Friday, January 6, 2012

Hand to mouth survival / working 3 times as hard for a third of the money.

With the economy now gone to hell and life an extreme struggle trying to support a family, is there anything more annoying during these difficult times than the academia types who think of themselves as economic guiding lights when all they have to offer is the most inane and horrific advice possible?

I've now been told several times I haven't been very polite to those annoying distributist writers. And while I suppose my comments could be seen as nursing a grudge, and some such about being passive aggressive . . .

A better understanding of my writing, and what it is really far more akin to is something along the line of my framing a house where I'm trying to nail into place some heavy akward beam in 3d space while having some observer below, (who couldn't cut a board straight if his life depended on it), standing there giving me inane advice. What I really want to do is climb down to his level, drag him to the edge of the subfloor and throw him off for all he's worth.

The annoying observer, of course, isn't what is really causing me problems, the beam is. But winging the beam off the subfloor would not only cause me to have to go down and drag it up again, it also wouldn't give me the enjoyment of listening to it scream in horror while in midflight.

Now I suppose some people might consider my reaction a bit off, but it really isn't. Whereas "nursing a grudge" or being "passive aggressive" would be off. Men don't hold grudges, nor do we nurse wounds seeking revenge. We kick butt, throw annoying observers off of subfloors and then it's over with. We pull out the beer and shake hands all around. And if the annoying observer does it again, well, kick his butt until he figures it out, some people are slow learners.

Of course we now live in a society full of girly boys and manly women. So we get all sorts of unnatural reactions. But nevertheless, nursing a grudge, or being passive aggressive, is not what I am doing.

And I suppose some people might consider my reaction a bit extreme, but the real extremists are the distributists. What is with those people that they insist on pushing such lunacy? It's not as if distributism has any affect on their lives in academia where they're pampered and coddled, and ownership of the means of production at the university is simply never going to occur.

What distributist writers want to do is save the world, because like good little liberals they've been brainwashed by modern society to think of themselves as exceptional when what they really are is simply an ideologue version of Procustes who would chop my family down to size to save it from the usurers.

Society can only be properly formed and transformed organically. In contrast, what the distributists want is really no different than what the communists in russia did, they want to rebuild society and control it. They're like the new bride who grew up as a single child without real family experience who has grand visions of how she's going to raise perfect children. But children have wills of their own with fallen nature. Societies are complex. Extremely complex.

A society which develops organically will naturally order itself to fit the given complexity, so that if that society is culturally Catholic, that society will order itself along Catholic lines. Which would not make it the utopia distributists envision, to be sure, but it would at least have a semblance of Catholic order.


And to answer my own question : is there anything more annoying? Yes there is. Libertarian Jeffery Tucker's In Defense of Bourgeois Civilizaion

Of course Tucker is correct in his portrayal of those he vies against because the distributists, and agrarians and similar have made those same absurd arguments he gleefully grinds under his heel.

But Tucker is even worse because he sells his soul for mass produced pottage which ruined the economy in the first place. The Misiens think themselves brilliant because they predicted the collapse, but they cheered on many of the destructive entities which lead to the collapse with their defense of offshoring, conspicuous consumption of cheap and inexpensive goods, etc.


  1. I took you up on your suggestion and read the above. I'd like to add that I appreciated your earlier responses on EP. It is admirable that you responded so calmly to my critical comments. Have to respect that.

    As regards the above: My main complaint is the lack of footnotes. There are crazies all over the place, and it doesn't tell me anything useful that you also find some among distributists. And then you say you appreciated Belloc (but not Chesterton? or did you appreciate him as well?). Well, some modern distributists sound to me an awful lot like those guys, so .. what gives? Why not provide some specific examples of a distributist(s) who said something that really annoys you, and what it was. I'm not doubting that there are bone-headed ideas out there among them --I've seen some myself -- I'm just curious which are the ones that bug you in particular. And why you think that distributists are more prone to bad and impractical thinking than, say, Chicago school economists, or Keynesians, or whatever. To my mind, all these schools have some more, some less useful ideas. And it seems you also admit that there are SOME aspects of classical distributism that you respect ...

    One final thing. Medaille has said some controversial things, and has not always expressed even those very well, e.g. as regards monarchy or whatever. Two quick points. First, people can be excellent at one thing and awful at another. Medaille is actually pretty darn good at thinking through modern economic theory. You may hate the guy, but his economic reasoning is at the very least no worse than that of the any textbook I've seen. To my mind it is actually far better than most: more humane AND more rational. No mean feat. My second point: If you don't want to read Medaille's book, no biggee. Fine. I think you should, but ... whatever. But if you don't take the time to familiarize yourself with what a scholar actually says, then I think it would be only polite to not make sweeping statements about what that scholar represents. Why not, instead, ignore them. Seems somehow more honest. Oh, and one more thing; and maybe this explains my comments about a grudge. I get the impression you think everyone in academia lives on some sort of endless gravy train while other people actually have to work for a living out in the rain. I'm pretty sure, .. no, I'm dead certain, that an adjunct instructor at an obscure Catholic college is not living on academic easy street. That's crazy talk. Even at top universities adjuncts don't make squat for working their tails off. And professors elsewhere in the humanities also don't make very much. It's a big myth about academia. Disagree with their ideas all you like. But plumbers and even a lot of carpenters, if they're busy, are making more money.

    Again, I do appreciate your civility in response to what, from me, was probably less civil than it should have been.

    Paul Grenier

  2. Thank you for your comment,

    I have a pretty good idea what those obscure Catholic colleges pay, having been graduated from one, Thomas Aquinas College, and from having friends who teach at them, the Catholic world is rather small.

    But being well paid as opposed to being pampered and coddled are very different creatures. The same can likewise be said of those who work for somewhat large corporations or for those who work for the government.

    The point is, compared to small businesses, their needs are virtually all taken care of.

    They also tend to be very different in their capacities. Specialists thrive in university and corporate type settings. Where as being a jack of all trades serves one better in the small business world.

    And when I read their comments the difference stands out starkly because they invariably praise businesses and so forth which are obviously impractical to those of us who are jack of all trade types because they miss all the details which are important, only seeing the pretty pictures.

    For instance, the urban farms in Detroit, the distributist types are all over them, but look at them closely. The don't actually support their own infrastructure, and are really parasites living off a dying carcass. But all the distributist types see is some romantic version of their visions of society.

  3. btw,

    Phenomenology is exactly what simple is not. No one in his right mind would describe his self evident knowledge in phenomenological terms.

    Phenomenology is virtually the opposite of seeing the world simply. Apparently, my use of the term needs more explanation.

    in fact, I appreciate all your comments because they not only helps me think through the issue more completely, but also help me see what needs further explanation. Over the next couple of weeks I'll write several of posts as answer. Starting with what is meant by seeing the world simply.

    Although I do appreciate that at least you didn't see it as simple minded, which is the typical reaction, even among some of those who should know better.

  4. I heartily agree that phenomenology as a field has not excelled in expressing things simply. All the same, there is an overlap, as can be seen from this introduction to the entry on phenomenology from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: "Literally, phenomenology is the study of 'phenomena': appearances of things, or things as they appear in our experience, or the ways we experience things, thus the meanings things have in our experience."

    On a completely different subject, who do you admire in the architecture world?