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  Road to the Middle Class
Wednesday April 16, 2014 
by Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter

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Latest Opeds

A look at just how much of your money goes to taxes

It’s that time of year again, tax time. The April weekend when millions of Americans struggle over filing federal income tax returns. ...MORE

Government doesn’t understand insurance, and should just get out of the business

Insurance is a concept where lots of people pay a little so a few can get a lot, while government is a system where lots of people get a little while a few pay a lot. Mix it up, and you get a train wreck. ...MORE

Stop Complicating Home Finance

THE US Senate is presently putting together what reads like Obamacare for Mortgages, a fiendishly complicated bill that will privatize, yet super-regulate home mortgages -- with a ton of special subsidy programs to queer the whole thing into a nightmare.  At least that's what the Wall Street Journal reports.

So the political elite hasn't learned from the Great Crash of 2008.  And no wonder.  Democrats have been indefatigable in blaming greedy bankers for the problem, rather than face the truth, that the deliberate federal policy to subsidize home mortgages forced bankers to extend loans to people that couldn't afford them.  If you read The New York Times and listen to NPR you wouldn't have a clue about what really went down.

It gets worse.  Here's a report on some focus groups of Option-ARM mortgage borrowers conducted for now-defunct Washington Mutual back in 2003.  The borrowers really had no clue what they had signed up for, with low payments and negative amortization for now followed by huge increased payments later on.  They knew they had a great deal -- for now -- but really weren't thinking too hard about what came later.

Yes.  WaMu was staggeringly negligent in pushing out mortgages to people that didn't have a clue what they were getting into.  But WaMu was just dutifully implementing national policy, pushed  by liberals for a generation.  It started with liberal activists complaining about "red-lining" in the 1970s.  Red-lining referred to the reluctance banks showed in loaning money on inner-city homes.  And why not?  Decaying inner city neighborhoods are not the place to loan money on demand deposits. It's simple prudence.  So we had to make sure that a certain share of mortgages went to "sub-prime" borrowers.

Because liberals are smart and compassionate.

And when the whole thing blew up, liberals blamed the greedy bankers.

Yes, of course the bankers were greedy.  Anyone that works close to government is greedy, because there's a lot of free stuff going on if you are smart enough and pushy enough to get in line for the handouts.

Given the financial ignorance of most people, the government's role should be to regulate the financial system to make it as simple as possible.  But that would make it harder to buy peoples' votes and hand out free stuff.

Given the financial ignorance of most people, we should reform the home mortgage business to remove the subsidies, to disabuse people of the notion that their homes are an "investment."

Given the financial ignorance of most people, we should get the government out of mortgage finance.

But the realities of legislating means that any reform of Fannie and Freddie will have to buy off the powerful special interests, in finance, in real estate, and in the liberal activist community.

Which means that the cure will probably be worse than the disease.

The real cruelty of the Liberal Century is the idea that government can be smart and intelligent -- if run by intelligent, large-minded people with the help of rational experts.

No it can't.  That's what we know now after a century.  Governing makes you dumb.  Governing makes you stupid.  Government makes you cruel.  You can take the largest-minded person in the world, but if you put them in charge of a government or a government program, they will turn out stupid.

This is not rocket science.  Government is force; politics is division.  When you put government in charge of something it will turn it into a bureaucratic monstrosity, pushing people around.  And the politicians will be figuring out how to divide people and how to buy votes with the money sloshing around in the government program.

Suppose the program turns out to be a complete mess?  How do you unwind the mess of bureaucratic rules; how do you persuade people to give up their nice little subsidies?

Exactly.  You can't.  Short of Armageddon, people are going to demand to keep their goodies.

They will keep on demanding their goodies until the invading soldiers are going house to house raping the women, and the question is no longer subsidies and handouts, but getting food to stave off starvation.

Meanwhile the mortgage mess remains a mortgage mess.  Thanks a lot, liberals.


perm | comment(0) | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 04/15/14 3:08 pm ET


Liberalism will end as a joke

YOU can't be serious.  That is perhaps what conservatives feel as each new Obama era folly hits the headlines. This week we saw Democrats in the House claiming that the Republican pursuit of Lois Lerner was McCarthyism. We heard of the Dallas office of the IRS brimming with pro-Obama election fever. We saw liberal students and faculty getting Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born woman who has ...

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perm | comment(0) | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 04/11/14 4:32 pm ET


How do we beat the secular religious thugs?

THE defenestration of Brendan Eich last week electrified the conservative world.  Imagine!  A guy contributes money to an initiative campaign in 2008 and that disqualifies him from running Mozilla, the non-profit foundation that makes Firefox. So the gay rights movement has progressed from hiding in the shadows to forcing its opponents into the shadows.  That is what you call progress. But we ...

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perm | comment(0) | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 04/08/14 5:33 pm ET


Who are the American People?

IN the third night of Wagner's monumental Der Ring des Nibelungen the broken Wotan, king of the gods, is reduced in Siegfried to "Der Wanderer," wandering the earth, his dreams of power shattered.

But Mime the dwarf still has a power project.  He wants to reforge Nothung, Siegmund's shattered sword so he can kill Fafner the dragon and recover the Nibelungs' golden hoard.

Ask me three questions, says the Wanderer, but Mime is too stupid to ask the right ones. Instead he asks who lives on the earth, below the earth and above the earth.

But here in America as the Obama years dissolve into disappointment and rage, we need to know who lives where.  We need to understand the different kinds of Americans and "where they live" so that, we may hope, we can pick up the pieces after Obamadämmerung, heal our divisions, and get back on our American journey.

Who lives below the earth?  The Nibelungs, said the Wanderer, and Nibelheim is their land.  But in our world the Nibelungs are the folks camping out in our dysfunctional cities, living a stunted life on welfare and disability and single-parenthood, reduced to sending their kids to dreadful schools.  I call them the "people of the victim self."  They are people that do not believe in agency, in the ability of the individual to make a difference in her life.  They look to a powerful leader to support them with the crumbs from his table.  Their faith is the faith of the rank and file in the charismatic leader.

Who lives on the earth?  The giants, die Riesen, said the Wanderer, and Riesenheim is their land.  But in our world the plodding construction firm of  Fasolt and Fafner, builders of Valhalla, are the broad middle class, the people that follow the rules, go to work, obey the law, and pay their taxes.  I call them the "people of the responsible self."  These are people that believe it is up to each one to get an education, get a job, and find a way of contributing to society.  Their faith is the faith that each individual can make a difference.

Who lives above the earth? The gods, of course, the "Lichtalben" or lightbringers, said the Wanderer, and Valhalla is their estate.  With his spear, Wotan rules the world.  In our world, of course, the gods are the liberals, and they rule the world with their education, their large-mindedness, and their control of the culture.  I call them the "people of the creative self."  These are people that believe the simple life of responsibility is shameful, because creative people are called to something higher, to make or enact some new creation of the mind.  But liberals have warped this noble idea.  They do not say: here's a good idea; they say pass this bill so we can see what's in it.  Liberals can never leave anything alone.  Everything must be a creation of liberal minds and liberal power, and no others need apply.  Health care cannot be allowed to develop on its own; liberals must positively shape and order it.  The normal life of growth, marriage and children is a kind of serfdom, a subjection to a culture of patriarchy.  Thus to differentiate oneself, liberals must "challenge the system" in activism, in gender-bending, in a life as a creative artist.

You can see that each of these peoples is social in the full human sense of the word.  The people of the victim self belong by subordinating themselves to a leader as a way to get along by going along.  The people of the responsible self belong by surrendering their ego to the will of the market, and law, and work, and family in the faith that the market and the law will reciprocate their surrender.  The people of the creative self belong by contributing their intelligence, their education, their creativity, in the faith that the world can only progress through the power of an enlightened elite.

So now we know who the America People are.  Let us now ask what went wrong.

Something has gone wrong, and we know what it is.  The people of the creative self have not used their power for good.  They have used it to worship themselves instead of serve society.  They have used force where they should have used persuasion; they have divided where they ought to have unified.  So the progressives, the lightbringers, have not brought sweetness and light, but injustice and darkness.  Like all ruling classes, they have not ruled for the benefit for the least among us, but to continue their own power.

What matters in this world is not the cunning of the underclass, not the rule-following of the middle class, not the power of the over class.  What matters in the end is the power of women's love.  And before that the cunning of the Nibelungs, the rules written on Wotan's spear, and the power of the ruling class will melt away in yet another Götterdämmerung.

Every ruling class gets seduced by earthly power, and ends up in a maelstrom of cruel injustice as it seeks to hang on to power by grasping at straws, and so our liberal creative class will rattle in the tumbrils to the guillotine asking plaintively: what did we do wrong?

And the answer always is: we told you, but you refused to listen.


perm | comment(1) | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 04/04/14 5:24 pm ET


Two Midnight Rule: What Do You Expect?

WHAT happens when government takes over health care?  You get dozens of bureaucratic horrors like the "two midnight" rule for Medicare.  What is the two midnight rule?  It is rule CMS 1599-F. This new, Obamacare-forced rule specified that a hospital stay can only be paid for by Medicare insurance if that stay “(1) expects the beneficiary to require a stay that crosses at least two midnights and...

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perm | comment(0) | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 04/01/14 5:44 pm ET


What Will Happen to the Loser in Obamacare's War

I was talking to a dentist this morning about his win-win strategy at work.  He has a scheduler that gets a bonus every time she fills the daily schedule for the hygienists.  Win-win.  Win for the dentist, keepings his expensive hygienists busy earning revenue; win for the scheduler, who gets to share in the profits of the firm's extra revenue. Now let's talk about government.  In the last few ...

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perm | comment(0) | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 03/28/14 4:31 pm ET


Reaching Out to Minorities

EVERYONE says that Republicans should reach out to minorities, especially Hispanics and blacks. But, Thomas Sowell writes, Too many Republicans seem to think that the way to "reach out" is to offer blacks and other minorities what the Democrats are offering them. Some have even suggested that the channels to use are organizations like the NAACP and black "leaders" like Jesse Jackson -- that is...

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perm | comment(0) | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 03/25/14 5:21 pm ET


Liberals Swatting at Gnats | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 03/21/14 3:09 pm ET
Rush: In 2014 Midterms Obamacare is Reality | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 03/18/14 4:50 pm ET
Conservatives' Dream World | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 03/14/14 5:31 pm ET
President Obama is Leading Dems into the Wilderness | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 03/11/14 4:49 pm ET

Against the Axis of Losers

WHAT should the US and its allies do about a revanchist Russia?  Or Iran?  Or Venezuela? Leaving aside the question of Ukraine, we learned recently that Russia was setting up agreements for naval port facilities in eight countries. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday the military was engaged in talks with Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Algeria, Cyprus, the Seychelles, Vietnam and ...

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perm | comment(0) | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 03/04/14 4:37 pm ET


Trouble in the "Cathedral"

THE notion of the "Cathedral" was invented by Mencius Moldbug, Curtis Yarvin, in his blog.  The idea is simple.  Today's ruling class is a kind of secular church, for it combines its politics and its secular religion much like an established church. The lead role in the Cathedral is taken by the professors.  They are the chaps with the progressive ideas.  The media and the entertainment ...

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perm | comment(1) | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 02/25/14 5:23 pm ET


|  April blogs  |  March blogs  |

 MANIFESTO

A New Manifesto
A spectre is haunting the liberal elite—the spectre of conservatism.

 DRAFT CHAPTERS

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.

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
The left has always damned individualism as the celebration of selfihsness. But is it?

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 BOOKS


AAM Book of the Day

Stark, Rodney, and Bainbridge, William Sims, The Future of Religion


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


 READINGS

Ten Welfare-Reform Lessons
... from New York City. It starts with a job.

Why Obamacare has free Contraceptives
a government health program has to give out benefits to the healthy. Thus it screws the sick.

How Social Darwinism Made Modern China
a thoughtful look at the last 1,000 years in China.

Advice for a Happy Life
Charles Murray on happiness -- and "Groundhog Day"

Phony Fannie-Freddie reform empowers the left
faux reform leaves the housing subsidy game intact.

> archive

 CCWUD PROJECT

cruel . corrupt . wasteful
unjust . deluded


 


 THE BOOK

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.

 THE BLOG

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.

 TAGS


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


Mutual Aid

In 1911... at least nine million of the 12 million covered by national insurance were already members of voluntary sick pay schemes. A similar proportion were also eligible for medical care.
Green, Reinventing Civil Society


Education

“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


Living Under Law

Law being too tenuous to rely upon in [Ulster and the Scottish borderlands], people developed patterns of settling differences by personal fighting and family feuds.
Thomas Sowell, Conquests and Cultures


German Philosophy

The primary thing to keep in mind about German and Russian thought since 1800 is that it takes for granted that the Cartesian, Lockean or Humean scientific and philosophical conception of man and nature... has been shown by indisputable evidence to be inadequate. 
F.S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West


Knowledge

Inquiry does not start unless there is a problem... It is the problem and its characteristics revealed by analysis which guides one first to the relevant facts and then, once the relevant facts are known, to the relevant hypotheses.
F.S.C. Northrop, The Logic of the Sciences and the Humanities


Chappies

“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


 

©2010 Christopher Chantrill


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