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How Could This Happen, Say Libs

by Christopher Chantrill

YOU GOTTA love our liberal friends. Here we should be wiping the floor with the Republicans, say the folks at the New Republic in Bush’s Last Laugh. Instead the situation “verges on the apocalyptic” for the Democrats.

Where it once looked like Bill Clinton and Al Gore had helped purge the party of the lame identity politics that had ruined Democratic candidates for a generation, discussions of race and gender  unfold 

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Just One Day In The News

by Christopher Chantrill

OVER ON the right at Road to the Middle Class we run a ticker of “Readings.” Today, Friday March 28, 2008, they look like this:

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Benedict XVI Baptizes a Muslim

by Christopher Chantrill

WHAT ARE we to think of the provocative act consummated by Pope Benedict XVI during Holy Week?

Here’s what the New York Times thought in a piece by Ian Fisher.

Days after Osama bin Laden issued a threat against Europe that included an accusation that the pope was involved in a “new Crusade” against Islam, Magdi Allam, an Egyptian-born writer protected by Italian bodyguards because of his criticism of radical Islam, was baptized by the pope Saturday night and received his first  unfold 

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Obama Ain't No Jackie Robinson

by Christopher Chantrill

BACK IN 1947, relates Walter Williams, Jackie Robinson became the first black player in the major leagues.

He encountered open racist taunts and slurs from fans, opposing team players and even some players on his own team. Despite that, his first year batting average was .297. He led the National League in stolen bases and won the first-ever Rookie of the Year Award.

Jackie Robinson was the best. As the “first  unfold 

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Bernanke's ARM Assist

by Christopher Chantrill

TV PERSONALITY and Wall Street man Larrry Kudlow is pleased. Ben Bernanke is my man, he writes.

I just got my latest adjustable-rate mortgage statement from the bank. When I originally refinanced this loan, it was 5.75 percent. And last summer my ARM soared to 8.25 percent. But guess what? Through February it has round-tripped all the way back to 6 percent.

So IĆ¢€™m now saving $2,000 a month, or $24,000 a year,  unfold 

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Democrats and Race

by Christopher Chantrill

ONE OF THE things we conservatives constantly try to do is step out of the default liberal mindset.

It’s hard to do, even as a conservative, because liberalthink defines reality in America. To think another way requires real effort, especially for a social animal like homo sapiens.

Liberals all seem to think that Barack Obama’s speech last week was at the least a fine and principled contribution to America’s conversation on race and maybe much more. Conservatives tend to be disappointed. We wonder if  unfold 

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"We're Owed and They Aren't"

by Christopher Chantrill

WRITING in The American Thinker Ed Kaitz tells of how he got to know the immigrant Vietnamese shrimp fishermen of the Louisiana’s Gulf Coast.

When they arrived in Louisiana the refugees had no money (the money that they had was used to bribe their way out of Vietnam and into refugee camps in Thailand), few friends, and a mostly unfriendly and suspicious local population.

They did however have strong families, a strong work ethic, and  unfold 

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Too Big To Fail

by Christopher Chantrill

WHAT DO we do about institutions, particularly financial institutions, that are “too big to fail?”

In the current credit crunch that becomes a big deal. The government runs around worrying about the bankers. It seems like we let the little guy go to the wall, foreclose on his mortgage, and send him out into the street.

Not one penny, you might say, for the struggling homeowner, but billions for the bankers.

Last weekend, the Federal Reserve bailed out failing investment bank Bear Stearns.

Actually, the  unfold 

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Obama Fails the Test

by Christopher Chantrill

EVERYONE agrees that Senator Barack Obama delivered a great speech in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

But not everyone agrees with the message.

Obama was forced to give this speech because of the recent flap over the racist, hateful sermons delivered by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, pastor for over 20 years of the African nationalist church in Chicago to which Obama belonged.

Everyone understands that Wright is a symbol for America’s present shameful secret, the one you are not allowed to  unfold 

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A National Conversation on Race

by Christopher Chantrill

FOR AS LONG as I can remember liberals have liked to suggest that we need a “national conversation” on something or other.

As often as not, that national conversation was about race.

Of course, liberals were not actually proposing a real national conversation about race. They were proposing something rather different and rather more sinister.

They were proposing to tell Americans what to think about race, what to feel about race, what to do about race, and if you didn’t agree with their prescriptions you  unfold 

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Another Day Another Dollar

by Christopher Chantrill

IS THERE enough fear out there after the Fed moved in to stop the rot at mortgage meltdown victim Bear Stearns?

Sure, I’m scared. Who wouldn’t be?

But the job of the Fed is to act as the banker of last resort and stop the spiral of credit contraction. And that is what it did over the weekend when it gave away Bear stearns to JPMorgan Chase for a couple of cents on the dollar and a bunch of guarantees on Bear Stearns’ “dark matter.”

It was the failure of the Fed to do that in 1929-1933 that made the  unfold 

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Double Standard on Bigotry

by Christopher Chantrill

ONE THING that conservatives and Republicans really know. When we step into the public square we have to be whiter than white. Anything we’ve said or written that doesn’t square with the liberal zeitgeist will be hauled out and used to prove that we are bigots, racists, and homophobes.

Barack Obama has, for twenty years, belonged to a church in Chicago. His minister, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., has opinions that, in a conservative or a Republican, would disqualify him from the public square. As  unfold 

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Bill Buckley Didn't Like Writing

by Christopher Chantrill

WHAT A GRAND life Bill Buckley had, doing what he loved, and being so good at it. That’s what young Anthony Dick said to Buckley while serving as research assistant on a book on Goldwater.

He quickly corrected me. He did not love writing. He found it difficult, tedious, and increasingly painful. Nor had he ever loved politics, which was awash in sordidness and banality. He would rather be reading, or sailing, or visiting  unfold 

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CA Homeschooling Decision an Opportunity

by Christopher Chantrill

CONSERVATIVES and homeschooling parents are naturally worried and upset over the recent decision by a California state appeals court, in Re Rachel L, that parents lacked a presumptive right to educate their children in their own way. Parents needed to get a credentialed private tutor if they didn’t send their children to school.

But I am not discouraged. I take the view of the great Senator from Massachusetts, John Kerry. Bring. Them. On.

It’s  unfold 

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Free Speech Means Free Speech

by Christopher Chantrill

UNIVERSITY of Notre Dame president Father John Jenkins has spproved performances of the lefty agitprop play The Vagaina Monologues at UND and conservative talk-show host Hugh Hewitt are upset. Hewitt doesn’t think that lefty agitprop has a place at Notre Dame. It’s not as if there aren’t plenty of other places where you can go to see the Vagina  unfold 

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To Ease or Not to Ease

by Christopher Chantrill

WHEN THE economy turns south, what should the politicians do? Sometimes they do too much. Sometimes they do too little.

In his first term, Bruce Fein relates, President Nixon vowed he would not resort to the expedient of wage and price controls. Until he did.

Nixon soon renounced his declamation in August 1971 as a presidential election year approached: "The time has come for decisive action. Action that will break the vicious circle of spiraling prices and costs. I am today ordering a freeze on all  unfold 

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Fiddling with the Rules

by Christopher Chantrill

IF YOU TALK to your Democratic friends they will sometimes wander off into a discussion of voting processes: the wonders of proportional voting and the single transferable vote.

All very well and good, as the British would say, but it rather misses the point of voting, and that is to create a winner.

Politics, I like to say, is civil war by other means.  Thus every election is, in its charming way, a metaphorical civil war led by the great barons of the realm.  The fight might be between Baron Reagan and Baron  unfold 

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Employers Cut 63,000 Jobs in February

by Christopher Chantrill

THE LEDE in the New York Sun, reported by Jennine Aversa of the AP tells it like it is.

Employers slashed jobs by 63,000 in February, the most in five years and the starkest sign yet the country is heading dangerously toward recession or is in one already.

That 63,000 number is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Establishment Survey which is a report on jobs from employers.  The Household Survey, a BLS survey of households, is no better, with a  unfold 

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"Sexism" in Science

by Christopher Chantrill

AT HARVARD University, writes Christina Hoff Sommers, they have a course called Math 55. Over 50 percent of students drop out. In 2006

The final class roster, according to The Crimson: "45 percent Jewish, 18 percent Asian, 100 percent male."

Only 17 women have completed the course since 1990. The science on women and science uncertain.

The research on gender and vocation is complex, vibrant, and full of reasonable disagreements; there is no single, simple answer

But the gender  unfold 

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Not Just a 50-50 Nation

by Christopher Chantrill

MARK IT down. It’s not just a 50-50 Nation any more.

Everyone agrees that politically, the US is a 50-50 nation, split down the middle between religious, married-with-children, private-sector Republicans and secular, single, childless, public-sector Democrats.

Except that this year I think we can expect more like a 55-45 nation as the nation’s moderates expectorate the Republicans.

But now, after the primaries in Ohio and Texas, it looks like  unfold 

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Texas v. Ohio

by Christopher Chantrill

AS TEXAS and Ohio voters go to the polls the Wall Street Journal edit page wants you to compare the two states.  Texas is booming and Ohio is hurting.  Here are the numbers according to the WSJ editorial.

The state [Ohio] has lost 200,000 manufacturing jobs since 2000, home foreclosures are soaring, and real family income is lower now than in 2000. Meanwhile, the Texas economy has boomed since 2004,  unfold 

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Dems Trash NAFTA

by Christopher Chantrill

DEMOCRATS like to tell us how they believe in science—unlike those knuckle-dragging holy-rollers in the Republican Party who believe in superstition.

Actually, it really doesn’t much matter what people believe about the Creation.  It doesn’t really affect how we live our daily lives.

But then there’s NAFTA, the free-trade treaty between the US, Canada, and Mexico.  Last week, Senators Obama and Clinton were competing in Ohio to see who could trash NAFTA more.  Writes a  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