Tuesday, August 21, 2007


This is a video with excerpts about the economical theory of Distributism. This thought was based on the encyclical Rerum Novarum of Pope Leo XIII, initiated by English thinkers and propelled universally by writers G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc.

For more information:

The ChesterBelloc Mandate

The Distributist Review

The Distributist League

I seek to understand distributism - it does not come easy to me. Can one really grasp it if one is deep within the bowels of Capitalism?


David Nybakke said...

Pope Leo XIII teaching in front of an all boys school 6th grade class.

"If working people can be encouraged to look forward to obtaining a share in the land, the consequence will be that the gulf between vast wealth and sheer poverty will be bridged over, and the respective classes will be brought nearer to one another."

Over in the corner, next to the window, little snot-nosed Tommy has his arm raised. "Yes, Tommy," Pope Leo XIII acknowledges. Tommy asks, "But does it ensure a piece of the Kingdom for everyone?"

David Nybakke said...

In the next class Pope Pius XI is lecturing to the 5th graders.

"Free competition has destroyed itself; economic dictatorship has supplanted the free market; unbridled ambition for power has likewise succeeded greed for gain; all economic life has become tragically hard, inexorable, and cruel."

Little Ronnie's arm shouts up and blurts out without waiting to be acknowledged, "So if all the systems are corrupt, heck we might as well try another, don't ya' think, it's not like we will loose our salvation?"

David Nybakke said...

Hilaire Belloc is strolling in front of the 1st graders of the same school, he says,

"It has been found in practice that economic freedom thus somewhat limited satisfies the nature of man, and at the basis of it is the control of the means of production by the family unit. For though the family exchange its surplus, or even all its production, for the surplus of others, yet it retains its freedom, so long as the social structure, made up of families similarly free, exercises its effect through customs and laws consonant to its spirit."

One little boy whose name is Christopher, yawns really big, curls up on his sleeping blanket and off to dream land he goes.

I really like what Belloc says here, but now, especially in an election year, he no more could say this in public as a school district could teach 'family values' as a necessary ingredient for our country's good.

Distributism would have to come as a result of a revolution - it seems to me that it could not come by some gradual, step-by-step process of the free enterprise system – it would have to be a complete over-throw of it. What a bloody mess that would be, don't ya' think?

Athos said...

Aramis, where do you get all your material?

Chesterton and even more Belloc knew that the origins of the abuses on the servile workers of the machine age came from the new fortune class of the English Reformation -- the Cecils, the Seymours (the "Elizabethen Age" could actually be called "the period of the Cecils") -- the profited so greatly when Henry VIII divested the monasteries.

The greed of the 19th-20th centuries, Chesterbelloc saw, was at one with the downfall of the Catholic Church's influence in the west, and, as Belloc, predicted with great accuracy, brought on the pagan states of greed and power we have today in untethered capitalism (think petro dollars presently).

I like your classroom quips!

Athos said...

By the way, I saw the video at "Catholic Tube" this am -- I thought it was a little light on actual Distributist background. But your links are great!

David Nybakke said...

J.R.R. Tolkien, called to the principle’s office, has to repeat his little ditty that he always starts the day off with his 2nd graders to the state school board inspector,

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

Snidely Whiplash, the state school board inspector, with a turned up curl of his lip, quips back, “Now, Mr. Lord of the Rings, you really think people, who are more mimetic than any living creature your God created, will be content with only food, cheer and a good song? Just what have you been putting in that pipe of yours and smoking lately?”

Can you realistically see any prominent person in our country who professes allegiance to the flag of the good ol’ US of A be taken seriously if he advocates Distributism? It seems to me that even if I were to get on the Distributism bandwagon it would mean that I would be hoping to advance the end of our government – it is that radical of a change. Everything and every institution would have to be turned upside down.

PS I am getting these quotes from The New Distributist League - down their left hand column.