Friday, June 20, 2014

I have honestly not read Penty or Gill, except ...

Except in the excerpts and insights provided by "Patrick Odou" (whether that be his real name or a pseudonym) on Tradition in Action.

I have read Chesterton and Belloc extensively.

I did very much know the quote (or similar words):

"It is my experience that the sort of man who does really become a Distributist is exactly the sort of man who has been a Socialist ... Mr Belloc himself had been a Socialist; my brother had been a Socialist; I had been a Socialist."

I have for that matter read Cecil Chesterton's The Party and People - from back when he was indeed a Socialist of some sorts. He had the gumption to see through certain Socialist / Trade Unionist bad ideas which have not been seen through by the Socialists. For instance, he was for National Autonomismo in much the same way as Franco was after the Spanish War - an era which I consider, in terms of political and economic ideas, as more correct than the more Capitalist Technocracía later on (from 1960's).

One can add a few connexions here.

The Christian Socialist thinker (basically Syndicalist, therefore close to Guild Socialism) de la Tour du Pin was admired by the Swedish Social Democrat Hjalmar Branting - who was less anticlerical and less Jules-Ferry-like than August Palm. He was also admired by Maurras.

Maurras once was asked "de la Tour du Pin, does he belong to Action Française?" and answered "No, it is Action Française that belongs to de la Tour du Pin" (not quite translatable "être de", which of de la Tour in relation to AF meant belong to as a member and of AF in relation to de la Tour meant discipleship). On another occasion he said that "beyond Socialism there is Syndicalism, beyond Anarchy there is Monarchy: some therein see [the] evil, we therein see [the] good". José Antonio Primo de Rivera, murdered by the Reds (therein at least like José Calvo Sotelo), had (if my memory does not betray me of way long ago when I held in my hands a German book with quotes of his speeches in translation) said:

Karl Marx was a talented Jew, who saw the problem of Capitalism but not the solution to Capitalism.

Lyndon LaRouche made the point that Marx did not see Usury as the problem of Capitalism - which is the correction I would like to add to Primo de Rivera Junior, whether Lyndon LaRouche approves of him otherwise or not.

I approve of much of LaRouche's observations, but not all, for instance I consider his insistance on technical progress to be a mistake.

And of course, his Church History is erroneous, as is Kent Hovind's - what do you expect from people raised as Devout Protestants?

But his analysis of Modern Banking is spot on.

Now, NEP ...

“Distributists would point out that the Bolshevists are returning to the system of private property. After putting millions of people to death, …. they have to come to the conclusion that pure Communism does not work, because it destroys initiative and leaves people without a motive in life. Hence, in the future, people in Russia will be permitted to own property up to a certain amount.

In 1936 Stalin made a softer program with regard to property, without renouncing any of the Communist principles. Above, the dictator in 1935

"The new Constitution (1936) guarantees private property in houses, household furnishings, articles of personal consumption and comfort, and savings accounts; further, it permits a peasant on a collective farm to own animals, implements, and a small plot of land, while he may dispose of his crops freely” [emphasis added] (p. 88).

Is Patrick Odou aware that Stalin later abolished the NEP*?

I would consider it very idiotic to classify praising NEP as praising Bolshevism, since Bolshevism was trying and then abolishing NEP. Thereafter only Hungary within and Jugoslavia just outside Warszaw pact practised NEP.

And if you are going to hate Jugoslavian economic policy because Stepinac was persecuted, how come the Church over and over again condemned the persecutions of Diocletian while still having no beef against the same Diocletian's Decretum Maximum, which regulated prices by Maximum pricing?

How come moral theologians have reasoned about "just price" that a maximal just price should not exceed twice a minimal just price for same goods?** Or whether it was from middle that the factor was two to either extreme.

You say that Gill is not considered a founder of Distributism. I believe you are mistaken here also. He was the principle founder, inspirer, engine, and some would say “heart and soul” of the Ditchling Village; the much heralded model of a Distributist community that was meant to be applied in society as a whole. He was also vice-president of the Distributist League. He maintained regular contact and friendship with other Distributists, including Fr. Vincent McNabb, Hillaire Belloc and Gilbert Chesterton, his close friends. He was considered one of the four principle public spokesmen for the Distributists, along with McNabb, Belloc and Chesterton. For you to claim that Gill was not fundamentally involved with the development of Distributism because “authentic” Distributism only comes from Belloc or Chesterton, is like saying that Lenin did not represent Communism because “authentic” Communism only comes from Marx or Engels.

I have nothing against Ditchling village except certain points about Gill himself. And certain of those points I have only against him if trusting the discovery in 1989 of his diaries as genuine. And I do agree with Tolkien that a man can have saner roots in his public actions - like art - than the precise bad roots of certain bad aspects of his heart. He maintained a reserve on whether Lewis Carroll was really, as claimed, pedophile (if he was, Catholic Ecumenism with Anglicanism may be one root of the modern crisis, Lewis Carroll was a clergyman). But he said that even if he (or rather anyone, not specifying him or that vice) was, that does not make his art all bad. Because there he could draw on resources of his soul not corrupted by his own passions. Not corrupted by his own egotism.

Of course, Belloc and Chesterton knew Gill. But not 24 hours by 24, not 7 days per 7. And they did not believe in investigating families from the outside. Supposing it were true, possible hints would have been overlooked by them. Because they were not in the perversion of certain Communist officials (sometimes in Capitalist societies) who destroy families. They were not guilty of the policy by which Red Indians and Esquimaux of Canada were deprived of children "for the own good" of these, that supposed good being an exchange from Aboriginal to Anglo-Saxon Protestant Puritan culture. That is also one policy for which some want to charge the Church. I believe it was too Distributist for the charge to be true, but not Distributist enough not to be involved in it.

Now, is Capitalism an invention of Rothschild or not?

My dear reader, you concluded by informing me that Capitalism was an invention of Rothschild. I was really amused by this affirmation. But since you want to blame Jews for the birth of Capitalism, let me point out a few of them who are somewhat older than Rothschild.

Did you ever hear about an old Jew called Abraham? He is mentioned more than once in the Bible. There you can read that he accumulated an enormous quantity of gold and silver as well as properties for him and his family and became extremely wealthy. We can easily imagine that he had some organization, like a bank, to manage his goods. Why shouldn’t we consider him as the founder of Capitalism rather than Rothschild? Another Jew was Joseph who was the minister of the Pharaoh. He put aside a huge amount of money and supplies to prepare for the future - a true capitalist. And why wouldn’t David be one of the founders of Capitalism? For years and years he accumulated a great amount of gold, silver, precious stones, fine woods and all kinds of exquisite pieces to be used by his son Solomon? Weren’t these men who amassed and multiplied great fortunes prefigures of bankers? So, all of them can be presented as capitalists before the Rothschilds.

No doubt the Rothschilds thought they were following these examples. Now getting to grips with them:

Did you ever hear about an old Jew called Abraham? He is mentioned more than once in the Bible. There you can read that he accumulated an enormous quantity of gold and silver as well as properties for him and his family and became extremely wealthy.

I used to be pretty good in Genesis history, do not recall the occasion about silver and gold. Unless you mean after helping the king of Sodom against an invader. Even then I think he preferred camels to gold. His riches were mainly cattle and the right to graze and water them. Also, technically he was not a Jew, since Judah was his great-grandson as ancestor of one tribe, that stood out with loyalty in the time of Rohoboam and disloyalty in the time of Jesus Christ - excepting the Christian ones. He also was a Beduin and therefore enjoyed the riches in a kind of tribal communism along the several other members of his family. Under his grandson Jacob there were some 60 - 70 of them. Plus all servants.

We can easily imagine that he had some organization, like a bank, to manage his goods.

I can easily imagine he had an organisation of family members and servants doing shepherding. NOT anything like a bank. Shylock did not quite grasp the difference between the "tokos" of sheep and the "tokos" of gold. Sheep by their nature have offspring (unless one day Monsanto gets its way), but gold by its nature hasn't.

Why shouldn’t we consider him as the founder of Capitalism rather than Rothschild?

Because Abraham stands more for Palestinian economics, just as Rothschild stands more for Shylockean. You know this difference between gold and sheep.

Another Jew was Joseph who was the minister of the Pharaoh. He put aside a huge amount of money and supplies to prepare for the future - a true capitalist.

Was money even mentioned in the account? He put aside a huge amount of grain, gathered from the farmers and kept in central supplies. Sounds a bit more Communist than Capitalist as a measure to me. You see, the central supplies were owned by the Pharao, not by the farmers. The making of supplies was a real confiscation. Unless indeed even before his day farmers in Egypt were tenants of the Pharao though not quite as much as farmers in Russia were tenants of Stalin.

And why wouldn’t David be one of the founders of Capitalism? For years and years he accumulated a great amount of gold, silver, precious stones, fine woods and all kinds of exquisite pieces to be used by his son Solomon?

You seem to have missed the fact that they were Kings of the Entire Israel (both later kingdom of Judah and later kingdom of Israel). Their amassing of gold amounts to either taxation or state owned investments. In this case there was however a temple to build - prefiguring the riches of Catholic Liturgy and the arts surropnding it, much more than it could prefigure Rothschilds. Unless these are secretly pursuing the goal of rebuilding the Temple that was defiled by Kaiaphas and destroyed by Titus.

And this brings me to another point:

A basic thesis of the Distibutists is that there are two great social evils – Capitalism and Communism – and they pretend to present a solution that, in their view, is equidistant from both.

If Capitalism as they define it (not meaning private property, nor such differences in riches that leave men equal in a moral sense if not in economy, but something else) and Communism as they define it (not meaning NEP) are very close to each other and very far from the good, then the good is pretty equidistant from these pretty twin points.

A Capitalist conspirer is one who conspires to make his company (or the set of companies where his own is a part) mightier than a state. Thereby virtually making it a state. A Communist conspirer is one who strives to make his state the monopolist company in the land. Or if not the state where he rules as dictator, at least the one where he is an official. Someone who wants private property to exist in abundance and be inferior to the state very obviously wants it nearly equidistant from both.

Both Communism (outside brief or narrow experiments in NEP, which is another thing) and Capitalism hate small property. If a man has three cows, a Communist will punish him for owning more than two, and a Capitalist (of the type we are here considering) will punish him for owning less than two hundred. A Communist will punish him for greed, a Capitalist (of the type we are here discussing) will punish him for lack of success of the type wanted by the greedy. Neither the one nor the other really wants him to own so much that he can sustain himself and his own but no more. The Communist wants the three cows subsumed into a Kolkhos or Sovkhos. The Capitalist (of the type were here discuss) wants the three cows subsumed into a larger herd that has some worth among brokers and stock owners across half the globe in Wall Street. The Distributist wants the farmer with three cows to keep his three cows.

Scientific Socialism (Communism) sought the “abolition of private property.” Fabian Socialism sought similar ends through “peaceful revolution.” Utopian Socialism has its “naturalist” distortions of property. National Socialism (Nazism) favored State control of property.

That is no quite what I knew even about National Socialism.

Austrofascism - which was approved of the Church and intended to realise the politics of Quadragesimo Anno - favoured state control over very large properties like the Mines in Upper Austria.

As far as I know precisely the Nazis rather favoured a partnership between state and very large companies. Krupp and IG Farben remained privately owned. If its control was not quite that of the owners, the co-control was that of the Workers. The workers they (and not the state for them) had hired.

29. Finally, the wise Pontiff showed that "employers and workers themselves can accomplish much in this matter, manifestly through those institutions by the help of which the poor are opportunely assisted and the two classes of society are brought closer to each other."[21] First place among these institutions, he declares, must be assigned to associations that embrace either workers alone or workers and employers together. He goes into considerable detail in explaining and commending these associations and expounds with a truly wonderful wisdom their nature, purpose, timeliness, rights, duties, and regulations. - Thus Pope Pius XI in Quadragesimo Anno.

Well, in both Austria of Austrofascism and Germany of the Nazis, associations that embraced workers alone were forbidden (Pope St Pius X had forbidden some of them, those where Catholic workers cooperated with Protestants and Atheists, especially, if I recall correctly, in Catholic countries) but in both countries the associations that embraced workers and employers together were at least allowed. Nazism (like Fascism of Italian type) made them mandatory, Austrofascism made them voluntary (and had therefore between 1933 and 1938 very little opportunity to realise their ideal of a Ständestaat in the slower and more Christian way).

But neither in Nazism (during peacetime) nor in Austrofascism was the state controlling private property.***

Patrick Odou does not make it quite clear what is meant by Fabian socialism pursuing "similar ends". Nor which Utopian Socialism he means when speaking of "its "naturalist" diostortions of property. For de la Tour du Pin and Fourier are not the same. Owen is not rejected by Distributism, but seen as not individualist enough. Chesterton prefers Cooperatives to Capitalism. But small individual families properties to Cooperatives. "Half a loaf is better than no bread."

But your Distributist friends seem to suffer from an analogous intemperance. In a kind of knee-jerk reaction against the lamentable abuses of Capitalism, they demand that every property be reduced to small proportions.

Every property? Demand? Do they?

Not what I read in Chesterton. What he does recommend is as much properties as possible in small but self sustaining portions. He does not require this of the post-office. There can be, similar to this "Communist" exception to Distributism a case for a "Capitalist" one in Tea Trade. A case for Tetley and Twining and a few more to import most of the Tea in large portions. Or, if the trade were controlled from India, Ceylon, China, for these countries sending the tea off to Europe in large boats owned by large companies. Even if the tea were more often grown on small tea farms. But the point is that bread and cheese are neither imports nor impossible to produce in small properties.

I once made the mistake of thinking Ireland had more cheeses than France. France, as everyone knows, has about 400. I thought Ireland had about 600. Why so? Because de Gaulle made politics for coalescing farms and agricultural companies, thus reducing the number of cheese producers. And DeValera made politics of a Distributist kind, encouraging more small producers to make and commercially sell their own cheese. I found out I was wrong, the Irish have only 150 farm cheese producers. Still more per surface and population than France, thus more than any or almost any comparable part of France (except perhaps Normandy).

My point with history after Chesterton's démise is that de Gaulle was worse than Franco under the Technocracía. Scandinavian Social Democrats were worse than de Gaulle. And Soviet Communists were worse than Swedish Social Democrats on this issue. Except for a short period of going back in the right direction under NEP.

Penty is praising Stalin’s system that so spectacularly failed in the USSR. History tells us that workers were persecuted by the government for owning more than two cows. Was this what Penty meant when he said Distributists aim for “sufficient production?” (p. 103). The quote above leads one to this conclusion.

Penty was praising Stalin's brief experiment in NEP. It did not fail. It was abolished because Stalin was too Communist to keep it up. Where it or sth like it was allowed to flourish after that period, in Jugoslavia and in Hungary, economy did not fail as much as elsewhere during Communism.

So, no, the quote does NOT lead to this conclusion. The whole point of Communism destroying NEP (there were two generations of Kulaks - pre-Revolution Kulaks and NEP Kulaks who were crushed along the invaded Kulaks of Lithuania or Latvia or Estonia, so NEP as such was not destroying Kulaks but making them), the whole point of destroying NEP was that the private property attainable - unlike Distributism - should not be sufficient for sustenance of a family in independence. A bit like the wages differentiated under certain types of Capitalism - where the main sustenance for many a family remains dependent on wages and cannot be transferred to independent small companies.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre University Library
Friday after Corpus Christi

Pope Pius XI wrote:



The Shell Game of Distributists

Socialism and Distributism in Catholic Clothing

A Distributist Manifesto
Strongly Spiced With Communism

Giving Families Equal Properties
Destroys the Natural Order

(which I haven't answered yet)

Regarding Papal Encyclicals
Why Are Distributist Leaders Misleading
Their Audience about Capitalism?

* The abbreviation means New Economic Policy and the Russian words start with the same letters as the English ones. New and Novaja are related on an "Indo-European" level (whatever that ultimately means) and the Russians use same modern international words for Economic and Policy, though with other endings and pronunciation of some letters.

** Not just same general kind of goods, like chocolate or wine or a cup of coffee, but same specific kind, like Toblerone or Rioja or black not so strong coffee at a bar. The maximum and minimum envisaged would of course be on a local level - no one denies Caviare is cheaper where you fish Beluga Sturgeon than where it is imported from Persia or Russia.

*** Is the Nazi "control of private property" (apart from excluding Jews from it) simply its prohibiting interest above a very low annual percentage?

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