Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Distribitust Dilemmas

Pre-recs for this post:


The Catholic Land Movement is tied to thinkers like Chesterton and Belloc (for some of you, I might peak your interest by letting you know that Mumfort and Sons quotes Chesterton).  These thinkers were proponents of distributism.  To put it short, they theorized that capitalism and socialism are basically two giant entities that maintain power by maintaining a proletariat class (that's you).  The argument is over who holds the money and power - big biz or big brother?  Do you want trickle down government or business?  The funny thing is, capitalism is always followed by socialism - its inevitable.  Freedom is easily surrendered when a country looses its virtue and intellect.  Its been slower in the US, but socialism is basically accepted with blessed exceptions here and there.  Either one, money and power in the hands of a few.  Period. 

The problem is neither of them begin with the family and property.  Families, sustained and protected by property, will thrive in a truly free market.  But the market is not free.  And I'm not talking about unregulated "markets" that were closed down by Sandy.  I'm talking about the individual (perhaps a family) and his ability to OWN means of production that sustain and build.  Big biz or big bro aside, they both stop the impoverished from participating in a free market - one by crushing competition with sheer force the other by sterilizing the masses with regulation and socializing industry. Just to be clear, I am for competitive, free-markets, but that is not what capitalism produces in many cases and socialism doesn't exactly spur it either.  But lets think about a poor family for a minute.  Cities, especially liberal ones with lots of coffee shops and protests, often ban trailers, a reasonable and affordable (and recyclable!) housing for the poor.  If they could put their trailer there (to be closer to good markets), then there are all sorts of laws against chickens and home-industry in general.  If the poor were there and were able to produce, they would have to face laws that keep them from selling on their lawn, on the side of the road, especially on the sides of highways were potential customers would see them all day (it could be on an exit to be safe).  These foods would also be liable to the same laws that were reactions by a too-big government responding to the disgusting condition of too-big agribusiness.  Bureaucrats, who could not pronounce subsidiarity, want forms and fees that mom and pop just can't deliver.  Liberal or conservative, the laws hinder the poor because they cannot produce from their own land, because in reality they'll never own it.  We need them free to mow our lawns anyway.  Let them be dirty, flag-wavin idiots out in the country and we'll worry about the things that smart enlightened people think about while munching on GMOs and picketing for our slave master.  (This completely sets aside the fact that many, who would be able physically to produce from the land, simply have lost the skill and tradition.)

Anyway... the problem is property.  Property, and owning it, is THE problem for people wanting to get back to the land and be productive.  Unless someone was able to just purchase it for you (in which case you can't be too hard on capitalism) or you move to a deserted (read: marketless) town where land is basically free, its hard to make a go at it.  Even if you do inherit it, big bro has a death tax which is another way that property is removed from the hands of the proletariat class (remember, that's probably you).  Oh sure, they call it estate tax, but since it is triggered only when someone dies, its a death tax.

So, this is the dilemma.  I've begun a paper for my school on this very topic - how to return to the land in our modern situation.  I hope to share pieces of it with you, because I think that the current situation my family is in may be a great example of ways to do it - How? - this I cannot share yet, but I will.  I have not lost faith in my country, just to be clear.  How many "bubbles" we'll have to burst before reality sets in I don't know, but the way we've been livin' is just not going to work. 

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