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  An American Manifesto
Monday December 22, 2014 
by Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter

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Carry On Borking, Say Libs The Great Recession is now the Great Restructuring

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Capitalism in Crisis? Surely You Jest!

by Christopher Chantrill
November 19, 2011 at 7:30 am

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BRITISH conservative Charles Moore visited the Occupy chaps at St. Paul's Cathedral in London and came away a bit bemused.

The protesters seem to imagine that, without their tented witness to the wickedness of the rich, no one would have noticed that capitalism is in its biggest crisis since the early 1930s. “Abolish wealth,” cried one of their posters. Don't the angry campers realise that the West's bankers and politicians are managing it nicely without needing any extra help?

Good point, Charlie. There's nobody to equal a politician or a bailed-out banker when it comes to managing the destruction of wealth. Let's just hope they don't abolish the wealth that produces iPhones and the artificial fibers used in modern outdoor tenting.

But I take exception to the notion that “capitalism is in its biggest crisis since the early 1930s.” Really, I thought that conservatives, at least, understood that capitalism's notorious crises almost always issue from a crisis of government.

Don't like the failed banks of the Crash of 2008? You can't understand them without the government-sponsored mortgages made to bad credit risks. Don't like the failing euro-banks of 2011? You can't understand them unless you remember that the banks are required to eat government debt for breakfast. Didn't like the Great Depression? You can't understand it without understanding government's insistence on “calling all the big plays” from the Fed's failure to act as lender of last resort to the Smoot Hawley tariff increases to wage-price controls in the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933.

If you want to understand the current economic crisis, try this. Every politician, from the Obamis to the subsidy whores to the amateur Occupy naifs is trying to game the capitalist system--to get it to shovel loot into the laps of his supporters.

The chaps at St. Paul's have a banner that reads “Capitalism is Crisis.” No doubt they imagine that the banner speaks truth to power in a startling and original way never before achieved. If they had spent a year or two in the real world instead of a lifetime at the local liberal seminary learning how many community organizers can dance on the head of a pin, they would know that capitalism is the answer to crisis. Capitalism answered the crisis of $3 per day survival with today's $100 per day prosperity.

Capitalism is the system of bringing dreamers down to earth. The capitalist asks the practical question: Will it pay? Back in the 19th century lefties like William Morris thought that this capitalist interrogatory proved the low and mean mentality of the average practical man. But now that we have experienced a century or so of the impractical dreams of lefties and their bloody systems of enforcing heaven on earth, the average person longs for a practical man. Back in the day, Diogenes searched the Greek world looking for an honest man. Really? How about a sensible, practical man that can invent horizontal drilling and “fracking?”

When Peter Schiff went down to Obamaville to dialog with the Occupiers, his interlocutor was dumbfounded that anyone could find the EPA, the FDA or the board of education a problem. But think about it. A society that cares about the environment, safe drugs, or education will find a way to make it happen--with or without government bureaucracy. It is the moral impulse that matters, not the government program. The Occupier's faith in government programs is a fetish.

The Occupier 1% should worry about the impression their 99% is making. In the good old days the community organizers were careful to keep their rank and file chanting slogans and away from the media. But the internet age has obsoleted great chunks of left-wing tactics; now anyone can go down to the Camp of the left and get rank-and-file “wisdom” on a smartphone. Perhaps the curriculum commissars at the Midwest Academy should take note that it's time to update Community Organizing 101. Keep those young skulls full of mush away from the Flip ultraHD.

The Occupiers' great gift to America is the chance to push back on their message, and Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) speech on “Saving the American Idea” at the Heritage Foundation on October 26, 2011 does just that.

The American Idea is not tried in times of prosperity. Instead it is tested when times are tough: when the pie is shrinking, when businesses are closing, and when workers are losing their jobs... That's when the temptation to exploit fear and envy returns – when many in Washington use the politics of division to evade responsibility for their failures and advance their own narrow political interests.

When the times are tough, the tough leaders get going to remind us that a “crisis of capitalism” is really a crisis of bad government and bad politicians.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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 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


Drang nach Osten

There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion


Education

“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State


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©2012 Christopher Chantrill