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Evil Wal-Mart Overrruns Democratic Bastion

by Christopher Chantrill

THE WAL-MART PR guys just sent an e-mail to announce the opening of the first Wal-Mart in Chicago, so naturally as a mind-numbed Wal-Mart robot I am blogging about it.

The first reaction was shock. I thought that Chicago didn’t want no stinkin’ Wal-Marts polluting its pristine neighborhoods.

The second reaction was wonder. I wonder how close the new store is to downtown Chicago?

According to Google Maps, it is a mere 7 miles from downtown, so the Democrats entrenched there ought to be able to hear the rumble of the guns  unfold 

Sphere: Related Content | perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 09/30/06 5:57 pm ET


More Than "School Choice" Needed

by Christopher Chantrill

HOW MUCH OF a difference do the current initiative on school choice make? Not much, according to Frederick M. Hess.

[C]harter-school enthusiasts, including President Bush and Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, have touted the remarkable work of the high-performing KIPP Academies and the new teachers recruited by Teach For America. However, these entrepreneurial ventures are gnats alongside the $550 billion a year behemoth  unfold 

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Born on the Fourth of July

by Christopher Chantrill

SHE DIED ON Tuesday, September 26, aged 90. She might have been an ordinary aspirational American, born to immigrants from Japan and graduating from UCLA in 1940 with a bachelor’s degree in zoology, “hoping to become a physician,” according to Richard Goldstein in The New York Times. But then things went wrong for Iva Toguri.

In the summer of 1941, she visited an ailing aunt  unfold 

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Why Did the Brits Invite Clinton and McCain?

by Christopher Chantrill

WHY DO THE Brits like to have American politicians address them at their political conferences?

This week Bill Clinton, his mind cleared after telling off Chris Wallace on eevil Fox News, gave the Labour Party a pep talk at its annual conference in Manchester. Don’t make the same mistake we did, he told them.

Next week Senator John McCain is going to address the British Conservative Party at its annual conference in Bournemouth. And so the British Spectator’s  unfold 

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Harris on Ratzinger at Regensburg

by Christopher Chantrill

THERE IS PERHAPS no more exciting thinker living than Lee Harris, a student of philosophy and some time owner of an auto tint shop, whose first book Civilization and Its Enemies, proposed the present unpleasantness as a war between the western team and the “eternal gang of ruthless men.”

Now he has published a long article entitled  unfold 

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Why Are The Rich Getting So Much Richer?

by Christopher Chantrill

BACK AT THE end of the 19th century the rich were very rich. They were, principally, the people who had brought us the industrial revolution in oil, steel, railroads, and finance.

Then, over the last century, inequality declined. But now it is rising again. As Robert Samuelson writes,

Productivity gains (improvements in efficiency) are going disproportionately to those at the top. We do not really understand  unfold 

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Tony Blair's Last Conference Speech

by Christopher Chantrill

WHATEVER HIS faults, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has understood that the welfare state needed reform. It could not continue in its one-size-fits-all implementation. So in his last speech to the Labour Party conference he spent a lot of time trying to move his party towards a consumer- not a producer-powered society.

In an opportunity society, as opposed to the old welfare state, government does not dictate; it empowers.

It makes the individual -  unfold 

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Media Always Hypes Fears of Climate Change

by Christopher Chantrill

WHAT ARE WE going to do about global warming? That’s what the media were worried about in the 1930s.

But what about the next ice age? Good point. The media were worried about that back in 1900 and again in the mid 1970s.

In fact, says Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the media are always worrying about climate change.

Since 1895, the media has alternated between global cooling and warming scares during four separate and sometimes overlapping time  unfold 

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Euston Manifesto is Great, But...

by Christopher Chantrill

EARLIER THIS year a bunch of left wingers and progressives in Britain wrote the Euston Manifesto, in which, according to Martin Walker, they hammered out

a statement of principles in support of democracy, freedom of speech and ideas, and firm opposition to terrorism, all forms of totalitarianism and all soft-headed apologies for it.

Which is nice. Now the manifesto has moved to the United States where

a number of leading academics and  unfold 

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Clinton Rallies the Democratic Troops

by Christopher Chantrill

SO WHY DID Bill Clinton “lose his temper” with Chris Wallace last weekend?

Perfectly simple, writes William Kristol. He was helping Democrats.

He rallied the troops, and he “reminded them of their talking points on Bush's alleged passivity” during the runup to 9/11. Which is the line that the Democrats were pushing on the 9/11 Commission. So now Clinton can take credit for showing up the evil Republican push on terror as  unfold 

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Real-estate Prices Bobble

by Christopher Chantrill

SO NOW IT’S hit the New York Times. “Home Prices Drop after 11-Year Ascent” is the story reported by Jeremy W. Peters.

The median price of a previously owned home fell for the first time in 11 years last month, and inventories of unsold homes swelled to levels not seen in more than a decade.

But not to worry too much. Says David Lereah, chief economist of the  unfold 

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School Choice a Winner in Alberta

by Christopher Chantrill

HERE’S an interesting factoid, reported in The Economist. Alberta’s schools come in No. 2 in the international school league tables. That is Alberta the Canadian province we are talking about. It’s the home province of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, leader of the Canadian Conservative Party.

Needless to say, US schools don’t appear in the top ten.

So what is Alberta doing right?

Thank you Senator, I’m glad you  unfold 

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Two Limeys Fight Over Home Schooling

by Christopher Chantrill

HOME SCHOOLING. Is it a good idea or a bad idea? In Britain’s Spectator they are duelling it out.

Last week James Bartholomew, author of the welfare state critique The Welfare State We're In, wrote that he had had enough.

For during this term at least, I am going to home-educate her.

Oh please, responds  unfold 

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The Swedes are Retiring Early

by Christopher Chantrill

BACK WHEN THE apologists of the welfare state wanted more of our money we got to hear a lot about the condition of the working class.

But now that the welfare state has become established and tenured it has become more secretive. We seem to know little about the lives of the poor, and the bureaucrats and the experts like it that way.

Every now and again, someone lifts a flap of the tent and you can look in. That happened this week when the Moderate Party coalition won the elections in Sweden.

When 25-year-old Swede Jessica  unfold 

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Dems Defend Bush Against Chavez

by Christopher Chantrill

YESTERDAY VENEZUELA’S President Hugo Chavez called President Bush a devil. Today two leading Democrats told Chavez he was a thug.

According to Fox News Rep. Charles Rangel (D- NY) told Chavez:

Don't come to the United States and think, because we have problems with our president, that any foreigner can come to our country and not think that Americans do not feel offended when you offend our chief of state... It should be clear to all heads of government  unfold 

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"The Great Risk Shift"

by Christopher Chantrill

ACCORDING TO political science professor Jacob Hacker in his book The Great Risk Shift the United States has seen a big increase in risk for its ordinary citizens in recent decades. According to Brink Lindsey, Hacker argues that the culprit is

America's sweeping transformation away from an  unfold 

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Universities Biased Against People Without 'Wives'

by Christopher Chantrill

WOMEN ARE UNDERREPRESENTED in the sciences and engineering because of “bias and ‘outmoded institutional structures’ in academia.

That is what a an Academy of Sciences panel has decided, according to Cornelia Dean.

“Unless a deeper talent pool is tapped, it will be difficult for our country to maintain our competitiveness in science and engineering,” the panel’s  unfold 

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The Three Currents of Islam

by Christopher Chantrill

ACCORDING TO Bernard Lewis there are three currents in modern Islam, the revival that is trying to deal with the crisis of modernization.

Before modern times the Islamic countries had a fairly pacific government. Rulers had to deal with “established orders—the bazaar merchants, the scribes, the guilds, the country gentry, the military establishment, the religious establishment, and so on.”

But in response to the challenge  unfold 

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B-XVI Regensburg: Who Has the Problem?

by Christopher Chantrill

IF YOU DIDN’T know that we have a cultural war going on you can see it today in the differing takes on the pope’s Regensburg speech of September 12, 2006.

Liberal columnist E.J. Dionne thinks we have a problem. And The Wall Street Journal thinks that Islam has a problem. Says Dionne:

[R]eligious dialogue will not progress very far if  unfold 

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Compassionate Conservatives Win in Sweden

by Christopher Chantrill

HERE IN THE United States President Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” has disappeared in a hurricane of Bush hatred.

But in Britain Conservative Party leader David Cameron has given new life to the Tories with an emphasis on green, windmills, and work/life balance.

Now the Moderate Party in Sweden, led by Frederick Reinfeldt, has romped home to an election win in the world capital of the welfare state with a program that promises not to change too much too fast.

Yes, but what will Reinfeldt actually do?  unfold 

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The Devout American Who Wrote "The Path to 9/11"

by Christopher Chantrill

IT’S A free country, like they say. So it is interesting to read what Cyrus Nowrasteh has to say about “The Path to 9/11.”

Remember Cyrus? He was the right-wing nut who wrote the script as a deliberate right-wing plot to discredit the Clintons.

After all the effort we put into the script, he writes, it would have been nice if the critics had done a bit of due diligence. (In your dreams, pal!)

Much was made of his association with Rush Limbaugh  unfold 

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Sticking to the Ground Game

by Christopher Chantrill

DO YOU WONDER why Republicans keep pulling rabbits out of a hat on election day? Donald Lambro says it’s the “ground game.”

And it was the ground game that helped Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee win his Republican primary against Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey.

[T]he Republican National Committee pumped $400,000 into the race on a voter identification-turnout drive that brought a record number of voters to the polls -- and gave  unfold 

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Jobs and Inequality

by Christopher Chantrill

WE’VE all heard the news that the US median income isn’t going up. Some commentators insist that things have been going downhill ever since 1973.

But David R. Henderson says just a minute. Take a look at the US Census data, particularly Table 3. Distribution of Households by Selected Characteristics within Income Quintiles: 2005.

Throughout the report, U.S. households are categorized by the  unfold 

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Democrats Do Too Stand for Something

by Christopher Chantrill

REPUBLICANS have been enjoying for some time the idea that Democrats don’t stand for anything. It goes along with the idea that Republicans are thinkers and Democrats are feelers.

Even Peggy Noonan agrees, sort of. She criticizes the Democrats for obsessing about Bush.

[I]f you're going to turn away from [Bush], you'd better be turning toward a plan, and the Democrats don't appear to have one.

Actually, the Democrats do have a plan.  unfold 

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Google's For-profit Foundation

by Christopher Chantrill

WHEN BILL GATES set up his charitable foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, I was disappointed.

Here was a guy who had revolutionized the world of the computer, but when it came to philanthropy he was just doing routine stuff.

Of course, he had to, because liberals were all over him like a cheap suit asking him why he wasn’t giving it all away yet.

But the Google guys, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, are different. Their foundation, Google.org, will be a for-profit foundation. What a concept!

Of course, the  unfold 

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Wal-Mart and the 3.3 Million Job Gap

by Christopher Chantrill

EVEN CONSERVATIVE pundit George Will is joining the Up With Wal-Mart campaign with a piece about the Wal-Mart store just outside the city limits of Chicago. He writes about the resentful Wal-Mart shopper who didn’t get a job at the new store because

the person doing the hiring "had an attitude." So why is the woman shopping here anyway? She looks at the questioner as though he is dimwitted and  unfold 

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The Transformation of North Korea

by Christopher Chantrill

YOU GOTTA READ this stunning analysis of North Korea, “The Natural Death of North Korean Stalinism,” by Andrei Lankov.

He writes that the regime of Kim Jong Il is imploding as its Stalinist system has been slowly relaxing by the natural difficulty of keeping extreme political repression going. In the last decade, though, this process has accelerated as a result of economic collapse in 1991-95 and famine in 1996-1999.

The three big factors  unfold 

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The Divide Between Evangelicals and Libertarians

by Christopher Chantrill

EVER SINCE the beginning of the modern American conservative movement there has been a tension between traditional conservatives and libertarians. For traditional conservatives the greatest good is virtue. For libertarians the greatest good is liberty.

Now comes Ryan H. Sager, columnist at The New York Post, worrying again about a split between conservatives and libertarians in the Republican Party. He has a book about it: The Elephant in the Room: Evangelicals,  unfold 

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Teaching Students About Tortured Souls

by Christopher Chantrill

AFTER A SPATE of student suicides in the 2003-04 academic year, New York University has come up with a response. It is a musical “The Reality Show: NYU,” and over 5,000 incoming students have seen it already, according to Karen W. Arenson in The New York Times. The production, which

will be shown twice more this month, tells of drugs and date rape, drinking and anorexia,  unfold 

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A General's View of the War on Terror

by Christopher Chantrill

YOU’D expect that Gen. John Abizaid, commander of the U.S Central Command, would have guarded opinions to give to talk-show host Hugh Hewitt. But you would expect to be able to glean some unexpected insight into what the US military sees happening in the Middle East.

Here are the take-aways for me.

  1. Abizaid does not seem to be raising any red flags over the sectarian violence (or civil war, if you prefer) in  unfold 

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Tearing Up The Last Half-Millennium

by Christopher Chantrill

THE EVENTS of 9/11, according to Michelle Malkin, awoke her from a slumber.

The mass murder nearly 3,000 innocent people on American soil forced open my eyes to the Islamic holy war against the West, freedom and modernity. The battle has raged not for years or decades, but for centuries -- well before the Crusades.

If you want to know how the holy war works, writes Malkin, just go down the list: Jihad, Infidels, Sharia, Caliphate, Taqiyya (deception),  unfold 

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Two Kinds of Chess

by Christopher Chantrill

THERE ARE TWO kinds of chess in the world. There is the western game of chess, in which the pieces move about the board. And there is Chinese chess, in which you put your pieces, or stones, on the board never to move them again.

I say this in connection with the continuing political argument over 9/11 and the war on terror. Democrats are all over the board, yelling at one moment that Bush is to blame, at another that Clinton is not to blame, that Iraq has nothing to do with the war on terror, that the whole thing is “Bush’s  unfold 

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Why the West Won't Win Against Islam

by Christopher Chantrill

WE ALL KNOW that we will win the war against Islamic fascism. Or will we? Author David Selbourne sets out ten reasons why, as things stand, Islam will not be defeated. Selbourne is author of the book The Losing Battle with Islam.

  1. Disagreement in the non-Muslim world about what is really going on.
  2. The nature of Islam is misunderstood. It is not a religion. “It is a transnational political and ethical movement that believes that it holds the  unfold 

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The Blank Page of History

by Christopher Chantrill

IS MAHMOUD Ahmadinejad the new Hitler? And Osama bin Laden the new Lenin? Is Iraq the new Vietnam?

The problem with our national analysis of the war on terror is that most of us don’t know much history, according to Jonah Goldberg. So we go cherry-picking where we already know there are cherries.

One of the main reasons we leap to analogies about World War II and the Cold War is that it’s the only history most of us  unfold 

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If Democrats Win in November

by Christopher Chantrill

WHAT IF DEMOCRATS win in November? What will they do? Richard E. Cohen runs down their agenda.

[Democratic House Leader Nancy] Pelosi has also promised that within 100 hours after taking control of the House on January 3, Democrats will pass legislation to increase the minimum wage, mandate the negotiation of Medicare prescription drug prices, fully implement the recommendations of the 9/11 commission, and repeal tax benefits for big oil  unfold 

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The Path to Censorship

by Christopher Chantrill

IMAGINE THE following news item in your friendly local newspaper.

A furious former President Bush is warning ABC that its mini-series "The Path to Kuwait" grossly misrepresents his actions in the first Iraq war - and he is demanding the network "pull the drama" if changes aren't made.

Imagine the screams. Imagine the outrage. Censorship! Abuse of power!

Actually it would never have happpened. Republicans know better than to even whisper a suggestion that a broadcast TV network should edit, or, God forbid, withdraw a  unfold 

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The Election Campaign Begins

by Christopher Chantrill

WITH LABOR Day behind us we can expect to see, in the next couple of weeks, how the Bush administration intends to fight the mid-term elections.

Many people have noted how the Bushies seem to manage to pull themselves out of the ditch every election cycle—just after “everyone” has consigned them to electoral disaster.

The reason for this is not remarkable. In normal times the informal alliance of Democrats and liberal media means that the liberal world view occupies most of the public square. Only in the conservative  unfold 

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The Two Nations in Education

by Christopher Chantrill

HOW COME IF the US education system is so poor, asks Robert Samuelson, that the economy is so good? How do you answer the following riddle:

Why do Americans do so badly on international educational comparisons and yet support an advanced economy?

I know. The answer to the riddle is simple: Democrats and Republicans. Democrats are the cause of the lousy school system, and Republicans are the cause of the advanced economy.  unfold 

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The Real Plame Story

by Christopher Chantrill

FOR PERENNIAL hawk Frank J. Gaffney Jr. the astonishing thing about the Plame game was the identification of leaker Richard Armitage as “no partisan gunslinger.” What do you mean, he writes.

Rich Armitage in truth is the consummate partisan gunslinger. It's just that his partisanship is... the other sense of a partisan: one who wages war from behind enemy lines.

But that is not what astonishes me. What astonishes me is that the unmasking  unfold 

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Don't Look For Education Reform From Within

by Christopher Chantrill

WHEN YOU HAVE been president of Harvard, as Derek Bok has been, or dean of Harvard College, as Harry Lewis has been, you ought to have some ideas about how to fix higher education.

But according to Robert Kagan himself a former president of Yale, neither Derek Bok in Our Underachieving Colleges nor Harry R. Lewis in Excellence Without a Soul: How a Great University Forgot Education has a clue what to do about the “imperial faculty.”

They  unfold 

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Mortgage Moms Feel the Heat

by Christopher Chantrill

BACK IN THE Nineties it was the Soccer Moms who voted for Bill Clinton. Then after 9/11 it was the Security Moms who voted for President Bush.

Now, according to Jeffrey H. Birnbaum and Chris Cillizza in the Washington Post, it’s the Mortgage Moms, people who are up their eyeballs in debt.

Flat wages and rising debt nationally have converged to leave millions of middle-class households feeling acutely vulnerable to  unfold 

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French Ex-pats in London

by Christopher Chantrill

THE FRENCH were already having a rough summer, with presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy advising them to get a clue in his new book Témoignage (Testimony).

But now comes Marc Levy with his bestselling novel

Mes Amis Mes Amours, the story of two divorced Parisian men who move to the UK to raise their children. The plot was really just a framing device for Levy’s real purpose: a love letter to his adopted home of London.

What? A Frenchman in love with Britland? Certainly. As Levy tells  unfold 

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Dependency Ratio Hits WSJ

by Christopher Chantrill

EARLIER THIS week I criticized an article by Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker. In the article Gladwell criticized the notion of a company defined-benefit pension plan. It could never work because of the natural changes in the “dependency ratio” between workers and non-workers.

But I critiqued the notion that the dependency ratio is out of our control. The dependency  unfold 

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President Bush Makes His Case

by Christopher Chantrill

YESTERDAY AT the American Legion convention in Salt Lake City President Bush began a series of speeches to bolster support for the war on terror.

Earlier in the week Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld created controversy by delivering a “bad cop” speech accusing the president’s critics of “moral confusion.” But a day later Mr. Bush got to make “good cop” in which he laid out his case in positive terms without descending to blaming his critics.

In The  unfold 

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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.

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

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

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

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

Moral Imperatives of Modern Culture

These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self

US Life in 1842

Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism

Society and State

For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008

Faith and Politics

As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable... [1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006

Never Trust Experts

No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.
Lord Salisbury, “Letter to Lord Lytton”

Conservatism's Holy Grail

What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph

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”

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©2007 Christopher Chantrill