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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Distributist Future?

It seems that the Distributist ideal is making a bit of a comeback these days.  Since there hasn't been much talk here since the fall of the Berlin Wall (oops, I mean the fall of the New York Wall - that is Wall Street), I thought I would update you all on the goings on. 

In January, I attended an Acton Conference on Capitalism, Globalism and Free Trade. It  was intended to be an intimate in depth discussion of these issues across several days. However, the theme of Distributism or "Third Way" approaches to economic order became much of the spontaneous focus of the conference (and no it wasn't because I was constantly brining it up Lawdog). In the first talk, Distributism was spoken about by the presenter, however it was misdefined and spoken about to dismiss the idea - a straw man tactic. Immedately during Q&A Distributism was defended by a young TLM Catholic entrapreneur with an MBA, and the issue was in play for the rest of the weekend. 

Acton must be feeling the pressure because it has recently published Beyond Distributism by Thomas Woods, Jr. to give a resonse to what must be a pattern at Acton Conferences these days, and they have also made the subject a focus of Acton University

This of course begs the question, why focus attention, resources and energy towards dismissing something that has no validity, substance or practicality? 

Then there was this debate which took place recently between Socialism, Capitalism and Distributism.  Unfortunately, Michael Novak didn't make the compelling case expected for the ideal of capitalism. 

Anyway, why is this of any importance? Because our economy is built on a fraudulent unsustainable foundation and that foundation is crumbling. A "jobs economy" is a fragile economy that is unnatural and based on debt financed consumerism and nanny state entitlements that will eventually come to an end. The only question is how hard and how soon.

The most natural and common sense solution is based on subsidiarity. And people are spontaneously taking that option - an option which is in practice Distributist. What to make some money? Start a business that serves the "economic survivalist" market (i.e., the Distributist market) it and the ammo supply market are booming with great growth potential. 

However, being an advocate of subsidiarity will put you on the Homeland Security Terrorist Watch List (as well as being pro-life and in favor of the Constitution):

The report from DHS' Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines right-wing extremism in the U.S. as "divided into those groups, movements and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups) and those that are mainly anti-government, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration."
Not concerned about this? 

How about the efforts to federally regulate your backyard garden?

UPDATE: Peggy Noonan picks this theme up too, and agrees that Distributism is the future. 

"To some degree the Wojtowicz story sounded like the future, or the future as a lot of people are hoping it will be: pared down, more natural, more stable, less full of enervating overstimulation, of what Walker Percy called the "trivial magic" of modern times."