Things are happening, but it seems to be a repeat of the same old thing only more so. Despite that, the fact that things still manage to keep running in spite of the “knavish imbecility” of so many gives us hope that somebody may soon adopt the Economic Democracy Act that has any hope of being able to lay the foundation for resolving the problems:
• Dollar Rally Over? Talk on The Street (Wall Street, of course) is that the Great Dollar Rally is over and the U.S. currency is looking at a sharp decline in value. In the weird semi-Keynesian universe we inhabit at present, this is either a beneficial disaster, or a disastrous benefit. Wy? Because a falling dollar value means that the price level rises, and consumers pay more for the same thing, increasing profits to producers who presumably use the extra dough to “create jobs” (news flash: they do no such thing). Savers take a hit as the value of what they crimped and saved decreases in value, e.g., what it took them a decade to earn ends up having a value of a week’s worth of time by the time they spend it. Speculators and gamblers whose holdings are denominated in dollars also take a hit as the value of their holdings evaporates. On the other hand, politicians get more money in taxes to waste, while producers pile up more cash (that they don’t use to create jobs). What’s the answer? How about a fixed standard for an asset-backed reserve currency as recommended in the Economic Democracy Act?
|Like, wow, man, can you relate?|
• Got Any M&Ms? Calling all stoners and potheads. It is now legal in some areas to blow weed for fun. Just don’t go to Russia. Of course, there might be other reasons not to go to Russia, but we won’t go into that just now. This, of course, is a classic technique. When reality is depressing, make sure the people have access to a way to escape it. This ensures that the citizens will be easier to control as they. Like, you know, become more detached from, like, you know, the real world and achieve a higher state of consciousness dictated by whoever has power, as in E.F. Schumacher’s New Age A Guide for the Perplexed (1977) . . . which is why it and its predecessor, Small is Beautiful (1973) are so popular with positivists and the Woke. Frankly, if leaders were really concerned with empowering people and putting them in touch with reality, they’d pass the Economic Democracy Act, but that would actually make sense.
• The Tyrant’s Playbook. According to Dictator Putin, the war against Ukraine has had no impact on the Russian economy. At the same time, Putin is publicly humiliating his buddies in Russia for all the things that are going wrong. So . . . is the war having any effect, or isn’t it? Apparently, it all depends on whether you’re for Putin or against him. If you’re for Putin, the war isn’t having any effect on Russia, and if you say otherwise or Putin needs someone to blame, you accidentally fall out of a window. If you’re against Putin, then the war isn’t having any effect on Russia, and if you say otherwise or Putin needs someone to blame, you accidentally fall out of a window. All this would come to a stop if the Russians wised up and got rid of Putin and adopted the Economic Democracy Act, but why should they do something that makes sense when nothing else does?
|"Maybe we should have paid them . . ."|
• The Salammbô Syndrome, or, POing Mercenaries is Dangerous. Once upon a time a city by the name of Carthage kept getting into fights with the city of Rome. Being smart businessmen and politicians, the Carthaginians decided to hire mercenaries to do their dirty work for them. They also decided to save a few shekels and not pay the mercenaries after the First Punic War, henh, henh. Since the only reason the mercenaries were fighting for Carthage was for money, the mercenaries revolted and were joined by tens of thousands of Carthage’s former allies who were also a trifle miffed. Carthage. The ensuing Mercenary Revolt or “Truceless War” of 241–237 BC was horrifically bloody and followed the sanguinary First Punic War, finally ended by Hamilcar Barca, father of Hannibal Barca who got stuck with the Second Punic War, and the eventual destruction of Carthage. Gustave Flaubert’s 1862 novel Salammbô relates the (fictionalized) story, which was the basis of Reyer’s Opera Salambo (one m, and no doohickey over the o), a cake named after the opera, and introduced the blockbuster format to films in 1914. It was also the basis of a 1960 film, The Loves of Salammbô, with the title character’s name and film title originally spelled Salambó that got a “meh” rating’ reportedly few prints survive. And the whole point of this? Putin’s pet army, the mercenary group Wagner, is generally acknowledged as Russia’s most effective force in Ukraine . . . and cracks are starting to develop. There is growing bad blood among and between the regular military and the Wagner Group, and that’s on top of the discord between officers and men as well as between convicts, conscripts, and regular army. Then, Putin is being critical of the Wagner Group, which has the habit of grabbing valuable assets and keeping them. Since one of Putin’s motives for the war is to make money, this does not sit well. We await developments. The icing on the cake? Belarus is forming their own mercenary army. This ought to be good. Of course, if there was the Economic Democracy Act, there would be no incentive to wage war for profit, but we can’t expect Putin to think of that — especially since, like all tyrants, he can’t afford to let a military commander, mercenary or regular army, become more popular than he is, and at the moment, that is very easy to do.
|Ya gotta know when to fold 'em . . .|
• Putin Doubles Down. Putin made a very big bet starting his war on Ukraine — that Europe’s need for Russia’s fossil fuels would force NATO countries to pressure Ukraine into accepting conquest to maintain fuel supplies. Putin did not count on Ukraine’s resistance, Europe’s stubbornness, or an unexpectedly mild winter. From sitting pretty in the catbird seat, Putin found himself and the Russian people he was misleading (in every sense of the term) on the short end of the stick. Instead of thinking up more obscure colloquialisms, however, we’ll simply note that, like a Greek tragedy, the very things that Putin set out to prevent, i.e., a strong NATO, independent Ukraine, freedom from Russian supplies of fuel, and a drop in his personal wealth and power, are the very things coming about. Putin will be lucky if he’s alive in a year’s time, and the Russian Federation may not long survive him.
• How to Keep Big Tech in Check. President Biden is calling for a bipartisan legislative effort to keep “Big Tech” in check. We have news for him. Simply passing a law does nothing if people are not ready to accept it. This was seen in the Fugitive Slave Act and Prohibition and was the premise of A.V. Dicey’s Law and Public Opinion (1905). It is also an inherent aspect of social justice that change must come from within the group, not be imposed from outside. If Biden really wants to get “Big Tech” under control, there is a better way to do it: broaden the ownership. This is what Judge Peter S. Grosscup, one of Theodore Roosevelt's "trust busters," proposed over a century ago, and it's still a good idea. It. gives more people control of it, and also a personal interest in keeping it under control. The way to do this is with the Economic Democracy Act.
|He WUVS puppies and wap doggies!|
• Putin’s Lap Dogs Growing Restive. Not one to let common sense or even psychotic self-interest guide his behavior, Putin is having increasing difficulty keeping the elite that sort of supports him out of their self-interest in line. In other words, Putin is busily biting the hands whose pockets he picked. Yes, we know that doesn’t make much sense, but then neither does Putin. A dictator or tyrant needs to have some support, somewhere, or he (or she) won’t be in power very long. The Roman emperors kept the Pretorian guard happy so that it controlled the army, and the army controlled the people. At the same time, however, the people had to be kept happy, so they got welfare and entertainment — “bread and circuses.” Even Hitler knew this. Under the Third Reich, the average German lived better than ever before, and that during a time of all-out war. Most Germans were willing to turn a blind eye to the Nazi program because they were materially better off and Hitler constantly praised them and told them they were the Master Race, etc. Of course, anyone who didn’t go along with the program could be taken care of by the Gestapo, but they were only going after enemies of the State . . . right? Hitler also kept the wealthy elites happy by letting them remain capitalists in an officially socialist country. That was one of the ways he gained power and kept it. Putin isn’t even as smart as Hitler, or at least as pragmatic. Hitler at least saved terror for others, while Putin uses it against his own increasingly uneasy supporters.
• Putin’s Guide to Sales and Marketing. The dictator of Russia is a marketing genius on a par with his political acumen and theological perspicacity. Faced with falling oil sales because customers don’t like to be threatened, killed, or overcharged, he makes more threats and, no doubt, learns of more accidents in advance of people falling from windows or shooting or stabbing themselves multiple times. Punishing your customers is absolutely guaranteed to improve his public image and increase sales.
• Greater Reset “Book Trailers”. We have produced two ninety-second “Book Trailers” for distribution (by whoever wants to distribute them), essentially a minute and a half commercials for The Greater Reset. There are two versions of the videos, one for “general audiences” and the other for “Catholic audiences”. Take your pick.
• The Greater Reset. CESJ’s new book by members of CESJ’s core group, The Greater Reset: Reclaiming Personal Sovereignty Under Natural Law is, of course, available from the publisher, TAN Books, an imprint of Saint Benedict Press, and has already gotten a top review on that website. It can also be obtained from Barnes and Noble, as well as Amazon, or by special order from your local “bricks and mortar” bookstore. The Greater Reset is the only book of which we’re aware on “the Great Reset” that presents an alternative instead of simply warning of the dangers inherent in a proposal that is contrary to natural law. It describes reality, rather than a Keynesian fantasy world. Please note that The Greater Reset is NOT a CESJ publication as such, and enquiries about quantity discounts and wholesale orders for resale must be sent to the publisher, Saint Benedict Press, NOT to CESJ.
• 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 email@example.com 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 over 155,000 total views. The latest Sensus Fidelium video is “The Five Levers of Change.” 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 persons 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 22 different countries and 30 states, provinces, and territories in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past week. Most visitors are from the United States, Ireland, the Philippines, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “You Can Bank on It,” “News from the Network, Vol. 16, No. 01,” “JTW Podcast: Robert H.A. Ashford and Edward Wolff on Paula Gloria,” “JTW Podcast: David Letterman’s ‘My Next Guest’ with President Zelenskyy,” and “Social Justice, IV: The Characteristics of Social Justice.”
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 well see that it gets into the next “issue.” Due to imprudent and intemperate language on the part of some commentators, we removed temptation and disabled comments.