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  Road to the Middle Class
Thursday July 31, 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


















Occupiers Like Government

I'M in the middle of investment guru Peter Schiff's video on his visit to Occupy Wall Street.  The setup is that he's wandering around the Occupy encampment in the fall of 2011 with a camera crew from Reason magazine and a protest sign that reads: I AM THE 1%. LET'S TALK.The full version goes on for 1:48 hours.  Or you can get the gist with the 18 minute cut.

My takeaway is that the Occupy protesters all agree that they need government holding a gun to the head of their employer if they are to get a fair shake in the world.  They've internalized all the lefty talking points but are completely ignorant of the righty talking points.  As far as they are concerned, without government they'd all be getting paid subsistence wages in sweat shops with no health care, no pensions, no benefits.

So, they don't understand the market, they don't understand business, and they don't understand government.  Otherwise they are pretty smart; they know all about memes and protest tactics.  But what would you expect after a K-graduate school education conducted by government functionaries?

Look, I get it.  Most people work as employees for The Man.  Their uppermost thought is a worry that they'll get laid off. They do not think: Hmm, I wonder how my employer is doing, how many projects are in the pipeline, how well the company products are priced.  They just think: Wow, I could get fired tomorrow.  Then they think: Wow, if only the government could stop my employer from laying me off.

To understand that the market is a regulating mechanism that coordinates the activities of millions of people and hundreds of thousands of businesses through the price system is completely outside the reality of most peoples' lifeworld.  The idea that surrender to the price system is the first step on the road to prosperity sounds completely crazy.

The other side of this game is that lefty politicians understand instinctively that people must believe that the corporation, not the price system, rules the world if the left's agenda of enlightenment and liberation is to win.  Otherwise voters will hesitate to vote for bigger government.

And that's the key.  People must believe that force is needed before they'll vote for more government.  If you listen to the Occupy protesters talking to Peter Schiff you realize that our millennial young 'uns have been perfectly socialized to vote for more government.  They all believe in force.

But what's the reality?  Daniel J. Mitchell has a nice little link to a piece on the history of sweatshops from Ben Powell of the Independence Institute.  Did you know that workers flocked from the countryside to the sweatshops in the early 19th century?  Yes, conditions were horrible, compared with today's Third World sweatshops, and in some of them people worked for 16 hours per day.

Yet workers flocked to the mills. …sweatshop workers…were attracted by the opportunity to earn higher wages than they could elsewhere. In fact, economist Ludwig von Mises defended the factory system of the Industrial Revolution,…writing, “The factory owners did not have the power to compel anybody to take a factory job. They could only hire people who were ready to work for the wages offered to them. Low as these wage rates were, they were nonetheless more than these paupers could earn in any other field open to them.” …Mises’s argument is supported by historical evidence. Economist Joel Mokyr reports that workers earned a wage premium of 15 to 30 percent by working in the factories compared with other alternatives.
And so the population in Britain tripled and then doubled in the 19th century.

The truth is that nobody has any problem with paying people a premium of 15% to 30%.  What gets everyone riled up is when the business cycle turns down and the factory owners want to cut wages.  This is regarded as an outrage.  And a guy like worker Joe Soptic thinks it is monstrous for private equity guy Mitt Romney to restructure his steelworker job out of existence.  Because in the mind of Joe, he has a property right to that job, and the bosses have a moral obligation to pay his wife's health care bills.

In my mind, Joe Soptic thinks like a serf, and so do most of the folks in the Occupy movement.  And in my mind it is a bloomin' shame that the political leaders on the left won't educate their followers to the facts of life in the industrial age and lead them to the golden future of responsible individualism. Liberals get their power from keeping their voters on the liberal plantation and don't see why anything should change.

And yet.  The interesting thing is that the working stiffs of the 1930s grew up into 1950s suburban householders.  And now there's a new generation on the way up. I saw a construction truck near my house yesterday that had "Chavez LLC" emblazoned on the side.

Despite all the propaganda about the horrors of big corporations people still want to start their little business; they still want that little house in the suburbs.  They still want the peace and tranquility of middle class respectability.

But how?  How can this be happening when 100,000 liberals chant with one voice and 100,000 liberal hearts beat in unison about the wonders of marriage equality and the horrors of the Republican "war on women."

I will tell you what I think.  I think that there are millions of black women who ache for a marriage and a house of their own and two kids growing up straight and true far from the roar and the violence of the big city.  But these women have been cruelly and corruptly misled into a reactionary racism and kept on the liberal plantation where their desperate votes can be used to keep the current liberal ruling class in power.

One beautiful day, un bel di, the world will change, even if it changes too late for Butterfly and today's adult black women.  The rage of those black women, cheated for half a century from the good life of middle class respectability, will be something to behold.

perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 07/31/14 11:52 am ET

Liberals say Ted Cruz isn't very smart

ONE of the eternal verities, to liberals, is that Republican politicians aren't too smart. George W. Bush was notably stupid -- except that he had better grades than John Kerry.  Ronald Reagan was an "amiable dunce" when he wasn't a dangerous extremist.  And Ike was an aging bumbler who liked to golf in the afternoons. It all probably got started when Alice Roosevelt Longworth wrote that ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 07/30/14 11:42 am ET

Outlook Impoved, say Medicare Trustees

THE annual Medicare Trustees Report came out yesterday, and the official line is good news.  You can see that from Googling the news reports. Not surprisingly, administration spokesmen have claimed that the Affordable Care Act is partially responsible for this. Maybe.  After all, the ACA is supposed to raid Medicare of something like $700 billion over ten years to pay for the ACA.  Or maybe the...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 07/29/14 11:26 am ET

The Seeds of Destruction

FOR conservatives there is much in Obama's America that doesn't make sense.  Why is Obama so terminally divisive? Why would gays, on the cusp of winning their "marriage equality" want to rub out a techie like Brendan Eich?  Why would feminists, after a half century of feminist progress, now be subjecting college boys to the witch hunt of the "rape culture?"  Don't these people understand that ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 07/28/14 12:05 pm ET

Who Deals with the Freeloaders and Predators?

THE two Big Problems of human society, in my view, are Freeloaders and Freebooters.  I have a whole chapter about it in "Freebooters and Freeloaders." Who are they?

The Freebooters are the common criminals that prey on the poor.  That's what we have police forces for.  That's just the domestic freebooters.  The foreign freebooters are the neighboring state, the expansionist empire, the marauders and the pirates.  That's what we have armies for.

But what about the freeloaders?  They are the people looking for free stuff.  And it's a curious thing that the government that defends us from freebooters, common criminals and dreaded foreign powers, is the agency that tends and feeds the freeloaders.  Why does it do that?  Because that is how all governments maintain their power.  They originate as rebel or conquering armies that distribute baronies to the captains in their armies.  They continue by buying the loyalty of their supporters with government spending and privileges.

So we could say that governments exist to protect the people from the predators.  But they do it at the cost of encouraging the freeloaders.  Two steps forward and one step backward.

What do we do about the freeloader problem?  That's what we have religion for, and specifically the post-Axial Age religions that advance an individual relationship with God.  Put it this way.  The only way you can deal with a common criminal is by arresting him and locking him up.  But freeloaders are different.  They are people that don't actively break the law.  They are just sneaking around looking for handouts.  It's obviously a universal human trait or we wouldn't have supermarket specials and coupons and airline frequent flier programs.

The way you deal with freeloaders is you make them ashamed of their idleness. You shame them into getting a job.  That's what religion does.

Back when Jane Austen was writing novels it was nothing for the rich to be idle.  And the worst of the worst were the young heirs that wasted their youths on gambling and dissipation.  I am thinking in particular of young Tom Bertram in Mansfield Park.

Not any more.  The liberal trustafarians of our own time all present themselves as busy as bees running their family foundations and funding social justice projects.  High class women don't sit around embroidering and making calls. They all have college educations and have careers.  Rich people don't have social cachet these days unless they are doing something.

So much for the rich.  But at the other end of the spectrum the modern welfare state actually encourages the poor in their idleness.  It makes a virtue out of freeloading!  And this is coded into the very design of the authoritarian welfare state and its over-under governing coalition.  The "over" part gets the jobs, the money, the power and the love of beautiful women.  The "under" part gets to freeload with a share of the loot, a payoff for voting the "overs" into power.

Now I maintain that the secular liberal political movement is actually a secular religion.  It is not just a governing party but a way of life.  So here we have a religion that actually promotes freeloading!

If you ask me, something's gotta give.

Here's my idea for a better America.  Keep the government focused on fighting the freebooters and the predators.  Government is force, and the only thing it can do is wage war on someone.

But we need a new religion to shame the freeloaders.  Religion is all about the meaning of life and what it takes to live a good life.  And the way that religion works on people is by shaming and shunning the backsliders: "social control" as our liberal friends put it.

But first we've got to chase the present liberal priesthood out of the temple, because their religion is a false religion.  If a religion does not shame its believers away from freeloading then it is worth nothing at all.

perm | comment(0) | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 06/20/14 10:22 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

Eksteins, Modris, Rites of Spring

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


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

Why Voters Grew Tired of Cantor
GOP voters don't like government of the cronies, for the cronies, by the cronies.

California's Absurd Intervention Over Dorm Room Sex
Back in 1949 Beauvoir celebrated the "independent woman." What happened to her?

The Moocher Hall of Fame
Dan Mitchell's list of shameless welfare recipients.

Does Technology Have to Replace Low Income Jobs?
how employers respond to $15 minimum wage: they slash benefits.

> 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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