And now for something completely different . . . but not really. This week we bring you a lecture by Dr. Damien P. Fedoryka, who at one time gave us a few good words on our compendium, Curing World Poverty (1994), whose concept of “gift” seems to come closer to what we discussed in our most recent book, Economic Personalism, than some of what is floating around as “the economy of gift” and a few other things:
Monday, May 31, 2021
Friday, May 28, 2021
Of course, proponents of raising the minimum wage insist that if prospective employers would pay more, they’d have all the workers they need. The downside, of course, is that at some point it becomes cheaper to outsource or replace human beings with robots. Robots don’t make demands, but then they don’t buy products, either. No one is asking why not turn everybody into owners of the machines that are doing the work, which would solve a lot of problems:
Thursday, May 27, 2021
In the previous posting on this subject we saw that Pope Lei XIII’s 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum knocked both capitalists and socialists for a loop. It was not long, however, before both groups had figured out ways to keep on doing what they were already doing and claim papal endorsement. Of the two, however, the socialists took the initiative, as they were the ones most obviously targeted.
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, the agrarian socialist Henry George managed to make his brand of “the Democratic Religion” headline news throughout the English-speaking world in 1886 and 1887 by running for mayor of New York City . . . although people wonder to this day just what it was he expected to be able to do once he was in charge of the Big Apple. New York may be the center of the universe (especially if you’re a New Yorker), but even the center of the universe isn’t the entire universe or even the whole state of New York.
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject — not that we’re particularly pushing Catholicism — but the Catholic Church has from the beginning been the only consistent opponent of socialism and moral relativism in the modern world. As G.K. Chesterton noted in the introduction he wrote to the published version of Fulton Sheen’s doctoral thesis, God and Intelligence in Modern Philosophy (1925), the Catholic Church is pretty much the “last man standing” when it comes to defending common sense in the world today.
Monday, May 24, 2021
This week we again return to Mortimer Adler, who gives us a (relatively) short discourse on what Aristotle meant by “happiness.” It might even give you something to think about:
Friday, May 21, 2021
As the pandemic seems to be more or less winding down, sort of, maybe, people are struggling to figure out ways to restore the status quo or build a new world on the presumed ruins of the old. This is nothing new; it’s happened after pretty much every major upheaval in history. One of the more significant movements came out of the backwash from the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Eventually called “socialism,” it only succeeded in messing things up more . . . which makes us wonder why people think it’s going to be anymore successful now.
Thursday, May 20, 2021
In the previous posting on this subject, we went into the various ways that popes prior to Leo XIII and Rerum Novarum tried to counter socialism and moral relativism. The bottom line here, of course, is that trying to educate people in sound philosophy and democratic political principles wasn’t going anywhere without the personal power in the hands of ordinary people who remained at the mercy of those who controlled property and thus political and economic power. When someone controls how you are allowed to live, they soon make great inroads into how you think or believe.
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, when economic, political, social and even religious conditions deteriorated badly in the early nineteenth century, people turned to socialism to make things rights again. Unfortunately, people didn’t want to hear why something they wanted was wrong, they wanted something that would help them immediately.
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
In the previous posting on this subject, we looked at the circumstances that resulted in the first social encyclical, Mirari Vos, in 1832. It turns out that Pope Gregory XVI condemned the Polish November Uprising of 1830-1831 because it was taken over by the socialists and a forged encyclical had been circulated calling on people to rise up and destroy the Church and abolish private property.
Monday, May 17, 2021
This week we feature the latest video in the series on economic personalism, the book for which can be purchased or downloaded free from the CESJ website. According to the host, this has proven to be one of Sensus Fidelium’s most popular series, despite the fact that it is an interfaith presentation on a Catholic network!:
Friday, May 14, 2021
We have quite a few interesting news items this week, not all of which are calculated to give anyone confidence in the current system. The manufactured “gas shortage” right now is, in fact, a vote of “no confidence” in the economic and political system that our leaders in government and Academia might want to pay attention to . . . .
Thursday, May 13, 2021
History, as they say, is written by the victors. The problem with history-as-she-is-taught these days is that what passes for history sadly seems to fit that rather glib aphorism, especially when the subject is politics and religion, which pretty much sums up virtually the whole of history.
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, the “theory of certitude” led its developer, Félicité de Lamennais straight into modernism and socialism. That is why Charles Perín believed him to be the first modernist, although that is a somewhat dubious honor. It also explains why Pope Gregory XVI, who is generally regarded by liberals and radicals of both a religious and non-religious stripe as a reactionary monster, was actually concerned about the effect that de Lamennais’s theories would have — and were having — on the meaning of Christianity and even religion itself.
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, at the heart of the “new things” of which Pope Gregory XVI and Pope Leo XIII spoke is something called “the theory of certitude” developed by Félicité de Lamennais, and is the foundation of “Christian socialism.”
Monday, May 10, 2021
Remember the Bad Old Days when television was the Vast Wasteland, not like today’s fine educational programing and reality TV? Today we return to those boring days of yesteryear. On this week’s podcast we again have Mortimer J. Adler talking philosophy and philosophers, or (to be precise), one philosopher, Socrates:
Friday, May 7, 2021
We have some interesting news items this week . . . if by “interesting” you mean completely baffling. From the perspective of the Just Third Way, many of the problems that people are trying to solve by doing failed programs more intensively (and expensively) can be solved with ease with the Just Third Way of Economic Personalism. Maybe it’s time to consider it:
Thursday, May 6, 2021
When we last wrote on this subject (yesterday), we introduced (again) the “unhealthy, unkempt little bourgeois,” l’Abbé Hugues-Félicité Robert de Lamennais, whom Charles Périn, a professor at the University of Louvain who appears to have been the first to define modernism in today’s Catholic sense, regarded as the first modernist. (Le Modernisme dans l’Église d’après les lettres inédites de Lamennais, Paris, 1881.)
Wednesday, May 5, 2021
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, it was pretty obvious from the very beginning that in most cases what became known as socialism was being presented as an alternative to traditional Christianity. The problem was with those that, intending to or not, concealed the socialism under the guise of orthodoxy. This was the case with l’Abbé Hugues-Félicité Robert de Lamennais.
Tuesday, May 4, 2021
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, socialism did not start out as opposed to capitalism, but as an alternative to traditional Christianity, especially Catholicism. Making today’s de facto surrender to socialism supremely ironic, this has been recognized from the very beginning of the establishment of the Catholic Church’s social doctrine as a distinct field of study.
Monday, May 3, 2021
On this week’s podcast we have Mortimer J. Adler’s appearance on ABC’s The Fund for the Republic with Mike Wallace that aired on September 7, 1958. Significantly, this was eight months after the publication of The Capitalist Manifesto in which Adler and Louis Kelso presented the case for expanded capital ownership as a fundamental human right: