If we counted correctly, this is the 1,776th posting on the Just Third Way blog. Not that we’re in to numerology or anything, but 1776 was the year that George Mason drafted the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which was the forerunner of the Declaration of Independence. With modifications that conservatives inserted to preserve slavery (over Mason’s objections), the Virginia Declaration was adopted June 12, 1776.
Friday, February 27, 2015
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Lord of the World, XI: A Turning Point for Humanity
While Lord of the World marked a turning point in the writing career of Robert Hugh Benson, it also chronicled in satiric fashion what Benson saw as a turning point in the human career. Is humanity meant purely for material wellbeing in this life, or is there something more than that?
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Lord of the World, X: A Turning Point for Benson
We’ve been talking about why Pope Francis recommended Robert Hugh Benson’s novel, Lord of the World. We’ve gone into the background of the novel. We’ve even given a brief rundown of the author himself. What else is there to say? Well . . . maybe a little something about the novel itself might be in order, don’t you think? . . .
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Lord of the World, IX: The Novel
“I have an idea for a book so vast and tremendous that I daren’t think about it. Have you ever heard of Saint Simon? Well, mix up Saint Simon, Russia breaking loose, Napoleon, Evan Roberts, the Pope, and Antichrist; and see if any idea suggests itself. But I’m afraid it is too big. I should like to form a syndicate on it, but that it is an idea, I have no doubt at all.” (Robert Hugh Benson, letter to his mother, December 16, 1905.)
Monday, February 23, 2015
Lord of the World, VIII: Benson Was Born . . .
In C.S. Lewis’s apocalyptic novel, That Hideous Strength, one of the characters, a college professor, excuses himself from something-or-other by saying he has to go home and begin the dreary and wearying task of correcting and grading a pile of undergraduate essays on Jonathan Swift, all beginning, “Swift was born . . .”
Friday, February 20, 2015
News from the Network, Vol. 8, No. 8
Despite the extremely tense world situation, the stock market is booming; up nearly 150 points just today to yet another record high. At the same time, analysts are advising ordinary people not to buy hard assets like houses that they can actually use, but to put their chips on the stock market.
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Lord of the World, VII: Democracy’s Last Gasp
If yesterday’s posting didn’t reduce you to raging incoherency . . . there might just be hope for you yet. If, however, you’ve been spending your time breathing threats and imprecations as you prepare to extirpate all heresy in thought, word, and deed (“No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!”), you might need a reboot of your reason app., and a shift from faith, to reason illuminated and guided by faith in your understanding of the natural law, especially as applied to political science and economics.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Lord of the World, VI: Reformation and Transformation of Truth
In yesterday’s posting we looked at why Robert Hugh Benson, author of the science fiction satire Lord of the World recently mentioned by Pope Francis as recommended reading (so, have you gotten your copy yet?) seemed to have such a high opinion of rich Americans, yet held their upper class English counterparts at arm’s length. Given Benson’s focus on vocation, that is, one’s calling in life, this appears to have been because the American “upper crust” had purpose, while that of England had no purpose except to have no purpose.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Lord of the World, V: Benson, Money, and Modernism
One of Robert Hugh Benson’s undeservedly lesser-known novels, Initiation (1914), includes a seemingly trivial detail to which virtually no one today attaches any importance. That is his choice of name for the ebullient and attractive nouveau riche American couple who fill a minor, if important role in the story: Hecker. Most people who have read the book don’t even think about the name.
Monday, February 16, 2015
Lord of the World, IV: The Last, Best Hope
Last week, in the previous posting in this series, we discussed the question of vocation or “calling” as it affected the satiric fiction of Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson, author of Lord of the World (1907) — and (of course) the critical importance of widespread capital ownership to empower people to be able to live their vocations without being unduly constrained by the need to gain a subsistence for themselves and their families.
Friday, February 13, 2015
News from the Network, Vol. 8, No. 7
On receiving the news from a CIA economist earlier today that an economic collapse is imminent within the next six months, the stock market . . . soared to close at a record high. On receiving the news last week that things were improving, the stock market . . . soared to close at a record high.
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Lord of the World, III: Benson Seeks a Calling
A question that everyone asks — or should ask — at some point in his or her life is, What is the meaning and purpose of life? As Socrates is reported to have said (sometimes Plato’s reporting seems a little . . . off), “The unexamined life is not worth living.” What does it all mean? Why should we bother?
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Lord of the World, II: Introducing Robert Hugh Benson (1871-1914)
We closed yesterday’s posting about Pope Francis’s “endorsement” of Robert Hugh Benson’s science fiction satire Lord of the World with the question, Who is this guy Benson, and why should anybody today care about “Catholic” novels written over a century ago? By a Dead, White, European Male yet?
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Lord of the World, I: The Papal Reading List
A short time ago Pope Francis commented that people might want to read a science fiction novel written in the early twentieth century by a priest who was a convert to Catholicism, Lord of the World, by Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson (1871-1914). Pope Benedict XVI before his election also had positive things to say about the novel. As Pope Francis was quoted,
Monday, February 9, 2015
Standards, XI: Capital Homesteading for Every Citizen
The whole point of this blog series has been the importance of standards — weights and measures, moral, legal, and (for our limited purposes here) monetary. The bottom line is that the Number One Rule for money within a stable and progressive economy (using “progressive” in its late 19th, early 20th century sense of doing old things in new ways, not today’s sense of doing the worst possible new things in completely insane ways) is that all forms of money in an economy must be measured in terms of, and convertible into, a stable and elastic asset-backed reserve currency.
Friday, February 6, 2015
News from the Network, Vol. 8, No. 6
Potential candidates for the Republican nomination for president are rising and falling like the stock market. Also like the stock market, there’s nothing behind any of them, other than the goal of getting rid of the Democrats . . . whose goal is to keep the Republicans out. In the meantime, plain, old, ordinary people just sit back waiting for some leader to rise up with a vision that has something in it for them, e.g., Capital Homesteading for every citizen, instead for their cronies on Wall Street or the government.
Thursday, February 5, 2015
Standards, X: The Federal Reserve Made Easy
As we saw in yesterday’s posting, the Federal was established to resolve “the money question,” and (at least according to the Federal Reserve Act of 1913) provide the country with an elastic, asset-backed reserve currency, convertible into gold on demand.
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Standards, IX: Establishing a Standard
The problem with all of the monetary reforms — and lack of reforms — at which we looked at Monday was they were all Currency School, that is, based on past savings. This tends to limit both how much can be done, and who can do it.
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Anarchism, Cons and Cons
As we were tying ourselves into knots yesterday over how to finish the series on standards, we got a question about anarchy. Not the bomb-throwing kind, or the type that the teachers’ unions claim predominates among home schoolers, excuse us, hum skooolors, but the presumably ethical kind espoused by, e.g., Dorothy Day. As our correspondent opined,
Monday, February 2, 2015
Standards, VIII: “The Money Question”
Once upon a time in the late 19th century in America, there was a financial panic. By coincidence (or maybe not), the “free land” under the Homestead Act of 1862 had effectively come to an end. At the same time, a sudden demand for converting investments into cash from overseas investors put a strain on the inelastic, debt-backed money supply. This consisted of United States Notes (the “Greenbacks”), the National Bank Notes, and the Treasury Notes of 1890.
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