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:
• Re-Launch of Freedom Under God. Judging from the enthusiastic response given to selections posted on the blog from the foreword to the Just Third Way Edition of Fulton Sheen’s Freedom Under God, the time may be ripe for a “re-launch” of the book, using social media to promote it. Many of the issues with which Sheen dealt back in 1940 are still with us, and many have grown much worse, despite their re-packaging as “democratic socialism”, “democratic capitalism”, or “the Universal ?Basic Income.” Despite all of the panaceas being touted, however, all manage to avoid basing their approaches or solution on the dignity of the human person, an orientation that requires respect for every human being’s natural rights of life, liberty, and private property.
• Curing World Poverty Anniversary. This year, 2019, marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of CESJ’s compendium, Curing World Poverty: The New Role of Property. The book received many accolades from civil and religious leaders for its innovative approach to the problem of global poverty. Unfortunately, the primary emphasis has been on ameliorating the effects of poverty, and almost no attention has been paid to the responsibility of people to organize to find and implement a systemic solution to poverty instead of simply helping individuals bear it..
• CESJ Book Trailers. According to people in the publishing industry, one of the more effective means of marketing new and unusual books by authors who might not be very well known or who have unique ideas is the “book trailer.” A book trailer is like a movie trailer, only much shorter, usually between thirty to ninety seconds that gets right to the point of the book. (The “winner” of the “worst book trailer for 2018” was nearly six minutes long, and nobody could figure out what the book was about even after watching the entire video.) After trying out a prototype for Ten Battles Every Catholic Should Know from TAN Books, CESJ has been experimenting with putting book trailers together to share on social media and has developed a ninety-second presentation for Fulton Sheen’s Freedom Under God that can be used to test the effectiveness of the medium and is working on a second one for Easter Witness. If everyone in the Just Third Way network shares the links once they are up on the website, it will be a great help.
• Newsletter Re-Launch. After a few more starts and stops, CESJ hopes to have its revamped newsletter out by the end of January. The first issue will probably focus on introducing the new format, aims, and goals of the newsletter itself. There should be published writers guidelines for those who want to contribute news items or short pieces.
|Even from Far-Distant Evansville, Indiana!|
• March for Life. The annual March for Life is today in Washington, DC. The pro-life movement has the right idea, respect for the natural law right to life . . . but by and large they’ve left off the key natural law supports for life: liberty (freedom of association and contract) and private property. Without liberty and private property, someone may be alive, but have no control over his or her own life. That means that without the power that comes only from private property, someone remains “a mere creature of the State,” only having such rights — including life itself — as those in power condescend to allow them. A while back we published Supporting Life: The Case for a Pro-Life Economic Agenda explaining why expended capital ownership was as important as, e.g., overturning Roe v. Wade. Perhaps it’s time to take another look . . . and Amazon has it on sale today for $4.17, which is nearly 60% off the cover price.
|Chesterton hid from the "cranks" in a bar.|
• “Evolved Distributism”? We came across a new term this week: “evolved distributism.” It seems to be one of the many ways that people have found to transform the thought of Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) and Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc (1870-1953) away from private property and into some form of socialism. Interestingly, while Chesterton was able — more or less — to put up with such people . . . up to a point (meetings of the Distributist League became so unpleasant he started avoiding them except for the annual celebration, and then sat and doodled before retiring to the bar as fast as possible), Belloc referred to them as “cranks” (and Chesterton as “fantastic forms”) and after Chesterton’s death attempted to purge the distributist movement of their presence and thought. His failure to return distributism to its founding principles embittered him, and he left the movement to those who had taken it over. As one biographer of Chesterton noted, “Gilbert’s death signified the end of the philosophy, if that is what it was, as a serious proposition. He had kept it alive; squabbles and lack of direction tore the movement apart.” (Michael Coren, Gilbert: The Man Who Was G.K. Chesterton. New York: Paragon House, 1990, 243.)
|"Now . . . THAT'S a smile!"|
• Shop online and support CESJ’s work! Did you know that by making your purchases through the Amazon Smile program, Amazon will make a contribution to CESJ? Here’s how: First, go to Next, sign in to your Amazon 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..
• Blog Readership. We have had visitors from 36 different countries and 52 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past week. Most visitors are from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, India, and Australia. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “Fulton Sheen’s Long Lost Classic,” “Fulton Sheen on Private Property,” “Fulton Sheen on Human Law v. Natural Law,” “Thomas Hobbes on Private Property,” and “.”
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.