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"The Backs of our Mosts Vulnerable Citizens" Trillions and Trillions

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Jobs and Revolution

by Christopher Chantrill
February 13, 2011 at 12:29 pm

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SINCE I know nothing about Egypt beyond what I read in the papers, I won’t comment on the Egyptian revolution. All I can say is that I agree with the pundits. When you have an autocratic regime then you get rigidities in the economy and society that strain and stress it until something breaks. The only thing these thug dictators understand is spoils for their supporters and thuggery for the rest. Freedom? Schmeedom.

So instead of solving Egypt’s problems let’s talk about America’s jobs problem. No doubt you’ve heard the mainstream media anguish about the mixed job numbers released on Friday. Here they are in chart form, direct from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Household Survey website. First of all, let’s look at the employment situation.

Not good. If there ever was a jobless recovery, of the kind that Nancy Pelosi used to rage about back in 2003, this is it. Eight million jobs lost since the peak in 2006, and no net jobs for the last year, in spite of a trillion or so in “stimulus.” But the really shocking numbers are in the labor force, the total of people actually working or actively looking for work.

The labor force has been flat for three years. Notice that even in Nancy Pelosi’s nightmare years, the Bush jobless recovery in 2002-2003, the labor force was increasing smartly as people entered the labor force looking for work. Not now, not with the mixed economic news of the Obama jobless recovery.

Of course, the sluggishness in the labor market is hardly surprising. The Obama administration and its willing accomplices in the Congress just spent two years rewarding their supporters with new economic rigidities like ObamaCare, stimulus spending for government workers, new environmental penalties like the EPA effort to regulate carbon dioxide, slowdowns and and outright bans on energy production, meddlings in the housing market, and billions in subsidies to its supporters in the crony capitalist green energy business. It seems that the only thing our politicians know is to reward their supporters and send their thugs out to beat the economy into submission.

Pretty soon the voters will be ready to throw the bums out and vote for hope and change. After all, there are millions of jobless out there, and sooner or later they are going to get desperate. But let me make it clear. The situation in the US is nothing like the situation in Egypt. For instance, we don’t have millions of people in the streets.

We do? You are saying that the American people the Tea Party movement have been in the streets peacefully protesting ever since the winter of 2009? Well, I suppose you have a point. And based on his State of the Union speech, the president still thinks that the answer to our problems is more government, a program described by the divine Sarah as “a bullet train to bankruptcy.”

Anyway, violence never solved anything. War is not the answer. That is what those nice silver-haired liberal ladies tell us from the bumpers of their Toyota Priuses.

Excuse me, lady. What do you think that the individual mandate is all about? It says: go get health insurance or else. What do you think that universal compulsory education is all about? It says: send your kid to school or government may take it away. What do you think that taxation is all about? Pay your taxes or go to jail. So you see that it’s not just thug dictators that believe in force and violence; nice educated liberal ladies of a certain age believe in force too.

We conservatives are different. We believe in dialing down the level of force in society, starting with government force. We believe that the way to get America back to work is not with crony capitalist green energy and bullet trains to bankruptcy. We believe it starts with lower tax rates and lower government spending. We believe, with Deirdre McCloskey, in the great middle class, a bourgeoisie dignified and free: free to innovate and free to experiment.

In that city on a hill, where you and I have a rendezvous with destiny, there is a slow, steady evolution every day as new ideas in the economy drive out old ideas, as a few people every day lose their jobs and a few people find new jobs, so there is never a need to take to the streets. In the culmination of this incandescent vision, the last best hope of mankind on earth, government is limited and greedy bankers don’t take home the big bucks.

It’s not asking much. Limited government, a middle class that’s innovative and free, jobs, jobs, jobs, and everyone trying to make the world immediately around them a better place for them and their children. Call it American exceptionalism, the middle class alternative to bloody revolution in the streets of Cairo.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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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.
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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

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Freeman Dyson, “The Scientist as Rebel”


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