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  Road to the Middle Class
Tuesday September 23, 2014 
by Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter









1930s analysis

UK spending

US bailout

US gov debt

US budget

US revenue

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sisters, sisters


















Obama and Clinton's False Social Revolution

AFTER the left-wing radical president Barack Obama, is the choice before America really between the radical left-wing Hillary Clinton or the radical left-wing Elizabeth Warren?

That's the helpless feeling you get from reading Stanley Kurz's latest piece in National Review. Author of a book on Obama's radical past, he's commenting on an article by Alana Goodman in the Washington Free Beacon on "The Hillary Letters," the correspondence between Hillary Clinton and left-wing radical Saul Alinsky.

Yes, it turns out that Hillary Clinton has been allowed to cover up her radical past, including a correspondence with Chicago radical Saul Alinsky. She didn't just write her undergraduate thesis on Alinsky. She corresponded with him.  And after graduation from law school she went to work with a radical left-wing Chicago law firm, Treuhaft, Walker, and Bernstein.

Barack Obama also spent his formative adult years in left-wing Chicago and seems to have been mentored by left-wing terrorist Bill Ayers.

In her thesis, Clinton concluded:

If the ideals Alinsky espoused were actualized, the result would be a social revolution.
So, Kurtz suggests, eight years of Obama followed by four years of Clinton or Warren would indeed amount to a social revolution. It would change the United States forever.

But I disagree. The left-wing "march through the institutions" is not a social revolution, it is a palace coup, a cunning political manipulation from above. It is not a popular revolution from below, seeking to overthrow an existing corrupt regime and create a new order; it is a flagrant machination orchestrated within the ruling class that seeks to change everything through a new concentration of power and a withering of the public square and the power of ordinary people. The result of eight years of Obama and four years of Clinton or of Warren would be Bolshevism lite, the seizing of power by an American nomenclatura and the reduction of ordinary American citizens to a virtual serfdom.

To show how this is so, let us analyze the words of Alinsky from his Reveille for Radicals, quoted by Stanley Kurtz.
Radicals want to advance from the jungle of laissez-faire capitalism to a world worthy of the name of human civilization. They hope for a future where the means of economic production will be owned by all of the people instead of the few.
The jungle metaphor is a favorite of the left, advanced particularly by the Fabians, who liked to say that their rational plans would replace the law of the jungle. But this is nonsense. Capitalism is not the law of the jungle; capitalism cannot even start until there is a state pacifies non-state actors and protects economic transactions with the rule of law enforced by the courts.

Let us take apart two radically incorrect assumptions that Alinsky makes.

First, the jungle metaphor suggests that under capitalism only the strong survive and the weak get eaten up by predators. But this is rubbish. Under capitalism only the companies that produce the products that people want at the prices they are willing to pay get to rule the roost. Companies that take their eye off the ball go broke. Only government power can interfere with this process. We have seen how this has worked out in the decades since Alinsky wrote. Great companies have come and gone. The big beasts of the mid 20th century, the steel and auto companies, are reduced to being wards of the state.

Second, there is no society where "the means of economic production will be owned by all of the people" and there never will be. The commanding heights of the economy can only be owned by the few. It is the same with democracy. Joseph Schumpeter clarified this for all time when he wrote in Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy that democracy is impossible because the people cannot rule. Ruling is done by the few. The only thing that democracy can provide is for the people to select who will rule over them with elections and stuff. The same applies to the economic sector. We have seen what happens when the "means of production" gets "owned" by the people. The means of production, instead of being directed by the "few," the economic elite in the private sector and their assignees, are now directed by another "few," the political elite and their tame underlings in the public sector. It cannot be any other way. Moreover, the political elite is peculiarly unqualified to direct the economic sector. Their expertise is in politics, not in business and markets. They are expert in coming up with new ideas for winning elections, not in new ideas for winning market share. The fallacy of Alinsky's idea is cruelly confirmed in the dismal economic record of all socialist political regimes of the 20th century, from the brutality and the failure of the Soviet Union's economy to the famines and miseries of China's Mao regime to the impoverishment of Cuba under the Castro brothers. And now we see the economic implosion of Venezuela under the Bolivarian socialism of Hugo Chávez and his dim-witted successor Nicolás Maduro.

The truth is that the "jungle" metaphor applies to socialism, not to capitalism, for it is in socialism that the powerful rule and create out of the peaceable free-market economy a political jungle where only the politically connected survive. And the closest we can get to "all of the people" owning the means of production is for the workers to invest their savings in financial instruments: bank accounts, bonds, and stocks. All of these instruments offer "all of the people" legally enforceable rights to the fruits of the nation's economic production, each with different risks and rewards.

It's a pity that Saul Alinsky never had an epiphany on the road to Damascus and never stumbled upon the utter folly of the socialist dream. If he had he might have steered dull minds like Hillary Clinton away from the ignis fatuus of political power. Or maybe he would have been forgotten, and Hillary Clinton would have found another radical to write about in her undergraduate thesis, someone like Antonio Gramsci.

But never mind Hillary Clinton and her infatuation with the mirage of political power as human salvation. What is the problem?  Why has the glorious vision of Marx and the socialists failed every time it has been tried? I will tell you. It issues from the very nature of government.

Government starts as an armed band occupying some territory and forcibly taxing the people in that territory. It could be the glorious government of the United States, or it could be a criminal gang in South Chicago. It could be Mao ZeDong in his Red Base in southern China. The way a government, any government, survives is by rewarding its supporters with loot and plunder. In the case of a criminal gang the loot and plunder might be the proceeds of the drug business. In the case of a modern 21st century government the loot and plunder would be government entitlement programs: pensions, health care, education, welfare, all of which offer "free stuff" to voters. This free stuff is always taken from producers before it is given to voters. Often, in a cunning trick, the free stuff is extracted from the voters and then generously given back to them 30 years later.

No government ever, anywhere, has operated in a fashion different from the above model. It must be so, because government everywhere is about force. Government may be necessary force, where it protects its citizens from foreign predators and domestic robbers and fraudsters. Or it may be unnecessary force, where it takes taxes and fees from the productive to give to crony capitalists and influential special interests like teachers at government schools and health-care workers at government-subsidized health care facilities. This is not rocket science. Action backed by force is government. Action without the backing of force is not government, it is voluntary cooperation.

Let us recast Saul Alinsky's false vision of the good society. Let us replace his false idea that capitalism is a jungle and his fallacious idea that "the means of economic production [could ever] be owned by all of the people."
Conservatives want to advance from the jungle of big government oppression to a world worthy of the name of human civilization. They hope for a future where the means of economic production will be directed by all of the people in their individual voluntary actions instead of by the selfish dictates of a cruel and corrupt ruling class.
That is a social revolution we can all believe in. That is a future we can work for.

perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 09/23/14 10:45 am ET

Who Would Want to Live Forever?

EVERYBODY seems to want to extend human life. Government wants to do it, with the Nixon's War on Cancer. Women want to do it with their absolute faith in health care. Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, also hails every new news item that promises to extend human life. And now we learn that PayPal guy Peter Thiel has a foundation dedicated to the extension of human life. OK, I get it. We humans ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 09/22/14 9:31 am ET

The Wages of Hubris

ACCORDING to Wikipedia, Hubris, the Greek word for "extreme pride or self confidence... indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence... especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power." What do you think? Does that describe President Obama and our liberal friends, or what? And now that President Obama and the Democratic Party are ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 09/19/14 1:31 pm ET

Dems Governing Like Weasels

SO here we are again.  Instead of going to Congress to get a resolution or a declaration of war on ISIS, President Obama is trying to weasel out of it by asserting that the Congressional resolution from the Bush era is all he needs. What on earth does the president think he is doing? The point of going to Congress is not about some weaselly legal point.  It is that when the president goes to ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 09/18/14 9:27 am ET

|  September blogs  |  August blogs  |


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?

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 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


Obama’s Database for Fundamentally Transforming America

Classical Liberalism’s Beleaguered Victory
why does liberalism keep encountering counter-ideologies, romanticism, nationalism, socialism, and now islamism?

The Power Of Scapegoating
life begins when you stop whining and resenting.

A Series Of Chafing Dishes
left wing activism turns the melting pot into chafing dishes.

Bullies for Social Justice
Social justice and religious freedom on a collision course.

> 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


©2014 Christopher Chantrill

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