Urban Distributism

Via Steve Skojec I have found an agrarian/distributist resource site that is second to none: The ChesterBelloc Mandate. Among the many, many fine articles is a common-sense discourse by Mr. John Peterson on urban distributism, or Distributism Without the Cow. Here’s a small sample:


“1. Everything begins with putting the family first. The first loyalty has to be to the family.

Urban Distributist marriages should include, among the wedding vows, a mutual promise to willingly die for the welfare of this newly created family. Is there a stronger way to put it? Distributism is not about farming-economics, it’s about family-integrity. The family has to have stability before it can have economic stability. Therefore, Distributism cannot be comprised of a bunch of wishy-washy, temporary, modernist marriages with spoiled-brat divorces and no-sweat annulments. That stuff is fine for Proletarians but will not do for Distributists. In every decision made by husband, in every decision made by wife, the first consideration must be, ‘is this good for or bad for my family?’ Neither the selfish, ‘How will this affect me?’ nor the unselfish, ‘How will it affect her (or him)’ is Distributist. This commandment is especially true in the sphere of economics. The word ‘career’ has no meaning for a Distributist except as it relates to the economic support of his family.

2. The Urban Distributist goal is economic independence for the family.

3. The center of Urban Distributist life is a place – the home. The place is permanent. It can be changed for weighty family reasons, certainly, but certainly not for mere job transfers or so-called career ‘promotions’.

4. The Urban Distributist home is an economically productive place.

5. Urban Distributist family members hire themselves out as employees to work for a wage on behalf of the family. The Urban Distributist employees are valued employees. In justice, they give a good hour’s work for an hour’s pay, but they do not give their loyalty to their employer, they do not pin their hopes on job success, and they have no illusions about their employer’s loyalty to them.

6. Urban Distributist families are frugal families. They accumulate savings, which they invest to provide non-wage family income.

7. Urban Distributist families experiment with home businesses, first as a learning experience, then as a source of non-wage income, and last as something to fall back on when the wages disappear (as they well may and very often do). Urban Distributist businesses are built around the interests, skills, and creativity of the family members, and are a source of both dignity and pleasure for them.

8. Urban Distributists have extra time. They make more of their time because they do not waste dozens of hours each week on television, computer games, the internet, or other escapist pursuits.

9. The Urban Distributist dollar goes further. Distributists avoid a consumerist lifestyle with its credit cards, mindless shopping, conspicuous consumption, and keeping up with the Jones’.

10. Urban Distributist families are hotbeds of economic education, perpetually seeking and learning new and improved job skills, sharper investment techniques, and more profitable business practices.

In summary, the Urban way to Distributism and family economic independence combines family wages with investments and business income. These economic benefits multiply with Distributist family frugality, productivity, and continuous education.

Maybe Urban Distributism can be explained in terms of the difference between rebellion and resistance. An alien enemy has conquered Christendom and we now live in occupied territory. The enemy has imposed his culture on us and is imposing his rules of law and life. When you are a conquered people, you have three alternatives. You can collaborate, you can resist, or you can rebel. To establish the Distributist State would require a rebellion. Until the Distributist Rebellion, then, we can think of ourselves as part of the resistance.”

Things that don’t bother me

As it seems I’ll not be posting anything substantive for a while, I will attempt to entertain you with my own homemade blog meme. Here is a list of 30 things that don’t bother me:

1. Vegetarians.
2. Mobile homes.
3. Old money/inherited wealth.
4. Clotheslines.
5. People who can’t speak English well.
6. Bluebloods.
7. Racial homogeneity.
8. Economic inequality.
9. Early marriage.
10. Bored children.
11. Absolute monarchy.
12. People who don’t vote.
13. Class privilege.
14. Eccentrics.
15. Illegal immigrants.
16. Global warming.
17. Sinners in high places.
18. High school dropouts.
19. Adults who still live with their parents.
20. Racial diversity.
21. Men who are too loud.
22. Women who are too quiet.
23. Religious kitsch.
24. The Luminous Mysteries.
25. Thomas Kinkade.
26. Farm subsidies.
27. Government funding for the arts.
28. People with prejudices.
29. People with no worldly ambitions.
30. Pesticides.

I hereby tag TSO , William Luse, and Steve Skojec! And Hilary!

UPDATE! Here’s ten more:

31. Tobacco users.
32. Permanent deacons.
33. Dick Cheney.
34. The smell of a dairy farm.
35. Breastfeeding in public.
36. Babies in church.
37. The Crusades.
38. Capital punishment.
39. Protestant fundamentalists.
40. Inefficiency.

Tattoos and body piercing

What does the Church teach about tattoos and body piercing? An insightful article from the archives of The Latin Mass Magazine seems appropriate this time of year:

“An action acceptable or indifferent in itself can become wrong if the intention or motive is wrong. Some young people adopt outrageous fashions out of an immature desire to rebel against society or against their parents. Such disobedience against parents is sinful. Some do it out of an immature desire to conform to their friends, and others out of an equally immature desire to stick out from everyone around them. Some do it out of boredom, because it is something different, because it gives them a thrill, because it is something for their friends to admire and comment on. Mindless following of fads is always the mark of immaturity …”

Things as they are

Consider the following words from this article about John Senior:

“Dr. Senior was a man rooted in reality. The starting point of any conversation with him (and its arché sustaining the talk throughout) was things as they are.”

Things as they are. We are perhaps too accustomed to thinking of traditionalist social doctrine as being about “things as they ought to be”. But the Catholic Faith starts with reality, with things as they are. For the Catholic, “things as they ought to be” must never be considered apart from the present reality and legitimate means of change. In other words, if the present reality contains certain elements that cannot be changed by morally licit means, then “things as they ought to be” are perhaps not what we thought they were.

A particular goal might be good in itself, but unattainable due to the constraints of reality. Attempting to acquire this good can therefore become an evil act. Even agitating or campaigning for this good can become an evil act if: a) it inspires men to adopt immoral attitudes and illicit means of change; b) the good is presented as the only possible alternative when in fact there are other legitimate options. Keeping this in mind will prevent us from confusing “things as they ought to be” with “things as they might have been”. 

My pregnant wife

These days she’s barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen a lot. And cooking delicious Vietnamese food. In fact, I remarked just last night that I have eaten more Vietnamese food in the last month than I have in the previous 12 months combined. Pregnancy does funny things to a lady. With my lady, it makes her crave the smell of fish sauce, the crackle of rice paper, the taste of stir-fry Asian vegetables and the tenderest pork you ever had. She wants the food of her childhood and the familiar aromas of her mother’s kitchen.

Yesterday she went to Sacramento for a funeral Mass and a doctor’s appointment. Naturally, she wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to hit the Vietnamese supermarket in Little Saigon. Our cupboards and counters are now full of items like these:

This food comes home in orange plastic bags. It is my job to bring in the large sack of rice. She puts it all together and comes out with tasty dishes like this one:

I will often ask her if the meal she has prepared for us has a name. She usually tells me “no, it doesn’t have a name”. I tell her that it has to have a name, everything has a name. She says it is just something that she put together. A little of this and a little of that. OK, fine. Makes it pretty hard to put in a request for something when you don’t know what to call it!

Some women have lots of emotional swings during pregnancy. For example, I hear tell that some pregnant females get mad at their husbands for no good reason. Not my lady! In fact, she always treats me like a king when she’s pregnant. I don’t know what it is, but pregnancy makes her even sweeter than usual – which reminds me that I’d kind of like to keep her in that condition a little more often.

That doesn’t mean that I get off the hook. About two weeks before she discovers that she’s pregnant, we have a really super big argument. I used to think this was coincidental, but now I am sure that there is a connection. As a matter of fact, precisely two weeks to the day before she learned about Number 5, it happened again. I was steaming mad and didn’t recognize it immediately, but it didn’t take long. Once I realized what was happening I felt a lot better knowing that good news was on the horizon. That night I even remarked to a friend (if I may quote myself), “In two weeks I’m going to find out that my wife is pregnant”. A veritable prophet, I am!