A number of events have happened this week that both highlight the need for something like “Justice University” and — at the same time — make it more likely that the idea can be brought to fruition. As you will see, this is mostly due to the positive reaction we’ve received from interacting with the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship program:
Friday, October 30, 2015
Thursday, October 29, 2015
Three Key Books on Common Sense, XII: The Medieval Modernist
One of the things that strikes readers of Saint Thomas Aquinas: The “Dumb Ox” is Chesterton’s mildness toward, even respect for, those whom he regarded as Traditionalists and social conservatives. Chesterton himself had a great respect for both human tradition and Sacred Tradition. He couldn’t be too hard on reactionaries who exaggerated things and confused the two.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Three Key Books on Common Sense, XI: “The Awful Apparition of Aristotle”
One of the things that strikes the reader of what is perhaps G.K. Chesterton’s greatest book, Saint Thomas Aquinas: The “Dumb Ox”, is the fact that so little of it is actually about Aquinas. A rough estimate reveals that barely a quarter of the text deals with Aquinas himself — and even that seems to focus more on other people in Aquinas’s life or who are important for understanding the contemporary situation. Practically none of it deals with theology.
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Three Key Books on Common Sense, X: In Defense of Common Sense
In St. Thomas Aquinas: The “Dumb Ox”, G.K. Chesterton made a point of calling himself stupid — a fool or a moron, in fact. If it were anyone other than Chesterton, a reader might tend to think Chesterton was trying to get people to contradict him and say, no, how intelligent he really is, he’s just being modest, etc., etc.
Monday, October 26, 2015
Halloween Horror Five-Year Anniversary Special
Five years ago today we ran one of our most popular blog postings ever: “Halloween Horror Special XIII: Mean Green Mother from Outer Space.” Possibly because of its resemblance to a tabloid newspaper feature article (even though every word is absolutely true), the posting has consistently ranked in the top five for half a decade, one of the “Top Five for Five,” so to speak. That being the case, we decided to rerun it today, with a few corrections, and adding a few illustrations, and removing the links that no longer lead anywhere.
Friday, October 23, 2015
News from the Network, Vol. 8, No. 43
Accurate information about the Just Third Way is beginning to filter past the “gatekeepers” in academia and politics. It seems that the near-total lack of vision in these quarters has caused a number of people to start thinking outside the box. The signs that people are starting to wake up to the potential of the Just Third Way are all there:
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Three Key Books on Common Sense, IX: The Apostle of Common Sense
Even before he converted to Catholicism in 1922, G.K. Chesterton exhibited great concern for the modern abandonment of reason, and the consequent shift from God to man as the center of things. This shift is best seen in the aberration called socialism and, to a lesser degree, in the distortion known as capitalism.
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Three Key Books on Common Sense, VIII: The Paradox of Il Poverello
To understand what G.K. Chesterton did in 1933, we have to go back a decade to understand what he did in 1923. That was the year, soon after his conversion to Catholicism, that Chesterton published what many consider one of his four (or five) greatest books: St. Francis of Assisi. He seems to have felt it was his duty as a Catholic to present St. Francis, one of the most popular saints among non-Catholics, in a proper light, especially in an age that held St. Francis up as an exemplar for all the wrong reasons.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Three Key Books on Common Sense, VII: The American Regression
Yesterday we noted that, under pressure from the presumably unavoidable slavery of past savings, distributism regressed from the ideas of Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc, and progressed into a weird combination of georgist socialism and theosophy known as Fabian socialism.
Monday, October 19, 2015
Three Key Books on Common Sense, VI: The English Regression
When is socialism not socialism? When you have defined it as Something Else? No. Socialism that is truly socialism remains socialism, regardless what you may call it.
Friday, October 16, 2015
News from the Network, Vol. 8, No. 42
September 30 is the end of the fiscal year for CESJ, and consequently most of what is happening is routine tasks to comply with various government regulations and the organization’s bylaws. Still, a few things are happening:
Thursday, October 15, 2015
Three Key Books on Common Sense, V: “One Twist to the Mind”
One of the most offensive and anti-human assertions put forward by John Maynard Keynes is the claim that the State has the power to re-edit the dictionary. At first glance, Keynes’s claim (made in the opening passages of the work he intended as his magnum opus, his two-volume A Treatise on Money) was simply one more contradiction in a body of work filled with contradictions, half-truths, and baseless assertions.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Three Key Books on Common Sense, IV: Chesterton Versus the Slavery of Past Savings
Yesterday we opened with our take on the 1928 debate between G.K. Chesterton and G.B. Shaw on whether there was any fundamental agreement between the two systems each one espoused, distributism and Fabian socialism, respectively. Despite some snarky yet humorous comments by immoderate moderator Hilaire Belloc on the failure of the disputants to address anything substantive in the discussion, Chesterton and Shaw not only failed to address what Belloc regarded as the real issue — how to save civilization in a manner befitting the demands of human dignity — they couldn’t agree on whether or not they could agree.
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Three Key Books on Common Sense, III: The Dangers of Distributism
In 1928, G.K. Chesterton had a debate with his friend, the noted Fabian socialist George Bernard Shaw. Hilaire Belloc, possibly a little out of character, acted as moderator. From the first (and probably based on prior experience attempting to argue with Fabians such as Arthur Penty), it was evident that Belloc expected nothing would be decided:
Monday, October 12, 2015
Three Key Books on Common Sense, II: The Mystic Paradox of G.K. Chesterton
Perhaps this posting should have been titled “The Tragedy of G.K. Chesterton,” but in our opinion he’d prefer the paradox. After all, it’s not his tragedy, but that of his latter day followers. For all their enthusiasm (vide the upcoming postings on Msgr. Ronald Knox), most neo-Chestertonians seem to insist that Chesterton actually stood for many of the things he opposed, e.g., false mysticism, Fabian socialism, theosophy . . . and utter nonsense.
Friday, October 9, 2015
News from the Network, Vol. 8, No. 41
The events this week have been few but potentially momentous. It’s always difficult to report on meetings in which important ideas were discussed, but no specific actions taken, so we’ll just get right to the news items in brief:
Thursday, October 8, 2015
Three Key Books on Common Sense, I: How to Read a Book
Through the kind offices of Father Edward Krause, C.S.C., Ph.D., we met recently with the Associate Director of the Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame du Lac in Indiana. Completely by chance, when we were packing and trying to pick out a book to read on the airplane, our eyes fell on a copy of Monsignor Ronald Knox’s Enthusiasm: A Chapter in the History of Religion (1950), something we had been through before. We had space in our bag, so we put in Knox’s book as well as the murder mystery we were going to read (not Agatha Christie's Death in the Air. . . .).
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
The Legacy of Lepanto
For most people interested in history, the Battle of Lepanto, October 7, 1571, is an interesting footnote. They’ve seen allusions to it, and may be vaguely aware of the various paintings, musical compositions, and literary works dealing with the battle, but the issues involved and even the people (except for the romantic Don Juan of Austria . . . often confused with the fictional womanizing Tirso de Molina character) don’t really excite or interest them.
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
The REAL Problem With Socialism, II: The Substance Trick
Yesterday, consistent with our claim that socialism is one thing under many names, we explained how, by constantly changing definitions, socialists change the outward form of socialism, but leave the substance — the abolition of private property — absolutely inviolate. The problem is that by constantly changing definitions, we have a hard time pinning down the basic theory that makes socialism ultimately an in- or non-human system.
Monday, October 5, 2015
The REAL Problem With Socialism, I: The Form Trick
As we said in last week’s posting on capitalism, where capitalism is many things under one name, socialism is one thing under many names. Most succinctly put, socialism is best defined by its chief characteristic or tenet: the abolition of private property, or (as Pope Leo XIII put it) “community of property.” That is, the community, collective, State, or however you want to put it, is the real and ultimate owner of everything and, finally, everybody as well.
Friday, October 2, 2015
News from the Network, Vol. 8, No. 40
This past week has been a series of new initiatives and follow up on CESJ’s participation in the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia last week. Despite the despair shown by the usual pundits and media gurus, there is a great deal to hope for, and signs that people in key places are starting to look seriously at the Just Third Way:
Thursday, October 1, 2015
What IS Capitalism, Anyway?
For quite some time now we’ve realized that when people use the term “capitalism,” very few of them are defining it in the same way as anyone else. Obviously, this makes for no little confusion. Ultimately we figured out that, where socialism is one thing under many names (the abolition of private property), capitalism is many things under one name.
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