There is quite a bit going on this week, especially given the advances the Just Third Way is making in the media, what with the phenomenal increase in the audience for The Just Third Way Hour. Although we have not yet received verifiable figures as to that audience size, there are already initiatives underway to leverage it to help get the word out:
• The Just Third Way Hour. This past Monday Dr. Norman G. Kurland made his eighth appearance on “The Just Third Way Hour” to people in forty-seven countries in Asia, the Pacific Rim, the Middle East, and Africa. More than half again as many people tuned in as last week, nearly 35,000 — and the final figures are not yet in from the Philippines. As can be seen from the graph, participation has increased dramatically in eight broadcasts. Of the “Top Five” groups of listeners, most came from China, followed by the Philippines, India, Russia, and Taiwan. CESJ is currently exploring the possibility of producing a podcast aimed specifically at a North American audience that could also be provided to radio stations as free educational and public affairs programming from a Just Third Way perspective.
|Adler: "Don't confuse knowledge and opinion."|
• Video/Podcast Initiative. On Thursday of this week the CESJ Core Group had a meeting with a local church official who gave very good advice on using podcasts, broadcasts, and videos as a means of teaching high school students basic concepts of Aristotelian philosophy, especially justice and virtue, which in today’s culture have lost virtually all meaning. The official also noted that knowledge even of recent history, i.e., anything that happened more than twenty years ago, is vague, often non-existent. What students tend to learn in school are attitudes, trends, and whatever version of current events fits whatever agenda is being promoted as the “right” (or acceptable) way of thinking instead of truth — what Mortimer Adler noted as the modern confusion between knowledge (which is always true) and opinion (which may be true, but is not certain). Even in Catholic schools, for example, knowledge of basic history, especially American history, is extremely weak, with knowledge of the pontificate of John Paul II foggy, nothing about him prior to his election, and almost no appreciation of the significance of the Second Vatican Council. This last is somewhat understandable, as what most people know is limited to misinterpretations and deliberate distortions foisted on the public by Academics, clergy, and politicians with extremely interested motives, again to advance an agenda instead of attempting to discover or discern truth.
|"Aw, gee, c'mon, guys, I ain't so bad! Learn about the Real Me in Ten Battles!"|
• Decline and Fall of Academia. By coincidence, the final approved manuscript of the upcoming book with the slightly misleading title, Ten Battles That Every Catholic Should Know (it’s not only for Catholics, but the title fits into a theme the publisher has running), has been submitted. The original rather esoteric introduction was pulled and replaced with a more pointed “Publisher’s Preface” lamenting the lack of historical knowledge in the West about events in Eastern Europe and Asia Minor over the last 1,500 years or so that still have a significant effect on today’s world. Evidently, some people in Academia and the media are starting to wake up to the problem of almost complete cultural ignorance in today’s world — which is the first step in correcting the problem. If the publisher is able to keep on schedule, Ten Battles should be available sometime in January 2018. We’ll keep you posted.
• More Video/Podcast News. CESJ is hoping to meet with a local Superintendent of Schools to discuss the possibility of producing student-made videos from a Just Third Way perspective. A local high school has video production and broadcast facilities that reach the school and a small surrounding area. A high quality student production could be distributed to colleges, universities, and other high schools free or at a nominal recovery cost, as well as commercial stations for public service programming.
|"Own us, or we'll own you!"|
• Own or Be Owned. A new book, Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark, describes all the dangers of technology that is advancing so fast that it outstrips human capability, and wonders what to do about it. Interestingly, Tegmark does not even consider the one solution that almost always works: make as many human beings into owners of the technology, and thus put them in control — as Louis Kelso reminded us, ownership and control are the same in all codes of law (we won’t get into the word games people play with legal title here). The fact is, technology has always outstripped human capability. That’s what technology is for: to do what human beings can do, only better and cheaper. If technology does not do something better and cheaper than a human being can do it, there is no reason for it. Make actual people owners of the machines that are replacing them at their “jobs,” and the problem solves itself.
• More Own or Be Owned. An opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal today opines that American workers need a new type of union. We agree, and that it should be an ownership union, not merely a craft or labor union. Oren Cass’s “American Workers Need a New King of Labor Union” (WSJ, 09/01/17, A15), however, just assumes a union should cover labor, and doesn’t mention ownership among the suggested reforms.
|"Not even we can save the day without the Just Third Way!"|
• Education Isn’t Free Dept. Also in today’s Wall Street Journal was a lament about small private colleges in financial trouble, and what they are doing to try and deal with the situation, “Cash-Strapped Private Colleges Cut Programs, Sell Assets” (WSJ, 09/01/17, A3). One solution nobody seems willing to consider is to pass a Capital Homestead Act so that teachers can afford to teach for free, and students can have an affordable education. (Okay, for those of you whose cultural knowledge even of the Video Age is near zero, that's a photo of Benita Hume, left, and Ronald Colman, right, who starred in an early sitcom, “The Halls of Ivy,” 1954-1955, in which the inimitable Colman and that voice of his played “Dr. William Hall,” president of “Ivy College,” and Hume played his wife, “Vicky.” Naturally the two of them managed to save the college from some disaster in virtually every episode. The Notre Dame Glee Club still sings the theme song in concert on occasion.)
|"Love the sinner, hate the sin."|
• Putting People Before Ideas. Another piece in today’s Wall Street Journal — which seems to be something of a goldmine today for topics — was an essay by His Eminence Robert Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, “How Catholics Can Welcome LGBT Believers” (WSJ 09/01/17), a subject we have no reason to address . . . but that’s not what caused us to think. Sarah very properly says Catholics (and everybody else) are to love one another and seek and bear witness to the truth. Basically, it’s the “usual” line about hating the sin, but loving the sinner. Our thought is that people also need to keep in mind is it doesn’t apply merely to “sin” and religion, but politics, education, and just about everything else. Attacking people for their ideas is no less “sinful” than attacking them for being “LGBT” when they haven’t done anything objectively wrong and their offense is limited to disagreeing with you or not being exactly like you in all respects.
|"Contribute? Not me, baby. I'm selfish."|
• Here’s the usual announcement about the Amazon Smile program, albeit moved to the bottom of the page so you don’t get tired of seeing it. To participate in the Amazon Smile program for CESJ, go to https://smile.amazon.com/. Next, sign in to your account. (If you don’t have an account with Amazon, you can create one by clicking on the tiny little link below the “Sign in using our secure server” button.) Once you have signed into your account, you need to select CESJ as your charity — and you have to be careful to do it exactly this way: in the space provided for “Or select your own charitable organization” type “Center for Economic and Social Justice Arlington.” If you type anything else, you will either get no results or more than you want to sift through. Once you’ve typed (or copied and pasted) “Center for Economic and Social Justice Arlington” into the space provided, hit “Select” — and you will be taken to the Amazon shopping site, all ready to go.
• We have had visitors from 31 different countries and 40 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past week. Most visitors are from the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Taiwan. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “Crypto Currencies: Coin or Con Game?” News from the Network, Vol. 10, No. 34,” “Legal Counterfeiting,” “Taxation and Representation,” and “Money Creation for Dumbos.”
Those are the happenings for this week, at least those that we know about. If you have an accomplishment that you think should be listed, send us a note about it at mgreaney [at] cesj [dot] org, and we’ll see that it gets into the next “issue.” If you have a short (250-400 word) comment on a specific posting, please enter your comments in the blog — do not send them to us to post for you. All comments are moderated, so we’ll see it before it goes up.