home  |  book  |  blogs  |   RSS  |  contact  |

America's Locust Years Democrats: End of the Big Push

print view

Why They Hate Her

by Christopher Chantrill
April 16, 2013 at 12:00 am

|

MANY YEARS ago I met on an airplane flight a young woman that demonstrated maturity beyond her years. It turned out that she had been working in her mother’s business since her early teens.

She had not, in other words, been confined 24-7 in some government child custodial facility, or taken the free-contraceptive veil in some secularist seminary. She had lived a life not unlike the departed Margaret Thatcher. Here’s the grocer’s daughter telling (H/T American Spectator) the cognoscenti in The Path to Power about the reality of capitalism for a young girl living over the store:

For them [the critics] capitalism was alien and harsh: for me it was familiar and creative. I was able to see that it was satisfying customers that allowed my father to increase the number of people he employed. I knew that it was international trade that brought coffee, sugar, and spice to those who frequented our shop. And, more than that, I experienced that business, as can be seen in any marketplace anywhere, was lively, human, social, and sociable: in fact, though serious, it was fun.

The grocer’s daughter knows that the businessman can never relax, never take it easy, because a business that is not thriving and expanding is declining and falling apart: rather like Britain in the 1970s or the US in the 2010s.

What does a businessman do when business profits are evaporating or the nation is burdened with huge loss-making government sponsored enterprises?

The answer is obvious: the businessman cuts costs and concentrates on selling and improving his best-selling products; he must, because a couple of months of slow sales could put him underwater, forever. But the government, representing the great mass of people that vote for politicians that promise them to maintain their customary standard of living, goes into debt to continue spending just as before. That’s what Britain did in the 1970s, as the government bailed out and nationalized failing manufacturers, and quailed before angry union pickets, as the whole nation fought to maintain its traditional standard of living.

What is going on here? The answer comes out clearly in Max Weber’s General Economic History. The economic policy of most governments and most people down the ages has always been to maintain a “traditional standard of living” for themselves.

You will notice that the usual method is to do it by force. The medieval guild is an example. It attempted to provide for all its masters (but not necessarily apprentices and journeymen) a continuing income stream by controlling entry to the guild, by fixing prices and methods of work. The administrative welfare state is merely the modern instantiation of this ancient instinct.

That is why we hate businesspeople; they are so annoyingly busy, running around upsetting ancient communities and customary standards of living. Just like Margaret Thatcher.

And we hate that the busybodies are right. Everything in this world runs down unless you wind it up. The great corporation protecting its market share soon collapses when faced with a new competitor without a legacy product line to protect. The established church winds down as new entrepreneurial churches reach out to the unchurched. Big governments cater to their base supporters, helping seniors maintain their “fixed incomes” while blocking the growth of the new. And when a Margaret Thatcher comes in and takes a principled stand against the freeloaders, they respond with this (on Wattsupwiththat.com):

I wonder how our US cousins would feel about a leader who shut just about every coal mine in the US and threw ancient communities on the scrap heap, mainly for political goals.

This man is expressing the age-old human desire to maintain a “customary standard of living.” But he is conveniently forgetting how, for a decade or more, the miners had ruthlessly fought the British government in the streets, insisting that their right to live a customary standard of living trumped the rights of all the other “ancient communities” in the UK to their customary standard of living.

The modern middle class, the People of the Responsible Self, are people who have moved on from this ancient instinct. We scorn to play the victim card, to cringe and whine at the feet of a powerful patron. We say that when the vein is played out, when the market turns against us, we have to eat our losses, pack up our memories, leave our ancient communities, and move on.

Margaret Thatcher, daughter of a small businessman and Methodist lay preacher, may one day become the patron saint of the People of the Responsible Self. She always did the right thing rather than do the likable thing. And that is why they hate her.

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.

 

 TAGS


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


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


Hugo on Genius

“Tear down theory, poetic systems... No more rules, no more models... Genius conjures up rather than learns... ” —Victor Hugo
César Graña, Bohemian versus Bourgeois


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


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


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


Postmodernism

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


Faith and Politics

As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable... [1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006


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


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


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


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


presented by Christopher Chantrill

Data Sources  •   •  Contact