Last Thursday we looked at one of those comments by Pope Francis that so many people love to misinterpret to fit their own preconceptions. The main thing we pointed out (and hoped to get across) is that Pope Francis really isn’t saying anything different from any previous pope when it comes to Catholic doctrine or the social teachings. Just don’t expect to get a scholarly treatise in a tweet.
Monday, June 30, 2014
Friday, June 27, 2014
The media and the government keep insisting that the “recession” (a.k.a., “depression”) is over and we have been in recovery for five years. This puts us in mind of the old aphorism that there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. Be that as it may, here are the major happenings of this past week in the Just Third Way network:
Thursday, June 26, 2014
As we’ve been pointing out on this blog for some time, people, whether Catholic or non-Catholic, liberal or conservative, Jew or Greek, slave or free, . . . whatever . . . have a positive knack for misunderstanding virtually everything that Pope Francis says. Of course, a lot of this is conditioned by, one, the fact that most people (even doctors, lawyers, and Indian chiefs), have never learned how to think critically. Two, most people hear what they want to hear, or what they think they want to hear. The combination is fatal.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
As noted previously on this blog, the differences with neo-distributism on specifics like money, credit, banking, finance, size of enterprises, and the act of social justice are far too numerous to list. We should note, however, that the concept of distributive justice, understandably vague in classic distributism due to the confusion with social justice and charity, is completely transformed in neo-distributism.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
We hear a lot about how beautiful “small” is, and how “human scale” must be the rule for economic life. The problem is, both “small” and “human scale” are a bit subjective, while producing marketable goods and services, whether for your own consumption or to exchange for what others produce (Say’s Law of Markets) tends to be a trifle objective. Either you produce enough to meet your material needs, or you don’t. It doesn’t get more basic than that.
Monday, June 23, 2014
Neo-distributists like to talk a lot about “banksters.” This neologism, however (while a clever play on “gangster”), displays a great deal of ignorance on the part of neo-distributists concerning money, credit, finance, and (of course) banking. It begins with the fact that few, if any, neo-distributists can even define the different types of banks properly.
Friday, June 20, 2014
We recently had an enquiry about whether we thought that things like Military Banking Facilities, credit unions, and mutual insurance companies such as USAA should or must give way to the giants of today’s financial services industry. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you just know what we had to say about that . . . completely aside from the fact that a significant number of people in the CESJ Core Group qualify for USAA insurance. . . .
Thursday, June 19, 2014
The “slavery of past savings” accounts for Chesterton’s and Belloc’s pessimism regarding the possibility of establishing the “Distributist State.” Given that the savings of the rich are the only source of financing for new capital, and that private property is a natural right that cannot be redefined or abolished (however much the exercise of that right must be defined and limited for the common good), widespread capital ownership can only result from one, the rich voluntarily redistributing their wealth, or, two, a collapse of the system, on the ruins of which a new, more just economy can presumably be built.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
About the middle of May of this year we got a comment from someone who seems to believe that he knows a bit more about the Just Third Way than people who have decades of experience working with and developing it. He kept insisting that it’s too complicated, and we should simplify it.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Ordinarily when we critique someone or something on this blog, we send an e-mail first to the people concerned, especially if we’re saying something that disagrees with someone’s position. We figure it’s only fair, after all. We don’t like people talking about us behind our backs, so it’s only right that we not talk about others behind their backs.
Monday, June 16, 2014
We know that we’re all supposed to be concerned about the “Cantor/Brat Affair,” but, really, what difference is it going to make for the average American? Without the Just Third Way, things will pretty much continue as they are. As long as significant systemic barriers exist to ordinary people becoming owners of capital, we might as well save all the time and trouble and stay where we are . . . unless we’re organizing to change the system, of course.
Friday, June 13, 2014
Some interesting events this week, many dealing with advances various members of CESJ are making in promoting the Just Third Way in politics, business, and academia. A number of people in various internet social media forums have commented very favorably on the Just Third Way, suggesting that people may be ready to hear the message:
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Yes, it’s nice when, after years of rejecting the incredibly erudite and literary examples of the epistolary art we’ve submitted, the Washington Post published a letter we wrote. And cut out the main point — which is that there is a solution to the current economic malaise that doesn’t rely on either massive redistribution or a miracle to implement.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Every so often somebody quotes Edmund Burke, especially when he said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” This is a very fine sentiment. The problem is that Burke never said it.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
In a (very) large number of previous postings on this blog, we’ve covered the basic mechanics of how ordinary people without savings can become capital owners without having to cut consumption (which they can’t do), or take what already belongs to others (thereby destroying the whole concept of private property).
Monday, June 9, 2014
So far we have seen that distribution on the basis of need (or, more properly, redistribution of what belongs to others with a demonstrated “superabundance” to those who lack basic necessities) can be justified as an expedient under the principle of double effect. That is, while redistribution is not just, using the coercive power of the State to take from the “haves” for the benefit of the “have nots” can be justified due to the danger to the common good represented by the potential social disruption resulting from unrelieved material distress.
Friday, June 6, 2014
Most of the activity this week (except for the office pool betting when the Dow is going to hit 17,000) has been taking advantage of outreach opportunities resulting from last week’s meeting in Emmitsburg, Maryland. The number of potential contacts was more than enough to show the effectiveness of the “door opening” strategy, and to inspire others to duplicate its success in promoting the Just Third Way:
Thursday, June 5, 2014
In yesterday’s posting we saw how, even though paying interest (usury) on government debt is bad, it is not objectively evil. It can be justified in extreme cases, even though it is clearly not justice.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
To be clear on how a State can justify redistribution in an emergency, we need to understand how that same State can justify paying interest (usury) on non-productive government debt. First, we need to look at whether either redistribution or State usury can in any way be considered “distributive justice.”
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
A lot of “experts” are getting bent out of shape over pretty much anything Pope Francis says these days. Take, for instance, his answer to somebody’s question as to whether he might retire as Pope Benedict XVI did. Pope Francis’s answer was to the effect that, sure, it’s possible. Immediately the pundits and commentators started discussing papal retirement as if it were an established fact and was scheduled for a few months from now. You see the same thing every now and then when somebody asks whether it’s possible that Queen Elizabeth II could abdicate. Sure she could. Is it likely? Hardly.
Monday, June 2, 2014
As we’ve noted a number of times on this blog, some of our best postings are written by other people, or at least in response to questions and issues raised. The rather unexpected popularity of the recent short series on Anti-Trust Law written mostly by Judge Peter Stenger Grosscup (1852-1921) is a case in point. That’s why it’s so gratifying to receive a comment like the following: