Easy Essays

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version

Peter Maurin of the Catholic Worker Movement composed his thoughts in a series of "Easy Essays." These essays are concise and make ethical points that often have to do with economic injustice. They are sometimes biting and sometimes playful, but they get to the core of Maurin's beliefs. They were originally published in a book called "Catholic Radicalism"  and they can now be found on the internet. You can read them by following this link.

We have been following Maurin's model. Participants in the Revolution Ethics Project have voluntarily submitted their own "Easy Essays" on subjects related to the Revolution. Participants are encouraged to write about whatever is on their mind. 

Revolution Ethics Project Easy Essays were originally posted under the "Thoughts" block on the home page of the website. From now on, they will be posted on this page. Generally, a new essay will be added each week.



Practice makes perfect, actions speak louder than words and a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.


Some people like big ideas. Big thoughts, grand plans and strange concepts.

Maybe we’re all evil. Maybe it’s all in our heads. Maybe it’s all about me and maybe I am but a speck in a world whose size exceeds my own comprehension.

Does it matter though?

Make love not war, talk is cheap, great minds think alike and all things must pass.

Blood is thicker than water, all’s fair in love and war, better safe than sorry and better late than never.

It’s fun to have big ideas. It’s just too bad we sometimes forget what the little ones are.

--by Daniel Frehner


Careful. You’re close to the edge, and it would be a mistake to fall off.

I know you’re right. How could you not be?

You are the enlightened, the wise and the educated, and you know best.

You are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.

Think about it.

It’s always more complicated than that.

--by Daniel Frehner


Them vs. Us

When I got to the shelter and set up the meal,

I stood by my station and anxiously stirred the pot of chili

With a serving spoon. As the people came up,

Almost every single one of them looked me in the eye,

Smiled, and said “thank you so much”.

As I watch the people sit or stand as they ate in that cramped little room,

A wave of frustration crashes over me.

These are people – just like me.

Why were they hungry on the coldest night of the year?

How come they deserved that?

Why are they suffering, when hundreds of people like me with privilege

Had heat and food unconditionally,

And never felt grateful for it?

What makes us deserve it, and not them?

--By Genna Weidner


Take the leap. Don’t be afraid. You could die tomorrow.

Are your bored? Do something about it.

Are you angry/sad/frustrated?

Do something to fix it.

It’s not so simple?

Oh, but it is.

Humans are more powerful than we realize.

Our actions impact each other every day in ways we don’t see.

We have a choice to help or to by stand.

We have a choice to rant or to do something.

What have you got to lose?


Take the leap. Don’t be afraid. You could die tomorrow.

--by Genna Weidner

Forgive Me

If I stray from the logical path

Forgive me for I have yet to see reason

If I am quick to anger and rashness

Forgive me for I am yet to be tempered

If my words are ostentatious

Forgive me for I am eager to impress

If my form is archaic or affected

Forgive me for I have just read Shakespeare

If I know not the power of age and wisdom

Forgive me because I have yet to understand them

If I am callous to the world

Forgive me for I have known no suffering

If I am blinded by myself

Forgive Me For I Am Youth

--by Duke Ammon



Time is of the Essence

What time are finals?

I can’t remember.

I’ll check the website.

Its so easy to just check the website.

I don’t have to put in any effort to remember the time.

I can always just check.

People without technology would have to remember the time.

I can always just check.

They had to use brainpower.

They may have used more brainpower than I.

Would this make them better than I, to have used their brains more often?

I can’t remember,

I can always check

--by Malik Earle



I'm brought into this place without my permission

I do not choose where I'm raised

I do not choose my family

I do not choose qualities

I do not choose how to grow

I do not choose who to love

I do not choose what I like

I do not choose when to leave

And I leave without my consent

--by Simon Kelso

The societal standard 

You are independently wealthy

And have a wonderful marriage,
Children ,
The perfect white picket fence house,
 And Lots of sophisticated adult friends.
No standard office job?
Single with no children? 
A "free" lifestyle? 
We don't care how happy you are with your life
There is no possible way you are successful 
--by Beth Cheaney

Choose What to Think About

When we hear about a death on the news, we become sad.

However, this sadness doesn’t come near to the sadness we feel when someone we know dies.

The birth of a child can be one of the happiest moments of a mother’s life.

Or a father’s, or a brother’s, or a sister’s, or a grandparent’s.

In our day-to-day lives, we do many things that may at times feel trivial.

We are put into a default mode that lacks strong emotion.

However, at any time during any day, we can choose to think about what we want.

Instead of thinking about our homework that needs to get done, we can think about the happiness we’ll feel when we receive our diploma.

Instead of thinking about our taxes, we can think about someone who is winning the lottery this week.

Instead of thinking about the death on the news, we can think about the birth that is happening somewhere, even if it’s on the other side of the globe.

--by Will MacPhee



I see dead faces

Worn and wrinkled from the crushing reality that is “nine-to-five”

They are sly demons in Brooks Brothers suits

Slaves, beaten and whipped into unwavering subservience by the barbed scourge which is conspicuous consumption

They are intoxicated by greed

Its nectar seduces

Going down sweet and leaving its victims feeling hollow and bitter

A quiet shell of their former selves

Unable to appreciate pure and natural beauty

The pestilence which is “The American Dream”

It clouds the brain, its victims hazy-eyed, unable to see the insurmountable suffering that their society imposes

Children emaciated and sick

Evil is ignored because there are more pressing concerns

Like what statement my car makes about me, or who will win the superbowl

You know “real problems”

--by Patrick R. Groleau

Life is a Paradox

Life is a paradox.

We all love, so do we actually love?

We are all unique, so doesn't that make us all the same?

But it is our beliefs that rid us of the never-ending paradox.

What do you believe in?

I believe in nothing, everything is sacred.


I believe in everything, nothing is sacred. 

--by Kyler Mose


Simile of Evil

Evil is letting bad emotions rule you.

A group of emotions, are like the male apes of a band of gorillas.

The silverback is anger, ruling all the others, the strongest and the most irrational.

We are the female apes; anger can drive off our emotion and replace them with himself,

drive off sadness, fear, happiness, disdain.

It takes a hold of us, driving us to act with anger.

Take your stinkin' paws off me, you damn dirty ape.

--by Simon Kelso

August 1, 1945- October 13, 2008

These two dates, are an account of a person's entire existence 

But what about the dash?
The small, seemingly insignificant line 
That represents the other 63 years
Full of love, laughter, tears,
And life.
--by Beth Cheaney

Always Wanting What We Don't Have

Money when the bills come
Clothes when the styles change
Excitement when things seem boring
Sunshine when it rains
Health when sickness strikes
Doctors when things get worse
Help when nothing can
To speak when words won't come
Time, when there's none left
--by Steph Leandri


Sit down when the bell rings

Leave only when I tell you to
Don’t wander off topic
Tell me exactly what I just said
A plus
You remembered exactly what I said
Write in this format
Live in this format
You can’t communicate your ideas to a crowd of people?
You can’t write about your own thoughts?
You can’t think for yourself?
At least you know
how to graph a parabola  
You are educated 

--By Jessica Nerz

Reflections on an 11:00 Banana

Tonight I ate a banana at 11:00 pm.

Last week I broke down after failure.

A month ago I was in love.

Six months ago I was with new friends.

A year ago my great grandparents died.

And yet, the most beautiful fact of all:

That these things happened.



--By Malik Earle



You say you hate math but you love numbers

Everyone loves numbers

500 dollars

98 out of 100

0 to 60 in 5 flat

But there is no playing field that can match 7 to a smile

No laugh that can be counted with our hands

We have taught our children to measure success in numbers

But what have we really taught them?

--by Aja Procita



I strike back to show you are wrong...

or to get you to stop...

or because I'm angry...

or to protect other people...

I refuse to strike back to show you are wrong...

or to get you to stop...

or to be stronger than my anger...

and because the greatest protection is to create a world without violence

--by Eric Bowman