In the previous posting in this series we saw that the so-called “logic of gift” that seems to have achieved currency in many circles actually reverses the roles of God and man. By implicitly imposing the duty of giving on God so that we can comply with His command to give to others, we put man in charge; man (in a sense) creates God.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
As we saw in the previous posting in this series, many people have the idea that human rights come from God or the State as a grant or gift. That is, they believe as an article of faith that first humanity exists, and then is endowed with rights from some source. This accounts (at least in part) for the current movement to replace “exchange” (based on the natural right of justice) with “gift” (based on the infused virtue of charity) as the basis of economic activity, a demand based not on reason, but on faith.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
In The “Dumb Ox” (1933), G. K. Chesterton commented that the great conflict between Aquinas and Siger of Brabant concerned a dispute over “a theory which most modern newspaper readers would instantly have declared to be the same as the theory of St. Thomas [Aquinas].” (G. K. Chesterton, Saint Thomas Aquinas: The “Dumb Ox”. New York: Image Books, 1956, 92.)
Monday, October 28, 2013
Given that one of the reasons the Catholic Church canonizes people is as an example for members of the “Church Militant” (as people in the Church living on earth are called), it matters a great deal what sort of example people set who are venerated as “saints.” After that, a great deal depends on how people apply the example set.
Friday, October 25, 2013
Here's a letter we sent to the Wall Street Journal this past Monday:
If, as Jonathan Wright is quoted in Brenda Cronin’s and Ben Casselman’s “Sharper Focus, Tools Fortify Economists” (The Outlook, 10/21/13, A-3), “economics is in about the same state as medicine in about the 18th century,” it is because mainstream schools of economics — Keynesian, Monetarist/Chicago, and Austrian — are based on a theory of money and credit as outdated and fallacious as that of Galen’s theory of the four humors, and that has degenerated into economic remedies as insane as bloodletting as cure-all.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
As we saw in the previous posting in this series, when the Catholic Church “canonizes” somebody, it has good reasons for doing so. Similarly, when the Catholic Church doesn’t canonize somebody, it has equally good reasons for not taking action. In the case of Robert Cardinal Bellarmine, the Catholic Church delayed canonizing him for over three centuries — and all because a great many people simply couldn’t get a rather simple theory correct. They were trapped in one paradigm relating to the natural law when Bellarmine was operating from within another.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
In the previous posting in this series we learned that, while a specific candidate for canonization may be absolutely orthodox (at least according to the beliefs of the Catholic Church), the interpretation or understanding that other people put on the candidate’s thought or writings may not be quite so orthodox or consistent with Catholic belief. It may, in fact, be 180 degrees from what the candidate actually meant — and from the understanding of the Catholic Church.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
In the previous posting in this series I hinted that, despite the enthusiasm shown by the Chestertonian Establishment, especially the neo-distributists and Professional Chestertonians, at the prospect, we probably won’t be seeing G. K. Chesterton canonized any time soon — assuming that things continue to go as they are now in the Chestertonian Community.
Monday, October 21, 2013
In the first posting in this series I began a discussion regarding the canonization of G. K. Chesterton. After someone brought the matter up, I investigated. It turned out to have been something of an enthusiastic “over-sell.” The world does not (yet) have a “Saint Gilbert Keith Chesterton of Beaconsfield” or anywhere else. Further, from the evidence, a canonization will probably be after a very long wait, if it happens at all.
Friday, October 18, 2013
Interest in the new Just Third Way Edition of Fulton J. Sheen’s 1940 classic Freedom Under God remains strong, and now that the latest government crisis is “settled” we can expect more people to begin searching for real solutions instead of stopgap actions that ultimately only make things worse. Naturally we recommend that people begin investigating the claims of the Just Third Way:
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Not long ago as of this writing, somebody asked me what I thought about the canonization of Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), the English essayist and journalist, revered by many as one of the founders of the “distributist” school of social thought, and characterized by his followers as the “Apostle of Common Sense.”
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
The worse things get in American society, the more frequently you hear comparisons with ancient Rome. Evidently unaware that (assuming you accept the traditional date for the founding of the city) “Rome” lasted from 753 BC to AD 1918, albeit much transformed (still a pretty good record), people today — as they have for thousands of years — claim that these are the worst times that the world has ever experienced, and there is absolutely no hope of recovery. The world is doomed.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
A number of people have complained that the U.S. Catholic bishops have pretty much rolled over and played dead for “Obamacare.” A few commentators have gone so far as to claim that the bishops are traitors and hypocrites for either soft-peddling the dangers or talking tough but doing nothing. Are they really, however, as black as they’re painted?
Monday, October 14, 2013
There have been one or two comments about our (presumed) failure to post the annual series of “Halloween Horror Specials” on the blog this year. While we hate to break tradition, do we really want more horror than we already have in the world today? Still . . . tradition is tradition. As the Irish say, “Neither make nor break a tradition.” Consider this an attempt to keep the tradition alive.
Friday, October 11, 2013
With all the political and economic lunacy floating around this week (and the week before, and the week before that, and the week before that, ad nauseam) it should be a great relief to find that the people in the Just Third Way keep plugging along and moving forward:
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Recently someone posted a rather insightful comment on Facebook to the effect that society will only change (for the better) when people are motivated by good will, and that the best way to build this good will is prayer, fasting, and love. Those are all very good things — properly understood and implemented. The problem is that they are not, in and of themselves, sufficient to get the job done.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Recently we were copied on a comment someone posted about the proposal for a single global currency. The commentator said, “Read the part about ‘a single global currency’, read the Book of Revelation, and tell me it doesn’t smell of the Mark of the Beast.” Well, we could get flip and ask what does the Mark of the Beast smell like, but the commentator was evidently sincere. We think. So here goes:
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
A short while back somebody commented on Facebook that somebody [else] had quoted the Quran in a forum devoted to discussing Christian issues. This seemed to the commentator to be the camel’s nose under the tent, possibly the first step in an electronic Jihad or something. This, we felt, was silly in more ways than one, especially in a discussion on matters relating to the natural law “written in the hearts of all men.”
Monday, October 7, 2013
This posting has absolutely nothing to do with the Battle of Lepanto, the 442nd anniversary of which is today.
In Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe, or, The Peer and the Peri, a couple of lords — members of the House of Peers — help build up their nerve to speak to Phyllis (an Arcadian shepherdess) by singing a song composed primarily of aphorisms about, well, building up one’s nerve. Like all G&S ditties, it is clever and moderately satiric. The bottom line is, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
Friday, October 4, 2013
The U.S. government “shut down” represents a serious danger to Modern Monetary Theory, or “MMT,” as it is called. MMT, based solidly on the “Chartalism” of Georg Friedrich Knapp through the virtual global hegemony of Keynesian economics, relies on government creation of all money. Chartalism is based on the “currency principle,” which in part assumes that “money” consists solely of or represents a claim on the present value of existing wealth.
Thursday, October 3, 2013
It came out recently that one of the organizations targeted by the Internal Revenue Service that was suing to gain 501(c)(3) status it had been denied had reached a deal with the IRS. The organization would get its 501(c)(3) status if they would agree to drop the lawsuit.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Once upon a time (last week, it may have been), we got a request from a reporter for our take on current Federal Reserve monetary policy. Good? Bad? Indifferent? Is anything wrong? Is it causing any problems? What is your opinion as financial and monetary commentators?
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Recently a friend of ours who has a Ph.D. in Medieval Philosophy and who teaches at a Jesuit institution of higher learning (no, not Georgetown), read an essay on the trial of Socrates that very nearly cost him his hair and eyesight. He was tempted to tear out the former and gouge out the latter after reading such gems as: