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Let's Look on the Bright Side Piketty Doesn't Understand Capitalism

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10 Questions for a Liberal the Week after Mothers Day

by Christopher Chantrill
May 14, 2014 at 12:00 am


LADY MARJORIE and I went to lunch on Mothers Day with a older liberal couple. You don’t want to have a political dogfight on Mother’s Day, but I thought to myself about the questions I would like to ask my liberal friends five years into the administration of America’s First Black President.

What do you think about Obamacare? I read a cute piece the other day about Obamacare patients driving down to Mexico for health care because the care south of the border was cheaper and faster. It rather ties into the idea that the now-banned “mini-med” plans weren’t so bad after all. A lot of people just want a bit of help reducing the cost of routine medical expenses. And how are your grandchildren doing on the health-insurance front?

What do you think about the economy? I know that the Great Recession was all the fault of Bush and the greedy bankers, but what would you propose right now? Is Obama’s proposal to hike the minimum wage the answer? Or something else? What would you suggest regarding Fannie and Freddie, and the whole question of subsidizing home ownership, given that the Crash of 2008 was all about mortgage loans gone bad?

What do you think about Benghazi? Suppose a Republican president had been prepping for a presidential debate the night that terrorists attacked a US diplomatic compound and then lied about it? What sort of investigation would you recommend then?

What do you think about race relations? It was pretty exciting when America elected its First Black President. But it seems that race relations have gone downhill since then, what with the Tea Party and all. What would you suggest we do about those racist Tea Partiers? I know! How about we rag on their employers and shame them into firing all the Tea Party racists!

What do you think about the Eich/Sterling/Ali/HGTV flaps? You see, we conservatives are rather sensitive about this. We’ve seen liberals dining out on McCarthyism for half a century, regaling us about the fascist outrage of firing teachers and Hollywood types for the sin of their unpopular progressive beliefs. Now it seems that liberals are playing the same game. Or is it different when a TV network cancels an upcoming home-improvement show featuring a couple of enthusiastic Christians with extreme social views from Liberty University?

How’s that global warming coming? I know that global warming means the end of the world unless we act now, but don’t you think that there’s a little bit too much money going to Democratic party contributors and rather too many birds getting killed by wind turbines?

Got through Piketty’s Capital yet? I’m manfully wading through all 685 pages and blogging each chapter as I go. Piketty thinks we must increase taxes on the rich because low growth in the 21st century means a return to the rentier hell of Jane Austen and Balzac. How do you feel? Nassim Nicholas Taleb tweets that the rich are one Black Swan away from indigence. No such risks for the permanent academic-bureaucratic elite.

How about that Lois Lerner? Imagine the IRS in a Republican administration ragging on MoveOn.org and the Center for American Progress. I wish you would help get me straight on that, because I have this crazy vision of a national run on fainting couches as the entire NYTWPCBSNBCPRABC apparat runs non-stop #StopTheFascists tweets until MoveOn.org gets out of jail free.

How about Islam and those kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria? It’s a shame about Hillary dropping the ball on that one a year or two ago. But we bitter clingers are still wondering when we are going to see the rollout of the Obama strategy vis-a-vis radical Islam. I voted for Obama in 2008 to encourage the Democrats to Move On from Bush-Is-To-Blame to a real coherent global security strategy. It’s now 5.5 years and counting.

How would you compare documentaries: Gasland and Gosnell? Talk about moral equivalence: the hell of flaming faucets versus the joy of abortion.

Of course no conservative would think of asking such rude questions of a faithful liberal on Mother’s Day of all days. But still, there are an awful lot of things going wrong on Obama’s watch, and inquiring minds would like to know what a honest liberal thinks about it all before she reaches for the liberal talking points.

Here’s a cunning plan for you liberals. Vote by secret ballot for the Republican in 2016, but don’t tell your liberal friends what you did. Then spend the next 50 years raging about the cruelties and the injustice of the Cruz/Rubio/Paul Recession and the budget cuts and grandmas thrown off the cliff and the extreme weather and the Koch XL pipeline right through the Black Hills taking Bakken oil to the Gulf. I won’t tell if you won’t.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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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

Conservatism's Holy Grail

What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph


“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

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

Drang nach Osten

There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion


“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

presented by Christopher Chantrill

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