July 30, 2010
What would a Distributist society look like?
Perhaps I have a skewed vision of Distributism. But when I try to envision a Distributist society, I see a town in the Wild West. The federal government is so distant as to be 90% irrelevant. There’s a general store, a bar, an inn, a post office, a sheriff’s office, and a blacksmith. Maybe a cobbler and leatherworker, too. Ooh, and a barber.
There are lots of ranchers and farmers nearby–probably more of them than people who actually live in town.
In a sense, this kind of living seems to me to be what Catholic social teaching was aiming for. But I have three problems with it:
1) I’m unsure if a Wild West town is the best mental image for Distributism. Is there a better one?
2) How can I change this mental vision to incorporate today’s technology? (Or shouldn’t I?)
3) Most importantly, there’s a conflict. I’m very attracted to Distributism, but I’m not particularly attracted to living in a Wild West town, or one like it. In fact, I actually like shopping at Target, and I like ordering things off of Amazon. It’s a problem.
What do you think?
–P.S. I also think the BBC TV show Lark Rise to Candleford does a good job depicting a Distributist society, though an imperfect one (such as the poor not owning their own homes). Sorry about the subtitles on the commercial.
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