Kirkpatrick Sale

Kirkpatrick Sale

Kirkpatrick Sale (Ithaca, New York 1937) is an independent scholar and author who has written prolifically on environmentalism, technology and political decentralism. He has been described as "a leader of the Neo-Luddites"Kevin Kelly, [ Interview with the Luddite] , Wired Magazine, 1995.] and "the theoretician for a new secessionist movement."Peter Applebombe, [ A Vision of a Nation No Longer in the U.S.] , New York Times, October 18, 2007.]

Life and Work

Sale graduated from Cornell University, majoring in history, in 1958. [ Richard and Mimi Farina "fan site"] .] [ Thinkquest Bioraphy Kirkpatrick Sale] .] He served as editor of the student-owned and managed newspaper, the Cornell Daily Sun. Sale was one of the leaders of the May 23, 1958 protest against university policies forbidding male and female students fraternizing and its "in loco parentis" policy. Sale and his friend and roommate Richard Farina, and three others, were charged by Cornell. The protest was described in Farina's 1966 novel, "Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me.

Upon graduation, Sale married Faith Apfelbaum (Cornell, 1958) who later worked as an editor with Thomas Pynchon, Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Heller and Amy Tan. She died in 1999. [Bruce Weber, [ Obituary: Faith Sale, 63, a Fiction Editor Known as a Writers' Advocate] , New York Times, December 13, 1999.]

Sale worked initially in journalism for the leftist journal, New Leader and the New York Times Magazine, before becoming a freelance journalist. He spent time in, and wrote his first book about, Ghana. His second book, "SDS", was about the radical 1960s group Students for a Democratic Society. Subsequent books explored radical decentralism, bioregionalism, environmentalism, the Luddites and similar themes. He has continued to write for publications like The Nation, Counterpunch, The New York Review of Books, Utne Reader and Mother Jones.

ecessionist Activism

In 2004 Sale, working with members of the Second Vermont Republic, formed the [ Middlebury Institute] which is dedicated to the study of separatism, secession, and self-determination. Sale is director of the institute. In 2006 Middlebury sponsored the [ First North American Secessionist Convention] , which attracted 40 participants from 16 secessionist organizations, and was described as the first gathering of secessionists since the Civil War. Delegates issued a statement of principles of secession which they presented as [ The Burlington Declaration.] Sale was interviewed by the "New York Times" in October 2007 regarding the [ Second North American Secessionist Convention] , co-hosted by the Middlebury Institute. Sale told the interviewer: “The virtue of small government is that the mistakes are small as well...If you want to leave a nation you think is corrupt, inefficient, militaristic, oppressive, repressive, but you don’t want to move to Canada or France, what do you do? Well, the way is through secession, where you could stay home and be where you want to be.” ["The New York Times", October 18, 2007.] The convention received worldwide media attention. Bill Poovey, [ Secessionists Meeting in Tennessee] , Associated Press, October 3, 2007.] Leonard Doyle, [ Anger over Iraq and Bush prompts calls for secession from the US] , Independent, UK, October 4, 2007.] [ [ WDEF News 12 Video report on Secessionist Convention] , October 3, 2007.]


In 1995, Sale made a public bet with Kevin Kelly that by the year 2020, there would be a convergence of three disasters: Global currency collapse, significant warfare between rich and poor, and environmental disasters of some significant size. The bet was turned into a claim on the FX prediction market, where the probability has hovered around 25%. [ [ FX Claim NLud ] ]

In his 1990 book "The Conquest of Paradise: Christopher Columbus and the Columbian Legacy," Sale argued that Christopher Columbus was an imperialist bent on conquest from his first voyage. In a New York Times book review historian and Christopher Columbus Quincentenary Jubilee Committee member William H. McNeill wrote about Sale: "he has set out to destroy the heroic image that earlier writers have transmitted to us. Mr. Sale makes Columbus out to be cruel, greedy and incompetent (even as a sailor), and a man who was perversely intent on abusing the natural paradise on which he intruded." [William H. McNeill, [ Review of Kirkpatrick Sale's "The Conquest of Paradise"] , New York Times, October 7, 1990.] The book "Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in American History" presents a debate between Sale and Robert Royal, vice president for research at the Ethics and Public Policy Center who insisted that Columbus was a courageous risk-taker who advanced knowledge about other parts of the world. [Larry Madaras, James M. SoRelle, " [ Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in American History] ", McGraw-Hill/Dushkin, 2002.]

Sale has described personal computers as "the devil's work" and in the past opened personal appearances by smashing one. During promotion of his 1995 book "Rebels Against the Future: The Luddites and Their War on the Industrial Revolution" Sale debated Newsweek Magazine senior editor and technology columnist Steven Levy "about the relative merits of the communications age." [ [ Kirkpatrick Sale-Steven Levy Debate At New Jersey Institute of Technology Will Address Merits of Technology] , February 1998.] However, Sale currently uses a computer in his secessionist organizing.

News stories about the [ Second North American Secessionist Convention] , co-sponsored by Sale's Middlebury Institute, mentioned the controversial Southern Poverty Law Center's allegations that the other co-sponsor, The League of the South, was a "racist hate group." Sale responded: "They call everybody racists. There are, no doubt, racists in the League of the South, and there are, no doubt, racists everywhere." The Southern Poverty Law Center later criticized the New York Times' October 2007 Peter Applebombe interview of Sale for not covering its allegations. [Mark Potok, [ New York Times Feature on Sale Left Out a Fact or Two] , October 23, 2007.]


* "After Eden: The Evolution of Human Domination", Duke University Press, 2006. ISBN 978-0-8223-3938-0
* "The Fire of His Genius: Robert Fulton and the American Dream," Free Press, 2001.
* "Why the Sea Is Salt: Poems of Love and Loss", iuniverse, 2001.
* "Rebels Against the Future: The Luddites and Their War on the Industrial Revolution: Lessons for the Computer Age," Addison Wesley, 1995.
* "The Green Revolution: The American Environmental Movement, 1962-1992," Hill and Wang, 1993.
* "The Conquest of Paradise: Christopher Columbus and the Columbian Legacy," Knopf, 1990.
* "Dwellers in the Land: The Bioregional Vision". San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1985. ISBN 0-87156-847-0
* "Human Scale". New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1980. ISBN 0-698-11013-7
* "Power Shift: The Rise of the Southern Rim and Its Challenge to the Eastern Establishment". New York: Random House, 1975.
* "SDS," Random House, 1973. Vintage Books edition (paperback) 1974. ISBN 0394478894
* "The Land and People of Ghana", Lippincott, 1963, 1972.

Writings on-line

* [ links Sale articles as updated] at Middlebury Institute, including "Breakdown of Nations," "Small Is Powerful," "Lessons of 9/11," "Things Fall Apart," "Seeing Red - and Seeing Blue," "The Case for American Secession," as well as videos featuring Sale.
* Sale contribution in The American Conservative magazine to the topic [ What is Left? What is Right? Does it matter?] , August 28, 2006.
* [ Blue State Secession] , The Nation, December 13, 2005.
* [ Imperial Entropy: Collapse of the American Empire] , Counterpunch, February 22, 2005.
* [ An End to the Israel Experiment? Unmaking a Grievous Error An End to the Israeli Experiment? Unmaking a Grievous Error] , Counterpunch, March 3, 2003.
* [ the Fire of His Genius, Robert Fulton and the American Dream] , summary and first chapter of Sale’s book.
* [ Unabomber's Secret Treatise: Is There Method In His Madness?] , printed at Electronic Frontier Foundation web site.
* [ The Imposition of Technology]
* [ Five Facets of a Myth]
* [ An Overview of Decentralism] , Keynote Remarks at E. F. Schumacher Society Decentralist Conference, June 28-30, 1996.
* [ The Columbian Legacy and the Ecosterian Response] , E. F. Schumacher Society Third Annual Lecture, October 1990.
* [ Mother of All: An Introduction to Bioregionalism] , E. F. Schumacher Society Third Annual Lecture, October 1983.


* [ Interview on Luddism at]
* [ Luddism in the New Millennium, David Kupfer interview]
* [ Kevin Kelly interview (WiReD)] , 2004.
* [ The Bioregionalist Vision, Julie A. Wortman interview]
* [ Apostle of Catosptrophe, Derek Turner interview] , Quarterly Review, 2007 (PDF).
* [ A Vision of a Nation No Longer in the U.S., Peter Applebaum interview] , New York Times, 2007.


ee also

* Simple living
* Secession
* Bioregionalism
* Decentralization
* Human scale

External links

* [ Prof. Martin Ryder's page on Luddites and neo-Luddites with information on Kirkpatrick Sale]

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