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  An American Manifesto
Friday November 28, 2014 
by Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter









1930s analysis

UK spending

US bailout

US gov debt

US budget

US revenue

US spending

sisters, sisters






Mutual aid




















Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Energy Calculator


Georg Simmel: Expansion of the Dyad

THE two person, or two group "dyad" is a particularly important social grouping, according to George Simmel in The Sociology of Georg Simmel translated and edited by Kurt H. Wolff. But what happens when you expand the dyad to three people, to the "triad?"

"The appearance of the third party.. [means an] abandonment of absolute contrast." In Simmel's view, it introduces three kinds of group formations. The third person might be a non-partisan mediator; he might be a "tertius gaudens" or someone who benefits from a two person quarrel; and he might even be someone who uses a dispute between two people to divide and conquer them. Let us look at each in turn.

The Non-partisan and the mediator. In many cases the addition of a third person can weld the two-person dyad together; the child "closes the circle by typing the parents to one another." But just as significant is the non-partisan mediator.

The non-partisan shows each party the claims and arguments of the other; they thus lose the tone of subjective passion which usually provokes the same tone on the part of the adversary.
In other words, the non-partisan "deprives conflicting claims of their affective qualities" and forces the parties to view a dividing issue more objectively than in pure adversary combat. "[A]ntagonism of the will is reduced to intellectual antagonism." Notice though that the mediator is not an arbitrator; he does not decide the issue; only the parties can do that. But the mediator must be viewed by both sides as neutral, either because he is equally close to each party, or equally distant.

Another impartial third element is the arbitrator, to whom the two parties render up the power to decide their issue. This requires not just a joint faith in the neutrality of the arbitrator, but "confidence in the objectivity of [his] judgment" beyon mere mediation.

As an example of mediation, Simmel offers the British King Henry III. His relations with the barons and prelates descended into constant conflict, and both parties came eventually to resort to a third element previously "kept out of state matters." We are talking about the beginning of the House of Commons.

The Tertius Gaudens. Here we have a third party that "draws advantage from the quarrel of two others", he is literally the third who rejoices at their difference. This party is similar to the third element that divides and conquers, discussed below, but does not need to be active in splitting the two parties. He may merely befriend one party to annoy the other. But the iconic case is two parties competing for the favor of another, as in two suitors for one woman. On the largest scale, the tertius gaudens is played out in the competition between producers for the favor of the consumer. Notice that the advantage of the consumer only applies when the producers do not collude with one another. In politics, the position of a third party is not as absolute, because a political party is not free to abandon its declared positions on the issues of the day; there is often only a narrow room for maneuver between two parties competing for the favors of a third party. A similar situation occurs in demarcation disputes between labor unions on a job site. If unions bid for their workers to do the job then the lowest bid wins. But if the unions collude to decide what pay should apply to each job then their basic interest, high pay, is preserved from attack by the employer.

Divide and Conquer.  In any three-element relationship the opportunity exists for the third element to take advantage of a quarrel between two others. In "divide and conquer" we deal with the situation where "the third element intentionally produces the conflict in order to gain a dominating position." There are many examples of this strategy, beginning with the prohibition by a sovereign ruler of any associations, thus heading of any combinations of people that might form a head of rebellion. The Anglo-Norman kings made sure that the estates of each feudal lord were widely scattered to make it difficult for any lord to become sovereign in a single contiguous district.  Similarly, employers often refuse to negotiate with a combination of employee unions. They prefer to negotiate with each one separately. The Incas liked "to divide a newly conquered tribe in two" and place a supervisor over each, with "slightly different ranks." This encouraged rivalry between the supervisors and prevented united action against the Inca. There are two basic strategies for divide and conquer. One is to get the two parties to fight each other. Where this does not work, then the third party combines with one other "long enough for the other to be suppressed, whereupon the first party is an easy prey for him."

It is easy to see why "two's company but three's a crowd."

perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 11/28/14 1:00 pm ET

George Simmel: The Individual and the "Dyad"

WE think of sociology as the individual and society. But Georg Simmel in The Sociology of Georg Simmel translated by Kurt H. Wolff takes us to a more basic consideration, the individual and the "dyad", or the individual as part of a two-person social relationship. But first, consider the situation of the "isolated" individual. Actually, we are not talking here about an individual that is "...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 11/27/14 11:59 am ET

The Shallow Conceit of the North London Luvvie

BACK in the 2000s Ross Ashcroft was briefly a BBCer and then an assistant theater director. But after the crash of 2008 he has reached for bigger things and in 2012 released a documentary on all the troubles of the world, entitled Four Horsemen. It got tons of awards at film festivals. It's available on YouTube. You would expect that it to be pathetically banal and devoid of almost anything ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 11/26/14 1:34 pm ET

Dr. Ha-Joon Chang, Renegade Economist? Oh Please!

ONE of the talking heads on Ross Ashcroft's Four Horsemen documentary is Dr. Ha-Joon Chang, an economist who's a Reader at the University of Cambridge in England. In this video under the "Renegade Economist" brand Dr. Chang rehearses lefty talking points on "neoliberalism." I didn't really know what neoliberalism was when I watched the video; I just knew that it was a term that lefties swung ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 11/25/14 12:13 pm ET

|  November blogs  |  October blogs  |


Ferguson: Life in the Promised Land

THE FINAL PROBLEM for all political and religious movements is what to do after you get to the Promised Land. You’ve defeated the enemy, you’ve conquered the land flowing with milk and honey. What next?

What’s next is that the soldiers of the revolution should get a job, get married, and start a family. And forget all about millennial hope.

But usually they don’t. Instead they get angry.

That’s why blacks rioted in the aftermath of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of ...

more | 08/25/14

Let's Fight for the Nation State

Everyone that has half a brain understands that the foundations are shaking. ...

more | 08/18/14

"As President, I Will Defend Americans Against the Moral Bullies"

Aunt Peggy Frowns at the Obama Boys

Do Corporations Rule America?



RMC Contents
Chapter 1: After the Welfare State
Chapter 2: Down in South Carolina and Out in Brooklyn
Chapter 3: Awakenings of Monotheism
Chapter 4: The Nineteenth Century From the Top Down

THE GREAT EVENT of the second millennium was the rise of the world-historical middle class.... more

Chapter 5: The Nineteenth Century From the Bottom Up
Chapter 6: Popular Religion in the Nineteenth Century


RMC Book of the Day

Stark, Rodney, and Finke, Roger, Acts of Faith: Explaining the Human Side of Religion

RMC Books on Education

Andrew Coulson, Market Education
How universal literacy was achieved before government education

Carl Kaestle, Pillars of the Republic
How we got our education system

James Tooley, The Miseducation of Women
How the feminists wrecked education for boys and for girls

James Tooley, Reclaiming Education
How only a market in education will provide opportunity for the poor

E.G. West, Education and the State
How education was doing fine before the government muscled in

RMC Books on Law

Hernando De Soto, The Mystery of Capital
How ordinary people in the United States wrote the law during the 19th century

F. A. Hayek, Law Legislation and Liberty, Vol 1
How to build a society based upon law

Henry Maine, Ancient Law
How the movement of progressive peoples is from status to contract

John Zane, The Story of Law
How law developed from early times down to the present

RMC Books on Mutual Aid

James Bartholomew, The Welfare State We're In
How the welfare state makes crime, education, families, and health care worse.

David Beito, From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State
How ordinary people built a sturdy social safety net in the 19th century

David Green, Before Beveridge: Welfare Before the Welfare State
How ordinary people built themselves a sturdy safety net before the welfare state

Theda Skocpol, Diminished Democracy
How the US used to thrive under membership associations and could do again

David Stevenson, The Origins of Freemasonry
How modern freemasonry got started in Scotland

RMC Books on Religion

David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing
How Christianity is booming in China

Finke & Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990
How the United States grew into a religious nation

Robert William Fogel, The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism
How progressives must act fast if they want to save the welfare state

David Martin, Pentecostalism: The World Their Parish
How Pentecostalism is spreading across the world


Government and Marriage
How the War on Poverty Has Hurt American Marriage Rates

The Will To Power
Mona Charen helpfully lists Obama's previous violations of settled law.

Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer a Leftist
We rushed to cast everyone in one of three roles: victim, victimizer, or champion of the oppressed.

The DC Dem leaders hate Obama
Now they tell us.

Energy Boom Can Withstand Steeper Oil-Price Drop
names of smaller oil companies in shale plays.

> archive


cruel . corrupt . wasteful
unjust . deluded


Take the Test!


Work to restore the Road to the Middle Class. Here’s how. Ground it in faith. Grade it with education. Protect it with mutual aid. Defend it with the law. more>>


The Road to the Middle Class is a journey from a world of power to a world of trust and love. In religion, it is a journey from power gods that respond to sacrifice and augury to the God who makes a covenant with mankind. In education, it is a journey from the world of the spoken word to the world of the written word. In community, it is the journey from dependence on blood kin and upon clientage under a great lord to the mutual aid and the rules of the self-governing fraternal association. In law it is the journey from the violence of force and feud to the kingŽs peace, the law of contract, and private property.



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


“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


[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 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


©2014 Christopher Chantrill

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