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  Road to the Middle Class
Wednesday March 4, 2015 
by Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter

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 BLOG:

Greece's Problem Isn't Socialism, It's Politics

IT'S easy to say that the problem with Greece is socialism. Or that the problem with President Obama is Alinskyism.

But look, socialism is just another apology for big government, and every ruling class has an ideology like that. In socialism the idea is that the working class is the biggest class and so they ought to rule -- through their evolved and educated leaders, of course. This is no different than kings talking about Divine Right or landed aristocrats talking about the rule of the best people.

The fact is that governments get into power by offering their supporters loot and plunder. It doesn't matter whether you are talking about Charlemagne looting and plundering eastward from Trier into the German lands, or whether you are offering the workers a bite of corporate profits. It still amounts to a promise of loot and plunder in return for support.

The problem is that loot and plunder eventually results in a wasteland. If people are licensed to go around stealing stuff, then less stuff will be produced, and there will be less stuff to go around. So every society must rail against thieves and robbers or go out of business.

Now the truth is that all governments, from a band of insurgent guerrillas to a mighty nation state, occupy territory, defend it with a armed force, and tax the inhabitants for the right to go about their daily business of producing and consuming. The question is: How much? How much expropriation of peoples' livelihood is enough? The answer is simple. A government will stop taking more to give to its supporters when: a) it runs out of money, or b) it provokes a head of rebellion.

That is the way to understand the Greek situation. Governments in Greece have bought the support of ordinary voters for decades with the promise of free stuff. But now the money is running out. Under pressure from other European governments the Greek government has implemented a policy of "austerity," meaning it has eased off on some of the free stuff. But austerity is very unpopular with the government's supporters and so a new party, Syriza, has arisen and obtained the support of the voters by asserting that all the cutbacks are unnecessary and a cruel trick of the Germans.

No doubt. But here is what a McKinsey report had to say in 2012.

Large scale business operations had been discouraged by hostile regulations. The generally small scale of businesses that remained, combined with over regulation, complex and restrictive licensing, and a highly volatile tax framework, has deprived the Country of an industrial base sufficient to support its spending.

The public sector had become too expensive and offered low quality output.

A framework of collective, inflexible, and binding labor agreements had led to a disconnection between education and the job market, which led to reduced innovation and under representation of women and young adults in the workforce.

A cumbersome legal and judicial system led to an over abundance of vague and sometimes conflicting laws, which discouraged economic activity.

Widespread tax evasion, which had become endemic in Greek culture, had led to substantial wealth creation outside the formal economy, and had led to a seemingly permanent fiscal shortfall.
Apart from the "widespread tax evasion" you could say the same thing about the US economy, unless you count the widespread use of illegal alien labor and general off-the-books work, condoned by our liberal masters, as "widespread tax evasion."

In my Story So Far about the last half century, I like to say that, in 1980, the liberal consensus had failed, and that made it possible for a right-wing extremist like Ronald Reagan to get elected as president. Reagan implemented a bunch of supply-side reforms, including hard money, that created a 20 year boom. The ruling philosophy of Reaganism was that there is a limited set of things that government can do; it's best for it to stay out of the economy as much as possible and let the people get on with it. The liberal ruling class was flummoxed by this, because it knew that such a thing could not work. Still, after three successive Republican wins they had to do something, and they got it in Bill Clinton, who ran for president as a moderate and then nearly self-destructed with HillaryCare. As time went on, Democrats reverted to the norm, forgetting the lesson of Reagan and the faux moderate tone of Clintonism, and we ended up with Barack Obama who is clearly a left-wing president that believes that everything begins and ends with government dangling free stuff in front of the people while liberals march through the institutions to implement their social agenda and gentry liberal environmental policies.

The problem with Obama-style politics is that it ends up at Greece, because the whole economy gets to be seized up in high friction politics and bureaucracy, crony capitalism and Chicago-style thuggery, and wasteful pet projects for gentry liberals from bike paths to biofuels.

The point is that government is force, and there is only a limited set of things you can do with force, because government force tends to destroy things, to loot the economy for the benefit of its supporters. With big government you get a lot of people sitting around on government pensions and not contributing to the economy. You get a lot of government bureaucrats sitting around and not doing anything to contribute to the economy while they compile regulations to benefit the supporters of the government. You get crony capitalists capitalizing on the governments fashionable enthusiasms, from wind and solar power. And of course you get left-wing activist groups interfering in everything.

Eventually the whole thing goes down the tubes.

My guess is that ordinary middle-class Americans are probably pretty confused and upset by the Obama years. But as yet, they don't really know what to do about it.

In my view the ordinary American middle-class is composed of people that believe, more or less, in responsible individualism. They will respond to a politics that celebrates responsible individualism as a way out of our current malaise.

Because politics isn't the solution to our problem. Politics is just civil war by other means. The solution is for people to go out into the world every morning as a responsible individual asking how they can give to the world.

Politics is all about how much to take, and eventually you run out of things to take.


perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 03/04/15 12:26 pm ET


The Three Stages of Government and Law

HERE'S a new and brilliant idea. Governments start out as lawless rebels; then they change the rules to suit themselves. Finally, they find that the rules they set up don't work any more, so they start to break their own rules. Stage One: Outraged citizens decide they can't take it any more and combine to form a head of rebellion. Stage Two: Victorious revolutionaries rewrite the law to make ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 03/03/15 10:56 am ET


The Real Challenge for 2017

LINKED today on RealClearPolitics.com is Russ Smith, once "Mugger," on Scott Walker and the Republican candidates for president. He writes that not a single candidate has articulated a coherent strategy to resuscitate the United States once Barack Obama’s tenure mercifully ends. Then he notes that Scott Walker is pretty light on foreign policy. I think that's baloney. I think that it's pretty ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 03/02/15 11:56 am ET


Net Neutrality: Liberals Ignore Settled Science on Regulation

JOHN Fund writes that George Soros and the Ford Foundation have spent about $196 million funding the "net neutrality" campaign. And the long-term goal is control of internet content -- and funding public news organizations. And now they have got what they wanted, with the Federal Communications Commission decision to regulate the internet as a public utility. The price of moving data across ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 02/27/15 11:12 am ET


|  March blogs  |  February blogs  |

 FEATURED:

Georg Simmel’s Sociology

Thomas Piketty’s Capital

The Spirit Level

McCloskey’s “Bourgeois Era”

 DOWNLOAD

Download latest e-book draft here.

 MANIFESTO

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

 DRAFT CHAPTERS

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?

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

Opeds


 AAM BOOKS


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


 READINGS

Eevil corporation's message in secret code!
FCC’s ‘Throwback Thursday’ Move Imposes 1930s Rules on the Internet

Misunderstanding the millennials
Guess what: Millennials want to move to the suburbs!

Muslim no-go zones in the USA
A Muslim Terrorist Enclave Grows in Mahmoudberg, Texas

The Black Murder Problem
Reporter Jill Leovy says LAPD Should Arrest More Black Male Murderers. I say govt. should pacify ghettos so people will testify.

The Post-Obama Triumph of Conservatism
Peter Ferrara says that there is plenty of GOP reform on deck.

> archive

 CCWUD PROJECT

cruel . corrupt . wasteful
unjust . deluded


 


 THE BOOK

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.

 THE BLOG

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.

 TAGS


Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.”
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990


Mutual Aid

In 1911... at least nine million of the 12 million covered by national insurance were already members of voluntary sick pay schemes. A similar proportion were also eligible for medical care.
Green, Reinventing Civil Society


Education

“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State


Living Under Law

Law being too tenuous to rely upon in [Ulster and the Scottish borderlands], people developed patterns of settling differences by personal fighting and family feuds.
Thomas Sowell, Conquests and Cultures


German Philosophy

The primary thing to keep in mind about German and Russian thought since 1800 is that it takes for granted that the Cartesian, Lockean or Humean scientific and philosophical conception of man and nature... has been shown by indisputable evidence to be inadequate. 
F.S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West


Knowledge

Inquiry does not start unless there is a problem... It is the problem and its characteristics revealed by analysis which guides one first to the relevant facts and then, once the relevant facts are known, to the relevant hypotheses.
F.S.C. Northrop, The Logic of the Sciences and the Humanities


Chappies

“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison


 

©2014 Christopher Chantrill

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