• We sent a mass e-mailing to every member of the Althing, the Icelandic parliament, this week regarding Capital Homesteading. So far we have not received any responses, but the responses to the previous mass e-mailing to the Irish legislature didn't spark immediate responses, either, and we eventually heard from fifteen members of the Dáil and one member of the Seanad. Since the e-mail was necessarily in English (our Icelandic language skills being sorely deficient), it may be taking them time to translate and read the letter, assuming that a secretary or assistant didn't simply automatically discard anything in a foreign language. If you're a citizen of Iceland, or even reasonably fluent in Icelandic, you might want to send an e-mail or letter to the new prime minister, Ms. Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, suggesting that she give serious consideration to Capital Homesteading as a possible solution to the economic crisis. Her e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. The e-mails of all members of the Althing can be found here in English, and here in Icelandic. Since even a few dozen e-mails on a subject to a senator or representative in the United States are taken as a sign that the public is interested, the same should hold true in Iceland.Those are the happenings for this week, at least that we know about. If you have an accomplishment that you think should be listed, send us a note about it at mgreaney [at] cesj [dot] org, and we'll see that it gets into the next "issue." If you have a short (250-400 word) comment on a specific posting, please enter your comments in the blog — do not send them to us to post for you. All comments are moderated anyway, so we'll see it before it goes up.
• Similarly, early this week we sent copies of Capital Homesteading for Every Citizen to Ireland to the Taoiseach (the Prime Minister) and selected members of the Dáil Éireann and some other public individuals. If you want to send your own e-mails to members of the Dáil urging them to give consideration to Capital Homesteading, e-mail addresses are listed here. (This is the list as of November 2008, and appears to be the latest available.) You might also want to send a note to Mr. Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Fein, email@example.com, who recently sought the help of Irish throughout the world in working toward a peaceful and united Ireland, for which a sound economy is a necessary first step. According to latest reports in the Irish Independent, the Irish unemployment rolls are growing at the rate of 1,500 per day. Mr. Brian Cowen, the Taoiseach, has expressed great alarm, and has predicted that unemployment will reach 400,000 by the end of the year, which amounts to between 12% to 20% of the total workforce, depending on whose figures you use. Mr. Cowen's e-mail on this matter is firstname.lastname@example.org.
• On Tuesday, due to information published in The Wanderer, we received our first bulk order (10 copies) for our annotated edition of The Emigrant's Guide by William Cobbett (1763-1835), revered by G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc as "the Apostle of Distributism." A refreshing pro-American look at economic conditions in the early 19th century and a sharp contrast to current "stimulus" proposals, individual copies of The Emigrant's Guide can be ordered from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. If your club, school, church group, or other organization wants copies in bulk (minimum of ten copies per order) at the wholesale price (or if you just want to have a lot of copies yourself), and you live in the 48 contiguous U.S. states, they can be ordered directly from CESJ. The price is $16.00 per book, plus $1.50 per copy shipping. If you're ordering 25 or more copies, send us an e-mail before ordering so we can tell you what the total will be for shipping. (Also send an e-mail to enquire about bulk orders to Alaska and Hawaii, and Canada and Mexico.) Send payment with the order to CESJ, P. O. Box 40711, Washington, DC 20016. Be sure to include your street address, because UPS will not deliver to a P. O. Box. The same terms apply to In Defense of Human Dignity: bulk orders of a minimum of ten copies can be ordered from CESJ, single copies from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
• Norman Kurland has been having an extremely interesting e-mail exchange with Dr. Max Weismann, head of the Center for the Study of the Great Ideas in Chicago. Co-founded by Dr. Weismann and the late Dr. Mortimer J. Adler, considered the premier American Aristotelian of the 20th century, the Center is concerned with the decay of moral philosophy in today's world, and thus has a certain congruency with CESJ's mission to advance the Just Third Way. The most recent exchanges have dealt with perceived differences in the approaches taken by Dr. Adler and Father William Ferree, S.M., Ph.D. (referred to at his death in 1985 as "America's greatest social philosopher") to the concept of "social justice." The discussion is a little esoteric for a blog, but we'll try to summarize it briefly . . . if possible. As a classic Aristotelian, Dr. Adler rejected the idea of a specific virtue called "social justice." Social justice, to him, was simply a redundant term for what Aristotle called "legal justice," legal justice describing the indirect effect that our personal acts of virtue have on the common good. Basing his analysis on the work of Pope Pius XI, Father Ferree disagreed. Social justice is a specific virtue, distinct from legal justice. Social justice acts directly, not indirectly, on the common good when individuals organize to restructure our institutions. To understand more of the discussion from CESJ's orientation, download the free copy of Father Ferree's Introduction to Social Justice, or you can wait for the new combined edition of Introduction to Social Justice and the transcript of Father Ferree's talks on social charity from 1966 that we expect to have ready in the next two to three months, or sooner, to be followed as soon as possible by The Act of Social Justice.
• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 26 different countries and 43 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past two months. Over the same period we have experienced over 178% increase in total readership, according to the statistics counter of "Google Analytics."
Friday, February 6, 2009
News from the Network, Vol. 2, No. 6
Every time we turn around, it seems as if President Obama wants more money that doesn't exist to spend on something that won't work. The projected bill is now up to over $900 billion, apparently on the theory that if $800 billion was unpalatable, increase it to $850 billion, then $900 billion. A few hundred billion here, a few hundred billion there . . . pretty soon Mr. Obama might be talking about real money, instead of whatever inflationary purchasing power he can persuade the Federal Reserve to print . . . to the point where now even Fidel Castro, who formerly praised the new president as "intelligent and noble," is raising his eyebrows. There are, however, a few bright spots that give signs that something might start penetrating even into the hallowed halls of the U.S. Capitol (and capital).