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Bathrooms and Gramsci and Thermidor

I got in a lot of trouble with the commenters at American Thinker last week when I wrote that Trump is Thermidor, meaning that he represents the inevitable reaction after the virtual reign of terror by the SJWs during the Obama administration.

I think that the commenters' main problem was the reluctance to equate Trump with dictator.

Now here's a piece in the American Spectator about the transgender bathroom debacle and Antonio Gramsci's march through the institutions. What is going on here? Ralph Benko answers:

The left is advancing a cultural revolution of radical egalitarianism, creating a new cultural hegemony of which the Great Bathroom War of 2016 is but the most recent element.
Conservatives don't have a clue about how to counter this, Benko writes. Instead of arguing about the danger of rape in the bathroom, we should argue from the innocence of modesty.

Well, yes. But I think that Benko is missing the point and that my argument, from Crane Brinton and his Anatomy of Revolution is the right one. The point is that a march through the institutions culminating in a real or a virtual reign of terror and virtue is something that ordinary people hate. They don't want to be bullied and reeducated and have their lives turned upside down and made to mouth words they don't believe in. And sooner or later they react against the Jacobins, the Bolsheviks, the Red Guards, the SJWs. They may not react with violence, but the fact is that, as Brinton writes, a reign of terror and virtue puts society into an impossible stress that cannot go on forever.

My analysis of the Obama years follows those that point to the collapse of the Democratic Party everywhere outside the White House. Congress? Republican. States? Majority of Republican Governors and Republican legislatures. Rebellion by the GOP primary voters. I read today that there are a lot of GOP primary voters that didn't vote in the general in 2012.

In other words, ordinary Americans are rebelling against the Gramscian march through the institutions and the totalitarian SJW virtual reign of terror in which you will be made to care about the left's agenda or you will pay the price. But they are not talking about it, because you are not allowed to talk in SJW America.

The problem with a reign of terror is that you don't end up back at the status quo ante. That was the problem with Napoleon. The Directory and Napoleon ended the reign of terror and Made France Great Again. But Napoleon also lost the Second Hundred Years War against the Brits and France has never been the terror of Europe since.

So I don't think that the Gramscians will go on marching through the institutions forever. For one thing, lefties tend to hollow out and destroy the institutions that they invade. That's because humans are social animals first, not political animals, and institutions have a social purpose before they have a political purpose.

But I do think, following Ralph Benko, that a Return to Modesty is part of the solution. Oh yeah, there's a book by that name, by Wendy Shalit. Here she gets to make her point in The New York Times!

Every woman I know is defined by her love and her modesty. Oh yes, women can be pretty immodest when they are looking for a mate. But otherwise they define themselves by their loves, their modesty, and their privacy. That is why it was not evil oil companies, but women, that led the migration to the suburbs. Women do not like to raise their children in the city, not unless they are total rich bitches that can afford nannies and car service and so on. Ordinary woman want to retire to a quiet place to bear and raise their children. And then they want to plant a garden. What an idea!

Honestly, I don't have a clue how this is going to work out, but I do think that women are going to redefine culture and politics to provide more privacy and more safety in a way that lets women live out their lives in a more feminine rather than feminist way. To me, the whole "rape culture" flap is related to this. Women don't like a sexual free-for-all, and no wonder, because it licenses boys to use them and abuse them. But the left has no real answer to the brutalities of the sexual revolution, because we are all supposed to be liberated from our bigoted bourgeois patriarchal culture. No more fathers demanding to know "what are your intentions!" So the lefty future has to replace the culture of modesty with a politics of legalisms in Affirmative Consent. Which is madness.

But there is no way back. Whatever happens now, it will be stumbling over the tangle of 20th century themes, from marriage, to abortion, to careers, to work/life balance, to the LGBT diversion, to the excruciating regulation of everything by big government. And above all it will have to deal with the Jacobin narrowness of the politics-is-everything left.

In other words, it ain't gonna be pretty.

perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 05/23/16 5:44 pm ET

African Americans and the Ferguson Effect

THERE'S a lot of hand-wringing going on right now about whether the "Ferguson Effect" is real or Memorex. There has been a significant uptick in the murder rate in major American cities since the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, by a policeman in August 2014. Is this uptick real, a consequence of police failing to police gangbanger thugs in inner cities, or is it move along, ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 05/20/16 4:38 pm ET

Why I Voted For Obama in 2008 and What Conservatives Should Do Now

APART from my remark about the GOP establishment being "decent guys," the other thing that riled up the commenters at The American Thinker on Tuesday was that I have admitted voting for Obama in 2008. Let me tell you why. I take the position that politics is violence and therefore politics is civil war by other means. On this view the alternation in power of the two political parties is a way ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 05/19/16 6:29 pm ET

Why Does Anyone Vote Republican?

THE commenters at American Thinker gave me a good spanking yesterday for calling the GOP establishment a bunch of decent guys. Because everyone knows the GOPe are liars that have sold conservatism to the voters at election time and knuckled under to Obama the rest of the time. But it might be that they are compassionate leaders that don't want to send their followers into a wasteful bloodbath....

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 05/18/16 6:39 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”


It is Grand: Three Anti-capitalist Candidates for the USA

I JUST GOT my copy of Deirdre McCloskey’s new Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the Worldwhich completes her three-volume hymn to the middle class. The first thing that jumps out, in the introductory “Exordium” that tells the story so far, is this:

For reasons I do not entirely understand, the clerisy after 1848 turned towards nationalism and ...

more | 04/26/16

On Tax Day Let Us Talk About Spending and Free Stuff

For some reason April 15, Tax Day, is a peak day for my government spending site, more | 04/19/16

Go Ahead Peaceful Protesters, Make My Day

The Answer to Islam is Jobs

The Primal Scream of the Policy People



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

Barzun, Jacques, From Dawn to Decadence

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!

American Capitalism’s Great Crisis
clueless commentary from a Democratic operative with a byline.

Milton Friedman, Adam Smith, and Other People’s Money
a four-quadrant analysis of private and government spending.

Piketty’s Crumbs
What is the real value of, say, electric light and air conditioning? And all the other modern wonders.

Debt and Delusion
Explains how central banks inflate the economy without consumer inflation.

> 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.


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


©2014 Christopher Chantrill

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