This response was in response to a question Mr. Romer posed to me directly. It turned out to be a semi-apologia. Hope it helps.
Do you simply want a list of names? Are they now or have they ever
been a member of the capitalist party?
I read your critique of my review. I don't think it's credible to
believe I just made up things. I'm reacting to numerous emails (from
both sides) that I've received regarding both Fr. Smith's interview
and distributism in general.
If I say I've observed these tendencies, you can count on my articles
(secret or otherwise) to never blithely "out" people (priests and
otherwise) as Americanists that I've run into. I don't believe in
So unfortunately, I have no specific examples to give you. Or rather,
I wish to give you no specific examples. I don't wish to decry people
in public who may have never wanted their private comments to be
subject to public scrutiny.
As far as what I've read for capitalism, they are in the citations for
my 16 page paper college paper on Capitalism (of which less than 1/2
of a page is about distributism, as I had barely heard about it then).
But I'll provide them here as well:
Rogge, Benjamin A. Can Capitalism Survive? Indianapolis: Liberty Fund,
Hoff, Trygve J. B. Economic Calculation in the Socialist Society
Schumpeter, Joseph A. Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. New York:
Harper and Row, 1962.
Smith, Adam. The Wealth of Nations. New York: Modern Library, 1937.
In addition to these works I've read various articles and essays from
the Austrian school. Kudos to the people who have read distributist
work and remain convinced of capitalism as the better system. May I
just say they are not the norm? Just as painting all distributists as
crazies is not a fair assessment of the "norm"?
Just like pidgeonholing all "distributists as losers" isn't going to
win any arguments either. Don't know who came up with that choice
academic point, but it couldn't have resonated too well with you, who
self-claim distributist friends.
While I'm responding to you here, I might as well address a couple of
the other numerous things that have come up this week in this thread.
As to whether I need to take a composition class.
I have a large body of work, both on and off the web, so if I got a
little emotional in an article because of a continuing avalanche of
attacking hateful personal email (which I do not publish) I apologize.
I do not pretend to be dispassionate about this topic. Sometimes
emotion can override clear, incisive prose (which I am wont to write).
My thought is, if the shoe fits, then wear it, and if it doesn't
apply to you, then why take offense? "Ad hominem" attacks apply when
I'm talking about a specific person, not about attitudes that I've
personally encountered that I encapsulate in generalities.
As to whether this will be a continuing embarrassment to my body of work.
Like most things I write, it can't really be read in isolation. I
have a cohesive group of things that I speak about on my website so
sometimes it's hard to read a post in isolation from that.
As for why I didn't post this in the Roman Catholic group.
I know the hostility to these ideas here, and I decided to respect
that. We don't have to agree on everything. What I don't understand
is that some people need to insist to me (and I have the emails to
prove it) that it's stupid for me to have a home in the country.
Whatever happened to tolerance? These people missed the lines in the
Fr. Smith interview where he discussed the NECESSITY of the city life
with the country life. The CATHOLIC city and the CATHOLIC
countryside. We need both. I'm dealing with those who consider the
As to "essential" versus "impractical fantasy"
This was simply an intellectually dishonest dichotomy that neither Fr.
Smith or I proposed. He said it is essential in the same way that the
sacraments are essential, but that not everyone could receive them.
All 7 sacraments are necessary, but women can't receive all 7, and
only eastern rite priests could conceivably receive all 7. By setting
up this false dichotomy, of course Fr. Smith would be painted as a
"crazy." Unfortunately, it just ain't so. Thank goodness the text is
out there to the Remnant readers and my internet readers.
Just the other day someone wrote me from Nebraska to tell me he'd love
to talk to me about landscaping my property properly and talking about
crops and trees that I could grow. He's driving down from there in a
few weeks. Thankfully not all email is venemous.
I talked to a family member (yes, family disagrees with me - register
shocked face here) who said that my analogy to homeeschooling with
distributism was weak, at best. Let me restate it here.
There are capitalists who spend all their time defaming what they
think distributism is. If it's so bad, then let those people
(distributists) self destruct. Then you can smugly laugh at them, or
offer a helping Christian hand.
There are families who prefer to homeschool instead of sending their
children to Catholic parochial schools. If it's so bad, then their
kids will turn out rotten.
Let be. If people are attending the Traditional Mass the vivifying
fountains of grace can help enlighten, but simple intolerance will
never win souls or change minds.
If people can homeschool, why can't they be distributists? I'm
couching it as a "choice" analogy for Catholic families.
Stephen Heiner is an outspoken distributist.
Well, as someone who has never claimed this in any single public
writing, I take it as a compliment that my overall attitude is one
that seeks to hold property and live by my means.
If you look at my body of work, I'm primarily concerned with the
Restoration of Christian Culture. Certain times I have covered news
events, like when I broke the Bishop Fellay Watkins conference in
February, the Tissier de Mallerais interview in April, and covered
Ordinations (for the first time ever) in virtual real time, posting
Bishop Fellay's sermon for worldwide distribution nearly an hour after
Mass was over, as well as my recent coverage of the Battleship North
Carolina Mass as well as Mass at St. Thomas Pro-Cathedral.
In these events, my integrity, ability to compose English sentences,
and desire to be a faithful Catholic are not impugned. But when I
talk about distributism (an issue which composes less than 5% of my
online and print-published writings) - then I'm an idiot. I'll let
people who can read my work decide that for themselves.
Well Sean, there's a rather lengthy reply, no? I'll leave it for now.
As for me and my house, I left the 6 figure income in California to
move to Kansas and be closer to a full liturgical life in St. Marys.
I put my money (or left it) where my mouth is. While I can't at the
moment build my house and live on the land, because my tutoring
business is necessarily city-based (which Fr. Smith pointed out is a
NECESSARY part of human existence), I hope to in a couple years, given
plans hold, which one recent emailer told me is a sure way to make God
laugh (tell Him your plans).
I have no litany of "accomplishments" that I care to list off, other
than I encourage people to live around other Catholics, and that's
best exemplified in my Catholicizing your life series on my website.
The entire series is based off the the idea of planting your life
(city or country) near a priory for access to sacraments. I did that
series back in March, as part of my "embarrassing" body of work.
That's my entire starting point. The Mass and sacraments. If people
can still call me a naturalist, I would ask them to please give me
In Christ Jesus the Lord
Stephen L.M. Heiner
uncommon Catholic sense for the common Catholic life