A Blog of the Global Justice Movement

Friday, November 16, 2012

News from the Network, Vol. 5, No. 46

Now that the dust appears to be settling from the election, it is becoming increasingly evident that neither side, despite all the good will in the world, had or has a viable solution to the increasingly serious problems the United States and the rest of the world is facing. And please, keep in mind that just because you happen to disagree with someone, even at the most profound level, doesn't mean that he or she doesn't have good intentions. Even Hitler thought he was a public benefactor.

Particularly, with all the analysis coming out of Catholic circles trying to figure out how or why so many Catholics voted for Obama, we have to realize that, for many, it was the implied promise (albeit unsustainable) that the government would take care of people, however high the cost, that persuaded many people to choose Obama over Romney.  We can call this "Welfare Blackmail" for want of a better term.

With nothing other than the perfectly true observation that not even the richest country on earth can afford to support everyone forever without economic growth, the Republicans simply could not win. Most people would rather go with the devil they know with the possibility of maybe eating tomorrow, than the devil they don't with the possibility of not eating at all. No promises either way, but hope is better than hopelessness, and politics these days is usually a triumph of optimism over experience in any event.

That's why Cardinal Dolan's comments about the bishops' proposed statement on the economy (below) is so interesting — there appears to be a growing realization that something more is needed than The Same Old Thing. And (in case you don't care about that) we have other items of interest this week:

• Reports from this past week's meeting of the American bishops is mildly encouraging. They held off on issuing a statement on the economy, evidently afraid that a "rush job" would do more harm than good. It is apparent that there were no solutions being proposed, however, only a general concern for the poor and the hope that somebody would do something. This sets the stage for a program that doesn't rely on people doing the right thing when it is virtually impossible to do the right thing, but in restructuring out institutions (especially our tax and monetary systems) to make doing the right thing possible, even optimal. Capital Homesteading would achieve this goal.

• Despite the shorter than usual November sales period (CESJ's distributor is cutting off the month at November 23, thereby putting all sales for the previous day or so into December), outlook is encouraging. Sales of In Defense of Human Dignity have picked up, while The Restoration of Property is well on the way to becoming the bestseller of the year.

• An article on why retiring in 2013 might not be optimal for many people, "Retirement Perfect Storm," has been causing quite a stir among some groups in the Global Justice Movement. Some think we're channeling "Tail Gunner" Joe McCarthy and seeing Statists behind every tree (we thought it was Commies under the bed), while others have taken the opportunity to agree that a Just Third Way economy has many advantages over a State-run system. The key to understanding the debate — such as it is — is that, rooted in the slavery of past savings, the State is the only hope most people see . . . and it is a frail reed, indeed, on which to lean. It is much better (as one participant in the discussion averred) to add more economic power to every citizen than to hand it over to the politicians.

• Cardinal Dolan's encouraging remarks on CESJ's paper, "Affording Universal Healthcare Without Mandates," has been getting attention in some quarters. While obviously we don't know, it is tempting to think that His Eminence's reading of the paper alerted him to the possibility that something different than the usual statist solution to poverty is possible, and that that could have led to caution about the release of a statement on the economy.

• Consider signing the petition to reform the Federal Reserve. It's pretty easy, and requires no other commitment, although they do ask for a contribution, but it doesn't seem to repeat. If you feel the overwhelming urge to contribute time or money to something, consider CESJ.

• CESJ has initiated a number of specific outreach efforts this past week to surface grants to establish Justice University as well as undertake a number of small projects awaiting adequate funding. If you have contacts at a foundation or two, or know a philanthropist looking to put a little money into a worthy cause before the end of the year (and get a tax deduction — CESJ is a 501(c)(3) organization), consider letting them know about CESJ. Some of our projects can be carried out with as little as $1,500 (although for a publication, $10,000 is better). Let people know that they can help advance the goal of Capital Homesteading through small initiatives as well as big ones.

• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 63 different countries and 54 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past two months. Most visitors are from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Philippines . People in France, Spain, Estonia, the United States,, and Vietnam spent the most average time on the blog. The most popular postings this past week were "Thomas Hobbes on Private Property," "Aristotle on Private Property," "News from the Network, Vol. 5, No. 4," "Romney's Speech," and "Why Not Capitalism?"

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.

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