And they serve also to deflate another of the New Agrarians' convictions: that technological advance would be a more or less unmitigated boon for agrarianism.
The New Agrarian Mind: The Movement Toward Decentralist Thought in Twentieth-Century America, by Allan Carlson, New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction, 2000.
Many of the American Founders, likewise, acutely aware of classical precedents, preferred the independence and virtue of an agrarian population schooled in pietas to the landless, degenerate mob whose instability and venality came to haunt ancient Rome.
In The New Agrarian Mind, Allan Carlson, who has written prolifically and with insight on issues relating to the family, surveys a series of agrarian thinkers spanning the twentieth century, beginning with Liberty Hyde Bailey and concluding with present-day author Wendell Berry.
As such, and like the southern agrarians he defends, Duncan opens himself to strong criticism.
Finally, Duncan also overstates the "daring" of the agrarians in calling for a unique southern tradition and for demanding northern respect for the South.
No discussion of the agrarians can be complete without examining their positions on race.
This attempt to retrieve the ideas of the southern agrarians faces a final challenge.
Chesterton and Hillaire Belloc, which the Agrarians found sufficiently congenial that they invited some distributists to contribute to their second manifesto, Who Owns America?
For he is scrupulous in this regard: though he clearly likes the Agrarians and firmly rejects the standard dismissals of them as nostalgics or near-fascists, he is also quite blunt in naming their real failings, particularly the vast blind spot which afflicted most of them when the issue of race arose.
He tells his story well, knows his material thoroughly, and treats the Agrarians with a respect which they deserve and don't always get.