The Handmaid’s Tale and WWI: Is the Carthaginian Solution Inevitable? (Keynes/Versailles Treaty)

This is an introduction/head’s up to my next video series, which will start next week and will start with some thoughts on John Maynard Keynes’ The Economic Consequences of the Peace. The central questions: why is it so hard to forgive–what would be required? How can we keep from turning into the monsters we are fighting against (very important for getting of the culture war hamster wheel)? I approach the topic through some reflections on Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, especially its TV adaptation. When June becomes a ferocious monster, we both admire her but also recognize that her transformation is not progress but regress. Such was the case with the allies’ imposition on Germany in the wake of WWI. … More The Handmaid’s Tale and WWI: Is the Carthaginian Solution Inevitable? (Keynes/Versailles Treaty)

Religion and Politics–Whoops, We Talked About Both (Jeremy Cowan Interview Part 3)

You know what they say… This is the third and final part of the interview I did with Dr Jeremy Cowan, an expert in organic and permaculture agriculture, we conclude our reflections on Distributism by breaking both taboos. In this one we deal with the role of religion and politics in changing the way we grow food, but we do more than that. We delve into questions such as why religion is often unhelpful and how it could be otherwise, why political divisions get in the way and what might solve that problem … More Religion and Politics–Whoops, We Talked About Both (Jeremy Cowan Interview Part 3)

Could Agrarian Distributism Ever Work? (Interview with Jeremy Cowan Pt. 1)

t part of a conversation I had with Jeremy Cowan, who participated in my Summer 2021 Seminar on the economic theory of Distributism. Dr Cowan is a specialist in organic agriculture with a strong interest in its relationship to politics and economics. In this part of the conversation, we get into the polarizing character of current politics and how it gets in the way of imagining turning towards Distributism or any other alternative to our current corporate-dominated and state-supported capitalism. We discuss the strong agrarian strain in Distributism and whether that is still a relevant direction to change in today’s world. … More Could Agrarian Distributism Ever Work? (Interview with Jeremy Cowan Pt. 1)

Culture War Futility, Why Self Expression Beats Action (Distributism 5-Audio)

In this concluding segment from the 2021 Summer Seminar on Distributism, I discuss why it is so hard to imagine actually changing the economy in any meaningful way. Our capacity for collective action has been hollowed out and replaced by an expressive identity politics that cannot satisfy but works wonders to keep us all working and buying. It very effectively stops any real change from happening. The seemingly radical idea that contemporary protests are largely ineffectual and should be replaced by direct action is introduced. … More Culture War Futility, Why Self Expression Beats Action (Distributism 5-Audio)

Culture War Futility: Why Self Expression Beats Action (Distributism 5-Video)

In this concluding segment from the 2021 Summer Seminar on Distributism, I discuss why it is so hard to imagine actually changing the economy in any meaningful way. Our capacity for collective action has been hollowed out and replaced by an expressive identity politics that cannot satisfy but works wonders to keep us all working and buying. It very effectively stops any real change from happening. The seemingly radical idea that contemporary protests are largely ineffectual and should be replaced by direct action is introduced. … More Culture War Futility: Why Self Expression Beats Action (Distributism 5-Video)

Dorothy Day vs Capitalist Realism (Distributism 4)

This is a selection from the fourth part of a five part seminar on Distributism from Summer 2021. It covers Catholic Worker co-founder Dorothy Day’s thoughts on the responsibility of Christians, true Christian community, and the correct attitude toward what we now recognize as capitalist realism. Day took very seriously the social teaching of the Catholic Church that emerged in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. This thought was critical of capitalism but also steered away from the emerging communist trends that were also materialist and concentrated power. Day’s considerable contribution was to apply her own learning on socialism, communism, anarchism and Christianity to help create a vision for an alternative to the great “isms” of her day and ours. My apologies for some sound glitches due to internet connection! … More Dorothy Day vs Capitalist Realism (Distributism 4)

Indian Farmer Protests and Distributism (3)

This is a selection from the seminar I’m teaching on Distributism. For months now, thousands of Indian farmers have been protesting in an occupy-style encampment near Delhi. They fear that they are in danger of losing not only their livelihoods but their way of life due to changes in the laws leading to deregulation of the agricultural sector in India. They are worried that these changes will make many small farms financially impossible and will lead to a great agricultural consolidation into the hands of big agriculture, changing Indian food security and leaving them without the support of the land and extended families they have relied upon. These farmers are in the situation GK Chesterton saw unfolding in England in the early part of the 20th Century. Chesterton called for something like the Indian farmers want back–government regulation and aid to help maintain numerous and plentiful small farmers in an economy of cooperation with subsistence farming with a market element. The farmer protests are a test case as to whether people now can demand a different economic arrangement that protects and preserves food security and their way of life. … More Indian Farmer Protests and Distributism (3)

Do We Live in a Servile State? ft. Hilaire Belloc’s Distributism (Seminar 2)

This is a section of audio from the Summer 2021 Seminar on Distributism, an economic philosophy that isn’t capitalist or socialist. Distributism advocates for a more even and equal distribution of private property. Hilaire Belloc was one of a few thinkers credited with founding 20th Century Distributism. In this video some of his ideas are discussed in the context of current application, particularly on the question of whether workfare would be recognized by Belloc as promoting the Servile State. … More Do We Live in a Servile State? ft. Hilaire Belloc’s Distributism (Seminar 2)

Can You Be Both Anti-Capitalist and Anti-Communist? (Seminar 1-Rerum Novarum)

This is a segment from the first session of the Summer Seminar on Distributism (2021), part of an hour and a half long session on the origins of Distributism in Aristotle’s Politics and various Catholic encyclicals (the one mainly mentioned here is Rerum Novarum, Pope Leo XIII, 1891, in the wake of the Industrial Revolution). Distributism is a line of thought that opposes both capitalism and socialism/communism as equally materialistic and destructive of freedom and proposes a third way–more widespread ownership of private property. It is separable from religion, because it is primarily a proposal about how to deal with property, but this session covers its roots in Ancient Greek and Christian thought. … More Can You Be Both Anti-Capitalist and Anti-Communist? (Seminar 1-Rerum Novarum)