I write, as I must, from the point of view of a country person, a member of a small rural community that has been dwindling rapidly since the end of World War II. Only the most fantastical optimism could ignore the possibility that my community is doomed–that is was doomed by the overwhelming victory of industrialism over agrarianism (both North and South) in the Civil War and the history both subsequent and consequent to it.  It may be that my community–its economy, its faith, its local knowledge, its affection for itself and its place–will dwindle on for another generation or two and then disappear to be replaced by a commuters’ suburb.  If it is doomed, then I have no doubt that much else is doomed also, for I cannot see how a nation, a society, or a civilization can live while its communities die.

Wendell Berry
From “Private Property and the Common Wealth” (1995)