Against the Ideology of Certainty Besetting US Christians (Out of Babylon 3)

God’s will with the will of the nation and resolve morality into the aims of national power, or to choose the “local tradition” of adherence to God’s priorities even when they clash with the priorities and values of empire. The latter involves first recognizing that there is a necessary and unresolvable conflict between any national will and Judeo-Christian morality. Brueggemann asks, will the Christian church be a national church or will it be governed only by God? … More Against the Ideology of Certainty Besetting US Christians (Out of Babylon 3)

I Want to Be Liam Neeson (But I Should Resist). (Keynes 5)

In this final video on the series examining the lessons of the Versailles Treaty I venture back into US politics and ask the question of personal responsibility. Should people respond in vengeance against actual wrongs? If they don’t want to, how do they resist this very (immediately) rational and biological urge? There is no doubt in my mind that we would all be better off if we did not act on the temptation for retribution, but easier said than done. The responsibility of Christians is particularly acute since their religion dictates no revenge. I challenge Christians to take their religion seriously and to imagine the strength it would take to walk away from disputes domestic and foreign. … More I Want to Be Liam Neeson (But I Should Resist). (Keynes 5)

The Option of Radical Forgiveness: Not Taken

options. They had the option to do nothing, or to do only a small action to rectify the wrong, as well as the option of attempted obliteration of their enemies.. It’s hard to argue that the world not would be better off if they had chosen to do nothing, both at the beginning of the war and at the end, when they chose a punitive peace. Out of WWI came the Great Depression and WWII. What does that say to us–is there a lesson in this that we have not yet learned? I would argue that the biggest thing and the hardest thing, but the thing that shows real power, is to do nothing. … More The Option of Radical Forgiveness: Not Taken

Still as Stupid as 1914: WWI and the Culture Wars

y’s culture wars have in common? Power-hungry, intransigence, scapegoating, paranoia, fear, mass-mentality, technological eclipse, and more. We haven’t progressed in over a century on our basic nature, but time is running out, as our technology continues to outstrip our ability to reason and cooperate by a lot. This is the first part of a series discussing the causes of intransigence, the consequences, and what it would take to stop that cycle so that we don’t destroy ourselves. I’m starting out with a discussion of John Maynard Keynes’ views on the Treaty of Versailles, which I will get into in more depth next week. … More Still as Stupid as 1914: WWI and the Culture Wars

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)

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)

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)

Migrants and Underemployment in Context: What’s Really Going On? (Precariat 5-Audio)

In this video, I discuss Ch. 4 of Guy Standing’s The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class, which is on migration. Many in developed countries with large numbers of migrant laborers blame these laborers for taking jobs and reducing their economic prospects. Looking deeper, though, we see that they are there because globalized economic interests want the ultimate flexible and vulnerable labor pool and governments make sure they get them. Many leaders and parties talk about wanting their citizens to have good jobs but their actions and the results of their policies say otherwise. Ultimately no one wins in the current system, certainly not illegal migrants living in serfdom to survive. To get to the heart of the problem, we have to look at who/what benefits from large numbers of legal and illegal migrants. … More Migrants and Underemployment in Context: What’s Really Going On? (Precariat 5-Audio)