fragments of an attempted writing.

Why do desperate third-wayers prefer Blonds?



After reading the (inevitably socially conservative Christian, usually Catholic) distributists get orgasmic after the publication of this fanciful article, I was pleased to read this on Phillip Blond, archsleazeballtory.

I'm not sure if the Mormon family values award given to a perpetual womanizer or the Playboy upholstery is my favorite bit, but surely the most telling with regard to the man's actual convictions about how wealth should be distributed is this:


Poorly paid staff had to wait for several weeks to be paid, while Blond withdrew £160,000 from the company in one year.


The Daily Mail has another good prowling pic of Blond here.

The conservatives in the UK are calling the demise of Red Toryism because of the scandals.

But let's remember the good ol' days:

Catholicmoraltheology.com praises Blond for his view which promotes "the Christian emphasis on creating a society with a shared sense of the common good within strong, local communities where an ethos of trust, mutuality, and an equitable distribution of resources and goods are valued."  If jet setting to meet hotties at a Sharm El Sheikh resort ain't a commitment to localism, what is?

The poor little Distributist Review loves Blond (he gets referenced there a fair amount).  For instance, John Médaille likes Blond's view that "the re-capitalization of the poor is the most pressing from the distributist point of view."  One can imagine Blond pelvic gesturing and shouting "re-capitalize this, bitches!!" at his unpaid staff as he heads off to catch the plane to Brazil.

OK, OK, I should quit while I'm ahead.

28 comments:

  1. Isn't hypocrisy the compliment that vice pays to virtue?

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  2. Hypocrisy in cases like this is more vice picking the pocket of the dweebs who brought their money to a seminar on Virtue TM.

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  3. But what a rant from the conservative Will Heaven. Apparently the fact that the poorest 50% of the UK owns 1% of the wealth is almost worthy of celebration? Does even Rupert Murdoch believe that sort of thing? It's just inhuman.

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  4. Actually, Owen, most of us were under the impression that you were pursuing union with the Church of Rome, which if you haven't noticed, is, for lack of a better term, "socially conservative".
    How you reconcile that with Marxism and your violent rhetoric- I mean did not Christ your purported Lord command you to love your enemies?- I will leave to you to eventually explain.
    Speaking for myself, and no doubt many others, I knew little of Mr Blond and nothing of his allegedly wayward ways, only that our obscure little corner of one offshoot of British/Catholic radicalism got some recognition.
    I have no idea which obscure Marxist faction you are associating with- and they are all obscure- but I daresay if the Post said y'all were on your way to "become the most intriguing idea" around you probably would cream your jeans as well.
    I doubt any distributist who wrote of Blond had any inkling of the juicy stuff you have publicized. I linked one time on my blog to something about him, as it seemed intriguing. So? I suppose all your Marxist friends are sexually pure? And beyond avarice?
    Who DO you admire? Seems no one is pure enough for you. Yet you choose the meanest badass photo of yourself for your blog profile. Yeh, man, you are one scary dude...

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  5. I don't think many Marxists made claims of championing a society based upon catholic moral theology.

    B(l)ond is like many other distributists, in that it provides a way for him to rage against the greater bourgeois and their exploitation of the poor and environment, whilst being assured that there is nothing immoral about his position of class privilege and exploitation of a smaller number of proletarians.

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  6. Daniel,

    Yowzers. Just so you know I wasn’t thinking of your blog when writing about orgasmic distributists and the Post article. My brother belongs to this facebook group (or used to belong, he get’s kicked off of them so many it’s hard to say on a day-by-day basis what groups he is still in) called politics of the shire or something like that. I noted via him commenting on some shire politico posts that they were really into Blond and that post article. They linked to other distributist blogs fantasizing about the Blond article in the Post. There I witnessed “prophecy” concerning distributism the likes of which I haven’t seen since the last time I was in a Pentecostal church. By comparison, you were very tame. But then again, you are one of the only distributists over 40 I have ever encountered who actually works for a living in a “real” blue collar job and has done so for a lifetime. In fact, I think you are the only one of such.
    Rome is socially conservative? Why didn’t anybody tell me!!!!! My views on social matters are well within the spectrum one finds in on-the-ground American Catholicism, and I'm not a believer in talking about social politics with priests anyway, or listening to what they have to say on such issues , and I think it important to not get into going to church all that regularly, so I think that will all work out just fine. I also happen to agree with David Harvey that capitalists love nothing more than identity politics taking center stage in political and cultural debates.
    The Vatican gave Franco Church medals, so maybe they will give me a medal someday to, “violent” as I am….
    If the Post said that Marxists were "becoming the most intriguing idea" around in the manner the Post did with distributism (which is to say, something which is immediately politically viable) I am fairly certain that every Marxist writer on the sidebar here, if they decided to address such lunacy at all, would after falling on the floor laughing give such a take the drubbing it would deserve.
    As I’m sure you’ve noted, right wing hacks have grossly overstated communist and socialist influences in the U.S., particularly with regard to Obama, and most leftists and Marxists I know ridicule this take whenever the subject comes up. Since the recession all sorts of publications have noted the "resurgence" of Marx, but almost every Marxist I know has noted that this has not resulted in a marked increase in the size of Marxist political organizations, nor is there any indication that popular protest movements are directly related to the increased interest in Marx of late. If there is one thing Marxists in the West tend to do consistently, it is to critique themselves and their political prospects.
    American communists, at least the vast majority of them, may be in a host of little organizations or in no organization at all, but very few of them that I have met or whom I read expect any American workers’ revolution soon (though spontaneity is always a factor) and very few of them think that the fall of capitalism is very imminent. The only people I know who do kind of talk like this are, I think, though they call themselves communists, actually social dems who organize for Obama, something I will never do. Indeed, among communist intellectuals you tend to find a more circumspect view of the current recession than one gets from leftists and even some bourgeois liberals. If there is one thing communists have learned it is that capitalism has many lives and tends to thrive off of these crises/privitization cycles, and to bitch and moan about communism (if that ain’t a secret to success, I don’t know what is). And sure, communist organizations in the U.S. are fragmented, nearly always ridiculous taken at face value, and hopelessly irrelevant. I used to be a believer in a vanguard Party, but our friend AV is trying hard to work that out of me.

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  7. - cont'd -


    Blond's tax and sex issues have been in the press since June of this year, though I didn’t learn of this until today. As I told you, an online aquaitance of mine who is active in British politics told me a fair amount regarding Blond in the past, and while all of it is consistent with this, my British source left out the juicy sex and tax evasion bits. I thought that the picture here was mint.
    But the tit-for-tat thing doesn't work. If somebody goes radical commie to try to get chicks, well, great - nobody cares and why should they? Radical females naturally attract men and turn them leftward – that’s just part of the modern political ordo ( see http://www.tshirthell.com/funny-shirts/my-marxist-feminist-dialectic-brings-all-the-boys-to-the-yard/ ). If some commie managed to use 700k of his organization's money mostly for himself most people would be thinking something like "how the hell did a communist organization in the English speaking world today get its hands on 700k?" and most other commie groups would be damn envious that some other commie group managed to get 700k in the first place.
    But with Blond you have yet another conservative, and he is a conservative, who preaches a very moralizing political doctrine, and not just with regard to economics, but also with regard to culture at large. So yeah, Blond doing what he did is, in my mind, more notable and interesting than if some Maoist group's leader had done it. For the same reason that it is more notable when a right-wing homophobic Republican congressman gets caught getting blow job in an airport restroom than it is if an openly gay Democratic politician gets caught doing the same.
    I don't, by the way, think that distributism is wrong because Blond is such a fuck up. As I’ve told you before, if distributism gets a few young Catholic conservative/libertarian people who would otherwise trend libertarian to begin thinking about other options and ways of looking at economic organization in the world, great. Maybe when the shit hits the fan they will then move on to something more, uh, revolutionary. But as for it being a serious political/economic prospect in a post-capitalist world, I see distributivism about as futile as you see communism. In the end I suppose if humans manage to survive the fall of capitalism, we may end up with a system that looks little like distributist or traditional communist “visions” of society. I just hope it is not some form of fascism.
    Who do I admire? Victor Jara. Paul Robeson. Florence Reece. Irene Hull. César Chávez. Thora Silverthorne. Li Dazhao. John Maclean. Willie Gallacher. C. L. R. James. James Connolly. The Haymarket Martyrs. My old prof and mentor Tom Correll. My childhood friend Tommy. My old friend Saúl who taught me more about humanity than just about anyone else. My old drinking buddy Danny. Hugh from Maine who tried to teach me how to pray, even though he was a Buddhist. My Mom. My Dad. My maternal grandfather. My wife. I could go on.
    And yes, I am bad ass, as everyone who knows me (especially my brother if he is reading this) can attest. Not Subcomandante Marcos bad ass, but I’m working on it, between my daughter’s incessant impromptu kitchen fairy dance performances. My longtime dream has been to go on tour as a contemporary praise and worship songleader doing concerts in drag and changing to lyrics to express a much more sexually explicit relationship between the soul and Jesus, something along the lines of what the reader finds in this novel (http://www.amazon.com/Mariette-Ecstasy-Ron-Hansen/dp/0060981180 ) only with more catchy and repetitive lyrical content and maybe a praise pole on the stage.

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  8. Then the Catholics come out of the woodwork and start looking down on us Marxists for not having a moral compass, like their god who more than likely will condemn 99.9% of humanity to hell for being born in the wrong place or sticking their private parts in the wrong tab/slot. I mean, do these people even read the Bible, or do they just read a Readers’ Digest version that starts around 1962?

    I never have read about distributism, and never will. From my experience with the Argentine far-right, Denis Fahey, etc. all these criticisms of capitalism are a hop, skip, and a jump from fascism, dictatorship, and the specter of “International Jewry”. The “smaller is better”, “every man a shop keeper”, “back to the land” stuff was all just an excuse to bash in commie heads and break up the militant trade unions, and then blame it all on some outside Other (THE JEWS!!!!!) The petit-bourgeoisie, especially the type that these reactionaries bat for, is the social foundation of fascist and reactionary politics. It’s nice that these monolingual gringo distributists, who I am sure have the best of intentions on paper, have no idea that these are their ideological kissing cousins. But in the end, it is either capital or labor, and when the going gets tough, those who are on the fence for the “small owner” will chose capital, and be the first the bash the head in of any “godless, fag-loving” worker. And that’s not me talking, that’s just the track record. (See, for example, Chile 1973, with all of those touchy-feely Maritain-reading Catholics giving the generals an intellectual hand-job for crushing “Marxism” in their country.)

    As for what the average affiliated and unaffiliated Marxists wants at this point, that depends on the Marxist. Some have a hard-on to build the “vanguard” party. I am not one of those, as Owen has pointed out. What we are preparing for, if I might be so bold, is the next 1905: the next traumatic event that will shake the workers and oppressed from the capital and its high priests in the government, media, social organizations, and so forth. It will probably be very ugly, but that is the only way the masses will learn, and the “left” will have to learn from the masses. The general strike in Oakland next week will give a good sense of where we are at this point, but I still think it will probably be a baby step. All I know is that this is not Russia 1917, and that is not as bad/good as it might sound. A population in a highly developed country can move very quickly, as in May 1968 France. The trade unions and the PCF had nothing to do with any of that. What will be decisive is when the masses realize that they are not only the force that can change society, but they have within themselves the alternative for a new society. And for this, Marxists cannot afford to hand them a program to follow, or expect that they will accept being spoken to as children. Marxists have to learn as much from struggle as the masses, which is why the vanguard “Party-to-lead” model simply won’t work.

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  9. Indeed AV,

    Reading the Nazi agrarian literature/propaganda, from the 1928 election (when they were surprised by the amount of peasant - unlandowning rural support) through the 1932 election is amazing. The language used is almost identical to that used by third way agrarian and distributist writers today. The Nazi's supported (in this propaganda) a distribution of wealth from estate owners to peasants. They spoke of the importance of small landowners to the protection of German culture. With regard to their rhetoric toward industrial workers there was a pronounced anti-capitalism, and it corresponds nicely to distributist positions - there was heavy regulation of finance and large enterprises, and yet the encouragement of private business property and small businesses. Small businesses, again, were emphasized as essential to the maintenance of the German soul. There was a definite and pronounced emphasis on localism and an attack on "internationalism" which was based on the internationalism of corporate finance, but used to dismiss the internationalism of radicals as well. The language used to articulate all this is the same sort of language found in The Distributist Review. From the Wiki article on Nazism:

    In 1920, the Nazi Party published the National Socialist Program, a manifesto that in 25 points demanded:
    that the State shall make it its primary duty to provide a livelihood for its citizens . . . the abolition of all incomes unearned by work . . . the ruthless confiscation of all war profits ... the nationalization of all businesses that have been formed into corporations ... profit-sharing in large enterprises ... extensive development of insurance for old-age ... land reform suitable to our national requirements.


    Some distributists may protest and say that they are against the "nationalization" of corporations, but how else are you going to go from a typical capitalist corporation to a "profit sharing" large enterprise wherein workers exert some control on the functioning of the company, especially if you don't believe in a workers' revolution? Even Belloc had, when pressed, to admit that the state was going to have to take control of large business in order for a distributist scheme to be effected.

    And, of course, the longstanding connection between right wing anti-capitalism and antisemitism. With Belloc you have a "soft antisemitism." He decries those who have "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" beliefs, and is against most extreme forms of antisemitism, but anyone who has read his book The Jews knows that he accepted a great many of the premises of Jews being responsible for international finance and other social ills affecting Europe. In that book he talks about the irreconcilable differences between Judaism and Christian Europe, which is to say in his mind, Europe, and he more or less predicts something akin to the holocaust if Jews don't find their own place to live and stay out of European affairs. He claims to be concerned about this, as if he really doesn't want this violence that is coming to the Jews and that is why we must find some "out" for them, but in this regard his patronizing language is very much akin to that used by many fascists and other European anti-semites in the 1920s. Those who defend Belloc from rigid or extreme antisemitism use defenses which, I think, could just as easily be applied to at least half of fascist writers in the mid 1920s.

    And what makes this all exceedingly silly is that most distributists turn to their views because of their conviction that distributism is in keeping with Catholic moral theology, as if Catholic moral theology hasn't consistently been used as a tool to protect the interests of the elite.

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  10. One might also note, to make things more contemporary, the affinities between anglo distributism and the Italian Third Position thinkers, who are now very much a part of Forza Nuova, Italy's traditional Roman Catholic political party. The language of prominent Third Positionist Roberto Fiore on economics and localism and the importance of large families with small landholdings in his thought is virtually identical to anglo distributism. He also stresses that his view is neither capitalism nor socialism and a "way out" of the political discourse which presents all politics as a spectrum with only those two ends.

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  11. Owen, I'd be interested in the sources for the Nazi agrarian stuff. I used to be interested in Distributism long ago, but I eventually decided it was a romantic fantasy that would never work, especially in a modern industrial state (e.g. how on earth would distributism run a computer manufacturer?). A well-intentioned fantasy (at least in this country), but a fantasy nonetheless. I figured out, as you say, that it would in effect require massive nationalization and centralization of state power--the exact opposite of Distributists' ostensible goals.

    I was also aware (as many Distributists apparently aren't) of Belloc's racism, anti-Semitism, and extreme Eurocentrism (I think he once said something to the effect that Europe was the faith, didn't he?). I was also aware that many modern Catholics with Distributist or anti-capitalist leanings were also anti-Semitic (e.g. the infamous Father Coughlin). However, I wasn't aware of the Nazi parallel, and I'd be interested in learning more about it.

    In the end I suppose if humans manage to survive the fall of capitalism, we may end up with a system that looks little like distributist or traditional communist “visions” of society.

    This is exactly what I think. I have no love for capitalism, and in the abstract if it falls, that's dandy with me. However, given history and the way human nature seems to be, I don't see any great chance of the masses behaving like they're "supposed" to in Marxist theory. As I've said before, I think there are aspects of globalized industrial economies of scale that no economic theory has yet adequately dealt with or even understood. I join you, though, in hoping to God that whatever ends up replacing capitalism isn't fascism. Whether that hope is reasonable or cockeyed optimism--well, that depends on my mood and the day of the week.

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  12. Turm,

    Germany, 1914-1933: Politics, Society and Culture - http://www.amazon.com/Germany-1914-1933-Politics-Society-Culture/dp/1405801360/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1319902911&sr=1-7

    The 12-year Reich: A Social History Of Nazi Germany 1933-1945
    - http://www.amazon.com/12-year-Reich-History-Germany-1933-1945/dp/0306806606/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_t_1
    Fascist Ecology: The "Green Wing" of the Nazi Party and its Historical Antecedents - http://www.spunk.org/texts/places/germany/sp001630/peter.html
    Nazi Culture: Intellectual, Cultural, and Social Life in the Third Reich - http://www.amazon.com/Nazi-Culture-Intellectual-Cultural-European/dp/0299193047
    Mother of the "Volk": The Image of Women in Nazi Ideology - http://www.jstor.org/pss/3173289

    The Nazis enacted policies (and had plans for many more) which made it difficult for a large landowner to purchase peasant landholding, and easy for a peasant to purchase portions of the land of a large landholding. There was a definite emphasis on the redistribution of land such that there would be more and more small landholdings. The small family farmer was at the heart of the Volkish ideology and agrarian mysticism played a central role in the “blood and soil” propaganda. But all of this is in a context of no overt class hostility. Hitler famously said that he knew nothing of bourgeois or proletarian, only Volksgemeinschaft. This is another similarity between distributism and Nazi fascism. They both support broad social unity and wealth redistribution and agrarianism, but without class hostility, class warfare, class antagonism, etc. Distributists follow Catholic Social Teaching in asserting that class enmity is wrong and that the encouragement of class enmity is wrong. To the radical mind, whether radical socialist or a real anarchist (and I do not consider distributists to be radicals) this is completely absurd. There will be no defeat of capitalism without class struggle and this must involve class antagonisms. `To put it in contemporary terms, the 99% must believe that the 1%ers have screwed them over, they must get angry about this, they must exercise power against the 1%ers, and if the 1%ers respond violently (which they will, their power now rests on violence) the 99% must respond in kind and remove power from the 1%ers. There is no other way.

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  13. Now, distributists don’t claim a racial purity line or an overt nationalism, and they certainly don’t command an imperialist or colonizing nationalism but they do strongly claim adherence to localism and to patriotisms and hearth& home (something like “blood and soil”?) allegiances that emphasize many of the same things nationalists emphasize. Indeed, look at just about any European nationalist movement of the 20th century, and you have an emphasis on localism, the small family farm and the customs and traditions of traditional rural and village life among whatever “people/nation” we are talking about. The distribution of wealth and the creation of a large amount of small landholders and middle class merchants, shopkeepers, etc., is also a commonality between distributism and most 20th century European fascist schemas.


    Take a look at the 1920 25 point program of the NSDAP (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Socialist_Program ) – so many of the points are a distributist’s wet dream:

    7. We demand that the state be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens. If it is impossible to sustain the total population of the State, then the members of foreign nations (non-citizens) are to be expelled from the Reich.

    9. All citizens must have equal rights and obligations.
    10. The first obligation of every citizen must be to work both spiritually and physically. The activity of individuals is not to counteract the interests of the universality, but must have its result within the framework of the whole for the benefit of all. Consequently we demand:
    11. Abolition of unearned (work and labour) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery.
    12. In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people, personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.
    13. We demand the nationalisation of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).
    14. We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.
    15. We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.
    16. We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.
    17. We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.
    18. We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, profiteers and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race.



    The agrarian policies became much more developed after the Nazi’s took power, but you can see here the similarities to distributism.

    You might also take a look at the BNP (British National Party). They are a radical right wing proto-fascist party that has long espoused elements of distributism including small-scale economies, decentralisation, destruction of the stock market, and de-urbanisation – again with a focus that is not based on class divisions and class hostility, but rather on a nationalist unity scheme.

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  14. I'm going to disrupt the echo chamber here for a bit.

    Owen knows as well as I do that the well of ideas which distributists draw from, a well which he intends to poison with horseshit historical analogies ripped from Wikipedia, reaches far deeper than Hitlerian blut-und-boden. It extends past poet Allan Tate and his confreres, who authored the 'I'll Take My Stand' manifesto; past revolutionary syndicalists like Georges Sorel; past Orestes Brownson and his demand to 'emancipate the proletaries' by eliminating wage labor; past 19th-century farmer radical William Cobbett, and perhaps finally ending in the wellspring of the 17th century English country party tradition. Lasch, himself sympathetic to distributism (though he calls himself a populist), documents all of this in True and Only Heaven. Commie Owen and the Mexican are playing a shell game with history, to make it seem as if distributism -- or indeed any right-wing 'alternative' to capitalism -- is simply warmed-over fascism. Anyone here who is really interested can investigate the sources I mentioned.

    Marxists bristle at distributism and its allied ideologies because these abstain from the partisan high of class warfare, a drug which has been proven (e.g. Owen's blog history) to cause idiocy, unemployment, kneejerk hostility towards those in higher tax brackets, and a tendency to roleplay on the internet as a hardened working-class tough. And Marxists are resentful of the fact that widespread independent producership has the potential, especially in the United States, to be a more satisfying vision of economic salvation than the gray materialist heaven of Marx. As Gompers once admitted, "wage-workers ... are a permanent class of modern society", and Marxists want to keep it that way. Unlike Brownson, they don't want to emancipate the workers -- they only want them to be entitled to greed, just like the tophatted capitalists they hypocritically vilify. Who cares about freedom when you have benefits and guaranteed Free Stuff from Mommy Government?

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  15. Baudy,

    As communists are constantly having "actually exixting socialism" rubbed in their faces, it is nice once in a while to be able to return the favor.

    The vast majority of intellectuals who have explicitly called themselves Distributists have been Catholics, and the major intellectual influence upon their distributism has been Catholic Social Teaching.

    Distributism in Anglo countries has never had any significant political influence. But it is worth noting, as AV and I have here, Catholic movements which see themselves as Third-Way alternatives to capitalism and socialism (and in the case of the Third Position in Italy talk openly about their admiration of distributism) which have actually gotten candidates elected and have had some notable influence on the policial order, and the fact that these have always leaned fascist, when they haven't been outright fascist. It is then worth noting similarities between certain non-distributist fascisms with distributism and other Catholic third way movements.

    Distributism is a very vague political and economic "theory." Distributists pull from any number of sources. Virtually any significant influence on ChesterBelloc becomes an influence on distributism if you want it to. In America the Southern Agrarians get elevated among Distributists, which is telling considering (as I noted in a long post once because) most of the writers in "I'll Take My Stand," when pressed for actual policy positions later in life, ended up all sorts of places other than agrarian (or distributist, not that such was much on their radar). One thing I have noted among distributists (and this is true among the current folks claiming the Red Tory flag in the UK) is that when push comes to shove they usually end up, upon being pressed for an actual policy position, reverting back to whatever form of conservative position they came from (neo-con, libertarian, neo-liberal, paleo, etc.).

    Distributism can only ever become a political reality through some sort of populist movement. Find me a modern populist movement that is not fueled by anger. When you take class hatred out as your source of anger, it is natural that the replacement ends up being some form of nationalism. The most fundamental theoretical problem with distributism, going back Belloc being pressed on it himself, is what force is going to be used to enact redistribution of land and wealth. Distributists cannot turn to a syndicalist or libertarian Marxist posture of workers cooperatives and the like violently taking property, because the impulse behind this (class war) and the actions itself violate Catholic Social Teaching. So it has to turn to the state. And here is where the rubber meets the road. Most distributists, when pressed, as conservatives at heart, will choose anything over socialism. So the state that ends up doing the redistributing and advocating/enfranchising the traditional family life is going to be something else - not neo-liberal, not socialist.


    Your second paragraph here is your usual fare.

    As for your other comments on this site yesterday, fuck off. If you want to rage against the communist machine or rant against me and my supreme hypocrisy and hubris, then go throw pixel shit out of your mouth on your own blog. Stop trolling here.

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  16. Have you ever encountered a leftist distributist? I've met a couple. Where the (majority) rightwing guys mostly riff off of the libertarians, the leftwingers take a lot from anarchy-syndicalists (and some socialist Utopianism).

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  17. Anacho... Damn autocorrect...

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  18. Lotar,

    Yes. And Daniel who commented here uses the descriptors Left Distributist and Right Distributist, though I noticed on his blog that one of the editors of the Distributist Review (Thomas Stork) disputes the distinction.

    Prior to Phil Blond and the new Red Tory craze, among those claiming distributism in England there seemed to be as many or more who were "left distributist" as "right dist". The several self-proclaimed distributist English Catholic priests I have talked to about distributism clearly supported things like the NHS.

    I'd be interested to learn what the majority of distributists in England think of Blond and Respublica. American distributists tend to be "right distributists," obviously.

    I could see a non-Catholic distributist having syndicalist leanings but I can't see a Catholic who claims the Catholic Social Teaching banner going that route. If you were truly syndicalist then you would support workers taking power by force. You would support the class war paradigm. You would assert the very foundation of anarcho-synidalism that the working class and the employing class have nothing in common. To hold these positions immediately places you outside the bounds of Catholic Social Teaching, which defends the property rights of the bourgeoisie and expressly condemns class war.

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  19. Lotar,

    Saw the pics of your parish's new bourgeois heaven building online.

    Ouch.

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  20. Given what Chesterbelloc said about Jews, I'm not confident about the ability of distributionism to address racial problems. To their credit, they opposed Hitler, but were opposed to Zionism and didn't think that Jews could ever fit into Christian Europe. What exactly is left then, other than re-ghettoization? Similarly, the root of the US "Negro Problem" was having this large population of individuals that were perceived to be incapable of being part of the dominant society. The "I'll Take My Stand" crowd had no intention of giving blacks land, capital, or even honorifics; I remember reading an issue of TIME magazine where a reader from the South complained about a previous issue in which a black man was referred to as "Mr." Distributionism cannot address these issues, because it assumes that everyone in the ideal society will be a yeoman farmer or petit bourgeois shopkeeper, ignoring the fact that access to land and capital in the American context has been and continues to be based on race and class.

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  21. Leah,

    I remember reading an issue of TIME magazine where a reader from the South complained about a previous issue in which a black man was referred to as "Mr."

    I assume you mean Mr. followed by a last name, which was (and in some fever swamp outposts still is) anathema. Mr. followed by a first name is OK for the "good" blacks, at least among the good ol' white boys in Memphis. In any event, how dare you speak against something so holy as localism.

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  22. Leah can wring her hands all she wants about Chesterbelloc's lack of Semitic Sensitivity, but distributism ignores 'racial problems' for a reason: the kind of harmonious socioeconomic cooperation that distributists envision cannot abide the friction of racial divide. The ideal 'operating conditions' of distributism are a homogeneous society, with uniform racial and religious affiliation. Unlike class, racial differences are largely irreducible, so distributists choose to ignore them altogether. To be blunt, racial minorities _are_ 'incapable of being part of the dominant society', except by bureaucratic fiat.

    Marxists who would label this as reactionary racism would do well to consider whether the same principle applies to socialism, as history hints might be the case -- every heretofore realized socialist state has seen a flattening of ethnic diversity, from Mao's suppression of non-Mandarin identity to the Amharan nationalism of Mengistu's Ethiopia. For now, it seems only neoliberals and deluded western leftists remain blithely oblivious to the fractious nature of racial diversity and its political implications.

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  23. The only place where you're going to find a homogeneous society with uniform racial and religious affiliation are decidedly non-Christian countries like Japan and South Korea, and even they have a sizable number of foreigners in their midst. Christendom was never the monolithic, monoracial entity that Chesterbelloc imagined it to be, and it's never going to be that way.

    The fact of the matter is that the black presence in the Americas goes back to the 17th century (I limit myself to this race at the moment for the sake of simplicity). When Europeans made the decision to bring Africans to the New World, they grafted on a new race into the story of Western Civilization.

    We aren't going to leave unless some far-right group takes power and decides on a Hitler-esque "Final Solution." Whether you like it or not Baudy, we're all stuck in this country together. This isn't pie in the sky optimism, that's just reality. Retreating into a Middle Earth fantasy while ignoring real world problems isn't going to cut it.

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  24. While I try to avoid the hypocrisy finger-pointing, I do appreciate you comments, Owen. Thanks for posting.

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  25. Owen,

    Well, I did know one who didn't give a damn about CST, the distributism was just part of his petit bourgeois wet dream. At some point he got kicked off the email list for advocating gay marriage.

    I don't think any Distributist has a real theory of how we would get from here to there. Most just seem to ignore that question.

    ....
    Yeah, they're all orgasmic about their new church. I wonder if anyone will start asking questions about why the final bill is top secret. I don't really go there any more, so I kinda don't give a shit.

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  26. Has anyone read GK's brother's history of the US? It is full of wonderful tidbits, such as how the poor white southerners were so oppressed by the negros during reconstruction.

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  27. Lotar,

    The only book I've ever read of Cecil's is The Party System he wrote with Belloc. You should write a little review of the History of U.S. book and put in on your blog. I'd be interested to learn of more of those wonderful tidbits.

    Sorry to bring up the church.

    I'm inclined to think that Distributism isn't really a working theory of politics/economics, but rather a thematic umbrella which facilitates the formation of hobby clubs or cliques for people with Tolkienian fantasies - turn the world into a bunch of shires, etc., but still somehow have the benefits of modern medicine, and so forth. Most of the distributist cliques are, whether they say so or not, going to hover fairly closely to CST. They may allow for variances of opinion on things like birth control, because the Catholic social conservatives are used to having to work with Prot social conservatives, but gays are out, as are real radicals who advocate serious class warfare and class antagonism.

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  28. I didn't mean to come off as offended about the church. I just hit the point where I don't get worked up any more, I just feel sorry for those guys. Lately I've been wondering if I used to come off as strange as I now see those who have gone all in for the St Andrew/Fr Josiah thing. It's probably the reason why I lost track of most of my pre-Orthodoxy friends.

    Yeah, most Distributists are okay with compromising CST when it benefits the petit bourgeois lifestyle. It is both funny and ridiculous when a guy with two kids, like John Medaille, posts Papal encyclicals to "prove" distributism to other Catholics.

    Anyway, I just started brushing up on the "Black Terror" chapter, and realized I had forgotten about the part where he mocks the idiocy of giving Negros the vote. Maybe it would make a good blog post. I just need to find the time.

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