Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Ramblings and Distributism

by The ChesterBelloc Mandate

The Democrat on the street insists on expanding government while not telling us how. The Republican insists Americans can do anything except keep their jobs from shipping overseas. Third parties aim high while missing the local advantages of being an alternative. We have been lectured on the necessity to give our sanction to the lesser of two evils and yet today evil seems to be anything but less.

When growing up, most of us of the 'conservative' bent were lectured on the moral battle against Communism. We were told the Cold War was a stand to the finish and the best possible solution to Communism was Capitalism. When the Iron Curtain fell no one told us the solution to the decaying stability of the communist politician was capitalism, while the only way to increase the profits of American companies were for the inhabitants of these countries to stay communist.

E.F. Schumacher, in his book Small is Beautiful remarks that economists, in the belief their study is scientific, use mathematical equations to calculate the fitness of a nation. When unemployment is down they light cigars with their political friends. There is no one asking if a decline in unemployment is a good to society because they do not factor in the quality of life in a nation. If 80% of the employees of the United States made $6.00 an hour, would we say we are moving ahead or backward as a nation? Would this rise in employment be a good to society?

The socialist grins because he believes we can solve all these problems by allowing the State to take the reins and the capitalist shrugs his shoulders saying there is nothing to be done.

Distributism asks, "Are we better today than we were 10, 20, or 30 years ago?" Can we say a nation progresses or regresses when our fathers used 1/3 to half of their salary to buy the homes we were raised in and today we require two income families paying in excess of one of those salaries? Is this progress? Can we afford 100 bars of soap sold at Costco if we can't afford the shower?

We are in the epoch of the lease. We rent our homes because we cannot afford the mortgage payments. We lease our cars indefinitely, paying exorbitant amounts a month because we wish to drive what we can't own. Commercial companies even have us believe our mops and brooms should be disposable. Chesterton would no doubt quip that temporary means to an eternal end should not be so temporary. However, he never imagined society losing the Catholic sense of thrift.

Distributists understand what is meant by “the state should be involved where it isn't and stay out of where it is”, but this leaves capitalists and socialists stumped. What we mean is an overhaul of government, subsidarity as the solution to nationwide problems and the spreading of private property.

Many arguments have been made against Distributists. Very few have been raised against Distributism. Distributism has been faulted with not being specific. Perhaps initially we as a people must agree on what a healthy economy is, what the means and ends are in regards to the salvation of souls, what words like family and society mean, and whether choice is the slogan of our present and future.

Interview with Thomas Storck

On Cooperative Ownership

John Médaille Interview in Romania

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