As of this writing, the stock market is soaring again, apparently on the news that the price of oil is going up. Translation: the cost of a basic input to production is going up, which means lower profits and slower (if possible) economic growth . . . so the stock market goes up. Uh, huh. Enough of that Keynesian Looking Glass Land, here are the news items for this week:
Friday, January 29, 2016
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Get into an argument with a socialist — any socialist — and you will sooner or later be informed that you just don’t understand, that you don’t know what socialism is, you’re ugly, and your mother dresses you funny.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
In Return to Chesterton (1952), the “follow-up” to her biography of G.K. Chesterton, Maisie Ward commented of her subject, “The hardest thing to live with as the years passed must have been the vision growing daily clearer of ultimate failure.” (Maisie Ward, Return to Chesterton. New York: Sheed and Ward, 1952, 281.) Evelyn Waugh wrote of Msgr. Ronald Knox’s approaching end, “At first glimpse death appeared neither as an awful summons to judgment nor as a recall from exile, but as the final disruption and frustration of plans.” (Waugh, Ronald Knox, op. cit., 330.) Throughout his autobiography, Treasure in Clay, Fulton Sheen made references to his sufferings.
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
As we saw in the previous posting in this series, what was being taught in the theology department at the Catholic University of America in the 1920s under the auspices of Msgr. John A. Ryan was substandard. While it cannot be proved, it fits the facts that Bishop Shahan, the rector of Catholic U., brought Fulton Sheen in to counter Ryan and improve the quality of the theology and philosophy taught there.
Monday, January 25, 2016
In our previous posting on this key world issue, we noted we would post a solution to the coming Chocolate Apocalypse. First, of course, we reminded our readers that a true world shortage of cocoa is not really likely — possible, of course, but not likely . . . if we get to work now to make the world safe for chocolate. This was essential, because a number of the comments we received on FaceBook indicated that some people intended to kill themselves if chocolate disappeared.
Friday, January 22, 2016
The Worst-Blizzard-EVER in the entire history of the human race (or, at least, this winter inside the Washington, DC, Beltway . . . until the next one) managed to throw a monkey wrench into our plans for today and the weekend, but the Just Third Way continues to advance. In particular, outreach continues, and new research materials continue to surface:
Thursday, January 21, 2016
As we saw in the previous posting in this series, the real issue for our day (and for the past several centuries, if you believe people like Mortimer Adler and G.K. Chesterton) boils down to the question that Pontius Pilate asked Jesus: “What is truth?”
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
In the previous posting in this series we examined the problems Fulton Sheen addressed with God and Intelligence in Modern Philosophy. These were the new concept of God and religion, and the triumph of the will over the intellect, that is, the rejection of reason.
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
As we saw in the previous posting in this series, the two problems Fulton Sheen addressed in God and Intelligence in Modern Philosophy were, one, a new concept of God and religion, and, two, the rejection of the intellect. Not that either of these two issues is peculiar to the modern age. As far as the capacity for error goes (especially in religion), the human race has seen very little that is new under the sun. As Sheen noted,
Monday, January 18, 2016
Late last year it was announced that the venerable Wilbur Chocolate Company in Lititz, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, would close its factory there at the end of December, although keeping the shop and museum open (and moving the manufacturing elsewhere). The closing gutted the economic life of the downtown area. Taking more than a hundred jobs away also took away a lot of other business.
Friday, January 15, 2016
Interesting. Yesterday the Dow Jones Industrial Average (which no longer has any industrial stocks) rose nearly 400 points to universal jubilation. Today the Dow plunged nearly 400 points right after the market opened to universal despair. Of course, if any of this actually meant anything, there might be reason for jubilation or despair, but let’s get on to more important things:
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Fulton J. Sheen opened his first book, God and Intelligence in Modern Philosophy, with the declaration, “Modern philosophy has seen the birth of a new notion of God.” The new notion is easily expressed. As Sheen put it, “It brings man into greater prominence. It exalts him even to the extent of giving him a ‘vote in the cosmic councils of the world.’ It is, in a word, the ‘transfer of the seat of authority from God to man.’” (Sheen, God and Intelligence, op. cit., 17-18.) As Sheen went on to explain,
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Fulton Sheen’s association with Msgr. Ronald Knox at St. Edmund’s College, Ware (with apologies to the Edmundians, vide Waugh, Ronald Knox, op. cit., 172), could only have strengthened Sheen’s commitment to reason and Aristotelian-Thomism. It would also have confirmed him in his opposition to all forms of socialism.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Fulton Sheen’s autobiography, Treasure in Clay, published soon after his death in 1979, has the advantage to the author of telling readers what the author wanted them to know about what he had done to set an example, and entertained with a series of edifying anecdotes. It also has the disadvantage of telling readers very little of what, perhaps, they wanted to know about Sheen himself — something Maisie Ward pointed out the American Chesterton’s autobiography shared with that of the English Sheen, G.K. Chesterton.
Monday, January 11, 2016
After last week’s stock market gyrations caused — according to the experts — by events in China and alleged events in North Korea, other experts are predicting that 2016 will be “A Year of Sovereign Defaults.” According to Carmen Reinhart, Professor of the International Financial System at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, “As 2016 begins, there are clear signs of serious debt/default squalls on the horizon. We can already see the first white-capped waves.”
Friday, January 8, 2016
The stock market has been bouncing all over the map and off the walls this past week in response to the falling Chinese market and the claims coming out of North Korea. Since this means nothing in terms of the actual productive sector of the economy, except to make completely unnecessary trouble and siphon credit away from where it would do something other than make speculators rich, we’ll go immediately to this week’s news items:
Thursday, January 7, 2016
In his 1926 riposte to the New Age, Other Eyes Than Ours, Msgr. Ronald Knox has a character declaim in a speech, “The creeds and dogmas which rested their weight on the evidence of alleged facts have become old-fashioned; we have become familiarized with the idea that a historical statement may be false in the sense that the thing did not happen, yet true in the sense that it harmonizes with all that is highest in our spiritual nature.” (Ronald Knox, Other Eyes Than Ours. London: Methuen and Co., 1926, 201.) This individual — Mister Scoop — goes on, declaring,
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
In 2001 on the death of Mortimer Adler, the noted “Great Books Philosopher” at the age of 98, columnist Paul Greenberg presented his analysis of why (in his opinion) Adler had lapsed into semi-obscurity. As he said,
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
In the previous posting in this series we saw that in the 1920s, when Fulton Sheen’s thought was formed, the new concept of religion found in the mutability of modernist and New Age thought made it particularly attractive to, the perfect foil for, and a seemingly independent verification of the various forms of socialism — and that socialism returned the favor. This made the pseudo science of socialism and the quasi religion of the New Age a dangerous combination in a world that had lost its philosophical bearings.
Monday, January 4, 2016
[This posting was rescheduled from November 30. Sorry. The refugee crisis seemed more important, and then the whole panic over falling prices by people who think we need to pay more for less to be better off.] In the early twentieth century, Judge Peter S. Grosscup of the United States Seventh Circuit Court published a series of articles on what to do about the problem of rapidly concentrating ownership of the nation’s productive capacity. With such titles as “Who Shall Own America?” and “How to Save the Corporation,” Judge Grosscup outlined a plan for expanded ownership of corporate equity that, while it relied on past savings and was therefore not universally applicable, at least attempted to address the increasing wealth and income gap that was a growing problem even a century ago.