Allan Carlson has an important article here defending the economic theory of Distributism against the charge that it is responsible for the current economic crisis. Distributism is a body of thought, mostly associated with the English Catholic polemicists Hillaire Belloc and G. K. Chesterton, which opposes both socialism and large-scale capitalism and asserts that a healthy economy requires a widespread distribution of productive property. The American equivalent of these beliefs would be the agrarian republicanism of Thomas Jefferson and the southern agrarians. One of distributism’s key goals is indeed to promote home ownership for poor families. In the linked article, Carlson attacks the claim that this push to help low-income families own homes has lead to our current mess. Among the interesting points he makes:
I know that lots of people say they do. The claim is that they don’t want to change the institution one bit–they just want to let more people into it. Therefore, the allegedly Christian supporters of homosexual marriage say they don’t necessarily want to change any of the rules of sexual morality that apply to heterosexual marriage, only to hold homosexuals to the same institutional obligations. “How does it affect your marriage?” they always say. Well, this line of argument would be more credible if one could find people who hold all of the following propositions:
- Homosexuals can legitimately marry.
- It is always wrong to have sex outside of marriage.
- Divorce and remarriage is equivalent to adultery. If a homosexual obtains a divorce and enters into another relationship, he commits a mortal sin, and–barring repentence–he will suffer eternal damnation for it.
- Masturbation is a mostrous perversion and a mortal sin.
- It is immoral (and a mortal sin) for a heterosexual couple to deliberately render one of their sexual acts infertile.
- In heterosexual marriages, the husband excercises a legitimate spiritual headship over the family.
If you can show me someone who believes all of these things together, I’ll eat my hat. In fact, I’ll eat my hat if you can find anyone who believes the first statement together with any of the other ones.
It’s true that, if you take them as stand-alone statements, the first doesn’t actually contradict any of the others. But nobody accepts any of these statements for no reason–they’re all based on ideas about the intrinsic meaning (or lack thereof) of gender and the sexual act. The same vision about sex, gender, and family (say this one) that leads one to believe that contraception and divorce are bad also compells one to see that marriage is, by its nature, heterosexual. So the demand to endorse the sodomitical lifestyle most certainly does affect my own marriage–it is nothing less than a demand that I abandon the understanding by which I order my own family life.
The government is taking everything from us, our maize, our pastures, our little animals and, if that were not enough, they want us to live like animals, without religion and without God, but this last they will never live to see, for every time it is offered to us we will cry, Long live Christ the King! Long live the Virgin of Guadalupe! Long live the Union Popular! Down with the Government!
—-a Christero rebel, quoted in The Christero Rebellion: the Mexican People between Church and State 1926-1929, by Jean A. Meyer
I very much enjoyed this list of books that are regarded as classics but, in contributers’ opinions, shouldn’t be.
Roger Scruton explains why the urge to desecrate is ruining art.
This article doesn’t look interesting at first–just a rebuttal of the ridiculous claim that Mark Sanford’s adultery proves that Christian morality is a fraud. Follow it down a couple of paragraphs, and you’ll find a great denunciation of utilitarianism in sexual ethics.
InsideCatholic has a tribute to Dietrich von Hildebrand The article itself suffers from Thomas Howard’s usual inability to stay on subject, but I was very glad to see this article because von Hildebrand’s ethical writings have had a very strong influence on me–particularly his emphases on objective value and the virtue of reverence, which Howard hones in on.