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Rectification of Names: Let's Call Obama Era Like It Is 30 Years of Nobelity: What Hayek Means to Me

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Go Read a Book, Kristol Tells the Kids

by Christopher Chantrill
October 07, 2014 at 12:00 am


WITH THE RUIN of the Obama presidency we have arrived at what President Obama likes to call a “teachable moment.” So finally, writes Bill Kristol, we can get the kids to go read a book: Hayek on intellectual conceit, James Q. Wilson on bureaucracy, Banfield on the city, Churchill on war, Orwell on the obvious, Lewis on chests. Not to mention his dad on “unanticipated consequences.”

But really, what good will it do?

Karl Marx on Feuerbach: “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it."

When the Marxist predictions had clearly failed by the end of World War I, the Frankfurt School refounded the Marxian movement as “critical theory.” In Max Horkheimer’s notion critical theory attempts "to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them.”

Then Habermas defined critical theory as devoted to “a form of life free from unnecessary domination in all its forms.”

Hello? Unnecessary domination? How about this:

Government dominating parents in with divisive government education

Government dominating workers with government entitlements

Government dominating physicians and patients with government healthcare

Government dominating workers with unjust taxes on labor

Government dominating students with unjust student loans

Government dominating business with unjust regulations on free exchange of goods and services

And let’s not forget our favorite little liberal darlings:

Social justice warriors trying to dominate everyone in sight.

I could go on.

But the point is that the time for reading books is over. The human race has had cogent and understandable diagnoses of the last century’s big government cancer for ages. Now it’s time to treat the patient, before the disease of big government kills it.

Here, for example, is a young woman in Time of all places telling her cohort that it’s crazy to go $30,000 into debt when “you probably could have gotten your education/accounting/psychology degree at a much more affordable university closer to home.”

Yet millions of twentysomethings deep in debt are standing around meekly serving overpriced coffee drinks to other twentysomethings. If they read anyone it’s probably Naomi Klein.

I will tell you why. It is because conservatives are too busy reading books. Instead, conservatives should be organizing the wretched of the Obama earth and getting them plenty mad.

That is Marx’s great insight. His idea of “class” was that people form a class when they organize for political struggle around an idea that they are oppressed and exploited by some other group.

Now, we know that the core components of the Emerging Democratic Majority are getting restless after six years of Obama. Women, minorities, educated, youth: all of these voters that were going to keep the Democrats in power for a generation are falling off. Why? Because liberalism is a crock. It’s the wet dream of an educated elite that thinks that society is something for them to organize into proper ranks and files. Or, as Jonah Goldberg writes:

Liberalism, as an ideology, insists that government can do good and great things for the people and the world if the people running the government are smart liberals.

Now liberals are big on psychology. So they probably know there’s a category in psychopathology for people that think that the world would work if only they could rule it.

Meanwhile, median income is going down. Yay, kids! Under Obama inequality is going up!

It reminds me of the Clinton campaign’s famous catchphrase from 1992: “everything that should be down is up; everything that should be up is down.” And that was after the mildest recession since World War II. Worst economy in 50 years, the Clintons called it.

What do you call the sixth year of the worst economic recovery since whenever? Time for a change or time for a revolution? Yet the only people in the streets are the blacks of Ferguson and Robert F. Kennedy and his People’s Climate March.

Liberals are in the position of climate warmist Kevin Trenberth, who emailed hockey pro Michael E. Mann on October 12, 2009 to say:

The fact is that we canít account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we canít.

It’s great that liberals are hopelessly at sea with their conceit that we rubes should leave climate to the smart liberals. No doubt there are similar emails about the economy that have now been carefully destroyed by the IRS.

Forget about teaching the kids to read conservatives. How about we form the ordinary middle class into a class that experiences itself as oppressed and exploited on the one hand by fatally conceited liberals and on the other by terminally dependent government clients. Then we do something about it.

This is not a time for reading; this is a time for doing.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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“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


“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


“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


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 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

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