home  |  book  |  blogs  |   RSS  |  contact  |

Pundits Worry About Conservatism. Again Liberals Say It's the End of an Era

print view

Watching Joe Biden Play Willy Loman

by Christopher Chantrill
October 16, 2012 at 12:00 am


I’VE ALWAYS had a stick up my butt about Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, the 1951 play about the emptiness of the success culture. What’s the point about success, says lefty Miller, when Willy Loman’s life as a salesman ends in failure? And what’s the point of high-school athletics, when athletes like Willy’s son Biff end up as thieves and drifters?

You have to hand it to Arthur Miller. He got his play in under the wire just before the golden age of sales, when salesmen spent half a century happily selling Chevrolets so Americans could see the USA. Who could have foreseen in 1951 the golden age dawning for high-school and college and professional ath-e-letes? And don’t get me started on selling real estate.

But liberals have been trotting out to endless revivals of Miller’s play in the 60-odd years since Death’s debut. What a grand old time they have had shaking their heads at the emptiness and the superficiality of profits and business success.

Imagine my shock when I got to see Joe Biden channeling Willy Loman on TV last Thursday! Was he auditioning for a part in Death of a Liberal? No, wait. It’s obvious that the new Willy Loman character is a composite, with Joe Biden trying out for the manic side--“Attention must be paid to the middle class!”--and President Obama playing the depressive, just churning out the progressive patter because that’s all he knows how to do.

You need the composite character because the moribund liberalism of today’s educated ruling class features two stock characters. There is the old-style machine pol, the class warrior still ranting away about good jobs at good wages to his union hall buddies, or his modern race warrior variant frightening blacks with nightmares of a return to Jim Crow. Then there is the stock urban liberal smoothly imagining well-run administrative programs that will deliver affordable something or other: housing, health care, education, day-care, contraception.

So here we are in the fall of 2012 with these stereotypes ranting or muttering away with their tired clichés while the nation gets flushed down the toilet.

Death of a Salesman told us about the cynicism of liberals that wanted us to abandon the stupid optimism of the American Dream for a life of government dependency.

Death of a Liberal is telling us about the terminal pessimism of today’s liberal elite. Just like Willy Loman, liberals are about to go out and crash the national car in the hope that the insurance will pay out to the survivors.

But really, there is a path for liberals other than suicide, and it starts with fixing the central liberal mistake of the last half century. Liberals have insisted on explaining away, rather than trying to understand, the meaning of Ronald Reagan and the 25 years of economic boom that began in 1983 when Reagan’s tax cuts and his spending cuts fully took effect.

No it wasn’t really a boom, liberals have insisted, it was all an illusion. No, the average person didn’t really benefit: real wage rates peaked in 1973. No, supply-side economics doesn’t really work: remember the high growth in the 1950s and its high taxes. All they have ended up proving after 30 years of denial is the truth of Poor Richard’s maxim: “Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.”

“Where shall I go? What shall I do?” That’s what liberals will be whimpering in the weeks after the election. Only we conservatives do give a damn, because we want liberals to get straight on things, get past their anger and denial and come to acceptance that their governing philosophy and praxis absolutely stinks. It’s because we care.

Isn’t it helpful that the 21st century edition of George Gilder’s Wealth and Poverty is coming out? Here’s where to go, liberals: click over to Amazon. Cheapskates can take the cycle lane down to HalfPriceBooks. Here’s what to do: read, learn, and inwardly digest Wealth and Poverty. Liberals that just can’t wait can start with the Gilder “Uncommon Knowledge” interview on NRO.

Here is a Gilder quote to get you all started.

Capitalism is the supreme expression of human creativity and freedom, an economy of mind overcoming the constraints of material power.

There’s a sentiment to mix with your granola in the morning. Want some more?

All economic growth comes from human creativity, that always comes as a surprise to us. It’s the ideas in peoples’ heads that makes the economy thrive.

Let’s move on from the empty idea of a wise and beneficent educated elite guiding us all on our way. Hayek showed half a century ago that it couldn’t work.

Please, liberals. Get a clue before it’s too late!

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

print view

To comment on this article at American Thinker click here.

To email the author, click here.



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.

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

Racial Discrimination

[T]he way “to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,” Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District


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

Physics, Religion, and Psychology

Paul Dirac: “When I was talking with Lemaître about [the expanding universe] and feeling stimulated by the grandeur of the picture that he has given us, I told him that I thought cosmology was the branch of science that lies closest to religion. However [Georges] Lemaître [Catholic priest, physicist, and inventor of the Big Bang Theory] did not agree with me. After thinking it over he suggested psychology as lying closest to religion.”
John Farrell, “The Creation Myth”


Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization

presented by Christopher Chantrill

Data Sources  •   •  Contact