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  Road to the Middle Class
Friday April 25, 2014 
by Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter

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Latest Opeds

A look at just how much of your money goes to taxes

It’s that time of year again, tax time. The April weekend when millions of Americans struggle over filing federal income tax returns. ...MORE

Government doesn’t understand insurance, and should just get out of the business

Insurance is a concept where lots of people pay a little so a few can get a lot, while government is a system where lots of people get a little while a few pay a lot. Mix it up, and you get a train wreck. ...MORE

From "Because Exploitation" to "Because Inequality"

AS I've studied Marxism over the last few years, I have found myself cudgeling my brains to figure out what the point was.

Eventually, I beat the answer out of my brain.  Marx admits that the bourgeoisie had conjured miracles of economic growth out of the ground.  But it was all going to end in tears.  Because exploitation.  The capitalists would secure a larger and larger share of the economic pie, and the proletariat would be driven to penury.  Because the capitalists would secure all the value added by labor, leaving merely a subsistence existence for the rest, including the middle class.

The point is that without the exploitation, the Marxians don't have an argument for revolution, for the seizure of political and economic power by the educated youth in the name of the working class.  So there must be exploitation, "naked, shameless, direct, brutal".

Today liberals are insisting we have a big argument about inequality.  And they are all over the moon over the new version of Capital.  It is called Capital in the Twenty-first Century by Thomas Piketty.  He argues that the income from capital is about 4-5 percent per year while the growth in the economy is only about 1.5 percent per year.  Thus wealth will concentrate in the wealthiest families without end.  As Scott Winship writes:

In other words, Piketty is suggesting that we may have entered a period in which concentrated wealth will produce a sort of inequality death spiral. With economic growth sluggish, and the returns to wealth high, owners of “capital”—land, housing, buildings, businesses, and other income-producing property—will receive a rising share of income as they re-invest their returns. 
So he is making exactly the same argument as Marx.  Marx argued for an exploitation death spiral and a progressive "immiseration" of the workers.  Therefore we should stop the rich cold with a revolution.

Piketty argues for an inequality death spiral and a progressive increase in the wealth of the 1%.  Therefore we should stop the rich cold with a global wealth tax.

There is a rather obvious conclusion to be drawn from both these theses.  Without exploitation and immiseration there was nothing for the Marxists to complain about.  Just shut up and let the railroaders make more railroads, the shipbuilders make more steamships, the Carnegies make more steel, the Rockefellers make more oil, and let the market take care of it.  Because, as it turned out, the workers eventually got to wield not spades and shovels, but powered backhoes and dragline excavators.

Without inequality and concentration of wealth there is nothing for liberals to complain about.  Just shut up and let the Googles and Facebooks and Apples get on with it.  Oh and don't forget Qualcomm.  They are the guys that developed spread-spectrum CDMA.  That's the technology that allows cellphones to work.  Back in the 1990s the settled scientists said CDMA violated the laws of physics.

Oh, and before we follow liberals into the inequality black hole maybe we should remember Nassim Nicholas Taleb and his Black Swan. On his idea, capitalists make their tidy 5 percent for years and years.  Until a Black Swan event completely wipes them out.

Or there is Stein's Law.  If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.

But one thing will go on forever.  Liberals will always need a "because" to justify their political power.


perm | comment(0) | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 04/24/14 6:19 pm ET


Military Socialist? Of Course It Is

JONAH Goldberg is not sure if Jacob Siegel is kidding when he applauds that the "U.S. Military is a Socialist Paradise" -- and sniggers that conservatives ought to be all confused about the institution we support being a poster boy for the "other" way of doing things, from subsidized childcare to universal health care. But really, how little liberals know about conservatives and what we think! ...

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perm | comment(0) | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 04/22/14 5:46 pm ET


A new mega-church opens in China

IN the United States the coming thing is “marriage equality” and multiple genders. In China the coming thing is Christianity, like the new mega-church that just opened in Liushi, Zhejiang province, featured in the London Telegraph. China is on course for 247 million Christians by 2030. To your average educated American this seems astonishing, because after all Christianity is so ...

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perm | comment(0) | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 04/21/14 8:49 pm ET


When Stupid LIberals Become Evil

I wonder if it’s time to update Charles Krauthammer’s catchphrase about liberals and conservatives. Conservatives think liberals are stupid; liberals think conservatives are evil, says Dr. K.

Because if you are stupid enough to believe that your political opponents are “evil”, then you are stupid enough to wander into the paths of evil. Like right now.

If you are stupid enough to think that the practice of politics is exhausted by the politics of the community organizer, and that the only thing you need to do is to rally your troops with racist, sexist, classist catchphrases, then you really don’t deserve to govern in America.

I have my own catchphrases, and one of them is that “politics is division.”

There is, or at least I hope there is, a warning in that catchphrase. If you want to have a society in which people are doing something more than fighting each other over loot and plunder then you’ll have to make your politics extend to something a little bigger than mere division of the nation into “us” -- the good, the evolved, the educated -- and “them.”

And we know that liberals know this because they keep blathering on about the “other.” Except that if you are a sophisticated liberal that knows your German philosophy you will talk on a slightly higher plane about “ego” and “alter” of course.

When liberals reduce their politics, as the president seems to be doing this season, to efforts to rile up the race base, with speeches at the convention of the racist National Action Network, or rile up the feminist base with lawyers’ protection bills like the Paycheck Fairness Act that makes employers guilty unless they can prove themselves innocent, or with class appeals like the president’s minimum wage policy, when liberals do that then conservatives have every reason to wonder if liberals are something worse than stupid.

Because you are basically saying that there is no compromise with the other side. They must be destroyed.

How are you going to be able to work with people across the aisle after such a season of naked race, sex, and class baiting?

Now we have the IRS scandal, which seems to be escalating beyond mere efforts to embarrass conservatives trying to organize for political action into efforts to trick conservatives into criminal acts.

In the opinion of J. Christian Adams these efforts of the liberals stem from the thinking and the doing of their left-wing activist base. He goes into a lot of detail showing how these groups have persuaded themselves that right-wing speech is illegitimate and should be censored.  They even have University of California at Irvine Law Professor Rick Hasen with a blog to bring all the speech regulators together.

We all make a joke about this, and chuckle about the inanities of “political correctness.” But think about this. Liberals, the ones that lecture us about the “other,” seem not to understand the danger to themselves of censoring the “other’” speech.

What do I mean by this? I mean this: Does it not occur to liberals that when you censor other peoples’ speech it makes them really angry? Does it not occur to liberals that one of the reasons we have the First Amendment is to provide people with a safety valve? They may not get what they want from the political process but at least they have the right to peaceably assemble and present their grievances. If people present their ideas and then get defeated in a fair election, they they are likely to go home and feel that they have at least had a chance to make their case.

The only way this regulation of other peoples' speech works in the long term is if you are prepared to go Full Monty totalitarian and put your opponents in the gulag.  I presume that liberals are not planning to do that.  Not yet.

So why don’t liberals have the common courtesy of letting their opponents organize politically without harassment?  How come that they are stupid enough to harass their opponents enough to make them really angry?

Well we know how all this comes about. It comes about because politics for liberals is a kind of religion. It is not just a practical thing about repressing violent foreign powers and violent domestic criminals. Politics is also about right and wrong, good and evil. It is also about saving society from injustice.

It is very easy, when your politics is to you religious, to make the next logical step, and try to suppress the Evil One. Nobody needs to ask Satan how he feels about things; you just stick it to him.

This is why I think that liberals are in for the worst times they can imagine. Ordinary, decent people are going to be shocked and indignant as they slowly get the picture on the corruptions and the repressions of the Obama administration -- let alone angry that they can’t keep their doctor and can’t keep their health plan.

Of all people, liberals should know this. They were beside themselves during the Bush administration, absolutely outraged by Christian conservatives in positions of government power. Can they not therefore see that conservatives might be absolutely outraged by what they experience as liberal abuse of power?

Answer: no they can’t. They can’t see it. It’s comical, in a way, because liberals have built a huge edifice of developmental psychology to account for the fact that most people can’t see other peoples’ point of view, starting with people that cannot even experience the possibility of other points of view. Only at the upper reaches of developmental psychological systems are there people that can put themselves in the place of the “other” and can understand the fact of other people, other ideas, other world views as perfectly natural and physical. Yet the liberal psychologists are about the worst when it comes to political intolerance.

And because liberals live in a bubble and have a way of forbidding anyone from uttering a discouraging word, they won’t know what’s hit them until it’s hit them.


perm | comment(0) | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 04/18/14 1:58 pm ET


Stop Complicating Home Finance

THE US Senate is presently putting together what reads like Obamacare for Mortgages, a fiendishly complicated bill that will privatize, yet super-regulate home mortgages -- with a ton of special subsidy programs to queer the whole thing into a nightmare.  At least that's what the Wall Street Journal reports. So the political elite hasn't learned from the Great Crash of 2008.  And no wonder.  ...

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perm | comment(1) | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 04/15/14 3:08 pm ET


Liberalism will end as a joke

YOU can't be serious.  That is perhaps what conservatives feel as each new Obama era folly hits the headlines. This week we saw Democrats in the House claiming that the Republican pursuit of Lois Lerner was McCarthyism. We heard of the Dallas office of the IRS brimming with pro-Obama election fever. We saw liberal students and faculty getting Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born woman who has ...

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perm | comment(0) | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 04/11/14 4:32 pm ET


How do we beat the secular religious thugs?

THE defenestration of Brendan Eich last week electrified the conservative world.  Imagine!  A guy contributes money to an initiative campaign in 2008 and that disqualifies him from running Mozilla, the non-profit foundation that makes Firefox. So the gay rights movement has progressed from hiding in the shadows to forcing its opponents into the shadows.  That is what you call progress. But we ...

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perm | comment(0) | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 04/08/14 5:33 pm ET


Who are the American People?

IN the third night of Wagner's monumental Der Ring des Nibelungen the broken Wotan, king of the gods, is reduced in Siegfried to "Der Wanderer," wandering the earth, his dreams of power shattered. But Mime the dwarf still has a power project.  He wants to reforge Nothung, Siegmund's shattered sword so he can kill Fafner the dragon and recover the Nibelungs' golden hoard. Ask me three questions...

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perm | comment(1) | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 04/04/14 5:24 pm ET


Two Midnight Rule: What Do You Expect?

WHAT happens when government takes over health care?  You get dozens of bureaucratic horrors like the "two midnight" rule for Medicare.  What is the two midnight rule?  It is rule CMS 1599-F. This new, Obamacare-forced rule specified that a hospital stay can only be paid for by Medicare insurance if that stay “(1) expects the beneficiary to require a stay that crosses at least two midnights and...

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perm | comment(1) | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 04/01/14 5:44 pm ET


What Will Happen to the Loser in Obamacare's War | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 03/28/14 4:31 pm ET
Liberals Swatting at Gnats | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 03/21/14 3:09 pm ET
Rush: In 2014 Midterms Obamacare is Reality | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 03/18/14 4:50 pm ET
Conservatives' Dream World | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 03/14/14 5:31 pm ET

|  April blogs  |  March blogs  |

 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.

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
The left has always damned individualism as the celebration of selfihsness. But is it?

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


 AAM BOOKS


AAM Book of the Day

Loevinger, Jane, Ego Development


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

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

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

The Most Important Book Ever Is All Wrong
Piketty is all wrong, according to Bloomberg.

Taking On Adam Smith (and Karl Marx)
Thomas Piketty, great white hope of the liberals.

Why Are The Poor, Poor?
it's the marginal tax rates, baby.

Is Obama Cooking the Census Books for Obamacare?
by changing the US Census questions about health insurance.

Ten Welfare-Reform Lessons
... from New York City. It starts with a job.

> 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


Action

The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


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


China and Christianity

At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing


Churches

[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


Civil Society

“Civil Society”—a complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churches—builds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust


Class War

In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, “The Scientist as Rebel”


Conservatism

Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority — the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says ‘we should...’.
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity


 

©2010 Christopher Chantrill

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