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Kirkpatrick Sale Intvw Transcript: on Small vs Big, Decentralization, Secession, Domination

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Originally Published on OpEdNews

This is the first half of a two part transcript of the podcast interview which can be found here. Thanks to Dick Overfield for help with transcript checking.

R.K.: My guest tonight is Kirkpatrick Sale. He is the author of a dozen books including After Eden: The evolution of Human Domination, Human Scale and Rebels Against the Future: The Luddites and Their War on the Industrial Revolution. He's the director of the Middlebury Institute for the study of separation, secession, and self-determination. Welcome to the show.

K.S.: Well thank you, sir.

R.K.: So, as I was telling you before we got on the air, I discovered you because I recently read E. F. Schumacher's book, Small is Beautiful, then I found out that you had given a talk at a conference on decentralization, on decentralism, and that got me started looking at your work and it's all very interesting and powerful stuff. So I'm not sure where to begin but...


K.S.: Well, thank you.

R.K.: You gave me the clue and that is that I wrote to you and I said that I do this show called Bottom Up Radio because I believe we're in a transition from a top down to a bottom up culture and you said you disagree with me. Which is always fun and forces me to think in new ways. So. why do you disagree?

K.S.: I don't think we're achieving it. I think it's one of those lofty goals that people have from time to time, but it doesn't seem to me to be happening. In fact, most of the things that I have been supporting for most of my seventy-five years have not gotten anywhere either, including protecting the environment and decentralism.

You know we established a Schumacher Institute in Massachusetts that was devoted to decentralization and getting people to talk about it and think about it and to write about it which we did for about twenty years and there is a rump organization, a Schumacher society of some kind still going on with some of the original people, but it's just spinning its wheels.

And I have to say that seems to me... what I have learned in a fairly long life, I haven't given up on any of the causes that I've taken on but I can't say that I won them, or that the world has gotten significantly better. I would say, for example, in the environmental area that the world has gotten significantly worse and, though much attention is drawn and much alarm is being raised, I don't see that it's having any effect in the world. Alas.

R.K.: It is tough out there and things are hard and I'm not going to argue with you that probably over the course of your lifetime things have gotten a lot worse in many, many ways, maybe all ways. But you're still fighting, I'm fighting and a lot of people are and I think that what we need to do is keep putting the ideas out there and maybe some of them will stick and maybe some people will wake up and you never know. You know? Howard Zinn and Woody Guthrie...

K.S.: And you're right...

R.K.: There are a million people, a million things that are going to change the world, so go ahead.

K.S.: I keep writing because that's the thing I do. And there are occasional times when it seems to me that things are so obviously awful that people will wake up and start thinking about the things that I am telling them. That's why I wrote a column for the local paper in January called, "After this Year," meaning take a look at what's happened this year and you can see that the government isn't working and the reason the government isn't working is that it's too big and so then I went through a long spiel about why we needed decentralization and devolution of power and separatism and secession and self-determination.

And that is what I have devoted my life to in one way or another for fifty years. And I'm continuing to do it because every now and again I think that things have reached such a low point that everybody has got to understand that we can't go on with this. But does that happen? No. People go on electing people to some office and think that they're going to change the world.

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Rob Kall is executive editor, publisher and website architect of, Host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show (WNJC 1360 AM), and publisher of, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor . He is also published regularly on the

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