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The 2016 Election is a Test

ONE of my recurrent themes is that the Obama "fundamental change" strategy is not just wrong from a conservative point of view, because it re-feudalizes the American people and a lot more besides.

No, my argument is that, from the point of view of liberals themselves, you don't want to push the liberal agenda Obama-style, by a partisan vote on Obamacare and Dodd-Frank, by executive actions, by Dear Colleague letters on campus rape and transgender bathrooms, by Supreme Court ukases on gay marriage.

Why? Because government is injustice, at least to the people on the receiving end of government force.

Now when you are on the receiving end of force you have the options of Hegel's Master/Slave Fight to the Death. You can fight or you can surrender. But when you surrender you are not entering into consensus with the victor; you are just bowing to his superior force, for now.

That is why Daniel Patrick Moynihan said that to pass a program like Medicare you needed a 70-30 bipartisan vote in the Senate. The point is that to make a program part of America rather than just the Democrat agenda you needed the opposition, or at least a part of the opposition, to sign off on the bill. You needed the appearance of consensus.

When you pass transformative bills like Obamacare without a single Republican vote and you push your agenda with unilateral executive or regulatory actions, and you use your cultural hegemony to pass your agenda on abortion or gay marriage through the aristocratic branch of government, the US Supreme Court, you are pursuing a strategic policy of force. You are saying, whether you know it or not, that your power play is irreversible, that the peasants better shut up and tug their forelocks or else.

My theory is that all government action, particularly action that does not have the penumbra of "consensus," provokes a head of rebellion. Because government is force, because government is injustice. We certainly saw how liberals experienced government as injustice when the Bush administration was in power. It inspired them to rise up and elect the First Black President and the most Democratic Congress since 1964.

But now we have the most Republican Congress since 1928. Could that be because the Obama administration made no effort to cobble together bipartisan "consensus" for its marquee legislation? Could that be because the Obama administration weaponized the IRS against the Tea Party groups?

We conservatives have made much of the cultural Marxist strategy of the Frankfurt School, featuring Antonio Gramsci's march through the institutions and Herbert Marcuse's intolerant tolerance. We like to characterize them as unstoppable and inevitable. But the problem with them is that they are pure power plays. They can only work in the long term if the people just lie down and surrender in the Hegelian Master/Slave Fight to the Death. In the long term, though, it is also possible that the people will rise up against the Masters and rebel, or through the knowledge they have acquired through their Work demand that the Masters accord them recognition.

That is why I say that the 2016 election is a test. It is a test to see whether Donald Trump's social media savvy can upend thirty years of the cultural hegemony inspired by Marcuse. Up to now, if you disagreed with liberals on anything you were branded a racist, sexist homophobe. If you disagree with gays you are a hater. If you worry about immigration, you are a xenophobe. But Trump has turned the tables on the liberals, as no conservative has been able to do since Ronald Reagan. As Newt Gingrich keeps saying: he has never seen anything like it.

Because the basic question is: will the March Through the Institutions and Political Correctness fundamentally transform our western society, or will the people rise up and destroy it?

I was out and about yesterday in Seattle as my daughter and husband and grandchildren were in town. I looked around at all the ordinary white people and thought: did all these ordinary people deserve this abuse from their educated and evolved betters?

I don't think so. But I don't know if those ordinary people will stand up rebel against their Masters and Make America Great Again.

But that's why we have elections.

perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 07/28/16 6:32 pm ET

When Will Liberals Lose Control of their Identity Politics?

OUR liberal friends live under the sure knowledge that they can control events. First, their big government administrative state is based on the assumption that rational experts can mold society through government programs. Their faith is a big conceit if wise experts do not in fact able to administer society like a bureaucracy from their perches of power in government. Second, their identity ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 07/27/16 5:20 pm ET

It is not "Good Government" Reforms that Wrecked the System

NO, Megan McArdle, it is not "good government" reforms that have wrecked the political parties and made them dysfunctional. It is the nature of government itself. McArdle writes, bemoaning the way that the Democrats foisted Clinton upon us: How can we explain this? For one thing, I think Clinton’s candidacy -- like Trump’s candidacy, in its own, very different way -- points to the fatal ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 07/26/16 5:51 pm ET

Let's Get a Few Things Straight About "Free Trade"

EVERYONE seems to be ganging up on "free trade" right now, from Donald Trump to alt-right chappies like Vox Day. They are arguing that the market is soulless, and doesn't care a whit if communities are hollowed out when the market moves on or when cheap products produced by low-wage Chinese take American jobs. Here is Day quoting SF old master Jerry Pournelle: But do understand, what is ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 07/25/16 6:52 pm ET

Cop Killers Target White Working Class

I just had another epiphany. The first one this year was to realize that the liberal turn in the 1960s to race and gender politics had an unanticipated consequence. After the turn the white working class would be the poster boys for white racism. That's what Archie Bunker was all about in All in the Family. This nobody living in a small home in Queens became the poster boy for racism, sexism, ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 07/21/16 6:05 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”


House Sit-in: Dems Jump the Shark

IN A WAY, I feel sorry for our Democratic friends. As Rush Limbaugh has been saying for 20 years, they are playing out of a 30-year-old playbook, just running the same old plays because that’s what Ted Kennedy did.

But conducting a sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives on gun control while protected by the guns of the Capitol Hill police goes beyond doing one more for the Gipper. It shows that the modern Democratic Party and its liberal ...

more | 06/28/16

Cut the Cringe: Because It’s Appeasement All the Way Down

You all know what I mean by The Cringe. ...

more | 06/21/16

Orlando: You Know It Means War

Attention Deirdre McCloskey: Here’s the Big Thing about the Bourgeoisie

Mark Zuckerberg: Let Us Talk about Liberal Crimes Against Humanity



RMC Contents
Chapter 1: After the Welfare State
Chapter 2: Down in South Carolina and Out in Brooklyn
Chapter 3: Awakenings of Monotheism
Chapter 4: The Nineteenth Century From the Top Down
Chapter 5: The Nineteenth Century From the Bottom Up

TO THE UPPER CRUST, the nineteenth century was a never-ending worry.  The old order was coming to an end, the cyclical world of agriculture and its wealth in land.... more

Chapter 6: Popular Religion in the Nineteenth Century


RMC Book of the Day

Bethell, Tom, The Noblest Triumph

RMC 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

RMC 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

RMC 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

RMC 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


Sponsored: 64% off Code Black Drone with HD Camera
Our #1 Best-Selling Drone--Meet the Dark Night of the Sky!

The Great Arab Implosion and Its Consequences
A strategic review of the collapse of the Sunni Middle East.

Lose the Story, Lose the Culture
Michael Novak reminds how American culture is threatened by the left's Cult of Secularism

Paul Ryan's Agenda
Paul Ryan & Republicans’ “A Better Way” Reform Agenda Is Conservatives’ Path Forward.

I’m voting for Donald Trump...
so I went to see him speak. Protesters broke my nose. - The Washington Pos

> archive


cruel . corrupt . wasteful
unjust . deluded


Take the Test!


Work to restore the Road to the Middle Class. Here’s how. Ground it in faith. Grade it with education. Protect it with mutual aid. Defend it with the law. more>>


The Road to the Middle Class is a journey from a world of power to a world of trust and love. In religion, it is a journey from power gods that respond to sacrifice and augury to the God who makes a covenant with mankind. In education, it is a journey from the world of the spoken word to the world of the written word. In community, it is the journey from dependence on blood kin and upon clientage under a great lord to the mutual aid and the rules of the self-governing fraternal association. In law it is the journey from the violence of force and feud to the kingŽs peace, the law of contract, and private property.



“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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