Friday, December 28, 2012

News from the Network, Vol. 5, No. 52

Given the fact that many people suspend activities between Christmas and New Year's, and the added circumstance of a three-day work week, we have very little to report. It's easy to see why most news media resort to "year end roundups" and human interest stories at this time.

Be that as it may, there has been some activity:

• Discussions continue with the Global Harmony Association, headquartered in St. Petersburg, Russia. There appears to be a certain compatibility between what the GBA means by "harmony," and what CESJ means by "social justice." Future dialoging will explore the degree of compatibility and, of course, come to an understanding of semantics.

• Although no sales have resulted, the "twitter tests" we've been running the past week to determine the effectiveness of the social media in getting such esoteric and "out of the box" concepts across to the general public have been encouraging. We found that changing the time of day when we tweet had a significant impact on the number of visitors to the sites. We've been using the fiction published by Universal Values Media, Inc. (UVM), in the tests. This should not be taken as an endorsement by CESJ of the novels, or even agreement with the orientation of the authors.

• There have been some technical difficulties associated with getting a dedicated website up for some of CESJ's publications. Had everything gone according to plan, the new site would have been up on January 1, 2013. Unfortunately, the automatic "spam filters" of the free service we've been using kicked in, possibly as a result of the number of links to Amazon and Barnes and Noble, combined with our special "Just Third Way" language, to make it appear to a robot not programmed with Just Third Way concepts that the text is random. A review by an actual human being, which has been requested, should correct the problem, and has been promised within two business days. This is not as "neat" as a January 1st launch, but it should get the job done.

• There will be a planning meeting for the Coalition for Capital Homesteading tomorrow, Saturday, December 29, 2012.

• Rudy W. found an article that claims the major social media service providers are censoring criticism of the government. If true, this could irreparably harm the efforts of the Global Justice Movement to publicize the need for necessary reform. The Just Third Way is, by its very nature, harshly critical of virtually every government on earth for the general failure to structure tax, monetary and other institutions in just and fair ways. If we are silenced, the only voices heard will be those praising injustice and supporting bad ideas.

• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 57 different countries and 53 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, the Philippines and Ireland. People in Mexico, the United States, Portugal, Brazil, and Poland 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: The Circular Keynes," "Is Choice Unconstitutional?," and "The Turning Point, II: The Trigger."

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.



shalomes2012 said...

I would like your review of John D Mueller's book Redeeming Economics where he exposes the deficiencies of Classical and Neoclassical economics which stem from the deterministic Stoic philosophy of Adam Smith. He points out that the Scholastic philosophy of Aquinas works whereas the "Father" of economics produced unworkable economic theory.

Michael D. Greaney said...

I haven't read the Mueller book, but I can already see the flaw in his argument, assuming you've reported it accurately. It avoids the issue of whether what Smith said is true, and focuses on his reason for saying it.

Whether Adam Smith was a deterministic Stoic, Christian, or Satan worshiper is irrelevant. If we base our acceptance or rejection of classical economics on something other than its objective truth or falsity, then we have violated the fundamental precept of reason embodied in the natural law — good (truth) is to be done, evil avoided.

Far too many people today, especially economists, base their science on religion, and their religion on science — thereby corrupting both science and religion. This may be one reason why so many physical scientists claim that economics is not a science — the economists themselves base it on something they accept on faith, not reason, e.g., disproved Keynesian dogma.

The misapplication of faith to reason, and of reason to faith is (according to Pope Pius XII in the first two paragraphs of Humani Generis), the greatest danger to Catholic doctrine today. As Dr. Leo Alexander pointed out in his article "Medical Science Under Dictatorship" in the 1949 New England Journal of Medicine, forcing your science to be based on faith doesn't do too much for science, either. It comes as no surprise that, in order to make a faith-based economics work, there is always — always — a resort to State coercion, often a recommendation for a dictatorship, as Moulton pointed out. It can't work otherwise, and often not even then.

The neo-distributists seem to be among the worst offenders in this respect. They tend to insist that the system they advocate — usually bearing little, if any, resemblance to what Chesterton and Belloc were talking about — is a (or, more offensively, THE) only true "Catholic" economic system. This gives them the essential crutch they need to force their system on others, and the inevitable fallback position when they find their system cannot work: it's because somebody (else's) faith isn't strong enough.

Bologna. It's because the principles of the system are inherently flawed, i.e., not true. As St. Thomas Aquinas explained in his closing of his treatise on the Unity of the Intellect, don't come prating to him that you are proving matters of science based on faith. Instead, prove your case "by the reasons and statements of the philosophers themselves."

In other words, present your evidence and give a sound argument, vesting your case with logical consistency and empirical validity, not some tirade against people with whom you disagree, but cannot give any rational basis for your hatred — "Non amo te, Sabidi" is not a reason, but a cop out. Calling someone a bad Catholic or anything else because his or her economics doesn't suit you or your religious beliefs is utter nonsense, and is against the principles of the Catholic Church in any event.