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  An American Manifesto
Monday April 21, 2014 
by Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter

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Roberts Hands a Poisoned Chalice to the President The Folly of Obama's Politics

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Injustice, American Style

by Christopher Chantrill
July 11, 2012 at 12:00 am

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DON’T bet on ObamaCare, writes the excellent Jay Cost. It’s not going to turn into a political winner like Social Security and Medicare.

Because Social Security and Medicare do not discriminate between citizens, there has yet been no political coalition powerful enough to alter them. Everybody expects to benefit from them, so it has been impossible to implement even common-sense reforms.

But ObamaCare is different.

Obamacare has no such insulation from reformers because it discriminates between classes of citizens. Indeed, Democrats played all kinds of favorites[.]

Some people do better from ObamaCare, and some do worse, writes Cost.

But the bigger problem is the middle class already has health insurance. Most people will do worse under ObamaCare.

That’s the trouble with universal government programs. You start out with a simple concept, like universal health insurance, and you end up screwing the majority to serve the favored few. Some people get a special deal because they are helpless victims, others because they are powerful special interests. Pretty soon everyone is gaming the system.

You end up with injustice. It’s nobody’s fault; not really.

Justice requires that equal people be treated the same and different people differently, yet no government bureaucracy has the bandwidth to cater to all the different needs. Fortunately ruling elites have developed a solution to this problem. They tell us rubes over and over that their simplification and centralization schemes are just wonderful, and that the problems could be solved if only the rich paid their fair share. But eventually people start wandering off and discovering nasty things under the rocks.

Let’s look under a couple of rocks, just for practice. How are things with the young? The ruling class says that it does wonders for the young, protecting them with child labor laws, giving them free education, dosing them with subsidized student loans, forcing insurance companies to keep children on their parents’ health insurance until age 26. But then, the ruling class would say that, because it is seeing like a state.

We know better. We know that many children, especially the children of the poor, suffer because of child labor laws and compulsory education. If poor kids could legally quit school at 13 and start work, then maybe fewer would join the only other game in town: gangs. Then there are student loans. They have buried today’s generation of students in an ocean of debt while colleges rack their fees into the stratosphere. And the young still can’t get jobs.

What about the workers? The ruling class is immensely proud of all the social gains it has legislated for workers. Pensions, Medicare, unemployment, workmen’s comp, disability. Imagine what would happen if all that were taken away! But think of this. Why force young people to save for retirement? They should be saving for a down-payment on a starter home. Unemployment? How about moving back with Mom and Dad? Disability? Did you know that there are people holding pilot’s licenses that are also collecting SSDI? When you are seeing like a state, you end up crushing millions of different working people into identical worker bees, never mind what is best for each individual.

What about the poor? The ruling class has created a safety net for the poor, so now the poor get relief as of right rather than from the fickle charity of the rich. But the result is less a safety net than a spider’s web that traps the poor in life-long dependency. In Charles Murray’s underclass Fishtown the family has broken down: the women become single parents and the men drop out of the workforce. Where is the justice in that?

We are not talking about egregious injustice here, the kind demands immediate redress. We are just talking about a social and cultural dumbing down that grinds everyone into identical cogs to make things easy for the political bureaucratic machine. The state wants us--students, workers, and poor--to just follow orders and mold ourselves into the identity that the ruling elite has defined for us. It’s nothing personal, of course. It’s just that the state needs to keep things simple so that it can tax us, regiment us, and control us.

After the revolution people often look back and wonder how the ancien régime could have been so out of touch, how it could have allowed injustices to fester and metastasize until it was too late. But people read The New York Times and listen to NPR for a daily reminder that everything is copacetic in LiberalLand. Nobody wants to be told that they have sold America into cruelty and injustice.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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 TAGS


Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.”
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990


Mutual Aid

In 1911... at least nine million of the 12 million covered by national insurance were already members of voluntary sick pay schemes. A similar proportion were also eligible for medical care.
Green, Reinventing Civil Society


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


Living Under Law

Law being too tenuous to rely upon in [Ulster and the Scottish borderlands], people developed patterns of settling differences by personal fighting and family feuds.
Thomas Sowell, Conquests and Cultures


German Philosophy

The primary thing to keep in mind about German and Russian thought since 1800 is that it takes for granted that the Cartesian, Lockean or Humean scientific and philosophical conception of man and nature... has been shown by indisputable evidence to be inadequate. 
F.S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West


Knowledge

Inquiry does not start unless there is a problem... It is the problem and its characteristics revealed by analysis which guides one first to the relevant facts and then, once the relevant facts are known, to the relevant hypotheses.
F.S.C. Northrop, The Logic of the Sciences and the Humanities


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


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


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


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


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


Living Law

The recognition and integration of extralegal property rights [in the Homestead Act] was a key element in the United States becoming the most important market economy and producer of capital in the world.
Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital


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©2012 Christopher Chantrill