Monday, October 31, 2016

A Brief Discourse on Social Credit, VIII: The Analysis, Part Two

Last Thursday we looked at some of the flaws in Major Douglas’s social credit proposal, e.g., the wrong definition of money and abolition of private property by taking away the usufruct, to say nothing of allowing politicians to avoid accountability for their actions.  After all, is it really coincidental that as more and more of the government’s budget consists of money created by emitting bills of credit instead of tax revenues, the number of programs that go contrary to the fundamental beliefs of most people have proliferated?

Friday, October 28, 2016

News from the Network, Vol. 9, No. 41

This has been another seemingly slow news week in which a great deal has been accomplished.  Contrary to the usual case with many organizations, CESJ actually gets things done in meetings, and comes up with some good ideas:

Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Brief Discourse on Social Credit, VII: The Analysis, Part One

In yesterday’s posting we noted that even if social credit could deliver on every promise it makes, and every individual received a basic subsistence income from the State in the form of the National Dividend, it would be “unwise” to give the State that much power over the lives of its citizens.  Power corrupts, as Lord Acton quoted, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Brief Discourse on Social Credit, V: The Rationale

We’ve been looking at a few problems with social credit, but today we’re going into the matter in a little more depth.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Brief Discourse on Social Credit, IV: The Proposal

What with all the research we’ve done with finding out about social credit (including obtaining two of Major Douglas’s most important books, Economic Democracy (1920) and Social Credit (1924, 1933), we still don’t have a snappy definition of what social credit is, but we’ve managed to put together a brief précis of the program.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Halloween Hip Wader Special

Normally we try — we really do — not to get too deep into those deep philosophical questions.  Last Thursday’s piece on the natural law, “Let’s Be Reasonable,” was about as deep as we think we can get away with . . . once in a while.

Friday, October 21, 2016

News from the Network, Vol. 9, No. 40

Some years back — 1976 — comedian John Cleese did a video titled “Meetings, Bloody Meetings.”  We can sympathize, having been stuck in a number of meetings that seemed to be held just to hold a meeting.  Still, meetings can be important, and actual work sometimes gets done, as witness the events of this past week:

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Let’s Be Reasonable

Every once in a while we get what behaviorist Burrhus Frederick Skinner (1904-1990, better known as “B.F. Skinner” for obvious reasons) called “positive reinforcement,” which is a big couple of words that boil down to “attaboy,” or “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar,” which your mother didn’t have to go to Harvard to learn.  Of course, starting out this posting by referencing Skinner is a trifle ironic, even if we hadn’t been forced to read Walden II in high school along with a cartload of other tomes with which we disagreed even more.  Bottom line?  We’re “natural law guys” and Skinner . . . ain’t.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Jobs Market

Imagine what it would be like if someone living a century and a half or so ago was suddenly brought in to today’s society.  Science fiction and fantasy (usually science-fantasy, as two-way time travel violates some law or other of motion) have dealt with this theme for years, from Edward Bellamy’s socialist classic Looking Backward to the latest crop of stories in . . . whatever print science fiction magazine(s) survive(s).

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Brief Discourse on Social Credit, III: What the Social Crediters Say

One of the problems we’ve encountered with discussing the various types of socialism is that the natural tendency of such groups to splinter, reform, separate, and regroup makes tracing their genealogy a little confusing.  When you toss in the habit of “re-editing the dictionary” so that people become even more confused by the constant changes in meaning of fundamental terms, and the reliance on assertion and ad hominem logical fallacies, it’s no wonder why so many people end up being attracted to socialism.  Not knowing what it is, they figure it has to be better than anything they can actually understand.

Monday, October 17, 2016

England’s Difficulty and Ireland’s Opportunity

As the saying attributed to the Emancipator Daniel O’Connell goes, “England’s difficulty is Ireland’s opportunity.”  In this case, however, England’s difficulty is also England’s opportunity . . . as well as everyone else’s.

Friday, October 14, 2016

News from the Network, Vol. 9, No. 39

Although the upcoming elections are grabbing all the attention (even — or especially — in other countries), there are some other things that might have more importance in the long run, e.g., whether people can regain power over their own lives, or forever be at the mercy of whoever is running the government.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Popes are the Craziest People

Recently we began doing a little research into the life of Giacomo Pecci, who in 1878 was elected to the papacy and took the name Leo XIII.  After all, if you want to know where someone is coming from, it’s generally a good idea to find out where he’s coming from.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Brief Discourse on Social Credit, II: What the Experts Say

Yesterday we declared we were more than a little baffled when attempting to define “social credit” briefly and accurately.  Today we are going to see if anybody else has done any better — confining ourselves to experts who seem to have a bit more credibility than we do.  Not that we necessarily agree with these experts, but others might.  We’re only trying to dig down and uncover the truth in a way ordinary people can understand.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Brief Discourse on Social Credit, I: What IS “Social Credit”?

Recently we received an email from one of our numerous fans and followers asking us to comment on a couple of articles covering “social credit” he had seen on a distributist website.  He had seen us mention social credit a number of times, but we did not really go into what it is, or explain in any depth why we classify it among the seemingly countless varieties of socialism with which the modern world is afflicted.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Problem of Rent

In Medieval (Scholastic) philosophy, “rent” is what is due the owner of a thing for the use of something that is not “consumed by its use.” Thus, if the owner of, say, a tool such as a hammer or saw, loans someone that hammer or saw as a commercial transaction, the owner is due a reasonable fee for that use.

Friday, October 7, 2016

News from the Network, Vol. 9, No. 38

As the election comes ever-nearer in the United States and people agonize over whether to vote for the great or the greater evil (the Elder Party candidate Cthulhu, by the way, is ’way ahead in the polls), we continue plugging away to persuade one or more of the saner variety of politicians to adopt Capital Homesteading as a major plank in his or her platform:

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Misunderstanding Debt

Almost exactly a month ago, on September 8, there were some comments in the Washington Post from Francis X. Cavanaugh, author of The Truth About the National Debt: Five Myths and One Reality (1996), in which he argues that a $5 trillion national debt is not really cause for concern, but perhaps there should be some reining in of spending . . . like before the debt rises to $10 or even $15 trillion!!  (It's just short of $20 trillion when we looked yesterday.)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Pity the Distributist . . .

A standard opening for postings on this blog is that we like to get questions.  Next best, however, are questions that other people get and that they don’t seem quite up to answering — at least, not in any coherent fashion or in a way that actually addresses the question being asked.  Take, for example, a recent posting on FaceBook in which someone made a “rant” (the poster’s word) containing the following statement:

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Influences on CESJ?

As we may have mentioned one or a dozen times, we like getting questions . . . that we can answer.  So far we’ve been lucky, and haven’t gotten too many of the kind we can’t answer, e.g., “Are you guys just crazy, or what?”  (Actually, we can answer that question, too.  We just prefer not to.)  Anyway,

Monday, October 3, 2016

The CESJ Code of Ethics

As promised, and although it, too, is posted on the CESJ website, here is the CESJ Code of Ethics that we mentioned last Thursday.  Note that when CESJ members have a meeting, there is a participatory reading of both the Core Values and the Code of Ethics . . . except for Number 17, below, when everyone joins in saying, “persistence, persistence, and persistence.”