Join us for our February meeting, when we will discuss the idea of Distributism, and read the Papal encyclical that inspired Chesterton and Belloc: Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum.
For this meeting, we will have a few essential readings, which are below. Following this list, we've also provided some optional/ supplementary readings for those who wish to dig deeper...
- Government and the Rights of Man - essay by GKC
- Democracy and Industrialism - excerpt from an essay by GKC
- Sex and Property - chapter from The Well and the Shallows by GKC
- A Misunderstanding about Method - from a chapter of The Outline of Sanity by GKC
- Reflections on a Rotten Apple - chapter from The Well and the Shallows
- The Catholic Church and the Principle of Private Property - an essay by Hilaire Belloc
- The Restoration of Property - an essay by Hilaire Belloc
[Alternate Source] [PDF]
THE LEAGUE offers the only practical alternative to the twin evils of Capitalism and Socialism. It is equally opposed to both; they both result in the concentration or property and power in a few hands to the enslavement of the majority.
THE LEAGUE stands...
For the Liberty of the Individual and the Family. Against interference by busybodies, monopolies, or the State.
Personal Liberty will be restored mainly by the better Distribution of Property (i.e., ownership of land, houses, workshops, gardens, means of production, etc).
The Better Distribution of Property
will be better acheived by protecting and facilitating the ownership of individual enterprises in land, shops, and factories
Thus THE LEAGUE fights for:
Small shops and Shopkeepers against multiple shops and trusts.
Individual Craftsmanship and Cooperation in industrial enterprise. (Every worker should own a share in the Assets and Control of the business in which he works).
The Small Holder and the Yeoman Farmer against monopolists of large inadequately farmed estates.
And the Maximum, instead of the minimum, initiative on the part of the citizen.
[T]he Socialist says that property is already concentrated into Trusts and Stores: the only hope is to concentrate it further in the State. I say the only hope is to unconcentrate it; that is, to repent and return; the only step forward is the step backward.
But in connection with this distribution I have laid myself open to another potential mistake. In speaking of a sweeping redistribution, I speak of decision in the aim, not necessarily of abruptness in the means. It is not at all too late to restore an approximately rational state of English possessions without any mere confiscation. A policy of buying out landlordism, steadily adopted in England as it has already been adopted in Ireland (notably in Mr. Wyndham's wise and fruitful Act), would in a very short time release the lower end of the see-saw and make the whole plank swing more level. The objection to this course is not at all that it would not do, only that it will not be done. If we leave things as they are, there will almost certainly be a crash of confiscation. If we hesitate, we shall soon have to hurry. But if we start doing it quickly we have still time to do it slowly.