In one of his earliest and, for many readers, least favorite books, The Pilgrim’s Regress (1933), C.S. Lewis’s protagonist from “Puritania” —very closely modeled on Lewis himself — meets with “Mr. Enlightenment,” who takes him up in his pony-drawn cart and asserts that there is no “Landlord,” the God-persona in the allegory. “John,” the protagonist, ponders this a moment, then asks —
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Monday, June 29, 2015
Man and Superman, II: The Supernatural Order
Last Thursday we noted that acquiring and developing the natural virtues (that is, the virtues the capacity for which is built into human nature itself) makes us fully human — but nothing more. This makes sense, for the capacity to acquire and develop the natural virtues of temperance, fortitude, prudence, and (above all) justice, are what define us as human — but nothing more.
Friday, June 26, 2015
News from the Network, Vol. 8, No. 26
We realize we’re completely out of touch with reality by ignoring such controversies as whether the Greek debt crisis should make the stock market go up or down (or down or up, or even sideways), or whether to have fish, or beans and rice for lunch, but we just thought the following might be of more real interest to people seeking solutions instead of more problems:
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Man and Superman, I: The Natural Order
It may have been George Bernard Shaw, the irascible pacifist and Fabian socialist who wrote a play entitled “Man and Superman.” [Note: we just checked. It was.] Now, we are not interested in Shaw’s proposals to attain the perfection of human character by means of simple living, pacifism, and vegetarianism, i.e., the program of the Fabian socialists, derived in large measure from the agrarian socialism of Henry George and the theosophy of Madame Blavatsky.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Philosophical Mistakes Revisited
We’ve been getting a lot of commentary on our article on Homiletic and Pastoral Review, “Pope Francis and the Just Third Way.” The basic issue under discussion seems to be not that our understanding of Catholic social teaching is flawed, but that the whole idea that a religion has a social teaching is flawed. We’re basically arguing not about what the Catholic Church teaches, but whether it should be teaching it.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
A Social Question
Or, more accurately, a question about society — what is it? The article we had published last week in Homiletic and Pastoral Review, “Pope Francis and the Just Third Way,” has excited quite a bit of discussion on the HPR website. Running down the list of their fifteen most recent articles and editorials, there were (as of yesterday morning) exactly thirty comments total on all of them, ranging from zero (three articles) to six (one article) and seven (one article). For those of you not up on higher math, the average is two comments per article, exclusive of ours . . . which as of yesterday morning had twenty-one, including three republications or “trackbacks.”
Monday, June 22, 2015
Last week we got a very good question from a faithful reader. It involved how long before we would start to realize the benefits of a Capital Homesteading program one it is enacted, and some of the details. Pretty quickly, all things considered, as you’ll see from our response. First, however, the question:
Friday, June 19, 2015
News from the Network, Vol. 8, No. 25
There has been a great deal going on this week, mostly in the “Getting the Word Out” Department. It’s not even worth the time commenting on the ups and downs in the stock market. The wild swings have gotten rid of some of the real investors, leaving the field to the speculators . . . helping us set the stage for a return to sanity with Capital Homesteading and the reversion of the secondary market to a genuinely secondary role in the economy:
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Putting Pope Francis in Perspective
If you’ve been following matters on this blog, you will have noticed the uniformly positive comments on the recent publication of “Pope Francis and the Just Third Way” in Homiletic and Pastoral Review this past Saturday. Now, we know what you’re thinking. We’ve only been telling you about the positive comments and ignoring the negatives.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Sharing the Tech Threat, IV: Up From Savery
No, we spelled that right. Combine “slavery” and “savings” and you get “savery.” What Louis Kelso and Mortimer Adler called “the slavery of [past] savings” is at the root of a great many problems that could easily be solved if people weren’t stuck in the assumption that the only way to save to finance new capital formation is to cut consumption in the past.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Pope Francis and the Just Third Way
We interrupt our regularly scheduled programing to bring you an important news bulletin. This past Saturday the venerable Homiletic and Pastoral Review (the oldest magazine for Catholic clergy in the United States) published “Pope Francis and the Just Third Way,” an examination of the principles of economic and social justice in light of Pope Francis’s expressed concerns.
Monday, June 15, 2015
Sharing the Tech Threat, III: Sharing Effectively
Last week we saw how, as advancing technology displaces people at an accelerating rate even from jobs formerly believed to be immune to that sort of thing, “the Millennials” are trapped in a situation in which they are forced by circumstances into divvying up a decreasing amount of production allocated to labor.
Friday, June 12, 2015
News from the Network, Vol. 8, No. 24
The stock market has been so volatile that even the experts are starting to get worried. The increasingly wild swings are not “normal,” even within a Keynesian framework. Nor is it the case that this has never happened before. The same thing was going on right before the Crash of 1929.
Thursday, June 11, 2015
Sharing the Tech Threat, II: The Sharing Economy
Yesterday we looked at an article about an Al Jazeera documentary about technology replacing “middle” workers, that is, people in traditional white collar occupations. We didn’t look at the Al Jazeera documentary, we just went with the premise, one that should be obvious to anyone who understands the effects of technology and grasps the fact that both labor and capital produce marketable goods and services . . . but that capital’s productiveness (understood in binary economics as the relative proportion of production) is far outstripping that of labor.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Sharing the Tech Threat, I: The Shoemaker and the Machine
A couple of days ago one of our faithful readers sent us links to two very interesting articles. One was on the “Naked Capitalism” website, “People and Power: The Technology Threat.” The other was from the Washington Post Magazine, “The Post Ownership Society: How the ‘sharing economy’ allows Millennials to cope with downward mobility, and also makes them poorer.” Taken together, they paint a very grim picture indeed.
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
What to Do?
Yesterday — or it could have been the day before or even earlier — somebody commented on the Synod on the Family the Catholic Church is holding in October, right after the World Meeting of Families in September in Philadelphia. Someone (else) had sent around an e-mail containing a link to an article about how the Synod was going to be hijacked and used to advance an agenda at odds with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Monday, June 8, 2015
Yet More on Property, II: Hudock’s Alleged Errors
Last week we noted that we had received a link to a three-year-old article in U.S. Catholic, “How Much Do You Really Own?” by Barry Hudock, sent to us in refutation of our contention that the right to be an owner (the right to property) pertains to the natural law, while the rights of ownership (the rights of property) come under human positive law, custom, and tradition — as long as these do not nullify the underlying right to be an owner in the first place. This posting was originally titled, "Hudock's Fatal Errors," but we have since discovered that the individual who sent us the link asserting that it disproved our position may have been a little mistaken, and might have slightly misunderstood Hudock's position as well as our own. We (mistakenly) assumed that our commentator could substantiate his interpretation of Hudock's article, which he could not. We've taken this opportunity to correct this, and (incidentally) get rid of the bold typeface that somehow sneaked into the last two paragraphs. And screwed up the rest of the formatting, of course.
Friday, June 5, 2015
News from the Network, Vol. 8, No. 23
As can be seen from the news items below, things are starting to move in the right direction. As can be seen from the number of articles that are getting accepted, we are getting more effective at spreading the word about the Just Third Way. That being the case, we won’t waste your time with news about Wall Street and other fantasy lands, but get straight to the news —
Thursday, June 4, 2015
Yet More on Property, I: Definitions
There’s an old joke that goes “A teacher was trying to impress on his students the idea that doing something right the first time pays off. He declared, ‘A job well done need never be done again!’ A ‘small, tired voice from the back of the room’ responds, ‘What about mowing the lawn?’”
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
All Too Real Non-Problems
From the Reuters News Service on Tuesday, June 2, 2015, we have the news that, “Fed's Brainard says U.S. economic slowdown may be more than temporary.” This is, of course, news to all the people who lost their jobs in 2008, are losing them now, and when new minimum wage laws are making employers look to Robbie the Robot as a source of uncomplaining, non-human, and less expensive labor. As one of the Fed-Heads put it,
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
This is not a review of the film version of Daniel Keyes’s award-winning Flowers for Algernon (short story, 1958, novel 1966) with the spelling corrected. No, this is a brief commentary on a “game” that seems to be gaining great popularity among teenagers and adolescents (and you have no idea how old it makes you feel to say something like that).
Monday, June 1, 2015
Is Private Property a Natural Right?
A short time ago we posted a short piece explaining why, because private property is a natural right, socialism has the wrong bull by the horns, or sow by the ear, or however you want to put it. Naturally, the socialists didn’t take this lying down. Almost immediately we received a rather sanctimonious comment to the effect that the idea that private property being a natural right was an invention of Thomas Aquinas during the Middle Ages.
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