DESCRIPTION OF COURSEThis mid-level course will examine the development of various theories of ethics and social justice from the ancient Hebrew tradition of Torah and the prophets, the political theory of Aristotle, and the New Testament writers Luke and Matthew to modern discussions about social, political, and economic justice. We will explore how modern social theorists have employed the Natural Law principles of the Ancient Hebrews (covenant, community, human dignity, Sabbatical Year, Jubilee, economic redistribution, and critique of idolatry), Classical Hellenes (virtue, moral economy, reciprocity, grace, need, friendship, political wisdom, and participatory democracy), and Late Hellenists (need, community, care of the poor, and distributive justice) as the basis for their ideas on social ethics and economic democracy. Questions of alienation, individual freedom, economic development, possessive individualism, natural rights, and social justice will be major themes in this study of Liberalism, Christianity, and Marxism. Special emphasis will be on contemporary debates about the ethics of democratic capitalism and democratic socialism, including conservative theology and philosophy and radical liberation theology. Readings will be from the Torah, New Testament, Aristotle, Pope John Paul II, M. Friedman, H. Sherman, K. Marx, E. Fromm, P. Farmer, E. F. Schumacher, and R. Pirsig. Prerequisite: introductory sociology or permission of the instructor.
Aristotle, The Politics
American Catholic Bishops, Economic Justice for All
New Oxford Annotated Bible: Torah, Isaiah, Amos, Luke, and Matthew
M. Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
John Paul II, On Human Work (Laborem Exercens)
R. Reich, Saving Capitalism
E. Fromm, Marx's Concept of Man (contains Marx's Early
Economic and Philosophical Writings of 1844)
P. Farmer, Pathologies of Power
E. F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful
R. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
A. McGovern, Marxism: An American Christian Perspective
G. McCarthy and R. Rhodes, Eclipse of Justice: Ethics, Economics,
and the Lost Traditions of American Catholicism
There will be a mid-term and final examination. Questions will be given out 2-3 weeks prior to the test from which two or three questions will be chosen the day of the exam. Classroom attendance is naturally required, as is participation in the weekly discussion groups organized and led by students themselves. The goal of the course is to encourage students to become actively involved in their own education and enlightenment by discussing the required readings every Friday afternoon. The final grade for the course will be based on 1/3 mid-term, 1/3 final examination, and 1/3 class participation.
Professor McCarthy's office hours are MWF from 8:00 to 9:30 AM in Treleaven House, Room 202, 105 Brooklyn St. Appointments to see him at other times may be made during the day, or immediately before or after class. His email address is "McCarthy@Kenyon.edu." Professor Rhodes' office hours are MWF from 10:00 to 11:30 AM in Ascension House, Room 25, and by appointment. His email address is "Rhodesr@Kenyon.edu."
OVERVIEW OF SCHEDULE AND REQUIRED READINGS
WEEK                         LECTURE TOPICS
|Economic Justice for All
Critique of Liberalism and Foundations of American Catholicism in Ancient Hebrew and Greek Social Ethics
Discuss passages from class handouts from earlier American Catholic Bishops Letters: the National Catholic War Council,
Program of Social Reconstruction, February 12, 1919; Present Crisis, April 25, 1933; and The Economy:
Human Dimensions, November 20, 1975; and Matthew, 25: 31-46.
Summary of Introduction and Course: This course examines the history of the ethical and political ideals of the traditions of Natural Law and Social Justice from the Ancient Hebrews (Torah and the Hebrew Prophets), Ancient Hellenes (Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics and the Politics), Hellenists and Early Christians (New Testament of Luke and Matthew), and the Catholic traditions of Liberation Theology, the American Catholic Bishops statement Justice for All (1986), and the Papal Encyclicals of Leo XIII, Pius XI, John XXIII, John Paul II, and Paul VI, and Benedict XVI, and Marxian social ethics (1844) and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). One major strength of the Natural Law tradition is that it integrates both the social ideals of justice and a structural analysis of political economy. We will take these traditions and apply them to an empirical and historical study of the United States (Robert Reich) and Latin America (Paul Farmer). Finally, we will undertake a critical analysis of the views of social justice from outside of the Western tradition by examining the writings of E. F. Schumacher and Robert Pirsig on Buddhist social ethics.
|2.||Torah||The New Oxford Annotated Bible
Covenant, Community, and Justice in the Old Testament
Social Justice in Torah and Hebrew Prophets: selections from Torah and the Hebrew Prophets that reflect issues of social justice: anti-usury, charity (mishpat), mercy, compassion, and loving-kindness (hesed), righteousness, fairness, and justice (tzedakah), sabbath (loans, credit, fallow land, rejection of usury, right of the poor to eat, and release of slaves and debt in Exodus 21-23 and Deuteronomy 15), jubilee (fair price, principle of release of property, right of redemption of property and homes, return of property to original owner, and release from servitude in Leviticus 25), theory of human need, economic redistribution, preferential option of the poor, primacy of the covenant though community, equality, and human dignity, critique of idolatry, private property, and class inequality, moral community as the source of life and well-being, and the restoration of unity (tikkun olam) through the covenant, mercy, and justice.
Deuteronomy 15 and 24:14-15
Isaiah 26-35, 44, and 58-61
Discuss passages from the following: Genesis 1: 26-27 and 23: 10-11; Exodus: 22: 19-27 and 23: 10-11; Proverbs 22: 22-23 and 29: 7; Jeremiah 7: 4-7 and 22: 15-16, and Ezekiel 16: 48-49. Also to be briefly examined will be selections from the Patristic, Medieval, and Reformation eras on social justice: Didache, 2nd Century, The Epistle to Diognetus, 2nd C., Cyprian, 3rd C., Basil of Caesarea, 4th C., Ambrose of Milan, 4th C., John Chrysostom, 4-5th C., Ambrose of Milan, 4th C., Thomas Aquinas, 13th C., Luther, 16th C., Martin Bucer, 16th C., the Church of Geneva, 16th C., and Winthrop's Journal, 17th C.
|3.||Aristotle||The Politics, Books I, III, IV, and VI ii
(Recommended: Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book 5 and
George E. McCarthy, "Aristotle on Social Justice and Classical Democracy," in Dreams in Exile:
Rediscovering Science and Ethics in Nineteenth-Century Social Theory)
Virtuous Friendship, Moral Economy, and Reciprocal Grace in a Democratic Polis
Social Justice in Ancient Greece: Aristotle is the first social and political theorist to recognize the antagonisms between a moral economy and a market economy, between Athenian democracy and commercial capitalism. During this week we will outline the social ethics and social justice of the Ancient Hellenes: economic self sufficiency, distributive, rectificatory, and reciprocal justice, moral economy (oikonomike) vs. market economy (chrematistike), household economy built on family love, common good, general welfare, and social responsibility, moral and intellectual virtue, virtue and politics, equality, community, and friendship, and reciprocity of exchange, mutual sharing (metadosis) between family, neighbors, friends, and fellow-citizens, grace (charis), compassion, empathy, love (philia), and human need (chreia). Justice represents the Social and Structural dimensions of ethical thought; it brings the moral values of a virtuous character to life in social institutions; and it nurtures and sustains the moral individual through political activity. Moral action is always the activity of a citizen. Aristotle referred to justice in terms of the economic (distribution, reciprocity, and fairness in a moral economy) and political (participation, reason, and wisdom within a democratic polity) aspects of social life. Hegel, too, referred to justice as social ethics and saw the dangers of unrestrained moral action without institutional guidance, support, and restraints in Kant's categorical imperative and the French Revolution.
The Good Life and Ideal Polity: Finally, the goal of the good life is happiness (eudaimonia) which is expressed as a life of virtuous living (areté), practical wisdom (phronesis), and rational deliberation (bouleusis) over laws and public policy within the ideal state of a democratic polity -- it is a life of Virtue, Reason, and Politics -- in the form of communal solidarity, democratic sovereignty, political self-determination, and realization of human potentiality within the political community or polis.
Social Justice: Integrating Ethics and Politics, Morality and Political Economy: Economic Justice:
I. Forms of Virtue: Moral and Intellectual Virtues:
I. Moral Virtues:
Courage, nobility, honor, moderation, goodness, friendship, and justice
II. Intellectual Virtues:
Episteme (universal knowledge of the philosopher), phronesis (practical knowledge of the citizen), and techne (formal or technical knowledge of the artisan and technician)
I. Forms of Justice:
1. Distributive justice
2. Corrective justice
3. Reciprocal justice
II. Grace and Reciprocity:
3. Mutual Sharing
III. Moral Economy vs. Market Economy:
self-sufficiency --- trade
good life --- commerce
virtue --- profit
wisdom --- property
citizenship --- market capital
C-C vs. M-C-M'
C-M-C vs. M-M'
I. Correct Forms of Government
1. Monarchy vs. Tyranny
2. Aristocracy vs. Oligarchy
3. Democratic Polity vs. Democracy
II. Best Constitution: Book 3
1. Wisdom (203-204)
3. deliberative judgments (205)
4. citizenship (205)
5. contribution to the state (211)
6. common good and justice
III. Principles of Democracy: Book 6
Aristötle and German Social Theory: There was a renaissance in Aristotle and Aristotelian scholarship in nineteenth-century Germany to such an extent -- his ideas and theories on Ethics, Politics, Economics, Knowledge, and the Ideal Society permeated the depths and breadth of German social theory -- that he could legitimately be referred to as “Aristötle, with an umlaut.”
|4.||Milton Friedman||Capitalism and Freedom (introduction and chapters 1, 2, 7, 10-13), pp. 1-36, 108-118, 161-202
(Recommended: Video presentations/lectures by Milton Friedman on Youtube)
Economic Liberty, Consumer Freedom, and Moral Taste within a Market Economy
Capitalism and Justice: Outline the conservative criticism of "Economic Justice for All" (1986) in the Lay Commission Report "Toward the Future: Catholic Social Thought and the U.S. Economy" (1984). In describing the nature of justice the Report eliminates the Ancient (Aristotle) and Scholastic (Aquinas) notions of rectificatory, reciprocal or commutative, and political justice (virtue, citizenship, and democracy) articulated by the Catholic Bishops as it turns social justice into the market categories of individual liberties, market freedoms, voluntary associations, and public spiritedness. In turn, the conservative tradition redefines the ethical and political categories of Catholicism (4-6, 8, 12, and 26) -- Personality, Solidarity, and Subsidiarity -- into Natural Rights categories of individualism, market, competition, rights, and property while negating, substituting, and repressing the Natural Law tradition. After this distortion has been accomplished, the Commission then accepts the Bishops' Statement on justice.
Friedman on Capitalism and Justice: Reduction of Ethics and Politics to Consumption: Compare Chapters 1-2 on Friedman's political theory and moral values with his analysis of their public policy implications on issues of discrimination, distribution of income, social welfare, and poverty (Chapters 7 and 10-13). That is, examine his notions of the neutral state (12), market rationality (13), political freedom (15), and depoliticization (24) and their implications in the public sphere: racial discrimination as a matter of personal taste (110-113); anti-discrimination laws and fair employment practice laws in America (1945-1964) were likened to the antisemitic Nuremberg laws (1935) of Hitler's Nazi Germany because they were state imposed laws and because they interfered with individual choice and voluntary contracts (111-113); inequality due to personal endowments and achievements (162 and 168), economic redistribution of wealth on deserted island and Robinson Crusoe (165), and freedom as personal consumption and choice (170). For a summary of Friedman's argument quote page 169, and for a critique of Friedman's position, see Franz Hinkelammert, The Ideological Weapons of Death: A Theological Critique of Capitalism, pp. 91-92 and 110 where he characterizes Friedman's philosophy as a new form of liberalism and totalitarianism. Insightfully, he maintains that, without the means to life (Natural Law), the right to life (Natural Rights) is meaningless and empty. Compare the underlying ethical values and moral principles of the American Catholic Bishops, Lay Commission, and Milton Friedman. Are they really coming out of the same ethical and religious traditions? What are some of the implications of ignoring or dispensing with the Natural Law tradition? Does Friedman dangerously deplete the ethical resources of a delicate social ecology and balance between the individual and the community. Note: Friedman's theory of market justice is just the logical and historical continuation of Locke's second state of nature with its loss of natural law and social ethics in The Second Treatise of Government. Locke dropped his earlier emphasis on the community, common property, common welfare, and social justice while defining the rightful goal of humanity in terms of the market and unlimited property accumulation. Individual freedom and liberty were defined as subcategories of possessive individualism, materialism, utilitarianism, and market competition. Friedman updates Locke's 17-century thesis for the twentieth century and neo-classical economics. It is the market that will provide for individual rationality, freedom, happiness, and social justice. The classical and medieval traditions of morality and ethics have been rationalized (Weber), repressed (Freud), and eclipsed (Horkheimer).
Capitalism as Competition and Consumption or as Monopoly Capital and Economic Concentration: Finally, is Friedman's view of the market a mythical construct or phantasm of the nineteenth century? That is, is the market an economic structure of individuals and firms competing for scarce natural resources (production) and products (consumption) or is it a form of Monopoly Capitalism tied to a strong Industrial State. See McCarthy and Rhodes, Eclipse of Justice, for the development of a complex theory of the modern state (summary on pages 110 and 138) which has the following structural characteristics:
(1) maintains the massive inequality and class system through the welfare state (116-122)
(2) subsidizes research, development, and profit-making through direct spending, credit programs, tax expenditures, and other government subsidies of the corporate welfare system (138-145)
(3) rationalizes the formation of corporate monopolies, mergers, and corporate restructuring by means of horizontal and vertical integration and the creation of mega-mergers through social investment and social consumption (130 and 143-146) (4) stabilizes possible social unrest and economic injustices of a class system through the social welfare system for the poor, unemployed, and sick (111-115)
(5) insures access to cheap natural resources, production material, and markets through neo-liberal imperialism and a strong military
(6) keeps the lanes of commerce and free trade open through a strong navy
(7) further subsidizes industrial production directly through the wasteful military-industrial complex
(8) represses worker rights, unionization, and political participation of its citizens through the legal and legislative system
(9) reorganizes the workplace based on scientific management, the dual labor market, deindustrialization, and globalization
(10) stabilizes the economics system after periods of serious recessions or depressions (economic stagnation, stagflation of the 1960s, declining productivity and capital investment of the 1970s, high deficits of the 1980s, and financial meltdown of the Great Recession of 2008-09 (126-127)
(11) furthers capital accumulation and political legitimation through social capital and social expenses (135-138)
(12) and lately attempts the dismantling of the social welfare state (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) at the same time that it encourages and expands the corporate welfare state (146-150).
Conclusion: The idea of an autonomous, rational, competitive market economy that needs to be free from government interference or the idea of a minimalist or neutral state is truly a mythic and ideological construction given the history and political economy of Monopoly Capitalism and the Industrial State in the United States. Problems of high deficit spending and government interference in and undermining of market rationality, freedoms, and rights are further manifestations of an attempt to repress consideration of these broader structural issues and their corresponding questions of ethics and social justice. The Corporate God: Is God a capitalist? For an analysis of the historical and theological relationship between Religion and Capitalism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, see Richard Tawney, Religion and the Rise of Capitalism and in modern American Society since the Great Depression, see Kevin Kruse, One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America. Listen to Kruse interview on NPR, March 30, 2015 at:
See also, "Policy Basics: Where Do Our Federal Tax Dollars Go?," Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March 11, 2015 at:
For an important work that reveals how this new industrial and financial system has been validated by religion in America, see Kevin M. Kruse, One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America (Basic Books 2015) and Michael Novak and Paul Adams, Social Justice Isn't What You Think It Is (Encounter Books: 2015).
|5.||Pope John Paul II||On Human Labor and
Pope Benedict XVI, Message on World Day of Peace (January 1, 2013)
(Recommended: G. McCarthy and R. Rhodes, Eclipse of Justice, chapter 5 and
Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth, 2009) and
Francis, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel, 2013)
Papal Encyclicals on Democracy, Socialism, Human Rights, and Productive Labor
(Andrea Tornilli, This Economy Kills: Pope Francis on Capitalism and Social Justice
Papal Encyclicals, Liberalism, and Socialism: briefly discuss passages from the following Papal Encyclicals from the 19th to the 20th century: Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum, 1891; Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno, 1931 and Mit brennender Sorge, 1937, John XXIII, Mater Et Magistra, 1961 and Pacem in Terris, 1963; Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 1967 and Octagesimo Adveniens, 1971, World Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World, 1971, and Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 2009. Also discussed in this section is the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948: political rights, Articles 1-22 and economic rights, Articles 23-30 in
For a useful summary of the history of Catholic social ethics, see "2,000 Years of Catholic Ethics" by Rob Esdaille in
Recent Papal Encyclicals on Social Justice:
John Paul II, Laborem Exercens (September 14, 1881), Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (December 30, 1987), and Centesimus Annus (May 1, 1991) at:
Benedict XVI, Deus caritas est (December 25, 2005) and Caritas in veritate (June 29, 2009) at:
Francis, Lumen fidei (June 29, 2013) at:
Evangelii Gaudium (November 24, 2013) at:
Secondary Interpretations of Recent Papal Encyclicals:
Edward P. Deberri, et al., Catholic Social Teaching: Our Best Kept Secret (2003)
Pontifical Council for Peace & Justice, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (2005)
Kenneth Himes, ed., Modern Catholic Social Teaching: Commentaries and Interpretations (2005) David J. O'Brien, ed., Catholic Social Thought: The Documentary Heritage (2010)
Thomas Massaro, Living Justice: Catholic Social Teaching in Action (2011)
Donal Dorr, Option for the Poor and for the Earth (2012)
Jim Yardley and Binyamin Appelbaum, "In Fiery Speeches, Francis Excoriates Global Capitalism," New York Times, July 11, 2015 at:
Daniel Burke, CNN Religion Editor, "Pope Francis: 'Revolution' Needed to Combat Climate Control," June 18, 2015 at:
Robert P. Maloney, "Property and People", in America [magazine] (March 7, 2016) provides a good brief overview of Catholic Social Teaching, including more recent statements by Pope Francis at:
Also see, the essays about John Paul II in the following works:
(1) Jonathan Luxmoore, "How an Unknown Text Could Throw New Light on John Paul II’s Views on Economics," in the Houston Catholic Worker, April 1, 2007. The newly discovered untranslated Polish text on Marx offers a new perspective on the relationship between the Pope and Karl Marx
(2) John Paul II's never seen and never published Polish-language lectures from the early 1950s titled Catholic Social Ethics
(3) Jonathan Luxmoore, "Wojtyla lectures reveal he saw communism as based in misunderstanding," in National Catholic Reporter, November 5, 2019
(4 ) Jonathan Luxmoore, "John Paul II: Capitalism's Trenchant Critic," in The Tablet, January 31, 2019.
Topics on Environmental Justice:
John Paul II, Peace with God the Creator, Peace with All of Creation, Celebration of the 23rd World Day of Peace (1990)
Benedict XVI, If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation, Celebration of 43rd World Day For Peace (2010), and
Francis, Laudato Si: On the Care of Our Common Home (June 18, 2015) at:
Richard W. Miller, God, Creation, and Climate Change: A Catholic Response (2010)
U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Renewing the Earth (2012)
Thomas Berry, Dream of the Earth (2015)
Arthur Waskow, "Rabbis Against Climate Change," National, June 6, 2015 at:
International Islamic Climate Change Symposium, "Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change," August 17-18, 2015 at:
|6.||Joseph Stiglitz||The Price of Inequality
(Recommended: McCarthy and Rhodes, Eclipse of Justice,, chapters 1-4)
Reaganomics, Public Policy, and Economic Crises in the United States
1.   L. Mishel, J. Bernstein, and H. Shierholz, The State of Working America: 2008-2009 (Economic Policy Institute) in
tables and figures on wealth, income, inequality and poverty in the U.S. in
2.   G. William Domhoff, "Who Rules America: Wealth, Income, and Power" (July 2011) (1% of households own 90% of wealth in America), in
"Who Rules America: Power, Politics, and Social Change" (2010) in
3.   Edward Wolff, "Recent Trends in Household Wealth in the United States" based on information from
the Survey of Consumer Finances (June 2007) of the Federal Reserve Board, especially page 26 (next SCF Report on
Wealth Distribution in the U.S. is scheduled for 2010) in
Survey of Consumer Finances, Federal Reserve Board of Governors, 2013, last updated October 2014 at:
Edward Wolff, "National Report Card: Wealth Inequality," The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality," 2014 at:
Jordan Weissman, "The Great Wealth Meltdown: Middle-Class Families Are Worth Less Today Than in 1969," Slate: Money Box," December 2014 at:
William Domhoff, Who Rules American, "Wealth, Income, and Power," 2013 at:
7.   "The Roots of Broadened Stock Ownership," United States Congress, Joint Economic Committee Study, April 2000 in
8.    Timothy Noah, "The United States of Inequality," Slate, September 3, 2010 in
9.    Nicholas Kristof, "Our Banana Republic," in The New York Times, November 6, 2010 in
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/07/opinion/07kristof.html?sq=Our%20Banana%20Republic&st=cse&scp=1&pagewanted=print and "A Hedge Fund Republic, in The New York Times, November 17, 2010 in
10.    Economic Policy Institute, The State of Working American, 2008-2009 in
11. "Wealth And Inequality In America," by Gus Lubin, Business Insider, November, 27, 2010 in
12. "Health Care Costs and the Tax Burden," by Bruce Bartlett, Economix, June 7, 2011 in
13. Joseph E. Stiglitz, "Inequality of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%," Vanity Fair, May 2011 in
14. Corporate Welfare Information Center: http://www.corporations.org/welfare/
"The $150 billion for corporate subsidies and tax benefits eclipses the annual budget deficit of $130 billion. It's more than the $145 billion paid out annually for the core programs of the social welfare state: Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), student aid, housing, food and nutrition, and all direct public assistance (excluding Social Security and medical care)," from
the Boston Globe Series on Corporate Welfare, in
15. Robert Greenstein, CBPP Statement on the “Cut, Cap, and Balance Act” That the House Will Consider on July 19, 2011 in
16. Half in Ten, "Restoring Shared Prosperity: 2010," in
17. U.S. Census Bureau, "Supplemental Poverty Measure Latest Research," in
18. PBS Frontline Series on Great Recession and Politics entitled "Money, Power, and Wall Street," April 24, 2012 and May 1, 2012. Examines the historical and structural origins of Credit Default Swaps, Derivatives, Collateral Debt Obligations, Subprime Mortgages, Toxic Mortgages, and the Financial Crisis of December 2007 -- June/July 2009 in
25. Economics, Class Ideology, and the Absurdity of Supply-Side Economics, in
26. "How the Case for Austerity has Crumbled," by Paul Krugman, at:
27. See also Radio Times interview with Joseph Stiglitz on October 20, 2012 at:
and Robert Reich's documentary Inequality for All, 2013 in Kenyon Library: HC106.84 .I543 2014
28. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, "Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2014," May 2015 at:
Paul Krugman, "The Insecure American," May 29, 2015.
|7.||Joseph Stiglitz||The Price of Inequality
(Recommended: McCarthy and Rhodes, Eclipse of Justice, chapter 4)
Income and Wealth Distribution, Class Inequality, and the Functions of the Corporate and Social Welfare State
Seven Videos on the Great Recession of 2007-2008 and the Structural Crisis of the U.S. Economy:
(1) Richard Wolff, Capitalism Hits the Fan: A Lecture on the Economic Meltdown, A Media Education Foundation Production, 2009
(2) Robert Reich, Inequality for All, Anchor Bay Entertainment, 2014
(3) The Crisis Forum, Wealth Inequality in America, Perception vs Reality, March 4, 2013 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vttbhl_kDoo
(4) Donald Barlett and James Steel, America: What Went Wrong?, June 1992 at http://www.c-span.org/video/?26765-1/america-went-wrong
(5) Charles Ferguson, director, Inside Job, 2010, Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature
(6) Frontline, Inside the Meltdown, February 17, 2009 at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/meltdown/view/ and
(7) Frontline, Money, Power & Wall Street: Inside Story of the Financial Global Crisis, April 24 and May 1, 2012, at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/money-power-wall-street/
Wealth, Power, and Taxes in the United States: Wealth for the Common Good (April 2010):
1.   Dennis G. Hodgson, "The Distribution of Wealth in America" (2004) in
Edward Wolff, "Recent Trends in Household Wealth in the United States" based on information from
the Survey of Consumer Finances (June 2007) of the Federal Reserve Board, especially page 26
(next SCF Report on Wealth Distribution in the U.S. is scheduled for 2010) in
4.   the special edition of The Nation on "The New Inequality":
5.    Barry Bluestone, "The Polarization of American Society" (1995) in
6.   Emmanuel Saez, "Striking it Richer" (March 2008) in
7.    Federal Deficits and the Bush Tax Cuts for Wealthy (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Congressional Budget Office:
8.    Frank Rich, "Who Will Stand Up to the Superrich?," in New York Times, November 13, 2010:
9.    Analysis of Current Federal Deficits and Bush Tax Cuts in "Critics Still Wrong on What’s Driving Deficits in Coming Years,"
in Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), by Kathy Ruffing and James R. Horney, June 28, 2010, in
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), "Economic Downturn and Bush Policies Continue to Drive Large Projected Deficits," May 10, 2011, in
Bruce Bartlett, "Are the Bush Tax Cuts the Root of Our Fiscal Problem?," New York Times, July 26, 2011, in http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/26/are-the-bush-tax-cuts-the-root-of-our-fiscal-problem/?pagemode=print
10.    Analysis of Bush Tax Cuts and Economic Growth in "Were the Bush Tax Cuts Good for Growth?," in
11. "Putting Poverty on the Agenda" by K. vanden Heuvel, January 16, 2011 in http://www.thenation.com/print/blog/157759/putting-poverty-agenda
12. United States Federal Budget Proposals For 2012: President Obama, Congressman Ryan, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus, April 2011:
I. Paul Ryan, The Path to Prosperity: Restoring America's Promise, House of Representatives, Committee on the Budget, April 2011:
II. President Barak Obama, Budget Report for 2012, April 2011:
Thomas Edsall, "Redistribution and Obamacare," NY Times Op-Ed, April 22, 2015 at:
III. Congressional Progressive Caucus, U.S. Congress, The People's Budget, April 2011:
13. Federal Reserve Board, vol. 98, no. 2, June 2012 in
Federal Reserve Board, "Survey of Consumer Finances,"
14. Robert Greenstein, Director of Center for Budget and Policy Research: Homepage and Essays on Republican Budget Plan of 2011
Greenstein's Essay On Congressman Paul Ryan's Balanced Budget Amendment Plan (March/April 2011) -- The Path to Prosperity: Overview
On Paul Ryan's Balanced Budget Amendment:
Deep Cuts in Government Programs, esp. Medicare and Medicaid:
On Ryan's Plan to Cut 2/3 Benefits of Lower-Income Americans:
On Ryan's Plan to Cut Programs for the Poor:
15. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Analysis of the Ryan Budget Plan:
16. Center for Budget and Policy Priorities Analysis of Ryan's New Budget Proposal of March 2012:
17. American Catholic Bishops Statement in Critical Response to the Moral Justification of the Paul Ryan Budget Proposal of 2012:
18. Comparison of President Obama's and Congressman Ryan's Dept Reduction and Budget Plans:
19. Congressmen Carl Levin and Tom Coburn, Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Collapse, Majority and Minority Staff Report Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, United States Senate, April 13, 2011
20. Worker Control and Economic Democracy in
21. Andrew Fieldhouse, "The People's Budget: A Technical Analysis," Economic Policy Institute analysis of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (Summary: http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/files/The_CPC_FY2012_Budget.pdf), in
George Zornick, "Austerity Alternative," in The Nation, in
22. For more details about the corporate and personal tax system in the U.S. and Paul Ryan's Budget Proposal for 2012, see the Citizens for Tax Justice website at:
"Ryan Budget Plan Would Cut Income Taxes for Millionaires by at Least $187,000 Annually" at
"Who Pays Taxes in America?" at:
More on Ryan Budget Proposal, "This Week in Poverty: Republicans Define 'Lower-Priority Spending'," by Greg Kaufmann,
May 11, 2012 at:
23. Nearly 6o Catholics Leaders Respond to Paul Ryan's Budget as Immoral in
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Federal Budget FY 2013 and Health Care in the United States at:
"What Ryan Missed: What Catholic Social Teaching Says about Solidarity and Subsidiarity," by Gerald J. Beyer
(America: The National Catholic Weekly, June 4, 2012) at:
24. Congressional Research Service (Library of Congress), "Taxes and the Economy: An Economic Analysis of the Top Tax Rates Since 1945," by Thomas Hungerford, September 2012 (Critique of Supply Side Economics) and Tax Policy Center, "On the Distributional Effects of Base-Broadening Income Tax Reform," by Samuel Brown, William G. Gale, Adam Looney, August 1, 2012
Total Taxes Paid by U.S. Citizens and Corporations: A Comparative Analysis in "Seven Facts About Our Broken Tax System, by George Zornick, The Nation (April 15, 2014) at:
25. Hard Schneider, "Communists Have Seized the IMF," Washington Post, February 26, 2014 and International Monetary Fund Paper on the effects of Economic Redistribution and Equality on Economic Growth at:
26. Inequality in the United States at:
27. UC Berkeley Labor Center, "The High Public Cost of Low Wages" (April 13, 20015) at: http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/the-high-public-cost-of-low-wages/
28. "Ten Serious Flaws in the House and Senate Budget Plans," by Robert Greenstein, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, April 20, 2015 at:
29. U.S. Government Accounting Office, "Retirement Security: Most Households Approaching Retirement Have Low Savings," May 2015 at:
New York Times, "Social Security in an Election Year," The Editorial Board, JAN. 2, 2016 at:
Eric Levitz, "The Republican Party Must Answer for What It Did in Kansas," New York Magazine, March 18, 2016, at:
|8.||Luke||Luke and Matthew in the New Testament
Early Christianity, Jewish\Roman History, and the Sermon on the Mount and on the Plain
You may also want to consider a comparison of the narratives in Luke and Matthew.
What do they say that is similar or dissimilar? Compare the following passages:
Infancy of Jesus: Luke 2:1-20 and Matt. 2:1-2
Sermon: Luke 6:17-26 and Matt. 5:1-10
Story of the Swine & Demons: Luke 8:26 and Matt. 8:28 (see Mark 5:1-20)
Calling of the Apostles: Luke 6:12-16 and Matt. 10:1-4
Our Father: Luke 11:2-4 and Matthew 6: 7-15
Violence: Luke 12:49-53; Luke 22:35-38, 47-51 and Matt. 10:34, 27:27-31
Riches: Luke 16:19-31; Luke 18:18-27; Luke 20:19-26 and Matt. 22:15; Matt. 19:16
Last Judgment: Matthew 25:31-46
Entry into Jerusalem: Luke 19:28-38; Luke 22:35-38 and Matt. 21:1-16; Matt. 10:34-39 [Also compare: John 12:12-19 and the Hebrew Bible's Book of Zechariah 9:9-10].
Andrew Sullivan, "Forget the Church, Follow Jesus," Newsweek, April 9, 2012
Gary Gutting, "Returning to the Sermon on the Mount," New York Times Opinion Page, April 19, 2012
|9.||Luke||Luke in the New Testament and|
Douglas E. Oakman, The Political Aims of Jesus (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012)
Recommended: M. Douglas Meeks, God the Economist: The Doctrine of God and Political Economy,
Intro, Chapts. 1 and 2, pp. 1-45, Jim Wallis, God's Politics, part IV, "Spiritual Values and Economic Justice,"
pp. 209-293, and the United Nations General Assembly, Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Social Justice, Hermeneutics of Suspicion, and Liberation Theology in the New Testament
The International Bill of Human Rights is the informal name given to one General Assembly resolution and two international treaties established by the United Nations. It consists of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted in 1948), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) with its two Optional Protocols and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966). (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Bill_of_Human_Rights)
United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
1. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948):
2. Covenant on Economic and Cultural Rights (1966):
3. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) :
4. Civil and Political Covenant's Optional Protocol (1966):
5. Summary of United Nations Agreements on Human Rights:
New Constitution of Egypt (2012): Look to South Africa, Canada, and Europe:
See also Egypt's Al-Hayat TV interview with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsberg (January 30, 2012) regarding the creation of a new Egyptian Constitution and her recommendation that the best models for the protection of basic human rights would not be the old US Constitution but rather the Constitution of South Africa (1997), the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982), and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR of 1953), which was inspired by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).
The Historical Jesus: Was Jesus a Jew or a Christian?: Many fascinating questions arise as to the background, politics (Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots, and Essenes), class, race, sexuality (beloved disciple and naked boy at Gethsemane, see Morton Smith), language (Aramaic and Greek), and religion of Jesus Christ. Who was the real Jesus? Was Jesus a Jew, a Christian, a Messiah, social revolutionary, and political criminal (Miranda), apocalyptic preacher (John the Baptist), divine (Gospel of John), eschatological sign or sign of the endtimes (Paul's Epistles), or neo-Platonic spiritualist (Origin and Clement of Alexandria)? Is Jesus the "Son of God" indicating he's the political leader and rightful king of Israel (Psalm 2) or is he one in unified being with the Father (Gospel of John)" Is Jesus the "Son of Man" indicating he is a human being? Jesus never refers to himself as the "Son of God." What do these terms mean? For an introduction to these questions, see the following works: Bart Ehrman, How Jesus Became God (2014), Misquoting Jesus (2005), and Lost Christianities (2003); Douglas Oakman, The Political Aim of Jesus (2013); John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew (4 vols.); and John Dominic Crossan, The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant (1991), Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography (1994); and Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? (1999).
|10.||Erich Fromm||Marx's Concept of Man,|
Fromm's, "Introduction," in Marx's Concept of Man, pp. 1-83 and Marx's essay,
"Alienated Labor," in the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, pp.93-109
|11.||E. F. Schumacher||Small is Beautiful, part I: chapters 1-4 and part III: chapters 1-2
Buddhist Economics and Moral Economy: Metaphysics of Western Liberalism, Economics, and Science
Buddhist Critique of Western Economics: critique of capitalist market, industrial production, and individual consumption, liberalism, market rationality and freedom, industrial expansion, urbanization, centralization of political and economic power, politics and social ideals, and science, technology, and nature. Examine the unconscious values, ethical ideals, and hidden normative assumptions underlying Western science, economics, and the Enlightenment.
Metaphysics of Economics: Buddhist analysis of meta-economics or the metaphysics of economics: (8-9) growth\large is beautiful (29-30), centralization of economic and political power, possessive individualism, greed, and self-interest (Natural Rights) (44), economism (31), technical and formal rationality (37-38), economics and the distortion of virtue (45), pathology of Western economics and ethics (51), and critique of the Enlightenment and Western reason (32-33 and 48-49). The meta-theory that underlies Western rationality and economics assumes the unquestioned validity of Enlightenment science (logic, method, and reason) and capitalism (political economy). Schumacher undertakes a critical deconstruction of economics as both a science and a social institution, including an analysis of unlimited economic growth, centralized state and bureaucracy, and Western science and reason. In turn, Schumacher's anarchist theory calls for economic and technological decentralization, workers' control, small-scale technology, democracy, and a critical ecology. Compare Marx's democratic and decentralized socialism with Schumacher's democratic anarchism. How are the different and how are they similar?
|12.||Paul Farmer||Pathologies of Power, chapters 5 and 6 and
Steven Brill, "Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us," The Times (Feb. 20, 2013)
Health Care, Human Rights, and Social Justice in Developing Countries
Health Care and Human Rights: health care as a natural and human right from J. Locke's The Second Treatise of Government and UN Declaration of Human Rights; critique of market medicine, scientific medicine, and Western rationality (163); examination of the underlying ethical and political assumptions of medicine; medicine as political and economic ideology -- the relation between capitalist medicine and the pathologies of power; methodology of Farmer: to see the role of medical health care providers, to judge their actions on the basis of ethical principles, and to act according to the needs of the community, human dignity, democratic values, and the common good: relationship between observation, immanent critique, and theory of action within a general framework of the "pragmatic solidarity with the poor"; and analysis of the various approaches to health problems (154): charity, which is a symptom of real problem and avoidance of social ideals, development on the model of the IMF and World Bank, which represents a simple technological fix, and social justice, which examines structural violence in the form of disease, work, and poverty. Farmer examines issues of health and human suffering through the lens of social justice, human rights, the preferential option for the poor, and Liberation Theology. The moral foundation of his ethics and critical theory of medicine lies in the principles of the community and the corresponding immanent critique of capitalism and market science.
Health Care, Ethics, and Human Needs: Critique of Market Medicine: the health care advocacy organization Partners in Health, to which Paul Farmer belongs, has offered five fundamental principles directing their work: (1) emphasis on primary health care, (2) critique of market medicine and call for free health care and education, (3) community partnerships, (4) addressing social and economic needs, and (5) public engagement and structural reorganization of society to help the poor and the sick. Farmer's immediate goal is to reclaim the prophet power of language relating to medicine, illness, and social pathologies. His integration of poetry (23 poems mentioned) and social theory leads to a more in-depth treatment of the pathologies of disease, medicine, and political power. Farmer creates a critical form of social poetry.
|13.||Robert Pirsig||Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Critique of the Logic and Method of Western Reason, Science, and the Enlightenment
Crisis of Cartesian Reason and Disintegration of Society: motorcycle odyssey from Chicago to San Francisco as metaphor for an intellectual journey and the search for meaning in a meaningless world of functional rationality (84) -- we live in a world that is "emotionally hollow, aesthetically meaningless, and spiritually empty" (102), that is, the nihilistic void of modernity. About this moral and rational void, it has been written: "Our current modes of rationality are not moving society further into a better world. They are taking it further and further away from that better world." This quotation is from "The Twelve Principles of Buddhism," drafted by Christmas Humphreys for The London Buddhist Society in 1945.
Reintegration of Classical and Romantic Understanding: The story represents a trip to rediscover spiritual reason and ethics; adventure in search of the "ghost of reason" (31-32); crisis of reason and split between Classical (Apollo) and Romantic (Dionysus) reason (15, 24, 61-62, 64, 84, 93-94, and 101) -- split between motorcycle maintenance and motorcycle riding, mind and body, spirit and physical, form and appearances, science and art, and classical and romantic reason; examination of the loss of meaning and values in modernity; logic of Descartes (15) and method of Popper (93), as keys to the understanding of Western reason, are then juxtaposed to the forms of dehumanization, disenchantment, and formal rationality in society; functional mechanism, formal rationality, and internal logic of motorcycle are related to the structure and logic of government bureaucracy and the factory (87-88); and the journey connects the logic and method of the Enlightenment to the logic and method of Capitalism resulting in the recognition of the alienation of both the mind and the body. The dualism and conflict between the mind and body, classical and romantic understanding is overcome on the journey across country and across epistemology: as we move from Hume to Kant and Poincaré, we reincorporate form and appearance, object and subject, and reason and passion. The return to the Greeks and Protagoras (subject as measure) is simply the logical conclusion of neo-Kantian philosophy of knowledge and science as Object (empiricism) and Subject (idealism) are reunited with Quality, Care, and Craftsmanship in Greek philosophy and Zen Buddhism.
History of Modern Reason from Empiricism and Idealism to French Conventionalism: the first part of this philosophical journey moves from the empiricism of Bacon and Hume (115 and 117-118) and the rationalism and dualism of Descartes (61-62) to the transcendental subjectivity of Kant (117 and 119) and the philosophy of science and epistemological pragmatism, conventionalism, and nominalism of Poincaré (236-237 and 240-241). Poincaré argued that mathematical truths were conventions of time, space, and causality that are chosen on the basis of aesthetic values, that is, "on the basis of mathematical beauty, of the harmony of numbers and forms, and of geometric elegance" (240). Thus the review of the history of modern reason begins with a critique of Objectivity in empiricism and rationalism and a critique of Subjectivity in idealism and pragmatism. The solution to the weaknesses of each traditional epistemology lies in moving beyond objectivity and subjectivity to issues of Quality in Greek thought. The second part of the trip takes an interesting turn back to the Greeks and the Sophism of Protagoras with his moral relativism, rejection of Plato's universal Forms or substances (337-338 and 340), and his theory of quality encapsulated in the phrase "man is the measure of all things," the virtue, areté (340-341), and the moral excellence of Homer (339-341), and the love, healing power, creativity, and madness of Phaedrus (349-359). Rather than being the passive reflection (empiricism) or active source (idealism) of Objectivity, humanity is the "measure" and "creator" of values and forms of virtue, beauty, and goodness: Objectivity and Subjectivity are integrated in a virtuous, aesthetic, and imaginative life of care and action. Poincaré's philosophy of science begins the transition to an alternative theory of knowledge (241) and moves us towards a return to Protagoras and Phaedrus. Pirsig's intellectual adventure extends from the constitution of the objectivity of substances, causality, and scientific laws to the measurement and creation of Quality, Care, and Craftsmanship in the Homeric tradition of virtue, Existentialism of Heidegger's care and meaning, and the quality of life and creativity in Buddhism. It is not the a priori categories of the mind which define human life and experience, but the values and actions of the ancients. Objectivity and Subjectivity make sense only as Care or active involvement in the world of nature, community, and creation. In the beginning of Pirsig's analysis of the history of modern reason from Hume to Poincaré there is analytic clarity and philosophical preciseness -- a classical understanding of reason; but once he enters into Greek philosophy, Existentialism, and Buddhism, Pirsig becomes vague, imprecise, and directionless -- a romantic understanding of reason. This mirrors the change from the predictable, monotonous, and uninteresting highways to the adventurous and off-trail roads of the mountains and small towns where there is no one correct or universal way.
Greek Philosophy and Buddhism: it is Quality and Care which create the new facts and objects of experience -- human beings as creators and craftsman. The move to Greek philosophy and Zen Buddhism represents a turn away from traditional epistemology of objectivity (Hume and Descartes) and subjectivity (Kant and Poincaré) to a mediation of the world through creative action, beauty, and virtue (Protagoras, Homer, Phaedrus, and Buddhism). This provides us with a new foundation for an alternative theory of knowledge than that offered by the Enlightenment (241, 265, 266-267, 283, 323, 331, and 337-341). It also offers the West a way to reintegrate science and technology with art, beauty, and goodness. A new world of objectivity is created that has value, meaning, and beauty. This represents a synthesis of classical and romantic understanding and a healing of reason and madness (aesthetic inspiration) in love (Phaedrus) -- a healing of all Western dualisms. The Greek experience is then connected to the search for the care, quality, and spirit of Zen Buddhism in Becoming, harmony, and dharma (ethical duty and principles and teachings of the Buddha). The values of Quality and Care (247-248 and 356) may be found on the following pages: peace (117), community (126), craftsmanship (261), education (147), elimination of ego (189), rejection of the iron cage (195), and Quality and Becoming (215), beauty (323), order (338), harmony (342). The values of Buddhism lie in peace, justice, community, and continuity. The motorcycle adventure goes West to California, but then turns to the past and East as Pirsig attempts a synthesis of natural law (241) and virtue in the Greeks with the dharma, duty, harmony, and beauty of Becoming in Buddhism. This motorcycle trip is a journey into an alternative form of reason and spiritual revival which represents a critique of Western objectivity, reification, nihilism, and the iron cage, while offering a creative synthesis of Western technology (motorcycle), Greek philosophy, and Buddhism. Outlining the history and phenomenology of reason and science from Descartes and Hume, through Kant (constructivism) and Poincare (conventionalism), objective and empirical reality becomes a construct (ghost) of the human mind and scientific community. There is no transcendent, universal, and absolute objectivity or empirical nature; nor is there any universal natural theory or science; there are only products and projections of the human mind. We have moved beyond the limits of traditional scientific logic (Descartes, 61-62) and methods (Popper, 93). Not reflecting absolute truth, science can now be adjusted by integrating the ancient Greek tradition of virtue and wisdom with the Budhhist tradition of a critique of discursive logic, technical/mechanical knowledge, rejection of the conflict between subjectivity and objectivity, and the presencing of nature and consciousness -- the integration of classical knowledge and romantic knowledge. Now science is to be joined to virtue, care, craftsmanship, and quality.
|14.||Robert Pirsig||Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Nature of Zen Buddhism and the Middle Path between Eastern and Western Reason
Nature of Buddhism: Pirsig begins his philosophical adventure by first traveling West with an analysis of objects and nature (Hume), consciousness and mind (Kant), scientific laws and nominalism (Poincaré), relativism and the creative spirit of humanity (Protagoras), love (Phaedrus), and virtue (Homer) -- the reality of the world exists as mind and ghosts (31). We have traveled West to find the spirit of reason -- this book is a "ghost story" about mind and spirits (32). At the end of the trip, Pirsig recognizes that the world is an empty and meaningless void -- the world is Nothing. Meaning, substance, and reality are created by consciousness (Kant), the scientific mind (Poincaré), the measurement of man (Protagoras), virtuous action (Homer), love, madness, and reason (Phaedrus), or a Quality and Care towards life and action with nature and community (Buddha). At this point in the story, Pirsig turns to the principles of Buddhism. In the nineteenth century in the West, the idea of the nothingness of the world led to the German Existentialism of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche and to a lesser extent to the Classical Social Theory of Weber and Durkheim. In the East, this recognition of the real emptiness of the world without essence or form led to Buddhism and the transformation of humanity. The mode of undestanding nature is two-fold: classical or objective (technology) and romantic or subjective (art). Pirsig outlines the history of Western theory of knowledge along these lines from the objectivity of Hume (empiricism) and Descartes (rationalism) to Kant's integration of objectivity and subjectivity in German Idealism. With the writings of Poincare and Protagoras, Pirsig continues to uncover the subjective element of knowledge and science in the scientific consensus of the former and epistemological relativism of the latter. Once the two components of science are unearthed the subjective and romantic element of human creativity is expanded and blended with the quality, care, craftsmanship, and beauty of Zen Buddhism. The Quality of Zen Buddhism is united with the traditional subjectivity (art) and objectivity (technology) of Western rationality forming a new union in Pirsig's theory of science.
Western Epistemology, Eastern Buddhism, and the Critique of Objectivity and Metaphysics: Connect Pirsig's philosophical reconstruction of the history of Western epistemology and theory of science from Descartes -- Hume -- Kant -- Poincaré to Protagoras -- Homer -- Buddha. Pirsig's emphasis is on a critique of Objectivity, dualism, and false consciousness (power of external objects and autonomous reality) in Western experience and science and a critique of empty Objectivity (belief in the permanence of objective reality), Subjectivity (permanence of self), and Metaphysics (transcendent reality) in Buddhism. Pirsig details the overcoming of Western Objectivity in empiricism and rationalism by German idealism and Kantian Subjectivity, and, in turn, the overcoming of Subjectivity in German idealism by the scientific conventionalism (social constructionism) of Poincaré, the critical humanism and Sophism of Protagoras, and the epic virtue of Homer. For Buddhists, objective and transcendent reality, as well as the subjective reality of the self, are all illusions, since there is only the present moment that exists as part of the interconnected Oneness of becoming and life. Objects of science, art, religion, and sacred scriptures are rejected, pissed upon, or burned as means to shock us into recognizing their ultimate transience and impermanence; the purpose of the shock is to breakdown the discursive, objective, and analytical mind. Becoming replaces being as true Beauty resides in the ephemeral and fleeting moment of the present form. The art of motorcycle maintenance is to experience the transient moment which becomes an aesthetic experience of the Beautiful. Even Homer recognized that what makes human life superior to that of the gods is its transient nature. The East and West come together with the disillusionment and critique of metaphysical and epistemological realism and scientific objectivity. They are to be replaced in the Zen Buddhism of Pirsig by acting upon the central importance of Quality, Care, Craftsmanship, Dharma, Excellence, and Virtue (Areté) in our relationship to the Community and Nature. Pirsig sees both the East and West as having a common ground in the critique of Objectivity and Subjectivity. In the end, it is love that unites the mind and body, classical and romantic understanding, motorcycle maintenance and motorcycle riding, reason and madness, and Pirsig and Phaedrus: Modern Science and Technology are integrated with Quality and Care in a renewed middle path that expands social justice to include our relationship to Nature and Objectivity. What is missing in this "Westernized version" of Buddhism is the pragmatic and institutional support for virtuous action and social change.
Historical and Literary Foundations of Pirsig's Work: according to Pirsig, the trip ends in the East with the discovery of Buddhism and the spirit of nature and humanity. Correspondingly, this course on "social justice" ends with a study of Buddhism; examination of Buddhism and general influence of Eastern philosophy on the Western Enlightenment, 18th-century Physiocrats, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Max Müller, Thomas Merton, Allen Ginsberg, Eugene Herrigel, D. T. Suzuki, Alan Watts, Jack Kerouac, Heinrich Rickert, and Martin Heidegger. Western society seems to move in the direction of the East when its own religious and philosophical traditions have run into serious problems or have become spiritually exhausted. Discuss Buddhist and Taoist contributions to Western concepts of equality, fairness, meritocracy, democracy, justice, and science.
Buddhist Principles of the Four Noble Truths and Eight-Fold Path: the teachings of Buddha follow the middle path between materialism and hedonism AND asceticism and self-mortification: there is suffering, all things are impermanent, there will be an end to human suffering, and the way to enlightenment is through meditation, integration with life and nature, life and needs are within oneself, rejection of Cartesian dualism, and rejection of the Hindu self, that is, rejection of the saved self and the disembodied self. Unlike in Hinduism, suffering is not an illusion or veil of Maya, but is real. There is an openness to impermanence and change along with a rejection of nihilism and eternalism. On the other hand, there is a paradox: although there is no permanent self, there is something permanent in the collective or aggregate feelings, matter, emotions, perceptions, and will (skandhas). The goal is to see things anew by using koans, thus no longer filtering our understanding of the world through the "gumption trap" (283) or our preconceived cultural ideas and assumptions. Koan is a meditative strategy and process of Rinzei Zen used to break down the rigid patterns of discursive reasoning and Western logic. Examples: what was your original face before you were born; what is the sound of one hand clapping? Or, does a dog have the buddha-nature? Examine the relationship between Phaedrus' madness and Buddhist enlightenment.
Buddhism, Social Ecology, and Natural Law: Finally, examine the ethical principles of Buddhism, its integration of life, humanity, and nature, and its social ethics and critical ecology. Outline the eighteen principles of the Earth Charter and the attached analysis of the Buddhist Perspectives on the "Earth Charter." The Earth Charter, whose drafting committee was chaired by Steven Rockefeller, was completed in 2000 and represented an international consensus on Environmental Ethics: global interdependence, sustainable development, social and economic justice, respect for nature and the community, ecological integrity, human rights, and participatory democracy.
For a more detailed examination of Buddhism, Ethics, and Social Justice, see:
(1) the preamble and Buddhist ethical and political principles of The Earth Charter (2000):
(2) "The Twelve Principles of Buddhism" from The London Buddhist Society (1945):
(3) Buddhist Perspectives on the Earth Charter (Boston: Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning and Dialogue, 1997).
What would public policy, environmental ethics, and government action look like based on the Buddhist principles of Quality and Care? Summarize the reading on Zen Buddhism and the readings for this course on Social Justice by discussing the relationships between Buddhist Social Ethics and Western Natural Law.
****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ******
NATURAL LAW: THE ANCIENTS
I. HEBREWS: Creation, Covenant, Community, Sabbatical Year, Jubilee, economic redistribution, and anti-usury, human dignity, equality, history and faithful remembrance, moral community as source of life and well-being anti-dualism, responsibility and moral praxis, regard for nature and reverence for life, charity (mishpat), mercy or loving kindness (hesed), righteousness, fairness, and justice (tzedakah), love and structural or social justice, world, and restore unity (tikkun olam) through covenant, mercy, and justice
Happiness (eudaimonia) and the good life “function of man”: virtue: intellectual and moral virtue (areté) honor, nobility, and courage character and moderation political wisdom practical knowledge (phronesis), principles of democracy: political deliberation, understanding, and dialogue principles of household economy: common good, general welfare, and social responsibility, moral economy (oikonomike) vs. market economy (chrematistike), equality, participation, and self-determination in public sphere: citizenship as office holding and public judgments, ruling and being ruled, friendship and citizenship, theory of need, mutual sharing, and reciprocity, temple of graces: need, friendship, and citizenship, philia: love of family, neighbors, and friends, theory of polis: self-sufficiency, self-realization, virtue, and political knowledge, best constitutions and ideal polity: democratic polity, and social justice:
A.        Economic Justice:
B.        Political Justice:
III. HELLENISTS, PATRISTIC FATHERS, AND SCHOLASTICS:
Patristic Fathers – 2th-7th Century: sharing possessions, brotherhood, critique of hoarding, community is divine, primacy of moral community, moral critique of wealth and power, common ownership of property, wealthy as banditry and theft, wealth belongs to the community, honor Christ through neighbors, and social justice Scholastics -- 11th-15th Century: defense of moral economy, critique of private property, universality of human nature, human dignity, primacy of community, and critique of market economy
IV. CRITICAL GERMAN SOCIAL THEORY:
social critique structure of political economy alienation, class, and power economic exploitation critique of private property, surplus value and profits social justice worker’s control over production economic democracy economic/structural crises and ethical irrationality of capital and individual freedom and rights: human rights, species being, creativity, self-determination, self-realization, and economic democracy
NATURAL RIGHTS: THE MODERNS
I. POSSESSIVE INDIVIDUALISM:
Hobbes: state of nature, individualism, and violence of nature;
Locke: natural rights, labor, property, life, liberty health, and property
Jeremy Bentham and James Mill: happiness defined in terms of individualism, materialism, and hedonism, and individual pleasure
III. NEO-CLASSICAL ECONOMICS:
utilitarianism and individualism, individual freedom and consumption, rational choice theory, freedom as personal taste, market rationality, market defines rationality and justice, market justice and consumption, rational choice theory, personal freedom, free will, choice, and happiness defined as consumerism, and wealth and inequality result from individual accomplishments and abilities –
THE MIDDLE PATH: BETWEEN NATURAL LAW
TO RETURN TO THE CLASS SCHEDULE AND REQUIRED READINGS FOR "SOCIAL JUSTICE," CLICK ON:Social Justice: The Ancient and Modern Traditions