BACK in the 2000s Ross Ashcroft was briefly a BBCer and then an assistant theater director. But after the crash of 2008 he has reached for bigger things and in 2012 released a documentary on all the troubles of the world, entitled Four Horsemen. It got tons of awards at film festivals. It's available on YouTube.
You would expect that it to be pathetically banal and devoid of almost anything that might qualify as an idea. Why would it? You tell me. Where in the world would a theater person in today's London ever run into someone with an idea that wasn't safely approved by the left-wing culture that dominates the minds of everyone in the arts?
But let's take a look at Four Horsemen anyway.
The Four Horsemen of this modern apocalypse are: the rapacious financial system, escalating organized violence, abject poverty for billions, and exhaustion of our natural resources. Filmmaker Ashcroft reviews these problems in four sections of his documentary.
6:30 Empires. Empires do end, and the west has not yet come to terms with its fading supremacy. And it makes sense, from Gen. Glubb's life cycle of empires, 250 years from pioneers to conquest, commerce, affluence, intellect, and ending in decadence. Imagine an overextended military, conspicuous consumption, living off the state, and an obsession with sex. And debasement of the currency. In our decadent age everyone scrambles for the spoils amid the distraction of bread and circuses. And the baby boomers did it! Meanwhile millions of people go to bed every night hungry. So why are we still struggling to distribute wealth fairly?
16:45 Banking. Is the problem "systemic?" We review the evils of fractional-reserve banking, fiat currency, and we get the usual focus on greedy bankers and Goldman Sachs, and the evil of forcing mortgages on poor people. It's all based on the notion of "growth forever." Did you know that 97% of the money in the world is "debt?"
50:51 Terrorism. Ashocroft's got a "root cause" explanation of terrorism. The "inherent iniquity in our system of money, banking and politics has not just had consequences domestically," but also globally. Terrorism is thus a push-back against western neo-colonialism. First there's the military and its contractors, then the consultants and contractors that get the contracts from foreign aid and World Bank loans. But the aid benefits the local elites, and the people have to pay back the debt. Then there is Chile. Yes, we can still haul Noam Chomsky in front of the camera to remember that the US intervention in Chile in 1973 amounted to terrorism. But with all this outrage is it any wonder that people have no recourse but to resort to terror?
1:02:52 Resources. We have got to the end of the benefits of economic growth; the more we grow the more we create poverty. It's a question of competition vs. cooperation. We need a progressive move from globalization to localization, production not consumption.
1:13:00 Progress. There's a tendency to Hollywoodization these days. Everything must be a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. There's got to be a villain, and usually a sacrificial victim. So it's hard to see that the system is flawed.
So what's to be done? We need to make societies more equal and reduce income difference; that will help solve environmental problems. We need to understand that the problem is pretty simple. It's about power, and its about democracy. So we need to sweep away the disinformation of neoclassical economics and the academic gatekeepers with the cleansing truth of the internet. And we need to question the system of fiat money. It all comes down to a three point plan:
ONE of the talking heads on Ross Ashcroft's Four Horsemen documentary is Dr. Ha-Joon Chang, an economist who's a Reader at the University of Cambridge in England. In this video under the "Renegade Economist" brand Dr. Chang rehearses lefty talking points on "neoliberalism." I didn't really know what neoliberalism was when I watched the video; I just knew that it was a term that lefties swung ...
BACK in the spring the intellectual world was convulsed by a book about capitalism written by a Frenchman, Thomas Piketty. The book, Capital in the Twenty-first Century argued that the return on capital was always bigger than the economic growth rate (expressed as r > g) and this would mean that the rich would forever get richer and richer. Since the left is currently focused on "inequality" ...
WE moderns like to think that we invented numbers. Back in the old days life was organic and natural, centered around the family and the village collective. But Georg Simmel in The Sociology of Georg Simmel translated by Kurt. H. Wolff reminds us that enumeration was not an invention of the absolute monarchs and their bureaucracies. Numbers in social life go further back than that. But the ...
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A New Manifesto
A spectre is haunting the liberal elitethe spectre of conservatism.
The Crisis of the Administrative State
It wasnt 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.
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
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
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
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
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.
[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
Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
[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
For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008
Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists
conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit
[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
[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.
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