Thursday, July 26, 2012


There are always entreaties amongst the intelligensia during difficult social times for a "new" solution to the "problems" of inequality and "injustice".

The doctrine of "Distributism" is another attempt to re-package centuries old ideas into something more palatable and tractable for the contemporary audience.

The debates that follow form a litany of assumptions regarding the human condition and its "progress".

In his book "The Moral Landscape" Sam Harris provides a nice starting point for the assumptions made  with respect to human society:

"All question of value (right and wrong, good and evil) depend upon the possibility of experiencing such value.  Without potential consequences at the level of experience - happiness, suffering, joy, despair, etc.- all talk of value is emtpy.  Therefore, to say that an act is morally necessary, or evil, or blameless is to make (tacit) claims about its consequences in the lives of conscious creatures (wether actual or potential)."

These kinds of doctrines (The origins of the several theories matter not: Harris is an atheist, and Distributism itself is a product of the Catholic Church) seem to correlate well with general peace and stable hyper-powers.  Victorian sensibilities of decency and morality reigned during Britain's height of power, and the current skein of "global progress" continues today under the might of the U.S.A.

Power, interest, greed, envy, and the competitive nature of humans do not simply vanish in this type of environment either.  Searching for the Utopia which "progress" seeks to find is tantamount to reading a Pynchon novel;  there is much thought involved, perhaps you have learned a thing or two, but finding the main theme proves as elusive as the Shangri-La in Against the Day.

No comments: