We Interrupt This Breathtakingly Beautiful and Annoyingly Idyllic Trip to Rome To Bring You… (NO, NOT ROME…)

…the latest casualty of the Iraq War: Jessica Queller’s breasts. Because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of flesh. Or something. (Little known fact: The likelihood of Saddam Hussein developing WMDs from that great big nuclear stockpile of his was figured at 85.9 percent. So it actually makes perfect sense that Jessica declared war on her boobs.)

Anybody watch Felicity? Gilmore Girls? Gossip Girl? Are these shows as aborticontraceptively insane as their writer/producer? Is life imitating art imitating life here? (I’d catch up with iTunes, but I’m not getting paid for this.)

P.S.: Come to the farm. Soon. (For one thing, The Hollywood Farmer has a few seats to fill in the writers’ room.)

(Now semi-bi-locating–if that’s not a double-negative–at THF.)


  1. Marcus:

    It’s clear that we’re talking preventive war – right breast (George Bush I) – left breast (George Bush II) – and ovaries (Bill Clinton – because, well, the other two are idiots, but he’s … pusilanimous).


  2. Mark,

    Also – I’ll take the overflow if you like.

    (I notice the cinched belt missed both upper state NY and stops short of Wisconsin’s Kickapoo Valley region.)




  3. Mark Thomas says


    The no-prize goes to you, sir. (Bonus anatomical-analogy no-prize for making me look up “pusilanimous.”)

    Kudos too for noting precisely what’s being reined in by the aforementioned tightened belt. It misses NYC, I see…but then, the Big Apple, for all its suck, isn’t nearly as much of a drain as SoCal, n’est-ce pas?…


  4. Cubeland Mystic says

    I stopped reading the first article. It was too depressing. I thought it might be an April fools joke, but I did not want to find out it wasn’t.

    The depression article is typical smack the rich. I think I’d rather have the wealth in the hands of a few than to give it to a government agency. They don’t actually pile the money up in vaults. They have to invested otherwise inflation and taxes will eat it away to nothing. So it gets re-invested and put to work. It’s more the abuses of the system that put us at risk. We now support a system. We live to serve a machine. It is difficult to realize because we are used to supporting the machine, just like we are used to eating corporate food. If one could afford to step out of the system, then they would see just painfully dependent we are on it. That’s why we are in a war. The blood supply is threatened.

    this is just too rich of a topic for a blog comment. I hope you can see where I am going with this.

  5. Mark Thomas says

    Agreed, CM. I was more interested in the author’s Problemstellung than in his New Deal Weltenschauung. (See, JOB? Prick a man’s pride, and innocent comment-posters get caught in the crossfire.)

    Seriously, it’s absolutely the case that the system rules both rich and poor; we none of us are free (must re-invest…must consume…). Even as it’s also true that a few “benefit” from that system disproportionately, i.e., those who determine how much everyone else’s participation in the system will cost. (I say “benefit” because even those who are “on top” living the “good life” are eating crap, are propped up by pills, etc.)

    But of course a system predicated on consumption (particularly of oil) and credit (i.e., virtual wealth) is unsustainable. So no one should be surprised if before long we’ll all have to find out what real food tastes like — because when the trucks stop running, when the system shuts down, the only food to be had will be that which you and I can grow ourselves, and the only wealth that which you and I can create with our own hands.

    End of not-so-romantic rant.

  6. Rufus McCain says

    Korrektiv.org is pleased to announce its acquisition of Lickona Online’s PORNserver technology.

  7. Mark Thomas says

    Actually, we don’t have trademark on/IP rights to “PORNserver technology.” That’s just self-marketing on our part. All we or anyone else has to do to be “served porn” these days is open a window. A browser window, that is.

  8. Anonymous says

    pound of flesh = awful debt to be paid

    are you implying that we’ll have “hell to pay” for the war in Iraq?…

  9. Mark,

    Ahh…not so innocent as you might think. Who is?

    Because I was looking for an excuse to tout my wares and because I think its appropos of the discussion, I would like to take this moment to direct Godsbodacious readers to my article on grocery stores and their not so sudden nor so surprising disappearance…


    (Vanity, thy name is JOB…)


  10. Cubeland Mystic says

    The situation we are in right now is very scary. It’s the dependency on technology which is most scary. It’s actually quite reckless. If you dig deep enough into the current financial crisis you will find some failure in computer models.

    There’s also this tendency in the culture to rely on the “smart person” to solve the problems. The problems that we face are so complex that they are not understandable or fixable in a human lifetime.

    I work with computers. For a layperson the term supercomputing, although not technically accurate, gives to right connotation without going into detail. You don’t just change these systems. Once you commit to technological course you’re stuck with it for many years. You don’t just fix things either. Fixes have to be carefully implemented over time after careful testing.

    There is just not enough time to develop these thoughts. We almost need to convene a summit. It should be a JOBs farm.

  11. landmystic x landmystic x landmystic:

    Convene away… You bring the Vodka (a case and a half of Monopotowa should get us through the four day summit/accord) and I’ll supply the homegrown, homeslaughtered, spitfired pig.

    Er, well, my brother in law will, that is. I don’t touch blood – I musta been made an honorary member of the Levite tribe somewhere’s along the way…

    But I’ll be sure to supply the pasta and sich…


  12. Anonymous says

    That Andrew Leonard piece has to be one of the dumbest, most inaccurate pieces of writing on the current economic situation that I’ve seen so far.

  13. Cubeland Mystic says


    When I started my blog, it was a last ditch effort to sustain a self sufficient lifestyle. I can’t do it anymore. My job eats between 50 and every waking hour on any given week. General home maintenance, family, church, “rest” if you can call it that for the remainder. I can blog because I work with computers, I have a network at home any given moment I have 3 of them running 24X7. I touch type very fast so blogging or email is the main way I communicate with the world. If it were not for blogging and a few friends, modern living would have me chained to my desk 20 hours a day with little room for much else.

    The point is that I support what you are doing, I just don’t see it as that sustainable. The world without most of our approvals or votes has shifted to urban. The occupation of choice is being a battery like in the matrix. E. F. Schumacher will always hold an appeal for me. I don’t want the local grocery store to fold up, but what can you do at this point? I cannot figure a way out of the current mess. My heart is with you guys out on the farm, but my head is in the city.

    The notion of a summit is really appealing. My boss is located around Milwaukee. You never know, if I am forced to fly to WI. I might stop in, unless you’re like 200 miles from Milwaukee.

    I think there is going to be a major shift in thinking over the next 20 30 years. I really don’t feel like paying more taxes to support a system that is essentially fascist. Materialism is the problem not the solution. A life in cubeland is a waste of life. It really is. It is a comfortable gulag. A serious alternative needs to be discussed. Dreher has some good points, but he is really reporting on it, not really driving it. A summit my be a good thing. Even if it is electronic.

    Once Matt returns, he might consider a series of posts on the subject is smaller really more beautiful? Is it time to consider plan B? Do I really need to know my genetic destiny? What to do in case of a depression?

    Seriously would you recommend to your daughter to give up married life to pursue a “career” in project management? or software quality assurance? A life of 50 years of checking boxes on a screen and dealing with the politics of scared miserable people. That is corporate life, it’s a sh t hole.

    This is the best that our society can do? I don’t think so. I’ve rambled long enough. I think I am on at least tangential point with the post’s intent, but sorry if this is too inside-baseball for most.

  14. CM:

    I see that you are serious about this – and I should be more so, I am sorry.

    AS it is, though, lest you dress me in borrowed hippy bellbottoms or somesuch, I’m not what you would call a CrunchyCon – far from it in many ways. What I have is pure serendipity – and was serious when I said that the things that take place on the farm are peripheral to my own strivings – I try to eke out what I can from my frelancing, and let my in-laws tend to the livestock. To my shame, I might add, but I’m a New Jersey boy who’s never quite been countrified enough to love a calf’s afterbirth or a pig’s entrails. Still, I provide what I can where I can.

    As for the bleak reality of city life – well, I can’t deny that that’s why I got the hell out – and why I’m glad I wound up where I did.

    You mentioned a change in the next 20-30 years. It will be interesting: around here conservatives and liberals have theire own nationalist proclivities (big government vs. big business ruling the earth) but we all agree on the local stuff, pretty much. It seems when you agree on local stuff, the national stuff goes away – and maybe, just maybe, thereby hangs a community…

    Well, for thinking out loud!

    Here’s hoping…


  15. notrelatedtoted says

    “That Andrew Leonard piece has to be one of the dumbest, most inaccurate pieces of writing on the current economic situation that I’ve seen so far.”


  16. notrelatedtoted says

    “It seems when you agree on local stuff, the national stuff goes away – and maybe, just maybe, thereby hangs a community…”

    Bingo! People need to re-aquaint themselves with their local government. Few realize that your vote for mayor carries more weight (with respect to your daily life) than who gets your vote as President.

    CM – I dig your vibe, man. I really do. But all hope is not lost, far from it. People like you need to be engaged in society and offering the counter-point. We don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Corporate life got you down? Think about life in the coal mines. Before unions, before OSHA. Each generation has more access to opportunites, wealth, education, socialization than the one before.

    I’m getting riled up. So I’m going to stop here. Suffice to say that this topic has been stewing in my brain for the last 24 hrs.

  17. Notrelated, CM (and Mark!) et al:

    To risk further stirring up of the pot, am I too simplistic in summarizing the Leonard piece as thus (think Huey Long/Willie Stark speaking:)

    Well, now, my good people, some say that big business is too big for its britches.

    Others are saying that big government’s got an extra large pair of waders on too.

    But, let me tell you what, I’m not interested in either of them, except to say if you let me get my hands on both of them, I’ll tell you what, I’ll be wearing both of ’em out in the seat pants, I’ll tell you what…

    i.e. Lets blame big business because we can and lets blame big government until we’re in power; then we’ll outdo y’all.

    To tell you the truth, I don’t trust big business OR big government. Horns of the proverbial dilemma – or is there a tertia via?


  18. Cubeland Mystic says

    ~ted & JOB

    Don’t get riled up. This is a huge issue, hold your judgment for a few years. I am not trying to win a debate but looking for truth.

    One thing I have noticed about debate, if I go specific and anecdotal, the interlocutor goes general and appeals to a platonic end, and if go platonic, the interlocutor appeals to specific reality. My interest in this topic is not to win, but find the truth. I’ve made the same appeals to quality of life (osha unions etc.) to people who seem to be bashing for bashing sake.

    Regarding personal background, I’ve worked hardcore labor before and during college. So I am not romantic about agrarian life. Also my father-in-law was a tenet farmer in Italy. He left in the 50’s. They were starving during the war.

    I am a huge fan of not throwing the baby out with the bath water. The baby out with the bathwater is a meat ax approach to problem solving. It is exactly that approach that moved me to vocalize my concerns.

    I am not against technology, I am concerned about the radical trust in technology. I am not against corporations, I am concerned about the power they have to change society without voting. I am very concerned that we seem to live to serve a system rather than the system serving us. Has the paradigm shifted?

    For example, does contemporary society say to the young person, here are the baseline rules, go carve out a niche for yourself and others as far as your talent can take you. Or does our society say, here is your niche and all the rules you have to obey to keep it. That’s a general concern.

    In the specific anecdotal world, I work in the big corporate world in IT. I’ve seen a lot of crazy things over the years. Typically in the dangerous meat-ax misapplication of technology.

    The reason I said let’s summit (mostly-joking) is because the topic is so big and broad that people almost always get “riled” and misunderstand. This topic requires an Ent-moot.

    Mix into this topic our faith. Most of my discomfort about our society is caused by our faith. Anecdotal, I went from being a god working on hot technology projects every minute of my life, to reverting to catholicism and becoming a dad desperately trying not to compromise my family. I often ask myself after a quick dinner why am I still working, aren’t I supposed to be playing catch right now? In general, are working families an optional choice for moms and dads or are they being forced into the workplace and kids left to be raised by society. I could mention homeschooling, drugging children, taxes, etc. Are we being forced to take the expedient path vs the right path in our life decisions.

    When JOB mentions above conservative = big business, liberals = big government. Here’s the shift, perhaps we should not assign conservative = big business. I work in big business, and I’ve seldom seen conservative values in corporations. Go to Standford’s MBA site and tell me if it is “conservative”. I see it as a battle between which materialist solution can be forced on society. You read quite a bit about work-life balance when hiring into a company, but I’ve never seen it applied. So Dad takes the hit, what about mom? Are women feeling the need to work because of finances, breeder stigma, health care benefits, pride? Regardless of the reason once both parents are working, aren’t parents more likely to take the expedient path regarding their kids? There just isn’t time to cook a meal or spend time with a troubled youth when both parents work. Maybe the shift is we realize that money isn’t everything, a materialist education is poor compared to a TAC style education, our wealth is in our faith, family, and personal communities. Perhaps the shift is we no longer play ball in Mordor.

    If this sounds choppy, I apologize I am multitasking. I am on a con-call, while writing this. I think the fact that I can work from home, blog, and work all at the same time is a wonderful thing. We have made progress, but I am definitely looking for a finesse solution, not a drop-out or a meat ax solution. I believe in engagement. Please, please, please don’t become riled, because I am willing to discuss these topics in detail always. That’s why I started blogging to discuss these issues. My queries are not my opinions disguised as questions, but legitimate questions. Even Mrs. Mystic is feeling the pressure to return to the workforce. It might happen. I feel pressure to give something up, go with the flow. What I have failed to do in my personal life is to quantify what that “something” is, and also what really constitutes the “flow” to which I seem to have an intuitive aversion since returning to our faith. One concrete thing I can say is that there has been nothing but conflict since returning to the faith.

  19. j. christian says

    I was getting riled up, too, because I felt that the references to the “gruelag” and such were overly gloomy, but now that I see the sincerity in CM’s questioning I can remove my emotions a bit. You can forgive a fellow wanderer, perhaps, CM?

    I’m not ready to wear a sign saying “The End Is Near.” Yet our family shares some of the same concerns that CM describes. A summit sounds like an excellent idea. I’d offer my place, but we don’t live on a farm and the only pigs in our yard are plastic toys.

  20. CM,

    You misunderstand my glibness. It’s how I approach things beyond my control. I didn’t imagine we were engaging in debate as such.

    But I’ll repeat the question, also looking for an answer not debate points: Is there a third way between BB and BG – between “fiscal” conservatives who don’t really give much of a damn about the dignity of human life(CM, I get your point about the corporate world being anything but) and political “liberals” who replace the good that the Church has been doing for two thousand years with the imbecilic incompentency of the Federal Mommy?

    So really I wasn’t getting my hackles in a bundle (to mix a marvellous set of metaphoric cliches) – and I’d like to hear more about what CM proposes for the city. I was once asked a similar question by a long time and hardcore live-off-the-lander – why I moved to the country and would I survive in the city with a large family – or can a large families survive in the city? I didn’t really have an answer, because I didn’t have to answer it, I suppose. I was living in the country, after all.

    But perhaps it should be answered in all sincerity….

    Well? Anyone?


  21. Eoin Suibhne says


    I empathize with your struggles. I work for a large IT corporation, too. But I work for the company as a lobbyist.

    Big Government and Big Business are two sides of the same coin. I’m not sure of there’s a third way. I’ve read Chesterton, Belloc, and others on the matter and their arguments certainly tug at my soul. Yet I believe we’re too far gone. It is breathtaking to realize how much society and culture changed during the 20th century. The only thing to do to keep sane is to cling to the Church and ride out the madness.

  22. Anonymous says

    At work more tonight. CM

  23. Cubeland Mystic:

    The following line of yours put things into perspective for me:

    Perhaps the shift is we no longer play ball in Mordor.

    I think many of us are having a hard time getting enough like-minded players to go elsewhere. Isn’t that the problem? To take the game elsewhere, you need help–companionship.

  24. Mark Thomas says

    OK, look, we need a summit. A face-to-face. There’s too much to talk about to talk about it like this. The very technological form calls for the sort of “last-word-opinion-slinging” that CM bemoans. A conference like this is the kind of thing Lisa and I have wanted to do from the beginning. I don’t know how interested Matt would be in this subject, but he will be here at Red Rose Farm end of July thru beginning of August. Let’s go ahead and do this. If for no other reason because I for one love the city–I’m trying to get more work as a TV writer for God’s sake–but yet Lisa and I have felt like we’ve had to ask ourselves “what will the world look like without oil” (hell, without the entire machine) and trying to learn the skills that technology (oh we could go on about tech–ever read Neil Postman’s Technopoly?) have made unnecessary so that we won’t be helpless–AND YET I want movies and TV to go on!! Eoin is right, we’re far gone. But how far? Far enough that we’ve got to drop the ax, even if we could run the machine on an oil-substitute? Is a trans-valuation of values called for, and if so, must we go back in time, invent an entirely new urban/rural paradigm, or is there a third way? We need to talk about whether finesse is possible or radical is called for, and then what each of these needs to be to be sufficient, practical, salvific. CM, the conference needs a title and a registration web-page. I’m serious. Can we walk away from this moment? Is the problem going to go away?

  25. Mark Thomas says

    P.S.: I think AL is right about the slender threads, and about the avoidance of hard questions that has brought us to this crisis. (Yeah, “regulation” is no magic bullet–but I think Salon is pointing all the right problems these days, even if their solutions are inadequate.)

    P.P.S.: Anon–yeah. Though I think hell is collecting already.

  26. Mark Thomas says

    P.P.P.S.: JOB, I plan to read the article. It does indeed sound apropos.

  27. Cubeland Mystic says

    J. Christian
    The “gruelag” I think is original. Maybe someone beat me to it, but it came to my mind the other night while joking around on the other posts. It is a slap at corporate food. Thin shelled anemic eggs, chickens grown for yield and shipping efficiency, beef jacked up on hormones, cardboard tasting fruits and vegetables.

    The diet we eat in this country has only been eaten for maybe 50 years tops. For centuries people have been eating close to the land. I am not saying it was as clean as today, but it was closer to the source. A stable food supply has freed us to create a great civilization. A lot of good has come of it. On the other hand a meat based diet enhanced by salt, sugar, and fat is not normal. The flavor is bad to top it all off.

    I am part Italian, wife is all Italian, food is huge in Italian culture. I’ve been a foodie all my life. Two recent things influenced my thinking about food. The first, I spent three weeks in Italy on my wife’s aunt’s farm. Upon return, my dad went to the Italian deli, and got the usual stuff. All crap! Salt, fat, and smoke was all I could taste. It was that radical. Everything tasted awful for the first few days.

    The second thing, I really don’t want to go into detail because it is very personal, but I’ve done some fasting for long periods of time. When you don’t eat or drink the mainstream stuff, but stick to basically a small vegan diet for six weeks, you see just how sensitive you become to corporate food. Also you become very tuned to the effect that a small meal can make on your body. I am sure that Mark Thomas can relate living on his farm. You’re all on a very wholesome fixed diet, and then you go back to the mainstream. It’s all salt and grease and very stale tasting. It’s all wrong.

    From a common sense perspective, our ancestors ate simple foods for thousands of years. You didn’t eat meat 3 times a day. You ate fava, chickpeas, lentil soup with greens, and some bread. You washed it down with wine or beer. Cheese and preserved meats were ingredients and rarely main courses. So when I refer to the gruelag that is why. Corporate food drives profit, and so it has to be wild and new and exciting. Not only that but it has fit within the tight restrictions of a manufacturing and distribution system that is nearly immutable. Food should be sacramental. So I guess the corporate food situation is kind of gloomy in the Stepford wife sense. It all looks good, but something is just not right.

    The general corporate bashing above is a different subject and I tend to employ hyperbole to make a point. Corporate life sucks on so many levels. For me it is demoralizing, and maybe others don’t see it that way. I don’t hang with many serious Catholics. So I hear mom’s lamenting that they are “ONLY” stay at home moms. They want a “career” or to “do something”. I heard one mom pine that she couldn’t wait till both were in school so she could go back to her career at the bank. She was like an assistant branch manager. I don’t get it. But I am so glad that you didn’t get riled, and want to talk about it.

  28. The shadow of Mordor looms. Go for the summit idea, before the goblins come out.

  29. Cubeland Mystic says

    JOB, Christian, Eoin, and Tom

    First thing we have to keep in mind is that there have been 40+ million abortions in this country since the 70’s. Say 5% were late term, past viability. That’s a lot of babies on the spike. A culture that allows that is sick, very very very sick. I know that it is hidden, but we have to keep it in mind. People do not act rationally when they are afraid. Fear is a motivating force in a lot of really bad meat ax decisions. That’s why our Lord urges us to be not afraid. We have to admit there is a problem, even though this is a beautiful wealthy optimistic place to live, there is a great shadow, whispers of a nameless fear.

    How do we not play ball in Mordor? Good question, and what I attempted to answer on my former blog. In the urban world, live outside the mainstream as best you possibly can. Support people who live counterculturally like our hosts the Lickona families. Avoid long commutes, no debt when possible, try build your own house, go green because it is frugal and thrifty not because it is lefty and cool, eat as little processed foods as possible, do as much labor as your schedule permits, save as much money as you can, be an active creator and not a passive consumer, don’t pay for cable, when everything goes digital, avoid buying a new TV as long as you can, look for likeminded friends, read with your families, participate in your parish if time permits, home school if you can, discourage drugging of children, exercise, understand that the dominant culture sees you as something to be exploited. View materialist politicians as wraithpublicans and orcocrats, and look to your Catholic faith to guide your decisions. Hence employ non-cooperation with Mordor. Use it‘s own strengths against it, for example, don’t prop up the financial system, let collapse under its own bloated weight. After all isn’t it a “free market”? Let it die. Those are a few things that come to mind. I have to run to dig a trench. Seriously I am putting in my own sprinkler system myself, paid cash, and did all the labor. My neighbor paid 5K for his, mine cost a little under $900. Was that what you had in mind? I will answer Mark Thomas later on tonight.

  30. Cubeland: No quarrel with your approach, but I think there are other approaches as well–hopefully each supporting the other. For example, I see and appreciate what you are doing, but I can’t quite swing it the same way where I work and live with my family, so I meet the circumstances of each day the best I can and look fondly on others who are able to inspire me to make small, incremental impacts on the poisonous culture in which I live. Since Christ has impacted my life, I try to be an echo of that encounter where I am.

    I don’t mean to imply that I am successful.

  31. Cubeland Mystic says

    Tom and everyone, Just do your best. I don’t do everything on the list, that was just a core dump.

    The Little Flower can teach us here. Little things.

  32. Cubeland Mystic says

    Mark Thomas
    I don’t know that I can make a summit at that time. We have a vacation planned during those days. In October we might be in San Diego. There are lots of ways that we can do this using technology. Godsbody has the big readership, leverage that for a series of articles. Pick a two days thurs, fri for the Ent-moot, and just post on a topic. There is no reason why you could not prepare a pod cast too. You can have two days every week for awhile dedicated to the means of eradicating materialism.

    I think that there is a shift in thinking. I think a lot of people are settling into a comfortable fascism. A public/private partnership where everyone wins. It works if you are comfortable with the niche the system carves out for you. As long as you buy in everything is fine. Others aren’t comfortable with that niche. A life with more leisure is much more appealing than one that is consumed by fear of niche loss. I don’t want to minimize people’s concerns. Healthcare costs are a big problem, so is housing, but this whole debt driven big box consumer lifestyle has got to go. There can be a point when gainful employment can become leisure itself but you have to think out of the big box. So many of us had the “To Serve Man” conversion experience in college and now nearly two decades later you realize it was really a cookbook. I grow tired of the voracity in which the dominant culture dines upon my ass. It would be nice to participate in something that you are not the main course. The shift in consciousness comes when you are no longer afraid to NOT be the main course at a dinner party that the dominant culture holds in your honor where you are both guest and victim.

    This whole topic is really a manifestation of the culture of death. The problems (drugs, consumerism, disintegrating families, lack of faith, sex, greed, economic collapse, radical dependence on technology) really stem from a lack of imagination. It is a failure of art. One of the reasons that I write, and participate in this blog is to try to stimulate imagination. I think there is a novel in how we shift out of a contrived culture designed to extract dollars from you, to one that is more authentic. Its late and I am kind of rambling. Think about a virtual summit. Getting together might be tough.

  33. Anonymous says


    Summit sounds good to me – I’ll be in NJ middle part of July but with little chance to break up to NY on return trip – I’ve got a story I have to be back for – but let’s not give up on the idea wholly.

    I would suggest perhaps you try to get in touch with The Liberty Fund (tell them you’re a teacher) and suggest a booklist to discuss – Schumacher, Belloc’s The Servile State, Marx, Adam Smith, etc. – some way to bring in all the issues you’d like to talk about on the farm and put it on LF’s bill.

    Look them up – I don’t know if you or I have the credentials to headline this thing – but we do have the chutzpah, for sure…


  34. Job, Mark, Maybe others:

    Your idea of a summit could perhaps be realized in small, incremental steps. For example, the annual Chesterton Conference in St. Paul more often than not features a “distributist” thread. They also have had break-out sessions during the 3-day event that are designed to explore a number of subjects that Chestertonions find interesting. I bet Dale Ahlquist might be interested if you offered to host one of the breakout sessions.

    Doing things this way allows you to build on a base of like-minded people who already share your basic values and assumptions about our economy. Go to Chesteron.org for the conference info.

    Just an idea.

  35. j. christian says

    Some of the ideas of subsidiarity do not require a rejection of capitalism per se. More vigorous enforcement of antitrust laws, for example, might be one existing policy lever to foster competitive markets and get to a position much closer to local production. In this way, classical economics is not averse to distributist ideas. The first welfare theorem says as much, but it usually comes with strong assumptions.

    I would suggest that, in addition to the “usual suspects” of Chesterton, Belloc, et al., that any such summit include some counterpoint from economic orthodoxy. In fact, it would be interesting to have an economist at such a summit offer some counterpoint and critique of distributist theory. Personally, the lack of analytical depth to the theory has left me a little cold. It leaves me feeling that what “creation science” is to biology, distributism is to economics. And that’s not what a fides et ratio religion should have.

  36. Cubeland Mystic says
  37. Cubeland Mystic says

    Can’t help this one. The wife had the flu pretty bad, and then she picked up this side bug. It’s not a yeast infection. She can’t shake it, so the doc prescribes 10 doses of a yeast infection antibiotic. She goes to fill it, and the insurance won’t pay because it is yeast infection meds, and the you only need one dose which is two pills over two days. Fine, we will just pay for the whole thing out of pocket. 20 bucks a dose. You can make a written appeal to the insurance company if you like for the insurance to pick up the tab. Forget it, she took her one dose and now she’s going off the grid for this. If it was more serious, we friends from Mexico.

    First, 10 doses of something that strong has got to be wrong, and I got to figure will kill immune system. Second, the freaking insurance company cannot think out of the box to see that some meds have a dual purpose. Third, $200 for 20 pills, huh?

    Yeast infections are so rare that they have to charge ten dollars a pill?

    I don’t know what in the scenario bothers me most. Not to mention she was on another drug for about a week prior, plus the over the counter meds.

    This is what you laypeople don’t get. Computers are supposed to make things more efficient, right? They do, but the niche in which they make things more efficient is so narrow that you can never provide optimal service. Just to make up a number, it may cost the insurance company $250K and 8 months of man time to add dual use drugs to their computer applications. That’s if it gets on formulary in the first place. That may never happen. I may be a bit off, but most large corporation cannot handle exceptions. As long as you fit the mold, the system works, the second you want customization you’re out. How many of us don’t have unique circumstances?

    This is why we will serve technology more and more in the coming years. A radical dependence on it will have negative results. Mark my words. I am more concerned about the solutions to some of our modern problems than the problems themselves.

    A summit is a good idea. One solution I’ve thought about is starting a medical order along the lines of opus dei. Most vocations would be lay, and the order will pay for medical school. Some will be physician priests. Some might be celibate and take a vow of poverty, most will marry and take a vow of simplicity, and they will be honored and well paid, and their families will live in comfort. We supporters will pay reasonable amount for care and perhaps even sign something that promises we won’t sue them or the order for malpractice. Any thoughts anyone?

  38. Mark Thomas says


    I think you’d really, really dig Neil Postman’s Technopoly. Order it today. Both the chapter on computers and the chapter on medical technology are so f***ing right on you can’t sit still when you read them. They alone are worth the cover price. At least I think so. I’d like to hear your reactions to them.

    It seems to me a virtual summit, like virtual communio, is something one should settle for only if one absolutely has to. (Like if gasoline-powered travel, i.e., by plane or car, becomes a luxury only wealthy people can afford…if there are any more of those people left after the Greater Depression hits…!!!) Action needs inspiration, and I’m not sure how inspiring virtual communio can be. But then, maybe we’re all already stuck. Then again, I suppose even a written sermon can be inspiring. Tom mentioned above the help that comes from companionship. I guess that’s what I was thinking of.

    If there is a summit, I don’t think there should be any of the usual (Catholic) suspects (I wouldn’t count Wendell Berry, James Howard Kunstler or the authors of Suburban Nation among these). I think its core should be the (virtual) community that already exists here. The next step, so to speak. There’s plenty of smarts here. More importantly, there’s experience–time spent working on these things (and y’all certainly know how to read Schumacher, Berry et al. as well as anybody). Plus there’s the love (at least as much love as the Interweb will transmit). Time to build?

  39. Matthew Lickona says

    See what happens when I go away? Things get all smart-like and stuff.

    I won’t try to contribute much, except to say that I categorically deny the notion that Godsbody has a big readership. It has an interesting readership, which is part of the reason it exists. But it ain’t one of the big boys.

    Sweet of you to suggest it, though, CM.

  40. Mark Thomas says

    Let me be the first to say welcome back, bro.

    So…how long before you stop waking up before 5am? (That is, how long did it take you to start waking up before noon over there?)

  41. Matthew Lickona says

    Thanks, Mark. Dunno how long it’ll take me to adjust back here. I actually made the transition pretty easily over there – just one night of sleeplessness before Divine Mercy Sunday…

  42. Cubeland Mystic says

    My boss lives by JOB, my other boss lives in San Fran, I have colleagues in India. I type pretty close to the speed I talk. Virtual is good for me, I am used to it. I won’t rule a trip out. Sometimes in con calls I will have 5 instant messages windows open feeding my colleagues information, while I am participating in the meeting, and during lulls I will do work. Working in this medium is like breathing for me. It’s just time. I have little time.

    My brother lives in MI so a Wisconsin trip is not out of the question for me. I can kill two birds with one stone.

    I will help. I try to support this site as much as can. I think interaction is the spirit of blogging.

    I don’t think things are that bad right now. Meaning that we are in a position to squirrel things. If things really get bad then you are in good shape.

    I am not a Luddite. I am for the progressive development of new technology and its CHASTE and THOUGHTFUL use. A corporation will spend 10 million dollars a year to support computer systems to replace people who used to cost them 5 million dollars a year in salary and support costs. That is not thoughtful or chaste, that’s typical MBA. Then the tax payers in bigger picture have to bail these companies out when their ignorance, arrogance and greed overwhelm the fiscal good they tried to accomplish.

    The book. Yes I will buy postman’s book tonight if we go to the store. For the record, I work with the big stuff in real life. There is a lot of good in technology, it’s the application that is suspect. I could probably write a chapter or two myself for his book. I will send you an email via Matt telling you a bit more about work.

    As for this idea, Tom expresses it best about incremental steps from inspirational thinking. Writing about how people can deratraceificate themselves has the most value.

  43. Mark Thomas says

    Uh…yeah…I can see that virtual works well for you. In my past life, I would simply be in envious awe of you. Of course I am in envious awe…it’s just not simple. (Like I said: I wanna write for TV and movies! I see all of that as hanging by a thread! And that might be a good thing! But I wanna write for movies and TV! (By the way, the writers caved. Sorry, another thread.))

    Postman’s no Luddite either. But he’s definitely not a “tech as neutral” guy either. (BTW, as long as you’re plugged into the Matrix (tweaking here), why not just go on amazon.com? Who needs an actual, physical trip to an actual, physical place? (Tweaking again.))

    The written word is good. But then again, see Plato’s Phaedrus. Actually, it is with a story from this dialogue that Postman begins Technopoly. But no anti-scribe, he, obviously. (BTW, didn’t Tom say go for the summit before it’s too late or something like that? OK, I’ll stop now.)

    P.S.: Where in MI? We just moved from Milford a couple years ago. The year before, we made our first visit to Branch Davidian North (JOB’s place). The place I held my first teat. It was a cow. I was scared shitless.

    P.P.S.: Postman is funny. A wit. Pleasure is pleasant.

  44. Cubeland Mystic says

    The word is de-rat-race-ificate. My bro lives in St. Paul. I should no what the Phaedrus is about, I have a degree in Philosophy. I can’t remember. The reason we go to the store is there is a space that we can actually walk around and sit by a fountain.

    Nothing like your first teet. Very homo erotic.

  45. Mark Thomas says

    Ah, you mean MN. MI is Michigan. It would be a much shorter trip from MN than MI to WI, that’s for sure.

    Do unplug, then. Dip your toes in the fountain. Never mind mall security.

  46. Mark, CM,

    I’m hammering on: I still think you should look into the Liberty Fund and get something going with them for this summit. It would, technically speaking, be downgraded to a mere colliquium, but who’s standing on ceremony?


  47. Mark,

    Funny, I used the Myth of Theuth (which ends the Phaedrus and explains how writing was invented) to begin my rhetoric class. Theuth is also known as Hermes, by the way, in the Greek pantheon. I don’t know if there’s a connection, ergo, between the the Greek Flash and hermeneuticals, but there it is…


  48. Mark Thomas says


    I shall do so…but would LP fund a colloquium around a list of authors such as the one I’ve linked to above (Berry, et al.)? Or would they be considered insufficiently libertarian?
    P.S.: Your piece (for which you gave the URL above) is excellent. The story is heartbreaking. For Mr. Mickelson to appreciate so fully what closing his store would mean for the community and yet to close anyway must truly mean that he had no choice (but did not want to admit it–it must have been too difficult for him, if he feels as I do about Hel-Mart, which I suspect he does). I do hope the co-op survives…which it should, if locals commit (we absolutely depend on ours). They’ll have to pay more for non-crap, but we always have–it’s just that we’re not used to doing it for food (maybe they can use the money they won’t be spending on gas for the trip to Hel-Mart…)

    CM, this is Mordor advancing. Can we “win”? Or must we adopt (create?) a model that is irrelevant/invisible to it (e.g., local love, for each other and for non-crap)–especially so that we will still be standing when (yes, I say when) Mordor implodes?

    P.P.S.: Love your byline, JOB.

  49. Mark,

    Thanks and double thanks for the read – and a quick clarification on LF. While the name and mission smacks of libertarianism, it’s not all that. I’ve been to several in my young academic days – and can assure you that its peopled with a variety of minds.

    I think if you throw enough classical work in there (which I would insist on anyway – like I said, Marx, Smith, Thomas (not to mention Aristotle and Plato)) – that Schumacher and Berry, even Postman and Belloc would be permissible. Most reading lists run to about 7 or 8 books (if memory serves me correctly). And, as long as the theme is liberty (which I’m presuming is at the heart of our project here) I think they mostly don’t care how you put your team together…


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