Friday, February 17, 2017

News from the Network, Vol. 10, No. 07

This has been another interesting week, with a number of important meetings and events, to say nothing of advances in basic research on the origins of the Just Third Way and the opposing paradigm.  Interestingly, thanks to having come across the work of Dr. Julian Strube of Heidelberg University (the one in Baden-Württemberg, not Ohio), we now have solid evidence of what we only suspected before: the link between pre- and non-Marxist socialism and “esoteric” philosophy that deviates substantially from (and often contradicts outright) traditional Aristotelian-Thomism that underpins the Just Third Way.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Philosophies at War, VI: Chesterton Throws Down the Gauntlet

Soon after entering the Catholic Church in the early 1920s, G.K. Chesterton published St. Francis of Assisi, a “sketch of St. Francis of Assisi in modern English.”  This he followed up a decade later with a companion volume, Saint Thomas Aquinas: The “Dumb Ox”.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Philosophies at War, V: The New Christianity

As we saw yesterday, both capitalists and socialists confuse justice and charity and (while they think they are polar opposites) end up in substantial agreement.  This is because what neither the capitalists nor the socialists see — or could admit even if they did see — is that the natural virtue of justice, and the supernatural virtue of charity are both as true, and are true in the same way, as the other, or (for that matter) anything else that is true.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Philosophies at War, IV: The Double Mind of Man

To summarize what we’ve discussed so far in this series, the world is in crisis, and it’s worse than anything Fulton Sheen imagined when he wrote Philosophies at War in 1943.  Then, Sheen could look to the Catholic Church to provide an integrated body of social thought to counter the distortions of capitalism and the insidious lunacy of socialism.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Philosophies at War, III: The Principle of Private Property

Last week we decided that the so-called “Reign of Christ the King” could not be fully understood if limited to a strictly religious meaning or interpretation.  Frankly, the term is more than a little misleading once we realize that it refers not to some kind of theocracy or even personal faith in any religion, but to the process of conforming one’s life to the precepts of the natural law — which, after all, applies to everyone, regardless of faith, hope, or charity, or lack thereof.

Friday, February 10, 2017

News from the Network, Vol. 10, No. 06

This has been an interesting week, with things coming to light that tend to underscore the need to adopt the Just Third Way as soon as possible.  No, we’re not talking about the “Two No Trump” movement to get rid of the U.S. president, but of what we think are the causes of such things:

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Philosophies at War, II: The “Reign of Christ the King”?

Pius XI, who saw the rise of the dictatorships and the global situation that led up to World War II during which Fulton Sheen wrote Philosophies at War, took as his motto, “the Peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ.”  Naturally, despite Jesus’s explicit assurance that “[His] kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36), and his insisting that “king” isn’t even the right word for what He is (Matt. 27:11; Mark 15:2; Luke 22:70, 23:3; John 18:37), many people took it to mean precisely that, for good or for ill.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Philosophies at War, I: The Meaning and Purpose of Life

In 1943 at the height of the Second World War, the late Fulton J. Sheen published a book giving his perspective on what the conflict was really about, Philosophies at War.  A follow-up of sorts to such earlier works as Religion Without God (1928), and Freedom Under God (1940), the book is not very well known, and is very rare.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

School Choice and the Just Third Way

In the early 1960s, as a young government attorney fresh out of the University of Chicago Law School, Norman G. Kurland, now president of the interfaith think tank, the Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ) in Arlington, Virginia, was given the assignment to build the case supporting newly elected President John F. Kennedy’s election pledge that there would be no government aid to church schools.

Monday, February 6, 2017

“Ma, Ma, Where’s My Pa?”

Despite the legend that he had made the pejorative comment about “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion,” Blaine seemed the ideal Republican candidate.  While he was raised Protestant, his mother was Catholic, and had his siblings brought up in that faith.  Catholics tended to view him with a tolerant eye if only because fanatic nativists questioned his faith.  Blaine even managed to oppose government aid to religious institutions without coming across as anti-Catholic.

Friday, February 3, 2017

News from the Network, Vol. 10, No. 05

This has been a somewhat quiet week for action, but a full week of important meetings.  Admittedly actions are easier to report than meetings, but meetings sometimes have far more reaching resulting in actions.  In any event, here are this week’s news items:

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Growing Romish Menace

By 1880, it was clear even to the most obtuse politicians that “the Catholic vote” was becoming key to a successful national campaign.  This combined with other factors, such as the surprising popularity of Leo XIII among non-Catholics, and the able leadership of the American Church by Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop John Ireland (1838-1918), and Bishop John Joseph Keane (1839-1918), then bishop of Richmond, Virginia, and from 1886 to 1896 first rector of the Catholic University of America.  This brought about a resurgence of nativist hysteria, ironically chronicled in many of the cartoons of foreign-born Thomas Nast (1840-1902).

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Political Hayes

Near the end of his second term, Grant began hinting that he would be open to a third.  An anti-Catholic Methodist bishop, Gilbert Haven (1821-1880), made a speech in Boston in which he declared that Grant, a fellow-Methodist, was “the only man who could conquer their enemies.”[1]  The Boston Herald, evidently more cognizant of the growing power of the Catholic Church, and fully aware that the Catholic vote had handed Grant his second term, cautioned the president against running on an anti-Catholic platform.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Grant Takes Command

Hiram Ulysses Simpson Grant (1822-1885) may not have been the worst president in U.S. history, but both his administrations set a standard of corruption that would be hard to beat.  When he was asked to run for president in 1868, he was initially very doubtful . . . and he probably should have gone with his gut reaction.

Monday, January 30, 2017

“Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion”

On the morning of October 29, 1884, the Republican candidate for president of the United States, James Gillespie Blaine (1830-1893), attended a rally of Protestant clergy at the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York City.  The afternoon was to be devoted to a final visit to the city’s Irish neighborhoods to clinch the Catholic votes Blaine seemed certain to get, and on which he relied to secure his election.

Friday, January 27, 2017

News from the Network, Vol. 10, No. 04

We rather like the way actor Tom Hanks put it.  We hope President Trump does so well that we’d vote for him for a second term.  That being said, however, it is painfully obvious that if Trump wants to do well, he desperately needs the Just Third Way, both to “Make America Great Again,” and to repair past efforts that, regardless how well-intentioned, didn’t quite make the grade.  So here’s our take on this week’s news items:

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The More Things Change. . .

It comes as a complete surprise to many people today to find out that one of the most burning issues of the latter half of the nineteenth century in U.S. politics was “the Catholic Question.”  The fact that not even textbooks in Catholic schools mention this, or give any hint that something was amiss, may be a symptom of just what is wrong with both Academia and politics today.  After all, if you don’t know why something is the way it is, how can you expect to come up with a just or even workable solution?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Panic on the Street

. . . on Wall Street, that is.  It seems that the “Baby Boomers,” who have an estimated $10 trillion in tax-deferred savings accounts according to the Wall Street Journal (“Boomers to Start Mandatory 401(k) Exit,” 01/17/17, A1, A10), are going to have to start receiving the mandatory distributions required under law in the year in which someone turns age 70½.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Problem of Wealth, IV: The Just Third Way Solution

The problem as Louis O. Kelso saw it was that technology was becoming so productive and cost-effective that it was rapidly displacing labor from the production process.  Aside from all the other problems this caused, this meant that people who formerly were able to gain an adequate income from selling their labor were no longer able to do so.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Problem of Wealth, III: The Fabian Failure

Last Thursday we gave a summary of the capitalist solution to global poverty . . . which bears a striking resemblance to the socialist solution.  Both bear a striking resemblance to what Hilaire  Belloc called the Servile State in his 1912 book with that title.

Friday, January 20, 2017

News from the Network, Vol. 10, No. 03

You mean you’re reading today’s news items instead of protesting, counter-protesting, or watching the political antics on television? . . . There might be hope for you yet!  Seriously, the new administration represents a new opportunity to implement the Just Third Way that would empower ordinary people instead of the State or a private sector élite.  This can be done by making all Americans, not just the abstract America, great again:

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Problem of Wealth, II: The Capitalist Solution

In a sense, this posting might be considered a trifle redundant.  That of a few days ago covered the agenda of the World Economic Forum currently meeting in the resort town of Davos, Switzerland.  Briefly, the discussions center on two issues in the struggle to find a viable solution to the growing problem of poverty.  These are, one, how to create jobs, and, two, how to train people to fill those jobs.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Problem of Wealth, I: The Socialist Solution

The word is out.  Eight people in the world own more wealth than half the human race combined.  Given Adam Smith’s first principle of economics (“Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production”), that means less than a dozen people each have the potential to consume 430,000,000,000 times what it takes to support one individual at a minimum — give or take a few million.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Jobs, Training, and the World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum starts today in Davos, Switzerland, and will go through Friday, January 20, Inauguration Day in the United States.   The Forum, which describes itself as being a unique advocate for public-private partnerships, has been meeting since 1971.