13 January, 2022

Is Distributism Socialism?

References to or discussions of distributism on the internet are not hard to find. This is gratifying, for I would hazard a guess that fifty years ago almost no one had even heard of distributism. But even though the situation today is in most respects an improvement, these online references to distributism are not necessarily favorable. I have not attempted to count whether favorable or unfavorable mentions predominate, but there seem to be some ideas that are common to those critical of distributism. One is that distributism is simply a form of socialism. Now those who make this charge usually have little understanding of what socialism is, and especially of the great variety of economic programs that go by that name. Socialism is simply assumed to be state ownership of property, at least of productive property. That socialists often advocate for modes of ownership such as worker-owned enterprises or cooperatives seems to be largely unknown to the public.

04 November, 2021

Distributism at the Catholic Economics Roundtable

The following opening statement was given at the “Catholic Economics Roundtable” livestream hosted by Michael Lofton on 23 January 2021. It can be viewed on the Reason and Theology YouTube channel[1] and is available as a podcast on The Tradistae Podcast on Podbean.[2]

14 October, 2021

The Breakdown of the Supply Chain

Not long ago, a cargo ship blocked a canal, causing international shipping to get backed up and a consequent shortage of supplies in many countries. As I write this, many cargo ships are gathered in the Pacific Ocean, waiting to get into the harbors for Los Angeles and Long Beach California. Apparently, there is a shortage of long distance truckers to take away the cargo already unloaded, which needs to be done to make room for the cargo on the ships that are waiting. There has been a lot of talk about the breakdown of the supply chain, but have these discussions actually addressed the real problem?

07 October, 2021

Get Woke, Go Broke?

The phrase “Get woke, go broke,” has been around for about three years. It generally refers to the idea that businesses which acquiesce to the demands of the self-identified advocates of “wokeness” will suffer financial losses because those views are not what sells. Those who use the phrase point to Gillette's disastrous “The Best A Man Can Be” campaign, or the failure of movie and other entertainment franchises when they change popular established characters to fit the woke view, or many other examples to support their claim that wokeness just doesn't sell. They will tell you that the marketing executives foisting these changes are out of touch with the pulse of the people, and that is why getting woke inevitably means going broke. Is this claim actually true?

22 September, 2021

Subsidiarity, COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates, and Testing Mandates

I would like to apologize for the delay in getting articles posted lately. There have been several factors for this. One of those will be the topic of this post. This article will consist of a series of letters between my employer and myself regarding a vaccine mandate issued by the governor of my state and my request to get a religious exemption and accommodation. I have redacted or initialized names for privacy, and removed any contact information, but the letters are otherwise as they occurred, including typos. How does this apply to distributism? It applies to the question of subsidiarity and the extent to which state (and federal) government can dictate medical procedures on individuals. 

I realize that this is a very contentious topic, especially these days, but it is an important one as many states in the US and many countries around the world are implementing restrictive policies that very few would have dreamed were possible in February of 2020. Many are saying we are rushing headlong into totalitarianism. I think we are already there.
I would also like to state that nothing in the following is intended to be a judgment against anyone who chose to get the vaccine, including Catholics who came to different conclusions on these matters than I did.

29 June, 2021

Where Are We Headed?

Western democracies like to consider themselves as the bastion of freedom, especially the United States. Even beyond that, people in Western democracies are taught and believe that Enlightenment Liberalism introduced freedom to society as never before, again, especially in the United States. Ironically, an actual examination of the pre and post revolutionary governments reveals that this was never actually true. As libertarian, John Attarian, points out, "... by every measure, our government is more tyrannical towards Americans than King George's at its worst."[1] From its beginnings, our federal government had more power to trample our freedoms than the English monarchy. As the English parliament gained more direct power over government, it also increased the power it had over the English people. While we have not (yet) gone quite as far as the Soviet Union, China, and other socialist regimes, Western democracies have relentlessly increased their totalitarian powers over their subjects. As we move further away from any form of subsidiarity dispersion of power in our societies, we should ask ourselves where we are headed.