• A recent newsletter from the International Quranic Center in Northern Virginia, headed by Dr. Ahmed Mansour, pointed out something that probably does not occur to most Christians, especially Catholics. The city of Mecca, the heart of Islam, is completely under the control of the government of Saudi Arabia. As a basic principle, of course, the Just Third Way believes that there should never be a theocratic State, that is, a political entity under the control of a religious power — which says nothing about the State not being subject to the natural moral law common to all religions. On the other hand, when there are sites that, for whatever reason, are centers of an international (or national, for that matter) religion, it is equally essential that the civil power not be in the position to control religion for political ends. A reasonable compromise would seem to be something along the lines of the Vatican City State, a few acres of land politically independent of any other civil power that clearly has no effective political or military power, however immense its moral authority. It violates a basic principle, but not in a material fashion, and thus can be allowed as an expedient. Christians and Jews could add their voices to moderate Muslims (politically moderate; we assume as a given that Muslims, in common with Christians and Jews, are fully committed to their faith) in demanding for Mecca a status similar to that of the Vatican City, and complete independence from Saudi Arabia if, after discussion, that would be a viable solution.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.
• On Tuesday of this week CESJ had a telephone conference to discuss identifying specific strategic initiatives to advance the "four prong" strategy to keep the Just Third Way moving forward. While we didn't get too deeply into identifying specific strategic initiatives, we did focus in on some tactical moves, particularly the "door opening" effort, directed at paving the way for Norman Kurland to meet with prime movers, especially political figures on "the Hill" in Washington, DC, i.e., Senators and Congresscritters. We think that once the Just Third Way is given a fair hearing, no politician will be able to resist the advantages to constituents that would come from sponsoring implementation of initiatives such as Capital Homesteading. Go through your connections and network and see what potential prime movers — or paths to prime movers — you can cultivate.
• CESJ received an invitation this week to attend a conference about restoring Christian civilization. There were several problems with the invitation, not the least of which is it arrived only a week prior to the conference, leaving no time to plan or even reorganize schedules. That, however, assumes that people from CESJ or the Just Third Way movement as a whole would want to attend. The general consensus after seeing who the presenters and organizers are and looking into some specifics of their background, is an unqualified "no." The most serious problem with the conference was the clear attitude of the organizers of the conference and the selected panelists that a country or a civilization could — in fact, must — be "Christian" (or "Muslim" or "Jewish") in the sense that the civil institutions would embody beliefs based not on the natural moral law, but on revelation(s) from a deity, that is, purely religious beliefs. The Just Third Way is based on universal principles of the natural moral law common to all religions. While many of us believe that the precepts of the natural moral law are most clearly expressed in Christianity, most particularly in the social teachings of the Catholic Church, the basic principles themselves are found in their fullness in all religions. (This says nothing about the truth or lack thereof of purely religious teachings, exclusive of the natural law, such as whether Muhammad is the Prophet, Jesus is the Son of God, or Moses received the precepts of the natural law in the Decalogue directly from Yaweh.) Thus, if by "Christian" — or "Muslim" or "Jewish" — civilization you mean that the social order is based on how people of those religions understand and apply the essential precepts of the natural moral law from their particular historical, cultural, and religious perspective in a manner that respects the dignity of each human person, there should be no problem. If, however, you mean that everyone must belong to that religion or acknowledge it as supreme in the State, if you want to extend the civil influence of a particular religion beyond interpreting and teaching basic moral precepts, if you want to enforce specific religious practices or even membership in a religion by force — which is what it appears that the organizers of the conference want to do — then you are changing the virtue of religion and organized religion itself from one of the greatest, perhaps the greatest, forces for good in society, into something evil. We declined the invitation.
• The proofs of Dr. Alamgir's book, Notes from a Prison: Bangladesh, have been sent to Dr. Alamgir for final approval. Final touches — including a new suggested title — have been put on the first draft Michael Greaney's short book based on this blog's series on personalism. Editing and review is scheduled for next week. The republication of Dr. Harold Moulton's The Formation of Capital (1935) has hit a few formatting difficulties which will delay release until after the New Year. Work is progressing on the forewords to the Ferree Compendium and The Act of Social Justice (1943), which should appear after the New Year as well. The "short version" of the money book is on hold until after the book on personalism is published.
• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 38 different countries and 46 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past two months. Most visitors are from the United States, the UK, Canada, Philippines, and Brazil. People in Uganda, Aruba, Senegal, the United States and the Philippines spent the most average time on the blog. Of the top five postings, "Thomas Hobbes on Private Property" in the No. 3 spot is still the only one not in the "Personhood and the Ontology of Personalism" and related series.