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  Road to the Middle Class
Friday August 22, 2014 
by Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter









1930s analysis

UK spending

US bailout

US gov debt

US budget

US revenue

US spending

sisters, sisters


















What Three Things Should We Do? Sorry, I'll Have to Punt on That

I just had a spirited discussion with a new acquaintance, a Seattle businessman, and eventually we came to the businessman's big question:  What three things would you do to fix the government?

And I punted.

That's because I think we are nowhere near being able to do big things about the current mess.

Let me be clear.  I have plenty of big ideas to fix things.  I just don't believe that this is the time for big things.  Not yet.

Here's my Three Point Plan.  Actually, it is a Four Point Plan.

First, middle-class Americans should pay for their own retirement.  The current system is a system of intergenerational injustice where older, richer seniors get paid pensions by younger, poorer workers.  My plan of intergenerational justice is that middle-class people get to retire when they have accumulated the savings to create enough productive jobs for the young 'uns to support the old 'uns.

Second, middle-class Americans should pay for their own healthcare in retirement.  Of course we want to do the right thing by seniors like me, but not at the expense of young people trying to buy a home and raise a family.

Third, American children should not be sent to government child-custodial facilities for twelve years to sit on benches all day with no time off for good behavior.  Yes: can you spell J-A-I-L?

Fourth, the system of welfare where people trying to get off welfare pay higher marginal taxes than billionaires is unjust.  If we are to have a system of government welfare it should be focused like a laser on getting people back to work now.  Settled science says that people lose job skills from the day they are laid off.

In my ideal world workers wouldn't be paying swingeing taxes to pay grandpa's Social Security; income tax payers wouldn't be paying for grandma's frequent trips to the cardiologist, neurologist so that she needs two sets of weekly pill organizers.  They wouldn't be sending their kids to school but the neighborhood mothers would organize home-school cooperatively.  And the poor would be helped by the ABCDEFG method developed by charity professionals in the 19th century, backed up by mutual-aid associations that also flourished in the 19th century until the welfare state killed them both stone dead.

But there isn't a chance in hell that my four step program could be passed today.  That's because change -- real change -- can only come as a result of a great moral movement.  Think Reformation, Puritans, Great Awakening, Anti-slavery, Islamism.  And don't forget the secular moral movements like romanticism, socialism, nationalism, fascism, communism, environmentalism, feminism, gay rights.

Right now there is no moral movement that is organizing and socializing people to change the welfare state.  The average person accepts the current system and merely grumbles about minor indignities.  People are afraid of any change and rightly worry that any change would hurt them.  They are right to be afraid.  When political change comes to town the current generation gets screwed.  Ask the Indians after the Puritans showed up.  Ask the signers of the Declaration of Independence.  They almost all lost their lives, their fortunes, and I'm not so sure what happened to their sacred honor.  The Civil War?  Wiped out a generation of young men and condemned the slaves to a century of Jim Crow.  War against Nazism?  Great for the US, but whacked Europe and Russia for a generation.

Yeah, it would be great to solve the great injustices of the current era, but if you ask me things are going to have to get worse before they get better.  Eventually the "worse" will lead to a new moral movement of renewal.  Which may fail.  Even if the moral movement succeeds and rebuilds the culture and politics on new foundations, it will still exact an enormous cost on the generation that lives through it.

Gee.  I just Googled myself and I find that I wrote this whole thing back in 2010.

perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 08/22/14 11:36 am ET

Race Card Tactics -- and Strategy

NOBODY doubts that the tactics of the race card is effective.  Jump on a white-on-black incident and exploit it to the skies.  African Americans get outraged and whites get surly. Yeah, but what about Hispanics?  Anybody checked on them lately? Never mind about tactics; what about race-card strategy? I am thinking about this because I am reading Alexander Hamilton: A Life by Willard Sterne ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 08/21/14 12:16 pm ET

Put Not Your Trust in Princes

AS Foghorn Leghorn might have said: there's something Ugh about folks what publicize their sorrows.  I am thinking first about reality TV.  What kind of a fool would get involved with that? And yet people are eager to get involved. Reality TV is a lie, of course, just as it's a lie that the friendly woman on the morning TV show is like one of your friend in your neighborhood coffee klatsch.  No...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 08/20/14 1:35 pm ET

The Dems Will Stop Playing the Race Card When...

I am reading yet another biography of my man Alexander Hamilton. It's Alexander Hamilton: A Life by Willard Sterne Randall, first published in 2003. Right now I gotta say that I like it better than the 2004 Ron Chernow Alexander Hamilton.  It seems to portray the extraordinary personality of this great founder with more force than the excellent Chernow biography. One thing you get from ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 08/19/14 11:31 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 Book of the Day

Bretall, Robert, A Kierkegaard Anthology

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


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.

A Series Of Chafing Dishes
left wing activism turns the melting pot into chafing dishes.

Bullies for Social Justice
Social justice and religious freedom on a collision course.

A Recovery Stymied by Redistribution
economist explains how help for unemployed discouraged people from taking jobs in the late great recovery.

> 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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