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  Road to the Middle Class
Thursday January 19, 2017 
by Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter








1930s analysis

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sisters, sisters


















Yay for La La Land!

I didn't really have my hopes up for La La Land, the supposed nostalgic musical that actually has songs, tap-dancing and a Bollywood-style opening production number. 

I heard that the songs kinda petered out in the later part of the movie. And then I heard about the unbearable whiteness of it. 

So it is a special pleasure to say that everyone enjoyed it, from 88-year-old grandma to us baby-boomers.

I liked it because I consider it a truthful exploration of what it means to be serious about being a Person of the Creative Self. See my Three Peoples theory. I particular, I offer my "Which Gods Do the Three Peoples" Believe In,"which talks about the problem of creative people, because their god is the creative self. You can see that making yourself into your god has special problems. I write that:
A Person of the Creative Self must submit to the creative process, and accept that very few people that aspire to works of original creation actually succeed in that Olympian ambition, just as very few aspiring Olympic athletes get to participate in the Olympic Games.
In my view the great question of the age is how should you live as a Person of the Creative Self? One of my items in the bill of indictment against our liberal friends is that they like to think of creative artists as special children of the gods that must be supported in their ethereal pursuits via government grants and exemption from the laws of ordinary folk. So the liberal line is that We are the People of the Creative Self and you will like it.

This liberal conceit is a lie. The truth is that the life of creation is hard and will probably end in failure. Think of it as a start-up company. You may have a good idea, but probably you don't, and it will take years to refine your idea into something that might change the world.

So Damien Chazelle's La La Land gives us Ryan Gosling as Sebastian, a keyboardist and Jazz purist that wants to open his own Jazz club. That ain't gonna be easy, pal, especially with your attitude. It gives us Emma Stone as Mia, a good little middle-class girl from Boulder City, NV, who is working in a coffee shop and doing auditions. Sebastian drives a clapped-out V-8 convertible from the 80s, and Mia drives a Prius.  Hey, there's a Prius joke in this movie!

The question is how these two are going to square the circle of their creative projects, their unrealistic expectations, their endless failures, their desire to stay together, and to maintain the line that each has given the other about their commitment. And where does commitment to the project meet commitment to each other?

At the climactic moment where Gosling has to go back on tour tomorrow and Stone has to fly to Paris to become a movie star they choose their creative careers over each other. But the director does not flinch from showing that they are breaking each others' hearts as they tell each other that "I will always love you."

But both these kids are white kids. That's the whiteness problem raised above. Of course they are. Unless you are a social justice warrior, the central question for nice college-type middle-class kids of any race is do they follow their dream to become videographers, or do they get jobs? So all the lefty memes have nothing to do with the case. The movie could have cast an interracial couple, but that would have foregrounded the race question rather than the creative question. The movie is about the path of the creative life, not about lefty poison politics.

So last weekend La La Land expanded to 1,848 screens and moved up from #5 to #2 movie at boxofficemojo.com. That's really great. It seemed to me that the kids were excitedly discussing the movie in the halls at the Boca Baton multiplex after the show.

There are lots of charming things about La La Land. What do you think a girl does when she changes out of her high heels sitting on a bench up in the Hollywood Hills after a party? She pulls out her tap shoes of course, and then she and the hero can dance some soft-shoe on the asphalt overlooking the valley in the moonlight.

perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 01/18/17 8:41 pm ET

Did President-elect Trump just Intercept the Dems' Race Game

REALLY! Who woulda thunk it. President-elect Trump angrily tweeting Civil Rights Legend Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) for his asinine decision to boycott the Trump inauguration because Russia. And to call his election "illegitmate." Is that guy crazy? Doesn't he know that America's real third rail is the sanctity of Martin Luther King Jr. and that if you touch the Heroes of Selma you bring down ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 01/17/17 5:33 pm ET

The Autumn of the Think Tanks?

DID you know that they are mourning the death of the think tank over at the Washington Post? (H/T Steve Sailer) According to Josh Rogin, "the Washington think tanks have been holding pens for senior government officials waiting for their next appointments" But Trump is hiring "business executives and former military leaders." But the problem with this is that "policymaking will suffer." It is...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 01/16/17 9:34 pm ET

The Left's Conceit About "Resistance"

NOW that the Democrats have lost the Senate, and the House of Representatives, and the presidency, there is only one way out. Resistance. So says Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). And so says former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. And that's to say nothing of true lefties like Chapo Trap House and Jacobin. Actually, I get it. I really do. These are people that want war. They like the feeling they get...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 01/13/17 4:02 pm ET

|  January blogs  |  December blogs  |


“I Want a President”

Georg Simmel’s Sociology

Charles Murray’s By The People

Thomas Piketty’s Capital

The Spirit Level

McCloskey’s “Bourgeois Era”

Karl Polanyi’s Great Transformation

A Look at the Left: “Contra-deBoer”

“Little Darlings”

“Three Peoples”


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?

Liberals and the Welfare State
Liberals, the ruling class of the administrative welfare state.

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 Book of the Day

Combe, Victoria, Curate's course feeds a spiritual hunger

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


Sponsored: 64% off Code Black Drone with HD Camera
Our #1 Best-Selling Drone--Meet the Dark Night of the Sky!

The Last Days of the Obama White House
As the rats leave the sinking ship Obama imagines himself the leader of the resistance.

Seven Tests That Can Keep Republicans from Screwing Up
from Ed Morrissey

Deadly ‘End-of-Life’ Myths  | The American Spectator
dementia is going down...

Gingrich Explains Trump
to National Defense University.

> 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


presented by Christopher Chantrill
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