Author Archive for John Médaille

Women, The Cosmos, and Cosmetics
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Women, The Cosmos, and Cosmetics

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Any writer or speaker who offers his opinions on a topic does so with the implicit promise that he is an expert in the subject and can offer insight not generally available to the general public. But I am forced to take a different tack, since I am about to opine on a subject—two subjects, […]

Snippets From an Exhortation:  The Anti-Modernism of Pope Francis
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Snippets From an Exhortation: The Anti-Modernism of Pope Francis

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The narrative that has been played out since the election of Jorge Bergoglio is one of a Pope ready to overturn all the doctrines of the Church , ordain women priests, change the teaching on marriage and homosexuality, and generally turn the Catholic Church into a minor caucus within the Democratic Party. This narrative was […]

Intelligible Design and Darwin's Black Box
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Intelligible Design and Darwin’s Black Box

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The one thing that modern science should be able to do is to explain to us how things happen. The one thing it cannot do is tell us that things happen by chance. Things may well happen by chance, but then there is no chance of a scientific explanation. “Chance” is the methodology of Darwinian […]

Friends and Strangers: A Meditation on Money
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Friends and Strangers: A Meditation on Money

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I start my meditation with a true story that will serve as a parable. On his 21st birthday, the nature writer Francis Thompson was presented by his father with a bill for all the expenses of his upbringing including the costs of his birth and delivery. Francis paid the bill, but he never spoke to his […]

CL22 - hbratton notxt
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Is Conservatism Incoherent? (Or, Pogo Was Right)

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The question posed in the title might itself be somewhat problematic, since “conservatism” is not one thing, but a rich and often contentious variety of positions. Nevertheless, a sufficiently large portion of conservatism marries a social and religious traditionalism with a more or less pure capitalism. But is this a suitable marriage? For what we […]

There Is No Such Thing as a Bank Loan
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There Is No Such Thing as a Bank Loan

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“Dexia” is not a word familiar to most Americans, and if told that it is a French bank in need of a fresh bailout, the knowledge would likely elicit no more than a yawn. Interest might increase, however, if they were told that the American taxpayer has bailed this bank out before and is likely […]

Mother <em>AND</em> Teacher: The Church, Financial Reform, and Realism
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Mother AND Teacher: The Church, Financial Reform, and Realism

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It has occurred to me that Europe doesn’t give a damn if Greece goes down. The EU concern is not for Greece, but for all the banks that lent all those Euros to Athens and now stand to lose them. The cradle of Western Civilization is expendable, but the vaults of the bankers must be […]

Wendell Berry and the Great Economy
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Wendell Berry and the Great Economy

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I confess that until now I have never read anything by Wendell Berry. In fact, I deliberately avoided reading anything by him, or indeed by any agrarian writer. There was a strategic reason for avoiding these writers. The bulk of my work is devoted to explicating Distributism in purely economic terms, and Distributism is often […]

Taxes: Fair or Foul?
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Taxes: Fair or Foul?

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Somewhere in the Analects of Confucius, the Master says that the first step in solving a problem is to call things by their right name. When things are mislabeled, it is very difficult to think about them correctly. On the other hand, if you do not wish people to think correctly about an issue, the […]

Playing Poker With Obama
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Playing Poker With Obama

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The country has just passed through a long debate to reach a doubtful end. Indeed, it is not really an end at all, but a mere postponement of the fight, a fight that will last through the next elections at least. Hence, we will spend the next year and a half witnessing a debate over […]

Will There be Zombies? Part 3
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Will There be Zombies? Part 3

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The task we will face will depend on the shape of the collapse, which will vary from city to city, and from town to countryside. [Part 1, Part 2] Modern life is dependent on complex networks for electricity, water, sewer, transportation, gas, education, security, banking, food supplies, medical care, and so forth. Almost all of […]

Will There be Zombies? Part 2
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Will There be Zombies? Part 2

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I could go on with this analysis [see Part 1] through system after system, but I think you get the idea, and I would like to turn our attention to another and more serious problem, namely the problem of culture and religion. It is here, I believe, that we confront a situation for which there […]

Will There Be Zombies? Part 1
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Will There Be Zombies? Part 1

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As we all know, the end of the world is coming soon. No, I don’t mean the eschaton, the final event in which the Son returns all things to the Father. That will be, by all accounts, a very cinematic event, full of all sorts of special effects. It will be, no doubt, very entertaining […]

Distributism and the Health Care System, Part 2: Ending Oligarchies and Monopolies
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Distributism and the Health Care System, Part 2: Ending Oligarchies and Monopolies

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It should be clear that the vast majority of current thinking about the problem does little to address the underlying causes of our dilemma [see Part 1].  And this is odd because the mechanics of prices are well known and have been since the time of Aristotle. No competent economist of whatever school disputes these […]

Distributism and the Health Care System, Part 1: Free Market Confusions
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Distributism and the Health Care System, Part 1: Free Market Confusions

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Distributism would be of little practical use if it could not provide useful answers to practical problems of the type we face practically everyday. I believe distributism does indeed provide a useful set of tools to analyze these problems and to devise useful solutions. But the proof of this claim can only come in the analysis of […]

Distributism and the Current Crisis, Part 3: Localizing the Economy
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Distributism and the Current Crisis, Part 3: Localizing the Economy

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[Part 1, Part 2] Political subsidiarity would mean little if the industrial system remained concentrated; it does no good to collect taxes locally if the production of goods, and therefore the production of taxable values, is not also widespread. We’ve noted the problems and inefficiencies of the current system, a system that is highly dependent […]

Distributism and the Current Crisis, Part 2: You Say You Want a Devolution?
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Distributism and the Current Crisis, Part 2: You Say You Want a Devolution?

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[Part 1] Conservatives express great frustration with the egregious violations of the Constitution by the legislatures and the courts, violations which ensure that power gravitates to the federal government, while the states become mere bureaucratic subdivisions of the federal apparatus rather than partners in a political union. In response, they call for a devolution, a […]

Distributism and the Current Crisis, Part 1: The Scale of Government
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Distributism and the Current Crisis, Part 1: The Scale of Government

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Discussions of what to do about the current crisis commonly take the form of an argument between “socialism” and “capitalism.” However, such a discussion is flawed in both of its terms. Real socialism collapsed in 1989, and few would want to return to that horrific system. What is less well understood is that pure capitalism […]

Who Owns Our Jobs?
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Who Owns Our Jobs?

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We have all been trained up to the belief that jobs are something in the gift of great corporations or government bureaucracies. True, there are still places in the economy for the small businessman or woman, the sole practitioner, the craftsman, or the small farmer. But in general, we regard the capital requirements of job […]

Capitalism as an Unnatural System
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Capitalism as an Unnatural System

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Ever since capitalism made its appearance in the late Middle Ages and came to dominate both production and politics in the late 18th century, there has been a vigorous debate on just what the nature of capitalism is. Central to these debates has been the question of capitalism’s relationship to the state, and particularly the […]

Uselessness of Utility
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Uselessness of Utility

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At the base of all modern economics lies the assumption that people always act in their own self-interest and that in doing so, they unwittingly create an economic and social order that results in “the greatest good for the greatest number.” Demand curves, reflecting as they do each person’s self-interest, add up to the total […]

The Economics of Abundance
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The Economics of Abundance

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The end of the world is coming soon. Not the eschaton, that final end of all things and the return to their Maker of all that is. That may come tomorrow or in 10,000 years, but in either case I don’t find the subject interesting; there is nothing much I can do about it one […]

Monarchy and the American Constitution
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Monarchy and the American Constitution

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No matter how good a system is “on paper,” it must arise from a people’s own experience and tradition. We do not preserve the idea of tradition by destroying it — no matter how flawed it might be — and imposing an alien system. On the other hand, tradition is neither something fixed for all […]

Regalism versus Real Catholic Monarchy
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Regalism versus Real Catholic Monarchy

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The Development of Regalism Regalism was a development of the late Middle Ages and early modern period that sought to centralize all power in the hands of the king. All social and economic institutions, even — or especially — the Church, were brought under royal control. This was the beginning of the modern “nation-state,” in […]

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