In preparation for a discussion on the natural law principles underlying religious social teaching (as opposed to religious faith-based teaching), we’ve been re-reading Mortimer Adler’s 1990 book, Truth in Religion: The Plurality of Religions and the Unity of Truth (New York: Scribner and Sons). As Adler argued, there are certain philosophical and natural law principles that are common to almost all religions, and are true, regardless of the truth of a religion’s purely faith-based teachings.
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Monday, July 22, 2019
We've been alternating CESJ's Just Third Way podcast with videos featuring Mortimer J. Adler, who co-authored with Louis Kelso two key books that relate to economic personalism, The Capitalist Manifesto (1958) and The New Capitalists (1961), the latter with the significant subtitle, "A Proposal to Free Economic Growth from the Slavery of Savings." That does not mean, of course, that new capital can be financed without savings, but that human beings should not be enslaved to money and credit, which are, ultimately, only tools that people should be using, not money and credit using people.
Friday, July 19, 2019
Have you seen the “People and Things” video? If not, why not? And if you have, why not view it again? And spread it around to your network? It’s less than two minutes, and perfect for the short attention span generation. And as for what else the Just Third Way network is doing:
Thursday, July 18, 2019
As they say, even a broken clock is right twice a day, the implication being that not even something inherently wrong is always wrong in its conclusions. That is something capitalists and socialists — and MMT theorists — would do well to remember.
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
In 1891, with the release of Rerum Novarum, Leo XIII’s encyclical “On Capital and Labor,” the careers of the agrarian socialist Henry George and his associate, Father Edward McGlynn were given the opportunity of a lifetime. If handled right, it could give George’s career a much-needed shot in the arm by handing him something he could twist into a personal attack.
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Given the rather startling popularity of yesterday’s posting of Mortimer Adler’s appearance on Firing Line and his grilling by William F. Buckley, we decided today to answer the question that Buckley asked Adler, but which Adler was not able to answer completely. This was not because Adler could not answer, but because Buckley tried to get Adler to say what he, Buckley, wanted Adler to say, rather than what Adler needed to say.
Monday, July 15, 2019
Yes, we know that this is supposed to be the Just Third Way podcast and not the WJTW Adler Video Extravaganza, but these little gems from someone who has a claim to being the most prominent American Aristotelian-Thomist of the twentieth century have proven so popular that we can't resist the urge to keep posting them:
Friday, July 12, 2019
Although there are more spectacular problems in the world, one of the more fundamental ones is the question of how people without capital ownership can become capital owners without harming anyone else. As regular readers of this blog are aware, this can not only be done without harm, but in a way that benefits everyone by reforming the monetary, tax, and ownership structures in society. So today we present a few thoughts on the subject:
Thursday, July 11, 2019
As a few of you may know (and even fewer care), I attended the University of Notre Dame du Lac in northern Indiana in the late 1970s. I was in the Notre Dame Glee Club for four years under Dr. David Clark (“Coach”) Isele, majored in Accounting, and managed to graduate, going on to get my MBA at the University of Evansville, Indiana. Eventually I became Director of Research for the interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ) in Arlington, Virginia.
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
In the previous posting on this subject, we learned that, while Pope Leo XIII started off his pontificate by continuing the condemnation of the “new things” of socialism, modernism, and “New Age” thought, people just weren’t “getting it.” Despite the work of Msgr. Aloysius Taparelli, S.J. in developing a philosophically sound principle of social justice, the socialists had seized on the term and made it their own by giving it a definition that conformed to socialism instead of to natural law.
Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Word has just come down the pike that the canonization of John Henry Newman has been set for October 13, 2019. We say that with caution, because you can bet money on it that most of the people commenting on it, Catholic or non, will say that “Newman will be made a saint,” or words to that effect.
Monday, July 8, 2019
We’ve been having such success with the short videos of Mortimer Adler we’ve been putting up that we decided to do a couple more this week. The two together are not more than fifteen minutes, but they have substance. The first one is Adler talking about the Great Ideas for about ten minutes. The second one is a brief four minutes or so on how you don’t really get an education in school, but from a lifetime of learning:
Friday, July 5, 2019
As you can see from the volume of news items this week, the Just Third Way is in no danger of a summer slowdown. Of course, we don’t want you to slow down, either, so be sure to pass this edition of News from the Network along to your network:
Thursday, July 4, 2019
In celebration of Independence Day here in the United States, we decided to take a look at where the Founding Fathers got some of their ideas. While the specific notions of democracy that inspired American liberal democracy go back to ancient Greece and Rome, their more immediate source of inspiration was the reaction against the “divine right” theory of Sir Robert Filmer (cir. 1588-1653), chief theologian of James VI/I (1566-1625) of Scotland/England.
Wednesday, July 3, 2019
In the previous posting on this subject, we saw to what extent “the New Christianity” had infiltrated the mainstream Christian denominations, especially the Catholic Church. Pope Pius IX called the First Vatican Council in part to deal with the problem, and two key doctrines were defined as part of the effort. These were papal infallibility to rein in the exaggerated claims being made for papal authority by fideists, Neo-Catholics, and reactionaries, and the primacy of the Intellect to put faith on a solid foundation consistent with reason.
Tuesday, July 2, 2019
As we saw in the first posting on this subject, there are four primary aspects of socialism. These are philanthropy, communitarianism, reform or abolition of religion, and — our topic for today — the abolition of private ownership. Again, it is important to note that a particular form of socialism may not include all or even any of these aspects, and yet still be true socialism.
Monday, July 1, 2019
Much to our surprise, the videos we've been putting up about Mortimer Adler, philosophy, and some rather difficult or esoteric concepts have been proving very popular. The recent one on the essence of socialism discussing the distinction between form and substance ranked in the top five all time hits for this blog! This astounded certain commentators who think you have to dumb everything down and then not talk about it at all in order to be popular. It turns out talking about truth and all that actually draws a crowd . . . and only a few of them are hecklers!
Friday, June 28, 2019
Along with visits to this blog increasing dramatically over the past two weeks, there are some real news items that should be of interest to readers (other than the good news that, if you’re reading this, you are not alone). It seems that people around the world are becoming increasingly aware that something may be wrong, and the usual solutions have been proven to be inadequate:
Thursday, June 27, 2019
As we saw in the first posting on this subject, and (purely by coincidence) in Wednesday’s posting, there are four primary aspects of socialism: philanthropy, communitarianism, reform or abolition of religion, and abolition of private ownership. Again, it is important to note that a particular form of socialism may not include all or even any of these aspects, and yet still be true socialism.
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, following the Financial, Industrial, and French Revolutions, society was in chaos and people began searching for alternatives to traditional political, domestic, and religious institutions. What they came up with was “the democratic religion” — socialism.
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
As we saw in the first posting on this subject, there are four primary aspects of socialism: philanthropy, communitarianism, reform or abolition of religion, and abolition of private ownership. We noted that a particular form of socialism may not include all or even any of these aspects, and yet still be true socialism.
Monday, June 24, 2019
In this week’s Just Third Way podcast, Dr. Norman Kurland, President of CESJ, takes a look at the three main ownership vehicles of the Just Third Way. These are Capital Homesteading Accounts, Citizens Land Development Cooperatives, and the one in current law that embodies the basic concept on which the others are based, the Leveraged “JBM S-Corp ESOP”:
Friday, June 21, 2019
Another week with a plethora of items indicating that something is wrong with the world, somewhere and somehow, but nobody seems able to pinpoint what or how to solve it, at least not without the Just Third Way, which doesn’t seem to fit into most people’s paradigms. From “the JTW Perspective,” however, what to do about these situations becomes obvious:
Thursday, June 20, 2019
In the previous posting on this subject, we noted that there are four primary aspects of socialism: philanthropy, communitarianism, reform or abolition of religion, and abolition of private ownership. We also noted that a particular form of socialism may not include all or even any of these aspects, and yet still be true socialism. As Pope Pius XI noted,
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
On Christmas Day in the year 1797 the aristocratic Luigi Barnabà Chiaramonte (1742-1823), Cardinal Bishop of Imola in Romagna in northern Italy, startled his congregation by declaring that there is no essential conflict between democracy and Christianity. Coming as it did hard on the heels of the Reign of Terror in Revolutionary France (1793-1794), it must have seemed to many that their Ordinary had lost his mind. (E.E.Y. Hales, Pio Nono: A Study in European Politics and Religion in the Nineteenth Century. New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1954, 35.)
Tuesday, June 18, 2019
No, this is not a discussion on the various types of socialism, such as Marxist, Georgist, Relgious, or Democratic (especially since there are many more than that), but on four key aspects of socialist thought itself. We will have to look briefly at a couple of the different forms of socialism, but that is not the main point here.
Monday, June 17, 2019
Friday, June 14, 2019
Thursday, June 13, 2019
As we have stated more than once on this blog, we like to get questions or criticisms . . . questions or criticisms that we can answer, that is. Okay, polite questions or criticisms that we can answer. . . . like this one, from someone we had sent some links to recent blog postings:
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
In the previous posting on this subject, we closed by noting that a realistic vision of a just society should present a viable alternative to capitalism, characterized by concentration of capital ownership in the hands of a relatively small private sector élite, and socialism, characterized by concentration of capital ownership in the hands of a public bureaucracy. Distributism, a policy of widely distributed private property with a preference for small, family owned farms and artisan businesses, appeared to be one possibility.
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Many people these days assume that if they can find a precedent or some statement that they can twist into meaning what they want or need it to mean, that they have discovered a new right or truth, conveyed to them by whatever they worship as God and to be understood in the light of faith alone. Such people forget (if they ever knew) that truth is objective reality. Their own perceptions and beliefs are, on the other hand, subjective. As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, nowhere has this tendency been more evident than in the ongoing effort to reformulate or repurpose Christianity as a form of socialism.
Monday, June 10, 2019
Today we take a look at Mortimer J. Adler's take on the question of happiness. Adler, who co-authored The Capitalist Manifesto (1958) and The New Capitalists (1961) with Louis O. Kelso, is considere4d by many to be the premier American Aristotelian of the twentieth century. In this half-hour video clip, we take a look at Adler's take on what Aristotle meant by "happiness," which seems to be a concept that is greatly misunderstood these days:
Friday, June 7, 2019
Thursday, June 6, 2019
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, Robert Owen believed that all of humanity’s problems would disappear if religion, marriage, and private property were abolished. In 1813 in A New View of Society he declared that reorienting religion from worshiping God to bettering the condition of humanity would be sufficient to establish and maintain the perfect world.
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, George Bernard Shaw was as insistent that socialism is the universal panacea for all problems (as long as you don’t eat meat or drink alcohol) and that distributism is just another name for Fabian socialism* as G.K. Chesterton was adamant that Shaw was full of . . . nonsense.
Tuesday, June 4, 2019
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, Robert Owen, the Father of Modern Socialism (and Communism) wanted to establish and maintain a perfect society in this life, a constant theme of socialism for the past two centuries and more. Since he believed that people are formed entirely by their environment, all that is necessary to create the perfect society (so he claimed) is to abolish religion, marriage, and private property. Everything will then be perfect.
Monday, June 3, 2019
This week we bring you the second part of an interview with Joseph W. Recinos, the Latin America Director of the Center for Economic and Social Justice. Just so you don’t have to search out the first half, we’ve included that, also.
Friday, May 31, 2019
Thursday, May 30, 2019
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, modern socialism (which includes Marxist communism) traces its roots to the thought of Robert Owen. Owen’s theories anticipated the modern Welfare State as well as the drift into secularism, the deification of the abstraction of humanity, the decay of marriage and family, and a host of other ills attendant upon the alienation of most people from direct ownership of the means of production, and thus personal power and the means of participating as full members of society.
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
In our previous posting on this subject, we completed a brief overview of the lost debate between G.K. Chesterton and G.B Shaw. Today we begin an equally brief summary of the last debate between the two “metaphysical jesters,” as one commentator termed them. (William B. Furlong, GBS/GKC, Shaw and Chesterton: The Metaphysical Jesters. University Park, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1970.) And so our story begins. . . .
Tuesday, May 28, 2019
On Sunday, July 14, 1833 at Oxford University in England, the Reverend John Keble (1792-1866) ascended the University Pulpit and preached his scheduled “Assize Sermon.” An “Assize Sermon” is preached in the Church of England at the opening of a term of the civil and criminal courts — “the Assizes” — hence the name. The sermon is officially addressed to the judges and officers of the court and is intended to exhort them to do their duty and render justice.
Monday, May 27, 2019
This week we bring you the first part of an interview with Joseph W. Recinos, the Latin America Director of the Center for Economic and Social Justice. Joe, a development economist, is a volunteer, and a co-founder of CESJ.
Friday, May 24, 2019
A lot has been going on this week, not the least of which is the annual conference of the ESOP Association in Washington, DC (which we may report on next week, as it is still in progress). The bottom line? Let’s cut to the chase and get to the news items:
Thursday, May 23, 2019
In the previous posting on this subject we saw how early in their relationship, George Bernard Shaw had used unfair debating tricks (are there fair debating tricks?) to “win” an argument against Chesterton by deliberately changing the real point under discussion.
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Every once in a while we get a question that we answer and then realize we’ve written a blog posting. On Friday of last week we had such a happy occurrence. As someone asked in a forum discussing “Thomist Philosophy,” that is, the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas,
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
In the previous posting on this subject, we left G.K. Chesterton smiling benignly down on an infuriated George Bernard Shaw. Clearly Chesterton knew exactly what buttons to push to bring Shaw to a rapid boil in the shortest period of time. The fact was that Chesterton had figured out how to handle an argument with Shaw: refuse to argue except on principle.
Monday, May 20, 2019
Power is a dirty word to many people today, but that's probably because most people don't have any. As a result, they tend to define the concept in terms of power over others, rather than the idea of having power over one's own life. That is odd, because power is defined as "ability for doing." Unless one plans on being a pair of ragged claws at the bottom of the sea (or whatever it was that J. Alfred Prufrock thought about), power is essential simply to exist. That is why Dr. Norman Kurland, President of the Center for Economic and Social Justice, decided to talk about power and how to structure it for the benefit of everyone, not just a few:
Friday, May 17, 2019
Things are a little quiet due to the fact that expanded ownership initiatives are waiting to see what comes out of the ESOP Association conference next week, but some ongoing projects are making progress, and of course there are more personal matters:
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Sometime during the evening of a long day late in the summer of 1923, George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), renowned wit and agent provocateur for Fabian socialism, had almost finished entertaining himself and other members of a party assembled at a house in Chelsea. Having been there for about an hour, Shaw was preparing to take his leave when the arrival of Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was announced.
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
In the previous posting on this subject — private property in general, and under what circumstances (if any) private property ceases to exist — we examined the arguments Msgr. John A. Ryan of the Catholic University of America used to justify substituting the definitions of social justice and distributive justice used by the socialists and modernists of the 1830s and 1840s for those of the Catholic Church derived from Aristotelian-Thomist philosophy.
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
No, that’s not a cute way of saying we’re waling on the Second Vatican Council, which would be inappropriate for an interfaith group in any event. It’s a way of continuing our piece on Evelyn Waugh and his take on the Council, which is somewhat different from what may have been recorded.
Monday, May 13, 2019
This week we have a special treat in store on the Just Third Way podcast: the first part of an interview with renowned binary economist and author Dr. Robert H.A. Ashford. Dr. Ashford teaches law and binary economics at the University of Syracuse law school, and is the co-author of Binary Economics: The New Paradigm (Lanham, Maryland: The University Press of America, 1999):
Friday, May 10, 2019
Although we do know from the number of people viewing the blog and other indicators that word of the Just Third Way is getting around, it seems as though it ought to be faster. Nevertheless, each day a little progress is being made, but not in a way that generates news items, unfortunately:
Thursday, May 9, 2019
In the eyes of some, the Catholic Church prior to the Second Vatican Council was a cesspool of corrupt authoritarianism and abuse that insulted human dignity at the most fundamental level. To take only one example, Monsignor George A. Kelly (1916-2004) quoted Malachi Brendan Martin (1921-1999) in his (Kelly’s) book, The Battle for the American Church (1979), giving a lengthy list of things in the Church that “do not work,” especially anything that made the Church Catholic or even religious. (Msgr. George A. Kelly, The Battle for the American Church. New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1979, 5-6.)
Wednesday, May 8, 2019
On his death in 1985, Father William J. Ferree, S.M., Ph.D. was eulogized as “the second founder” of his religious order, the Society of Mary. Father Andrew F. Morlion, O.P., Ph.D., Belgian philosopher and founder and first president of the International University of Social Studies in Rome, referred to Father Ferree as “America’s greatest social philosopher.” But who was he?
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
One of the things we find most consistent about socialism is its inconsistency, the ability to say one thing and do another with astonishing regularity. This was brought forcibly home to us when we came across the writings of Robert Owen, considered the first of the British line of socialism.
Monday, May 6, 2019
DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!
WE HAVE DELETED THE PODCAST TO EDIT FURTHER. IT WILL BE UP AGAIN AS SOON AS WE ARE FINISHED. IN THE MEANTIME, WE PUT UP A LINK TO WALLACE'S 1959 INTERVIEW WITH ADLER
WE HAVE DELETED THE PODCAST TO EDIT FURTHER. IT WILL BE UP AGAIN AS SOON AS WE ARE FINISHED. IN THE MEANTIME, WE PUT UP A LINK TO WALLACE'S 1959 INTERVIEW WITH ADLER
For the Just Third Way Podcast this week, we have a special treat in store: Mike Wallace’s interview of Mortimer Adler. Adler, of course, co-authored The Capitalist Manifesto (1958) and The New Capitalists (1961) with Louis O. Kelso, but is also noted for the Great Books program and as the editor of the Syntopicon:
Friday, May 3, 2019
Back in the early nineteenth century, the proto-socialist and founder of “the New Christianity” Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon (1760-1825), tried to commit suicide by shooting himself in the head. He missed, but his followers claimed that the shock brought about his realization that he was either God’s Special Messenger or possibly even God. Ever since, failure has been taken as proving that socialism actually works. It only fails because people can’t seem to deal with a system that relies on them becoming God. We, of course, just assume that people are going to keep on being people, so the Just Third Way is based on working with human nature rather than trying to change it:
Thursday, May 2, 2019
It’s time for another esoteric blog posting on the nature of money. Today we’ll be looking at the difference between what is called “the Currency School” that virtually all modern economics, whether or not mainstream, accept, and “the Banking School,” on which binary economics is based.
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
We’ve been doing a great deal of research for a series of books a publisher (obviously intelligent and astute) has requested that we submit “on spec” — i.e., they’d like to see a manuscript, but aren’t making any specific promises about acceptance. Much of this has involved investigation into the roots of the “New Things,” as Pope Leo XIII referred to them in his landmark 1891 encyclical “On Capital and Labor” (the current official title).
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
In his 2015 book, God or Nothing, Robert Cardinal Sarah made an interesting distinction between poverty and destitution. We’re not sure we agree, but it may be something to think about. According to Sarah, most people through history have been “poor,” which he defined as producing enough to provide decently for one’s self and one’s dependents, but nothing more.
Monday, April 29, 2019
This week’s podcast features a repeat of the discussion about CESJ’s short (one minute and forty-seven seconds) introductory video, “People and Things.” The reason for rerunning it so soon after the original broadcast is that on Saturday, April 27, 2019, CESJ had its first “Justice University” seminar as part of CESJ’s thirty-fifth anniversary celebration. The seminar was well-attended, and the following workshop had a great deal of lively discussion, so we thought we’d let others join in the fun, if a trifle late and a little vicariously:
Friday, April 26, 2019
Thursday, April 25, 2019
In the previous posting on this subject, we noted that Monsignor John A. Ryan (1869-1945) had his thought formed in an environment that accepted “the democratic religion” of socialism as a given. The idea was to reduce Christianity to its essential elements, of which the first and overriding principle is that material wellbeing of everyone, especially the poor, is the goal of existence.
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Although differences and disagreements between people of different faiths and philosophies are nothing particularly new, they seem to be achieving much greater depths of depravity than ever before. True, this might be merely the fact that with modern communications and the growing hunger of the popular media for sensation and scandal to titillate and entertain people who should have much better things to do, what was under the radar in former days is now the stuff of everyday life.
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
In the previous posting on this subject we examined the source of Monsignor John A. Ryan’s understanding of social justice and distributive justice as embodied in the two books that made him famous, A Living Wage (1906) and Distributive Justice (1916). As we discovered, Ryan’s definitions did not come from a study of Rerum Novarum, but from the utopian and religious socialist movements of the early nineteenth century that Rerum Novarum was intended to counter.
Monday, April 22, 2019
This week’s podcast features a panel discussion about the Easter Rising historical event in Ireland and a proposal for Ireland outlined in Easter Witness, book by Michael D. Greaney. (BTW, Dave looked in the wrong place on Amazon; the price is $20, not $500 for an autographed presentation copy!) The discussion relates how the ownership of Ireland mentioned in the Proclamation issued during that Easter event can be the key for economic transformation of Ireland and the world.
Friday, April 19, 2019
Maybe it’s the season, but the criticisms of the Just Third Way have been particularly weak lately, with critics repeating themselves more than usual and saying things that have been refuted repeatedly. On the other hand, it might be that the ideas are starting to get into the right quarters and people are starting to pay attention. You decide:
Thursday, April 18, 2019
In the opening of Act II of Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore, Little Buttercup informs the Captain in cryptic terms that many things are not as they might appear at first glance. Confused, the Captain responds in kind, trading a list of random aphorisms for Buttercup’s “incomprehensible utterances.”
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
This being “Holy Week” preceding “Easter Week,” we thought it might be appropriate to highlight a publication of the Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ), Easter Witness: From Broken Dream to a New Vision for Ireland:
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
In the previous posting on this subject we looked at a statement made by Pope Francis to the effect that “food is not private property,” which a number of people declared meant that His Holiness had abolished private property in food, and that therefore socialism is a true interpretation of Catholic social teaching.
Monday, April 15, 2019
In this week’s Just Third Way (re)podcast, host Dave Hamill finishes the discussion on Successful organizations start with people firmly committed to a set of core values, which cannot be compromised without weakening the organization. CESJ’s strength, unity and programs flow from its founding principles, agreed upon by consensus from the first meeting on April 7, 1984. CESJ’s core values were developed to guide CESJ in its work, to attract others sharing these values and to serve as the very basis of CESJ’s existence.(CESJ).
Friday, April 12, 2019
Apparently at least one person on Earth is offended by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, specifically Article 17: “(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.” We suspect that some offended people don’t know what property is, may not be too clear on the fact that “everyone” includes “everyone,” or maybe just got up on the wrong side of the bed this century. In any event, here are a few tidbits of news from around the network:
Thursday, April 11, 2019
In the previous posting on this subject, we looked at the different ways in which new capital formation could be financed. We discovered that if we assume that only existing savings can be used to purchase new capital, ownership of all new capital is going to be concentrated in the hands of whoever owns those savings. In capitalism, that means a private sector élite, while in socialism that means a government bureaucracy of some sort, whether you’re talking a national dictator or a village council.
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
. . . but not entirely. Back in the early twentieth century, Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson made a name for himself writing historical novels and then satire to try and counter the "New Things" of socialism, modernism, and the New Age . . . which (much to his chagrin) was taken as “prophecy” (Lord of the World, 1907) or his blueprint for an ideal society (The Dawn of All, 1911). He also wrote others in what he termed the “sensational” category, which his readers seemed intent on misinterpreting.
Tuesday, April 9, 2019
In the previous posting on this subject, we looked at why Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is illogical. Specifically, it relies on a mathematical impossibility, i.e., having one equation with three dependent variables. The bottom line is that in the Quantity Theory of Money equation, M x V = P x Q, V, P, and Q determine M, not the other way around as MMT adherents maintain. If you manipulate M, all you do is screw up the system so that Say’s Law of Markets won’t function.
Monday, April 8, 2019
In this week’s Just Third Way podcast, host Dave Hamill leads a discussion on some of the Core Values of the interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ). Successful organizations start with people firmly committed to a set of core values, which cannot be compromised without weakening the organization. CESJ’s strength, unity and programs flow from its founding principles, agreed upon by consensus from the first meeting on April 7, 1984. CESJ’s core values were developed to guide CESJ in its work, to attract others sharing these values and to serve as the very basis of CESJ’s existence.
Friday, April 5, 2019
Thursday, April 4, 2019
Recently we received a quote from a news commentary on an allocution by Pope Francis to the effect that the head of the Catholic Church had abolished the natural law. Not all of the natural law, of course, just the part that some people disagreed with and needed some credible authority to back them up regarding the alleged abolition of private property by Pope Francis (or any other pope). Specifically,
Wednesday, April 3, 2019
In his Advice to Young Men, the English Radical politician and journalist (among other things) William Cobbett said, “To be poor and independent is very nearly an impossibility.” As the “Apostle of Distributism” (as G.K. Chesterton called him), Cobbett had even stronger things to say about the necessity of widespread capital ownership:
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
We recently got into a FaceBook group devoted to discussing “Catholic Stuff.” Most of the questions and discussion items were a little bit out of our area of expertise, but we did get into an interesting one about “distributism,” the rather loosely defined social philosophy advocated by G.K. Chesterton and his cohort, Hilaire Belloc.
Monday, April 1, 2019
This week’s guest on the Just Third Way podcast is Dawn Brohawn. Dawn is Director of Communications for the Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ), and recently completed a short pilot video intended to introduce people to the ideas behind the Just Third Way. Join Dave and Dawn as they discuss the video, then read the supplementary material and view the video:
Friday, March 29, 2019
This past week seems to have been a “Justice University” week. A number of projects relating to that endeavor have been advanced materially, and relationships are being built. We’re also seeing increasing evidence that the world needs the Just Third Way, and for many reasons:
Thursday, March 28, 2019
“Modern Monetary Theory” or “MMT” is the theoretical framework for virtually all monetary policy in the world today. Even those who reject MMT do so within the context of the very system they reject.
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
It is probably safe to say that at no time in living memory has there been less true human freedom. Even the idea of freedom has decayed to the point where it is effectively meaningless for most people.
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
In the previous posting on this subject, we looked at the principles of economic justice, 1) Participation, 2) Distribution, and 3) Social Justice. These, we believe, are the essential building blocks of an economically just society.
Monday, March 25, 2019
For this week’s “Electronic Outreach,” we thought we’d try something different. Last week we launched a new video, “People and Things,” a two-minute production that “baits the hook” so to speak and gets people interested in learning more about the Just Third Way. We realized we had a number of short videos, none of them longer than a few minutes, that people weren’t seeing only because they didn't know about them. So, staring off with the new video, here’s a convenient “play list” for those of you who like your edutainment in small pieces:
Friday, March 22, 2019
There has been a great deal of progress made this past week in advancing our understanding of how the Just Third Way can help get the world out of the situation it is in and that offers a viable alternative to bankrupt (and bankrupting) Keynesian theories that have resulted in mountains of unserviceable debt in virtually every country in the world. One message of the Just Third Way that today’s politicians need to take to heart is that it doesn’t have to be this way:
Thursday, March 21, 2019
In the previous posting on this subject we noted that, having defined the State’s role in the economy in rather broad terms, we still needed to come up with the principles that should guide all participants in the market if we want to have a justly structured economic order. One thing to keep in mind, of course, is that (as Daniel Webster said) “Power naturally and necessarily follows property.” If we want common human dignity respected, we cannot vest controlling power — property — in the State or anywhere other than every child, woman, and man.
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
In 1825 a small book was published that was to have enormous consequences. The book was Le Nouveau Christianisme, “The New Christianity,” the posthumous work of Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon (1760-1825).
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
In the previous posting on this subject we looked at the necessity for any type of organized human activity to have clear and understandable rules in order to be just or even functional. There must, in fact, be a recognition and implementation of the democratic ideal.
Monday, March 18, 2019
Recently Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said “We should be excited about automation, because what it could potentially mean is more time educating ourselves, more time creating art, more time investing in and investigating the sciences, more time focused on invention, more time going to space, more time enjoying the world that we live in, because not all creativity needs to be bonded by wage.”
Friday, March 15, 2019
Somehow, today shaped up to be “Fabian Friday.” It wasn’t planned, it just turned out that way. It is astonishing, though, how often we find news articles from Days Gone By that contradict “what everybody knows,” e.g., the claim that Father Edward McGlynn, who advocated socialism and was excommunicated for disobedience in 1887, “never recanted” his socialist views, proving that the Catholic Church either never condemned socialism or changed its teachings on private property. According to the New York Times and a large number of other newspapers, however, Fr. McGlynn recanted on January 19, 1894. And on to other Media Mythbusters:
Thursday, March 14, 2019
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, human beings are by nature what Aristotle called “political animals.” That is, each human being is an individual who by nature associates with other individuals within a structured social context or environment, and it is within that environment that people ordinarily acquire and develop virtue.
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
On April 24, 2016 Economic Justice Media, an imprint of the interfaith think tank, the Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ), published Easter Witness: From Broken Dream to a New Vision for Ireland. There were many good books published about the Easter Rising during the centenary year, all of them well worth reading, so this volume from a small publisher got overlooked.
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Every once in a while a Faithful Reader gives us an idea for a blog posting or two, which tends to make our life a little easier as it saves us from having to think up something on our own. This posting on “the Three Hands of the Law” is one such, so we have to “hand” someone else the credit . . . get it? (We’re assuming the Faithful Reader will . . . and not throw anything too heavy. . . .)
Monday, March 11, 2019
This week we have the second half of an interview with renowned binary economist and author Dr. Robert H.A. Ashford. Dr. Ashford teaches law and binary economics at the University of Syracuse law school, and is the co-author of Binary Economics: The New Paradigm (Lanham, Maryland: The University Press of America, 1999):
Friday, March 8, 2019
Be prepared for a large leap in the Dow today, probably ’way up, but it could also plunge. No, that’s not satire, unfortunately. It’s just the way the Wall Street gambling casino operates. “Recession signs are increasing” say the pundits, so gamblers might start bidding up prices in order to sell short (most likely) in a later adjustment, or may lock in profits now from having gone long earlier. The latter is less likely, because the recent decline would decrease profits and a sell-off would drive prices down even more. If you want to outguess the market, however, just flip a coin . . . or start working on implementing the Just Third Way:
Thursday, March 7, 2019
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, the agrarian socialist Henry George and the renegade priest Father Edward McGlynn took the opportunity offered by the issuance of Rerum Novarum in 1891 as the perfect chance to get back into the public eye. Simply by claiming that they were again being persecuted by the Catholic Church, the pair was able to tap into the anti-Catholicism always bubbling under the surface of American life.
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, there is a problem with having government pay for infrastructure . . . especially when we expect government to pay for everything else! Of course, what is really at issue is that “the government” doesn’t actually pay for anything. Either it collects taxes or borrows money . . . which it is supposed to repay by collecting taxes.
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, with the sudden eclipse of the agrarian socialist Henry George and the renegade priest Father Edward McGlynn, there was no longer any need for Pope Leo XIII to issue an encyclical exclusively on “the Land Question,” i.e., whether private ownership of land is legitimate according to natural law and Catholic teaching. It was, moreover, obvious that previous attempts by Leo XIII and previous popes to counter the dangers of socialism, modernism, and the New Age had been ineffective.
Monday, March 4, 2019
This week we have a special treat in store on the Just Third Way podcast: the first part of an interview with renowned binary economist and author Dr. Robert H.A. Ashford. Dr. Ashford teaches law and binary economics at the University of Syracuse law school, and is the co-author of Binary Economics: The New Paradigm (Lanham, Maryland: The University Press of America, 1999):
Friday, March 1, 2019
Things are still moving forward on the communications front, with a number of projects coming nearer to fruition. The video short is almost ready, and some “book trailers” are being test marketed — and we’ve even gotten one prospective volunteer as a result of viewing one of the pilot videos already! In other news:
Thursday, February 28, 2019
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, the agrarian socialist Henry George and the renegade priest Edward McGlynn seem to have provided the original motive for a new encyclical on the subject of socialism and why what was originally known as “the Democratic Religion,” “The New Christianity,” “Neo-Catholicism,” and many other names was not a very good thing for anyone, especially the downtrodden workers socialism was presumably intended to help.
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
One of the most frequently heard questions about the proposed “Green New Deal” is where ire they going to get the long green to pay for it? For those of you not familiar with 1890s slang, “long green” refers to paper currency — appropriate, since it was in 1893 that the populist leader Jacob Sechler Coxey, a theosophist, proposed measures that many consider the precursor of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, a rip-off of Theodore Roosevelt’s Square Deal from 1910.
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Many people today assume that Pope Leo XIII’s groundbreaking 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum, “On Capital and Labor,” was the first social encyclical, and that the pope was addressing matters that had recently come to his attention. On looking into it, however, it becomes evident that Rerum Novarum — Latin for “new things” — was not the first social encyclical, and the “new things” to which Leo referred had been a serious problem for at least three quarters of a century before Rerum Novarum was issued.
Monday, February 25, 2019
Just to follow up on the previous two weeks’ podcasts outlining Louis Kelso’s “Second Income Plan,” we thought we’d bring to you the 60 Minutes segment on Kelso. Of course, it’s not actually sixty minutes long, more like thirteen and change, but that’s enough to give you the idea:
Friday, February 22, 2019
Some interesting developments this week as world leaders and academics continue to flail and flounder around trying to find the solution that has been staring them in the face for 2,500 years. If you want a stable and virtuous society, as Aristotle pointed out in the first book of his Politics, you had better have widespread capital ownership. Otherwise, what you get is —
Thursday, February 21, 2019
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, the problem with the solution to social problems that Fulton Sheen advocated is that it causes another problem . . . such as, where does anyone get the money to purchase capital to become an owner without violating someone else’s ownership? We cannot make society a free-for-all in which people take what they want when they want it. All that means is “might makes right,” especially in economics and finance.
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, Fulton Sheen strongly supported the idea that the only way to counter both communism (and socialism) and capitalism is to have a society in which capital ownership is widespread. As he stated, “Because the ownership of external things is the sign of freedom, the Church has made the wide distribution of private property the cornerstone of her social program.” (Fulton J. Sheen, Freedom Under God. Arlington, Virginia: Economic Justice Media, 2013, 33.)
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
In the previous posting on this subject, we noted that the “new things” (rerum novarum) to which Pope Leo XIII referred in his landmark 1891 encyclical, “On Capital and Labor,” had first been addressed in 1832 and 1834 by Pope Gregory XVI in the first two social encyclicals, Mirari Vos and Singulari Nos, both of which were concerned with problems with the theology, philosophy, and social thought of a French priest by the name of Hugues-Félicité Robert de Lamennais.
Monday, February 18, 2019
This week we have the second part of a discussion on Louis Kelso’s “Second Income Plan” from the 1960s. As with last week, there may need to be some allowances made for terms now out of common use. Of course, the real issue is that as technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, what Kelso proposed as a second income should become people’s first income!
Friday, February 15, 2019
While world leaders ponder how to make the hole deeper that they’ve been getting the world into since governments began controlling money and credit for their own political purposes instead of the economic needs of actual people, there are a few bright spots on the horizon (if that’s not mixing metaphors or something). They are only tiny points of light at this point, but still it’s something::
Thursday, February 14, 2019
In the previous posting on this subject, we noted that, according to Fulton Sheen’s understanding of the natural law right of every human being to be an owner (at least as expressed in his 1940 book, Freedom Under God), private property is an essential means to secure individual liberty. Ultimately, private property in capital is the principal means by which people acquire and develop virtue in a social setting, thereby becoming what God intended them to be.
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
While not the most immediate challenge facing people today, confusion over Catholic social teaching has, as Pope Pius XI put it, “given rise to controversies that are not always peaceful.” If only to resolve these disputes rationally it will be useful to explore how Catholic social teaching developed.
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Back in 1940, Fulton J. Sheen published Freedom Under God. Why bring up a book that is eighty years out of date? Because at no time in living memory has there been less true human freedom. Even the idea of freedom has decayed to the point where it is effectively meaningless for most people.
Sunday, February 10, 2019
This week we have the first part of a discussion on Louis Kelso’s “Second Income Plan” from the 1960s. Of course, there may need to be some “mental adjustments” on the part of the listener as people back in the Stone(d) Age might not have spoken the way people do now (they were, like, so totally groovy and outa sight) and used terms now out of fashion. Even worse, as technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, what Kelso proposed as a second income could easily become people’s first income! Actually . . . that would be better, not worse. . . .
Friday, February 8, 2019
It is not quite March, but this month’s mentions are mostly media material. That is because the CESJ core group is trying to get up to speed on all the projects we want to complete or get moved well along for the current year. It’s just a coincidence that it all seems to deal with media, traditional, social, and otherwise:
Thursday, February 7, 2019
Unless you’ve been living in a bottle or on the top of a mountain in Tibet, you are probably aware of the massive confusion surrounding the terms “capitalism,” “socialism,” “private property,” “rights,” “duties,” “person,” etc., etc., etc. The fact is that a lot of people are using terms when they have no idea what they really mean, and just put their own private meaning on to things.
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
In the opening of A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens noted that the French Revolution was a time so like his own day as to be practically indistinguishable. Although Dickens was employing a literary device to bring the reader into the story, a similar observation could be made comparing the early twentieth century to the present time.
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Inevitably, when discussing capitalism versus socialism versus the Just Third Way, somebody will shift the basis from what is the right and just thing to do, to what is the most expedient or that gets them what they want, regardless of the cost to others.
Monday, February 4, 2019
Friday, February 1, 2019
Thursday, January 31, 2019
This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of a publishing event: Curing World Poverty: The New Role of Property. A “small press bestseller,” the book is even more relevant today than it was a quarter of a century ago. (The criteria for determining bestseller status are admittedly flexible, and this was “pre-Amazon” sales, but back in the day, 3-5,000 was considered a small press bestseller, and Curing World Poverty sold over 5,000 copies without remaindering.)
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
A few weeks ago we got a response to one of our blog postings on democratic socialism from a (gasp) democratic socialist! Now, that in and of itself was not unusual. What really threw us was the fact that this one was actually civil and seemed honestly to be seeking information. Here’s what the DS said:
Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Monday, January 28, 2019
Today we have a special treat in store: a rebroadcast (we don’t do reruns) of Dr. Norman Kurland’s keynote address (ten minutes) at the “Focus on the Fed Rally” in 2010. What with the shenanigans that have been going on with money and credit throughout the world, this message is as timely as ever:
Friday, January 25, 2019
Things are a little slow getting back to what people call normal after the New Year, but there are some significant Just Third Way events happening. Of particular interest is the fact that 2019 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of CESJ’s bestselling (by small press definitions) book, Curing World Poverty: The New Role of Property. And other happenings are equally interesting:
Thursday, January 24, 2019
In the previous posting on this subject, we realized that, while Pope Leo XIII and other heads of the Catholic Church pretty much laid it down as the law that as many people as possible should become owners of capital, they did not really give a good or practicable means of being able to do so. Does that mean that Fulton Sheen made a mistake in his book, Freedom Under God, when he backed the papal stance on widespread capital ownership to the hilt?
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
One of the more surprising things people find out when they study history is that what actually happened, and what most of the experts say happened, are two different things. Nowhere has this been more of a problem than when trying to figure out how social Christianity differs from Christian socialism.
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject (the subject being Fulton Sheen’s book, Freedom Under God), there is a difference between the natural and absolute right to be an owner (everyone absolutely has the right to be an owner), and the socially determined and limited rights of ownership (no owner can do whatever he or she likes, but must not harm others or the common good when exercising his or her rights).
Monday, January 21, 2019
Today being Martin Luther King Day, we’re having the first podcast of the new season start off with a few remarks in that vein and then get down to a discussion from Dr. Norman Kurland about the sort of thing Dr. King was working toward. We're also trying out a new, more standardized format:
Friday, January 18, 2019
Along with all the bad things that everybody knows about, there are a number of bright things on the horizon. This is understandable, as CESJ co-founder Father William Ferree, S.M., Ph.D. always said that in social justice terms, nothing is impossible. No matter how bad things look, there is always a just and moral way to solve any social problem:
Thursday, January 17, 2019
In yesterday’s posting, Fulton Sheen on Private Property, we noted that Fulton Sheen seemed to have contradicted himself. He noted several times that private property is a natural right — something inherent in the human person, which not even the State can take away — and then made the comment that “though man has a natural right to private property, this right is not absolute.” (P. 51, Freedom Under God.)
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
In yesterday’s posting we looked at the legal case for the importance of private property. We have to keep in mind, however, that the title of Fulton Sheen’s book is “Freedom Under God.” Sheen’s purpose was not to present a treatise or contract delineating humanity’s legal rights and duties in human society. Our constitutions, bills of rights, and legal systems are intended to serve that purpose.
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Every once in a while we review a few things from the past that we think people might want to take another look at. One of these is our rediscovery a few years back of a “long lost classic” by none other than Fulton J. Sheen . . . you know, “Uncle Fulty” who was in a (friendly) competition with “Uncle Milty”?
Monday, January 14, 2019
Ever hear of 60 Minutes — the show, not (necessarily) the time units? Once upon a time they did a segment on Louis O. Kelso . . . who happened to state his opinion that unless the economy could be made to work for everyone, we were heading for trouble. And you know something? He was right. (By the way, don’t be mislead by Kelso’s use of the term “capitalism.” He used it in, e.g., The Capitalist Manifesto and The New Capitalists, a different sense than the socialists use it, and later decided it was not the best term, anyway.)
Friday, January 11, 2019
As politics, economics, and religion continue to mix (being the same thing to an increasing number of people), the world picture becomes increasingly confused and confusing . . . unless you come over and take a walk on the side of common sense. Analyzed from a Just Third Way perspective, it’s astonishing just how much of what is going on starts to make sense . . . and the right thing to do becomes more obvious:
Thursday, January 10, 2019
According to R.W. Church, possibly the best (if not completely objective) historian of the Oxford Movement, the whole trouble and the reason for the ultimate downfall of the Movement and the loss of John Henry Newman to the Church of England was the result of ego and arrogance on the part of the Oxford authorities who looked on ancient Christian doctrines as dangerous novelties,
Wednesday, January 9, 2019
In today’s world it is easy to get the impression that the meaning and purpose of life is for everyone’s needs to be provided by someone else and all desires gratified without effort on the part of the recipient. Current thought as reported in the media suggests that a justly structured social order is one in which matters are arranged in such a way that as many people as possible can remain permanent children, complete with “safe spaces” and periodic “time outs” for temper tantrums.
Tuesday, January 8, 2019
. . . just not for the reasons you (or he) might think. A few days ago, everybody’s favorite (or at least best known) freshman representative, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, said that the top marginal tax rate for the “ultra rich” should be raised to 70%. This would allow the government to fund research into “green” alternative fuels with the goal of weening the U.S. off the fossil fuels by 2030.
Monday, January 7, 2019
Friday, January 4, 2019
A short work week, but one filled with one or two significant events . . . one of which is not the increasing volatility of the stock market. People have yet to realize that the stock market is NOT a “leading economic indicator.” It’s not, strictly speaking, an economic indicator at all. It’s a lagging emotional indicator. It gives a good idea of the emotional state of the gamblers on Wall Street, and that’s about it. As for more significant events:
Thursday, January 3, 2019
Many people think that replacement of human labor by capital and the alienation and social disintegration that results is a new thing. It is not. Economic and social alienation due to advancing technologies or changing economies has been around since the dawn of time. It is just that the rate at which change occurs started accelerating about five hundred years ago. For this, two factors are responsible.
Wednesday, January 2, 2019
There was an interesting article in last year’s Wall Street Journal (yes, we’ve been dying to use that line since last week . . . that is, last year) asking the question, “Why are Americans so religious?” (“The Marketplace of Faith,” 12/28/18, A-10). Sriya Iyer, who wrote the piece, is also the author of The Economics of Religion in India (2018). She argues in part that in America there is more competition between religions and between religion and the government. With more choices for basic services, competition — and institutions providing that competition — will thrive.