Wendell Berry

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What is a summary of "Manifesto: the Mad Farmer Liberation Front" by Wendell Berry? What is the social commentary in the poem?

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In "Manifesto: the Mad Farmer Liberation Front," Wendell Berry asks people to "denounce the government and embrace the flag," meaning live by the constitution that made the country great rather than the current leaders that are destroying it.

It starts in a sarcastic tone when he suggests that we should "love the quick profit" and ignore our neighbor. He turns this on its head when he states "every day do something that won’t compute"—believe in God, embrace people, work for nothing, and don't live for money. Instead live for the "free republic" for which America stands.

Give your approval to all you cannot

understand. Praise ignorance, for what man

has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.

Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.

One thing that comes across strongly is the suggestion that we should learn to find joy and laughter in everything we do. It's ok to be happy as long we are not hurting anyone to achieve it.

Though he calls on women—"please women more than men"—not to go for what he calls the cheap option of power, he calls for men to help maintain a woman's interest in life and suggests they take their love to the field and swear their allegiance to them.

The poem ends with Berry saying that as soon as the powers start to sniff out what you're doing leave as a fox would do and don't leave any signs that you were ever there, apart from signs of misdirection. When they are gone you can go back and continue your lives. Or as Berry says, "practice resurrection."

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