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Re: [LandCafe] Re: FT

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  • John David Kromkowski
    I barely even know what this thread is about and a point by point response really makes this tedious. So I ll write in general. First, being catholic does not
    Message 1 of 111 , Nov 16, 2012
      I barely even know what this thread is about and a point by point response really makes this tedious.  So I'll write in general.

      First, being catholic does not make one more or less likely to be "charitable" (the word used by Walt).  All humans can be charitable and should be.  Catholics do not have a monopolistic privilege in sainthood.  It is open to everybody:  Atheist, Agnostic, Catholic, Buddhist, whatever, can be jerks or saints or mostly both.  That's just human condition.

      I don't think I was being uncharitable.  I'm pretty left of center.  I've been called a commie and a socialist before.  My only objection to that is that it implies I might be an atheist or that I am against private property.  I'm all for private private property in both things and even land, subject to the "universal destination" of goods and the earth.  

      I am pretty sure that Mr. Hudson is a socialist and/or was a communist.  I don't think that he'd take offense to being called that -  (he might object to the "retread" part).  But he really isn't first and foremost a Georgist or a Land Taxer.  And I suppose we could delve (but I wont because I don't know all the facts) into his break with the Shalkenbach crowd.  All I was saying was that the stuff of his that I've read makes me believe that he is a socialist (I used the word "commie"  because I do think up until the collapse of Sov. Union; he was on board with that system.  I thought he favored "state capitalism" instead of "private enterprise imperialism".  So from what I've read and from what I've generically heard, it seems as though he is a co-opter of the Georgist thing.  Some of the stuff he writes is very interesting but there something in his writing that makes me skeptical - its hard to tease out what is real and what is exaggeration and what is revisionist history.

      So the basic formula here is I've read some of his stuff and I've heard some things and my intuition tells me to be skeptical and that he seems like a old-time socialist maybe trying to co-opt Georgist theme of land taxation, so be skeptical.  I'm not skeptical because he is a socialist (if he isn't well my apologies), but because of my interaction with his writings and with what I've heard.   In other words,  EVIDENCE leading to skeptical view.    NOT skepticism based on what he is.

      As to Roy.  His evolutionary theory of "natural rights" is just a bunch of cockamamie nonsense.  The whole point is of the concept of "natural rights" is that it is supposed to be universal and free from culture or political system.   His way of looking at it can not even get you to a universal right to life or liberty.  (Saying nothing of utter lack of knowledge of genetics of the nearly, I'd say entirely, non-existent link between culture and genetics.)   Just suppose by some fluke (which is a big part of how evolution works), the whole world gets destroyed except for North Korea and Roy Langston.  Good luck Roy because the individual right to life or liberty will not be what has "survived".   Do you think North Koreas (nearly three generations of them) have some special gene that makes them predispose to their notion of society and oppression?  It is, in fact, nutty.

      So basically, to my way of thinking, Roy's exposition of his theory of natural rights ensures that natural right to use land is basically done as a persuasive argument in favor of land value taxation.  That's why I asked the question about whether he was a shill for corporations against LVT.   Because that is a known method of disinformation propoganda -  you link an idea you are against with a cockamamie idea of an ostensible supporter of the idea.

      Again, the formula is EVIDENCE leading to my view (actually a question but perhaps rhetorical.)

      Now we come to Walt, who knows full well Roy's theory of natural rights is crazy.  Both in its basis and its implications.  But he is going to bust my chops for calling it out, in one post from the beginning rather than dragging it out in a tit for tat thread.

      My beef with Walt is that he says IF someone is catholic or religious THEN a priori his writings are tainted, even if in the end they are useful or interesting.   That is PRE-judging, i.e. prejudice. Now my responses may well be too rough or caustic or non-charitable,  but I am not presuming taint -  I am making judgments based on the writings or history.  I am judging the message,  not judging the messenger a priori. 

      What's the bigger message for land taxers -   I think that George's ideas have suffered during the last hundred years of being co-opted by libertarians, anarchists, socialists, communists, environmentalists,  the I'd like a CD or BIG because I'd rather not actually hold down job, and the professional Georgists and/or int'l conference goers.  (You all know who your are. And I know you are all trying your best.)  Maybe, it is the other way around and at some point Georgists were trying to coopt these groups.  But all of these groups are on the fringe.  And it is very hard to do legislation from the fringe or margin.

      I don't need to convert anybody to Catholicism.  As far as I am concerned the whole of humanity is already catholic, even if they don't know it.  This is basic catholic teaching. Lumen Gentium   Follow and inform your conscious and you can't go wrong, even when you go wrong.  This is also basic catholic teaching.

      But from a practical view, being able to appeal to the nominal catholic church about land taxation is a way to make land taxation less a fringe notion. I do think the lesson is the Henry George had his great success because of his association with McGlyn - who in the end was reinstated and who in the beginning was not punish by church because of land value taxation but because of petty disputes between him and his bishop about authority (privates don't bust the chops of generals) and about comingling public education and catholic education (McGlyn didn't  want to take public money to educate kids).

      And also, there is a lot in the tradition of the church that the left could benefit from - if they put away their knee jerk prejudice.  (The right is a dead dead end.  Just remember Gorbachev called Pope John Paul II "one of the most important thinkers of the left".  "OF THE LEFT!".)   Henry George is part of the Left, to put him in any other camp is revisionist. He wasn't a land nationalizer or communist or socialist but he is squarely in the tradition of the left.


      "Everyone knows that the Fathers of the Church laid down the duty of the rich toward the poor in no uncertain terms. As St. Ambrose put it: "You are not making a gift of what is yours to the poor man, but you are giving him back what is his. You have been appropriating things that are meant to be for the common use of everyone. The earth belongs to everyone, not to the rich."  Populorum progressio

      typed in haste and not proof read.

      On Wed, Nov 14, 2012 at 9:13 PM, walto <calhorn@...> wrote:

      Incidentally, I invite people to consider who is more prejudiced--the non-believer or the believer. Here's the self-described Catholic:

      "I don't know Hudson but everything I've read by him and
      heard about makes me think that he is just a retread commie trying to Coopt land taxation. So basically I'm skeptical on most of his assertions/ propaganda."

      "Are you sure you're just not a shill to make lvt seem like a nutty thing?"

      And here's the self-described agnostic:

      "I haven't avoided Augustine, Aquinas or St. Anselm because they are Catholic (and have in fact enjoyed and learned from them), but I take their extreme religious involvement to make it necessary to exercise additional caution when reading them."

      Who is more charitable with respect to views with which he does not agree? You be the judge.


      Very truly yours

      John D. Kromkowski
      6803 York Road -- Suite 207
      Baltimore, MD 21212

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    • Harry Pollard
      JDK, Those who survive are presumably the fittest to survive for the fittest just describes those who have survived. With regard to your last sentence –
      Message 111 of 111 , Nov 23, 2012

        Those who survive are presumably the fittest to survive for the "fittest" just describes those who have survived.

        With regard to your last sentence – Stalin got there first.


        The Alumni Group 
        The Henry George School
        of Los Angeles
        Tujunga   CA   90243
               (818) 352-4141

        On Sun, Nov 18, 2012 at 9:54 AM, JDKromkowski <jdkromkowski@...> wrote:

        Evolution is not really: the survival of the "fittest" It is just survival of that which survives. Evolution is a way of describing the process of how variation within a population will lead to variation eventually of species.  There are plenty of genes along for the ride which are not particularly "the fittest".  

        Yes the survival of the two apostolic lungs of Christianity (Catholics and the Eastern church) despite its massive weakness and in fact embracement of weakness of the god who becomes human and is rejected and put to death is a puzzle and crazy on its face. It drove Nietzsche crazy (well that and syphillus drove him crazy).  It also drove the communists crazy too.   Massive defense? How many tanks does the church have?


        Sent from my iPad

        On Nov 16, 2012, at 11:26 PM, "mattbieker" <agrarian.justice@...> wrote:


        --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, John David Kromkowski <jdkromkowski@...> wrote:
        > On Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 12:01 PM, mattbieker <agrarian.justice@...
        > > wrote:
        > >
        > > The catholic church has one real function: serving the clergy. When it
        > > was able to, it dominated a large swath of the earth in an imperial form.
        > > It can't now, so it fills out whatever niches it can; but the main thing is
        > > ensuring that members of clergy don't have to go and get real jobs.
        > >
        > Thanks for sharing this one too. I'm getting better picture of Land Cafe.
        > It really is best if we get it all out in the open. It's for the same
        > reason I won't hide my background.
        > This isn't a cocktail party, where we need to avoid the topic for
        > charitable purposes - or at least for the purposes of not interfering with
        > mutual love of beer or gin or your choice. I'd still have a beer in
        > Baltimore (once), with any of you clowns.
        > JDK

        *shrugs* Whatever one thinks of Roy's evolutionary basis for morals, I think there's fairly clearly a pseudo-evolutionary basis for ideas and institutions. Dawkins made this case in his "The Selfish Gene." Basically, ideas are duplicated, with variation, in the minds of individuals; from there, it's survival of the fittest. The conceptual equivalent to a gene being a "meme." Why do religious institutions survive despite being a load of crap that generally act as a drain on society? They're very advanced critters in the world of memes; they've evolved a whole host of defenses to offset their massive weaknesses, such as the notion that it's not polite or even acceptable to question a man's faith, or that without beliefs in these memes, we have no basis for social behavior.

        Catholicism isn't necessarily the most egregious case of this sort of memetic virus (that has to go to Scientology, don't you think?), but that's what it is, and all the bottom line of them all is the same: enrichment (both financial as well as emotional) of clergy. Still and all, its senseless and generally ad-hoc opposition to contraception, even in the light of AIDS epidemics, is horrible enough in and of itself to give me a fairly thoroughgoing distaste for it in particular, and I'd pretty much rather not see any meme I deem useful or good to be mixed up with it.

        Personally, I think one of the best parts of online discussion is that there's less tendency to hold back one's beliefs; many lament this, saying that the internet just makes everyone rude because they don't fear social repercussions, but I believe there's inherent value there, as it allows for a more rapid evolution of memes. The noise and nastiness comes with the territory, and I think people will just eventually find a new normal.

        One common Christian meme is certainly right though: hate the sin, and not the sinner. I agree, I'd have a beer with any of you. It's worth making a conscious effort not to take attacks against our beliefs too personally, because it turns out everyone tends to be wrong quite often.

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