Friday, November 29, 2013

News from the Network, Vol. 6, No. 48

The “Big News” this week is the release of Pope Francis’s “Apostolic Exhortation,” Evangelii Gaudium, “The Joy of the Gospel.”  Right off the bat we’ve seen four problems with the document.  Before you go ballistic and start gathering cordwood to stack around the stake you’re preparing, however, read the problems:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

"Distributive Justice"?, XXIV: The Common Sense of Distributive Justice

As we saw in the previous posting in this series, Msgr. John A. Ryan seemed to have some significant problems with the teaching authority of the Catholic Church, in whose name he was presumably speaking.  This inserts a degree of ambiguity, possibly even psychosis or schizophrenia into Ryan’s analysis of Catholic social teaching, even the natural law on which Catholic social teaching claims to be based.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"Distributive Justice"?, XXIII: The Rise of Ryanism

We come at last to where we can understand specifically how the common sense thought of G. K. Chesterton fell victim to the uncommon nonsense of socialism.  We have seen how socialism began creeping into Catholic social thought through the popularity of the proposals of the agrarian socialist Henry George, and how in Rerum Novarum Leo XIII carefully refuted not only George’s theories, but the whole of socialism.

Monday, November 25, 2013

"Distributive Justice"?, XXII: Savings and Economic Justice

As we saw in the previous posting in this series, by the late 1880s it had become critical that the Catholic Church respond to the rapid spread of socialism in general, and georgism in particular, especially in the United States.  Civilization itself seemed to be in danger of falling into the trap prepared by the change in understanding of the natural law that was undermining the foundation of the social order.

Friday, November 22, 2013

News from the Network, Vol. 6, No. 47

Yes, the stock market is soaring.  No, we don’t know why.  What we do know, however, is that there have been a number of developments over this past week that bode well for the Just Third Way.  These range from the unexpected popularity of some “Just Third Way fiction,” to the even more unexpected discovery of some “long lost” papers relating to the complementarity of solidarism and the Just Third Way:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

"Distributive Justice"?, XXI: A Confusing Mess

What today’s Aristotelian-Thomist finds astounding in the modern interpretation of Catholic social teaching — quite apart from what seems to be the virtual complete abandonment of, even full-blown attack on reason deprecated by G. K. Chesterton, of course — is a claim that I have come across a number of times.  This is that Leo XIII (contrary to the claims of the Catholic Church that it has never changed a substantial teaching) inserted a “new” understanding of private property into Rerum Novarum.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"Distributive Justice"?, XX: “On Capital and Labor”

Investigating how so many Catholics today became convinced that the Catholic Church has somehow changed its position on the natural law in general, and the natural right of private property in particular — and thus that G. K. Chesterton meant the exact opposite of virtually everything he said — I’m tempted to exclaim with the late, great Anna Russell, “I’m not making this up, you know!”  The facts are clear and speak for themselves.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

"Distributive Justice"?, XIX: Henry George and the Catholic Church

In 1886, agrarian socialist Henry George, author of Progress and Poverty (1879), ran for mayor of New York City on the socialist United Labor Party ticket.  Father Edward McGlynn, a priest of the New York Archdiocese, strongly supported George’s candidacy.

Monday, November 18, 2013

"Distributive Justice"?, XVIII: The Rise of Socialism

As we saw in the previous posting in this series, following the Civil War the supply of funds available for the “small” man — homesteaders and small businessmen — shrank dramatically.  This was the result of an at first official, and later unofficial policy of deflating the paper Greenback currency backed with government debt to restore parity with the gold reserve currency.

Friday, November 15, 2013

News from the Network, Vol. 6, No. 46

We’re not going to get into issues like why the stock market is soaring at a time when the economy is so bad, or the ins and outs of the reform of healthcare reform, or how increasing the minimum wage is supposed to create jobs and put people back to work.  We’d rather stick with easy subjects like the meaning of life and trying to figure out why so many people prefer the contradictions of Keynesian economics over the common sense of binary economics.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

"Distributive Justice"?, XVII: The Enemy Within

We have been examining what both G. K. Chesterton and Fulton J. Sheen characterized as the great conflict of the modern age: the abandonment of sound reason, and its replacement with false faith.  As Chesterton said in his introduction to Sheen’s first book, God and Intelligence,

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"Distributive Justice"?, XVI: “Solemn Nonsense”

In what is generally considered one of his best books, Communism and the Conscience of the West (1948), Fulton J. Sheen noted that the greatest danger to America — to civilization itself — is the loss of reason.  Reason has been “liquidated” and replaced either with a false faith in material progress, or no faith at all.  (Fulton J. Sheen, Communism and the Conscience of the West.  New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1948, 18.)  As Sheen stated,

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"Distributive Justice"?, XV: Reason Under Siege

One of the many ways in which the late Fulton J. Sheen upset and irritated a great many people was to claim that only the Catholic Church could save America.  When mentioned at all, this opinion (and it was opinion, not knowledge), is used to illustrate what a number of people have decided are Sheen’s unfortunate lapses into arrogance and vanity.

Monday, November 11, 2013

"Distributive Justice"?, XIV: The Roots of Unreason

In the previous posting in this series we asked how things could have gotten so confused with respect to how the Chestertonian Establishment of today understands essential principles of the natural law.  After all, Chesterton spent so much time and effort promoting common sense that it defies logic how the Professional Chestertonians and neo-distributists could have gotten things so wrong as to be promoting so much that defies common sense and that is the opposite of much of what Chesterton advocated.

Friday, November 8, 2013

News from the Network, Vol. 6, No. 45

Believe it or not, the Euro, the poster child of Keynesian “managed” currencies, is “suddenly” taking criticism for being “the world’s worst currency.”  Why?  Because “investors” (i.e., currency speculators) are having a hard time making enough money fast enough when the European Central Bank refuses to take their wants and needs into consideration.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

"Distributive Justice"?, XIII: Economic Justice

In the previous posting in this series we (very briefly) traced the recent development of reason-based social thought since Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum, a development that took place within the Aristotelian-Thomist philosophical framework.  It is clear that G. K. Chesterton, along with Fulton Sheen, the popes, and others, based his social thought solidly on the natural law based on God’s Nature self-realized in His Intellect, that is, reason (lex ratio), not the Will, that is, faith (lex voluntas).

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"Distributive Justice"?, XII: Will or Intellect?

In his analysis of the rise of the philosophy that ultimately led to the Nazi tyranny, The Natural Law: A Study in Legal and Social History and Philosophy (1936, German; 1947, English), the solidarist political scientist and jurist Dr. Heinrich Rommen traced the foundation of the modern totalitarian State and socialism to the abandonment of reason (intellect) as the basis of the natural law (lex ratio), and acceptance of the will (lex voluntas).

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

"Distributive Justice"?, XI: The First Principle of Reason, Continued

“No thesis in the philosophy of St. Thomas is clearer than that which asserts that all knowledge rests upon a single first principle.  To it all other principles of thought may be reduced.  Upon it all depend for their validity.  Without it there can be no certitude, but only opinion.(1)  Whether we choose to express this absolute, first principle in the form of an affirmation — the principle of identity — or in the form of a negation — the principle of contradiction — it matters not.  The point is, that unless our knowledge hangs upon this basic principle, it is devoid of certainty.  Wherefore, causality — efficient, formal, material or final — must attach itself in some manner to the principle of identity.  In the Thomistic view, the connection is immediate.  Its very immediateness gives to the notion of causality the absolute necessity and complete universality of the ultimate principle.

Monday, November 4, 2013

"Distributive Justice"?, X: The First Principle of Reason

In the previous posting in this series we saw that, in orthodox Christian belief, the “grant” of the natural rights of life, liberty, and property is not, and could never be separated from the act of creation or existence itself.  To argue otherwise is to claim that natural rights are not, in fact, part of nature at all — a contradiction in terms.  They would be, rather, a later “add-on” that is not, strictly speaking, essential for human beings to be able to conform themselves to their own human nature.

Friday, November 1, 2013

News from the Network, Vol. 6, No. 44

Every day it becomes more and more obvious that only the Just Third Way holds the promise of a solution for the unabated stream (call it a river) of crises afflicting the world that never seems to end.