to read some of his work and talk about his passions It was a special occasion from far and wide friends and followers of Berry gathered in the Louisville area to celebrate the 35th anniversary of his landmark work the unsettling of America It's one of more than 40 books in Berry's prolific career Poins, essays, novels, short stories The two-day conference addressing what it will take to resettle America brought together advocates of sustainable agriculture
Environmentalists, leaders in the local food movement and others who recognize Wendell Berry as a visionary He understood what was happening on this planet a long time before anybody else He's, you might say, a profit of responsibility This conference is at a very important moment because it's a turning point you've got all the elders, the founders of the sustainable agriculture movement and we're all now involved with the need for a transition towards more sustainable food systems I do see this as the defense of democracy and freedom for survival and so I'm here It was just a year ago on Earth Day you said people who own the world outright for profit will have to be stopped
by influence, by power, by us and some of us who have read you and followed you took that as an indication that maybe the mad farmer is getting a little matter a little more radical Well, I have gone more radical, the old drive has become I don't remember seeing that but it sounds like me which is why I could have made it up but I didn't Well, when you say you have to stop somebody in our time you would ought to qualify you don't mean bomb them and I didn't mean stop them by violence but they do have to be stopped The contrariness of the mad farmer I am done with apologies if contrariness is my inheritance and destiny so be it if it is my mission to go in at exits and come out at entrances so be it
I have planted by the stars and defiance of the experts until somewhat by incantation and by singing and reaped as I knew by luck and heaven's favor in spite of the best advice He is one of, if not the great writer at work in American letters right now he's built this body of work that's coherent, cohesive, powerful, beautiful, quite amazing and it also happens that it's about the most important subject that we have whether or not we're going to be able to build the kind of communities that can successfully inhabit this earth or not As he nears 80 years of age, Barry is going beyond words to civil disobedience In 2011, he joined a four day sit-in at the Kentucky Governor's office to protest the mountaintop removal of coal
What prompted that, man your age? Well, good company What prompted me was the thought that when you have a major problem in your state to which state government is utterly indifferent and you've taken every obvious and legitimate recourse trying to meet and talk and influence and demonstrate and speak and write and nothing had worked Why is that? Why do we concede to organizations like the coal companies such monolithic control over resources that should be the people? Because in our society people with money are bigger and more powerful and more noticeable and count more as citizens than people without much money
And so we did confront the governor and tell him we weren't going to leave We're here to make our grievances and our petition heard And the governor then made a very clever move he invited us to stay And we did stay the whole weekend, did a lot of publicity for our side were beautifully treated by the security staff and people who sent us food and betting and good wishes and even came in and gave us massages And it was all together, one of the loveliest weekends I've ever spent in my life Are you going to do it again?
I don't think there's any plan afoot again, but I wouldn't mind it Did you have a conversation with the governor about why you were there and what you hoped would happen? We tried to have a conversation with the governor and we had tried previously to have a conversation with the governor But the state government of Kentucky is not set up for dialogue or discourse on difficult problems The issue of clean water in eastern Kentucky has so far not been possible to raise in the halls of the government What's happened to the water there? It must have been poisoned by the outflow from those strip mines to expose those streams to surface erosion and runoff You let loose all kinds of poisons and so they're getting into the watershed
What do you think you accomplished? The streams are still flowing dirty and easy The streams are still flowing dirty, but a lot has been done in the last 50 years to stop that and they're still flowing dirty That's a tragedy and it's to be suffered and I live on the Kentucky River I know that it's got stuff in it that nobody is talking about I know it has. For one thing, the native black willows are gone from the shores For some reason they can't live by the Kentucky River anymore As a resident of the Kentucky River Valley, I feel directly as a threat If the willows can't live there, how sure can I be that I'll continue to be able to live there? Why can't they live there? I don't know. It's something in the water. That's why we went down to the governor's office This is intolerable. There's no excuse for it
And there's no justification for the permanent destruction of the world My belief, and I've written out of it for many years, is that the world and our life in it are conditional gifts We have the world to live in and the use of it to live from all in the condition that we will take good care of it And to take good care of it, we have to know it and we have to know how to take care of it And to know it and to be willing to take care of it, we have to love it And we've ignored all that, all these years You wrote quite recently that the two great aims of industrialization Replacement of people by technology
And the concentration of wealth in the hands of a small plutocracy Seem in your words close to fulfillment What do you think from your life's experience might stall the momentum and perhaps even reverse it? I don't know There are two or three things that we haven't been able to confront or even acknowledge politically One is that the aim of the industrial revolution from year one has been to replace people with technology So it's a little contemptible to hear these people express in surprise at this late date that we have an employment problem I don't know that there's any politician of visibility who could say that So that's important for people like me to say it, who have no power
The other thing that we are having trouble confronting, and I both sides are having trouble to confront it publicly and speak of it Is the disaster of being governed by the corporations, those fictitious persons And you know, you're waiting for the day when some politician of stature and visibility will finally say We can't have this any longer. We're here in Washington or Frankfurt to represent the people not to be employed or bought by the corporations and to serve them Are corporations which have been given person rights under the First Amendment? Are they acting humanly even though they possess... Well, of course not. They can't act human. You can't have a bunch of people combining into a person that's not physically possible
In confronting these people who are so immensely more powerful than we are, they're in trouble on two fronts The big corporations, one is the people like these who are working against them so to speak from the inside And then because their premises are wrong, creation is working against them from the outside What have you come to understand is the natural logic of capitalism That you have a right to as much as you want of anything you want and by extension The right to use any means available to get it I've been talking for a long time about leadership from the bottom and I'm convinced perfectly that it's happening
And that leadership consists of people who simply see something that needs to be done and they start doing it I'm wondering if putting your faith in the people is a wise investment I'm not putting my faith in the people and putting my faith in some of the people Which ones? Which ones? The ones who are committed, these people The country, and I think Vandana could tell you, the world is full of people now who are doing what I just said But seeing something that needs to be done and starting to do it, without the government's permission or official advice or expert advice or applying for grants or anything else, they just start doing it At the age of 30, Wendell Berry decided to return to the land of his birthplace
He left the writer's life in New York City to settle on the farm in Kentucky with his wife Tanya One of the reasons that his realization and his writing was so powerful was that it stemmed directly from his life and what he was doing Had he written all the things that he wrote without that piece of land, they would have still been powerful but it was that wedding of man and message of life and of idea That I think makes him uniquely powerful character in our culture When you talked about what sustained you, what has grounded you, you talked about coming home to Kentucky, somehow it seems to me that you love for language You're continuing search to find the word that expresses precisely what you think Your determination to do justice to the subject may have also grounded you There's a remarkable consistency in the 40 books and works that you've produced
Well, the language is secondary but it imposes an obligation I've been extraordinarily fortunate in my life I've lived in a place I've loved I've been a friend and ally with my brother all these years I've lived with a woman I've loved, love It's a sacrament and it's probably some kind of a necessity To take responsibility, to be, to love somebody and marriage is a way of acknowledging and accepting the responsibility How long have you and Tonya been married? 57 Long time And then I've had my children for neighbors which is really unusual in our time to have your children for neighbors
And then I've had a part in raising my grandchildren many years ago You said if you make a commitment and you stick to it to the end there will be rewards That comes under the heading of faith You still consider yourself a Christian I still consider myself a person who takes the gospel very seriously And I read in them And I'm sometimes shamed by them And sometimes utterly baffled by them But there is a good bit of the gospel that I do get I think I believe I understand it accurately and I'm sticking to that
And I'm hanging on for the parts that I don't understand And You know, willing to endure the shame of falling short as a price of admission All that places a very heavy and exacting obligation on me as a writer A lot of my writing I think has been when it hadn't been in defense of precious things has been the giving of thanks for precious things So that enforces the art What are the precious things that you think are endangered now? It's mighty hard right now to think of anything that's precious that isn't endangered But maybe that's an advantage, the poet William Butler Yates said somewhere Things reveal themselves passing away And it may be that the danger that we've now inflicted upon every precious thing
Reveals the preciousness of it And shows us our duty some of us These people And their friends and allies that now cover the world These people are free to acknowledge the preciousness of the precious things When did you know you were free? And I asked that because of the poem you wrote the piece of wild things You're free when you realize that you're willing to go to the length that's necessary Or then meet your own poet This was a long time ago The piece of wild things When despair for the world grows in me And I wake in the night at the least sound
And fear of what my life and my children's lives may be I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water And the great heron feeds I come into the piece of wild things Who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief I come into the presence of still water And I feel above me the day blind stars waiting with their light For a time I rest in the grace of the world and am free The grace of the world take that a little further for me What? I'm in it in the religious sense People of religious faith Know that the world is maintained every day by the same force that created it
It's an article of my faith in Billy Heath That all creatures live by breathing God's breath and participating in his spirit And this means that the whole thing's holy, the whole shooting match There are no sacred and unsacred places They're only sacred and desecrated places So finally I see those gouges in the surface mine country as desecrations Not just as land abuse Not just as human oppression
But as desecration, as blasphemy Let me read you yes This is you, no amount of fiddling with capitalism to regulate and humanize it Can for long disguise its failure to conserve the wealth and health of nature He wrote it, wasted or degraded soils damaged or destroyed ecosystems Extinction of biodiversity species Whole landscape defaced, gouged, flooded or blown up Faultless squandering of fossil fuels and fossil waters of mindable minerals and ores Natural health and beauty replaced by a heartless and sickening ugliness Perhaps its greatest success is an astounding increase in the destructiveness and therefore the profitability of war
That's as powerful an indictment of the consequences of runaway capitalism as I've ever read And surely if that's happening as we know it is, it takes more than reverence and it takes more than words to try to reverse it What do you say to those people? Say, Wendell, please tell me what I can do All right, well you've put me in the place I'm always winding up in and that is to say, well we've acknowledged that the problems are big now where's the big solution When you ask the question, what is the big answer then you're implying that we can impose the answer But that's the problem we're in to start with, we've tried to impose the answers The answers will come not from walking up to your farm and saying this is what I expect from you
You walk up and you say, what do you need? And you commit yourself to say, all right, I'm not going to do any extensive damage here until I know What it is that you're asking of me And this can't be heard, this is the dreadful situation that young people are in and I think of them and I say, well the situation you're in now is a situation that's going to call for a lot of patience And to be patient and an emergency is a terrible trial Among Wendell various neighbors in Kentucky, young people are taking up that challenge Jonas Hurley is an emergency groomed doctor but he and his wife Julie ought to become full-time farmers We looked for about two years for land, we lived in a neighboring town downtown and just been dying to get some ground under our feet and looked for a couple of years
Found this little parcel of land a few years back We're not certified organic but we don't use any chemicals all of our own animal maneuvers to fertilize the field Moveable fences for the animals, that's key, moveable fences We move our fences around a lot just so the animals have fresh pasture regularly and then they bleed behind what nurtures the field Good rich soil makes good strong plants, good strong plants can fight many many diseases on their own There's netting on the bottom because they will burrow out We're fairly well self-sufficient feeding ourselves and our friends and family, we'd like for it to pay the bills So I can quit my day job and put her here and we'd like for it to help feed good food to our community I say to the young people don't get into this with the idea that you're going to solve all the problems even in your lifetime
The important thing to do is to learn all you can about where you are and if you're going to work there It becomes even more important to learn everything you can about that place to make common calls with that place And then resigning yourself becoming patient enough to work with it over a long time And then what you do is increase the possibility that you'll make a good example And what we're looking for in this is good examples You and Wes Jackson have proposed speaking of patients and part of the answer a 50-year farm bill What is the heart of it?
The heart of it is to recognize that agriculture as we are now practicing it involves a highly destructive ratio between people in land More and more land is being used fairly destructively by fewer and fewer people Use destructively because the funus of the people implies and requires a dependence on more and more mechanical power and more and more toxic chemicals Arthur Young, a farmer whose land is down the road from St. Catherine College, learned for himself what chemicals can do I got to looking around at modern farming and I knew something was not right on my land The water was running off quickly, it was not going in the soil, the land was becoming compacted
And I said, this is not going to work And I just said enough is enough and that's really when I got into this thing of sustainable agriculture See that little pile of dirt that is a worm casting? Very rich in nutrients I'm about my third year without fertilizer Not a lot of synthetic stuff goes on its soil but I know it's getting better because I can see the production and my graces are getting better every year You also recommend taking animals out of their confinement and putting them back in Putting them back on grass where they belong Why? Because in the first place it's wrong for people to mistreat fellow creatures to use them inconsiderately and cruelly Let me say that there is an inescapable cruelty involved in our life
We have to live at the expense of other creatures Don't make any difference how vegetarian we are, we're still displacing other creatures But the rule in using other creatures and I mean plants and animals is to use them with the minimum of violence As you talk, I thought of your poem for the hog killing, would you read that? Alright, this is all about the practical ethics Let them stand still for the bullet and stare the shooter in the eye Let them die while the sound of the shot is in the air Let them die as they fall Let the jugular blood spring hot to the knife Let its fresh it be full Let this day begin again the change of hogs into people not the other way around For today we celebrate again our lives wedding with the world for our hunger by this provisioning we renew the bond
When you and I were born in 1934 there were almost 7 million family farms in this country They're now roughly around 2 million family farms and most of us are further away from the foundations of nature than we've ever been Well there's another tough problem And so you have to look ahead a little bit I don't like to talk about the future very much because it doesn't exist We don't know anything about it But one thing we know right now is that people want to be healthy and to be healthy you have to have a diverse diet And diverse agriculture employs a lot more people than monoculture So you imagine people moving out into the landscape because it'll pay them to do it
It'll be what we now vulgarly call job creation But this will take a lot of patience It'll take a long time Do we have time given what agribusiness is doing? We don't have a right to ask that question We have to ask what's the right thing to do and go ahead and do it And take no thought for the moral Resettling of America means it means putting people on the land enough people on the land to take proper care of it And pay them decently for doing it The fact that we in our families know the history of people having to leave the country because they couldn't make a living there is the history of rural America But that they left because they couldn't make a living is an indictment of our land policies
The idea that you have to go somewhere else, that you have to leave a fertile country in order to make a living is preposterous And it's a result of the wrong idea of what we mean by making a living in the first place To make a living is not to make a killing, it's to have enough What have you seen over a long life that prevents you from being fatally pessimistic? Well, hope and in my work, especially in the essays, I've always been trying to construct or lay out, map out the grounds of a legitimate, authentic hope And if you can find one good example, then you've got the grounds for hope
If you can change yourself, if you can make certain requirements of yourself that you're then able to fulfill, you have a reason for hope Do you think you put yourself in front of the locomotive of history waving your arms and shouting stop? Oh sure, and you can do that very comfortably if you're willing to be run over I suppose I went with my friends to sit in the governor's office because I was willing to be run over Yeah, of course, you can't do that without being willing to be, it's dangerous to do acts of civil disobedience I think once you cross that line, well, something settled, you've got to be contrary But there's a world of pleasure in contraireness, dance, they told me and I stood still
And while they stood quiet in line at the gate of the kingdom, I danced Pray, they said, and I laughed, covering myself in the earth's brightnesses, and then stole off a grey into the midst of a revel and prayed like an orphan When they said, I know that my redeemer lived with, I told him he's dead And when they told me God is dead, I answered, he goes fishing every day in the Kentucky River, I see him often Going against men, I have heard at times a deep harmony, thrumming in the mixture, and when they asked me what, I say I don't know It is not the only or the easiest way to come to the truth, it is one way So as you talked about hope, and I thought of your poem, a poem on hope, if you will, read this
It is hard to have hope, it is harder as you grow old, for hope must not depend on feeling good And there is the dream of loneliness at absolute midnight You also have withdrawn belief in the present reality of the future, which surely will surprise us And hope is harder when it cannot come by prediction, any more than by wishing But stop dithering, the young ask the old to hope, what will you tell them? Tell them at least what you say to yourself Because we have not made our lives to fit our places, the forests are ruined, the fields eroded, the streams polluted, the mountains overturned
Hope, then, to belong to your place by your own knowledge of what it is that no other place is, and by your caring for it, as you care for no other place This knowledge cannot be taken from you by power or by wealth, it will stop your ears to the powerful when they ask for your faith and to the wealthy when they ask for your land and your work Be still and listen to the voices that belong to the stream banks and the trees and the open fields Find your hope then on the ground under your feet, your hope of heaven, let it rest on the ground underfoot
The world is no better than its places, its places at last are no better than their people while their people continue in them When the people make dark, the light within them, the world darkens Wendell Berry, thank you for... You can add clairvoyance to the list of Wendell Berry's many talents. 11 years ago, in an essay for Orion Magazine, he wrote, if we make the world too toxic for honey bees, some compound brain, monsento perhaps, will invent tiny robots that will fly about pollinating flowers and making honey Well believe it or not, this spring, Harvard University announced the first successful control flight of a Robo bee, one that could take the place of real bees and natural pollination
It would be funny if it were not so sad. This past winter, a third of US honey bee colonies died or disappeared in a phenomenon Scientists call colony collapse disorder. More and more, the culprit is believed to be certain pesticides, fungicides and herbicides that may be killing bees are adversely affecting brain and nerve function In April, Europe announced a ban across the continent to prevent the use of a kind of pesticide known as neonicotinoids Activists in the US are suing the EPA to impose a similar ban. The world would be a lesser place without the honey bee. A quarter of our diet depends on their pollinating skills, but we also admire their beauty and grace, observed The environmental writer Bill McKibbin narrates this short film, Dance of the Honey Bee
Let's think about bees in a hive. They go out every day when the temperature is high enough. They're not like other farm animals. They're this weird wonderful cross between wild and domestic And they head out into the open world and they come back as it were with reports about that world, you know, what it's like miles away So one little bee yard someplace is a kind of hub for understanding a whole huge swath of territory Understanding whether it's being farmed well or treated as a kind of monoculture, whether it's being saturated in pesticides or whether it's producing a wide beautiful variety of flowers of all kinds There are sort of accomplices in figuring out how healthy and together our landscapes really are One of the reasons I like being out with bees is that you do sort of slow down and enter their world a little bit
I think they're quite beautiful. I like watching, I confess I like watching the early spring, the first few days of bees coming back with pollen And just sort of looking at the pollen in their saddle bags as they return and seeing what color it is, figuring out where it must have come from, whatever And they're beautiful in that you get a sense of their indefatigability. This is an impossible task to three grains at a time produce enough honey to keep that pollen alive over the winter and yet they do it And there's something quite beautiful about that too I think most beekeepers are fascinated by bees themselves
This perfect example of the idea that humans could cooperate with another species to both of their mutual benefit We don't have very many examples of that in our society, but that's what a bee hive is I mean honey bees are like everything else on our planet under all kinds of dress I mean the world that we jointly inhabit is changing with enormous speed So none of the patterns that any of us are used to exist in the same way anymore These are under threat because landscapes keep changing
It's better at everything we do and take more cuttings of hay, you know, we leave less time for clover to just sit there in the field Life speeding up for them just like it is for us and really neither of us are coping very well with the results So I mean what we can do to help these is exactly the same thing we can do to help ourselves try to slow down the pace of change in the world around us Human societies aren't going to be able to cope with rapid climate change and neither can most animal societies be included Human societies can't cope turning everything into a monoculture and neither can bees There are a remarkable reminder of the need for a certain kind of stability in terms of things like climate And the need for a certain kind of variety in terms of landscape and what's around us We need to be making at this point in our society some wise decisions about the years ahead
And so we need to be using some of that same focused and determined decision-making that these successfully employed over great many more years And now to the people who refused to let democracy work, the people who hate government so much they've shut it down Unable to abide by the results of democracy when they don't win they turned on it Republicans have now lost three successive elections to control the Senate and they've lost the last two presidential elections Nonetheless they fought tooth and nail to kill President Obama's health care initiative They lost that fight but with the corporate wing of Democrats they managed to bend it toward private interests
So we should be clear on this Obama care as it's known is deeply flawed big subsidies to the health insurance industry, a bananza for lobbyists, no public option And as the New York Times reported this week millions of poor are left uncovered by health law Largely because states control by Republicans refused to expand Medicaid As far as our bought and paid for legislative process goes Obama's initiative made it through the sausage factory Yet even after both the House and Senate approved it the President signed it and the Supreme Court upheld it The Republicans keep insisting on calling the law a bill thumbing their noses and refusing to accept that it is enacted legislation And now they're fighting to prevent it from being implemented. Here was their order of the day on Thursday from the popular right wing blog Congressman this is about shutting down Obamacare
Democrats keep talking about our refusal to compromise they don't realize our compromise is defunding Obamacare We actually want to repeal it This is it our endgame is to leave the whole thing shut down until the President defunds Obamacare And if he does not defund Obamacare we leave the whole thing shut down Once upon a time when I was a young man working on Capitol Hill it was commonplace that when a bill became law everybody was unhappy with it But you didn't bring down the government just because it wasn't perfect. You argue and fight and vote and then do process having been at least raggedly served on to the next five That was a long time ago long before the Tea Party minority armed with huge sums of secret money from rich donors sucked the last bit of soul from the grand old party of Abraham Lincoln They became delusional then rabid like this if Obamacare is ever implemented and enforced we will never recover from it
It is an unconstitutional takings of God given American liberty That's false of course just like those right wing talking points that keep grinding through the propaganda mills of Fox News Well thanks to Obamacare doctors will be forced to ask patients about their sex life even if it has nothing to do with the medical treatment that they are seeking at the time Not true That health care plan puts a discount on the lives of elderly people and would result in the redistribution of health away from the elderly in the infirm to other special favored interests and patients Again not true nor is this from the multi-millionaire fabulous Rush Limbaugh What we now have is the biggest tax increase in the history of the world Obamacare is just a massive tax increase that's all it is That's just a tiny sample of the lies and misinformation perpetrated by the right with the song and dance compliance of its richly paid mouthpieces
Sarah Palin set the bar for truth at about ankle height with those fictitious death panels that she still insists will decide our rendezvous with the grim reaper Of course there are death panels in there but the important thing to remember is that's just one aspect of this atrocious, unaffordable cumbersome burdensome evil policy of Obamas and that is Obamacare Despite what they say Obamacare is only one of their targets before they will allow the government to reopen They demand employers be unable to deny birth control coverage to female employees they demand Obamacare on the Keystone pipeline They demand the watchdogs over corporate pollution be muscled and the big bad regulators of Wall Street sent home Their ransom list goes on and on the debt ceiling is next they would have the government default on its obligations and responsibilities When the president refused to buckle to their extortion they threw their tantrum like to die hards of the racist south a century and a half ago who would destroy the union before giving up their slaves
So would these people burn the place down sink the ship of state and so economic chaos to get their way This is it all they even shuttered the Statue of Liberty Watching all this from London the noted commentator Martin Wolf of the capitalist friendly financial times says America flirts with self destruction This man is the biggest flirt of all, Newt Gingrich It was Newt Gingrich who 20 years ago spearheaded the right wing's virulent crusade against the norms of democratic government As speaker of the house he twice brought about shutdowns of the federal government once believe it or not because he felt snubbed after riding on Air Force 1 with President Clinton and had to leave by the back door It was also Newt Gingrich speaker Gingrich who was caught lying to congressional investigators looking in the charges of his ethical wrongdoing
His colleagues voted overwhelmingly 395 to 28 to reprimand him pressure from his own party then prompted him to resign Yet even after his flame out even after his recent bizarre race for the presidency bankrolled with money from admiring oligarchs Even after new allegations about his secret fundraising for right wing candidates Gingrich remains the darling of a falling amnesiac media On CNN dot com the other day he issued a call to arms to his fellow bomb throers Don't cave on shutdown At least let's name this for what it is Sabotage of the democratic process secession by another means And let's be clear about where such reckless ambition leads As surely as night must follow day the alternative to democracy is worse At our website there's an exclusive video interview with environmental activist Bill McKibbin
That and a lot more at I'll see you there and I'll see you here next time Don't wait a week to get more moyers Visit for exclusive blogs essays and video features This episode of moyers and company is available on DVD for 1995 To order call 1-800-336-1917 or write to the address on your screen Funding is provided by Carnegie Corporation of New York Celebrating 100 years of philanthropy and committed to doing real and permanent good in the world
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MOYERS & COMPANY is a weekly series aimed at helping viewers make sense of our tumultuous times through the insight of America's strongest thinkers. The program also features Moyers hallmark essays on democracy.
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In a rare television interview, Bill Moyers profiles Wendell Berry, a passionate advocate, a man of the land and one of America's most influential writers, whose prolific career includes more than forty books of poetry, novels, short stories, and essays. This visionary, author - and farmer - discusses a sensible, but no-compromise plan to save the Earth. He's become an outspoken advocate for revolution and urges immediate action as he mourns how America has turned its back on the land and rejected Jeffersonian principles of respect for the environment and sustainable agriculture. Berry warns, "People who own the world outright for profit will have to be stopped; by influence, by power, by us." This one-on-one conversation was taped at a two-day celebration of Wendell Berry's life and ideas and marks the 35th anniversary of the publication of his landmark book, THE UNSETTLING OF AMERICA.
Segment Description
Bill Moyers shares filmmaker Peter Nelson’s short documentary DANCE OF THE HONEY BEE, narrated by Bill McKibben. The film takes a look at the determined, beautiful and vital role honey bees play in preserving life, as well as the threats bees face from a rapidly changing landscape.
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And, a Bill Moyers essay on the Sabotage of Democracy.
Segment Description
Credits: Producers: Gail Ablow, Jessica Wang, Gina Kim, Candace White, Julia Conley; Writers: Michael Winship, Bill Moyers; Line Producer: Ismael Gonzalez; Editors: Paul Henry Desjarlais, Rob Kuhns, Sikay Tang; Creative Director: Dale Robbins; Music: Jamie Lawrence; Director: Adam Walker, Elvin Badger; Associate Producers: Katia Maguire; Lena Shemel, Rob Booth, Reniqua Allen; Production Coordinator: Alexis Pancrazi, Helen Silfven; Production Assistants: Myles Allen, Erika Howard; Sean Ellis; Executive Producers: Sally Roy, Judy Doctoroff O’Neill; Executive Editor: Judith Davidson Moyers
Segment Description
Additional credits: Producers: Tom Casciato, Kathleen Hughes, Elena Mannes, Peter Nelson; Writers: Tom Casciato; Associate Producers: Lisa Macomber; Production Manager: Felice Firestone; Editor: Donna Marino, Scott Greenhaw, Daniel Baer
Broadcast Date
Asset type
Talk Show
Copyright Holder: Doctoroff Media Group LLC
Media type
Moving Image
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Public Affairs Television & Doctoroff Media Group
Identifier: cpb-aacip-4ce8d2f12b4 (Filename)
Format: LTO-5
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Chicago: “Moyers & Company; 239; Wendell Berry, Poet & Prophet,” 2013-10-04, Public Affairs Television & Doctoroff Media Group, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 1, 2023,
MLA: “Moyers & Company; 239; Wendell Berry, Poet & Prophet.” 2013-10-04. Public Affairs Television & Doctoroff Media Group, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 1, 2023. <>.
APA: Moyers & Company; 239; Wendell Berry, Poet & Prophet. Boston, MA: Public Affairs Television & Doctoroff Media Group, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from
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