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Hi Dr. Taylor,

This isn't about pedagogy either, but class is over in just a week, so I'm getting my questions out while I can!

On p. 103 I see your comments on capitalism and communism: "both systems... are materialistic and have little or nothing to do with eternal truths, or beauty, or goodness in any transcendent way." You go on to point out more shared characteristics: progressivism, scientific philosophy, pragmatism.

That's so interesting. I've rarely seen the comparison made, but most often it has been in the context of discussions on distributism, an idea that I really like. I understand Chesterton was a distributist. I've read a book of essays on distributism and also a book on Catholic social teaching by Anthony Esolen that talks a little about it. In both books, a related topic is subsidiarity: the teaching that things should be done at the lowest level possible. For instance, education can be controlled and done by parents or local teachers. It can also be done by the federal government. It's a violation of subsidiarity (and thus unjust) for the federal government to control education because it can be performed at a more local level. Murder is also a violation of subsidiarity. It's a person at the local or individual level taking on a task that only rightly (if one believes in capital punishment) belongs to the state.

In my Protestant circles, most Christians are conservative and capitalistic, even if that means affirming industrial capitalism. That just doesn't seem right to me. (Maybe I've read too much Wendell Berry.) But I can't explain why. I saw you mentioned (on p. 105) a book called Small Is Beautiful. I'll look it up. Maybe it'll help. It seems partly (to me) that industrial capitalism takes place on an inhuman scale and is motivated not by human nature or need, but by an "economic" bottom line. Somehow there's a disconnect between that and us as humans in the image of God. But I can't quite make the connection. Can you connect the dots?

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You wrote: "It seems partly (to me) that industrial capitalism takes place on an inhuman scale and is motivated not by human nature or need, but by an "economic" bottom line. Somehow there's a disconnect between that and us as humans in the image of God. But I can't quite make the connection. Can you connect the dots?"

This is one of the charms of conversation -- you have answered your own question, you have connected the dots!  Turn this from a question to a declarative sentence and you have your answer. I would add that industrial capitalism is motivated by the more wounded part of our human nature, i.e., greed and lack of love of neighbor.

I believe it is either GK Chesterton or Hiliare Belloc who has the book on Distributism.  I recall that it is not easy going but worth it.

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