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    Codevilla Revisits Ruling Class vs. Country Class

    BACK in the day in 2010 Angelo Codevilla electrified Rush Limbaugh and others in an article titled "America's Ruling Class -- and the Perils of Revolution." He developed the idea of Ruling Class -- liberals, media, Hollywood, education, Democrats -- and Country Class -- that's you and me.

    Obviously the idea appealed to folks like you and me because we humans are both social and combative. So we often see the world in terms of Us and Them, especially when we are being ruled by the Worst President Ever, whose method of government seems to be to let all the lefty crazies get whatever they want.

    Today’s ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits. These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints.
    This situation works well for the Ruling Class and most Democratic voters. As Codevilla wrote:
    Our ruling class’s agenda is power for itself. While it stakes its claim through intellectual-moral pretense, it holds power by one of the oldest and most prosaic of means: patronage and promises thereof. Like left-wing parties always and everywhere, it is a “machine,” that is, based on providing tangible rewards to its members.
    But is doesn't work for the majority: not for a few Democrats, nor for independents and Republicans, who do not feel they are well represented. Ominously, writes Codevilla:
    Sooner or later, well or badly, that majority’s demand for representation will be filled... The clash is as sure and momentous as its outcome is unpredictable.
    Well, that was then, just before the big 2010 election that flushed the Democrats out of the House of Representatives in a huge wave election. Now Codevilla has sharpened his analysis with a critique of leftist politics, "The Rise of Political Correctness," published just before the 2016 election. Now he is arguing that progressives in the ruling class do not just want power; they want to crush and humiliate everyone else. Instead of taking us through a general history of our present ruling class he writes about the specific plans of total domination, from Marx's program of economic hegemony to Gramsci's program of cultural hegemony.

    There are two strategies for achieving hegemony. There is the Leninist way, to crush and extinguish all competing power centers; and there is the Mussolini strategy, exemplified in his 1929 Concordat with the Vatican, what Codevilla calls "forceful seduction, not rape."

    Codevilla argues that the the program of cultural hegemony is just as bankrupt as the old program of worker hegemony. In the end it is just a cult thing, of enthusiasts congratulating each other while the broad majority is unimpressed. The original Marxian program collapsed because the workers were national patriots first and workers second. The same applies to all the group identities of cultural Marxism.

    Then we come to today's PC elite. For Codevilla, our PC masters have decided on the Leninist strategy. They could have enlisted the leaders of various cultural sectors and seduced them into supporting the progressive agenda. But no. They want to crush and humiliate the country class.
    America’s progressives add insult to injury by imposing same-sex marriage, homosexuality, “global warming,” and other fashions because they really have no priorities beyond themselves. America’s progressive rulers, like France’s, act less as politicians gathering support than as conquerors who enjoy punishing captives without worry that the tables may turn. 
    Look at the latest outrage,
    our ruling class’s very latest demand: Americans must agree that someone with a penis can be a woman, while someone else with a vagina can be a man. Complying with such arbitrariness is beyond human capacity.  
    But why can't the ruling class just declare victory on all their cultural offensives and go home? Why are they determined to humiliate pizza parlors and wedding cake bakers? It is because
    the point of P.C. is not and has never been merely about any of the items that it imposes, but about the imposition itself. 
    The more you get into torture, the more you need to think up new humiliations on your victims.

    I am reading The Carolingians by Pierre Richéa history of the Franks, featuring Charlemagne, that made Europe into a thing between 700 and 900. The history is a vast confusion of wars and political family intrigue, of attempts by the politicians to control the Church and attempts by the Church to control the politicians. The relation between the great nobles and the Church was complex, because the nobles needed the wealth of numerous monasteries and abbeys, and would appoint their family members to be abbots and bishops. Meanwhile the Church was always trying to curb the nobles and keep the wealth of abbeys and monasteries from leaking out from control of the Church. But at the beginning of each reign the new monarch would always seem to promise reform of corrupt practices and adherence to the rule of law.

    There is a lesson in there. Whatever the politicians and the culture warriors are doing with their grand plans and glorious wars, the people want government to deliver peace and security: a government that serves them and a rule of law that justly adjudicates their conflicts.

    And so Donald Trump is to become president, promising to Make America Great Again and curb a globalist elite and its poisonous enthusiasms. He may not make much of a difference, but he has certainly delivered the ruling class a blow to the solar plexus.

    perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 12/08/16 7:26 pm ET

    "Skeptical Neutrality" and "Courageous Trust"

    I picked up this piece on Dr. Jordan Peterson, psychology professor at the University of Toronto. He is deliberately challenging the PC guys on "compelled speech," on forcing people to use transgender pronouns. Or else you lose your psych. prof. gig. Go and read it, and also my blog post. But now I want to go into details on his principled objection to compelled speech. He introduces two ...

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    perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 12/07/16 6:54 pm ET

    Liberal Memes in the Era of Trump

    IT is no secret that liberals have taken the election of Donald Trump very badly, and none worse that the Special Snowflakes at the nation's liberal secular seminaries that we humorously call universities. In response they have come up with a raft of conspiracy theories and rationalizations to prove that "they was robbed." The question is: what do we normal Americans do about it? What do we ...

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    perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 12/06/16 1:09 am ET

    Dr. Jordan Peterson is ready to go to jail for free speech

    WHO will bell the cat? That is the eternal question raised by the mice in Beatrix Potter's Tailor of Gloucester. That is also the question in our age, with respect to the identity politics totalitarians, the gentle folks that I have called ideological terrorists. Now comes Dr. Jordan B Peterson, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto, to do battle on the question of enforcing ...

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    perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 12/05/16 8:07 pm ET

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    “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

    Bushman, C.L. and R.L., Mormons in America

    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

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    F. A. Hayek, Law Legislation and Liberty, Vol 1
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    How ordinary people built themselves a sturdy safety net before the welfare state

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    David Stevenson, The Origins of Freemasonry
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    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.


    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

    Racial Discrimination

    [T]he way “to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,” Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
    Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District

    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

    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

    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.


    [In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
    Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm


    [Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
    Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values


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