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 . . . .
• CESJ’s Bookstore. Have you visited the CESJ Bookstore? Okay, there’s no coffee (or tea) bar, but there is plenty of parking if your chair is big enough, a good pre-selection of books, nobody shushing you as they read books without buying them, or a host of other things. There is even a rebate for CESJ members (you have to be an official member, not just with us in spirit) that applies to verified purchases for verified members . . . once we verify it. And you have to request it; it’s not automatic, sorry (blame state tax laws for making it complicated; we do NOT make retail sales, you HAVE to go to a regular bookstore, although we do have certain titles available for bulk discounts if you buy direct from us.) We should mention that some of the books are also available as free download in electronic format, if you feel you can’t afford the cash right now. If you do buy some books, however, be sure to take advantage of the Amazon “Smile” program, below. It won’t cost you any more, but it will benefit CESJ.
• Death of Pete DuPont. We
were saddened to learn of the death of past-governor of Delaware Pierre “Pete”
DuPont on May 8, 2021. It was on June
22, 1981 that then-Governor DuPont signed into law Delaware House Bill 31,
making broadened capital ownership and Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)
official policy to be encouraged by all state agencies. As President Ronald Reagan said in a
congratulatory note he sent to DuPont the day of the signing, “The
General Assembly of the State of Delaware has taken an important step by the
adoption of House Bill 31, which makes it the policy of the state to encourage
the broadening of the base of capital ownership among the people of the
state. I have long believed that the
widespread distribution of private property ownership is essential to the
preservation of individual liberty, to the strength of our competitive free
enterprise economy, and to our republican form of government.” People later prominent in the founding of CESJ
and carrying out the Bipartisan Presidential Task Force on Project Economic
Justice were also involved in getting the Delaware bill through. If you look closely at the photo to the left,
you’ll see Dr. Norman Kurland, CESJ’s president, fifth from both right and left
behind Governor DuPont as he signs the legislation.
• Hortense and Her Whos. In case you’ve been wondering how you might advance the Just Third Way by introducing it to legislators at any and all levels of government, we’ve made it easy for you, with the “Hortense Hears Three Whos” initiative. Visit the explanatory website, and consider downloading the postcard to send to people in government. Don’t worry if you think they won’t be open to it, as the postcard is intended to get them to open their eyes.
• Dorothy Day and Expanded Ownership. A while back America magazine ran an article carefully explaining to people that Dorothy Day of the Catholic Worker movement was really a communist. Not that they were against communism; they thought it was great, just great. There has, in fact, been a concerted effort for several years now to convince people that Day was a strong supporter of the Welfare State, especially the New Deal . . . which Day and Peter Maurin had no hesitation in labeling the Servile State, after Hilaire Belloc’s 1912 book that harshly critiqued the program of the Fabian Society . . . which inspired FDR’s “Brain(s) Trust” that guided the New Deal. CESJ member and co-founder Geoff Gneuhs, who knew Day, took exception to America’s claims and wrote a letter they refused to publish, so we put it on the Just Third Way blog as “Dorothy Day and Communism, Part I,” and “Dorothy Day and Communism, Part II.” Currently, CESJ’s Directors of Research and of Communication are co-authoring a book for TAN/Saint Benedict Press on a Just Third Way response to the Great Reset, which has been characterized by some as a New Deal for the world. In response to a question regarding Day’s opinion of the New Deal, Geoff supplied us with some resources that reported Day and Maurin giving the New Deal and the Welfare State a definite thumbs down. For the record, Maurin criticized organized labor because in his opinion it rejected responsibility and contributed to the Servile State “instead of aiming for the ownership of the means of production.” (Dorothy Day, The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of the legendary Catholic Social Activist. San Francisco, California: HarperOne, 2009, 222; cf. Walter Reuther, Testimony before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, February 20, 1967.) Day rejected the New Deal in part because it sought “[s]ecurity for the worker, not ownership.” (David L. Gregory, “Dorothy Day and the Transformation of Work: Lessons for Labor,” Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement: Centenary Essays. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Marquette University Press, 2001, 284.)
• Paying for Infrastructure. Evidently some Republicans are starting to catch on to the fact that Adam Smith’s principles of taxation might be valid, after all. One of them is that those who benefit from what taxes pay for should be the ones paying the tax. Unfortunately, like the idea of a single rate tax, they’ve gummed it up. Some Republicans are insisting that taxation in the form of user fees can pay for infrastructure repair and maintenance. We agree, but why not go all the way? Why should government own what people pay for when it doesn’t have to? After all, privately owned roads, bridges and other infrastructure isn’t exactly a new idea. There is, in fact, a way that it can be done so that all the citizens directly own it, and ensures that users get what they pay for. A for-profit “Citizens Land Development Cooperative” might be just what the doctor — and the citizens — ordered.
• Consumer Credit Card Debt Disaster. No, we’re not talking about the immense burden that consumer debt puts on the shoulders of far too many people today. That’s actually going down by a miniscule percentage point or two. The “disaster” is that commercial banks and credit card companies (“non-bank banks) are in a tizzy because if consumers aren’t spending more than they earn, their profits won’t be as much. This is terrible, because if consumers aren’t adding new debt at usurious rates, and government isn’t issuing gargantuan amounts of new debt that is monetized and funneled into the stock market by banks, the banking sector might actually have to consider going back to their original function providing credit for private sector industry, commerce, and agriculture! The money supply would then be backed by private sector hard assets instead of consumer and government debt! The dollar would stabilize and — who knows? — the economy might actually get back on a sound footing. Could the U.S. economy survive a sound money system? (Keynes’s answer was a resounding no, but then he also helped give us the New Deal.)
• The Great Gas Shortage Explodes! (Literally). Evidently so many people are so terrified that they might have to wait a few days before filling the gas tanks that they are frantically buying every drop of gas they can and storing it in any container available, creating an artificial shortage. So far we’ve heard of two vehicles that have exploded because someone loaded the trunk with gasoline. One car went up in flames and the driver caught fire after a short car chase, while another exploded at the gas station. Hoarding gasoline might not be quite as smart as (and may be dumber than) hoarding toilet paper, or panic buying food you don’t know how to cook and wouldn’t eat even if you did, as a mountain of TP or a cellar full of dried beans and rice is not likely to be fatal.
• Economic Personalism Landing Page. A landing page for CESJ’s latest publication, Economic Personalism: Property, Power and Justice for Every Person, has been created and can be accessed by clicking on this link. Everyone is encouraged to visit the page and send the link out to their networks.
• Economic Personalism. When you purchase a copy of Economic Personalism: Property, Power and Justice for Every Person, be sure you post a review after you’ve read it. It is available on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble at the cover price of $10 per copy. You can also download the free copy in .pdf available from the CESJ website. If you’d like to order in bulk (i.e., ten or more copies) at the wholesale price, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for details. CESJ members get a $2 rebate per copy on submission of proof of purchase. Wholesale case lots of 52 copies are available at $350, plus shipping (whole case lots ONLY). Prices are in U.S. dollars.
• Sensus Fidelium Videos, Update. CESJ’s series of videos for Sensus Fidelium are doing very well, with nearly 150,000 views in total. The latest Sensus Fidelium video is “The Political Animal.” The video is part of the series on the book, Economic Personalism. The latest completed series on “the Great Reset” can be found on the “Playlist” for the series. The previous series of sixteen videos on socialism is available by clicking on the link: “Socialism, Modernism, and the New Age,” along with some book reviews and other selected topics. For “interfaith” presentations to a Catholic audience they’ve proved to be popular, edging up to 150,000 views to date. They aren’t really “Just Third Way videos,” but they do incorporate a Just Third Way perspective. You can access the playlist for the entire series The point of the videos is to explain how socialism and socialist assumptions got such a stranglehold on the understanding of the role of the State and thus the interpretation of Catholic social teaching, and even the way non-Catholics and even non-Christians understand the roles of Church, State, and Family, and the human person’s place in society.
• Shop online and support CESJ’s work! Did you know that by making your purchases through the Amazon Smile program, Amazon will make a contribution to CESJ? Here’s how: First, go to https://smile.amazon.com/. Next, sign in to your Amazon 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.
• Blog Readership. We have had visitors from 31 different countries and 31 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past week. Most visitors are from the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia, and Brazil. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “What Happened in Poland,” “Faith OR Reason, or Faith AND Reason?” “JTW Podcast: Mortimer Adler and Socrates,” “The Renegade Abbé” and “News from the Network, Vol. 14, No. 18.”
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.” Due to imprudent language on the part of some commentators, we removed temptation and disabled comments.