You mean you’re reading today’s news items instead of protesting, counter-protesting, or watching the political antics on television? . . . There might be hope for you yet! Seriously, the new administration represents a new opportunity to implement the Just Third Way that would empower ordinary people instead of the State or a private sector élite. This can be done by making all Americans, not just the abstract America, great again:
|"Take it from me, Don. Pass Capital Homesteading."|
• Of course, the big news this week is the Inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. We can’t be the first in line to give him the good advice every president needs, so we’ll have to be content with giving the best advice: have the Congress pass a Capital Homestead Act. Now. That is, if you truly want to make America great again. Everything will fall into place. It almost did after Abraham Lincoln’s 1862 Homestead Act, but that had three flaws: 1) the land ran out, 2) the financial system was inadequate, and 3) the tax system was inadequate. Fortunately, today we 1) can open up the industrial and commercial frontier (to all intents and purposes without practical limit), 2) have an adequate (if grossly misused) financial system that has the potential to do what is needed, and 3) have a tax system that, although junked up with so much garbage that it is virtually unworkable, can easily be fixed by applying the proper, Just Third Way principles.
• The World Economic Forum ends today. We were slightly off in our predictions as to the recommendations that would be made. We thought they would be for job creation and training. Instead, they were for government money creation to fund job creation and training. Big surprise.
|Vicomte Eugène-Melchior de Vogüé|
• We have located a surprising amount of new information relating to the issuance of Rerum Novarum, Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical on labor and capital that stresses the importance of widespread ownership of capital and a limited economic role for the State . . . that “the experts” have “reinterpreted” as meaning concentrated private ownership of capital or State-ownership, and a vastly increased role for the State. One little gem was an article that appeared in the January 1892 issue of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, “The Neo-Christian Movement in France,” by “the Vicomte Eugène-Melchior de Vogüé,” someone of whom we had never heard before, but who turns out to have been a Big Fromage in France. The Vicomte (which is easier to type than “Eugène-Melchior”) contended that the socialists, modernists (whom he called “Neo-Christians”), and New Agers (whom he called “spiritualists”) had jumped on Leo XIII’s pivotal encyclical and in less than a year (Rerum Novarum came out in 1891) had twisted it so far out of shape as to render it nearly incomprehensible. Ironically, before the Vicomte died in 1910, Msgr. John A. Ryan would utterly destroy the natural law concepts found in Rerum Novarum and use the distortions of the socialists, modernists, and New Agers to support his reformulation of Catholic social teaching in his doctoral thesis, A Living Wage (1906).s
• We have also located a number of articles by Henry George published in The North American Review and other journals that tend to clarify some of the material he presented in Progress and Poverty (1879). The material differs in some respects substantially from the position of today’s followers of George.
|The Know-Nothings: "America for Americans!"|
• Somewhat to our surprise, during our research we discovered that today’s public v private school debate is not at all a new thing. At least as far back as the 1860s, religious and other private schools were considered un-, even anti-American by the powerful nativist movement as exemplified by the Know-Nothing Party and secret society, that eventually evolved into various offshoots such as the Ku Klux Klan and the American Protective Association. The arguments against private schools ranged from the presumably practical demand that all American children needed the same education in order to be good citizens and government schools are the only way to ensure this, to the hysterical fear that Catholic and other schools were hotbeds of “rum, Romanism, and rebellion” that would destroy the United States as a democratic republic and bring about a totalitarian dictatorship ruled direct from the Vatican.
• 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 email@example.com. An additional discount may be available for institutions such as schools, clubs, and other organizations as well as retailers.
|"America for Americans? I'm all for 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.
• We have had visitors from 53 different countries and 48 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, Nigeria, Australia, and India. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “News from the Network, Vol. 10, No. 01,” “The Anti-Francis Effect, I: Leo & Francis,” “The Anti-Francis Effect, II: Leo’s Vision,” “The Real Fix for Corporate Tricks,” and “The American Chesterton, X: The Disciple of Common Sense.”
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.