Doug Bruns

Be Local. Be moral.

In Life, The Examined Life on June 28, 2012 at 6:00 am

We have a strong “Buy Local” movement here in Portland. I support the effort. If possible, I spend my dollars within walking distance of home. It is how I invest in my community. It’s like attending to a garden in your front yard. You water it and nurture it. It makes home a better place. I will even pay more if need be, it is that important. A neighbor recently confessed that he buys his books at Amazon, even though his close friend is co-owner of Longfellow Books, our local indie bookstore. He claims to be “too tight-fisted a yankee” to do otherwise. He has crossed a bridge to a dry land devoid of ethics and morals.

The web page for our local movement includes the Top 10 Reasons to Buy Local. They are:

  1. Keep dollars in Portland’s economy
  2. Embrace what makes Portland unique
  3. Foster local job creation
  4. Help the environment
  5. Nurture community
  6. Conserve your tax dollars
  7. Have more choices
  8. Benefit from local owner’s expertise
  9. Preserve entrepreneurship
  10. Ensure Portland stands out from the crowd

This was lost on me prior to moving to Portland. It is difficult in the land of big-box chain stores and scraped-earth retail to appreciate what local–even what community–means. But that was then, an unenlightened time. I now realize that it’s a social pragmatism, informing members of a community, where one finds the only rational basis for moral behavior. (Nietzsche said that “Every true faith is infallible, if it accomplishes what the person holding the faith hopes to find in it.” )

* * *

It is not silly to personalize the list above. Let us consider:

  1. Make your efforts local first
  2. Embrace and nurture a personal uniqueness
  3. Foster creativity (in yourself and in others)
  4. Help the environment
  5. Nurture community
  6. Conserve
  7. Make good choices, based on a personal ideal
  8. Practice expertise (“Become who you are.”)
  9. Practice entrepreneurship. (An entrepreneur is someone who possesses a new idea.)
  10. Escape the herd. Be an individual.

Pardon me if I sound evangelical. These are the tenets of my religion and this morning I am a missionary.

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  1. A noble position.

    (Buying local, that is.)

I welcome your comments. Thanks for reading.

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