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  Road to the Middle Class
Wednesday May 6, 2015 
by Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter









1930s analysis

UK spending

US bailout

US gov debt

US budget

US revenue

US spending

sisters, sisters


















"Mendacity is the System We Live In"

REMEMBER Brick and Big Daddy arguing about "mendacity" in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof? The argument about Brick living a lie ends with Brick admitting that they had been lying about the results from the clinic and Big Daddy's abdominal pain.

Right now I'm in the middle of another pack of lies with the Brit comedy Season 4 Doc Martin. The Doc's lying to himself about his hemophobia, Louisa's lying to herself about her love for Martin, Al's been lying to Pauline, Aunt Joan about a car accident and a wealthy older couple about blindness. And as for the evil Edith, I suspect that something dishonest in her past will come out shortly. It ain't good to see our beloved characters wallowing in the mud.

So let's switch to something more palatable. The Clintons and their lying. As we conservatives know to our cost, the Clintons have been lying about things from Whitewater to emails -- for the last 25 years or so. They've been getting away with it because of the mainstream media, which likes to support their mendacious evasions with classic lines like "everybody lies about sex."

But maybe the Clintons are past their lie-by date, and the mainstream media just isn't that interested in covering for them too vigorously any more. Or maybe the Clintons look and feel too much like the dreadful 1%. Or maybe it isn't as charming when Hillary does it.

And that is to say nothing about the manure pile of lies that Democrats and liberals have piled up over the years for various tactical political reasons. You could start with the notion that Social Security is an insurance program. You could continue with the notion that the high incarceration of black males is due to institutional racism. You could stop, for the time being, with the idea that the Crash of 2008 was the fault of greedy bankers. We should stop right there before January 20, 2009 because we don't want to accuse President Obama of lying. That would be racist.

I suppose that every mature ruling class gets tangled up in its lies, just like Big Daddy and Brick, and the folks in the jolly old Cornish village of PortWenn. Ruling classes lie because they don't want to face up to the truth of their corrupt and incompetent rule, and their subjects put up with it because they don't want to give up their free stuff.

When you are in the opposition and support the "out" party you know -- because you long to -- that sooner or later the tissue of lies will break. But the tissue of lies usually is a lot stronger than you think. In fact it probably lasts until the ruling class runs out of other peoples' money. When the money runs out and the checks stop coming: that's when ordinary people get angry about politicians' lies.

Look, I'm no fool. I know that the bright and bushy tailed Republican presidential candidates are liars too. In particular they are careful not to tell Republican voters anything that they don't want to hear. They talk, for instance, about paying down the debt without actually getting into details, what the mainstream media calls "specifics." The jolliest game in politics is to get your opponent trapped into revealing specifics while you descant beautifully about Time for a Change.

But here's a fearless prediction. I think the biggest issue coming down the pike is going to be the enormous weight of state and local government employee pensions. Never mind about federal deficits; start worrying about your municipal bonds. What's been happening is that state and local governments have been pruning services in order to fund their underfunded defined-benefit pension plans. The solution, of course, is to move government employees off defined-benefit plans and onto defined-contribution plans, the way that corporate America did a generation ago.  But meanwhile the governments are papering over the problem with debt.

At some point, I'd guess, the voters are going to get really mad about the gigantic pensions that government employees get while the education for their children gets worse and worse. And states and big blue cities will start defaulting and going bankrupt. But that point is not yet. Because mendacity.

perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 05/06/15 12:08 pm ET

When Identity Politics Stops Being Fun and Games

ON Thursday, May 7, the Brits go to the polls and it looks like nearly all the Scottish seats in the Westminster Parliament will go to the Scottish National Party. That means that the 5 million Scots will almost certainly negotiate independence from Britain and go it alone. How did this happen? How could Scotland decide that it would do better outside the United Kingdom after 400 years of ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 05/05/15 11:12 am ET

Corporal Al Sharpton, File-closer for the Regiment of Race

THOSE of you that have indulged in, e.g., the Napoleonic War era Richard Sharpe novels by Bernard Cornwell will know about file closers. Armies of the era used to advance across the battlefield in line rather than in column. But of course as they advanced they would suffer casualties, individual soldiers that fell and left a gap in the line. The job of the file closer was to beat soldiers in ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 05/04/15 12:14 pm ET

You Won't Believe How I Lowered my WSJ Digital Subscription!

WAY back in the Dark Ages, in spring 2010, my Wall Street Journal digital subscription was $140 per year. But that was a mere two years after Rupert Murdoch had bought Dow Jones, the Journal's corporate owners, from the Bancroft family. Then the rate started going up. In spring 2011 I paid $207 for a year's digital WSJ. Yikes! In 2012, the Journal switched me to a monthly subscription, which I...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 05/01/15 12:00 pm ET

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Georg Simmel’s Sociology

Thomas Piketty’s Capital

The Spirit Level

McCloskey’s “Bourgeois Era”


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

Anbinder, Tyler, Five Points

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


Democrats' hunt for the white working-class male voter
Dems tormented that white working class won't vote for them.

Social Justice Bullies
Liberal critiques social justice "advocates" and The Authoritarianism of Millennial Social Justice

Are People Getting More Health Care Because of ObamaCare?
John Goodman writes that the uninsured must have had access to health care before Obamacare. Who knew?

Agreeing to Disagree
Watts Up With That's Willis Eschenbach talks about the Disagreement Pyramid

Peter Thiel Says Culture Of Conformity Drives Stagnation
he's talking about atoms vs. bits.

> 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.



“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

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

Hugo on Genius

“Tear down theory, poetic systems... No more rules, no more models... Genius conjures up rather than learns... ” —Victor Hugo
César Graña, Bohemian versus Bourgeois


“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State

Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.”
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990


“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh


A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ’merely relative’, is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy


©2014 Christopher Chantrill

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