If we counted correctly, this is the 1,776th posting on the Just Third Way blog. Not that we’re in to numerology or anything, but 1776 was the year that George Mason drafted the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which was the forerunner of the Declaration of Independence. With modifications that conservatives inserted to preserve slavery (over Mason’s objections), the Virginia Declaration was adopted June 12, 1776.
|George Mason, anti-slavery slave owner.|
The Virginia Declaration is important not because it allowed the conservatives to preserve slavery, and four score and seven years later cause the bloodiest war in U.S. history, but because it specifically mentioned private property as a natural right. As Mason’s original draft read,
SECTION I: That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, of which they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
The conservatives insisting on adding that “all men” only “have certain inherent rights” when they enter into a state of society. Since slaves by definition have no rights, this allowed the conservatives to assuage their consciences and continue owning human beings as chattels. Their intellects were another matter: how can all men have inherent rights and not have inherent rights at the same time?
Try not to think about it. It makes as much sense as Keynesian economics. If you want something that makes sense, get in tune with the Just Third Way, and don’t worry about violations of the first principle of reason:
|Charles E. Rice, 1931-2015|
• Dr. Charles Rice, a long-time supporter of CESJ and the Just Third Way, died this past Wednesday. As the internet is already flooded with tributes, it would be redundant on our part to repeat what others have said. Perhaps the best we can do is simply quote from the letter he sent to us a while back: “I am grateful for the materials you sent me on the CESJ program. It is in accord with the papal encyclicals in the area as well as with ordinary common sense. I will use it in my Jurisprudence course.” — Charles E. Rice, Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame.
|Why not open up the New Frontier of Capital for Homesteading?|
• Last week we noted the op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal about “The Global Flight From the Family.” This week we’re seeing even more pressure on the fundamental unit of society. The Pew Charitable Trusts have released a study, The Precarious State of Family Balance Sheets. As the press release notes, “‘Our analysis finds that many American families, even those with relatively high incomes, are walking a financial tightrope,’ said Erin Currier, director of Pew’s financial security and mobility project. ‘Many have little if any cushion to absorb an unexpected financial setback. It’s a precarious state that threatens not just financial security, but upward mobility.’” And what do they offer as a solution? “The report concludes by noting that policymakers should focus on policies and programs that support asset accumulation, which can help meaningfully improve American families’ financial standing.” That’s nice, but unless they are prepared to state specifically who, what, when, where, how, and why — as set forth in CESJ’s Capital Homesteading proposal —that “support[s] asset accumulation” in specific ways, all they’ve done is tell us what we already know. Of course, if you think the Pew Trusts might find in Capital Homesteading a possible solution to the problem they have analyzed, you might drop a note about the Just Third Way solution to their “Financial Security and Mobility” project to Mark Wolff, Director, Communications, 202.540.6390, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Prime Minister Abe of Japan has an idea to get the Japanese economy rolling again: put more women to work ("Japan's Gamble on 'Womenomics'" The Wall Street Journal, Friday, February 27, 2015, A11). Not enough men have work, so increase the number of people who want jobs. He's worried about the demographic slide resulting from families having fewer children ... which began in the post war depression period and then accelerated when women entered the workforce. So, obviously, the way to reverse this is to give families even fewer reasons to have children and make certain nobody is home. Of course, he could always implement Capital Homesteading and put more parents back in the home with adequate incomes from capital instead of labor . . . naw, too simple.
|"You want fries with that?"|
|Keynesian Kargo Kult Science: "All Will Be Well"|
• This week we received the two biographies of James Cardinal Gibbons that we had ordered a while back. Surprisingly, both books were first editions and in excellent condition. We also located a number of articles by Cardinal Gibbons that appeared in The North American Review from 1878 to 1894, “What is Inspiration?” (1878), “Some Defects in Our Political and Social Institutions” (1887), “Wealth and Its Obligations” (1891), “Patriotism and Politics” (April 1892 . . . when this reporter’s grandfather was born in Trinidad, Colorado, a fact His Eminence failed to mention for some reason), and “Personal Reminiscences of the Vatican Council” (1894). This week we ordered Dr. Richard Feynman’s Surely You’re Joking, Mister Feynman and Dr. Peter Lawrence’s Road Belong Cargo. The Just Third Way tie in? Academia and politics are suffused with what Feynman called “Cargo Cult Science,” i.e., the belief based on faith that if you just perform the proper rituals and say the right words, everything will come out right and prosperity will return. Keynesian economics is, to all intents and purposes, the perfect example of Cargo Cult Science in the world today.
• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 49 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, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Indonesia. The most popular postings this past week were “Lord of the World, I: The Papal Reading List,” “Thomas Hobbes on Private Property,” “Lord of the World, VI: Reformation and Transformation of Truth,” “Lord of the World, II: Introducing Robert Hugh Benson,” and “Lord of the World, V: Benson, Money, and Modernism.”
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.