Donut Age: America's Donut Magazine

Provincialism the enemy

Careful readers of Donut Age (if they exist outside of my own ego fantasies) may have noticed that I've pretty much avoided posts about current politics ever since the election. I'm not exactly sulking, but after my flurry of outrage last spring, I've made a somewhat conscious decision to back off the current events commentaries. For one thing, there are plenty of political bloggers out there who are more skilled and knowledgeable than I. For another, it's exhausting, mentally and emotionally, to keep up with the seemingly constant parade of outrages being perpetrated these days in the name of "democracy." I have long since reached the saturation point when it comes to these matters. Simply put, it was only making me angry and frustrated to chronicle American stupidity and hypocrisy.

Besides, why put effort into a carefully constructed political diatribe, when Ezra Pound had the foresight to do it for me over 80 years ago? For example, Pound's series of essays for The New Age in the summer of 1917, "Provincialism the Enemy," provides a startlingly accurate diagnosis our current cultural milieu:

Provincialism consists in two parts:
(a) An ignorance of the manners, customs and nature of people living outside one's village, parish, or nation.
(b) A desire to coerce others into uniformity....
Provincialism is more than an ignorance, it is ignorance plus a lust after uniformity. It is a latent malevolence, often an active malevolence. The odium theologicum is is only one phase of it. It is very insidious, even with eyes open, one can scarcely keep free of it.
( Pound, 'Provincialism the Enemy (I),' The New Age (12 July 1917). Rpt. in Selected Prose: 1909-1965, pp. 159-60. )
To be fair, and this is Pound's point as well, liberals can be guilty of this same combination of narrow-mindedness and hubris, but the above is more or less an capsule summary of the conservative agenda for both foreign and domestic affairs. Incidentally, the whole series is well worth reading, especially if you like blistering critiques of American higher education (and, really, who doesn't?). Perhaps I'll post some more excerpts in the future.