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Weekly Opeds 10

by Christopher Chantrill

Off-the-books America

Last week Victor Davis Hanson wrote about the hollowed-out society in the Central Valley around his native Fresno, California. He wrote:

I wanted to witness, even if superficially, what is happening to a state that has the highest

|  more  |  12/25/10

Incomes Taxes, Millionaires and Billionaires

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is reported to be “irked” that President Obama didn’t take his advice and use the tax bill to “corner Republicans into defending millionaires and billionaires.” In fact he’s not just irked, he’s “deeply

|  more  |  12/18/10

Warren Buffett, Robber Baron

I know that we are all supposed to love Warren Buffett as the Sage of Omaha, businessman and all-around good guy, but I keep reading stories that make me wonder. Here’s a story about Warren Buffett, the estate tax, and the life insurance industry.

Did you know that the life insurance lobby is actively lobbying to restore the estate

|  more  |  12/09/10

Dems Fume over Wall Street Trillions

All of a sudden, liberal pundits are getting worked up about the influence of Wall Street. From the concern expressed one would think that the contributions from Goldman Sachs have suddenly dried up now that the Republicans have taken over the House of Representatives. Here’s William D. Cohan in The New York Times worrying about

|  more  |  12/09/10

Giving Thanks for Obama

Have you heard the one about the guy from the lefty “reality-based community?” He could only tell reality when it knocked him upside the head. And that’s the story of the Obama administration thus far.

It’s not easy to admit it, but in 2008 we needed the Democrats to run the national security apparatus for four

|  more  |  11/25/10

QE Then and Now

There are two reasons for the Federal Reserve’s decisions to print lots of money. The good reason is that the real-estate crash still hasn’t cleared. That is, too many mortgaged homeowners are still under water and the real-estate estate market is all locked up with a huge overhang of foreclosures. When too many debtors are under

|  more  |  11/25/10

Yes We Can Repeal

Last week the MSM Tingle Brigade all of a sudden discovered, in President Obama’s post-election news conference, that he just didn’t get it, didn’t understand the message from the voters. “That Tin Ear,” wrote the London Economist.

What did the

|  more  |  11/11/10

Obama's Grand Strategic Error

So President Obama really is a socialist after all. According to Stanley Kurtz in Radical-in-Chief the young Obama went to socialist conferences in the 1980s and then became participant in the extensive socialist community

|  more  |  11/05/10

At the End of a Dynasty

You really have to feel sorry for our liberal friends. With each passing day they are coming to resemble the old WASP elite they sneered at for a century. Good liberal journalists should only visit those inscribed in the Social Register. And the Netroots seem more and more like southern rednecks, the folks that howled their approval when

|  more  |  11/01/10

Fun Frolic and Midterms

When your team looks to do well in the playoffs it’s time to head down to the big-box store to buy a big-screen HDTV. But what do you do when your party looks to wipe the floor in the midterms?

The question is: When the results start rolling, how will the election rate against the Best All-time Midterms? Obviously there will be

|  more  |  10/21/10

Paychecks vs. Food Stamps

The mark of a good politician is an instinct for the dividing line. We are talking about the line drawn in the sand that gets you to 51 percent of the vote and leaves your opponent with the rest.

Say what you like about Newt Gingrich, but his new dividing line over paychecks

|  more  |  10/18/10

8/28 vs. 10/2: Dueling Faith Traditions

It’s pretty obvious that the One Nation rally held at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday, 10/2, was in every way the left-wing version of Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally on 8/28.

Just as Glenn Beck’s rally was a celebration of the Judeo-Christian virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity, American exceptionalism, and

|  more  |  10/09/10

About That River in Egypt

Our liberal friends are wondering where it all went wrong. Their generals, the elected politicians, are all running for election either by ignoring ObamaCare or by running against it. But the word hasn’t gotten down to the mustachioed, well, bearded officers in the Liberal Hussars. They are still haranguing the troopers with “

|  more  |  10/03/10

Power or Principle?

Tea Party favorite Christine O’Donnell’s victory over Washington establishment favorite Mike Castle raised an interesting question.

Do we just want political power and 51 seats in the US Senate? Or do we want to build a movement? That’s what movement guy

|  more  |  09/23/10

This is Just the Beginning

It’s beginning to look like the Republicans win both houses of Congress this fall. But a Republican Congress won’t be enough repeal the disaster of ObamaCare. President Obama will be able to veto any repeal effort at least through 2012. And even with a Republican president in 2013 Democrats may still be able to filibuster a repeal

|  more  |  09/20/10

Noboby But Us 400,000 Chickens

For years and years the national moralists have been telling conservatives to reach out to minorities and women. But how? Minorities and women, at least of the professional variety, believe in big government and politics-with-everything. Conservatives don’t.

In fact conservatives believe, with

|  more  |  09/09/10

Barack's Cunning Plan

Some of you may know and love the British Blackadder TV series. It featured Rowan Atkinson as an upper-class twit and Tony Robinson as Baldrick, his crafty lower-class servant/sidekick. A recurring theme was “Baldrick’s cunning plan” that usually failed to get them out of a jam.

We will return to Barack’s cunning

|  more  |  09/08/10

What Liberals Should Have Known

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, has changed his mind about Fannie and Freddie, the home-mortgage government-sponsored giants. According to Larry Kudlow, Rep. Frank is ready to send Fannie to a death

|  more  |  08/30/10

How's That "Spread the Wealth Doing?"

Conservatives’ favorite moment in the 2008 campaign was the altercation between the Anointed One and Joe the Plumber.

Back then Joe Wurzelbacher was worried that Obama’s plan to raise taxes on the wealthy, those making more than $250,000 per year, would hurt folks like

|  more  |  08/20/10

A Liberal Judge Lights a Fuse

Last week, when Judge Walker’s decision in Perry v. Schwarzenegger came out, I felt a dreadful fear.

My fear was not about what gay marriage would do to the institution of traditional marriage. I reckon that marriage is not as fragile as conservatives fear,

|  more  |  08/13/10

Andrew Breitbart Can't Be Fired

As the mainstream media synchronized their watches over the Shirley Sherrod affair, the object of their little trench raid was clear. Demonize Andrew Breitbart for the un-ethical publication of a video featuring Ms. Sherrod uttering racist remarks at an NAACP awards dinner.

You could see the strategy. The MSM wanted to discredit and

|  more  |  07/29/10

Of Course Obama's a Socialist

Thomas Frank, the Wall Street Journal’s quota liberal, is shocked that people are calling President Obama a socialist. Last

|  more  |  07/24/10

Free at Last: The End Game of Liberal Racism

Back when they were asking us if we were ready for a black president, we all know what Americans were thinking. If we elect a black president, could we do a deal? Could we stop calling everyone racists?

It was easy back then to indulge in a hope for change. Back in July 2004, State Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) wowed the political

|  more  |  07/19/10

After Obama: Forgiveness

The great religious movements of the 20th century, Communism and Fascism, liked to think that they toiled in the wilderness against a corrupt political and religious establishment. In fact, of course, they always obtained support from young fashionables in the educated elite, and their ideas leaked quickly into the political mainstream.

|  more  |  07/09/10

Keynes: The End of a Bad Idea

Every bad idea seems to have its Wordsworthian moment:

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive But to be young was very heaven.

The early enthusiasm for Keynesian economics certainly qualifies. The dawn of Keynes was very heaven, if you were young back then. But now we are at the moment when a new generation asks:

|  more  |  06/30/10

A Bridge Too Far

According to Fred Barnes at The Weekly Standard, the Obamis are planning a lame-duck session of Congress, “filled

|  more  |  06/29/10

Mr. President, You're Stuck on Stupid

It is true that liberalism is cruel, corrupt, wasteful and unjust. But one should never forget its delusion. The delusion is a simple one. It is a belief that government can be made rational and efficient. This delusion leads our liberal friends into disaster after disaster.

Liberals were shocked that President Bush failed to get

|  more  |  06/19/10

The Rand Paul Gaffe and Liberal Injustice

A political gaffe is when a politician accidentally tells the truth. So when GOP senate candidate Rand Paul discussed with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow “his belief in a limited government that should not force private businesses to abide by

|  more  |  06/14/10

Big Government's Katrina

The mess in the Gulf of Mexico is not just Obama’s Katrina. It is Big Government’s Katrina.

Thank goodness it happened on the Democrats’ watch. When George W. Bush was president the lackadaisical performance of the federal government could be set down to Republican disinterest in governance. Republicans don’t care

|  more  |  06/14/10

The Liberal Trilemma

Many people are looking for the reason to explain the Greek/Euro mess. Edmund Conway in the London Daily Telegraph has as good a reason as any. The current crisis, he

|  more  |  06/14/10

Can Women Return Us to Beauty?

If anyone wants to know why theater is dead in the United States the reason is simple. It is trapped in a time-warp of liberal pieties. When the Oregon Shakespeare Festival sent out a call for plays celebrating “American Revolutions”

|  more  |  05/19/10

Greek Crisis Nothing New

Last week government workers in Greece were marching through the streets chanting “thieves, thieves” to the industrialists and politicians that have robbed their nation blind. These workers would be experts about

|  more  |  05/11/10

Mundell: Blame the Fed

Who really was to blame for the bank meltdown in 2008? Economist Robert Mundell, supply-sider-in-chief and China’s new Confucius, is unequivocal.

In a speech at the

|  more  |  05/11/10

Taxes Are Not the Problem

The Tax Day tea parties were a start. Taxes are too high, we all agree. You can see how high at usgovernmentrevenue.com. But taxes aren’t the problem. Nor indeed is government spending the problem, although you can take a look at the century of steadily increasing government

|  more  |  04/23/10

Obama's World Without Giving

Last week we learned what happens to health care when you impose ObamaCare upon it. For we learned how the prototype ObamaCare health plan is wrecking health care in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Gov. Deval Patrick (D) just rejected 90

|  more  |  04/17/10

Let's Change the Conversation on Education

Diane Ravitch has given up on school choice. Her latest book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, tells the story of her change of heart. You can read a quickie version in The Wall Street Journal or

|  more  |  04/09/10

Who Do You Trust?

Everyone seems to need a narrative of good against evil. Even people who don’t believe in God or in Satan. Take Noam Chomsky, scourge of US imperialism. In the lefty mockumentary The Corporation, he delicately compares corporations to slaveowners:

When you look at a

|  more  |  04/02/10

In Defeat, Defiance

A liberal acquaintance likes to say that “taxes are the price we pay for civilization.” He would, for he’s a retired professor from a government university.

He didn’t think this up on his own, of course. His sound bite is a quote from

|  more  |  03/24/10

ObamaCare: Why the Rules Matter

Back in Bush era it was Republicans that got fed up with the rules. Democrats in the US Senate were filibustering conservative judge nominees and Republicans had had enough of it. So they planned to change the rules in the Senate with the “nuclear option” that would allow an up or down vote on their judges with a bare 51 vote

|  more  |  03/18/10

ObamaCare: Defeat or Repeal?

The big question for Americans is whether they are better off defeating the monstrosity of ObamaCare now or whether it is best to let the Democrats pass it and then work to repeal it, whether it takes a day or a decade.

The short answer is: Defeat it. The passage of ObamaCare lets a genie of government power out of the bottle that will

|  more  |  03/12/10

Science's Big Problem

Last week Dr. Judith Curry, climate scientist from Georgia Institute of Technology, admitted on What’s Up With That that climate scientists needed to do a better job of communication, in order to reestablish trust

|  more  |  03/02/10

The Back-pocket Manifesto

This week the Tea Party conservatives launched their “Contract from America.” And a group of conservative luminaries released the “Mount Vernon

|  more  |  02/24/10

Liberals Say US Is Ungovernable. Again

Liberals are at it again. They are worrying that the US is “ungovernable.” Political scientist Jay Cost has the details:

Ezra Klein

|  more  |  02/18/10

Liberal Condescension Isn't the Problem

We all know liberal condescension. “Why are Americans so anti-intellectual?” your liberal friend might ask. But Gerard Alexander has written about it—in the Washington Post. Why are

|  more  |  02/11/10

Budget Fun with Fannie and Freddie

Remember when your liberal friends used to writhe on the floor in a foaming rage? They were outraged because the Iraq War never got into the federal budget, but got slipped in through the back door with “supplemental appropriations.”

Now there’s a new game in town. Advanced conservatives are going to class to learn

|  more  |  02/05/10

You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

Isn’t it great to have a Republican Senator from Massachusetts? It’s also good to have the First Amendment reaffirmed by the United States Supreme Court—even if our liberal friends are shocked and appalled at the notion of corporations sticking up for themselves.

As delicious as last week’s good news was for

|  more  |  02/03/10

The Content of Obama's Character

On the holiday celebrating Martin Luther King’s birthday we celebrate also the first year of America’s first black president, Barack Obama.

It’s telling that 47 years ago, when Reverend King made his great speech on the Washington Mall, he did not say that he had a dream that one day, an African American would become

|  more  |  01/22/10

Obama's Jobs Hole

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the December employment report January 8, and the mainstream media reported that 85,000 jobs were lost. The big story, as usual, was in the Household Survey. There was no mild leakage of 85,000 jobs there, but a whomping 589,000 jobs flushed down the drain. Here are the numbers from the

|  more  |  01/16/10

Repeal the Health Bill

Sooner or later the American people must rise up and do more than complain about the latest wizard wheeze of the progressive educated class. We must take one of their gigantic government takeover bills and flat out repeal it.

Otherwise they will return every generation and lay another unjust burden upon us.

Why don’t we do

|  more  |  01/07/10



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


“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


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


“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


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


[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


“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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©2015 Christopher Chantrill