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  An American Manifesto
Thursday October 30, 2014 
by Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter

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Injustice, American Style Obama the Great Educator

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The Folly of Obama's Politics

by Christopher Chantrill
July 17, 2012 at 6:00 pm

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WHO CARES IF President Obama and his acolytes want to spend $100 million in TV ads to paint Mitt Romney as the scowling Moloch of Wall Street, chewing up the jobs of helpless American workers for sport? It’s politics, and politics ain’t beanbag.

But is it wise?

Is it wise to paint the Mark of Cain on private equity? Think about what private equity does. It takes troubled corporations and tries to turn them around. It’s a messy business and, the Obamis are determined to tell us, peoples’ lives get ruined when things go wrong. But somebody has to do it, and it’s probably not the management that sat around in a funk while the corporation’s markets and profits went south.

Also, how would the president propose to deal with failing businesses? Does he think it is a good idea to follow what Attorney General Janet Reno used to call “the law of the land,” i.e., bankruptcy court with judges and all, or replace it with a political bankruptcies, like the GM-Chrylser bankruptcies, that stiff the bondholders in favor of unions?

Take the news this week that the Obama administration is proposing to gut the work requirement for TANF, the welfare reform act. Maybe it’s legal, but is it wise?

Is it wise politically to get every last conservative riled up right before an election? The welfare reform of 1996 is something of a sacred talisman for conservatives. It’s the one thing we have managed to legislate to tame the welfare state. It is just not good politics to go around breaking up other peoples’ icons, not if you want to get elected.

Also, is it really a good idea to resort so much on executive orders? I’m not thinking of today; I’m thinking of tomorrow when Republicans are back in office. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Issues that Obamis have crudely decided by executive fiat can be crudely undone by executive fiat on January 20, 2013. Is that what we want in America: government by dueling executive orders?

Let’s get back to basics. Politics, to paraphrase Clausewitz, is civil war by other means. It is a technique that humans have developed to resolve their societal conflicts without the actual conflict of civil war. The whole apparatus of elections, campaigns, constitutions, legislatures, and bureaucratic due process is an immensely sophisticated attempt to comfort the Outs with the hope that the power of the Ins will be used with restraint. The idea is to persuade the Outs that, right now, they don’t need to arm themselves and raise a head of rebellion. You only have to recall the horror among Democrats on the day Reagan was shot when Gen. Haig, then Secretary of State, got up in the White House and announced that he was in control or the widespread suspicion among Democrats during the 2000s that President Bush was about to tear up the Constitution to realize how touchy people are when the other guys are in power.

So when an administration starts taking short cuts, by refusing to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, by implementing a policy of non-deportation for a certain class of illegal immigrants after it couldn’t pass a law through the legislature, by reversing a landmark welfare reform act by budgetary shenanigans and executive orders, by implementing through a regulatory agency, the National Labor Relations Board, a policy of favoring unions that it couldn’t get through Congress, when it does all that it might as well be pouring gasoline on a smoldering fire.

The whole point of popular government is that you do things by the rules not because the rules are any good, but so that the people on the other side don’t jump to conclusions. After all, if you break a rule, then you raise the obvious question in the minds of your opponents: where does this end?

Breaking rules is what tin-pot demagogues like Hugo Chávez do. But what is President Obama’s campaign for reelection but straight-out demagoguery? With his tax plan he is doing the full Alinsky on the American rich. With his Bain rhetoric he is making a scapegoat out of American business. With the contraception rules for Catholic hospitals he is declaring war on pro-life America. Way to go, Mr. Community Organizer.

This weekend the Washington Post lowered the boom on the Obama administration’s Mideast policy and its “tactical misjudgments... outdated view” and its advisers clashing “over tactics and turf.” Given that the gray-beards are starting to shake their heads is it really wise for the Obamis to run a campaign that channels the frenetic stage antics of Cab Calloway in Cotton Club?

Perhaps it’s time to start building the bleachers to view the biggest train-wreck of all time in US politics.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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 TAGS


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


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


Hugo on Genius

“Tear down theory, poetic systems... No more rules, no more models... Genius conjures up rather than learns... ” —Victor Hugo
César Graña, Bohemian versus Bourgeois


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


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


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


Postmodernism

A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ’merely relative’, is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy


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


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


Religion, Property, and Family

But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family. Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


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


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


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©2012 Christopher Chantrill