THE Global Justice Movement Website

THE Global Justice Movement Website
This is the "Global Justice Movement" (dot org) we refer to in the title of this blog.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Fine Art of Missing the Point

If there's one thing you learn about modern life, it's the ease with which people can get diverted from the main point.  There you are, thinking you're all on the same page, when someone who just walked in or who hasn't been paying too much attention lets loose with what he or she thinks is a zinger that renders everything you said meaningless or foolish . . . especially if it has nothing to do with the topic under discussion. . .

"And how, exactly, does that relate to what I was saying?"
Take, for example, a "discussion" we recently avoided in a LinkedIn group. It was getting very deep into the nature of human life, the roles of faith and reason (or faith v. reason) . . . all kinds of good stuff that we've addressed on the blog at one time or another.  The problem is that the group is supposed to be about helping people find jobs, and we had let ourselves get diverted from our point, which is that a program of expanded capital ownership, as it increases demand naturally by generating more disposable income, creates jobs naturally, where "government stimulus" creates jobs artificially, as an end in itself, and costs money instead of making money.

Naturally we were a little taken aback by the change of subject.  It's like the fast food clerk getting lectured on the greedy capitalist system and the deleterious health effects of too much fat in the diet when the question was whether the customer wants fries with that.

This brings us to the point of this posting.  That is, the question most people manage to avoid these days in their anxiety to show others how virtuous/smart/whatever they are (in comparison with those others, of course) is how people are supposed to be empowered so as to be able to resist all the greed, bad health, etc., etc., etc. that "they" impose on the rest of "us," and that the interloper thinks we should be discussing instead of what we're discussing.  They tend to get very irritated if you try to get the discussion back on tract, and avoid the question by insisting that we're avoiding the question.

Daniel Webster: "Power follows property."
And if they avoid the question, you can imagine the hysteria over the answer — which, from a social justice position, is not to address specific problems directly, but to make it possible to address specific problems directly — an entirely different thing.  That means fixing the system, and that means people have to get organized to fix the system, and that means they have to have the power to fix the system. . . . so we insist that you have to start by having an effective program of expanded capital ownership.  We, of course, never said to stop meeting individual needs, but that's not a solution.  That's to keep people going until a solution can be implemented . . . and that (again) means that people must have the power to implement a solution, not just leave things as they are and hope somebody else does something.

The bottom line here is that power, as Daniel Webster and countless others have pointed out, naturally and necessarily follows property. Restructure the system so that, as Pope Leo XIII recommended, "The law . . . should favor ownership, and its policy should be to induce as many as possible of the people to become owners." (Rerum Novarum, § 46.)

Yes, toilets in Harlem are important. World peace and ending hunger are important. The level of wages and benefits is important.

A lot of things are important . . . but what we're discussing on the Just Third Way blog is a way to solve all those problems and others through access to the means of acquiring and possessing private property in capital.