“If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.”
— Martin Luther ‡
For all my talk about local economy for Chattanooga — and that of your hometown — a fair question: How good is your local economy at home?
How solid is the local economy of the societal building block of which I am head — the family named Tulis? Is my heart involved in the program of exploring and promoting the refreshing ideas of personal economy, faithful Christian living and service?
Or is local economy merely an intellectual and philosophical pursuit?
Now, mention of my heart is not a reference to me or my soul. The heart of any family is the wife and the mother of the children. So while the head is in the clouds of liberty, free markets, journalism and reading, where’s the heart? In my household, are the goals of each organ compatible?
‘You can’t be a gentleman writer’
As I suggested earlier, my pursuit of the minority argument — on the Internet — with a local subject — and for a local audience — seems truly like the program of an ill-advised dreamer, a pseudo-entrepreneur who can theorize about economics but not practice it in a dog-eat-dog business world.
The dilemma seems insurmountable. A man writes, expecting no reward from his readers. Third parties might pay him if he can create enough of a platform to become a meeting place for like-minded people. His living is indirect, oblique. It requires scale. He has to be a person of quality and do more than spout opinions. He has to view himself as an artist, maybe a minister, in search of patrons.
Jeannette, the heart, feels an occasional murmur about my work. God has given her much forbearance as a wife. She has many of her own things to occupy her. She’s a homeschool mom. She works a few hours a week in the dietetic field, giving advice for healthy living to patients in a hospital. She’s bringing in wages — I’m investing in an idea. She economizes, scrimps meals, clips the Wednesday Publix coupon and prints other gotchas. I drive into town for interviews and keep a record of mileage.
She looks at me incomprehendingly. My change of vocation from a paid newspaper editor to “writer on the Internet” is more than she had bargained for in marrying me. This venture is worse for her than my court case against Republican-controlled bureaucrats who imposed demands against me ultra vires, outside their grants of authority. How can I succeed in a field where thousands of websites are created every day — tens of thousands of blogs? “You can’t just continue to think of yourself as a gentleman writer,” she insists. “What is the end point?”
Connecting 2 of life’s essentials to you
Fair question. It has been given to me to explore the themes encapsulated by lococentrism in general and Noogacentrism in particular. It’s up to me, the head, to make these labors profitable for you and for me.
Certainly there are better writers to read, and more important websites — say, economist Gary North, whose work appears at Lewrockwell.com. These are far more valuable and more important than my work. I refer you to them.
Still, I am here, and they are not. I am the man with whom you can enjoy a coffee with any Friday morning in Chattanooga. They are available only at their very best — in their texts. I am available at my best, too — in print; but also in person, downtown, at a meeting, on a local talk show, perhaps wearing an ill-chosen necktie and failing to have noted a flick of shaving cream on an earlobe. In person, really not so interesting. But sympathetic, the faulty soul who reads the same newspaper as do you.
Provincialism is a celebration of two things that delight every thankful Christian: The physical world and time itself, both elements of God’s creation. Provincialism is a happy acceptance of God’s providence in your life, that you celebrate and enjoy the place where God put you not because it is beautiful, lush or cultured — but because you are there. Provincialism and localism are, as an idea, a way to enjoy God’s providence in time and space.
Your contentment in being where you are in the world contains a happy germ. Part of this conception of provincialism is loving and celebrating (if you are a man) the wife of your youth, and being content with her. The contentment with which you enjoy your wife shares the content you have with your lot at the office, with your wages, with your second-rate house and a 1992 U.S.-made car, with your children who aren’t as ambitious or as hard working as they should. Provincialism and humanism are, as G.K. Chesterton so wonderfully explores it, thinking that the old crone who lives next door is an important person, and cherishing her. It is celebrating slight, ordinary conversations with a stranger, or the duty to a child or a parent.
Provincialism is more enjoyable if it is more self-conscious. If you are a reader of the Bible and good literature, you are more likely to have an informed provincialism, an educated localism, and be able to enjoy your life more fully.
Lococentrism is a lens through which to compress the flow of political and cultural news and for its narrowness the concept speeds up one’s understanding, as water rushing through a garden hose nozzle is accelerated by compression.
The blows aimed at my breast
My task on this website is to get you to come along with me in my interviews, my readings, my ruminations and my convictions. I don’t intend this website to be about me personally. It’s about ideas — ideas that have already changed the world for God’s glory, and will continue to bring vitality to men and nations through the simple truths of Christianity.
My heart, the head of local economy at home, Jeannette, is concerned about the living I want to make. Of course I am right, of course I am a good writer, and so on. She admits the particulars of my gifts, but fears the impracticality of the main errand — my commitment to not be employed by a newspaper, a PR firm, a publisher, or an Internet scriptorium or “content farm.”
To the fears I am driving myself into the poorhouse, I offer only a genuine confidence in God, and a genuine confidence that the arguments of Nooganomics.com cover the essentials profitably and rewardingly. In matters of faith, economics, capitalism, service, worship, literature, I am confident that I am well fattened by the goodness of God. Given I am blessed, it is time to take the blows into my breast, and simply absorb them and not count the cost if I can do that for which I am best suited.
Please, put my work into the breach
I hope Nooganomics.com will help connect me with you my reader, and then eventually with advertisers and other local people. If you think my mix of arguments are worth supporting, I would strongly urge you to spend time wandering my website, link to me on Facebook, send links of my texts to friends and your dad, urging them to subscribe to Nooganomics and celebrate its central idea. Have them help me with story ideas and potential helpful contacts in the way of advertisers or grant givers. Help me to see some progress.
So huge is the Internet that I cannot even give away advertising space, though the average local reader spends nine minutes here per visit — a long time by Internet standards. I thank you for your interest in my work. Thank you for being confident in Nooganomics and for coming back. I wish you and your family a blessed Lord’s Day.
‡ Thanks to George Grant in posting this quote.