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  An American Manifesto
Thursday March 26, 2015 
by Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter









1930s analysis

UK spending

US bailout

US gov debt

US budget

US revenue

US spending

sisters, sisters






Mutual aid




















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

Energy Calculator


What Would an Islam Reformation Mean?

I love Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Somali Muslim turned western atheist. Her books Nomad and Infidel are breathtaking views into the crisis in Islam. Now she's just out with Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now and proposed to reform Islam, and I'll be out there buying myself a copy. Meanwhile we have the reviewers. Writes Brian Stewart:

The argument in Heretic, Hirsi Ali’s fourth book, is straightforward: Islam is in need of a radical transformation. Islam itself, that is — mainstream Islam, not “radical” Islam. This is a thorny proposition: How to reform a religion whose adherents believe its central text was dictated by Allah Himself? But when the behavior of millions is guided by a religion whose sacred texts frequently justify intolerance and cruelty, something must be done.
But what is to be done?
Hirsi Ali proposes five amendments to Islamic doctrine: dethroning Mohammad as an infallible prophet, and scrapping a literalist reading of the Quran; elevating the rewards of human life over those of eternal life (with the ancillary purpose of delegitimizing martyrdom); replacing the most barbarous parts of Sharia with practical man-made legislation; promoting concerted action to stigmatize those tempted to take religious law into their own hands; and, last, repudiating the theological warrant for jihad.
Yes, but how? Hirsi Ali wants us westerners to ally with so-called "Mecca" Muslims, "pious believers who are not inclined to practice violence but remain at odds with the modern world in crucial ways."

But, of course, what we in the west think and do is rather beside the point. The question is rather, how do Muslims deal with the fact of the modern world? And how do they deal with the fact that their heartlands are racked with war and violence?

The fundamental problem in all "reformations" and "enlightenments" and "revolutions" is that religion and politics are human attempts to stabilize a radically unstable world. They attempt to provide a safe place where humans can live out their lives with some pretense of a "normal life."

But what happens when the objective conditions of life change? What happens is that religious leaders and political leaders push back. The religious leaders mobilize against "heresy" and the political leaders mobilize against "rebels." Very often the heretics are idiots and the rebels are pirates; but not always.

The Reformation in Europe was not merely an argument over religion, it was also an argument over politics and the economy, part of the capitalist and individualist revolution, and it was an internal European thing. The rising bourgeoisie of merchants and manufacturers started creating remarkable amounts of wealth and their wealth and their culture started to influence the old feudal order in Europe, leading to centuries of religious and dynastic wars, astonishing increases in prosperity and transformation of the way of life of everyone from kings to paupers.

As the European transformation proceeded, it expanded out across the world, creating an enormous challenge to the two great populations and cultures of the world in India and China. For India and China, the challenge was not just an argument within the culture as in Europe, but a dreadful attack from without. India ended up under British rule for a couple of centuries, and China experienced dreadful convulsions for the long century between 1850 and 1980. After emerging from under the western knout they thought to set up the new India and the new China by embracing socialism, obviously the latest and greatest from the west, but found to their cost that socialism was, in fact, a dreadful reaction, an attempt to return to an economic and social Eden that never was. So now they are going capitalist.

But what about Islam in its heartlands from North Africa to the Hindu Kush? Let's be honest. If it weren't for oil, nobody would give a damn. But because of oil we in the west keep meddling in the Middle East to keep the oil flowing cheap and regular. And the wealth from oil has allowed the Middle Eastern religious and political authorities to resist the existential challenges that the rise of the west has posed to Islam.

What should be done, and how? I turn for inspiration to Marxism, which reckons that the productive forces are the foundation and that culture and politics are the superstructure. On this view, like it or not, global individualist capitalism is the productive force on which the whole world is based. Whatever your religion, whatever your politics, you must figure how to connect it with the reality of the modern Great Enrichment, in which peoples that practice capitalism have increased their income by nearly two orders of magnitude in 200-300 years.

When we look at Muslims in their heartland, or Muslims in their great diaspora to Europe and North America, that is the issue. How do these peoples, tossed into the 21st century, create a new superstructure for their culture that will make it possible for them to live a "normal life" again?

perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 03/26/15 12:21 pm ET

Ted Cruz, Railsplitter

THE biggest applause line for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speech on March 23, 2015 at Liberty University was his actual announcement that he would run for President of the United States. The second biggest applause line was this: Instead of a president who boycotts Prime Minister Netanyahu, imagine a president who stands unapologetically with the nation of Israel. Yep, those conservative Christian ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 03/25/15 12:34 pm ET

If Feminism is all about vicitmization, then who will save the victims?

WE all know that the patriarchy is the source of all our problems on the racism, sexism, and homophobia front. But suppose it isn't? Yes, I know. If there is one thing we all agree on it is the evil of the patriarchy that kept women barefoot and pregnant since the dawn of time. But wait a minute! Chaps like Nicholas Wade in Before the Dawn and The Faith Instinct suggest that the invention of ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 03/24/15 12:24 pm ET

What Does President Obama Think He's Doing on Iran/Israel?

WE conservatives look at President Obama's Iran policy and we shake our heads. We ask ourselves: what is the point of a nuclear deal with Iran? Why does the president send a friendly message to the Iranian people for Nowruz? What is the point? Then we look at the president's rocky relationship with Israel and with Benjamin Netanyahu in particular and we wonder: what's the problem? Why are we ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 03/23/15 9:24 am ET

|  March blogs  |  February blogs  |


Georg Simmel’s Sociology

Thomas Piketty’s Capital

The Spirit Level

McCloskey’s “Bourgeois Era”


OK Liberals: Let's Talk Inequality

I SHOULDN'T have done it, but this week I read a piece by Harold Meyerson in the Washington Post, titled “Democrats’ New Faith.” He’s delighted that President Obama is finally doing something about inequality.

You know the standard Democratic narrative. Back in the good old days middle-class workers had good jobs at union wages. Then Reagan came and threw US ...

more | 01/26/15

Hey Jihadis, Get with the Program!

This year we are celebrating Martin Luther King’s Birthday with an orgy of offense-taking and race-baiting, in the flap over the movie Selma, and who was on first with civil rights in the 1960s, and who gets to clean up with the Oscars. ...

more | 01/24/15

Let's Just Call It "The Muslim Question"

"OK Google. What Went Wrong With Liberalism?"

I Want a President That Loves America



RMC Contents
Chapter 1: After the Welfare State
Chapter 2: Down in South Carolina and Out in Brooklyn

THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM among western cultural elites is that God is dead and we are well rid of him.... more

Chapter 3: Awakenings of Monotheism
Chapter 4: The Nineteenth Century From the Top Down
Chapter 5: The Nineteenth Century From the Bottom Up
Chapter 6: Popular Religion in the Nineteenth Century


RMC Book of the Day

Lane, Frederick C., Venetian Ships and Shipbuilders of the Renaissance

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


Is Israel Losing Its Soul?
liberal Israeli mourns Netanyahu election win.

Krugmans Fatal Conceit
so, the "austerity" of sequestration didn't hurt, contra Krugman.

Keep Your Worlds Straight
Jonah Goldberg wants you to be socialist authoritarians in your families but not in the bigger world.

Eevil corporation's message in secret code!
FCC’s ‘Throwback Thursday’ Move Imposes 1930s Rules on the Internet

Misunderstanding the millennials
Guess what: Millennials want to move to the suburbs!

> 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


©2014 Christopher Chantrill

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