home  |  book  |  blogs  |   RSS  |  contact  |
  An American Manifesto
Wednesday April 1, 2015 
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


Individual Responsibility: What about the Ancient Nomads?

ONE of my thoughtful emailers sent me a question about my post on SJW Anita Sarkeesian. He notes my three-stage system of People of the Subordinate Self, People of the Responsible Self, and People of the Creative Self, and writes:

You mention that responsible individualism is "the responsibility to find work, the responsibility to make your own choices, the responsibility to find your own mate, all within the demanding environment of the market economy".  Aren't these the responsibilities of all humans, always?  Surely man has dreamed of universal leisure for his fellow man since time immemorial, and only recently has such fantasy become the basis of entire ideologies.  How then do our modern age responsibilities differ than that of an ancient nomad when boiled down to the basics of the quote above?  
The straight answer to that is: yes, of course, and not just of humans but of every living thing. Of course every human has the responsibility to get on their bike and earn a living. But there's a problem with all social animals, the problem of freeloading. The basic deal in social cooperation is that we all get to eat at the communal table; we all make our contribution, and we all get to enjoy the fruits of our cooperation. The reason that social cooperation works is that the division of labor works: when animals specialize, the individuals benefit and the community benefits.

But what about the slacker? There are several ways to deal with this menace. The first is shaming and possible expulsion. Other people in the community judge your behavior and take action. Then there is hierarchy. The boss tells you what to do, and punishes you if you don't do it. Then there is divine justice. God punishes you for your sins. Finally, there is exchange, which the anthropologists tell us is unique to modern humans, although it didn't really go viral until the rise of the bourgeoisie. People find a way to contribute to society and then get rewarded by the exchange system for their contribution.

On my system, the hunter-gatherers are pre-subordinate selves. They cooperate in a face-to-face society and the slacker gets named and shamed into compliance. We see this today in the ubiquitous community of women at work or in a neighborhood that have no power over each other except the judgements of other women's gossip.

When we get to the agricultural age we get a visibly hierarchical society where people must do their part and where agricultural workers are typically subordinated to a landed warrior class. Once you get this subordination you get the freeloader that does the absolute minimum of work that will avoid sanction. We see this survive today in any corporate or government bureaucracy where you can probably enjoy lifetime tenure and a pension if you keep your nose clean and don't antagonize the bosses. The problem is that it is staggeringly inefficient to have everyone sitting around waiting for the boss to tell them what to do.

The boss system works, after a fashion, in the agricultural age because life on the farm is pretty simple. But in the industrial age, where almost nobody grows their own food or builds their own cottage, the boss system has broken down. Today we all live in the exchange system where each one of us must find out how to contribute to society, and we learn what others value through the exchange system and its prices for ideas, for goods and for labor.

In this modern age, where the yoke of work and of finding work falls directly upon the shoulders of the individual worker, it is not surprising, as my emailer suggests, that people dream of "universal leisure for his fellow man" and conjure up whole ideologies to that dream. It is telling, of course, that all attempts to realize dreams of universal leisure have turned into nightmares. They have all regressed to the old boss system and have simply been unable to deliver even a smidgen of leisure. Instead they have required the most cruel compulsion to deliver even the simplest necessities of modern life.

And so today we get Anita Sarkeesian, once a nice middle-class college girl, who gets seduced by the victim ideology of feminism and the all-explaining power of the “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.” Sarkeesian and her fellow religionists demand "safe spaces," freedom from "microagressions" and the power to defenestrate anyone that challenges their dogmas.

For decades liberals have been lecturing us about the horror of that delicate flower, the Victorian wife, that had to be protected from the big bad world of sex and sleaze, and was told to "lie back and think of England." The solution to this patriarchal nightmare, wrote Simone de Beauvoir in The Second Sex, was the "independent woman," unafraid of sex, unafraid of the public square and men and career.

What is going on here? It's politics. The whole point of politics is power, and the needs of power change from decade to decade. In the mid 20th century the cry was for the independent woman. Now the cry is for "safe spaces." But it's all politics and political power.

Yes, it's true that every individual has the responsibility to provide for himself and his family. But nomads are socialized into cooperation in a different way than modern city folk. The question is: how do you deal with the freeloader? In nomad society the freeloader got a frown from the other women; the agricultural bondman got a frown from his lord (and from the village women). Today it is a frown from the exchange system (and from the boss at work and the neighborhood women).

The way to stay clear of the modern freeloader police is to be a responsible individual. Then you'll have nothing to fear from the gossiping women, nothing to fear from the boss at work, and nothing to fear from the market system.

But you still have to watch out for the diversity police. There is no escape from them!

perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 03/31/15 12:12 pm ET

Robert Kuttner: On Another Planet

SOMETIMES it really pays to read the guys on the other side and try to understand how they look at the world. Here's Robert Kuttner of the American Prospect wondering “Why the 99 Percent Keeps Losing.” You and I understand this perfectly. The 99 percent is losing because liberals. But Kuttner, against all the evidence, thinks Republicans are to blame. And he still can't understand it. The vast...

 click for more

perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 03/30/15 10:55 am ET

Anita Sarkeesian: The Road from Individual to Victim

CANADIAN critic and social justice warrior Anita Sarkeesian is the young lady that stirred up #gamergate. So far so good. But I recently got to view remarks she made at All About Women 2015 at the Sydney Opera House (H/T Susan L. M. Goldberg). In her prepared remarks Sarkeesian described her journey from neo-liberal individualist to feminist victim. This is fascinating to me because of my ...

 click for more

perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 03/27/15 12:30 pm ET

What Would an Islam Reformation Mean?

I love Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Somali Muslim turned western atheist. Her books Nomad and Infidel are breathtaking views into the crisis in Islam. Now she's just out with Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now and proposed to reform Islam, and I'll be out there buying myself a copy. Meanwhile we have the reviewers. Writes Brian Stewart: The argument in Heretic, Hirsi Ali’s fourth book, is ...

 click for more

perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 03/26/15 12:21 pm ET

|  April blogs  |  March blogs  |


Georg Simmel’s Sociology

Thomas Piketty’s Capital

The Spirit Level

McCloskey’s “Bourgeois Era”


OK Liberals: Let's Talk Inequality

I SHOULDN'T have done it, but this week I read a piece by Harold Meyerson in the Washington Post, titled “Democrats’ New Faith.” He’s delighted that President Obama is finally doing something about inequality.

You know the standard Democratic narrative. Back in the good old days middle-class workers had good jobs at union wages. Then Reagan came and threw US ...

more | 01/26/15

Hey Jihadis, Get with the Program!

This year we are celebrating Martin Luther King’s Birthday with an orgy of offense-taking and race-baiting, in the flap over the movie Selma, and who was on first with civil rights in the 1960s, and who gets to clean up with the Oscars. ...

more | 01/24/15

Let's Just Call It "The Muslim Question"

"OK Google. What Went Wrong With Liberalism?"

I Want a President That Loves America



RMC Contents
Chapter 1: After the Welfare State
Chapter 2: Down in South Carolina and Out in Brooklyn

THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM among western cultural elites is that God is dead and we are well rid of him.... more

Chapter 3: Awakenings of Monotheism
Chapter 4: The Nineteenth Century From the Top Down
Chapter 5: The Nineteenth Century From the Bottom Up
Chapter 6: Popular Religion in the Nineteenth Century


RMC Book of the Day

Stoll, David, Is Latin America Turning Protestant?

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


Is Israel Losing Its Soul?
liberal Israeli mourns Netanyahu election win.

Krugmans Fatal Conceit
so, the "austerity" of sequestration didn't hurt, contra Krugman.

Keep Your Worlds Straight
Jonah Goldberg wants you to be socialist authoritarians in your families but not in the bigger world.

Eevil corporation's message in secret code!
FCC’s ‘Throwback Thursday’ Move Imposes 1930s Rules on the Internet

Misunderstanding the millennials
Guess what: Millennials want to move to the suburbs!

> 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.


What Liberals Think About Conservatives

[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. “Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists,” she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican

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

Taking Responsibility

[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050

Society and State

For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008

Socialism equals Animism

Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values

Responsible Self

[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.


©2014 Christopher Chantrill

mysql close 0