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The Primal Scream of the Policy People

by Christopher Chantrill
March 22, 2016 at 12:00 am


I WAS TALKING with a friend, and he said that his son would probably go get a PhD because he wants to do “policy” in education.

I replied that, for me, “policy” is the problem in education. Government does not learn (Kevin D. Williamson) so adding more policy into the dead-end mess we call government education isn’t going to solve the problem.

In fact, I went on to say, the policy people are the well-born elitists doing the dirty work for the ruling class, figuring out, like Jonathan Gruber, how to dress up the monster of Obamacare so it looks like affordable care, even it if walks, talks, and defecates like a dead-end government program to pay off the ruling class’s supporters. The policy people are part of the problem.

So it is telling that the people really upset about the Trump phenomenon are the policy people, those well-born men and women that went to the right schools and interned with the right power people and are now seen all over the media carrying the ruling class’s water.

The policy people intuit that the Trump candidacy, in some dark and animalistic way, represents the end of the line for people like them. Politics in the future, they fear, isn’t going to be nicely turned policy papers but something ruder and cruder.

I think they are wrong. But that doesn’t stop a chap like David Brooks from imagining the end times for policy-nerds.

Enough about the yelping and yipping at the policy puppy store. What is the meaning of Trump?

This week’s answer is in Mencius Moldbug’s idea of The Cathedral (recently sneered at by Kevin J. Williamson). Says Moldbug:

The great power center of 2008 is the Cathedral. The Cathedral has two parts: the accredited universities and the established press.

Under the Cathedral’s bishops and canons is the Apparat of the civil service and the NGOs, etc. Downstream from the Cathedral is politics, organized as the Inner Party of Democrats and the Outer Party of Republicans. When the Inner Party is in power it gets to rule; when the Outer Party is in power it only gets to govern. This means that Inner Party functionaries get one free grope, but Outer Party cuckservative policy types better not even think of it. This is because, like any established church, the Cathedral enforces its Articles of Faith, received directly from God, and it is heresy to depart from the orthodoxy of Holy SJW Writ, and the Cathedral leans more on people whose Faith is suspect rather than on those that just went to Policy Confession.

The frustration we conservatives have felt in the last few years as the GOP won the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014 is that the Outer Party GOP establishment knew that it was better obey the Holy Writ and not challenge the Inner Party and the bishops at the Cathedral. Not yet, and maybe not ever.

But Donald Trump is running for president from the Outer Party and he has driven a stake through the the Cathedral’s orthodoxy and lived to tell the tale. No wonder the lefty muscle-men are marchin’ and protestin’ and blocking highways and closing down Trump rallies. They can see the Antichrist and know what to do about it.

A vital job at any Cathedral is to cover the mailed fist of political power with the velvet glove of gentle Christian persuasion. That is why I like to say that liberals are always pretending that their ruthless political operatives are nothing but kindly librarians.

But government is force; politics is violence; system is domination. That is the truth about government and politics and government programs, as anyone on the receiving end of such wonders will tend to agree.

But ruling classes all end up forgetting these simple truths, and and are genuinely shocked and offended when the slaves rebel. Of course they are, when the Cathedral echoes every day with tuneful anthems sung by the Cathedral choir attesting to the godliness of the ruling class, its ethics and its compassion.

And so, when the head of rebellion shows up, the ruling class is shocked and insulted, not just the bishops and the canons and the Cathedral choristers and the Inner Party thugs but the Outer Party policy puppies as well.

And really, we would all probably end up much better off being good little girls reciting our lessons and getting our government checks regular. But there is something in human beings that, every now and again, rebels against good-little-girldom, and strikes out west to the Territory. Maybe this is one such time.

But my guess is probably not, and so all the policy puppies can stop yipping and whining and peeing and shut up.

Mommy will be along with the Puppy Chow soon.

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

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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


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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.
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Drang nach Osten

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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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