As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt got the New Deal implemented using some rather shady tactics. Don’t just take our word for it, however. Anyone who wants to get a somewhat different perspective than is given in the Keynesian history books and current political rhetoric can read, e.g., Amity Shlaes’s The Forgotten Man (2009). She’s obsessed with the stock market as somehow being an economic indicator, but don’t let that stop you from the getting the real value the book has to offer.
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, Catholics — or at least some of them — finally seem to have made the grade and become part of the mainstream by the 1930s . . . depending on what is meant by “mainstream” and a few other things, like “making the grade.” With Msgr. John Ryan and Fr. Charles Coughlin leading the way, however, everything looked just peachy-keeno.
Monday, June 14, 2021
The current discussion over the next Jeopardy host (and why NOT LeVar Burton?), underscores the problem with what many people think education is today: training people to be technicians and for jobs that no longer exist. We would disagree with Adler’s use of the word “men,” but not with his meaning: Academia is not educating people, buyt training and indoctrinating them:
Friday, June 11, 2021
There are some very interesting news items this week, many of which reveal widespread misunderstanding regarding the nature of money. Many people talk about it, but very few seem to have any real idea what it is. To lighten things up a little, however, we lead off with a free plug for the CESJ Bookstore, which you really should visit:
Thursday, June 10, 2021
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, serious efforts had been made to try and deal with the rapid spread of socialism and moral relativism in both Church and State, but very little had been effective. It seems that when dealing with the worldly, St. Paul was right about being as sly as serpents — albeit still honest and truthful — for adherents of the new things have never let truth or even common civility stand in their way.
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, Fulton J. Sheen in the United States, and G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc in the United Kingdom locked horns early on with the forces of socialism and moral relativism, and were in many respects neutralized. If you asked most people what it was that the American Chesterton and the English Sheen were most concerned with, you would very likely get quite a number of answers, few of which would mention socialism or moral relativism.
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
In the previous posting on this subject, we related how Fulton Sheen was called to the Catholic University of America to deal with the problem of socialism and moral relativism that had taken over the university. The problem was that Bishop Shahan, who brought Sheen in to fix the problem, retired in 1927, and the situation quickly degenerated.
Monday, June 7, 2021
Mortimer Adler once made the point that trying to decide whether you’re happy or have had a happy life is not a question that can be answered until you’ve reached the end of it. Nevertheless, there are people who will sacrifice everything (usually other people) in order to get what they want, thinking it will bring them happiness . . . or what they think is happiness.
Friday, June 4, 2021
It seems to baffle people why we have a great and glorious economic recovery and yet most people don’t seem to be any better off than they were before. Of course, there is the little matter of how “recovery” is being defined, and who actually is benefitting . . . and whether said recovery is all on paper (or just in the papers), but these are trivial details that matter only to the 99% who don’t have access to the means of becoming and remaining capital owners:
Thursday, June 3, 2021
In the previous posting on this subject, we looked at how Msgr. John A. Ryan, the Fabians, and other heirs to the mantle of Henry George worked to extend George’s thought from land to all forms of capital, and from George’s focus on the United States and Ireland to the world. In addition, Émile Durkheim captured sociology and invented solidarism to oppose Although the victory of socialism seemed inevitable, however, it did not go unchallenged.
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
In the previous posting on this subject, we reviewed the influence of Henry George on the Fabian Society, and the influence of the Fabian Society. Nor was the Fabian Society the only group influenced by George, and that influenced others, including groups and individuals in the Catholic Church. More immediate in its effect on understanding of social justice — or, rather, misunderstanding — was the power wielded by Monsignor John A. Ryan of the Catholic University of America.
Tuesday, June 1, 2021
They say that the easiest way to hide something is in open sight; with a hat tip to Samuel Rosenberg’s 1974 Sherlockian showcase (okay, you find a better one), “naked is the best disguise.” In other words, be so obvious about what you’re doing that nobody will believe you really mean it . . like the Fabian Society adopting the “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” as their emblem, telling people they were going to make everybody socialist, but just call it something else. . . .
Monday, May 31, 2021
And now for something completely different . . . but not really. This week we bring you a lecture by Dr. Damien P. Fedoryka, who at one time gave us a few good words on our compendium, Curing World Poverty (1994), whose concept of “gift” seems to come closer to what we discussed in our most recent book, Economic Personalism, than some of what is floating around as “the economy of gift” and a few other things:
Friday, May 28, 2021
Of course, proponents of raising the minimum wage insist that if prospective employers would pay more, they’d have all the workers they need. The downside, of course, is that at some point it becomes cheaper to outsource or replace human beings with robots. Robots don’t make demands, but then they don’t buy products, either. No one is asking why not turn everybody into owners of the machines that are doing the work, which would solve a lot of problems:
Thursday, May 27, 2021
In the previous posting on this subject we saw that Pope Lei XIII’s 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum knocked both capitalists and socialists for a loop. It was not long, however, before both groups had figured out ways to keep on doing what they were already doing and claim papal endorsement. Of the two, however, the socialists took the initiative, as they were the ones most obviously targeted.
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, the agrarian socialist Henry George managed to make his brand of “the Democratic Religion” headline news throughout the English-speaking world in 1886 and 1887 by running for mayor of New York City . . . although people wonder to this day just what it was he expected to be able to do once he was in charge of the Big Apple. New York may be the center of the universe (especially if you’re a New Yorker), but even the center of the universe isn’t the entire universe or even the whole state of New York.
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject — not that we’re particularly pushing Catholicism — but the Catholic Church has from the beginning been the only consistent opponent of socialism and moral relativism in the modern world. As G.K. Chesterton noted in the introduction he wrote to the published version of Fulton Sheen’s doctoral thesis, God and Intelligence in Modern Philosophy (1925), the Catholic Church is pretty much the “last man standing” when it comes to defending common sense in the world today.
Monday, May 24, 2021
This week we again return to Mortimer Adler, who gives us a (relatively) short discourse on what Aristotle meant by “happiness.” It might even give you something to think about:
Friday, May 21, 2021
As the pandemic seems to be more or less winding down, sort of, maybe, people are struggling to figure out ways to restore the status quo or build a new world on the presumed ruins of the old. This is nothing new; it’s happened after pretty much every major upheaval in history. One of the more significant movements came out of the backwash from the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Eventually called “socialism,” it only succeeded in messing things up more . . . which makes us wonder why people think it’s going to be anymore successful now.
Thursday, May 20, 2021
In the previous posting on this subject, we went into the various ways that popes prior to Leo XIII and Rerum Novarum tried to counter socialism and moral relativism. The bottom line here, of course, is that trying to educate people in sound philosophy and democratic political principles wasn’t going anywhere without the personal power in the hands of ordinary people who remained at the mercy of those who controlled property and thus political and economic power. When someone controls how you are allowed to live, they soon make great inroads into how you think or believe.
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, when economic, political, social and even religious conditions deteriorated badly in the early nineteenth century, people turned to socialism to make things rights again. Unfortunately, people didn’t want to hear why something they wanted was wrong, they wanted something that would help them immediately.
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
In the previous posting on this subject, we looked at the circumstances that resulted in the first social encyclical, Mirari Vos, in 1832. It turns out that Pope Gregory XVI condemned the Polish November Uprising of 1830-1831 because it was taken over by the socialists and a forged encyclical had been circulated calling on people to rise up and destroy the Church and abolish private property.
Monday, May 17, 2021
This week we feature the latest video in the series on economic personalism, the book for which can be purchased or downloaded free from the CESJ website. According to the host, this has proven to be one of Sensus Fidelium’s most popular series, despite the fact that it is an interfaith presentation on a Catholic network!:
Friday, May 14, 2021
We have quite a few interesting news items this week, not all of which are calculated to give anyone confidence in the current system. The manufactured “gas shortage” right now is, in fact, a vote of “no confidence” in the economic and political system that our leaders in government and Academia might want to pay attention to . . . .