28 June, 2009

Why Practical Distributism?

It is not enough to simply describe distributism to those who are unfamiliar with it. As Hilaire Belloc stated in his Essay on the Restoration of Property, the movement must also provide an explanation on how distributism, as an economic system, is a practical and workable system. Those reading our theories have been raised in a philosophy that is antagonistic to distributism. They are likely to view distributism as nothing more than a quaint, but unworkable, idea.

Therefore, the goal of distributists must be to explain distributism in a practical sense. We must convince our fellow proletariats in our capitalist society why our lot is not as good as it seems, and why things would be better, if not easier, if we were able to establish true economic independence through widely distributed ownership.

It is not enough to say that usury is bad because it consolidates wealth to the powerful few. Most people today do not know what constitutes usury as compared to legitimate interest. It is not enough to say that contemporary home loans are bad. We must explain exactly why they are bad and offer an alternative which they can examine and consider.

We must always keep in mind that our current society is based on a bad philosophy which they have been trained to accept. We must therefore, explain the philosophy behind distributism in an effort to convince them to accept it. As Mr. Belloc explained, any change to our current systems can only take root if the philosophy of the society changes. Modern economic theory is considered as a separate thing unto itself. It is not viewed as an integral part of the social moral standard; merely one aspect of how one lives and acts as a good person. The distributist view, on the other hand, assumes this, for it is based on a moral view of justice and freedom. I believe that the average person in the United States agrees with this view, but they have been trained to disassociate it with what they have come to know as the "free market."

We are not just a minority, but an very small one. The task we face is barely surmountable, if it is at all. Any change will start small and be gradual. Like our predecessors in the Distributist League, we must provide this information, not only for our own generation, but for those that will come after us.

So, with that in mind, how can we get there?

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