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  Road to the Middle Class
Wednesday September 17, 2014 
by Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter









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Here We Go Again With Liberal Malaise

THERE really is a reason for the Six Year Itch.  After six years of a president even his supporters can begin to see that he's a fool and a charlatan.

So it was with Bush, so it is with Obama. So it wasn't with Clinton because the Republicans, in moving to impeach Clinton for crimes that would have sunk a Nixon, riled up the Clinton partisans for one more assault on the breach.

With a Democrat in the White House the Six Year Itch at the midterm election in a president's second term inspires the liberal pundits to civilizational exhaustion. The job is just too big for one man, they said after only three years of Carter.  But for Roger Cohen in the New York Times it's "The Great Unraveling." No, Roger, it isn't. It's just another routine failure of liberalism. But I get why it would feel that way to a liberal.

Beheadings? Yes, that's what you get when small insurgencies are on the loose because the big boys can't get their act together.

Aggression? Yes, that's what happens when you get fools talking about the importance of "soft" power over "hard" power.

Breakup? Yes, that's what happens when you weaken the national myth in the minds of the people with the cultural Marxist the multicultural myth.

And so on.

So the liberals are demoralized.  So their ideas are failing wherever they are tried. So what?

The problem is that we have nothing to replace liberalism.

Oh, sure; modern conservatism is better all round for America and the world.  But nobody is excited about it. There is no militant movement that is mobilizing a new generation to flush out the old order and replace it with something new. Instead the kids are all riled up about pot legalization and gay marriage.  Squirrel!

It's déjà vu all over again.

Thirty-five years ago in the Carter malaise liberals were telling us that America was ungovernable.  That we were entering a period of decline.  That there was nothing we could do about it.

Then along came Ronald Reagan. He showed that we could revive the economy, could govern America, could win the Cold War.

But what he couldn't do was move the needle on entitlements. So here we are 35 years later and the entitlements are eating us alive, but still nobody dares suggest reform.  The Elizabeth Warren Democrats are even calling for Social Security benefit increases!

If you look back at the great social/religious movements, starting with the Reformation, they were driven by young people, folks like Martin Luther rebelling against their royal official fathers. Young punks like Marx rebelling against their hauts bourgeois fathers. Young punks like the Sixties radicals pretending to rebel against their liberal fathers.

That is what is missing today.  There are no young punks planning revolution.  There are just the dumb-as-posts Occupy guys that are the drugged-up dupes of the ruling class.

Ten years ago and more liberals like Robert William Fogel were worried stiff that the evangelical Christians were building a Fourth Great Awakening that would take out liberalism and its beloved egalitarianism. So much for that fear.

No.  I suspect we must wait for the moment when African Americans and Hispanics start to become "haves" and start to want freedom and responsible individualism and start to rebel against their liberal masters and say "leave me alone and I shall grow, learn, and realize my capacities." I don't want your stinkin' free stuff. That quote is from Eric Hoffer.

Meanwhile my work is to think through what the charismatic leader of this future movement will want to know and say.  And I think it starts with the fact that the payroll taxes that fund the entitlement programs are monstrously unjust to a responsible individual who says "leave me alone and I shall grow, learn, and realize my capacities."

That's because the welfare state is based on the proposition that the workers give their savings to the government in payroll taxes and the government decides when and how to give it back to them.

Only a person unfit for freedom could tolerate such a system. Give my money to the politicians so they can buy votes for 30 years until it's time for me to retire?  You must be joking!

But that's the attitude it will take if we are ever to reform the current cruel, corrupt, unjust, wasteful and deluded system.

perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 09/16/14 11:42 am ET

Marxism, Power and Freedom

ERIC Hoffer writes that when the "scribes" are in, working for the ruling class, they are happy to do its bidding and order the lower orders around.  But when the scribes are out, meaning that the government can't afford them after a societal collapse, then the scribes decide to represent the "people" and enter a phase where they critique the ruling class. In our day, I suppose, the scribes do ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 09/15/14 1:16 pm ET

The Ordinary Middle Class on the "Golden Princess"

ON BOARD GOLDEN PRINCESS IN INSIDE PASSAGE  Cruise passengers, according to John Derbyshire, are predominantly over-50s.  No doubt he's right, and I've been observing these ordinary American middle-class over 50s the last few days as they "come back new" on board the Golden Princess.  I'll tell you what I think. You don't get to see the ordinary middle class where I live in liberal Seattle.  ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 09/12/14 9:37 am ET

The Message of Glacier Bay

ON BOARD GOLDEN PRINCESS SAILING SOUTH  OK, I spoke too soon. The nice well-spoken park ranger that gave us a commentary on Glacier Bay National Park hardly got into politics at all. So I was able to enjoy Glacier Bay National Park without having to block my ears to avoid hearing global warming propaganda from a well-paid, well-pensioned government shill. And Glacier Bay doesn't really help ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 09/11/14 3:16 pm 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

Foster, C.I., An errand of mercy, The evangelical united front, 1790-1837,

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.


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


“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


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


“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


©2014 Christopher Chantrill

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