Thoughts of the Distributists: Vol. 1

One of the advantages of writing a blog about distributism is the fact that many great thinkers have had something to say about it. The following is a collection of some short quotes from various writers regarding distributism.


“The Land Movement [an early twentieth-century distributist movement] was explicitly based on the cornerstone of Catholic social teaching–social subsidiarity–which holds that an individual should rely on the most basic levels of social and technical complexity to achieve his goals. Higher levels are called upon only when the lower echelon is insufficient to the task. Thus, by relying on the household, family, community, and nature’s bounty to provide as many basic needs as possible, people could free themselves from economic dependence and the political control of the plutocrats, and thereby regain a modicum of human dignity and freedom.”


“Rural time has always followed the rhythms of nature–day and night, the passing of the seasons, and the cycle of life and death. This is the pace of Creation. As such, rural peoples are able to enjoy and experience the fullness of time […] Modern man is no longer tied to time that is centered on God and Creation. He is tied to a new concept of time that is centered on the machine and production. By being cut off from Creation, modern man lives a solipsistic existence. He exists in an artificial milieu wholly of his own making, and he constantly labors to sustain it […] Industrialization destroys all spiritual bonds that man has to family, community, nature, and God.”


“This material explosion [of Industrialism] has so captivated and bewildered modern man that the virtues of the simple life advocated by the Distributists have either lost their appeal or, more tragically, can no longer be imagined.”

–Dr. Tobias Lanz, Introduction to Flee to the Fields, Norfolk, VA, IHS Press, pp. 8-10


“A tool enables a man to control his work in accordance with his desires, and demands the use of intelligence. It is, as it were, the physical agent of his intelligence. The machine may be an extension of the hand, using the word in a purely physical sense, but its object is eventually to do away with the intelligence, which is an integral part of man’s use of the tool, and eventually, also in practice, as we see today, to do away with the “hand” as well. The elimination of the soul in labour has thrown men back upon their animal nature.”

–George Maxwell, The Reconstruction of Crafts from Flee to the Fields, Norfolk, VA, IHS Press, pg. 125

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