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  Road to the Middle Class
Friday February 24, 2017 
by Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter








1930s analysis

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It Is AstroTurf All the Way Down

IF you want to know the secret of life, the universe and everything, there is a problem. At some point, you hit a brick wall, the horizon of your knowledge.

So the deep thinkers of the world have come up with a useful skyhook. The world, they say, is sitting on a turtle. But what about the turtle? What is the turtle sitting on? There is only one answer to that. It is turtles, all the way down.

Conservatives have a similar problem when trying the analyze the meaning of the left and its peaceful protests. How much of it is real unprompted bottom-up assemblies of ordinary people presenting their grievances to the government? And how much of it is top-down AstroTurf ginned up by the ruling class and its bribed apologists, bought and paid for by the irrepressible George Soros.

There was a famous moment, during the rise of the Tea Party, when then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the Tea Party of being AstroTurf, a creature of right-wing moneybags,

This [tea party] initiative is funded by the high end — we call call it astroturf, it’s not really a grassroots movement. It’s astroturf by some of the wealthiest people in America to keep the focus on tax cuts for the rich instead of for the great middle class.
Well, it is certainly true that in due course the Tea Party got the support of Koch Brothers money. As you can imagine that the MSM was right on it. But in the beginning nobody had a clue where the Tea Party was coming from. Nancy Pelosi couldn't understand a peaceful protest that was not wholly owned by rich kids playing at revolution.

I am talking about folks like the young "Refuse Fascism" activist on Tucker Carlson, determined to protest and Resist the fascist Donald Trump.  As they sing on South Pacific, you have to be carefully taught, to hate and to fear, to protest and to Resist.

So now we learn that the spontaneous protests at the townhalls of Republican congressmen are the "Townhall Project" of Jimmy Dahman, a former Clinton campaign volunteer.
His Facebook page lists the youthful Dahman’s current position as Deputy Organizing Director at Ohio Together, and former positions as Regional Organizing Director at Hillary for America and Organizer (Party) at Hillary for Iowa.
Well, of course. It is AstroTurf all the way down when you are pushing back against the outrage of Republicans daring to roll back the administrative state's Obamacare project.

Not that I am surprised. The activists that I have seen on various video of GOP townhalls featured well-born women with well-born hairdos. I'm sorry, but women like that are not helpless people about to lose their Obamacare exchange health-insurance policies in the general meltdown of government health care.

But it is important for GOP elected representatives to know whether they are dealing with a genuine groundswell of opposition to Obamacare repeal and replace, or whether the protests are just the usual left-wing rent-a-mob featuring paid activists bused in by the deep state.

After all, the whole point of "activism" and "peaceful protest" and "resistance" is to make it look as if the grass roots are rising in rebellion, and that a tidal wave of rebellion will engulf the racists and sexists and homophobes unless they submit.

But what I would like to know is what that young woman talking over Tucker Carlson really thinks she is doing. I mean, it is all very well to talk about resisting, and brandishing manifestos featuring  NO! in 72 point type. But what is this young woman really proposing? Peaceful protests? Actual riots? Attacks on police stations? Armed insurrection? I could tell that Tucker Carlson was trying to get Sunsara Taylor to tell him what she was really proposing to do about Hitlerian Trumpian fascism. But the canny activist refused the bait and just kept talking about protest and resist and NO!

So Sunsara Taylor is probably just a pretty piece of AstroTurf wearing the obligatory Rachel Maddow eyeglasses.

perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 02/23/17 4:03 pm ET

Deep State or Paper Tiger?

THE big question facing America is just how hard and how successfully the so-called "Deep State" will push to stop Donald Trump and his agenda. We have seen it take out Gen. Flynn, President Trump's choice for National Security Advisor. And we have seen curious leaks of conversations between President Trump and foreign leaders. And we have seen the push-back against President Trump's refugee ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 02/22/17 6:50 pm ET

Mirror Mirror: Who is the Incompetent One in the Land

ALL of our liberal and lefty friends are chanting in unison, as if at a peaceful protest, that Trump is Incompetent. Maybe they are right. Or maybe they haven't gotten out lately. Maybe they have been too protected by The New York Times and NPR from the dreadful record of President Obama's incompetence. Here is D.C. McAllister going into chapter and verse about Obama's incompetence, as in ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 02/21/17 6:14 pm ET

Making Sense of Trump's Attack on the Media

WITH regard to President Trump I take the position that Trump is not an idiot; he only plays one on TV. So what are we to think about Donald Trump's broad-based attack on the media, those chappies that Glenn Reynolds calls "Democratic operatives with bylines." It all seems as plain as day to me. But maybe I have got it wrong. Anyway, here goes. The Republican base has been getting very angry...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 02/20/17 6:46 pm ET

|  February blogs  |  January 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

Sowell, Thomas, Conquests and Cultures

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!

Stages of Electronics
Five stages have got us to where we are today.

Why People Use Check Cashers
they provide services, transparency, and low cost.

In Debt They Trust
City Journal's briefing on the low-interest debt game.

Why so many conservative intellectuals became Trumpists
it's the legacy of Harry Jaffa

> 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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