A Distributist Manifesto

Friday, May 7, 2010 \AM\.\Fri\.

It recently occurred to me that I, and many others, talk an awful lot about Distributism without defining it. This is no longer an acceptable practice to indulge in, as the word becomes more known in Catholic circles in these economically troubled times.

There is a great deal of confusion about what Distributism is, what it means, what its place is in Catholic social thought, and even over who started it. This essay will attempt to address some of these confusions, by answering the following questions:

*What is Distributism?

*What has the Papacy said about Distributism?

*Why Distributism?

*What is the relation of Distributism to capitalism and socialism?

*How does Distributism answer its critics?

I will state forthrightly that I speak only for myself, and not for any other individuals or organizations purporting to be Distributist themselves. Though I have written for The Distributist Review, the following arguments and opinions are mine alone.

With that said, I hope you will find the following exposition helpful in your own mission to understand this idea, which is regaining popularity among Catholics. With this newfound popularity comes a great deal of criticism and sometimes even distortions by those who are sympathetic to it.

What you will not find here are technical details about cooperative firms or Distributist legislation, though I may always make future additions or posts on the topic.

Read the rest here.

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Anh Joseph Cao and the Vietnamese Government

Friday, May 7, 2010 \AM\.\Fri\.

One of my personal heroes is Congressman Anh “Joseph” Cao (R.LA).  I have no doubt that he is more liberal politically than I am, but he is a man of the highest principles.  Pro-life to his core, he voted for ObamaCare only after the Stupak amendment passed.  He voted for ObamaCare, even though he knew such a vote was anathema to almost all Republicans, including the one writing this post, because he thought it was the right thing to do.  When Stupak caved, Cao refused to vote for ObamaCare because of the abortion issue, even though he knew that the vote against ObamaCare was anathema to most of the voters of his liberal district, because he thought it was the right thing to do.

Recently, the Communist government of Vietnam wrote to the Congressman hoping that as the sole Vietnamese-American Congressman he could help clear up some “misunderstandings” between the Vietnamese government and Vietnamese-Americans.  Congressman Cao’s response is memorable and may be read here.  So his meaning could not be mistaken, Congressman Cao also wrote his response in Vietnamese here.

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General Lee and Guerrilla War

Friday, May 7, 2010 \AM\.\Fri\.

Hattip to commenter Dennis McCutcheon for giving me the idea for this post.  We Americans today view the Civil War as part of our history.  If different decisions had been made at the end of that conflict, the Civil War could still be part of our current reality.  Just before the surrender at Appomattox, General Porter Alexander, General Robert E. Lee’s chief of artillery, broached to Lee a proposal that the Army of Northern Virginia disband and carry out a guerrilla war against the Union occupiers.  Here history balanced on a knife edge.  If Lee had accepted the proposal, I have little doubt the stage would have been set for an unending war between the North and the South which would still be with us.  Douglas Southall Freeman, in his magisterial R. E. Lee, tells what happened next, based upon Alexander’s memoirs, Fighting for the Confederacy.

“Thereupon Alexander proposed, as an alternative to surrender, that the men take to the woods with their arms, under orders to report to governors of their respective states.

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