Friday, June 26, 2015

News from the Network, Vol. 8, No. 26


We realize we’re completely out of touch with reality by ignoring such controversies as whether the Greek debt crisis should make the stock market go up or down (or down or up, or even sideways), or whether to have fish, or beans and rice for lunch, but we just thought the following might be of more real interest to people seeking solutions instead of more problems:

A free plug provided by Guy S.
• The article that appeared two weeks ago in Homiletic and Pastoral Review, “Pope Francis and the Just Third Way”, seems to have generated more than the usual number of comments, twenty-seven as of this morning.  A quick glance over recent articles reveals that the average number of comments is two, with a maximum of seven.

• A group of Catholics in Australia have been sending links to “Pope Francis and the Just Third Way” to members of the Australian hierarchy.

• We are currently investigating the possibilities of having “Pope Francis and the Just Third Way” translated into Spanish, French, and Portuguese for distribution and publication in areas speaking those languages.

"Guys ... we might want to rethink our monetary and fiscal policy...."
Græcum est, non potest legi — which is Latin for “It’s all Greek to me.”  All the negotiators, bargainers, pleaders, heroes, and villains in the Homeric epic of the Greek debt crisis, a financial Trojan Horse, are managing to overlook one simple fact: You can’t consume what hasn’t been produced.  The Greek Welfare State, however — every Welfare State, in fact — is predicated on the assumption that you can consume without producing.  All you have to do is redistribute what others have produced, either by direct taxation or the hidden tax of inflation.  Not surprisingly, this violates Corollary One of the Number One Rule of Economics.  The Rule, as Adam Smith stated it in The Wealth of Nations, is that, “Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production.”  Corollary One, therefore, is that in order to consume, you must produce.  This is the principle behind “Say’s Law of Markets”: It is impossible to consume in any amount greater than what you or others have produced, whether by your labor, your land, or your capital.  (In binary economics, of course, we combine land and human artifacts under “capital” as the non-human factors of production.)  If the Greek government or those seeking to (re)impose austerity (that, astonishingly, didn’t work for some reason. . . .) want the solution to work, they must first put the Greek economy back on a productive footing — and the best way to do that is by an aggressive program of expanded capital ownership along the lines recommended in CESJ’s Capital Homesteading proposal.

Bellarmine: Rights are inherent in the people, not the State.
• We’re tempted to qualify this item with “allegedly,” but it appears to be authentic.  Jeffrey Sachs has come out against natural law theory and the inalienable rights listed in the Declaration of Independence as the foundation of the United States of America.  In “A Call to Virtue,” an article Sachs published in the Jesuit magazine America, he seems to believe that eliminating the means by which people acquire and develop virtue — exercise of our natural (inalienable) rights — is the way to become virtuous, evidently by divine fiat.  Sachs seems remarkably ill-informed for a “Top Vatican adviser.”  He appears to be completely clueless about the fact that the natural rights of life, liberty, and property specified in the Virginia Declaration of Rights and carried over (mostly) into the Declaration of Independence are grounded solidly on the principles of Aristotelian-Thomism, which is also the basis of Catholic social teaching, and which were articulated by St. Robert Cardinal Bellarmine, S.J., a Doctor of the Catholic Church, who is noted for his opposition to divine right theory and advocacy of democracy.  Bellarmine’s theories as corrected by Pope Pius XI are integral to the pope’s social doctrine, and also guided America’s Founding Fathers, both directly (thanks to George Mason of Gunston Hall) and indirectly through the writings of Algernon Sidney.  Sach’s orientation seems to be that the State grants rights to people, not the “Catholic” theory that “We, the People” make a revocable grant of rights to the State, as Aquinas made clear in his treatise on government, De Regimine Principum.  Sach’s ostensible position is what gave the United States such judicial abominations as the notorious Dred Scott decision, the Slaughterhouse Cases, Roe v. Wade, and a lengthening list of other examples of “raw judicial power.”

Dred Scott: "They did it to me, why not to you?"
• In another oddity of interpretation, the United States Supreme Court found that the Fourteenth Amendment “requires” that states permit same-sex marriage.  This, of course, effectively nullifies the Tenth Amendment, which states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”  Interestingly, William Crosskey, possibly the greatest constitutional scholar of the twentieth century, claimed that the Supreme Court’s 1873 decision in the Slaughterhouse Cases effectively nullified the Fourteenth Amendment, intended in part to overturn Scott v. Sandford (the Dred Scott case) — the end result being that the Supreme Court just used an amendment it previously nullified to knock out another amendment.  This is consistent with Crosskey’s analysis.  As he explained, “So, the Court’s opinion in the Slaughter-House Cases was, undoubtedly, most craftily written; written so as to enable the Court, with a good face, in future cases, to jump either way: to observe the intended meaning of the Privileges and Immunities Clause if that seemed unavoidable, or, in the alternative, to destroy the clause utterly if this seemed safe.  And the fact that this elaborate preparation was made also means that the majority Justices saw and fully comprehended the possibility of the intermediate, plain, and sensible meaning of the Privileges and Immunities Clause here expounded, to which, indeed, Justice Bradley [Joseph Philo Bradley, 1813-1892] called attention, in his dissenting opinion.  So, the majority must, as the minority charged, already have determined, if they dared, to destroy this new provision of the Constitution [the Fourteenth Amendment] completely.” (William Winslow Crosskey, Politics and the Constitution in the History of the United States.  Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 1953, 1130.)  Not surprisingly, the Slaughterhouse decision was cited in Roe v. Wade.

• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 60 different countries and 44 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, Kenya, and Australia. The most popular postings this past week were “Halloween Horror Special XIII: Mean Green Mother from Outer Space,” “Thomas Hobbes on Private Property,” “Yet More on Property, II: Hudock’s Alleged Errors,” “Avoiding Monetary Meltdown, II: Salmon P. Chase and the Greenbacks,” and “Crisis of Reason, III: Symptoms of Irrationality.”

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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