Friday, December 19, 2014

News from the Network, Vol. 7, No. 50

In the film version of The Student Prince (1954) — featuring the voice of Mario Lanza because he walked (as they say in film land) after recording the songs but before shooting the scenes — the Doctor (the prince’s tutor) is summoned with his pupil to the king’s chamber in the middle of the night.  They are both, obviously, concerned.

Prince & Grampa King Singalong.
Earlier the king had called the Doctor on the carpet.  It seems that the prince’s prospective bride (whose dowry was essential if the kingdom was to keep out of the red) had found him too much of a soldier, and too little of a lover.  After the king demanded that the Doctor instantly teach the prince how to be a human being, the Doctor explained that it didn’t work that way, and that the prince’s study time had been diverted into military training too many times to correct the problem with a royal command.

"If you knew more history. . ."
So, as the pair (the prince and his tutor) are being escorted under armed guard after being dragged from their beds, the prince remarks, “Well, they can’t do anything to me.  I’m the heir-apparent.”  The Doctor gives him a Look and says, “If you knew more history, you’d be more worried.”

What’s the point of this otherwise tedious anecdote dredged from watching too many musicals late at night instead of reading an improving book or sleeping?

The stock market.  If you haven’t noticed, the swings are getting wilder and more frequent.  If you knew more history, you’d be more worried.  The same thing was happening in early 1929, when a series of “mini-crashes” alerted some investors who, concerned about the volatility of the market, liquidated their holdings.  Not too many, to be sure, but enough to create a few myths later about “international bankers” (i.e., “the Jews”) who manipulated the market and deliberately caused the Crash months later.

So, what are we doing about it?

John Paul II encouraging CESJ's work.
• Due mostly to the holidays and the press of year-end work, the launch date of the Campaign for Economic Justice (formerly the Campaign for Distributive Justice) has been moved to January 1, 2015.  We still have some ducks to line up and text to rewrite and refine.  Don’t worry — we’ll be taking your money soon.  If you feel you can’t wait (or if you want to get a charitable deduction for this year), send your check to “CESJ”, P.O. Box 40711, Washington, DC, 20016, U.S.A.  Be sure to note on the memo line that it is for the Campaign for Economic Justice.  Any amount is fine, but because it costs time and money to process any contribution, we ask that you give at least $5.  Any contributions received in excess of actual needs will be applied to other CESJ programs, so everything advances economic justice, one way or another.

Heinrich Pesch, S.J.
• Recent research has revealed that a number of thinkers in the past, such as Father Heinrich Pesch, were closer to the Just Third Way than many people have supposed — and some were further away than many people feared.  In broad terms, what we’ve discovered is that there are three strains of thought running through western civilization, 1) liberal/ positivist, 2) conservative/ idealist, and 3) real/ common sense-ist.  Unfortunately, such is the condition of academia today that few people have been taught to think and are thereby able to hold contradictory assumptions at the same time.  Most people’s position on anything is thus a confusing mix of positivism, idealism, and common sense, and is also in a constant state of change, making presenting a new concept like the Just Third Way very difficult.

• Guy Stevenson, “the Fulton Sheen Guy,” presented CESJ with a rare first edition of Fulton Sheen’s Freedom Under God from 1940.  It, of course, lacks the foreword we added to the Just Third Way edition, but we have plenty of copies on hand that have that.  If you want to have a copy, it’s easy.  Just go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble online and buy one.  If you want ten or more, send an e-mail to “publications [at] cesj. [dot] org” we’ll quote you a price.  It won’t get there in time for Christmas, but you’ll save 20% off the cover price (shipping is extra).

Series 1875 "Lazy 2" National Bank Note.
• We just received a newsletter from an investment advisor who is convinced — as we are — that the world is soon going to abandon the U.S. dollar as the reserve currency.  The U.S., frankly, has been breaking the Number One Rule for a reserve currency for far too long for the rest of the world not to: it MUST be asset-backed . . . and government debt is not, repeat, not an asset.  It’s a (hold your breath) debt.  Unfortunately, the advisor didn’t have any solution (except to buy what he is selling, of course), but we do: Capital Homesteading, which includes an elastic, asset-backed reserve currency to replace the tissue paper that now passes current.

• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 58 different countries and 55 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, Canada, India, and Greece. The most popular postings this past week were “Two Key Questions for the Georgists,” “Aristotle on Private Property,” “Thomas Hobbes on Private Property,” “The Purpose of Production,” and “Economic Justice, III: What is ‘Distributive Justice’?”

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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