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The Descent into Feudalism

WE moderns are all for freedom, right? And our lefty friends are all for liberation from oppression and marginalization, right?

So how come we are taxed on every hour of work? How come we stand in lines at the airport, like peasants? How come the government sequesters our savings for us in government "trust funds" and in special government-regulated IRA and 401k accounts?

The answer is that the final centuries of the last millennium were an outlier. The old feudal system of warrior lords lording it over the peasants had broken down. The ordinary people were "on their own" and they were busting out of the cages that had confined them for millennia as the subordinate creatures of their noble lords.

And the new feudalism was still in its conceptual stages. Feudal Concept One was the Marxist idea that a revolutionary cadre would fight for and protect the workers against the capitalists. Feudal Concept Two was the Progressive/Fabian idea that wise, educated experts would manage the world on behalf of the workers.

How's that new feudal system doing, boys and girls?

Now in my reductive Three Peoples theory I assume that the world is always composed of three kinds of people. One of them are the People of the Subordinate Self. In my idea, people graduate from the world of the subordinate self to become People of the Responsible Self. And I assume that people are eager to graduate from subordinate slavery to responsible freedom.

But what if I am wrong? What if many People of the Subordinate Self are perfectly happy living as subordinate drones of the ruling class? What if they naturally live as grumpy peasants, forever complaining about "them" but not actually doing anything about it?

If you look around you, it seems to me to be inescapable that many people are perfectly content to live as subordinate peasants, or as we say now, victims.

It is pretty obvious that the whole program of the Democratic Party is a program of feudalism. Democratic voters look to their leaders to provide them with benefits without which they would be helpless.

But the rise of Donald Trump shows that the same applies now to the Republican Party. Mr. Trump is running on a platform to Make America Great Again, and he will create the jobs and punish the Chinese in order to do this. He is appealing, we are told, to the white working class that has spent the last half century dying of despair after the Democrats abandoned them when the Dems decided to be the noble lords of women and minorities rather than the noble lords of the working class.

Here is what I have to say about this.

I don't like it. The whole point of the modern Great Enrichment is that we come out of our cages, we break out of the lord's manor, and we take responsibility for our lives. We do not rely of a powerful patron to provide us with the necessaries of life; we go out into the world and find something useful to do, something that other people are willing to pay money for.

On my view, if we return to feudalism we will return to stasis. There will be no more Great Enrichment, but only obedience.

And the problem with feudalism is what I call the little darlings problem. If you are the little darling of the ruling class, whether peasant or worker or woman or minority, you are facing a big risk. What if the ruling class finds that you are no longer useful in their power project?

It happened to the peasants during the agricultural revolution and the growth of the nation state. The absolute monarchs disarmed the nobles and the nobles decided their didn't need no stinkin' peasants eating their heads off on the odd chance that the nobles would need them in their baronial armies. The liberal ruling class decided that they didn't need no stinkin' white working class once they decided that leading women and minorities was much more fun.

As that black state senator from Louisiana said a while back. The politicians don't care about you; they only care about your vote.

perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 08/23/16 3:27 pm ET

How Bad is Western Decline?

IT was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Joel Kotkin writes of two dystopian novels, one about the Islamification of France and one about the Latinization of the US. But the problem in both novels is not the Muslims and the Hispanics, but the failure of the French and the US to uphold and live their values and their culture. Controversialist Vox Day, quoting my man Alexander ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 08/22/16 6:37 pm ET

Is it 1787 Yet?

IF you were living in France in 1787 you probably thought that things were peachy keen. Talleyrand evokes this with his comment: He who has not lived in the eighteenth century before the Revolution does not know the sweetness of life and can not imagine that there can be happiness in life. And so on. But, as Fred Reed writes, all was not well. The natives were restless. Maybe it was exactly ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 08/19/16 4:40 pm ET

Obamacare Death Spiral: Incompetence or Cunning?

THIS week Aetna announced that it was going to reduce its exposure to Obamacare, offering less policies on Obamacare exchanges. So the Obamacare death spiral continues. The question is: was this the plan all along? To crash the health care system and then announce that the only solution was to go to "single-payer." According to La Wik: Single-payer healthcare is a system in which the state, ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 08/18/16 10:41 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

Marx, Karl, and Engels, Friedrich, The Communist Manifesto

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, 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

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!

Today’s Tech Oligarchs Are Worse Than the Robber Barons
Joel Kotkin doesn't like the tech guys.

Confused Why Donald Trump’s Message Is Resonating?
Tech-head lays it out in charts.

U.S. Homeownership Rate Falls to the Lowest Level Since the 1960s
So, the CRA/Fannie-Freddie thing was a complete fiasco.

This Tragic Economic Mismatch Costs Trillions and Orphans Millions
Lots of skilled trade jobs open. But what happened to the boys?

> 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.



The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


“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

China and Christianity

At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing


[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

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

Class War

In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, “The Scientist as Rebel”


Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority — the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says ‘we should...’.
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity


©2016 Christopher Chantrill

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