Monday, September 24, 2012

How to Get Everything You Ever Wanted

It's easy to get everything you ever wanted. All you have to do is be big and strong enough to take what you want, or find some kind of leverage with someone who is big and strong enough to get it for you. This used to be called "bullying" and "toadying," respectively. Today we call it "social justice."

Oh, it's not real social justice, of course. The genuine article is directed toward reforming the common good and making it possible for all people to participate in social life to the best of their abilities. Real social justice is best understood as reforming our institutions, our "social habits," to provide equality of opportunity.

The new social justice isn't directed at the common good at all, nor toward any kind of equality. It's directed at the individual benefit of the bully, and his or her collection of lackeys and flunkeys who receive enough to motivate them to provide the muscle to intimidate or force others to do the will of the bully.

In today's civilized society bullies and their sycophantic lickspittles are not quite as crude as in days of yore. Besides, the trouble with wearing iron pants and carrying a club is that you might meet someone who has an actual sense of justice and who insists on smearing you over the landscape as you have smeared others.

No, today's bullies have to be a trifle more clever in how they gain and maintain power over others. According to the popes, this has most often been done by shifting the basis of the natural law from God's Nature, self-realized in His Intellect — and therefore discernible by reason alone — to a private interpretation of something that they believe to be God's Will. This is so subtle that most people don't even know it's been done or even understand it, so they can't take any effective action against it.

Let's take the case of the neo-distributist lackey, who sucks up to the government or a powerful rich person to see if the bureaucratic or plutocratic bully can be persuaded to pound a few of the lackey's enemies into a bloody pulp — metaphorically speaking, of course, for the neo-distributist eschews violence against anybody except those he or she dislikes. Besides, people sometimes fight back, and you can get hurt.  It is thus increasingly common to see something justified because Chesterton, Belloc, or the pope said so, rather than to present an argument or give evidence not that somebody said so, but that something is so.

We have even seen instances in which explicit papal statements were altered to provide the "evidence" that something is true because "the pope said so," e.g., § 46 of Rerum Novarum changed from " as many as possible of the people" to "workers" to fit in with the belief that labor alone is responsible for all production — and, incidentally, suck up to organized labor. Not the ordinary worker without power. The union bosses who say who can work and for how much.

What's happened is obvious. The doctrine of papal and magisterial infallibility has been interpreted to mean that something is true because the pope or the Church (or Chesterton or Belloc) said so, rather than the pope or the Church (or Chesterton or Belloc) said so because it is true — and then proceeded to explain why.

No, the neo-distributist tends to clinch all arguments by asserting that something is true, then proceeds to change definitions — what Keynes called "re-editing the dictionary," which is something that not even God can do — if backed into a corner. When that doesn't work, they generally resort either to ad hominem attacks (both abusive and circumstantial), or silence.

Most astonishing is the adoption of principles and doctrines that explicitly contradict the principles laid out by Chesterton and Belloc. For example, the works of Arthur Penty, who was booted out of the movement for claiming that distributism and socialism are effectively the same and for advocating the elimination of technology as much as possible, is now enshrined as a distributist. E. F. Schumacher, a Marxist and disciple of Keynes, is somehow today a distributist saint.

But it gets you what you want.

#30#

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