Next week marks the one-year anniversary of the publication of the Just Third Way Edition of Fulton J. Sheen’s Freedom Under God. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, be sure to do so. Quantities are not limited — we encourage you to purchase as many as meet your needs — but Sheen’s message has an increasing importance and immediacy for today, and the sooner word gets out, the better. In the meantime:
Friday, August 29, 2014
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Guilty Until Proven Innocent
What with matters in Texas and Missouri and points outside and in-between boiling over (or at least coming to a simmer), perhaps we need to take a look at what Mortimer J. Adler (co-author with Louis O. Kelso of The Capitalist Manifesto and The New Capitalists) considered one of the most serious philosophical mistakes of the modern age: the confusion over the difference between knowledge (which is always true) and opinion (which may be true, but has not been proved).
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Tax Inversion v. Tax Evasion
As we understand it (as it was brought forcibly to mind with the Great Tim Horton’s v. Burger King Controversy . . . Timbits, anyone?), if a U.S. company moves its headquarters to another country, it can pay corporate income taxes at a lower rate. Given that the United States now ranks number one of countries in the industrialized world with high corporate tax rates, this is a great incentive to move (even more) industry out of the country.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
A Legal Amateur’s Look at Roe v. Wade
Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, or even if you just plain don’t care, you should be concerned with the legal reasoning in the landmark case, Roe v. Wade (410 U.S. 113 (1973)). The decision was a remarkable one in many respects, at least as it appears to someone who, while not an attorney, has some familiarity with constitutional law and basic logic.
Monday, August 25, 2014
“Can’t Feed ’Em? Don’t Breed ’Em.”
The title of this posting is something that’s appearing on bumper stickers lately. Or it could have been around for a while. We tend to concentrate on the traffic and other things than bumpers when we’re driving. That staring eyeball from President Obama’s campaign didn’t help any. It’s kind of creepy. Anyway —
Friday, August 22, 2014
News from the Network, Vol. 7, No. 33
The stock market is, of course, booming, although there doesn’t seem to be much of anything there except a lot of sound and the fury, signifying nothing. After the event-filled trip to Cleveland, this has been a quiet week for the network:
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Votes, Jobs, and Welfare
We missed it, but that’s nothing unusual. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee ratified the Nineteenth Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote. (And, as we might expect, there was a flurry of cartoons showing women refusing to state their ages in order to prove they were of age. . . . 1920s humor.) Of course, Wyoming had extended the franchise to women decades before, but that was the Wild West, where men were men and women were glad of it, so it didn’t count.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Midsummer Tutorial on Social Justice, III: Civil Society v. Domestic Society
Today we conclude our brief series on social justice. (We told you it was going to be brief.) So far we’ve covered the definition of social justice, and why social justice and individual charity are two different things. To grossly oversimplify, social justice is directed to the common good, while individual charity takes care of individual goods when individuals can't take care of their own goods.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Midsummer Tutorial on Social Justice, II: Individual Virtue v. Social Virtue
Yesterday we began our refresher course on social justice. We looked at what social justice is. Today we look at what social justice is not, that is, how it is distinguished from individual justice and, especially, individual charity. This can get a little complex. The most important thing to realize here is that there is a difference between individual goods and social goods, and thus individual justice and social justice.
Monday, August 18, 2014
Midsummer Tutorial on Social Justice, I: Introduction
It’s common these days (or any days, for that matter) to read or hear something to the effect that feeding the hungry, paying a living wage, providing healthcare, or any multitude of other things is “social justice.” Trying to abstract the nature of social justice from such statements or declarations, we reasonably conclude that “social justice” means meeting people’s needs on a large scale, rather than looking after people individually or on a small scale.
Friday, August 15, 2014
News from the Network, Vol. 7, No. 32
The Big News this week is the CESJ core group’s trip to Cleveland, Ohio. A great deal of work was done on this trip. The schedule was so full that both sightseeing tours were cancelled, no visits or calls were made to friends and family, but the results were well worth it. The only downside was that somebody forgot to set up a meeting with Drew Carey to discuss how much better Cleveland could rock under the Just Third Way:
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Womb With a View
Last week the buzz around some FaceBook groups was all about recent advances in the technology of artificial wombs. With reservations, we think that this could be a good thing. It has the potential to address certain concerns that come up when discussing a “pro-life economic agenda” geared toward removing all economic pressure or justification for abortion.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
The Pursuit of Happiness
A (very) short time after we posted Monday’s blog concerning the Fulton Sheen’s call for an economic declaration of independence, we got a comment from a reader. As he said, “My American Government teacher in high school always insisted that ‘pursuit of happiness’ meant the pursuit of property. Would you agree with that?”
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Does Social Justice Lead Away from God?
A week or so ago we received a link to a review of An Anxious Age: The Post Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America (New York: Image Books, 2014), by Joseph Bottum, former editor of First Things magazine. The review raised some questions about the general understanding of social justice in our society.
Monday, August 11, 2014
A Declaration of Economic Independence
In 1940, the late Fulton J. Sheen had a few comments on what he meant by “Freedom Under God,” which — by no coincidence — just happened to be the title of the book he was writing at the time. In the chapter on “Communism, Capitalism, and Liberty” on page 75 of the 2013 Just Third Way Edition, Sheen listed what he called “the Three Declarations”:
Friday, August 8, 2014
News from the Network, Vol. 7, No. 31
The Summer Slow Down has not hit the Just Third Way. The CESJ Fellow from Belgium has been working very productively, contacts are being made, and outreach efforts are increasing. Last week’s press release about the naming of Father John Trigilio and Deacon Joseph Gorini to the CESJ Board of Counselors was picked up by a number of media outlets, while other potential contacts and alliances are being surfaced all the time:
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Church, State, and Humanity, VII: The Solution
When everything is up for grabs, and there is no concept of anything resembling an absolute, then society will dissolve in chaos. This can be gradual, as we have seen in the United States, or almost in the blink of an eye, as we saw in post-World War I Germany and Austria-Hungary. Once the solid anchor of private property is gone from a society, pure moral relativism always takes over, especially if order is restored by someone or a group that forces its personal vision on the rest of society, as Hitler and the Nazis did in the 1930s.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Church, State, and Humanity, VI: The Effect on Civil and Religious Society
As we have seen in this series, there is massive confusion these days over the respective roles of faith and reason, charity and justice, supernatural law and natural law, where rights come from, who has them, and the meaning and purpose of life. (We don’t get into the small issues on this blog!)
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Church, State, and Humanity, V: The Source of Rights
In the previous two postings in this series, we outlined what happens when people begin distorting the concepts of Church and State to achieve some private end or realize a personal goal or interpretation. This, of course, violates one of the principal “laws” of social justice, that the common good (that vast network of institutions within which humanity acquires and develops virtue) must remain inviolate:
Monday, August 4, 2014
Church, State, and Humanity, IV: A Fundamental Change in the Idea of Religion
Last week we saw that, as a result of the application of bad ideas about natural law, virtue, and the role of the State, the whole concept of civil society has changed. People — human beings — are no longer considered sovereign, with inalienable rights that automatically define them as persons.
Friday, August 1, 2014
News from the Network, Vol. 7, No. 30
While a number of other things have happened this week, the big news from the network is that two key people have accepted appointments to the CESJ Board of Counselors. Please feel free to copy the press release or link to it:
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