Friday, November 20, 2015

News from the Network, Vol. 8, No. 47


Most immediate (but far from the most important — for that you’ll have to go to the actual news items, below), is that we want everyone to know if you’re doing any shopping on Amazon at this or any other time of the year, you can put a little money in CESJ’s pocket without taking any (more) out of your own.  CESJ participates in the “Amazon Smile” program, so 0.5% (that’s one-half of one percent) of your net purchase goes to CESJ without increasing the cost to you.  We have the link and instructions for you, below.

Now for the important news.  This has been pretty much of a “banner week” for CESJ.  A number of very important events have occurred:

Flag of the Republic of Guinea
  As a follow-up to previous meetings with Dr. Alpha Condé, President of the Republic of Guinea, and His Excellency Mamady Condé (no relation), Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Guinea to the United States, CESJ President Dr. Norman Kurland, CESJ Fellow M. Jean-Marie Bukuru, Director of Communications Ms. Dawn K. Brohawn, and Director of Research Mr. Michael D. Greaney met on Thursday of this week with Ambassador Condé at the Guinean Embassy in Washington, DC.  The meeting, while short, was substantive.  His Excellency recommended that Dr. Kurland and M. Bukuru travel to Guinea as soon as possible to meet with President Condé again to discuss the possible application of the Just Third Way as a blueprint for establishing and maintaining economic — and thus political — democracy in the country.  If successful in Guinea, such a program would be a model for Africa as well as the rest of the world, including the United States, on how to structure a sustainable and just economy in a manner consistent with the Aristotelian-Thomist principles of the natural law.

Map of the Republic of Guinea
• CESJ Fellow Astrid Uytterhaegen is planning on relocating to Guinea in late December or early January after she obtains her Masters degree in labor economics at the University of Louwen in Belgium — where in 1925 Fulton J. Sheen, author of Freedom Under God, recently republished in a “Just Third Way Edition,” was awarded the Agrégé de L’Institut Supérieur de Philosophie à L’Université de Louvain before the university was split into its present French and Flemish sections.  Only about forty people have been granted that honor at the level Sheen was awarded in the past six hundred years.

Mortimer Adler and Pope Paul VI
• This past week we ordered eleven books by Mortimer Adler, a number of them first editions, for less than $40 total: The Time of Our Lives (1970), Reforming Education (1977), How to Think About God (1980), Six Great Ideas (1981), The Paideia Proposal (1982) (pronounced “Pie-Day-Uh), Paideia Problems (1983), A Vision of the Future (1984), We Hold These Truths (1987), Truth in Religion (1990), Desires Right and Wrong (1991), Art, the Arts, and the Great Ideas (1994), Most of these volumes focus on problems in modern academia or with modern thought overall.  We’ll have to ask Max Weismann, co-founder with Adler of the Center for the Study of the Great Ideas in Chicago, what others we might find useful, in addition to those we already have (i.e., How to Read a Book, Philosophical Dictionary, Aristotle for Everybody, Ten Philosophical Mistakes, and, of course, The Capitalist Manifesto and The New Capitalists with Louis Kelso), but this looks like a good start on getting Adler’s work back into the public — and academic — eye.

Mortimer Adler, Great Books Philosopher
• “Reviving” Adler may be more important than many people realize.  As columnist Paul Greenburg said in his tribute to Adler on the latter’s death in 2001 at the age of 98, “Adler’s obscurity in his later years was not just a sign of increasing age and its burdens, but of changes in society — mainly a dangerous lessening of interest in the power of ideas.  The result is that we have become susceptible to the worst ideas, or even the absence of ideas, for we are deprived of the habit of struggling with them regularly. . . . we waste ourselves debating facts, which should be ascertained rather than argued, and having to rediscover what the ancients knew.  Often enough by bitter experience.” As Greenberg concluded, “That many today never heard of Mortimer Adler or the Great Books, and many others may have to be reminded of who he was, is not a good sign for a cohesive, democratic, tolerant, learned and above all thinking society.”  (Paul Greenberg, “Mortimer Adler: A Funny and Great Little Man,” The Item, July 6, 2001, 10A.)

So many books, so little time. . .
• Should anyone want to purchase any of the books by Adler (or any of those published by CESJ or Universal Values Media), especially if a “thoughtful” Christmas gift is desired at pretty much rock-bottom prices (buy now before people start thinking and Adler’s stock goes up), he or she might want to take advantage of Amazon’s “Smile” program so that CESJ will receive a small donation.  Of course, direct donations to CESJ are also always welcome, especially to defray the cost of additions to our research library . . . or anything else, for that matter, such as a trip or two to the Republic of Guinea. . . .

Lawyer-economist Louis Kelso, ESOP inventor, Adler co-author.
• Speaking of the books by Kelso and Adler, with the gracious assistance of Dr. María Teresa Rosón de Pérez Lozano, Professor of Commercial Law at the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina in Buenos Aires (where You-Know-Who was Grand Chancellor before his election to the See of Peter), we have located copies of the Spanish and French editions of The Capitalist Manifesto (1958), and have gotten the go-ahead on putting them into e-versions for free distribution.  We don’t know if The New Capitalists (1961) was ever translated, but Joseph Recinos in Guatemala, who was key to the original Spanish translation and has been acting as informal Project Manager for the republication project, is searching for translations of The New Capitalists, as well as other translations of The Capitalist Manifesto.  The subtitle of The New Capitalists is particularly important, giving as it does an alternative to prevalent (and false) Keynesian assumptions: “A Proposal to Free Economic Growth from the Slavery of Savings,” a title that probably doesn’t mean what you think it means, unless you’ve read the book (cf. How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler. . . .).

Heinrich Rommen and Cardinal Ratzinger
• From the sixteenth through the twentieth of this month, the CESJ core group attended several sessions of a week-long World Bank event on “Law, Justice and Development” (without the “Oxford comma”) in Washington, DC.  From the Just Third Way perspective (and revealing that the problems Adler observed in Academia are — as constitutional scholar William Crosskey and solidarist political scientist and jurist Heinrich Rommen suggested — prevalent throughout the political realm . . . understood in the Aristotelian-Thomist sense, of course, man being by nature a “political animal”), there appeared to be too much emphasis on increasing government regulation and control to force the present system to work, rather than restructuring the system in accordance with sound principles of philosophy and binary economics.  That is, in accounting terms, there appeared to be too great a reliance on “external controls” to make up for the flaws of a bad system, rather than “internal (systemic) controls” of a well-designed system.  Also noteworthy was the fact that few, if any, of the presenters and panelists appeared to understand the nature of money as “anything that can be used in settlement of a debt” (“all things transferred in commerce” — “Money,” Black’s Law Dictionary), evidently viewing “money” exclusively as government-issued bills of credit, i.e., debt backed only by the issuer’s promise to pay our anticipated future revenues (hence “anticipation notes”), and not linked by private property to any specific owned asset.

• Despite the disappointment with the official sessions at the World Bank, individual networking and one-on-one interaction surfaced a number of people who expressed interest in the Just Third Way, and with whom we are already following up.  Since the event is still going on as of this writing, and next week is Thanksgiving, we don’t expect to hear back from anyone until after that, at the earliest, but so far indications of continued interest are excellent.

Keep CESJ in mind as you do your shopping.
Amazon Smile program.  As promised above, here are the instructions for using the Amazon Smile program — which, of course, you’re burning to do in order to purchase CESJ’s, UVM’s, and Adler’s books.  It’s pretty easy, but you have to follow the directions exactly, or CESJ won’t get the donation.  First, go to https://smile.amazon.com/.  Next, sign in to your account.  (If you don’t have an account with Amazon, you can create one by clicking on the tiny little link below the “Sign in using our secure server” button.)  Once you have signed into your account, you need to select CESJ as your charity — and you have to be careful to do it exactly this way: in the space provided for “Or select your own charitable organization” type “Center for Economic and Social Justice Arlington.”  If you type anything else, you will either get no results or more than you want to sift through.  Once you’ve typed (or copied and pasted) “Center for Economic and Social Justice Arlington” into the space provided, hit “Select” — and you will be taken to the Amazon shopping site, all ready to go.  That’s it.  Oh, and be sure to share this information with your friends and neighbors.

• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 60 different countries and 50 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, Russia, Canada, and Australia. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “Thomas Hobbes on Private Property,” “Halloween Horror Special XIII: Mean Green Mother from Outer Space,” “Three Key Books on Common Sense, XI: The Awful Apparition of Aristotle,” “Aristotle on Private Property,” and “Three Key Books on Common Sense, VII: The American Regression.”

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.

#30#

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