Friday, December 30, 2016

News from the Network, Vol. 9, No. 50


Here is the second part of the annual year-end news roundup, covering July through December 2016.  The first part, covering January through June, was posted Friday of last week.  From the volume of news from the second half of the year, perhaps we should have done a 75-25 split instead of 50-50:
• Early in July CESJ sent an outreach letter to the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture regarding the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  CESJ’s contention (based on the analysis of William Winslow Crosskey in Politics and the Constitution in the History of the United States, Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press, 1953) is that the current interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment is based on the egregiously incorrect U.S. Supreme Court decision handed down in the Slaughterhouse Cases of 1873.  We invited Dr. O. Carter Snead, Director of the Center for Ethics and Culture, to give Dr. Norman Kurland (who had Crosskey for Constitutional Law when he attended the University of Chicago Law School) a call to discuss Crosskey’s analysis in light of CESJ’s proposed pro-life economic agenda.  CESJ also submitted a proposal for a paper to be delivered at the annual conference in October at Notre Dame.  There was no response.
• Members of the CESJ core group met with AME Bishop Don Williams in July.  Bishop Williams was referred to CESJ by the Rev. Virgil Wood of Houston, Texas, a long-time supporter of CESJ.  Bishop Williams is active as a leader in Bread for the World, and is interested in the Just Third Way as possibly having the potential to bring a just and sustainable solution to poverty.  Bishop Williams likes the idea of the Just Third Way with its emphasis on power, private property, and justice, and the linkage of economics and ethics.
• Members of the CESJ core group met in July with a representative of Alex Cummings, who is a candidate for president in Liberia.  The discussion centered on whether the Just Third Way could provide a model platform for the candidate to present as a way of delivering justice to the country.  The representative’s report to the candidate resulted in the candidate scheduling a meeting with the CESJ core group.  Specifics included the underlying philosophy of government, and the need to make monetary and tax reform the cutting edge of any program of social reconstruction, particularly since money and credit are the predominant means of acquiring and possessing capital, and the tax system defines in large measure to what degree someone actually “owns” that to which he or she holds title.
Fabian socialist Richard Henry Tawney
• Also in July CESJ received a copy of Edward R. Pease’s The History of the Fabian Society.  Reading the book revealed that many elements of the Fabian program — government control of money and credit, full employment as the goal of economic policy, taxation for social engineering, and socialism have been adopted by virtually every government on earth today.  It becomes evident why, in light of the Fabian demand that everyone be forced into a wage system job and become a dependent of the State, willy nilly, Hilaire Belloc wrote his scathing indictment of Fabian socialism, The Servile State (1912), and why G.K. Chesterton and Msgr. Ronald Knox saved some of their wittiest barbs and pointed criticisms for the Fabian blend of an expanded Henry George-style socialism and spiritualist pseudo philosophy (and why Pope Pius XI seems to have included a few jabs himself in Quadragesimo Anno and Divini Redemptoris). Interestingly, Chesterton in his 1923 book on St. Francis of Assisi drew a parallel between what some renegade Franciscans did in the thirteenth century in an effort to invent a new religion under the name of Christianity with the Fabian program, which drew an outraged response from one of the leaders of the Fabians, R.H. Tawney, Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (1926), in which Tawney viciously attacked religion in general and the Catholic Church in particular, and sneered at Chesterton and Belloc’s distributism.  Ironically, many latter day Chestertonians and distributists — to say nothing of interpreters of Catholic social teaching — have adopted the Fabian program.
• In August, CESJ submitted a draft proposal for a co-project with Virginia Tech.  The proposal was from a Just Third Way perspective, which makes it sufficiently interesting to intrigue people who fund this sort of thing.  CESJ looked at developing ways to help countries in Africa (or anywhere else) open up the opportunity and means for every person to be a productive and contributing member of society.  In broad terms, this means shifting the currency from being backed with government debt (the worst thing for a currency), to backing it with private sector assets, reforming the tax system, and making it possible for every person to purchase capital that pays for itself out of its own future earnings.
• In August we found out that a group called “New World Standard Critique” republished one and a half articles by Louis Kelso and Norman Kurland.  The Kelso article is The Great Savings Snafu,” Business and Society Review, Winter, 1988.  The Kurland article(s) is a journal article split into two parts, “A New Look at Prices and Money: The Kelsonian Binary Model for Achieving Growth Without Inflation,” The Journal of Socio-Economics, Vol. 30 pgs. 495-515.  Part One is here, and Part Two is here.  The group even has a menu item, “The Just Third Way,” that gives full credit to Kelso and Kurland for their work.  There is even an article by CESJ’s Director of Research, although he is misidentified as “Deputy President.”
Whiteman Street Bridge, Rockford, Illinois
• Also in August members of the CESJ core group had an extended telephone conversation with a gentleman in Aurora, Illinois, an actuary who has been involved in real estate and has been active in working for political change.  An interesting discussion developed over whether economic democracy or political democracy should lead.  This particular issue was not resolved, but he did promise to put us in touch with the mayor of Rockford, a nearby city.
• The mayor of Rockford, Illinois expressed interest in CESJ’s proposals for economic revival.  He claimed to have reviewed the CESJ website, but did not get back in touch.
• A column by George Will, “Illinois Exemplifies Our Fiscal Foolishness,” painted a bleak picture of the state’s economic situation, ironically nothing that couldn’t be solved readily with the Just Third Way.  We sent a follow-up email to Dr. Will, reminding him that he had once met with Norman Kurland, president of CESJ, during the 1986 Presidential Task Force for Project Economic Justice.
• In August CESJ held its delayed annual celebration.  The event was postponed from April due to a scheduling conflict with documentary filmmaker Joyce Hart (Sisters of Selma) who wanted to tape the event for possible inclusion in a film about Louis Kelso, inventor of the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).  After a brief business meeting, there was a panel discussion on binary economics and the Just Third Way, followed by a sandwich buffet lunch.  After lunch, there was a roundtable discussion on what Kelso’s ideas meant to each person.
Eliza Riley, CESJ’s intern, began at the end of August and began formulating questions for a survey to be taken in Ukraine in November to determine attitudes toward widespread capital ownership as a way of helping to counter the extreme corruption in that country as well as rebuild the economy.
• In September, Norman Kurland gavea series of lectures via skype to Dr. Ralph Hall’s students at Virginia Tech.  With Dr. Nicholas Ashford of MIT, Dr. Hall is the author of Technology, Globalization, and Sustainable Development: Transforming the Industrial State (2011), which contains a chapter on binary economics, the first on the subject to appear in a college text.  Norm, of course, will be talking about applications of the Just Third Way within the current legal environment as well as the direction that economic (and political) development must take to reestablish justice and ensure as far as humanly possible, and restore the proper social environment within which each human person — every child, woman, and man — has the opportunity and means to “pursue happiness,” i.e., acquire and develop virtue in the Aristotelian sense.
• Also in September, the CESJ core group met with Dr. Anne Khademian of Virginia Tech.  The purpose was to discuss how binary economics fits into the Just Third Way, and how the Just Third Way fits into Dr. Khademian’s field of Public and International Affairs.  The author of numerous articles and books, Dr. Khademian’s research focuses on leadership and organizational culture, inclusive management, policy networks, and the work of organizations involved in homeland security and financial regulation.  The meeting went very well, going over the time allotted, with follow-up meetings anticipated.
The Just Third Way is compatible with Catholic social teaching.
Members of the CESJ core group had an introductory meeting in September with a Notre Dame alumnus who had come across a mention of the Just Third Way and saw a compatibility with his understanding of Catholic social teaching.  This is not a surprising development, as Catholic social teaching (as any social teaching should be) is based on the Aristotelian-Thomist interpretation of the natural law, refined by Kelso and Adler in the area of economic justice, and by Pope Pius XI into a completed social doctrine, and analyzed by CESJ co-founder Father William J. Ferree, S.M., Ph.D., president of Chaminade College, rector of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico, and Chairman of Dayton University.
Father William J. Ferree, S.M., Ph.D.
In September CESJ received a request for an interview about Father Ferree from a sister at Dayton University who is putting together a short biography of Father Ferree, drawn from personal reminiscences of the people who knew him.  Many members of the CESJ core group were friends of Father Ferree, and during the last year of his life he made what he called his “monthly pilgrimage” from Dayton to Arlington to meet and discuss the Just Third Way.  Many people don’t know that Father Ferree and Norman Kurland testified before the Lay Commission on the Economy on September 11, 1985 during the preparation of what became the U.S. bishops’ 1986 pastoral on the economy, Economic Justice for All.  Sadly, the pastoral only made a single — incorrect — reference to the work of Father Ferree, possibly the world’s leading expert in the social doctrine of Pius XI, and made no reference at all to Norman Kurland, a leading pioneer in the expanded ownership movement who worked with ESOP inventor Louis Kelso.
• CESJ contributed a chapter to a book to be published in India by Laj Utreyja, Director of the Institute of Global Harmony in New Delhi.  CESJ adapted a paper on sustainable growth for the project, and submited the final draft to Dr. Utreyja in September.
• The CESJ core group had an interesting conversation in September with an entrepreneur who has an interesting idea about how to handle the refugee crisis . . . that doesn’t involve building walls or shipping them back where they came from.  Instead, the idea is to build new communities of 10-12,000 people each, using new energy technologies and advanced corporate finance to supply a productive economy that has a net contribution to the economy instead of a net drain.  Citizen ownership and participation would be key to the concept.
An article on CESJ appeared in The Irish Rover, an independent student publication at the University of Notre Dame.  Written by a past editor, John Sullivan, “The Third Way: CESJ and Binary Economics,” gives a pretty good thumbnail sketch of the thought of Louis Kelso, and suggests it merits examination as a way in which people in the future can meet their own needs through their own efforts — not forgetting the need to take care of people now, of course.  There was one small error in the article, CESJ was called the Center for Ethics and Social Justice instead of the Center for Economic and Social Justice . . . but it was noted that the Associate Director of the Center for Ethics and Culture had an article on the previous page, so someone might have had ethics instead of economics on his mind.
• CESJ connected in September with a freelance journalist in Melbourne, Australia, who supports “distributism” and works with the Democratic Labour Party there.  We put the journalist in touch with the editor of the Perth Herald-Tribune, which has been running a regular column on CESJ and the Just Third Way — after directing him to the CESJ website.
The Just Third Way turns pie-in-the-sky into reality.
• In October the CESJ core group met with John Sullivan, the past editor of the Irish Rover, an independent student publication at the University of Notre Dame.  Although the meeting was geared toward getting acquainted and giving a general presentation of the Just Third Way, John took a number of CESJ publications and handouts, such as the ones distributed last year at the World Meeting of Families.  John said that he had become interested in CESJ by coming across a mention of the Just Third Way in a Notre Dame alumni internet group.  For years he had been interested in “distributism,” the expanded ownership proposal developed by G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc, but had decided that it was a little “pie in the sky” as there did not seem to be any practical means to implement it.  He had also been interested in the ESOP and in applications of Catholic social teaching.  In the Just Third Way he thought he saw a practical program of implementing the vision of Chesterton and Belloc — to say nothing of that of Popes Leo XIII and Pius XI.
• In October the CESJ core group met with Alex Cummings, a candidate for the presidency of Liberia, the country established as a homeland for freed American slaves.  Unique among the countries of the world, the Liberian constitution states explicitly that everyone has the inherent right to own property, and that no one can be denied exercise of that or any other right except through due process.
• Also in October the CESJ core group had a lunch meeting with a key Catholic academic and official in the Diocese of Arlington.  The meeting went very well, and his and CESJ’s understanding of the natural law seemed to be in full agreement.  He asked to be kept up to date on any events CESJ is planning, and mentioned that he has read the first couple of chapters of Easter Witness.
• The CESJ core group met in October with Dr. Samuel Otterstrom of Brigham Young University, currently with BYU’s Washington Seminar.  In the discussion during and after lunch, Norman Kurland presented Dr. Otterstrom with a broad overview of the Just Third Way.  In consequence, Norm was asked to be a featured speaker at one of the Friday sessions that end each week.
• In October CESJ began exploring the possibility of a conference on a pro-life economic agenda, along the lines suggested by Supporting Life, and based on the Universal Declaration of the Sovereignty of the Human Person Under God.  Ideally, this would lead to a “bipartisan” conference bringing together people on both sides of the issue, with everyone seeing the advantages of a life-affirming economic and financial system over those of today, a rally at the Federal Reserve, and the passage of a Capital Homestead Act for the United States to follow up on the success of Abraham Lincoln’s 1862 Homestead Act, but with a form of capital that is not limited.
St. Dominic, O.P.
• In November Mark Gross, O.P., editor and publisher of Truth Be Told, the newsletter of the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, Western Province Dominican Laity, requested permission to republish yesterday’s blog posting, “Faux Solidarism and the Totalitarian State.”  “Faux Solidarism” is one of a number of recent blog postings that have generated a great deal of interest and, possibly, some soul-searching among people whose assumptions and “facts” are questioned at the most fundamental level.  Subscriptions to Truth Be Told are free.
• In November the CESJ core group attended a presentation by Dr. Norman Kurland at the Brigham Young University Washington Seminar.  The presentation was on “the Just Third Way,” and the students were very attentive and asked a great many insightful questions
• In November Tom Pompowski in Australia began renewing his contacts in Church, State, and Academia to open up opportunities for meetings with key people in those areas with the CESJ core group.  He reported that the Fulton J. Sheen Society, Inc. in Western Australia was very interested in the Just Third Way.
• In November Norman Kurland spoke with Delegate Bob Marshall of Manassas, a local politician with ties to Christendom College.  Bob said he was impressed with Norm’s analysis of the pro-life movement, and agreed that a Just Third Way approach might help fill a gap in the economic and political strategies in ways that can appeal to all people.  Bob expressed great interest in the work of William Winslow Crosskey (1894-1968), whose book, Politics and the Constitution in the History of the United States (University of Chicago Press, 1953), details how the U.S. Supreme Court expanded judicial review far beyond the bounds intended by the framers of the Constitution first in an effort to preserve slavery, then to assert the Court’s power over Congress, making the Court the final arbiter on legislation with the power to create law as well as adjudicate disputes.  Bob said he would talk to Dr. Timothy O’Donnell, president of Christendom, with an eye toward arranging a meeting between Dr. O’Donnell and the CESJ core group the next time Dr. O’Donnell was in Arlington.
Dave McDonald in Hartford, CT, reported in November he has formed a core group to start a CESJ chapter there.
Emblem of the Fabian Society
• EWTN ran a show on the infiltration of socialism into the Catholic Church, “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing.”  Although CESJ is not a religious organization, it does rely heavily on a natural law understanding of Catholic social teaching, something that has been under attack for some time, notably through adoption of the program of the Fabian Society . . . whose emblem is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  CESJ has been warning people about this problem for years, but has not managed to make much headway.  Ironically, some people insist that R.H. Tawney’s 1926 book, Religion and the Rise of Capitalism, details a correct understanding of Catholic social teaching.  Tawney, however (who was on the Executive of the Fabian Society from 1920 to 1933) attacked the Catholic Church in his book, and claimed that religion would have to get rid of its spiritual elements if it was to become relevant for the modern world.
• Also in November CESJ heard from the acquisitions editor of a Catholic publisher indicating that the publisher might be willing to discuss an exclusive distribution agreement for Easter Witness.
The Great Gate of Kiev
• CESJ intern Eliza Riley’s original research survey for the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Human Subjects Committee of Brigham Young University was approved in November and was administered in the field starting Friday, December 2, 2016.  The survey was part of a standard omnibus survey that has been conducted in Ukraine for many years.  The Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) conducts the Omnibus, and international clients that have made use of KISS’s survey services include USAID, the World Bank, UNICEF, Cambridge University, Duke University, the London School of Economics, and other universities.  The research aimed to measure how Ukrainians view property ownership (and the unequal distribution of it in their country) and its effects on a number of problems facing their country including corruption, low levels of support for democracy, economic decay, and the erosion of welfare programs in Ukraine.  This has important implications for CESJ on how to implement legislation emphasizing universal access to ownership.
Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky
• Dr. Norman G. Kurland traveled to Louisville, Kentucky in December to be keynote speaker before an audience of 250-300 people at Churchill Downs in the Triple Crown Room of the Jockey Club.  The topic was “The Game Changer in You.”  The closing was a discussion on motivation and mobilization of the Millennial Generation.  Participants discussed workforce readiness for the future, monetary reform, innovation, and infrastructure for the twenty-first Century and the responsibility and role Millennials can play in that.  Norm also spoke on a panel on sustainability moderated by Martin Smith. The sponsors had effectively promoted CESJ’s Just Third Way writings before the event.  The ideas were enthusiastically supported among the 350 participants, including millennial activists in several Southern states, multi-faith religious leaders, the Unite America Party of Kentucky, Kentucky members of American Descendants of Slaves, bankers, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and faculty members and students from several Kentucky universities.  Norm described it as “[T]he most exciting gathering I’ve attended since I first learned of Louis Kelso’s ideas in March 1965.”
In December Norman Kurland also attended the World Bank’s Global Forum on Law, Justice, and Development, which he described as “exciting.”  Norm met many participants who were open to the Just Third Way principles and strategy for financing the advanced non-fossil-based energy technologies that need to be developed, manufactured and marketed globally for addressing global Climate Change.  He met with the Forum’s Senior Project Manager and World Bank legal counsel, gave them some of CESJ’s writings on resilient green growth, and expects to meet with them on the ideas within the next two weeks.  Norm was introduced to him by a lawyer from Brazil, who works with him at the World Bank, and wants to become involved with CESJ and the professional team at  Equity Expansion International, Inc.
• CESJ’s latest book (makes a great post-Christmas gift), Easter Witness: From Broken Dream to a New Vision for Ireland, is available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as by special order from many “regular” bookstores.  The book can also be ordered in bulk, which we define as ten copies or more of the same title, at a 20% discount.  A full case is twenty-six copies, and non-institutional/non-vendor purchasers get a 20% discount off the $20 cover price on wholesale lots ($416/case).  Shipping is extra.  Send enquiries to publications@cesj.org.  An additional discount may be available for institutions such as schools, clubs, and other organizations as well as retailers.
Can you resist a face like that?
• Here’s the usual announcement about the Amazon Smile program, albeit moved to the bottom of the page so you don’t get tired of seeing it.  To participate in the Amazon Smile program for CESJ, 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.
• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 57 different countries and 52 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, Russia, the United Kingdom, and France. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “Thomas Hobbes on Private Property,”  “A Dishonest Way to Argue, I: Apples and Oranges,” “How to Make America Great Again,” “Book Review: Field Guide for Heroes,” and “Minimum Wage Follies.”
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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