The Slow, Steady Course
“We live in unprecedented times and need to take unprecedented measures.” I don’t know how many times I have heard this in the last two or three months. I know it is true, but I sure would like to go back to life before Covid-19. I know it’s wishful thinking, and soon we will be back to the new normal, whatever that will be. However, in the meantime things sure are unsettled.
We see that unease in agriculture too, and it worries me. One good thing is I think we have the general public’s attention. There are some cracks in our food supply chain and consumers realize that agriculture cannot be taken for granted. That is good. We can do some good when it comes to the public’s awareness of where food on grocery store shelves comes from. But only if we do it in the right way.
We must think our actions through. If this pandemic has taught us anything it is that actions this minute can cause unintended consequences.
English writer G. K. Chesterton summed up the desire to make such changes in 1929 when he wrote, “There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, ‘I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.’ To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: ‘If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”
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