A Collection of Peter Maurin’s Easy Essays
Peter Maurin dispensed his vision for a Christian social order in short, memorable blank verse poems that he called “Easy Essays.” Here are 82 of his Easy Essays, organized into 11 themes.
Typically, the authors of new visions for the social order write lengthy treatises explaining their ideas: Plato wrote his Republic, Marx and Engels wrote The Communist Manifesto, the bishops of the Catholic Church write lengthy letters.
Not so Peter Maurin, co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement. He dispensed his vision for a Christian social order in short, memorable blank verse poems that he called “Easy Essays.” In all, he wrote at least 569 Easy Essays, most of them published in the pages of The Catholic Worker. In The Forgotten Radical Peter Maurin: Easy Essays from the Catholic Worker, Lincoln Rice describes these literary nuggets:
At first glance, Maurin’s Easy Essays appear overly simplistic and preposterous. But upon further investigation, his essays are much more complex and nuanced. Packed with demanding ideas meant to convey dense information and encourage the listener to ponder different ways to understand and interact with reality, his short poetic phrases became his modus operandi for communicating his vision and became a hallmark of his public theology. Each essay contained anywhere from one to ten or more stanzas and were part of a larger arrangement, often titled. Within the larger arrangements were individual essays, which were also titled and arranged in such a manner as to support the overall thesis. Many individual essays were later repeated in slightly altered forms in new arrangements. Previous arrangements were also repeated that omitted or added an essay.
Below, you’ll find a collection of some of Peter Maurin’s better-known Easy Essays.
Looking for Leadership
Blowing the Dynamite
Writing about the Catholic Church, a radical writer says: “Rome will have to do more than to play a waiting game; she will have to use some of the dynamite inherent in her message.” To blow the dynamite of a message is the only way to make the message dynamic. If the Catholic Church is not today the dominant social dynamic force, it is because Catholic scholars have failed to blow the dynamite of the Church. Catholic scholars have taken the dynamite of the Church, have wrapped it up in nice phraseology, placed it in an hermetic container and sat on the lid. It is about time to blow the lid off so the Catholic Church may again become the dominant social dynamic force.
1. Politicians used to say: "We make prosperity through our wise policies." 2. Business men used to say: "We make prosperity through our private enterprise." 3. The workers did not have anything to say about the matter; 4. They were either put to work or thrown out of employment 5. And when unemployment came the workers had no recourse against the professed makers of prosperity, politicians and business men.
Politics Is Politics
1. A politician is an artist in the art of following the wind of public opinion. 2. He who follows the wind of public opinion does not follow his own judgement. 3. And he who does not follow his own judgement cannot lead people out of the beaten path. 4. He is like the tail of a dog that tries to lead the head. 5. When people stand behind their president and their president stands behind them they and their president go around in a circle getting nowhere.
Classes And Clashes
1. Business men say that because everybody is selfish business must necessarily be based on selfishness. 2. But when business is based on selfishness everbody is busy becoming more selfish. 3. And when everybody is busy becoming more selfish, you have classes and clashes. 4. Business men create problems; they do not solve them.
Teachers Of Subjects
1. Our business managers don't know how to manage the things they try to manage, because they don't understand the things they try to manage. 2. So they turn to college professors in the hope of understanding the things they try to manage. 3. But college professors do not profess anything, they only teach subjects. 4. As teachers of subjects, college professors may enable people to master subjects, but mastering subjects has never enabled anyone to master situations.
The Age Of Treason
1. Pope Pius IX and Cardinal Newman consider liberalism, whether it be religious, philosophical, or economic, the greatest error of the nineteenth century. 2. Modern liberalism is the logical sequence of the so-called age of Enlightenment- the age of Voltaire, Rousseau, Thomas Paine- sometimes called the Age of Reason in opposition to the Age of Faith. 3. By sponsoring nationalism and capitalism modern liberals have given up the search for truth and have become paid propagandists. 4. Modern liberals have ceased to appeal to reason, and have chosen to appeal to prejudice. 5. So the Age of Reason has become the age of Treason, as Julien Benda points out in his book entitled: "The treason of the Intellectuals".
Church And State
1. Modern Society believes in the separation of Church and State. 2. But the Jews did not believe in it. 3. The Greeks did not believe in it. 4. The Romans did not believe in it. 5. The Mediaevals did not believe in it. 6. The Puritians did not believe in it. 7. Modern society has separated Church and State but it did not separate the State from business. 8. The State is no longer a Church's State. 9. The State is now a Business Men's State.
1. Ethical teachers seem to wish every worker to be a stockholder and every stockhoulder to be a worker. 2. As a stockholder the worker wants bigger dividends. 3. As a worker he wants bigger wages. 4. And the stock promoters stock him with stocks till he gets stuck. 5. And labor organizers promise him better conditions and exact bigger dues. 6. And the worker finds himself exploited both by stock promoters and labor organizers.
A Modern Pest
1. "What ails modern society is separation of the spiritual from the material", says Glenn Frank. 2. "Secularism is a pest", says Pius XI. 3. When religion has nothing to do with education, education, education is only information; plenty of facts, but no understanding. 4. When religion has nothing to do with politics, politics is only factionalism: "Let's turn the rascals out so our good friends can get in." 5. When religion has nothing to do with business, business is only commercialism: "Let's get what we can while the getting is good."
Shouting With Rotarians
1. The modern man looks for thought so that he can have light, and he is unable to find it in our modern schools. 2. According to Professor Meiklejohn, "Students go school not to be directed but to become business men." 3. According to Glenn Frank, President of the University of Wisconsin, "Schools reflect the environment, they do not create it." 4. Which explains why shortly after their graduation, school graduates could be heard shouting with Rotarians: "Service for profits", "Time is money", "Keep Smiling", "Business is business", "How are you making out?" "The law of supply and demand", "Competition is the life of trade", "Your dollar is your best friend".
Catholic Worker Philosophy
1. Chesterton says: "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. 2. It has been found difficult and left untried." 3. Christianity has not been tried because people thought it was impractical. 4. And men have tried everything except Christianity. 5. And everything that men have tried has failed.
The Duty of Hospitality
1. People who are in need and are not afraid to beg give to people not in need the occasion to do good for goodness'sake. 2. Modern society calls the beggar bum and panhandler and gives him the bum's rush. But the Greeks used to say that people in need are the ambassadors of the gods. 3. Although you may be called bums and panhandlers you are in fact the Ambassadors of God. 4. As God's Ambassadors you should be given food, clothing and shelter by those who are able to give it. 5. Mahometan teachers tell us that God commands hospitality, and hospitality is still practiced in Mahometan countries. 6. But the duty of hospitality is neither taught nor practiced in Christian countries.
Feeding the Poor at a Sacrifice
1. In the first centuries of Christianity the hungry were fed at a personal sacrifice, the naked were clothed at a personal sacrifice, the homeless were sheltered at personal sacrifice. 2. And because the poor were fed, clothed and sheltered at a personal sacrifice, the pagans used to say about the Christians "See how they love each other." 3. In our own day the poor are no longer fed, clothed, sheltered at a personal sacrifice, but at the expense of the taxpayers. 4. And because the poor are no longer fed, clothed and sheltered the pagans say about the Christians "See how they pass the buck."
A Radical Change
1. The order of the day is to talk about the social order. 2. Conservatives would like to keep it from changing but they don't know how. 3. Liberals try to patch it and call it a New Deal. 4. Socialists want a change, but a gradual change. 5. Communists want a change, an immediate change, but a Socialist change. 6. Communists in Russia do not build Communism, they build Socialism. 7. Communists want to pass from capitalism to Socialism and from Socialism to Communism. 8. I want a change, and a radical change. 9. I want a change from an acquisitive society to a functional society, from a society of go-getters to a society of go-givers.
1. Henry Adams, who had in his ancestry two Presidents of the United States, says in his autobiography that one cannot get an education in modern America. 2. And the reason he gives is, that there is no unity of thought in modern America. 3. So he went to England and found that modern England is too much like America. 4. So he went to France and found that modern France is too much like England and America. 5. But in France, Henry Adams found that one could get an education in thirteenth-century France. 6. And he wrote a book concerning the Cathedral of Chartes and the Mount Saint-Michel, where he points out that there was unity of thought in thirteenth-century France.
Guild System – 1200 A.D.
1. In 1200 A.D. there was no Capitalist System, there was the Guild System. 2. The doctrine of the Guilds was the doctrine of the Common Good. 3. The people used to say as they do now: "What can I do for you?" but they meant what they said. 4. Now they say one thing and they mean another. 5. They did not look for markets, they let markets look for them.
Roman Law – 1300 A.D.
1. In 1300 A.D. the Roman Law took place of the Canon Law. 2. The Roman Law enables rich men to live among the poor men. 3. The Canon Law enables good men to live among bad men. 4. "Divide to rule" became the slogan of the politicians. 5. In his book "The Prince", Machiavelli taught them how. 6. So politics ceased to be policy and became just politics.
Middle-Man – 1400 A.D.
1. Around 1400 A.D. appears the middle-man. 2. He offers to buy the goods and to find a market. 3. The guild's man thinks about the money offered for his goods and forgets the Common Good. 4. And the middle-man is not interested in selling useful goods but in making money on any kind of goods. 5. And the consumer never meets the producer and the producer ceases to think in terms of service and begins to think in terms of profits.
Calvinism – 1530 A.D.
1. American Puritanism was to a great extent an outgrowth of Calvinism. 2. Andre' Siegfried says: "The Puritan is proud to be rich. 3. "If he makes money, he likes to tell himself that Divine Providence sends it to him. 4. "His wealth itself becomes in his eyes as well as the eyes of others a mark of God's blessing. 5. "A time comes when he no longer knows if he acts for duty's sake or for interest's sake. 6. "It becomes difficult in those conditions to make a demarcation between religious aspiration and the pursuit of wealth."
Banker – 1600 A.D.
1. Before John Calvin people were not allowed to lend money at interest. 2. John Calvin decided to legalize money-lending at interest in spite of the teachings of the Prophets of Israel and the Fathers of the Church. 3. Protestant countries tried to keep up with John Calvin and money-lending at interest became the general practice. 4. And money ceased to be a means of exchange and began to be a means to make money. 5. So people lent money on time and started to think of time in terms of money and said to each other: "Time is money."
Manufacturer – 1700 A.D.
1. With the discovery of steam the factory system made its appearance. 2. To take drudgery out of the home was suppose to be the aim of the manufacturer. 3. So the guildsman left his shop and went to the factory. 4. But the profit-making manufacturer found it more profitable to employ women than to employ men. 5. So the women left the home and went to the factory. 6. Soon the children followed the women into the factory. 7. So the men have to stay at home while women and children work in the factory.
Economist – 1800 A.D.
1. The Laissez-Faire Economists told everybody that competition is the life of trade and that it is a case of survival of the fittest. 2. So since 1800 looking for markets has engaged men's activities. 3. And since trade follows the flag industral nations have also become imperialst nations. 4. The fight for markets between two industrial nations, England and Germany, was the main cause of the World War.
World War – 1914
1. As President Wilson said, the World War was a commercial war. 2. But a commercial war had to be idealized, so it was called a War for Democracy. 3. But the War for Democracy did not bring Democracy: it brought Bolshevism in Russia, Fascism in Italy, Nazism in Germany.
World Depression – 1929
1. After the World War people tried to believe that a New Era had dawned upon the world. 2. People thought that they had found a solution to the problem of mass-distribution. 3. People thought that the time had come for the two-car garage, a chicken in every pot, and a sign "To Let" in front of every poor-house. 4. And everybody wanted to cash in on the future prosperity. 5. So stock promoters got busy and stocked people with stocks till they got stuck.
God And Mammon
1. Christ says: "The dollar you have is the dollar you give." 2. The Banker says: "The dollar you have is the dollar you keep." 3. Christ says: "You cannot serve two masters, God and Mammom." 4. "'You cannot.' And all our education consists in trying to find out how we can," says Robert Louis Stevenson. 5. "The poor are the true children of the Church", says Bossuet. 6. "Modern society has made the bank account the standard of values", says Charles Peguy.
Usurers Are Not Gentlemen
1. The Prophets of Israel and the Fathers of the Church forbade lending money at interest. 2. Lending at interest was called usury by the Prophets of Israel and the Fathers of the Church. 3. Usurers were not considered to be gentlemen when people used to listen to the Prophets of Israel and the Fathers of the Church. 4. When people used to listen to the Prophets of Israel and the Fathers of the Church they could not see anything gentle in trying to live on the sweat of somebody else's brow by lending money at interest.
1. When John Calvin legalized money-lending at interest, he made the bank account the standard of values. 2. When the bank account became the standard of values, people ceased to produce for use and began to produce for profits. 3. When people began to produce for profits they became wealth-producing maniacs. 4. When people became wealth-producing maniacs they produced too much wealth. 5. When people found out that they had produced too much wealth they went on an orgy of wealth-destruction and destroyed ten million lives besides.
1. Because John Calvin legalized money-lending at interest, the State has legalized money-lending at interest. 2. Because the State has legalized money-lending at interest, home owners have mortgaged their farms; institutions have mortgaged their buildings; congregations have mortgaged their churches; cities, counties, States and Federal Government have mortgaged their budgets. 3. So people find themselves in all kinds of financial difficulties because the State has legalized money-lending at interest in spite of the teachings of the Prophets of Israel and the Fathers of the Church.
The Fallacy Of Saving
1. When people save money that means money is invested. 2. Money invested increases production. 3. Increased production brings a surplus in production. 4. A surplus in production brings unemployment. 5. Unemployment brings a slump in business. 6. A slump in business brings more unemployment. 7. More unemployment brings a depression. 8. A depression brings more depression. 9. More depression brings red agitation. 10. Red agitation brings red revolution.
1. Some say that inflation is desirable. 2. Some say that inflation is deplorable. 3. Some say that inflation is deplorable but inevitable. 4. The way to avoid inflation is to lighten the burden of money-borrowers without robbing the money-lenders. 5. And the way to lighten the burden of money-borrowers with robbing the money-lenders is to pass two laws: one law making immediately illegal all interest on money lent and another law obligating the money-borrowers to pay one per cent of the debt every year during a period of a hundred years.
Works of Mercy
The Wisdom Of Giving
1. To give to the poor is to enable the poor to buy. 2. To enable the poor to buy is to improve the market. 3. To improve the market is to help business. 4. To help business is to reduce unemployment. 5. To reduce unnemployment is to reduce crime. 6. To reduce crime is to reduce taxation. 7. So why not give to the poor for business' sake, for humanity's sake, for God's sake?
Share Your Wealth
1. God wants us to be our brother's keeper. 2. To feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, to instruct the ignorant, at a personal sacrifice, is what God wants us to do. 3. What we give to the poor for Christ's sake is what we carry with us when we die. 4. As Jean-Jacques Rousseau say: "When man dies he carries in his clutches hands only that which he has given away."
Why Not Be A Beggar?
1. People who are in need and are not afraid to beg give to people not in need the occasion to do good for goodness' sake. 2. Modern society calls the beggar bum and panhandler and gives him the bum's rush. 3. The Greeks used to say that people in need are the ambassadors of the gods. 4. We read in the Gospel: "As long as you did it to one of the least of My brothers you did it to Me." 5. While modern society calls the beggars bums and panhandlers, they are in fact the Ambassadors of God. 6. To be God's Ambassador is something to be proud of.
1. People who are in need are not invited to spend the night in homes of the rich. 2. There are guest rooms in the homes of the rich but they are not for those who need them. 3. They are not for those who need them because those who need them are no longer considered as the Ambassadors of God. 4. So the duty of hospitality is no longer considered as a personal duty. 5. So people without a home are sent to the city where hospitality is given at the taxpayer's expense.
1. The Holy Father appoints a man named a Bishop to a seat - a cathedra. 2. From that seat - cathedra the Bishop teaches the truth to all men so the truth may make them free. 3. But some people are Bishop-shy. 4. They are Bishop-shy because they are hungry, shivering, or sleepy. 5. They must be fed, clothed, and sheltered before they will consent to come to listen to Christ's Bishop. 6. To feed, clothe, and shelter them at a personal sacrifice is to participate in the Bishop's apostolate.
Passing The Buck
1. In the first centuries of Christianity the poor were fed, clothed, and sheltered at a personal sacrifice and the Pagans said about the Christians: "See how they love each other." 2. Today the poor are fed, clothed, and sheltered by the politicians at the expense of the taxpayers. 3. And because the poor are no longer fed, clothed, and sheltered at a personal sacrifice but at the expense of taxpayers Pagans say about Christians: "See how they pass the buck."
1. We read in the Catholic Encyclopedia that during the early ages of Christianity the Hospices or Houses of Hospitality was a shelter for the sick, the poor, the orphan, the old, the traveller, and the needy of every kind. 2. Originally the Hospices of Houses of Hospitality were under the supervision of the Bishops who designated priests to administer the spiritual and temporal affairs of these charitable institutions.
Houses Of Hospitality
1. We need Houses of Hospitality to give to the rich the opportunity to serve the poor. 2. We need Houses of Hospitality to bring the scholars to the workers or the workers to the scholars. 3. We need Houses of Hospitality to bring back to institutions the technique to institutions. 4. We need Houses of Hospitality to show what idealism looks like when it is practiced.
Servants Of The Poor
1. In seventeenth-century France there was a priest by the name of Vincent. 2. Father Vincent realized that the country was going to the dogs. 3. When something goes wrong they say in France: "Cherchez la femme- look for the woman." 4. Looking for the woman Father Vincent found out that many woman were trying to be the mistresses of the rich. 5. St. Vincent of Paul gathered several women and told them: "If you want to put the country on its feet refuse to be the mistress of the rich and choose to be the servants of the poor."
Scholars And Workers
1. By living with the workers in Houses of Hospitality scholars will be able to convey to the workers why things are what they are, how things would be if they were as they should be, and how a path can be made from things as they are to things as they should be. 2. By living with the workers in Houses of Hospitality scholars will be able to win the workers' sympathy, and therefore keep the workers from being influenced by selfish demagogues. 3. By living with the workers in Houses of Hospitality ascholars will be able to become dynamic and therefore be the driving force of a new social order.
Social Workers and Workers
1. The training of social workers enables them to help people to adjust themselves to the existing environment. 2. The training of social workers does not enable them to help people to change the environment. 3. Social workers must become social minded before they can be critics of the existing environment and free creative agents of the new environment. 4. In the Houses of Hospitality social workers can aquire the art of human contacts and the social-mindedness or understanding of social forces which will make them critical of the existing environment and free creative agents of a new environment.
Rich And Poor
1. Afraid of the poor who don't like to get poorer, the rich who like to get richer turn to the State for protection. 2. But the State is not only the State of the rich it is also the State of the poor who don't like to get poorer. 3. So the State sometimes chooses to help the many poor who don't like to get poorer, at the expense of the few rich who like to get richer. 4. Dissatisfied with the State, the rich who like to get richer turn to the Church to save them from the poor who don't like to get poorer. 5. But the Church can only tell the rich who like to get richer: "Woe to you rich who like to get richer, if you don't help the poor who don't like to get poorer."
Criticism and Marxism
1. There is nothing wrong with Communism, but there is something wrong with Communists. 2. The wrong thing with Communists is that they are not Communists, they are Socialists. 3. There is no Communism in Soviet Russia, there is State Socialism in Soviet Russia. 4. The State has not withered away, the wage system still prevails, and they are selling 7% government bonds in Soviet Russia. 5. By selling 7% government bonds they are creating a new parasitic class in Socialist Russia.
1. The aim of the Communists is to take over the control of the means of production and distribution. 2. The means of production and distribution are now in the hands of Capitalists. 3. The class war is a war between Communists and Capitalists over control of the means of production and distribution. 4. Patriots believe that the way to bring about a classless society is a class war between the Capitalist State and the working class.
What Is Communism?
1. Communists believe in capturing the State so as to be able to use it as a club to prevent anybody from becoming a Capitalist. 2. The Communist manifesto defines Communism as "a state of society" where each one works according to his ability and gets according to his needs." 3. Using the power of the State will enable Communists to prevent anybody from becoming a successful Capitalist but it will not make anybody Communist at heart. 4. To be a Communist according to the definition of the Communist Manifesto is to be willing to give one's labor for the benefit of a Communist Community.
1. I agree with seven Bishops, three of whom are Archbishops, that the Communist criticism of the rugged individualism of bourgeois capitalism is a sound criticism. 2. I agree with seven Bishops, three of whom are Archbishops, that the main social aim of the communist Party is a sound social aim. 3. I agree with seven Bishops, three whom are Archbishops, that the Communists are not sound when they advocate class struggle and proletarian dictatorship as the best practical means to realize their sound social aim.
To Be A Marxist
1. Before he died Karl Marx told one of his friends: "I have lived long enough to be able to say that i am not a Marxist." 2. To be a Marxist, according to the logic of Das Kapital, is to maintain that the best thing to do is to wait patiently till Capitalism has fulfilled its historic mission. 3. To be a Marxist according to the logic of Das Kapital, is to step back, take and academic view of things, and watch the self-satisfied Capitalists dig their own graves. 4. To be a Marxist, according to the logic of Das Kapital, is to let economic evolution do its work without ever attempting to give it a push.
Karl Marx Soon Realized
1. Karl Marx soon realized that his own analysis of bourgeois society could not be the basis of a dynamic revolutionary movement. 2. karl Marx soon realized that a forceful Communist Manifesto was the necessary foundation of a dynamic Communist Movement. 3. Karl Marx soon realized, as Lenin realized, that there is no revolution without revolutionary action; that there is no revolutionary action without a revolutionary movement; that there is no revolutionary movement without a vanguard of revolution and that there is no vanguard of revolution without a theory of revolution.
The Communist Manifesto
1. Having realized that a Communist Manifesto was the basis of a Communist Movement, Karl Marx decided to write a Communist Manifesto. 2. To write the Communist Manifesto Karl marx did not use his own analysis of Capitalism. 3. He took the criticism of the bourgeois society of his time by Victor Considerant and made it the first part of the Communist Manifesto. 4. He took the definition of Communism by Proudhon and made it his own. 5. He tried to make himself believe that class struggle was the first step from a Capitalist society where man is inhuman to man to a Communist society where man in human to man.
1.A Bourgeois is a fellow who tries to be somebody by trying to be like everybody, which makes him a nobody. 2. A Dictator is a fellow who does not hesitate to strike you over the head if you refuse to do what he waants you to do. 3. A Leader is a fellow who refuses to be crazy the way everybody else is crazy and tries to be crazy in his own crazy way. 4. A Bolshevist is a fellow who tries to get what the other fellow has and to regulate what you should have. 5. A Communitarian is a fellow who refuses to be what the other fellow is and tries to be what he wants him to be.
They And We
1. People say: "They don't do this, they don't do that, they ought to do this, this ought to do that." 2. Always "They" and never "I". 3.People should say: "They are crazy for doing this and not doing that but I don't need to be crazy the way they are crazy." 4. The Communitarian Revolution is basically a personal revolution. 5. It starts with I not with They. 6. One I plus one I makes two I and two I makes We. 7. "We" is a community while "they" is a crowd.
1. The Nazis, the Fascists, and the Bolshevists are Totalitarians. 2. The Catholic Worker is Communitarian. 3. The principles of Communitarianism are expounded every month in the French magazine Esprit (The Spirit). 4. Emmanuel Mounier, editor of the magizine, has a book entitled, "La revolution personnaliste et communitaire." 5. Raymond de Becker is the leader in Belgium of the Communitarian Movement 6. Dr. Kagawa the Japanese co-operator is truly imbued with the communitarian spirit.
The C.P. And C.M.
1. The Communist Party credits bourgeois capitalism with an historic mission. 2. The Communitarian Movement condemns it on general principles. 3. The Communist Party throws the monkey-wrench of class struggle into the economic machinery and by doing so delays the fulfilling of the historic mission which it credits to capitalism. 4. The Communitarian Movement aims to create a new society within the shell of the old with the philosophy of the new which is not a new philosophy but a very old philosophy, a philosophy so old that it looks like new. 5. The Communist Party stands for proletarian dictatorship. 6. The Communitarian Movement stands for personalist leadership.
What Labor Needs
1. A Communist Community is a Community with a common unity. 2. A common belief is what makes the unity if a community. 3. Norman Thomas says that "Ramsay MacDonald has failed to give to Labor a philosophy of labor". 4. What labor needs is not economic security. 5. What Labor needs is a philosophy of labor.
Three Ways To Make A Living
1. Mirabeau says: "There are only three ways to make a living: Stealing, begging, working." 2. Stealing is against the law of God and against the law of men. 3. Begging is against the law of men, but not against the law of God. 4. Working is neither against the law of God nor against the law of men. 5. But they say that there is no work to do. 6. There is plenty of work to do, but no wages. 7. But people do not need to work for wages. 8. They can offer their services as a gift.
Capital And Labor
1. "Capital", says Karl Marx, "is accumulated labor, not for the benefit of the laborers, but for the benefit of the accumulators." 2. And Capitalists succeed in accumulating labor by treating labor not as a gift, but as a commodity, buying it as any other commodity at the lowest possible price. 3. And organized labor plays into the hands of the capitalists or accumulators of labor by treating their own labor not as a gift, but as a commodity, selling it as any other commodity at the highest possible price.
Selling their Labor
1. And when the capitalists or accumulators of labor have accumulated so much of the laborer's labor that they no longer find it profitable to buy the labor's labor then the laborers can no longer sell their labor to the capitalists or accumulators of labor. 2. And when the laborers can no longer sell their labor to the capitalists or accumulators of labor, they can no longer buy the products of their labor. 3. And that is what the laborers get for selling their labor to the capitalists or accumulators of labor.
What Makes Man Human
1. To give and not to take that is what makes man human. 2. To serve and not to rule that is what makes man human. 3. To help and not to crush that is what makes man human. 4. To nourish and not to devour that is what makes man human. 5. And if need be to die and not to live that is what makes man human. 6. Ideals and not deals that is what makes man human. 7. Creed and not greed that is what makes man human.
Better Or Better Off
1. The world would be better off, if people tried to become better. 2. And people would become better if they stopped trying to be better off. 3. For when everybody tries to become better off, nobody is better off. 4. But when everybody tries to become better, everybody is better off. 5. Everybody would be rich if nobody tried to be richer. 6. And nobody would be poor if everybody tried to be the poorest. 7. And everybody would be what he ought to be if everybody tried to be what he wants the other fellow to be.
Big Shots And Little Shots
1. When the big shots become bigger shots then the little shots become littler shots. 2. And when the little shots become littler shots because the big shots become bigger shots then the little shots get mad at the big shots. 3. And when the little shots get mad at the big shots because the big shots by becomming bigger shots make the little shots littler shots they shoot the big shots full of little shots. 4. But by shooting the big shots full of little shots the little shots do not become big shots, they make everything all shot.
Christianity, Capitalism, Communism
1. Christianity has nothing to do with either modern Capitalism or modern Communism, for Christianity has a Capitalism of its own, and a Communism of its own. 2. Modern Capitalism is based on property without responsibility, while Christian Capitalism is based on property with responsibility. 3. Modern Communism is based on poverty through force, while Christian Communism is based on poverty through choice. 4. For a Christian, voluntary poverty is the ideal as exemplified by Saint Francis of Assisi, while privte property is not an absolute right, but a trust, which must be administered for the benefit of God's children.
Looking At Property
Fr. Henry Carr, Superior of the Basilians, says: 1. Socialists and Communists battle against the unequal conditions of the poor. 2. Presumably they would be satisfied if all were on a level. 3. Do you not see that this does not touch the question that is vital, namely, whether or not the people, no matter how much or how little they possess, regard it and use it in the way they should? 4. The right way is to regard it as something entrusted to us to use for the benefit of ourselves and others. 5. The wrong way is to look on it as something we own and can use as we desire without any duty to others. 6. Good or bad conditions will follow good or bad use of property.
What Saint Francis Desired
According to Johannes Jorgensen, a Danish convert, living in Assisi: 1. Saint Francis desired that men should give up superfluous possessions. 2. Saint Francis desired that men should work with their hands. 3. Saint Francis desired that men should offer their services as a gift. 4. Saint Francis desired that men should ask other people for help when work failed them. 5. Saint Francis desired that men should live as free as birds. 6. Saint Francis desired that men should go through life giving thanks to God for His gifts.
On The Level
1. Owen Young says: "We will never have prosperity as long as there is no balance between industry and agriculture." 2. The farmer sells in an open market and is forced to buy in a restricted market. 3. When the farmer gets a pair of overalls for a bushel of wheat the wheat and the overalls are on the level. 4. When the farmer has to give two bushels of wheat for a pair of overalls the wheat and the overalls are not on the level. 5. Wheat and overalls must be on the level.
1. Lenin said: "The world cannot be half industrial and half agricultural." 2. England, Germany, Japan, and America have become industrialized. 3. Soviet Russia is trying to keep up with England, Germany, Japan, and America. 4. When all the world becomes industrialized every country will be looking for foreign markets. 5. But when every country becomes industrialized you will not have foreign markets.
1. Gandhi says: "Industrialism is evil." 2. Industrialism is evil because it brings idleness both to the capitalist class and the working class. 3. Idleness does no good either to the capitalist class or the working class. 4. Creative labor is what keeps people out of mischief. 5. Creative labor is craft labor. 6. Mechanized labor is not creative labor.
No Pleasure In Work
1.Carlyle says: "He who has found his work let him look for no other blessedness." 2. But workmen cannot find hapiness in mechanized work. 3. As Charles Devas says, "The great majority having to perform some mechanized operation which requires little thought and allows no originality and which concerns an object in the transformation of which whether previous or subsequent they have no part, cannot take pleasure in their work."
Industrialism And Art
1. Eric Gill says: the notion of work has been separated from the notion of art. 2. The notion of the useful has been separated from the notion of the beautiful. 3. The artist, that is to say, the responsible workman, has been separated from all other workmen. 4. The factory hand has no responsibility for what he produces. 5. He has been reduced to a sub-human condition of intellectual irresponsibility. 6. Industrialism has released the artist from the necessity of making anything useful. 7. Industrialism has also released the workman from making anything amusing.
From A Chinese
1. A Chinese says: I thought I had become westernized but now I am becoming repatriated. 2. The material progress of America has dazzled me. 3. I wished while there to transplant what I saw to China. 4. But now that I am home again I see that our two civilizations have irreconcilable differences. 5. Yours is a machine civilization; ours is a handicraft civilization. 6. Your people work in factories; our people work in shops. 7. Your people produce quality things that are alike. 8. Our people produce quality things that are different.
Regard For The Soil
1. Andrew Nelson Lytle says: The escape from industrialism is not in socialism or in sovietism. 2. The answer lies in a return to a society where agriculture is practised by most of the people. 3. It is in fact impossible for any culture to be sound and healthy without a proper regard for the soil, no matter how many urban dwellers think that their food comes from groceries and delicatessens or their milk from tin cans. 4. This ignorance does not release them from a final dependence upon the farm.
Up To Catholics
1. Ralph Adams Cram says: What I propose is that Catholics should take up this back-to-the-land problem and put it into operation. 2. Why Catholics? Because they realize more clearly than any others the shortcomings of the old capitalist industrial system. 3. They, better than others, see the threat that impends. 4. They alone understand that while the family is the primary social unit, the community comes next. 5. And there is no sound and righteous and enduring community where all its members are not substantially of one mind.
What The Unemployed Need
1. The unemployed need free rent; they can have that on a Farming Commune. 2. The unemployed need free food; they can raise that on a Farming Commune. 3. The unemployed need free fuel; they can cut that on a Farming Commune. 4. The unemployed need to acquire skill; they can do that on a Farming Commune. 5. The unemployed need to improve their minds; they can do that on a Farming Commune. 6. The unemployed need spiritual guidance; they can have that on a Farming Commune.
Professors Of A Farming Commune
1. Professors of a Farming Commune do not look for endowments; they look for manual labor. 2. Professors of a Farming Commune do not tell their students what to do; they show them how to do it. 3. Professors of a Farming Commune do not enable their students to master subjects; they enable them to master situations. 4. Professors of a Farming Commune do not teach their students how to make profitable deals; they teach them how to realize worthy ideals.
Laborers Of A Farming Commune
1. Laborers of a Farming Commune do not work for wages; they leave that to the Farming Commune. 2. Laborers of a Farming Commune do not look for a bank account; they leave that to the Farming Commune. 3. Laborers of a Farming Commune do not look for an insurance policy; they leave that to the Farming Commune. 4. Laborers of a Farming Commune do not look for an old-age pension; they leave that to the Farming Commune. 5. Laborers of a Farming Commune do not look for economic security; they leave that to the Farming Commune.
What They Say They Believe
What The Communists Say They Believe
1. Communists believe that the capitalist system has reached the point where it no longer works. 2. Communists believe that when the workers come to the realization of the downfall of capitalism they will no longer tolerate it. 3. Communists believe that the capitalist class will resort to all means that may be in their power to maintain their existence. 4. Communists believe that the Communist Party knows how to assure production and distribution in an orderly manner according to a pre-designed plan.
What The Fascists Say They Believe
1. The Fascists believe in a national economy for the protection of national and private interests. 2. Fascists believe in the regulation of industries so as to assure a wage for the worker and a dividend for the investor. 3. Fascists believe in class collaboration under State supervision. 4. Fascists believe in the co-operation of employers' unions and workers' unions.
What The Socialists Say They Believe
1. Socialists believe in a gradual realization of a classless society. 2. Socialists believe in the social ownership of natural resources and the means of production and distribution. 3. Socialists believe in a transition period under democratic management between two economic systems, the systems of production for use and the system of production for profits. 4. Socialists believe in freedom of the press, freedom of assemblage, freedom of worship.
What The Democrats Say They Believe
1. Democrats believe in universal suffrage, universal education, freedom of opportunity. 2. Democrats believe in the right of the rich to become richer and of the poor to try to become rich. 3. Democrats believe in labor unions and financial corporations. 4. Democrats believe in the law of supply and demand.
What the Catholic Worker Believes
1. The Catholic Worker believes in the gentle personalism of traditional Catholicism. 2. The Catholic Worker believes in the personal obligation of looking after the needs of our brother. 3. The Catholic Worker believes in the daily practice of the Works of Mercy. 4. The Catholic Worker believes in Houses of Hospitality for the immediate relief of those who are in need. 5. The Catholic Worker believes in the establishment of Farming Communes where each one works according to his ability and gets according to his need. 6. The Catholic Worker believes in creating a new society within the shell of the old with the philosophy of the new, which is not a new philosophy but a very old philosophy, a philosophy so old that it looks like new.
Right Or Wrong
1. Some people say: "My country is always right." 2. Some people say: "My country is always wrong." 3. Some people say: "My country is sometimes right and sometimes wrong, but my country right or wrong." 4. To stick up for one's country when one's country is wrong does not make the country right. 5. To stick up for the right even when the world is wrong is the only way we know to make everything right.
1. To protect French citizens living in Algeria the French took Algeria from the natives. 2. To protect Algeria the French took control for Tunisia. 3. To protect Senegal the French took Dahomey, the Gabon, and the Congo. 4. To protect the isle of Reunion the French took Madagascar. 5. They took Madagascar for another reason. 6. The other reason was that the English wished to take it. 7. When the English take something the French say: "The English do that because they are grabbers." 8. When the French take something, the French say: "We do that because we are good patriots."
1. To protect the British Isles the English took the sea. 2. To protect the sea the English took Gibraltar, Canada, and India. 3. To protect India the English went to Egypt. 4. To protect Egypt the English took the Sudan. 5. To protect the Sudan the English forced the French to leave Fashoda. 6. To protect the Cape and Natal the English took the Transvaal. 7. To protect South Africa the English prevented the French from giving Agadir to Germany. 8. So the English are just as good or just as bad as the French.
1. The French believe that trade follows the flag. 2. So do the English, so do the Germans, so do the Japanese, so do the Italians. 3. Italy is in Ethopia for the same reason that the French are in Algeria, the English in India, the Japanese in Manchuria. 4. The Italians say thatthe Ethopians are not civilized. 5. The last war proves that Europeans are no more civilized than the Africans. 6. So Europeans ought to find a way to become civilized before thinking about the best way to civilize Africans.
1. Theodore Roosevelt used to say: "If you want peace prepare for war." 2. So everybody prepared for war but war preparations did not bring peace; they brought war. 3. Since war preparations brought war, why not quit preparing for war. 4. If nations preparing for peace instead of preparing for war, they might have peace. 5. Aristide Briand used to say: "The best kind of disarmament is the disarmament of the heart." 6. The disarmament of Germany by the Allies was not the product of a change of heart on the part of the Allies toward Germany.