Friday, November 14, 2014

News from the Network, Vol. 7, No. 45


We sometimes get too close to things to see if there is any progress being made.  Nowhere is this more evident than when you are charged with reporting the news from the movement each week.  Things seem to go much more slowly when you keep a constant watch on them — “a watched pot never boils,” as they say.

Bull Session (Informal)
Nevertheless, we had a brief informal “bull session” this past week when we took a step back and realized that the movement has made significant progress over the past year, evidently initiated with the publication of the Just Third Way Edition of Fulton J. Sheen’s “long lost” gem, Freedom Under God, originally published in 1940.  The book sparked contact with a number of individuals concerned with the decay of reason and the degeneration of the concept of the natural law in the world today.

Consequently, it is becoming even easier to respond to critiques and criticisms of the Just Third Way that rely on assertion or logical fallacies to build a case against it.  As a case in point —

Henry George
• CESJ recently came across a critique of Dr. Norman Kurland’s paper, “A New Look at Prices and Money,” originally published in The Journal of Socio-Economics.  The “unpublished essay” (published on the website of “The School of Cooperative Individualism”), “A Georgist Take on Kelsonian Binary Economics,” while more thorough than some other commentary on Dr. Kurland’s paper, errs in analyzing binary economics in terms of the thought of agrarian socialist Henry George (1839-1897), noted author of Progress and Poverty (1879).  This, we believe, was unfair.  It is perfectly proper to point out where binary economics might not hold together given basic logic or its own principles (although no one yet has), and then demonstrate how George’s system is presumably superior.  To say, in effect, however, that binary economics is flawed because it is not georgist socialism invalidates the critique.  You first have to demonstrate that you know what an apple is before you can explain why an orange is better as a fruit, not because oranges are just better than apples.  Otherwise you’re just . . . comparing apples and oranges.

We only know what we read in the papers
• The paper being prepared on the business cycle for The American Journal of Economics and Sociology will directly respond to some of the criticisms raised by georgists (followers of Henry George) about binary economics.  The paper is in the final stages of editing.  A project still in development, What Happened to Distributive Justice?, will go into the issues raised by George in much greater detail, especially since CESJ gained access to key newspaper files and unpublished contemporary sources about the controversies stirred up by his proposals.

• Sales of CESJ’s latest “Paradigm Paper,” The Political Animal: Economic Justice and the Sovereignty of the Human Person, are doing well.  The Political Animal, like all CESJ publications, is available in bulk at substantial savings.  With the 20% discount applicable to bulk sales (i.e., ten or more copies of a single title), a full case of 50 is $400, plus shipping.  Enquire at “publications [at] cesj [dot] org” for details and cost of shipping bulk/wholesale orders.  Individual copies are available now on Amazon, and on Barnes and Noble. Please note: CESJ does not sell retail.

• Deacon Joseph Gorini, member of the CESJ Board of Counselors, has been invited to submit a series of articles or videos on economic justice to Catholic Online, possibly the single largest Catholic internet presence.  This ties in very well with a number of other connections CESJ has been making recently, all with a fundamentally sound natural law/reason-based approach to all forms of justice.

"Are we in the right meeting?"
• CESJ is exploring the possibility of jointly sponsoring some events to introduce key elements of the Just Third Way to religious teachers and leaders of all faiths, possibly having a “pilot” event as early as February, when CESJ’s Belgian Fellow, Astrid U., will be visiting for a week from the University of Leuven as part of her program in getting a Master’s degree in economics.

• CESJ is also still working on surfacing student interns or others willing to put together a short promotional video to launch the Campaign for Distributive Justice to fund a number of projects over the coming year.

• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 51 different countries and 45 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, Australia, and India. The most popular postings this past week were “Aristotle on Private Property,” “Thomas Hobbes on Private Property,” “Halloween Horror Special: The Faith that Ate Reason,” “The Purpose of Production,” and “Poverty and Freedom.”

Those are the happenings for this week, at least those 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, so we’ll see it before it goes up.

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