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  Road to the Middle Class
Wednesday October 1, 2014 
by Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter









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Gentrification: It's the Capitalists' Fault!

HERE I thought that gentrification was a liberal thing: liberals with a little less money that corporate strivers buying low and selling high in marginal urban neighborhoods.

But class warrior Gavin Mueller paints a different scene. Forget about Richard Florida and his "creatives". The gentrifiers are "bureaucrats and IT workers with a few more years of beards and bong hits in them". And gentrification is a big-money game.

Gentrification has always been a top-down affair, not a spontaneous hipster influx, orchestrated by the real estate developers and investors who pull the strings of city policy, with individual home-buyers deployed in mopping up operations.
So the whole thing reduces to the usual left-wing narrative of class warfare with the "broken windows" policing of Rudy Guiliani doing a right hook on the poor and the Jane Jacobs worship of the urban environment doing a left hook while the corporate interests advance up the middle and mop up with the profits.

Well, yes.  You combine the profit motive with access to government influence and you can turn the city upside down, and the poor will get the shaft. Factor in government programs encouraging minorities to buy houses they can't afford and you compound the problem.

So what do we do? Apart from left-wing organizing and right-wing laissez-faire?

Maybe the short-term option is to do nothing and let liberal gentrifiers and lefty community organizers and the crony capitalist real-estate developers stew together a little.  They are, after all, Democrats, every one.

Meanwhile let's try to think things out a little.

First, the poor are always going to be living in the worst part of town, and that means they will always be vulnerable to redevelopment, because that's how capitalism works. You buy low, you add value, and you sell high. So the poor are always going to find themselves chased around town. Because reality.

Second, cities are always changing, and if you don't like change driven by real-estate developers than you are choosing change driven by politicians and activists. Which means incompetence and no change until the bottom drops out. See Detroit.

You can have public housing; you can have subsidies; you can have programs. But the poor will still be living in the  worst part of town. And if you don't redevelop the worst part of town it will get even worse

Of course, everything that liberals do, from lefty community organizers to creative-class urban pioneers to crony capitalists, make the poor's situation more difficult. That's because welfare, subsidies, public transportation make the poor vulnerable and dependent on government.  People that have jobs are people that can move around and adapt.  People that live on welfare and housing subsidies and rely on public transportation are stuck.

So the real solution is to reform the welfare system so that poor people mostly have jobs. Then they have the economic power to make choices rather than slither, by default, into the worst part of town, because dependency.

But that sort of thing doesn't interest lefty class warriors. The solution must be political. It must be a crackdown on business interests and capitalism. It must be bigger government.

It's all such a bloody shame.

perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 10/01/14 8:15 am ET

Wascally Republican Racists

ONE of the fundamental beliefs of today's liberals is that they are for civil rights and Republicans are racists. The proof is that Barry Goldwater voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and that the South voted for Goldwater in 1964. (In fact Goldwater was a libertarian who had desegregated the Arizona National Guard and voted against the Civil Rights Act because he felt it was too ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 09/30/14 6:51 am ET

Moore vs. Krugman Cage Fight

LIBERTARIAN economist Mark Skousen is boosting a grand debate at the next FreedomFest in Las Vegas July 8-11, 2015. It's between NYT columnist and Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman and WSJ columnist and supply-sider Stephen Moore. They are going to debate a bunch of topics, one by one. Red States vs. Blue States (especially California)… Flat Tax vs. Progressive Tax… Austerity vs Stimulus… Inequality ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 09/29/14 10:41 am ET

A Grand Strategy for the War Against Islamism

AS the Obama administration stumbles towards existential ruin, I hope that the Republican candidates for president in 2016 have their foreign policy and defense teams hard at work on a grand strategy for the post-Obama years. Really, the utter confusion and failure of the Obama years is a blessing, because the Democrats' foreign policy has been exposed as nothing more than anti-Bush animus and ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 09/26/14 11:02 am ET

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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


Why You Are Likely To Lose Your Health Insurance
because whenever your plan falls into the gaps it must be canceled.

The Hillary Letters
Clinton didn't just write about Alinsky; she wrote to him.

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.

> 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.


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.

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

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

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

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

Moral Imperatives of Modern Culture

These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self

US Life in 1842

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


©2014 Christopher Chantrill

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