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  An American Manifesto
Wednesday July 30, 2014 
by Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter

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ROAD TO THE

MIDDLE CLASS

Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Bibliography

Chapter 14:
The Problem of Power

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There are manifold relations of power that permeate, characterize and constitute the social body, and these relations of power cannot themselves be established, consolidated nor implimented without... a discourse. —Michel Foucault

THE PROJECT OF RESTORING the road to the middle class is not just a question of ideas, but of assembling and using political power to implement ideas.  The goals of this project are substantial.  We want to smash the war on religion.  We want to break the back of the welfare state monopolies in family-substitution and in education.  And we want to curb the imperial judiciary’s war on middle-class culture and mores.  That is what we need in order to clear the road to the middle class of all the barriers and blockages that have piled up over the twentieth century.   But we also want to recognize the needs of the non-middle class: the creatives and the communitarians who want to transcend the simple rules and purpose of the road to the middle class.  We want them to get what they want.  We just draw the line at replacing the road to the middle class with the mass- transit system of the welfare state that demotes ordinary people from the role of driver into passive passenger.

The war on religion, the creaking monopolies of the welfare state, and the war on conventional middle-class morality did not just happen.   We were, as Eeyore complained to Winnie-the-Pooh, Pushed.   The war on religion comes from a world-view that sees organized religion as a superstition wedded to the past.  The welfare state monopolies are the consequence of elite belief that the root cause of poverty is a lack of material resources needed for a decent life.  The attack on conventional morality comes from those who believe that people should create their own authentic life- style rather than blindly follow someone else’s rules. 

This war on the middle class is all part of a grand, if often inchoate, vision.  Necessarily, this grand vision has a program of education to guide people into its ways, and for those that are not amenable to sweet reason there are the instruments of shame and the sinews of power.  Those that do not conform to its policy on race are shamed as racists, those that do not support its program of gender equality are shamed as sexists, those that do not support its class war are shamed as classists, and those that do not support its attack on marriage are shamed as homophobes.  In addition, of course, the vast monopolies of the welfare state in education, in health care, and in superannuation all support the program with the blunt encouragement of taxation and political power.

The great obstacle to removing the obstructions from the road to the middle class is the narcissism and pride of the world’s creative classes.  They experience their culture of creativity and universal compassion as a new world vision that must inevitably replace the primitive regime of power and corruption that has obtained up to now.  But the All Quadrant/All Level matrix shows this world-view to be defective.  It shows that though the creative classes have developed important ideas and visions of the future they have also built a culture of narcissistic self-congratulation, a Whig history that experiences themselves as the culmination of history.  Their worldview rests upon the assertion that the blue purposive consciousness of the bourgeoisie is illegitimate and inauthentic, and a threat to the development of a new culture based on soulfulness and creativity.  To say that this attitude is widespread among the creative classes is almost to miss the point.  It goes beyond attitude to the level of reality, an unconscious reality that is accepted without question or the need for justification.  It is natural for such a believer, even a moral duty, to work to marginalize the middle-class culture of purpose and respectability in the building of the new era of creativity and universal community. 

But the AQAL matrix challenges this whole worldview.  Against the bigoted marginalization of middle class culture, it naturally calls for a culture of tolerance in the enlightened and the highly evolved, a culture that can respect and tolerate the struggles of those who have not yet reached the high estate of full enlightenment.  It specifically warns the creative classes of their error.  They must stop persecuting the middle class with their attack on its religion and its respect for the rules.  The AQAL matrix demands their tolerance and forbearance, and it is the destiny of the conservative movement to teach our creative elites about tolerance for the ordinary middle class.  The conservative destiny is not, perhaps, as grand as the destiny of the liberal elite that, in the middle of the twentieth century, taught white Americans to curb their discrimination against the American Negro.   But it is an honorable and worthy task that needs to be done.

But can a strategy of recommending tolerance succeed?  Probably not.  That is why it is necessary to augment the high road of education with a low road of shame, appealing not just to the better angels of the enlightened, but shaming them into understanding the monstrous acts of exploitation and repression they have committed in the name of compassion and diversity.

We must make it shameful to marginalize religion.  Right now, any writer for The New York Times feels free to load up the old coon gun left behind by the Southern racists and fire off both barrels at any traditional religious target her coon dog has treed (except a Moslem).  And her shameful feature floats up through the layers of 43rd Street editing to eventual publication without a discouraging word from the famously tolerant cultural elite.  We want bigots like her cowering in the same hole as the redneck racists. 

We must make it shameful to marginalize people who go to work, follow the rules, pay their taxes and obey the law.

The question is: how?  How do we end this monstrous bigotry?  The answer is: one bigot at a time.  In the 1980s and 1990s the left managed to mount a successful campaign of political correctness that effectively banned, particularly in the university, the expression of opinion with which they disagreed.  They made it shameful to express opinions about race, class, gender, and homosexuality with which they disagreed.  Their campaign came out of nowhere, rose to power, and now seems to be fading away as conservatives have begun to fight back.  We wish to do the same, only we have a very limited agenda and our cause is just.  We only wish to make it shameful to marginalize religion.  And we already have the means to achieve it.  Our conservative blogosphere is already spoiling the acoustics in the liberal echo chamber.  

The campaign of shame against the anti-religious bigots will have the three components articulated in this book.  Each of the themes is a plea for tolerance.  First of all there is the practical advice of Plato, advising his enlightened one to go easy on the prisoners when he returns to the cave.  All the talk of walls and fires and sunlight mean nothing to a man chained to the ground, and whose entire reality amounts to the dancing shadows on a wall.  If you disturb him too much, he will kill you.  This is the argument of prudence.  Go easy on the man who doesn’t understand your brilliant evolution into enlightenment.  If he can’t understand your brilliant aper├žus he will think you mad.  Perhaps he will kill you.  Then there is the argument from history.  When the bourgeoisie burst onto the world stage in full glory in the nineteenth century, the progressives demanded that the bourgeoisie treat the struggling working class with compassion and understanding.  They demanded that the bourgeoisie restrain its power over the working class and tax itself to help them, in education and in social insurance.  Whether from a practical instinct for self-preservation or from actual compassion, the bourgeoisie did so.  It made allowances for the struggling working class.  Today, we make the same demand, only we make the demand of the creative class that they tolerate and subsidize the lower-middle class that is struggling to make it into the middle class.  Then there is the argument of Eric Voegelin.  He demolishes the traditional opposition of “my truth” versus “your superstition” by constructing a worldview that represents old ways as compact knowledge and belief and that understands new ways as differentiated knowledge and belief.  Tolerance of other peoples’ ideas becomes, in Voegelin’s world, not just patronizing indulgence, but practical common sense.  It helps, no doubt, to be a Kantian, and to accept that the world is experienced as appearance only, and that “things-in-themselves” can never be experienced directly.  Finally, there is the argument developed by Clare Graves and his adepts Don Beck and Ken Wilber.  They experience human consciousness is a layered or spiral entity.  When you develop a “higher” level of consciousness, you do not replace the “lower” level; you merely develop the ability to repress the lower level in certain circumstances.  They amplify the warning of Freud.  If you try to crush out a lower level, they warn, you will not merely suffer from Freudian neurosis; you will regress to the level immediately below the level you have repressed.


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Click for Chapter 15: The Worldwide Explosion of Pentecostalism

 

Buy the ebook: Road to the Middle Class: only $0.99.

 

Your comments are welcome. Please e-mail to Christopher Chantrill at mailto:chrischantrill@gmail.com, and take the RMC test here.

 TAGS


Action

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


Chappies

“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


Churches

[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

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


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


Conversion

“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


Democratic Capitalism

I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


 

©2007 Christopher Chantrill