I heartily accept the motto, “That government is best which governs least,” and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe — “That government is best which governs not at all” — and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. The objections which have been brought against a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought against a standing government. The standing army is only an arm of the standing government. The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for, in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure.
I would like to speak more precisely than I have before of the connections that join people, land, and community — to describe, for example, the best human use of a problematical hillside farm. In a healthy culture, these connections are complex. The industrial economy breaks them down by over-simplifying them, and in the process raises obstacles that make it hard for us to see what the connections are or ought to be.
April had been chilly and stormy this year, so on the first day that truly felt like spring, I was happy to go outdoors in the gentle sunshine to work in my garden. After a long winter under my low, dark roof, it lightened me to see young leaves arching in airy layers overhead. I often paused in my digging to look up through them to the newborn blue sky beyond.