Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Points to Ponder:

I can relate to so much of this and have for quite some time. But 2020 sharpened my perceptions if you will. Without further ado...

It’s all dead to me. Celebrities. Sports. Concerts. Bars. Travel. None of it matters anymore. During 14 days to stop the spread, which turned into 7 weeks of lockdown, I would have done ANYTHING to go to a concert.

But now? I count it as loss. It means nothing to me anymore. The people I once idolized are puppets. The politicians I once applauded are imbedded in their own interests and have sold us out. The companies I once shopped with are colluding against us.

The celebrities I once looked up to I know [I] can’t look at. It’s all gone. 2020 changed me. And I don’t miss any of it. I only wish I had ditched all of these false idols sooner.

The truth is is that I’d give up any of these things sooner if I had truly understood. But now I do. And it set me free. I’ll walk the narrow road with my eyes fixed on the finish line. None of what is here matters. The earth and everything here is temporary.

There is life after death. So I count this all as loss. 2020 was the year that separated the wheat from the chaff. There are still people straddling the line, soon they will have to choose where they stand too.

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it." 1 Corinthians 9:24

If disagreeing with what is happening causes me to lose my seat at the table and to lose my status in society, I’m willing to sit alone. [Nina Leone]

Monday, April 12, 2021

Four Questions For Distributist/Distributivist Apologists...

This is the text of an unfinished Facebook note primarily composed on April 12, 2012. As it seemed appropriate to revisit the subject, the thread below was finished in roughly the form originally envisioned for publication at this time.

As one who has over the years interacted may times (and often in depth) with distributist/distributivist (D/D) apologists, inevitably you hear these sorts of responses such as I have heard earlier this year from a couple advocates when writing yet another lengthy critique of D/D philosophy:

Shawn, you know nothing of distributism to make such claims.

Shawn, I don't think you know what Distributism is.

Now this is what D/D love to say when their economic weltanschauung is challenged in any detail. So before I get to the four questions I have, here is how some D/D apologists describe their own system on one of their advocacy sites:
While in a socialist society none are owners, and in a capitalist society only a few are owners, in a Distributist society most are owners of productive property. This is the defining characteristic of Distributism: the widescale distribution of productive property throughout society, such that ownership of it is the norm, rather than the exception. Such distribution is the best way of ensuring that the economic rights of man are respected; that men can pursue their livelihoods with the greatest possible independence; and that society can exist as a single harmonious whole, without the vicissitudes of class hatreds and constant economic unrest which plague all of our current systems.{1}
Notice that the describe the way their society looks but not how they actually get there and therein lies the rub!

For this is the same problem the atheist has in accounting for how existing systems came into being in the absence of creation by some higher Intelligence. In like manner, D/D sorts have to explain exactly how their system that they envision becomes a reality instead of merely fantasizing about what they think it would look like. That is the core problem that both of those sorts of advocates have for their respective systems when you take it down to brass tacks.

So I will ask now (albeit in shorter form) essentially what I always have asked D/D but boiled down to four question that they need to answer before I can invest any serious effort or energy into such a hypothesis. Without further ado...
  • Tell me how you get Distribution without some kind of "Distributor."
If this cannot be done, then the proposed system could not be implemented at all and that would make all the advocacies for it nothing but pious nonsense.

Of course if we assume that the D/D recognizes that some sort of "Distributor" (however it is constituted) is needed to make their system work in reality instead of just some nostalgia driven fantasy land, that brings us to this question:
  • Who is empowered to be the "Distributor" and how (and by what authority) are they so empowered?
Once this question is answered, then there is the issue of how those who took issue with the proposed system would be treated as we can assume such a radical overhaul of the existing order would prompt no small degree of opposition. Ergo:
  • What would be recommended to be done with those who have land and other resources that they claim is theirs and who tell the "Distributor" and their advocates{2} to take their ideas for attempting to coerce public behaviour (and/or said property from them) and blow it out their collective pie holes? 
That is a reasonable question to ask because the system they are advocating would in a number of cases do just that and if they are going to complain about being compared to socialists and the latter's redistributist schemes, they will have to explain that in some detail and in a fashion that is logically coherent and not purely arbitrary. And finally, there is the issue that so many of those who advocate for this system happen to be those who would not have to or actually do not live in it themselves:
  • When are we going to see those who advocate for this "glorious lifestyle" actually practice what they preach? 
For those who endeavour to try to advocate for this sort of system or otherwise push it onto others can start by divesting themselves of all the trappings of the economic system they despise, get a farm plot in the middle of BFE, and eke out some subsistence living in all the splendour of the Middle Ages they so longingly wish they were a part of.{3} I am not talking about doing this as some part time thing or jovial little experiment{4} but instead to actually live the life they preach that everyone should be living.

That means:
  • Do not buy food from the market, grow/raise it all yourself. 
  • Do not buy clothes and shoes, make them all yourself. 
  • Etc.{5}
This sort of thing in the overwhelming majority of cases can only be lionized by those who have never had to live it but those of who would advocate for such a system or bemoan the current system or misrepresent it egregously{6} to push their pet notions{7}, how about they go about making a living via the one they claim everyone should be living in.{8} For until I start seeing D/D moving en masse to buy farms and making a lot of (if not all of) their own stuff, do not be surprised if such apologists are summarily (and properly) dismissed as unworthy of consideration in the arena of ideas.


{1} Donald P. Goodman: Excerpt from An Introduction to Distributism (circa August 9, 2011)

{2} Who basically try to invent fancy ways to steal it from them under the guise of some "higher morality" or whatever.

{3} And any who actually do try to do this at the very least have my respect for endeavouring to practice what they preach. (If nothing else, they deserve credit for walking the talk unlike most of their comrades who talk in a similar fashion and do not back their words up with deeds.)

{4} For example, my time on a cousins farm one vacation.

{5} I suppose in some aspects they could argue that a kind of collective could be established wherein those who are either better equipped resource-wise or in some fashion more proficient in some areas than others could form reciprocal arrangements with like-minded folks with different skills and better function societally that way. However, as that notion is simply much too close to David Ricardo's Enlightenment era theory of comparative advantage and therefore any who would smear or demean economic theories or principles from the Enlightenment era would be best to leave such things out of their calculations lest they "pollute" their "pristine civilizational model." Or to be blunter: make the damn shit yourselves!

{6} To note five postings from 2007 on the subject:

Revisiting "Distributivism" (circa May 25, 2007)

"The Empire Distributivist Strikes Back" Dept. (circa May 27, 2007)

On Fundamental Rights, Private Property, and Authentic Dialogue (circa May 31, 2007)

On the "Phantom Menace" of Distributivism (circa September 8, 2007)

{7} For example, the historically ignorant who preach the idiotic idea that capitalism started either in the Enlightenment period or in the post-reformation when in reality its earliest developments preceded both of those periods.

{8} Whether they want to or not!