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  An American Manifesto
Sunday October 19, 2014 
by Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter

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Break the Chains, says Joe "Mittens" or Monster?

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2016: Obama's America or Romney's

by Christopher Chantrill
August 27, 2012 at 6:00 pm

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THERE WERE two big takeaways for me on 2016: Obama’s America. One was the united front that Barry and his mom formed against step-father Lolo Soetero’s capitalist career working for an evil oil company in Indonesia. The other was Dinesh D’Souza’s interview with one of Barack Senior’s old anti-colonialist buddies back in Kenya. The old guy is still spouting the anti-colonial bunkum about the Brits looting the colonies and its modern refrain, that the US is in the Middle East to grab the oil. Oh, and the Arabs are victims of the Israelis.

Dinesh’s movie reminds us that our 2012 presidential candidates are unapologetic representatives of two great 19th century belief systems. Barack Obama believes in the Exploitation narrative, invented by Marx and extended by Lenin. To Obama and his lefty mom, oil companies might as well be 19th century textile sweatshops, and the highest calling in the world is to advocate for the poor against the capitalist exploiters.

Mitt Romney is a horse of a different color. He belongs to a church founded in America’s Second Great Awakening in the early 19th century. He practices the modern capitalism of the 21st century. You take money from where it is to where it is wanted, helping start new companies or trying to save old ones. You hire the best people and train them up, and give them all the responsibility they can handle. When you see a problem, he writes, you “run toward it or it will only get worse.” No “leading from behind” for Mitt.

The Exploitation narrative is obviously attractive to people looking for a political career. It says that some helpless group, the workers, for example, are suffering from injustice or oppression. They are not getting their just deserts. So the radical suit or community organizer organizes them to fight for a political solution to their problem, and take what is rightfully theirs. Barack Obama did that for a couple of years, organizing the laid-off steelworkers in South Chicago.

The Second Great Awakening was quintessentially American. It was an upwelling of religious enthusiasm among the common people, and it was particularly strong in the “burned over district” in western New York where the Smiths, “a close and loving family greatly given to religious discussion and experimentation,” lived just outside Palmyra. A new religion typically starts as a family affair, according to sociologist Rodney Stark, and so it was with family of Joseph Smith.

The difference between the Exploitation narrative and the religious Awakening narrative is that, under Exploitation, the people believe that the rich have to change. Under the Awakening narrative it is we the people that have to change, one soul at a time.

One problem with the Exploitation narrative is what happens after the people have, under the leadership of their community organizers, won power and the right to make the guilty pay. Over and over again, we have seen the community organizers attempt to organize the whole nation as though it were a political army. Thus the Soviets, the Chinese and the Tanzanians organized the peasants into central-controlled collective farms according to a grand plan that utterly failed. In the 1930s the New Dealers organized everyone into a central-controlled pension plan. In the 2010 President Obama organized everyone into a central-controlled health care plan.

In the LDS narrative it is the church members, not the community organizer cadres, that get enrolled into running things. Even the lordly Mitt Romney must take his turn to serve as an ordinary ward bishop or stake president. Then he finds himself called away from creating jobs at Bain Capital to run the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. In other words, the Mormon church is a civil society association in which all are called in turn to serve and to lead. It’s the American Way, as Alexis de Tocqueville observed in the 1830s.

Roger Scruton, in his new How to Think Seriously About the Planet nails the difference between the Exploitation and the American way of doing things. Writing about environmental policy, he says that a regulation “should never confiscate the problem from those who have the job of solving it”.

That’s the whole thing in a nutshell. In Obama’s America, liberals want to confiscate problems from those who should have the job--and the satisfaction--of doing it. Why? Because liberals want that satisfaction for themselves. Educating your children? Much better to confiscate it from ordinary people and let liberal experts do it. Health care? Obama-Reid-Pelosi have confiscated it and given it to 15 liberal bureaucrats at the IPAB. You didn’t build that. Only liberals are allowed the satisfaction of building things in Obama’s America.

In Romney’s America the ordinary people get together in their little platoons to solve their problems and build it--on their own.

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