In his 1940 classic, Freedom Under God, Fulton J. Sheen had a few pithy things to say about private property. Almost nothing in economics, finance, and political economy is more misunderstood than private property. The sole exception is money and credit, which are simply two different forms of the same thing: promises and the keeping of promises. (“Money and Credit are essentially of the same nature; Money being only the highest and most general form of Credit.” Henry Dunning Macleod, The Theory of Credit. Longmans, Green and Co., 1894, 82.) Furthermore, private property and money are inextricably linked. (Irving Fisher, The Purchasing Power of Money. New York: Macmillan, 1931, 4-6.)
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Monday, March 30, 2020
For a change of pace, we're presenting a video today on a subject we know very little about, but is well-worth considering: weening the United States (and every other country) off of the fossil fuels. As we said, this is not our area of expertise, so we can't really judge the feasibility of the idea. It just sounds like a good one:
Friday, March 27, 2020
With the stock market bouncing around like a rubber ball and the rest of the news almost completely focused on the pandemic, it’s hard to find news items directly related to the Just Third Way. That is why we’re not going to do it:
Thursday, March 26, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we gave a few reasons as to why printing up money and handing it out (or even spending it on things that don’t generate a payback) is a really bad idea. We also mentioned that when we addressed the subject again, we would present what (in our opinion) ought to be done . . . so here goes. . . .
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Once upon a time there were two people who liked to argue with each other. There is nothing wrong with that, except one of them was a socialist and inclined to take any unfair advantage to win an argument. The other (who was not a socialist) didn’t care about winning the argument as long as he persuaded others of the truth or reasonableness of his position. Naturally enough, the two managed to argue for nearly twenty years without the one actually winning the argument, or the other persuading him of anything.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
As of this writing, the $1 trillion stimulus package has crashed and burned in Congress. That’s a good thing. Not that we can afford to let the economy go its not-so-merry way, but remedial action should alleviate the symptoms and cure the disease, not make matters worse.
Monday, March 23, 2020
Well . . . Fulton Sheen was born in El Paso . . . Illinois, so the "rides again" isn't entirely out of left field. It's even somewhat appropriate. In any event, this week we bring you yet another "Catholic-catholic" message from "America's Archbishop" suitable for people of all faiths and philosophies . . . although you do have to do a little "filtering" of the "Catholic language" to get to the universal, small-c catholic message.
Friday, March 20, 2020
Guest Blog by Gary Reber
Michael Bloomberg has penned an editorial column in which he calls for embarking on the largest public investment in infrastructure in generations, with government issuing new money to finance this. This money will be backed, as it is today, by government debt, repayable with future taxpayer dollars.
Giving in to popular demand (and the lack of news in other areas), our Just Third Way news items lean a little bit in the direction of the Covid-19 pandemic . . . but without giving recommendations on how to prevent it. What we’re concerned with (from the Just Third Way perspective, not personally) is the economic and financial responses being proposed, some of which strike us as possibly unwise:
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Financial panic, that is. With the stock market going up and down like a yoyo, many people are giving in to panic. The irony is that while some panic over the effects of the Covid-19 virus is understandable if not entirely rational, the frenzy over the financial markets is completely irrational. People appear to be confusing the secondary stock market with the primary productive market.
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Back in 1864, the Reverend Charles Kingsley, considered a leader in the Christian socialist movement, a modernist, and a proponent of what he called “Muscular Christianity” (and others called “Sanctimonious Obnoxious Religious Bullying”), accused Saint John Henry Cardinal Newman of both lying and promoting lying as a virtue . . . based on some rather distorted (to put it mildly) versions of Newman’s sermons as a Protestant and one or two false allegations and accusations.
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, there has been a veritable tsunami of authorities — usually self-appointed — insisting that “democratic” (or any other kind of) socialism is not merely consistent with Christian social teaching, but is the purest form of it. The evidence presented . . . okay, asserted without a shred of evidence . . . was that C.S. Lewis “approved” of socialism.
Monday, March 16, 2020
The good thing about Fulton Sheen is that although he was a Catholic figure (we avoid the words "intellectual" or — worse — "world's first televangelist"), he appealed to virtually everyone with a basic grounding in common sense and a natural law orientation. That is why, although CESJ is an interfaith organization, we find Sheen's work very compatible with the message of the Just Third Way. It's also lucky for us that although the "Catholic Hour" radio show was planned to feature a number of different speakers, it rapidly developed into a "Fulton Sheen Hour."
Friday, March 13, 2020
It seems almost incredible, but the situation today and that of two hundred years ago are so similar as to make it look as if we’re replaying the past with a vengeance. Society is dissolving in chaos, socialism is being offered as a panacea, and a very bad, even destructive understanding of money and credit virtually rules the world:
Thursday, March 12, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject we looked at the evidence — such as it was — that we could dig up to support the contention that the Christian apologist C.S. Lewis approved of socialism in any form. Admittedly, the evidence we found was remarkably weak, not to say unconvincing, but we had to do the work ourselves as the individuals making the claim were a trifle shy about providing their own evidence.
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
We got into a little argument a short time ago about socialism, capitalism, and Christianity. Coming across a FaceBook placard or whatever you call ’em that proclaimed, “Capitalism causes socialism”, we made the mistake of putting our two-and-a-half cents in, although you would have thought that by now we would have learned our lesson about trying to argue with people who think assertion is argument and personal insults are proof.
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
We come to the final installment of our series explaining the Core Values of the interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ). If you read the list of CESJ’s Core Values in order you will notice that they go more or less in a logical order, a progression from the Source of it all, to the main goal of CESJ . . . of life itself, as a matter of fact.
Monday, March 9, 2020
"Of Sheen Never Enough"? We won't go that far, but it's nice to see a Christian clergyman of any denomination in the 20th or 21st centuries who comes out so strong against the "new things" of modernism, socialism, and the New Age . . . without attacking the modernists, socialists, and the New Agers (although that hasn't stopped them from going after anyone who disagrees with them, or who they think disagrees with them, or who will disagree with them, or who might disagree with them, or whose tie they don't like, or. . . .)
Friday, March 6, 2020
Should we mention the stock market gyrations and the effect of the corona virus? No. If we do, we’ll just be wrong, as the situation changes so fast that there’s no way to be accurate except in hindsight. We’ll just ask if you really need that much toilet paper? Otherwise, let’s see what’s happening on the Just Third Way front:
Thursday, March 5, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject we began addressing a series of questions and comments, nine in all from a faithful reader. As we covered the material in depth in previous postings, we answered them with brief clarifications. Most of the issues seemed to be semantic, so we only needed to give brief responses. We covered the first five in the previous posting, and get to the remaining four today:
Wednesday, March 4, 2020
As we may have mentioned once or twice, we occasionally get questions from our readers. When these are substantive — as most of them are (the complainers just issue, er, complaints and then run away) — we can use our answers as blog postings. This saves us a lot of work, or at least some brain time trying to think up something that will instruct as well as edify without offending too many people except for modernists, socialists, and New Agers . . . but they’re offended all the time, anyway.
Tuesday, March 3, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject we asked whether a society can maintain itself when the vast majority of people are cut off from participation in the common good by lack of capital ownership — and answered our own question with a “no.” Some people will object to this, citing the fact that there have been many societies throughout history in which the great mass of people owned nothing but their labor.
Monday, March 2, 2020
Last week to semi-popular acclaim we presented a 1943 "Catholic Hour" broadcast by then-Monsignor Fulton J. Sheen, "The Thing We Are Fighting Against." This week we follow up on that with another random selection from Sheen's Catholic Hour shows, "War and Revolution," from January 3 (or 31, it's not clear), 1943, the first in the series on "the Crisis in Christendom" . . . not the college in Northern Virginia (necessarily . . . unless they want to admit something!), but what is left of western civilization against the onslaught of the "New Things" against which Sheen struggled his entire career: