Friday, December 14, 2012

News from the Network, Vol. 5, No. 50

The news this week is singularly appropriate for the end of a year when we should all be looking to the future. A number of what could turn out to be very important meetings took place, as well as suggestions about possible collaborations with other organizations.

That being said, the ups and downs of the stock market, the angst over the "fiscal cliff," the rise in food prices, and all the "and so ons" you could care to mention, all give evidence of a local, national and global economy badly in need of Capital Homesteading and other Just Third Way reforms:

• On Monday members of the CESJ core group had a meeting with Steve Young, Global Executive Director of the Caux Round Table, an international organization of senior business executives aiming to promote ethical business practice. The discussion focused on CESJ's and the Caux Round Table's emphasis on human dignity (that CESJ understands as recognition and protection of all of humanity's natural rights, both individual and social), and the need to integrate a program of expanded capital ownership within an ethical system that respects the rights of all human beings, not just a governmental or private sector elite.

• On Tuesday, Norman Kurland attended an event sponsored by the Atlas Foundation that addressed the problem of the "fiscal cliff" and the need to reduce the size of government. CESJ shares with Atlas the concern for the growth of government and respect for the free markets, but believes that the idea that selfishness is a virtue needs to be examined in much more depth even before dialog can begin.

• Cardinal Dolan, whose statement that the principles of the Just Third Way underpinning CESJ's proposed alternative to "Obamacare" are consistent with Catholic social teaching (especially the principle of subsidiarity) has published a blog posting on the progress of the lawsuit the Archdiocese of New York filed over the narrowness of the religious exemptions allowed by the HHS mandate. The effort is necessary to highlight the injustice of the specific situation, but we do not believe that it addresses the underlying problem — the rapid growth of State power and the increase in unwarranted intrusion of the State into domestic (family) and religious affairs. This problem will not go away until Capital Homesteading or its equivalent is in place, and economic dependence on the State eliminated in all but the most extreme cases, after private initiatives have failed (Rerum Novarum, § 22).

• Thursday members of the CESJ core group had a lunch meeting with Dr. Robert Ornelas, his son (also Robert), and his assistant, Krista Rocha. Dr. Ornelas, who ran for vice president in the last election on a double third party ticket, is currently touring the area with a Christian music group. During the meeting, Joseph Recinos came in, having returned from a trip to North Carolina, and asked a number of questions about Dr. Ornelas's future political plans. Dr. Ornelas, Robert, and Krista each took copies of Supporting Life: The Case for a Pro-Life Economic Agenda, along with a selection of other Just Third Way material, including a copy of Capital Homesteading for Every Citizen, CESJ's "blueprint for change," written mostly for policymakers and politicians, but accessible to other serious readers as well. They gave copies of their music CDs to CESJ. A primary focus of the meeting was to see if there was interest in participating in the annual "Rally at the Fed" coming up in April. Dr. Ornelas expressed a great deal of interest in the event, and agreed that bringing in more people is essential.

• "Tweeting" the daily blog posting and the websites for various CESJ and UVM publications (no more than one a day) has dramatically increased traffic flow to the sites, as has posting a link to the daily blog posting on Facebook. It is too early to see if the effort results in greater sales, but it is a good test of the Just Third Way network's outreach capacity with the social media. We are currently discussing revising and expanding some of the current book websites to make it easier for the network to get the word out.

• Dr. Leo Semashko, president of the Global Harmony Association, an organization headquartered in St. Petersburg, Russia, with more than 500 members in over 56 countries, is currently exploring a working relationship with CESJ. One of the joint projects we're looking at, per Dr. Semashko's suggestion, is the possibility of a "primer" on the principles of economic justice developed by Louis Kelso and Mortimer Adler, presented in Chapter 5 of The Capitalist Manifesto, and expanded by CESJ with the integration of the harmonic of social justice.

• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 66 different countries and 52 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 United Kingdom, Canada, the Philippines and Australia. People in Estonia, Portugal, Spain, the United States, and Germany 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," "The Turning Point, II: The Trigger," "The Turning Point: The Circular Keynes," and "News from the Network: Volume 4, No. 3."

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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