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  Road to the Middle Class
Wednesday February 22, 2017 
by Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter








1930s analysis

UK spending

US bailout

US gov debt

US budget

US revenue

US spending

sisters, sisters


















Mirror Mirror: Who is the Incompetent One in the Land

ALL of our liberal and lefty friends are chanting in unison, as if at a peaceful protest, that Trump is Incompetent.

Maybe they are right. Or maybe they haven't gotten out lately. Maybe they have been too protected by The New York Times and NPR from the dreadful record of President Obama's incompetence.

Here is D.C. McAllister going into chapter and verse about Obama's incompetence, as in

  • November 2010: Democratic senators say Obama "out of his league."
  • October 2010: Guardian reports officials "outside inner circle" leaving administration
  • June 2010: Mort Zuckerman says that "world sees Obama as incompetent and amateur."
And so on. Golly, who knew that wise heads were saying that back then? 

As Robert W. Merry writes, the fact is that the US and the world are facing an existential crisis. Here in the US it looks like this:
Wall Street dominates...  Public-employee unions utilize their power... Corporations foster tax-code provisions that allow them to game the system. “Crony capitalism’’ runs rampant. Members of Congress tilt the political system to favor incumbency. A national-debt burden threatens the country’s financial health. Uncontrolled immigration threatens... The nation’s industrial base has been hollowed out, and the vast American working class—the bedrock of the FDR coalition—is squeezed to the point of desperation.
And that is just the US. What about the world?
 China... wants to expunge American military power from Asia. The Middle East is aflame, largely as a result of mindless U.S. interventions there. Western civilization’s European heartland is threatened from without by mass immigration and from within by waves of populist nationalism bent on destroying the postwar experiment in political consolidation. Tensions are on the rise everywhere—between Sunnis and Shia in the Middle East, between the United States and Russia, between China and its neighbors, between southern and northern Europe over currency issues, between the United States and Iran. 
If you look back at 2015, Merry writes, just before Trump descended his escalator, "everyone" was expecting a status-quo election between the Bush clan and the Clinton clan.

Can you spell "incompetence?" As in SNAFU, Situation Normal, All F*cked Up?

Look, all government is incompetent, all the time. Government lurches from one disaster to another. But government has something that you don't have. It has apologists and flacks whose job is to spin dross into gold. This goes on until the regime collapses and then everyone agrees that the old regime was the worst political dynasty since the later Roman emperors, or the Bourbons in France after 1815 who had famously forgotten nothing and learned nothing.

Take the US. In the 1850s it failed to keep the nation together and descended into a bloody civil war. After the war it screwed up the aftermath, both in the Reconstruction of the South and in the resumption of gold payments that resulted in a huge crash in 1873 and a depression. Then there was another depression in the 1890s, followed by a crash in 1907, followed by the folly of World War I. Then the nations of the world screwed up the resumption of the peacetime economy, resulting in the crash of 1929 and the Great Depression and another World War! Since then there have been wars, riots, inflation, the tech bubble, the real-estate bubble, the Great Recession, and the great racial divides of the Obama era.

Who were the geniuses putting us through disaster after disaster?

Look at the United States right now. Here we have the white working class descending into despair. We have African Americans denied their proper entry into the middle class by a liberal plantation that has destroyed the African-American family, killed millions of its babies in utero, and kept them separate from the great American center. We have illegal immigrants that, on the one hand are exploited because of their illegal status, and on the other take jobs from ordinary Americans that don't want to accept slave-labor wages.

Meanwhile the ruling class of the United States is all worked up about global warming, spending tens of billions on "science" and crony capitalism. And it is really focused on gay marriage, transgender bathrooms, and the sexual distress of well-born women students in the nation's universities.

What could possibly go wrong?

And the experts are telling us that, after one month, President Trump is a failure?

The only thing to remember is the reply of Adam Smith to a young nobleman worried about the defeat of Gen. Burgoyne in the colonies back during the disaster of the revolt of the colonials in North America. He told his young friend that there is always a lot of ruin in a nation.

But don't tell that to your Venezuelan friend. Sometimes the isolated instances of ruin in a nation combine into a general ruin and conflagration.

perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 02/21/17 6:14 pm ET

Making Sense of Trump's Attack on the Media

WITH regard to President Trump I take the position that Trump is not an idiot; he only plays one on TV. So what are we to think about Donald Trump's broad-based attack on the media, those chappies that Glenn Reynolds calls "Democratic operatives with bylines." It all seems as plain as day to me. But maybe I have got it wrong. Anyway, here goes. The Republican base has been getting very angry...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 02/20/17 6:46 pm ET

Finding Yourself "Outside the System"

EVER think that you are living in a different world than everyone else? Do you feel that you are "outside the system" looking in? That's what one of my readers wrote to me, and it made me think. Of course, there is every reason why my reader Brad would feel outside the system. As he writes, I try do the right things, work taxes avoid trouble and generally avoid the system we are outside ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 02/17/17 6:43 pm ET

Worse Than Watergate? Really?

THE usual Democratic suspects are right, of course. Any scandal is "worse than Watergate" because Watergate was not about the crime -- of over-eager operatives burgling the offices of the Democratic National Committee. Richard Nixon had to leave office because he allowed himself to get involved in the coverup of the Watergate burglaries. However, my Democratic friends should recall that the ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 02/16/17 6:58 pm ET

|  February blogs  |  January blogs  |


“I Want a President”

Georg Simmel’s Sociology

Charles Murray’s By The People

Thomas Piketty’s Capital

The Spirit Level

McCloskey’s “Bourgeois Era”

Karl Polanyi’s Great Transformation

A Look at the Left: “Contra-deBoer”

“Little Darlings”

“Three Peoples”


Download latest e-book draft here.


A New Manifesto
A spectre is haunting the liberal elite—the spectre of conservatism.


The Crisis of the Administrative State
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Government and the Technology of Power
If you scratch a social reformer, you will likely discover a plan for more government.

Business, Slavery, and Trust
Business is all about trust and relationship.

Humanity's Big Problem: Freebooters and Freeloaders
The modern welfare state encourages freeloaders.

The Bonds of Faith
No society known to anthropology or history lacked religion.

A Critique of Social Mechanics
The problem with human society reduced to system.

The Paradox of Individualism
Is individualism the gospel of selfishness or something else?

From Multitude to Civil Society
The larger the government, the smaller the society.

The Answer is Civil Society
In between the separated powers.

The Greater Separation of Powers
If you want to limit power then you must limit power.

Conservatism Three by Three
Conservatism, political, economics, and cultural.

The Culture of Involvement
Imagining lives without the welfare state

The Poor Without the Welfare State
Can the poor thrive without the welfare state?

The Middle Class Without The Welfare State
How would the middle class live without all those middle-class entitlements?

Liberals and the Welfare State
Liberals, the ruling class of the administrative welfare state.

From Freeloaders to Free Givers
The path to the future lies through moral movements.

The Real Meaning of Society
Broadening the horizon of cooperation in the “last best hope of man on earth.”

conservative manifesto


AAM Book of the Day

Smith, Huston, The World’s Religions

AAM Books on Education

Andrew Coulson, Market Education
How universal literacy was achieved before government education

Carl Kaestle, Pillars of the Republic
How we got our education system

James Tooley, The Miseducation of Women
How the feminists wrecked education for boys and for girls

James Tooley, Reclaiming Education
How only a market in education will provide opportunity for the poor

E.G. West, Education and the State
How education was doing fine before the government muscled in

AAM Books on Law

Hernando De Soto, The Mystery of Capital
How ordinary people in the United States wrote the law during the 19th century

F. A. Hayek, Law Legislation and Liberty, Vol 1
How to build a society based upon law

Henry Maine, Ancient Law
How the movement of progressive peoples is from status to contract

John Zane, The Story of Law
How law developed from early times down to the present

AAM Books on Mutual Aid

James Bartholomew, The Welfare State We're In
How the welfare state makes crime, education, families, and health care worse.

David Beito, From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State
How ordinary people built a sturdy social safety net in the 19th century

David Green, Before Beveridge: Welfare Before the Welfare State
How ordinary people built themselves a sturdy safety net before the welfare state

Theda Skocpol, Diminished Democracy
How the US used to thrive under membership associations and could do again

David Stevenson, The Origins of Freemasonry
How modern freemasonry got started in Scotland

AAM Books on Religion

David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing
How Christianity is booming in China

Finke & Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990
How the United States grew into a religious nation

Robert William Fogel, The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism
How progressives must act fast if they want to save the welfare state

David Martin, Pentecostalism: The World Their Parish
How Pentecostalism is spreading across the world


> archive


cruel . corrupt . wasteful
unjust . deluded



After a year of President Obama most Americans understand that the nation is on the wrong track. But how do we find the right track? Americans knew thirty years ago that liberalism was a busted flush. Yet Reaganism and Bushism seemed to be less than the best answer.

But where can we turn? Where are the thinkers and activists of the old days? Where do we find the best ideas? And how do we persuade our present ruling class to loosen its grip on power so that we can move the locomotive of state back onto the right track?

With all of our problems it seems like the worst of times.

In fact, this is the best of times. Under the radar a generation of great thinkers have been figuring out what went wrong and conjuring up visions of a better future. This book, "An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism" is an introduction to their ideas, and to the great future that awaits an America willing to respond to their call.

Although this book is addressed to all Americans, conservative, moderate, and liberal, and looks to a nation that transcends our present partisan divide, I must tell you that liberals will have the most difficulty with the book. The reason is simple. I am asking liberals to give up a lot of the power they have amassed in the last century. But we are all Americans, and we must all give up something for the sake of the greater good.


I am Christopher Chantrill and I am writing this book in full view. I'll be blogging on the process and the ideas, and I'll be asking you, dear readers, to help. Read the blog. Read the articles as they come out on American Thinker and ponder over the draft chapters here on this site.

Then send me your reactions, your thoughts, and your comments. You will help more than you know.


What Liberals Think About Conservatives

[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. “Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists,” she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican

Racial Discrimination

[T]he way “to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,” Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District

Liberal Coercion

[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State

Taking Responsibility

[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050

Responsible Self

[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.


[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm


[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values


presented by Christopher Chantrill
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