Friday, June 13, 2014

News from the Network, Vol. 7, No. 23


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:

• Yesterday CESJ was contacted by Jim Aulenti, a member of the Knights of Columbus (a Catholic fraternal order) and financial advisor who recently ran for Congress in Massachusetts, where he garnered 2% of the vote, which is actually pretty good for someone not a part of the local political machine.  Jim has expressed interest in the platform of the Unite America Party, as well as programs and proposals of CESJ and EEI (neither CESJ nor EEI are connected or affiliated with the Unite America Party, although you will see some of the same names).  Jim seems to want to be a force for positive change, and he might also be interested in EEI’s “JBM S-Corp ESOP” program, as well as CESJ’s “Justice University” project, both of which are designed to effect positive social change within existing law as a step toward a Capital Homestead Act.

• CESJ has sent a proposal to the Rector of the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina to co-author an article expanding on the Rector’s analysis of the teachings of Pope Francis, who, as Cardinal Bergoglio and archbishop of Buenos Aires, was Grand Chancellor of the university.  The Rector recently published an op-ed piece describing how many media commentators are simply missing the point of much of what the pope is saying.

• As suggested above, the finalized platform of the Unite America Party (not affiliated in any way with CESJ or EEI), has excited a great deal of positive comment.  The recent “Cantor/Brat Affair” may inspire politicians who are becoming less confident that “business as usual” is the way to go to have a look at the platform and consider adopting it, whatever their official party affiliation or lack thereof.

•  Deacon Joseph Gorini is founder, chairman and CEO of Evangelization Enterprises, Inc. (EEI), and also Apostolic Action, Inc. (AAI).  Light and Heat Ministries (LAHMin) is an operating operation division of EEI, and is currently the public face of the organization. He opened up two very interesting discussion/teaching opportunities this past week on LinkedIn, both of which related to ways in which the Just Third Way differs from the now-traditional systems of capitalism and socialism, and their near-infinite variations, permutations, and combinations.  Comments were very positive, and came from around the globe, from Australia to Spain.  We were able to refer one commentator to Tomasz Pompowski, a former Vatican news correspondent, in Perth, WA, where Tom is doing great work promoting the Just Third Way.

• Much of the discussion involved a comparison of CESJ’s Just Third Way with the “classic” distributism of G. K. Chesterton and J. H. Belloc.  Aside from some easily correctable bad assumptions about how capital is financed, the optimal size of enterprises, and the proper role of the State, the Just Third Way and classic distributism are very compatible.  (What we call “neo-distributism” is a different matter, as there are substantial differences caused by the shift in the basis of the natural law from the Intellect to the Will, the imposition of the “small is beautiful” ideology, and the distortions of distributive and social justice derived from the work of Msgr. John A. Ryan, who expanded the theories of Henry George from land to all forms of capital.)

• Guy Stevenson in Iowa recently located a very rare copy of a 1938 pamphlet by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, “the American Chesterton,” Justice and Charity, Part I: The Social Problem and the Church and contributed it to the CESJ research library.  The pamphlet was published by the “National Council of Catholic Men,” and consists of a number of “addresses” that Sheen gave over the radio on the Catholic Hour radio program in early 1938.  Perhaps not surprisingly, some of the language seems to presage that used by Pope John Paul II in Centestimus Annus in 1991, suggesting that John Paul II might have been more familiar with Sheen’s writings than was previously suspected.

• CESJ’s monthly Executive Committee meeting will be Monday, June 16, 2014, in the evening.

• Business magnate Steve Forbes is advocating a return to the gold standard as the cure for the economic malaise that currently afflicts the United States.  We agree that an asset-backed reserve currency is essential to long-term economic stability, but “elasticity,” i.e., a currency that expands and contracts directly with the needs of the economy is also critical.  Since Forbes seems to be advocating gold as the sole component of the money supply (a condition that has never existed in all of human history), not simply gold as the standard of measurement, and the supply of gold is relatively fixed, his proposal is inadequate for achieving either stability or elasticity, and would potentially create more problems than it solves.

• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 65 different countries and 47 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, India, Canada, and Australia. The most popular postings this past week were “Thomas Hobbes on Private Property,” “Aristotle on Private Property,” “Avoiding Monetary Meltdown, II: Salmon P. Chase and the Greenbacks,” “‘Inequality Is the Root of All Social Evil’,” and “‘Inspired Amateurs Should Avoid Politics’.”

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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