There seems to be an increasing polarization between “left” and “right,” or between “liberals” and “conservatives.” Very few people are aware of the fact that the Just Third Way has the potential to attain liberal goals without violating conservative principles:
Friday, July 21, 2017
Thursday, July 20, 2017
Yesterday we looked at the complaint of a “distributist economist” whom we are calling “Tom Steele,” who claims that workers purchasing a company on credit can never repay the loan principal because all earnings go to pay the interest. There are a few things wrong with that claim (like everything), but Steele’s associate, whom we are calling “John Wide,” made a few statements about ESOPs that are not, strictly speaking, accurate. We promised to look into those “alternative facts” today.
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
A couple of weeks ago, we got a request for help from a member of the CESJ “Board of Counselors,” the advisory board of the interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice. The Counselor, a Catholic “permanent deacon” (whom we shall call “Deacon John”), had gotten into a discussion with a former member of the CESJ Board of Counselors and an associate of the former Counselor. The former Counselor had withdrawn from the organization after making a number of unsubstantiated claims concerning various individuals in general, and the Just Third Way in particular,.
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
In The Quiet Man (1952)) — one of the greatest films of all time . . . except when Knute Rockne, All American (1940) is showing — one of the minor characters arguing with another (“Mister Maloney”) tries to clinch it by saying, “If you knew your country’s history as well as you claim to know it, you’d know that,” etc.
Monday, July 17, 2017
Some people in the nineteenth century considered Orestes Brownson a bit of a crank. He kept insisting that he wanted to know what was true, not what was convenient, expedient, or popular. That creates a bit of a problem when what you come to believe is true is inconvenient, not very expedient, or unpopular, especially when it annoys other people who don’t care to be reminded that truth is always true and prefer to go with opinions, preferably their own.
Friday, July 14, 2017
Bastille Day! We’d say “Happy Bastille Day!” but some people in France still think the French Revolution might not have been the best way to go, but it was significant, and it is important, even if we can’t give it wholehearted and enthusiastic support. Like anything, even (or especially) the American Revolution and U.S. Constitution, it could have been better, so let’s just celebrate it for what it was supposed to mean, not for any mistakes people might have made. Besides, we can’t be down on revolutions per se since the Just Third Way is (in a peaceful way) more earthshaking than the American and French Revolutions combined:
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Before his conversion to Catholicism in 1844, Orestes A. Brownson (1803-1876) was a supporter of the socialist ideas of Henri de Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier, the Abbé Félicité de Lamennais, and many of their disciples. These included Pierre Leroux, whose work Brownson during his socialist phase greatly admired. (Butler, In Search of the American Spirit, op. cit., 88-89.) No one in the United States, therefore, was more alert to the dangers of all forms of socialism, or their seductive power over the minds of people, than he. (Ibid., 116-162.)
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Last Friday’s “News from the Network” excited a bit of a controversy among Catholic socialists — evidently not an oxymoron, despite Pope Pius XI’s statement in § 120 of Quadragesimo Anno that, “Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.”
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Yesterday we looked at what many people in power (both politically and financially) think of as “tax reform.” We discovered that there is a big problem when you’re trying to reform the labyrinthine tax code — it doesn’t matter which country, pretty near every one of them is a complete mess.
Monday, July 10, 2017
According to an article in last week’s Wall Street Journal, “America Once Led the World on Tax Reform” (07/06/17, A15), America once, er, led the world on tax reform. This is actually kind of meaningless, because what the author of the piece talked about was the fiddling with the Internal Revenue Code under President Reagan, not the more fundamental issues addressed by the Continental Congress under President (of the Continental Congress) John Hancock.
Friday, July 7, 2017
Things are heating up around the world with respect to problems that could be solved by applying the principles of the Just Third Way. Everywhere, from North Korea to England, we see the growth of State power and its intrusion into every aspect of life . . . and death. College students are tortured to death for stealing a piece of paper, infants are sentenced to death because the State has determined their lives can’t be saved and wouldn’t be worth living even if they could, and millions more infants are killed simply because they are inconvenient or might become so. It’s not a question of whether we need the Just Third Way, but how badly we need it:
Thursday, July 6, 2017
According to Reuters news service, Nestlé, the chocolate maker, has announced a buyback of its outstanding shares of up to 20 billion Swiss francs (cir. $20.79 billion) over the next three years. How much they actually buy back will depend on market conditions, share price, and so on.
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
On Monday we looked at how the wage system operated in nineteenth century America prior to the Civil War. We noted that when times were good and workers in demand, wages tended to rise. When times were bad and workers had to take what they could get, wages tended to fall. We concluded that trying to induce prosperity by raising wages puts the cart before the horse; high wages don’t bring prosperity, prosperity brings high wages.
Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Monday, July 3, 2017
We had last Thursday’s posting on the minimum wage hike in Seattle in mind while doing some research into early nineteenth century socialism, especially the varieties promoted by Henri de Saint-Simon, Félicité de Lamennais, and Charles Fourier. All three claimed their systems were either a new version of Christianity, or replaced Christianity, whatever best suited their purposes.
Friday, June 30, 2017
While world leaders seem to flail about with no idea what to do about world problems — or, worse, know exactly what to do to gather ever-increasing amounts of power into their own hands — we have been seeing signs that word of the Just Third Way is starting to spread. Recently we had a number of people remark to us that were it not for CESJ and the Just Third Way, they would have given up hope. And there are some good things not only to hope for, but to work for:
Thursday, June 29, 2017
Back in the eighteenth century the Good Doctor, Samuel Johnson, chastised his Boswell . . . who happened to be James Boswell . . . for ostentatiously giving a gratuity of one shilling (12 pence) for a service for which the customary remuneration was 6 pence. If memory serves, it was the tip to a porter for helping hand down passengers’ baggage from a coach.
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Are encyclicals getting too long? And is anybody reading (or understanding) them? Judging from all the acrimony over, say Amoris Laetitia (not technically an encyclical, but we’re making a point here), the answer is “no.” The longer and wordier encyclicals get, the less impact they seem to have. The message(s) tend(s) to get lost in all the explanations and qualifications.
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
A few days ago someone commented concerning Gregory XVI’s Singulari Nos, “On the Errors of Lamennais,” at a little over fifteen hundred words, “Man, encyclicals used to be so short!” Yet the same pope’s Mirari Vos, “On Liberalism and Religious Indifferentism” — arguably the first “social encyclical” — from two years earlier, clocks in at a little over four thousand words in the English version, leaving Singulari Nos in the dust.
Monday, June 26, 2017
Today we present our “Man Bites Dog” feature: what happened when Pope Gregory XVI in the encyclical Mirari Vos corrected the hero of our story, the Abbé de Lamennais. Some authorities consider de Lamennais the forerunner of liberal or social Catholicism (see, e.g., J.W. Burrow, The Crisis of Reason: European Thought, 1848-1914. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2000, 225-226).
Friday, June 23, 2017
This past week we’ve probably been finding out more about the history of social justice and the way the term was coopted by the socialists, modernists, and New Agers than we really want to know, but that we need to know. And there have been a few more recent events as well —
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Yesterday we looked at the errors made by the Abbé Hugues Félicité Robert de Lamennais and why they were wrong. This is important because the errors de Lamennais made eventually became the foundation of what many people think is authentic Catholic social teaching — and they are wrong.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
|Joseph-Marie comte de Maistre|
Yesterday we looked at the Abbé Hugues Félicité Robert de Lamennais’s rather one-sided notion of the separation of Church and State: that the State must not attempt to control the Church, but that the Church must have complete control of the State. De Lamennais’s ideal society was a democratic theocracy, in contrast to the theory of Joseph-Marie comte de Maistre (1753-1821) that the ideal society was a monarchic theocracy. . . .
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Yesterday we looked at the Catholic Church’s condemnation of “freedom of conscience” . . . which sounds pretty shocking until you find out that “freedom of conscience” as it was being used when Pope Gregory XVI condemned it had about as much to do with religious freedom as “free love” had to do with marriage and family, or “free thinking” had to do with reason. “Free” was just a good-sounding word to stick in front of something to hide its real meaning.