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    Free Trade and the American People: It's the Science, Donald

    EVERYONE is against free trade, except an occasional economist, and you can see why. Free trade, in domestic affairs or foreign affairs, means that everyone surrenders to the market, and does not try to use force to alter the verdict of the market.

    So when Donald Trump announces that

    The nation-state remains the true foundation for happiness and harmony. I am skeptical of international unions that tie us up and bring America down, and will never enter America into any agreement that reduces our ability to control our own affairs.
    That sounds good, because it is dealing in power, which is what politics is all about. But then there is this:
    NAFTA, as an example, has been a total disaster for the U.S. and has emptied our states of our manufacturing and our jobs. Never again. Only the reverse will happen. We will keep our jobs and bring in new ones. Their will be consequences for companies that leave the U.S. only to exploit it later.
    Well, no president can promise to "keep our jobs and bring in new ones." Why? Because capitalism is innovation, it is a constant process of creative destruction of old jobs and their replacement with new ones. Put it this way. First the jobs in the candle industry were demolished when the candle industry was replaced by the illuminating oil lamp industry. Then the jobs in the lamp industry were destroyed by the electric lamp industry. Then the government decided to destroy all the jobs in the incandescent lamp industry and replace them with the CFL lamp industry. And now it looks like the CFL lamp and its mercury poision is going the way of the buggy industry to be replaced with the LED lamp industry.

    The point is that nobody can promise to "keep jobs." In fact, I would suggest that anyone that uses government power to "keep jobs" is probably destroying a lot more jobs that he keeps. Because the kind of jobs that get kept are usually the jobs of politically powerful interest groups, such as union jobs or Florida sugar plantation jobs.
    Under a Trump Administration, no American citizen will ever again feel that their needs come second to the citizens of foreign countries.
    Well, I'm all in favor of that.

    The question is: what can the government actually do to deliver on the promise to make the needs of America come before the needs of foreigners?

    I'd say that the first thing to do is to get the government out of crony capitalism and "saving" jobs. Then, I'd say that it would be a good thing to limit unemployment benefits and welfare so that people cannot molder away for years in a town where the industrial plant left and the jobs with it. It is a lie to say that "good jobs at good wages" can last a lifetime.  Good jobs last as long as a product or an industry lasts. And then they are gone. That is the way of capitalism, or "innovism" as Deirdre McCloskey calls it. The basis of our prosperity is that, time and time again, the old ways have been disrupted and replaced with new ways that have radically improved our standard of living. But not for the folks displaced by the new ways.

    So what do we do for the folks displaced by the new ways?

    First, I'd say that we have to propagate a new national meme: no job is forever. There are no guaranteed jobs, no guaranteed pensions, no guaranteed anything. When things turn south, as they do in any life, then we have to get on our bikes, or get in our U-Hauls, and go find another job in another city.

    Second, let's stop blaming foreigners. The reason we are losing jobs to China and India is that China and India finally got a clue and started going capitalist. So, just like Britain 200 years ago, and the US 140 years ago, people are coming off the farms and working for low wages, starting with simple assembly jobs. Your fancy iPhone costing hundreds of dollars was made in China. But Apple's for the 1%, not for the likes of me. My modest Motorola Moto G 2nd Gen cost $100. Also made in China. It is just not possible to make iPhones for a few hundred dollars a copy in the US at US wages. And for the rest of us, those outside the magic circle of iPhones, what about our $100 knockoffs?

    Third, let's not pretend that government can help. The question is not whether free trade works or whether the US is being taken for a ride by foreigners. The question is rather whether government could possibly help, or more likely, screw things up. A lot of the things that government does screws things up. That's because force is very rarely the answer to our problems. Social Security? A system of generational injustice. Welfare? Condemns generations to drink and drugs. Education? A disaster for poor Americans. Tariffs and regulations? End up benefiting powerful special interests at the expense of ordinary people. Labor unions? Benefit a few aristocrats of labor for a while at the expense of workers in general. Affordable housing? Crashed the global financial system with bad loans at Fannie and Freddie.

    The thing about capitalism, or innovism, or "trade-tested betterment" is that we barely understand it, even now. It seems to be based on the paradoxical idea that, in order to prosper in the future, you have to have the courage to step away from the past.

    But most of us insist of holding onto the past with a death grip. Until we die.

    perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 04/28/16 6:39 pm ET

    But Can Trump Beat Clinton?

    MY man Steve Sailer took one look at the Trump 5-state sweep of Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, and Delaware, and predicted the Democrats' race-based general election strategy, based on the six states that were closest to flipping in 2012: Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Nevada, Michigan. The Democrats are going to go to Florida and Nevada and tell Hispanics that ...

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    perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 04/27/16 6:31 pm ET

    The Bigger Task for Conservatism

    POWERLINE contributer Steven Hayward asks today "How Did the Left Get the Drop on Us" after the resounding conservative victory of the Reagan years? His answer is that we conservatives assumed we had won the victory of the big ideas and just needed to work out the details. And it was easy to argue against socialism and its totalitarianism during the Cold War rather than against the amorphous ...

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    perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 04/26/16 5:26 pm ET

    Three Peoples: What the Better People Owe to the Other People

    A great theme of the 19th century was to persuade the bourgeoisie to care about the working class. In Marx, of course, this theme extended to revolution: the bourgeoisie would be made to care with the help of a revolutionary avant-garde cadre and the working class as a magnificent revolutionary army. But the broader culture centered on helping the working class with beneficial legislation in ...

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    perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 04/25/16 6:47 pm ET

    |  April blogs  |  March 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”


    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

    Woodson, Robert L., The Triumphs of Joseph

    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: The 3 Week Diet
    8 Rules of Fat Loss. Warning: Fast Results! Click Here to Watch Video...

    Derb’s Canceled Williams College Hate Address
    and he has some interesting things to say.

    We Now Join the U.S. Class War Already in Progress
    Joel Kotkin 'splains the 2016 election for you.

    Don't tell Bernie Sanders, but capitalism has made human life fantastically better. Here's how - AEI | Pethokoukis Blog » AEIdeas

    NCPA Report on Crash of 2008
    review various factors causing crash.

    > 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


    presented by Christopher Chantrill
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