Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
July 28, 2017 Disclaimer: Please read.

Statements and opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors, not Truthdig. Truthdig takes no responsibility for such statements or opinions.

Truthdig Bazaar more items

Arts and Culture
Email this item Print this item

‘Death of the Liberal Class’

Posted on Oct 29, 2010

By Chris Hedges

From the book “Death of the Liberal Class,” by Chris Hedges.  Excerpted by arrangement with Nation Books, a member of the Perseus Books Group.  Copyright © 2010.

We’re pleased to feature this excerpt from “Death of the Liberal Class,” the latest book by the acclaimed foreign correspondent, author and Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges. The following selection is taken from the first chapter of the book, published this month by Nation Books.

In a traditional democracy, the liberal class functions as a safety valve. It makes piecemeal and incremental reform possible. It offers hope for change and proposes gradual steps toward greater equality. It endows the state and the mechanisms of power with virtue. It also serves as an attack dog that discredits radical social movements, making the liberal class a useful component within the power elite.

But the assault by the corporate state on the democratic state has claimed the liberal class as one of its victims. Corporate power forgot that the liberal class, when it functions, gives legitimacy to the power elite. And reducing the liberal class to courtiers or mandarins, who have nothing to offer but empty rhetoric, shuts off this safety valve and forces discontent to find other outlets that often end in violence. The inability of the liberal class to acknowledge that corporations have wrested power from the hands of citizens, that the Constitution and its guarantees of personal liberty have become irrelevant, and that the phrase consent of the governed is meaningless, has left it speaking and acting in ways that no longer correspond to reality. It has lent its voice to hollow acts of political theater, and the pretense that democratic debate and choice continue to exist.

The liberal class refuses to recognize the obvious because it does not want to lose its comfortable and often well-paid perch. Churches and universities—in elite schools such as Princeton, professors can earn $180,000 a year—enjoy tax-exempt status as long as they refrain from overt political critiques. Labor leaders make lavish salaries and are considered junior partners within corporate capitalism as long as they do not speak in the language of class struggle. Politicians, like generals, are loyal to the demands of the corporate state in power and retire to become millionaires as lobbyists or corporate managers. Artists who use their talents to foster the myths and illusions that bombard our society live comfortably in the Hollywood Hills.


book cover


Death of the Liberal Class


By Chris Hedges


Nation Books, 256 pages


Buy the book

The media, the church, the university, the Democratic Party, the arts, and labor unions—the pillars of the liberal class—have been bought off with corporate money and promises of scraps tossed to them by the narrow circles of power. Journalists, who prize access to the powerful more than they prize truth, report lies and propaganda to propel us into a war in Iraq. Many of these same journalists assured us it was prudent to entrust our life savings to a financial system run by speculators and thieves. Those life savings were gutted. The media, catering to corporate advertisers and sponsors, at the same time renders invisible whole sections of the population whose misery, poverty, and grievances should be the principal focus of journalism.

In the name of tolerance—a word the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., never used—the liberal church and the synagogue refuse to denounce Christian heretics who acculturate the Christian religion with the worst aspects of consumerism, nationalism, greed, imperial hubris, violence, and bigotry. These institutions accept globalization and unfettered capitalism as natural law. Liberal religious institutions, which should concern themselves with justice, embrace a cloying personal piety expressed in a how-is-it-with-me kind of spirituality and small, self-righteous acts of publicly conspicuous charity. Years spent in seminary or rabbinical schools, years devoted to the study of ethics, justice, and morality, prove useless when it comes time to stand up to corporate forces that usurp religious and moral language for financial and political gain.

Universities no longer train students to think critically, to examine and critique systems of power and cultural and political assumptions, to ask the broad questions of meaning and morality once sustained by the humanities. These institutions have transformed themselves into vocational schools. They have become breeding grounds for systems managers trained to serve the corporate state. In a Faustian bargain with corporate power, many of these universities have swelled their endowments and the budgets of many of their departments with billions in corporate and government dollars. College presidents, paid enormous salaries as if they were the heads of corporations, are judged almost solely on their ability to raise money. In return, these universities, like the media and religious institutions, not only remain silent about corporate power but also condemn as “political” all within their walls who question corporate malfeasance and the excesses of unfettered capitalism.

Banner, End of Story, Desktop
Banner, End of Story, Mobile
Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt, By Chris Hedges, Truthdig Columnist and Winner of the Pulitzer Prize -- Get Your Autographed Copy Today Also Available! Truthdig Exclusive DVD of Chris Hedges' Wages of Rebellion Lecture The World As It Is: 
Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress: A collection of Truthdig Columns, by Chris Hedges -- Get Your Autographed Copy Today

Keep up with Chris Hedges’ latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at

Related Entries

Get truth delivered to
your inbox every day.

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Join the conversation

Load Comments

By Botswanaie Potorreebia, March 5, 2011 at 1:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Simply providing the evidence was information enough;
for someone who went to Harvard Divinity School and
having read and listened to much of what he has said
for many years Hedges has a lot of humility to be so
self righteous to believe he knows the answers on how
to restore our democratic processes.

If you have spent a lifetime and for me that is 60
years of military, social and political history and
the study of human nature one realizes the process is
so embedded deep into the Capitalistic financial
framework of the entire planet that it will simply
run its course until the masses rise up which they
inevitably always do throughout history to declare
that’s enough but long after the damage has already
been done to millions of people.

A microcosm of this was the LA Riots# 2. When the
dissident civil had in some places already begun to
move into more affluent neighborhoods taking whatever
they wanted and burning their houses down. The have
not; s will rise up and destroy all those wearing
uniforms and destroy all those bearing signs of the

What makes the end game scenario so scary in contrast
to past human history of other empire self-destructs
we have nukes in this equation. I’ll be dead by then
thank God. Its game over and was when I wrote about
it in 1975.

Report this

By knowbytouch, December 31, 2010 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment

Eloquent verbiage.  Some humans have a talent for stringing words like lights on a Christmas tree.  Others are LImbaugh and Beck.  The climate for individual freedom has been worse in the US.  I wonder if Chris Hedges ran across the comment of America’s oldest, who recently said of the Wilson era that things were different then, that you had to do what everyone did.  Recall the play that was readings from different graves, from that time, and that some spoke of having been lynched for not saluting the flag vigorously enough?  That is a picture of ‘what everyone did’ meant, the ‘had to’ carrying special significance.  I knew that truth from my 20’s when I first saw one of Wilson’s WWI posters of a dark hun bayonetting a fair haired infant.  You have to have developed a truly ignorant and hate filled electorate to be able to display a poster like that.  Wilson ran a very successful propaganda campaign, moreso even than Cheney, Bush did.  Put up a Wilson style poster in US post offices today, showing muslim terrorists murdering fair haired babies, and you would get howls and probably sued.

The richest 1% took virtual control of the US by about 1840, and crashed the economy every 10-15 yrs. after that.  FDR passed laws partially controlling their behavior, and taxing them at 90%, and we had a half century of relative wealth (and growth of the middle class) after that, until the richest 1% destroyed his laws, dating mostly from Reagan.

The richest 1% has already collapsed the economy, but learned from Keynes to have the public pay it.  They’ll crash it again, for their status games within their group assure that outcome. 

When the culture has been devestated thoroughly enough, the American electorate will again control them for a few years, but appears to have proven itself too stupid to see the actual problem.

That problem is that kings have been a disaster for 90%-99% of their history.  They came some 10,000 yrs. ago with agricultural development, and have been a failure since.  The US did away with a king, but soon claimed that getting rich bequeathed a right to an economic royalty.  The richest 1% has since ruled and botched this nation.

Report this

By Odysseus, November 13, 2010 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment

I’m not sure that de Beauvoir’s not-always-coherent impressions are anything to build a revolution on, but then again revolutions aren’t known for their coherence (part of the reason that the grand-parent of all of them collapsed in a heap, although only after world-class amounts of wrack and ruin.

Again I say: it’s not a matter of an academic research project or course syllabus here and too much reliance on the mise-en-scene of Academia is utterly insufficient to the reality of what has happened.

Lots of folks were reading lots of stuff; James Baldwin had already decided that “the American way of life has failed” while Ike was still President.

These were ideas. In the politics of democratic deliberation and consensus those who wished could get together and start working toward informing other Citizens and coming up with proposals. BUT as I have said, that entire approach – the only approach that would work within the American Vision – was far too ‘slow’ for revolutionaries (and buried beneath that objection was the much more ominous one: that the revolutionaries were very sure that they ‘got it’ and that there was no guarantee that their ideas would be adopted , and in the form they wanted, and – since those who ‘just don’t get it’ aren’t worth listening to in the first place – they opted to sidetrack the entire American democratic process).

And yet none of this was particularly dangerous since the requirement for consensus-building could handle a goodly amount of all that.

BUT what really was the key to the whole thing – for which the Academic paradigm is utterly unsuited as an explanatory vehicle – is that the Dems immediately threw the full weight of the Federal authority and purse behind such ideas. AND not just in once case but in the matter of the “many revolutions”.

So the democratic process was sidestepped and indeed subverted, with the connivance of a vote-hungry Beltway, by an Identity Politics that required an ‘enemy’ (or rather, each Identity selected its own ‘enemy’) and had to Deconstruct that aspect of society and culture that in that Identity’s foundation myth ‘offended and oppressed’ it.

That Baldwin came to believe that all of ‘white culture’ had to be done away with, that the feministicals called American society ‘patriarchal’ and likened the family Auschwitz and Dachau, and all the rest of that vivid and quick-burning tinder; that the assessments of colonial and Third-World societies were gleefully and heedlessly applied to a major established and working Western culture with no thought as to possible ill-consequences (and can you say ‘Iraq War’?) … all of this was part of the profoundly flawed Zeitgeist.

I’m not sure that putting Identity Politics of White-Black back to 1500 isn’t a bit of historical back-putting. But again, revolutions aren’t in the careful-analysis business; that’s why Lenin saw himself as a necessary improvement over Marx. The Catholic friars of the Spanish Empire saw the Indian not as an Identity but as a human being like the European and sought equal-treatment on that basis, much like King did centuries later.

Identity Politics as it has mutated is irretrievably entangled with Alinsky and all of his intellectual forebears in Russia and Europe. It requires a revolutionary politics and not a democratic politics; it is flawed in its own concepts and dishonest even with itself; and it is and has proven to be lethally corrosive of any sense of common-weal. And yet it would have remained a sub-theme had the politicians here not suddenly grasped and ‘valorized’ it 40 Biblical years ago and since.

It was the politicians who really provided such ‘success’ as Identity Politics has had. And whether witless or treacherous, it is the politicians who are primarily responsible for the ruinous decline of American politcal competence and maturity.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 13, 2010 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment

I don’t think you can accuse liberals or Democrats of writing The Second Sex which is what all the people interested in sex/gender status issues were reading in the 1950s.  Then in the 1960s, the Civil Rights/Black Power movements showed how you got something done even if you were a small minority—basically, by making trouble, but avoiding overt violence, which could be an excuse for violent suppression.

The construction of Identity goes back long before that, however.  The White / Black thing began to be constructed around 1500 so it is easier to observe than some others.  The construction of The Woman began in prehistory, of course.  The construction of the Homosexual is quite recent, relatively speaking—I believe the term was invented in the 1880s.  The irony of Identity politics is that the identities around which the political theory and action are organized are precisely the terms or conditions of oppression to which the given identity refers.  For example, in a rational, ideal society we would not sharply divide the population into two categories based on skin color, so that Black Power effectively perpetuates the very division which it is supposed to militate against.

But of course one of the Identified can always ask the privileged or ‘normal’, ‘All right, irony or not, what are you going to do about it?’  Based on historical experience, the default answer has almost always been ‘Nothing.’

Report this

By Odysseus, November 13, 2010 at 12:36 am Link to this comment

Let me work simply from your own premises here.

The quotation you selected from my Comment is not addressed by the comments you then make. First, Jim Crow was precisely a matter of segregation and discrimination. Second - not addressed – is the idea of “unfinished work”. The Civil War was supposed to have addressed this and when Americans saw that it was not so, and saw the dynamics of the Jim Crow regime in operation, there was a wide consensus that the Feds had to go into the South and put a stop to Jim Crow.

The Black Power Movement arose not because King was actually proceeding too slowly but because ‘revolution’ – as it always does – seemed to promise a quicker and easier solution. Alas for everybody involved.

King was accurate in his assessment that there was a distinction between de-facto and de-jure. The problem for the nation at THAT point was to consider how much could be done ‘quickly’ – i.e. on the basis of the ‘emergency’ constituted by Jim Crow. Once the Southern police were leashed and voting rights assured, then the matter would best have been dealt with by the process of building a democratic political consensus widely and broadly. Instead, the Beltway tried to do to the entire country what it had done to the South.

And that was even before Black Power began cycling off the rails in its own corner of the field.

And all THAT was before the radical feminist advocacy then quickly launched its own board, claiming that its alleged clients had been even worse oppressed, that their ‘emergency’ was even greater, and that while the Feds were treating the entire nation like the Jim Crow South in matters of Race, they must forthwith go after the non-female half of the Citizenry in the matter of Gender as well.

Hence in 1976 Gerald Ford’s witless channeling of Mao when he said that America was so strong that it could handle “many revolutions at once”. Which has turned out not to be the case at all and no sober mind could have thought so even back then.

As you yourself say, at one point the Black groups decided it was no longer in their interests to be ‘liberal’ – THEN the only option left was ‘revolutionary’ (even in the Alinsky-ite mode, which – thankfully – eschewed physical violence in the service of the revolution). And I don’t think the radical-feminists ever embraced a ‘liberal’ phase in their endeavors, but if they did, it didn’t last long. Especially when the Dems proves themselves so panderingly pliant.

But the key is that to eschew a ‘liberal’ approach also meant abandoning a democratic consensus politics for a politics of Alinsky-ite spin and a Goebbelsian politics of ‘emergency’ and manipulated public opinion. And the Leninist-Maoist politics of ‘we are the vanguard elites, we get it – so we get to do what we want’.  Hence American politics in its cartoonish decline to today.

The Democratic Party’s FIRST job was to judge the assertions and demands of the ‘revolutions’ (Black Power and Radical Feminist being the two biggest) and allow a public consensus to develop. Your assessment sidesteps that vital responsibility and goes straight into the excitements of political strategy. Which   is precisely the revolutionary Method and Approach.

Lastly, the problem with the concluding assessment of Identity Politics is that it presumes without thought or analysis that whatever an Identity demands must be right and just and deserving of fulfillment. And there is absolutely no justification for that presumption in logic and not so very much, especially given the costs, in history as it has worked out.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 12, 2010 at 10:07 pm Link to this comment

Odysseus, November 12 at 12:03 am:

‘It was the understanding of the country in the first phase that Jim Crow had to be eliminated and it was seen by the country as primarily “unfinished work” ....’

Certainly not the country I was living in.  The elimination of segregation and discrimination was considered a mighty offense by most of the White people I knew at the time, especially the older ones.  King was said to be going ‘too fast’.  Of course, he was considered much too conciliatory by other Black-interest activists, hence the rise of the Black Power movement.

Another development that followed soon upon the accomplishment of the Voting Rights Act was the widespread realization that achieving de jure political and legal equality was not the same as acquiring de facto economic and social equality.  This was why King went to Cicero, Illinois, in pursuit of equal access to real estate markets, and to Memphis, where he was killed, to support a labor union.  He was also beginning to make serious contact with the (predominantly White) anti-war movement.  That was 1967-1968.

Up until about that point, the aims of King and most of the Civil Rights / Black Power movement(s) had been liberal:  they were willing to go along with liberalism and capitalism as long as they got a reasonable share of the proceeds, with of course the one very profound exception that the racial structuring of American society would have to be bent or broken.  Perhaps the insistence on economic equalization implied some kind of socialism.  (King was often charged with being a Communist, which would be a right-wing response to such a proposition.)  In those dear departed days liberals talked about ‘integration’, which seems to indicate that they (perhaps unconsciously) expected Black people to fade away physically and culturally into the White majority once they were permitted to do so, thus obviating the problems of economic and social inequality.

The job of the Democratic Party was to get around and co-opt these movements, just as its job in the 1930s and ‘40s was to get around and co-opt the labor movement.  This was a rather difficult task given the fact that probably a majority of its constituents still believed in drawing significant racial distinctions.  That struggle, that conflict, is really the template of the subsequent politics of identity: (1) a discriminated category demands equality and liberation from special constraints; (2) it is resisted and partly fails; (3) the movement splits into moderate (accommodationist) and radical (separatist) parts; (4) the established order strives to head off and get control of the deteriorating situation.

That describes Identity the U.S.  It seems to have had a different history in Europe.

Report this

By Odysseus, November 11, 2010 at 7:03 pm Link to this comment

It was the understanding of the country in the first phase that Jim Crow had to be eliminated and it was seen by the country as primarily “unfinished work”
The suggestion you make is merely the effort of subsequent follow-ons to cash in on the kinetic power of that Movement later on and somehow place their own agendas at the heart of the matter, rather than have anybody notice that they were later-ons.

Hence the low-frequency but profound shock when 1965 was achieved and suddenly Black Power was declaring ‘revolution’ and ‘separatism’ and so forth, to be followed quickly by radical-feminism trying to get its board into the revolutionary surf (while spinning it, although the assertion is not at all clearly established as accurate, as ‘civil rights’).

The significance of Black Power is only positive from the point of view of the follow-ons who needed a ‘front’ issue. For the black community Black Power bore far less fruit.

And since the whole thing was cobbled together from all of the dubious and shady stuff I’ve mentioned (and more) then wide public deliberation HAD TO BE sidetracked to prevent this whole frankenstein’s monstrosity from being carefully looked at. Hence now it is only ‘the choir’ of those who ‘get it’ who keep telling themselves their endlessly repeated happy-stories at their cadre-klatsches. But serious and wide-open debate they have always avoided; they have to, given the highly tenuous nature of their entire programme, both asserted Content and deployed Method.

For this type of job Alinsky’s Approach was perfectly suited (since revolutions seek to do the same thing.

I didn’t say that the Dems had much to do with at the beginning. I said that when they realized that they were about to lose the Southern voter for at least a generation, they were desperate to come up with new demographics – and the Identities, enabled and valorized by the Dems no matter what they asserted and claimed and demanded, were the result. And so was the derangement of deliberative democratic politics in this country.

Deconstructionist dynamics included a) a hermeneutics of suspicion, b) a presumption that a culture and a society were ‘plastic’ or malleable like a text, c) a presumption that culture and society were plastic such that each Citizen – like a reader or an ‘interrogating reader’ – could come up with his/her own interpretation, d) that the relationship of a Citizen to a polity or a culture was mostly the same as that of a reader to a text; e) that it really didn’t matter what the author(s) of the ‘text’ intended and it’s all about the reader, and f) that there would be no ill consequences from the whole exercise.

The matter of the Deconstructionists’ time-line is not relevant to the issues I am raising.

The relevant point of the ‘history’ is that the key to the post-1965 era was opportunism: sensing the Democrats’ desperation for new demographics, assorted boards were cast into the waters; they were steeped in revolutionary theory and Alinsky-ite praxis. Anybody who cares to read – since you bring it up – the Wiki entries on feminist thinking and feminist theory will experience a stunning sense of déjà vu, since it all resembles old Marxist-Leninist thought with ‘women’ substituted for ‘the masses’.

Radical feminsim wasn’t an uprising: it was an odd flower that would have remained in the far corner of the faculty dining-room if the Dems hadn’t so desperately embraced and ‘valorized’ it, Marxist leftovers, Alinskyite anti-politics, and all. It succeeded (to the extent the term applies) not because of its own inherent value but because the Dems desperately embraced it and wrote whatever blank checks were demanded of them.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 11, 2010 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

I would not say that 1965 completed something that was supposed to have been accomplished in 1865.  In a sense, Abolition was less fundamental than Civil Rights / Black Power.  Most of the abolitionists were racists in the full definition of the word: they believed that physical races exist, that they could be distinguished, that some were superior to others, and that something political ought to be done about it.  What the abolitionists disagreed with, for a number of reasons, was slavery, however inferior the slaves might be.  (Popular solutions of what to do with the ex-slaves-to-be included shipping them all back to Africa, or out west somewhere, which was then thought to be a kind of Siberia.)  Because racism persisted and was in fact fundamental to the American social order, as soon as slavery had been eliminated, Jim Crow and other forms of discrimination and oppression were put in place with the full agreement of the White majority.  This situation persisted until the 1960s—if you look at polls taken among White people in the 1950s, you will observe that a substantial majority vigorously supported discrimination and segregation.  I am old enough to remember that era, and this was my own personal experience.  Only a small minority of White people supported equality.  This was why the Civil Rights / Black Power movements were necessary (from the point of view of their constituents).

I don’t think the Democratic Party per se had much to do with Civil Rights in the beginning.  Southern segregationists were still mostly Democrats before the 1960s—see the presidential election of 1960, for example.  However, since it was the leading party of the time and was supposed to be the more liberal of the two major parties (in the looser sense of the word) it was the target of Civil Rights activity, for example the Freedom Democratic Party of Mississippi, which caused the regular Democrats a great deal of trouble in 1964. (See

I don’t see before-the-fact Deconstruction going on in this.  It is more likely that Deconstructionists, writing after the initial events of Civil Rights in the US and the revolt against colonialism in Africa and Asia, abstracted from these events.

There is a long history of relationship between anti-racist, anti-colonial and feminist concerns, movements and groups going back in the U.S. to at least the middle of the 19th century, so it is hardly surprising that the relative success of the Civil Rights movement inspired a feminist uprising beginning in the late 1960s.

Report this

By Odysseus, November 11, 2010 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

I think Deconstruction works. The first phase of the Civil Rights Movement (until July 1965) was simply an effort to implement what had been theoretically accomplished in 1865 but which the Jim Crow regime had been purposely designed to quash.

The second phase was the ‘revolutionary’ phase and probably is more aptly named the Black Power Movement or Phase, to distinguish it from King’s first phase. By that Black Power phase ‘revolution’ had become a master paradigm, thus opening itself to Alinsky.

BUT THEN the follow-on ‘liberations’ – as other fractals of Identity Politics, other Identities – were erected by the vote-addled Dems, they sought to cast themselves in the Civil-Rights paradigm (as your own recounting clearly indicates in the foregoing Comment). But that was more rhetorical than substantive, and indeed as rhetorical was actually more distracting than illuminating.

There existed no large objection to the MLK agenda, since most of the country except the most rabid Southrons agreed that Jim Crow was an abomination and had to go. As few care to recall nowadays, the trouble came when the Black Power second phase began talking about Separatism and revolution.

Ditto when the follow-on fractals – or at least their self-appointed ‘advocacies’ – started agitating to the effect that they too had been oppressed by an ‘ethnic’ Jim Crow, or a ‘gender’ Jim Crow or any other of the many variants and permutations of the paradigm.

The country, like a shrewd horse whipped toward a rickety bridge sensed, I think, two things: A) were these fractals really and truly in the same ‘civil rights’ bind as the Southern blacks under Jim Crow?

And then B) if it were true, i) what was being demanded as a solution, and ii) was it accurately a solution, and iii) was it workable and prudent in terms of the overall stability of the cultural Trellis that gave shape to the human vines?

However, NONE of these questions (and shrewdly so, from an Alinsky-ite point of view) were given major airing. Instead, Identity Politics chose the Alinsky-ite Approach of simply demanding and manipulating. That wouldn’t have been so bad except that the government – the Dems and then the Beltway generally – immediately caved in order to recover some sense of electoral viability.

Derrida had been talking up the dynamics of what is now termed Deconstruction throughout the Sixties; to the extent that the American ‘revolutions of the Identities’ sought to use those dynamics to justify their assault (however well intentioned, say … to ‘create space’ for their claimed ‘rights’) on American culture then those ‘revolutions’ were Deconstructionist.

The profound Questions raised in the late60s-early70s were (in best Leninist and Alinsky-ite fashion) never deliberated widely let alone Answered in broad public consensus.

Instead, feeding off the (inaccurate) Jim Crow historical analogy and paradigm, ‘demands’ were issued as if, similar to the national attitude toward Jim Crow, ‘everybody agreed’ that this or that aspect of the culture simply had to go. Politics became a matter of building your base (Alinsky) and making shrewd demands (Alinsky) in well-staged rhetorical public ‘confrontations’ (Alinsky) and only talking to other who believed like you , those who also ‘did get it’ (Alinsky). Thus American politics declined to in the parlous cartoon condition of today.

The synergies of that era, inaccurate to begin with and then deployed through manipulative Alinsky-ite methods, have now borne a terrible and not unpredictable fruit. 

Once the country has realized this then at least there is a chance - as in 1956 after Nikita K told the 20th Party Congress what really happened in Stalin’s storied era - that some repairs can be made.

Although that was not how it worked out for the USSR.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 10, 2010 at 11:40 pm Link to this comment

Odysseus—I don’t think ‘Deconstruction’ is the word you want.  The feminists, hippies, sexual liberationists, Gay rights movement among several others spun off the Civil Rights / Black Power movement, which started to get political traction as of the Montgomery bus boycott and the Greensboro sit-in.  I doubt if the activists were thinking of Hegel or Heidegger, although they might have heard of them, and Derrida hadn’t written anything yet (that I know about).  However, although their aim was merely to achieve the normal liberal rights in a normal liberal society, it was necessary to destroy the ideological image of the Great White Man, with which American culture was deeply imbued up until that time.  They more or less succeeded, but that caused a lot of the culture and the social order to come loose and start flapping in the wind.  The liberal ruling class has had to deal with this change in order to retain its power, and it has done so by offering slots in the liberal power structure to a selection of these former dissidents.  That is why feminists in 1968 were forming lesbian communes, but in 1998 were becoming assistant associate vice presidents in banks, and in 2008 were putting 18 million cracks in Hillary Clinton’s glass ceiling.  The liberalism is flexible; it seems it can be bent to cover ethnic minorities, the differently pigmented, the female, the Gay, the Bohemian.  In each category supposedly at odds with the mainstream, the liberal power structure can be replicated—maybe—as long as those who get into it subscribe to its cardinal principles of war, empire, private property and capitalism.  They can, or think they can, dispense with the Great White Man.

So is that what we’re talking about here?  Agreed, it is a view from a somewhat different angle than yours.

Report this

By Odysseus, November 10, 2010 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

Let me add something that might also help clarify my point.

‘Deconstruction’ became – especially in the 1990s – a very significant part of the American ‘Zeitgeist’.  In this radical-feminism (which, by neutralizing genuinely moderate feminism became what is now too-simplistically referred to as ‘feminism’) succeeded all too well.

The presumptive suspicion and ‘war politics’, the expansion of Alinsky’s Have-vs-Have-Nots dynamic by functionally defining a ‘Have’ as anybody who was seen to ‘oppress’ anybody else in any way, with the consequent expansion both of the concept of ‘liberation’ and the concept of ‘rights’, coupled with the quiet but broad embrace of same by the Beltway and by the confrontation-greedy media … this is the synergy and the core dynamic that took place (and still is).

The ‘academic’ view of things is not going to be able to adequately grasp this grave development and its dynamics. It is not as if the Beltway were a university Department formally adopting a profound new ‘approach’ to its ‘subject matter’; thus the ‘academic’ scenario or paradigm is insufficient to reality here.

Rather, what happened was, as I said, a Zeitgeist phenomenon: the new dynamic quickly became ‘conventional wisdom’ of the ‘everybody knows’ variety, buttressed by the popularized mantra that if you don’t accept the ‘wisdom’ then ‘you just don’t get it’. As happens in this sort of thing, the simplistic repetition of the mantra replaced serious analysis, examination, assessment, and Tire-Kicking.

While the Boomers had injected their ‘change is always good’ and other rather typical adolescent attitudes into the national bloodstream starting in the Sixties, it was the far more purposeful and organized efforts of the radical-feminist advocacy that really erected such attitudes into a Plan, concocting a far more complex and powerful ‘cocktail’ out of the relatively simple ‘drugs’ of Boomer attitudes and then – with the Beltway’s enabling authority – injected the new cocktail into the national bloodstream in IV-push mode.

The Alinsky-ite approach – with its revolutionary simplicities (not simply attributable to his having a ‘technique’ but not a ‘philosophy’) – was heading in much the same direction as the Boomers, and he was much taken up by the newly-minted ‘advocacies’, especially the radical-feminist advocacy.

And that provided a powerful synergy that – alas, I would say – succeeded all too quickly in becoming a dense and thick strand in the Zeitgeist. With consequences accruing as I have described in earlier Comments and in my Posts.

Report this

By Odysseus, November 10, 2010 at 4:11 am Link to this comment

The link to my most recent Alinsky Post is below.

I am not sure what you mean by “philosophical signpost”. The man built a technique on assumptions about the role of persons and of political dynamics that necessarily encompass what is legitimate subject matter for political philosophy, at the very least.

I agree in the sense that he only wanted to be a “technician” but my point is that he could not be simply a technician (any more than, say, Shylock could get a pound of flesh and not involve himself in the blood and accompanying tissue); his assumptions – much as he claimed he didn’t have any in order to try to avoid complications for his Approach – were unavoidable and the consequences of those assumptions are now becoming clear.

His ideas were not simply ‘leftish’ but ‘revolutionary’. They were that then and they are that now. All that has happened in the meantime is that he has been so widely adopted by the New Left (in America aka ‘liberals’ or ‘progressives’) that his Approach has become ‘standard’, ‘conventional method’, and can therefore be mistakenly claimed to be ‘centrist’. But the Approach and the ideas it is based upon are quintessentially revolutionary in the sense I explain in the Posts (and, since they are derived from Leninist and Maoist agitprop, neither Alinsky nor his legatees and adherents can wish that reality away).

And the Approach and the ideas are incompatible with a deliberative democratic consensus politics and moreover, they are lethal to such democratic politics. And the consequences of all this are now becoming clear as more and more people realize that something has somehow gone very wrong with American politics.

When, as he does, Alinsky asserts that there is only a “low road” in politics and no high road, then he is not simply liable to the ‘interpretation’ of being Machiavellian, he is most certainly Machiavellian; and when he then adopts the Leninist-Maoist approach of agitprop and manipulation he leaves Machiavel in the dust and – especially from the standpoint of a deliberative democratic politics – goes deeply into the dark side. Which is a huge RE-gression, in the context of the American Founding Vision.

The thought that ‘Deconstruction’ as a theory is too slight to bear the weight of its migration into American politics is academically accurate, but my point is that the great catastrophe of American politics over the past 40 or so years is that despite that fact of Deconstruction’s conceptual insufficiency, it was imported into politics as a matter of convenience: assorted advocacies pressed it upon politicians willing to accept what was pressed upon them. Deconstruction was of modest use in the academic milieu, but ruinous as a grounds for a comprehensive political programme, but that’s what has happened.

Worse, whereas Christianity – in the view of Nietzsche or Gibbon, if you grant the accuracy of their theories – exercised what at most is an unintentional weakening effect on Western Civilization, Deconstruction sets out to plasticize, suspect, and interrogate its targeted ‘text’ from the get-go, on the presumption that neither text nor author are to be trusted or considered definitive.

When widely and profoundly deployed – as I have been saying – in the political forum, and especially in the forum of a democratic politics based on common faith in a Founding Vision, then Deconstruction’s in-built and thorough-going ‘suspicion’ cannot but corrode.

And this is especially true when those who have deployed it are precisely seeking to achieve revolutionary objectives through assault, destabilization, de-valorization, and profound alteration of the political and social and cultural milieu and - in America – the Constitutional ethos itself.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 9, 2010 at 11:06 pm Link to this comment

Odysseus—I can’t find your most recent article about Alinsky.  I briefly scanned some of the others and I fear you are using him as a sort of philosophical signpost.  Alinsky did not, it seems to me, have much philosophy.  He was more of the technician, the engineer, in service to powerful emotions and intuitions which may have lacked a good deal of detail.  These happened to be more or less leftish in his era, but in more recent times his methods have famously worked well for rightists.  I’ve previously called attention around TD somewhere with his talk about power, which could be given a very Machiavellian interpretation.

In regard to your view of Deconstruction as a potent, corrosive ideology, something like Christianity in The Genealogy of Morals or Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, I think you are casting it in a role it is much too slight, ambivalent and recondite to bear.  Otherwise I’d be using it myself.  I strongly doubt that your average ruling-class type has more than a cocktail-party understanding of it or indeed of its general context.

Report this
Orbis Unum's avatar

By Orbis Unum, November 9, 2010 at 9:28 pm Link to this comment

Re: Dave Ewoldt, November 9 at 11:46 pm.

You state: “Rather than arguing over terms, deconstructing liberalism, and all that, it seems as if most of us realize things are not working out very well. Most of us would probably even say that’s a bit of an understatement. So, what are we going to do about it, and what might provide a rational basis for sustainable change that meets human needs?”

And: “I tend to disagree with that, and here’s what I think is a basis for what we could start doing differently:”

Response: While I tend to agree with your overall premise concerning the ‘understatements’ and what individuals could begin to do differently as aforementioned, I did enjoy your foray into evolving into via getting back in balance with the natural systems principles that create and nurture life as stated in your blob article, ‘In A Nutshell.’

Having said all this, evolving as you would put it, inevitable would lead to solution oriented paradigms of Good Will in the interest of seeking Universal Peace with All Walks of Life, as that which we proffer. In all honesty, wouldn’t you agree?

I’m clearly am supporter of Natural Law as you would say, ‘In A Nutshell.’ You might say I broke the systems program of misrepresentations on a particular philosopher named, Pufendorf. The founding fathers of the Grand Corporation (U.S.A.) used Pufendorf’s reasoning, to state their just causes before a Candid World.

To affirm this, all one would have to do is to research what was in each of the founding fathers private libraries, left to either their chosen relatives or wherever they or their relatives may have chosen to sale them to. Such as the Library of Congress, universities or private individuals. I privately, hold an original 1710 edition of the publication entitled, ‘[o]f the Laws of Nature and Nations.’

Pufendorf’s writing were so illuminating, that his manuscript entitled, ‘[o]f the Law of Nature and Nations and translated in English in 1703, was not allowed to exist in its correct translation for more than seven years (1710). Before the global oligarchy removed his revealed truth, about who the real State was!

Again, we honorably await any actual and provable evidence to prove the premises presented in-particular to the established facts raised with the declaration dealing with the Four Freedoms on pages 13-15 to prove otherwise. Not by generalities but Line for Line.

In support of the aforementioned, one only has to avail themselves of these facts we present, if they have any honorable bone in them, to accept the challenge, by reading the “4” declarations posted by the SEA at the web link:

And, once again as our humble attempt for those capable of presenting facts line for line, in the light of reasonable propositions or otherwise, just as a reminder for all those who honorably exchange ideas within the ‘Truthdig Forum’ while refraining from hateful or insolent behavior…always remember, sometimes while exchanging ideas, the time and respect we give, from a deep seated desire to foster harmonious behavior to garner enlightenment, can be met on the road of hopeful enlightenment, by those seeking to discourage, rather than exhorting to greater possibilities. My best to all who post herein, for the purpose of proposing hopeful enlightenment or garnering enlightenment, while proffering Good Will in the interest of seeking Universal Peace with All Walks of Life!!!

Report this
Dave Ewoldt's avatar

By Dave Ewoldt, November 9, 2010 at 6:46 pm Link to this comment

Rather than arguing over terms, deconstructing liberalism, and all that, it seems as if most of us realize things are not working out very well. Most of us would probably even say that’s a bit of an understatement. So, what are we going to do about it, and what might provide a rational basis for sustainable change that meets human needs?

Since we do need to name what we’re talking about, it seems to me that the Industrial Growth Society pretty well sums it up. We buy in to this (literally and figuratively) in various degrees. Many even seem convinced that there is no alternative; the best we can hope for is a more benign set of rulers. Hopefully ones that will throw slightly larger crumbs over the wall to us instead of them.

I tend to disagree with that, and here’s what I think is a basis for what we could start doing differently:

Report this

By Odysseus, November 8, 2010 at 3:36 am Link to this comment

Ah, well that would be a whole bunch of regressive stuff compared to the American Experiment and a democratic politics where the first Identity is The People (in the Constitutional Vision) and Americans (in the nation-thingy vision).

Yes, Identity Politics as simply the old tribalism is a recognizable dynamic – one that in 1787 they sorta hoped we would be able to grow beyond and give the world an example of a whole new and matured way of going about politics. I never cease to be amazed by how much RE-gression has been spun as PRO-gression in the past Biblical 40 years.

But it is very recognizable how bunches of folks who ‘get it’ figured they were a lot more clever than all the lumps who ‘just don’t get it’ and so led Us bravely back into the political immaturities and primitive practices of the past. And call themselves ‘progressives’. Yes, I recognize it but not ‘getting it’ I never actually ran into an instance where it would be proposed as fresh thinking.

My Post on Alinsky – the 7th in a series – is up now and can be read for my thoughts.

Deconstruction as a political gambit destabilizes and devalues anything ‘established’ that needs to be gotten rid of to create ‘space’ for whatever demands, agenda, and programme this or that sub-groups seeks to have imposed. It treats cultural realities as rather very much ‘plastic’ and ‘malleable’ and – much like a ‘text’ – far more a matter of what the ‘reader’ wishes to make of it than what the original creator(s)’ vision was.

And presumes somewhat blithely no ill-consequences therefrom.

Additionally, it introduces the ‘hermeneutics of suspicion’ which I discuss in my Posts on Alinsky. Too liberally applied, that suspicion corrodes any confidence in and respect for whatever the ‘established text’ of the culture had sought to transmit.

And nobody, I imagine, could say that such ‘suspicion’ and subsequent ‘interrogation’ hasn’t been verrrry liberally applied, with what are now awesome and awful consequences. Having swept away the Trellis, the vines are no longer growing with a Shape but are running along the ground like kudzu and, in my view, the Garden becomes much more of a Jungle – just as Hobbes feared.

And the government is drawn into becoming more of a Leviathan (a hugely anti-Constitutional development) in order to impose such Shape and Order as it can.

So I will continue to Kick the Tires of Identity Politics because I really have a bad feeling about it. I think that in the long run it will prove to have been far more costly than any good it has produced.

The widespread lament that something has gone wrong with American politics nowadays reflects a growing awareness of those consequences, finally, and I hope that it isn’t too late to look at Identity Politics as a failed gambit, much like Communism finally began to display its awful consequences – intended or not – by the mid-1970s. But by then, for its master practitioners, it was too late.

I’d like to think it isn’t too late to make some saving corrections here in this country.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 8, 2010 at 1:36 am Link to this comment

Identity politics takes the form ‘You are a member of the set of X’s, therefore you should do Y which will support this set.’  That’s just good old tribalism and clever leaders have been using it since prehistory.  Sometimes the sets are ready-made (families, tribes, neighbors, classes, gangs, congregations, etc. etc.) and sometimes they’re created by social conditions or by the contrivance of people who want to use them.  Are you sure you can’t find instances of this sort of thing in the ancient world without my help?

In any case, I don’t see identity politics as something produced, assisted or cultivated by Deconstruction. From Derrida’s apparent point of view, an identity would simply be yet another text which subverts itself.  It’s not only a two-edged sword but its handle is also a blade: philosophy, too, can be deconstructed.  So it’s an excellent instrument for philosophers desirous of stabbing themselves, I suppose, but not for working politicians who can usually count on their enemies (or their friends) for this purpose.

But even if identity politics were of use to working politicians, is it particularly liberal or leftist?  I have already pointed out the Angry White Man, an identity icon of the Right, apparently very much with us, while the conciliatory, inclusive politics of Mr. O seems like something from another age, if not another planet.

Report this

By Odysseus, November 7, 2010 at 11:21 pm Link to this comment

Deconstruction as a political gambit is the deliberate effort to destabilize any established culture or society or paradigm on the presumption that it is baaaad (at least from the Deconstructor’s point of view); in this regard it blended synergistically in the early 1970s with Alinsky’s maxim that “for community organization to happen community disorganization must first happen”.

In the very early Seventies, the vote-addled Dems, desperate for electoral viability, embraced both ideas and gave the world the experience of a government actually Deconstructing its own culture and society, while also undermining its own constitutive politics and polity.

I have some knowledge of History; perhaps you could give me the Latin or Greek for Identity Politics since I don’t recall having come across it at any point in any of the prior millennia. My own thought is that such a gambit is merely an effort to achieve some quick status and seriousness for something that is – especially in the American context – something rather new and very much corrosive of a democratic deliberative politics and, more specifically, any sense of a common-weal.

Which is why American politics today is not only fractured but regressed to almost juvenile levels of mental processing and dynamics. I’ll by putting up my next Post on Alinsky’s ‘Rule for Radicals’ later tonight and that might help demonstrate things. Alinsky is, as I can see it, one of the most influential conceptual parents of Identity Politics in the modern American setting.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 7, 2010 at 8:18 pm Link to this comment

Odysseus—I read your article.  I still don’t see any connection between Deconstruction and contemporary liberalism, but you may be the more ardent student of Derrida, etc.  In the matter of identity politics, which precedes Deconstruction and liberalism by several millennia, the most dedicated use in recent decades that I can think of has been the ‘Angry White Man’—hardly a liberal concept or target audience.  I think you’ve got some steps missing in your argument.

Don’t worry about the choreographer.  It was a very topical joke, of no import.

Report this

By Odysseus, November 7, 2010 at 7:11 pm Link to this comment

The problem that wrecked Liberalism in this country is that the esoteric method of literary criticism was taken up as a political philosophy and as national policy, embraced by the Beltway in law and regulation and policy.

Hedges has said it and if he keeps on saying it then perhaps there’s something to it.

What a 1930s choreographer has to do with any of this is beyond me. But if there’s been any pie-in-the-sky ‘show’ it’s been the ‘show’ put on for the past 40 or so Biblical years by the assorted Identities of Identity Politics and their effort to Deconstruct America as a nation and a polity as if it were a ‘text’ which bears little if any relation to the vision of its author(s), able to be fiddled with like it was play-dough by whomever thinks that their ‘interrogation’ has led them to the true and perfect meaning.

I go into all that in the Post I put up to which the link is provided in my original Comment earlier today.

Report this

By ardee, November 7, 2010 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

Go Right Young Man, October 31 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment

Thank goodness Chris Hedges represents a minuscule minority about the United States and the globe.

As do you.

The majority understands that capitalism has lifted billions of people (hundreds of millions of children) out of hunger and poverty.  Socialism tends to lead to famine, tyranny, and the death of millions of human beings.

Yeah, those poor starving Swedes and their socialist hell wherein they suffer with free health care cradle to grave, have to deal with the horror of free education including higher degree programs, and a comfortable economy for which they gladly pay higher taxes to achieve.

Those poor ,poor folks, we should send in our marines and drones forthwith and rescue them by killing them all.

Beware of those who believe they know what’s best for you.

You mean those like yourself?

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 7, 2010 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment

Odysseus, November 7 at 6:34 pm:

Thanks, Chris, for finally saying it. ‘Deconstruction’ has turned classical Liberalism into a corrosive acid….

That’s quite an achievement for an esoteric method of literary criticism.  Maybe I should have stayed in the English Department after all—liberalism today, tomorrow the world!

But as for Chris, Chris doesn’t ‘finally’ say anything.  Whatever he says, he’s said it before, and he’ll say it again, and his amen choir will repeat it in chorus while fountains of rhetorical froth erupt in the background.  It’s too bad Busby Berkeley has passed to his reward.

Report this

By Odysseus, November 7, 2010 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment

Thanks, Chris, for finally saying it. ‘Deconstruction’ has turned classical Liberalism into a corrosive acid that has eaten away not only the culture that produced but the infrastructure that enabled America to take advantage of its natural resources and turn them into usable, marketable national wealth.

I’d only say that the current American mutation callled ‘liberalism’ (as opposed to Classical Liberalism) has played a much more complex and extensive role than is commonly discussed. If there’s a “lunatic fringe” on the Right (and there is) that has somehow achieved national prominence it’s because the “lunatic fringe” on the Left achieved formal national prominence in 1972, that awful year when the Democrats embraced Deconstruction and Identity Politics as its national platform (and consequently lost 49 States in what was Americans’ first and last great chance to tell them it was a baaad idea.

I put these thoughts into an essay on my site here.

Report this

By robertbeal, November 4, 2010 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment

From NYT’s “The State of Liberalism” by Jonathan Alter:

“The collapse of the American middle class and the huge transfer of wealth to the already wealthy is the biggest domestic story of our time.” (See Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer — and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class, Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson.)

From Reuters:  “Based on an inequality measure known as the Gini coefficient, the United States ranks on a par with developing countries such as Ivory Coast, Jamaica and Malaysia, according to the CIA World Factbook.”  Do they have a “middle class”?

“Middle class”: a fictitious icon used to obfuscate the bipolarity (see below) of the Anglo capitalist economies, especially the United States’ extreme corporate statist model.

A bipolar economy is statistically characterized best with the labels “haves,” “have-nots,” and (with a nod to Bush the Younger’s frank use of the label) “have-mores.”

Differentiating between “haves” and “have-nots” can be done based on a household/individual’s likelihood of suffering a long-term reduction in earning potential as a result of a set-back in employment, health, relationship, housing, and/or transportation.

Report this

By eahlgren, November 2, 2010 at 7:32 pm Link to this comment

“In every political community there are varying shades of political opinion. One of the shadiest of these is the liberals. An outspoken group on many subjects. Ten degrees to the left of center in good times. Ten degrees to the right of center if it affects them personally. Here, then, is a lesson in safe logic.”

-Phil Ochs, 1968

Report this

By Kensky, November 2, 2010 at 2:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I couldn’t agree more with Chris. The combination of the mass media ownership along with the corporate lobby based policy making at all levels of government is giving the multinational global gangsters a free reign to shape and control the agenda, damn the commons. This shift has also seen the loss of union gains that were made earlier in the 20th Century do to the off shoring globalization style of business without ethics (low wages, pollution, strong arm tactics, etc).

The voice of the liberal class has been silenced by fear, intimidation, propaganda and greed. Will it resurface or is it dead? I think it will but will it be in time to prevent unimaginable chaos? Next stop, your personal crystal ball.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 2, 2010 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

gerard, November 2 at 6:29 am:

Anarchissie:  This presumes that you think the “ruling class” is absolutely unreachable. I still think that they are a very small number of people who could be impacted and overwhelmed by a mass of people under rational, nonviolent leadership, whose cause would be so obviously justified that in order to remain “corporate elite” they would be drawn into acceptance at some level.
  I do not believe they are all uniformly “beyond the pale” of massive, intelligent public influence. ...

The problem is that most people at least partly want the same things the ruling class wants: power, wealth, high social status, and so on.  And they are not particularly rational or nonviolent—or well-informed.  As things stand, the people can’t oppose the ruling class because in a sense they are the ruling class, they replicate the ruling class in their daily lives.  For them it’s a bad deal, of course. 

Hence my activism is largely cultural; I try to give people the idea that there is something wrong with the consumerist and imperial ideologies they are fed, even if they find them superficially attractive.  I’m afraid this isn’t a very thrilling political program, no flags waving from the barricades, but it’s the best I can do being who and what I am.

Report this

By gerard, November 2, 2010 at 2:29 am Link to this comment

Anarchissie:  This presumes that you think the “ruling class” is absolutely unreachable. I still think that they are a very small number of people who could be impacted and overwhelmed by a mass of people under rational, nonviolent leadership, whose cause would be so obviously justified that in order to remain “corporate elite” they would be drawn into acceptance at some level.
  I do not believe they are all uniformly “beyond the pale” of massive, intelligent public influence. 
  Campaign finance reform is a comparatively consevative issue.  Necessarily introduced by a minority wiliing to take it on for the sake of “preserving (reconstituting) democratic values”, if using non-violent insistence over an adequate period of time, it could turn out to be a case where huge numbers of “moderates” might ultimately join in.
  Given the present flaccid condition of the majority, plus likely lack of media cooperation, plus divisive tensions predominating among activists, it would take time and patience but could serve as an agency for activating political reeducation, and might invigorate the “body politic” and be a stepping stone to further public understanding, encouragement and activity on subsequent issues.
  There are probably a few among that “top 2%” who would even help start such a movement, which might eventually help to draw others in.  Public action has been allowed (encouraged) to lapse so far into somnolence that it is going to take time, plus a relatively “popularizeable” issue, to get people involved again. That’s my thinking.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 2, 2010 at 1:17 am Link to this comment

lbmh, November 1 at 11:51 pm:

Dear Mr. Hedges:
I have some problems with the use of the term “liberal class”. . . .

Hedges does not write with any sort of analytical precision.  He is not a philosopher.  He is a good reporter and a tedious, hair-pulling, sackcloth’n'ashes preacher with an attendant amen corner.  If you’re looking for precise language and logical thought you’re barking up the wrong tree.  ‘Liberal class’ is not a signifier, it is a combination of buzzwords.  Can’t you feel your knee trying to jerk?

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 2, 2010 at 1:11 am Link to this comment

gerard, November 2 at 4:07 am:

. . . Why not take advantage of this renewed interest and mount a serious public effort to pass a campaign finance reform bill that would cut out corporate funding, . . .

Because it would require a Constitutional amendment, which is a lot of work.  It would especially be a lot of work because there is no reason why the ruling class would permit it to get anywhere.

Report this
Napolean DoneHisPart's avatar

By Napolean DoneHisPart, November 2, 2010 at 12:39 am Link to this comment

If this next round of BS politicking and shenanigans fail to wake up the populous to the charade…. the fIT is really gonna hit the SHan come the presidential race, but will the public have woken up to Rome’s reality by then?

The liberals will move elsewhere, the very folks who bring any kind of spice to any society… for this communist tyranny will soon wipe out creativity.

Report this

By gerard, November 2, 2010 at 12:07 am Link to this comment

Now that we’ve all beat each other and everybody else over the head for a couple days, consider this:

By the time tomorrow is over, millions of people are going to hve been made aware of the evil unfairness of corporate funding of election campaigns.

Why not take advantage of this renewed interest and mount a serious public effort to pass a campaign finance reform bill that would cut out corporate funding, make public funding obligatory and appropriately, justly scaled, region by region, office by office, party by party.  Revoke the recent biased Supreme Court ruling which permits it to an unlimited extent, and bring some fairness back into the electioin process by law. 

It’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Report this

By ascoli, November 1, 2010 at 9:47 pm Link to this comment

apologies for putting the post below in the wrong thread…

Report this

By ascoli, November 1, 2010 at 9:46 pm Link to this comment

This line was too good not to pass on: 

“Both parties are overwhelmingly made up of bagmen for the companies that looted America.” —James Howard Kunstler 11/1/10

Report this

By lbmh, November 1, 2010 at 7:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Mr. Hedges:
I have some problems with the use of the term “liberal class”.  I believe that the term “liberal class” wrongly characterizes as a distinct class groups of people that are from very different classes.  Indeed, its use works against the forming of class consciousness.  Workers, bourgeoisie, even some CEO level capitalists have been, and are, “liberals”.  These are classes that see some advantages to their perceived (and sometimes actual) class interests in supporting liberal views on issues.  Their employment of liberal stands and strategies may, at times, be crass- no show of solidarity.  For example, “armchair liberals”, who support progressive reforms in principle, but not in action.  For instance, they may oppose racism, but when it comes to housing integration, it’s “Not in my neighborhood”.  This may be a good time to hear Phil Och’s “Love Me, I’m A Liberal”. 
You even see the aristocratic FDR as a member of this so-called “liberal class” while also viewing union workers as belonging to this same “liberal class”.  It is rare, indeed, that you would hear that a rich president of the United States and a factory laborer are actually members of the same class.
I read The Death Of The Liberal Class today and I found that, from the outset, you use the term without explaining how there’s a “class” that is composed of liberal people.  This continues throughout the book, which often does offer good analysis and truth.  I think that you do trace the degeneration of liberalism in the book.  However, what example(s) from reality did you note that showed any cohesion in action of class struggle among underclasses, union workers (except IWW, sympathetic to underclasses), bourgeoisie, and Über-capitalists? Even from the good old days of the “Progressive Era”?  In fact, your, in my opinion correct, history of liberalism shows that there was never much in the way of any shared class interests, and that this has become more and more evident since WWI hit the Progressive Era reforms hard. 
I think liberal “theory” is a valid term.  Workers, capitalists- these are classes that may adopt liberal theories from time to time, but usually, I think, in service of their widely divergent interests. 
Please, Mr. Hedges, why “liberal class”?

Report this

By jdelassus, November 1, 2010 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment

Like a fool I’ll probably be voting tomorrow but I can’t blame anyone who doesn’t.  The election is a fraud and a sham.  Regardless of the outcome things will stay the same.  Both parties are corrupt and their main function along with their perverted mouthpiece - the mass media is to prevent democracy from flourishing so that they get to keep their overpaid positions of power

Report this
Orbis Unum's avatar

By Orbis Unum, November 1, 2010 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment

Re:, November 1 at 8:27 pm.

You state: “The Liberal Democratic Party of the United States will do what the Democratic Party failed to do.”

You proffer:

Response: The evidence we proffer via the restatement of the self-evident principles espoused within the Universal Declarations found at web link:, disprove your beliefs or either that of the so-called political party proffered, has any ability to state a claim for which relief can be granted.

Let us point out that the Constitution of the U.S. via Article of Amendment 14 clearly states at Section 4, you can not makes demands or question the public debt! If you lack the ability to state a claim for which relief may be granted to question how funds are expended, then how do you ever expect to question or demand any recourse after their spent? VOTING!!!

Oh, I know!!! You actually believe that by voting, individuals in or out of office, somehow changes the outcome to the efforts of the principles who’ve convinced you via social schemes of misrepresentations, that you can determine the outcome of how funds are raised and expended.

PLEASE, don’t make me laugh!!!! I might bust out into singing the anthem created for enslaving the proverbial home of the brave and land of the free all the way to the bank, that you or Uncle Sam doesn’t control!!!

Report this's avatar

By, November 1, 2010 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment

The Liberal Democratic Party of the United States will do what the Democratic Party failed to do.

Report this
Orbis Unum's avatar

By Orbis Unum, November 1, 2010 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment

Re: Morpheus X, November 1 at 1:36 pm.

You stated: “The president and the democrats can’t help you. Republicans can’t and won’t help you. Big business, the banks and Wall Street don’t care unless we are bailing them out. That means “We the people” have to look out for ourselves for a change. When you get a backbone, you only have to bail yourself out.

AND: If you remain “STUCK ON STUPID
” - prepare for more pain and shut up!

AND: When you get a backbone, take action. If you don’t know what to do, start here:”

Response: Having review your web link provided and familiar with the information therein succinctly, I proffer not to disparage the character of Morpheus X, but, proffer the evidence that Morpheus X or otherwise, can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that or or otherwise, are related in any formality to the so-called “We the People” of the United States.

So, not to be deem irresponsible of anyone’s social conditioning, we proffer evidence of our position via the Universal Declaration and the ‘Truths’ espoused therein found at the web link:

We proffer such evidence in hopes that the reader thereof, may take advantage of reading all of the material discussed therein, before remarking respective thereto.

As far as your comments concerning the poster by the name of ‘Lafayette’...we couldn’t agree more with his dismal lack of intelligence to be solution oriented.

Report this

By morpheus X, November 1, 2010 at 9:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


@Lafayette: We don’t have to live like this anymore

You show your frustration with your long winded rants that get us know where while they inform us of nothing we don’t already know. The best ideas you have to offer or no ideas at all, just frustration. Wake Up man. This is no longer about Democrats and Republicans. Our whole world is on fire and you seem to think reelecting Democrats is going make a real difference. At best, they may ease the pain, but they can’t avoid the inevitable because of what you or suggesting. “More of the Same” - Wake up man! Don’t be a damn fool all of your life. Otherwise, we will all suffer.

I’ll leave you with this:

[Words of Wisdom]

The president and the democrats can’t help you. Republicans can’t and won’t help you. Big business, the banks and Wall Street don’t care unless we are bailing them out. That means “We the people” have to look out for ourselves for a change. When you get a backbone, you only have to bail yourself out.

If you remain “STUCK ON STUPID
” - prepare for more pain and shut up!

When you get a backbone, take action. If you don’t know what to do, start here:

Report this
Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, November 1, 2010 at 7:22 am Link to this comment


morph: We don’t have to live like this

Puerile nonsense. Of course we do. Why?
•  Who wanted fervently to believe the BS about “cheap money”?
•  Who went binging on cheap money in order to “shop till you drop”, without the slightest concern for personal over-indebtedness?
•  Who signed mortgage agreements that they likely knew they could not sustain, in hopes of reselling and making a Quick Buck?
•  Who elected (twice) a President who neutered the market oversight agencies, because of his party’s asinine philosophy that government should not “interfere with business”?
•  Who elected (twice) a President that swallowed hook, line and sinker the nonsense that “markets are self-regulating”, idiocy espoused by the Fed President (Greenspan)?
•  Who elected the present PotUS because they thought he must take the worst recession in 80 years and work the magic of turning it around in only two years? (What childish fantasy! Deep recessions historically take anywhere from 4/5 years to return to their point of origin before the downfall.)
•  And, finally, who, in their infantile mind is now going to trash the party that has had the only Real Solutions to the Mess? And which party was uniquely responsible for bringing it about after 8 years of colossal mismanagement.

Ya gotta be really ‘n truly dumb to put the Republicans back in charge of Congress. And who’s that stupid? Look in the mirror, people …

It happened either because you did not get off your duff to vote for the Dems or you stupidly voted for the Replicants.

So, in two years time, who are you going to blame for the gridlock in LaLaLand on the Potomac? Who will you blame for the time wasted in not implementing the reforms so necessary to make America’s a dynamic and competitive economy, thus ensuring durable/decent employment for the present and future generations?

We, the people. That’s who ...


And, please, no blaming the plutocrats. They did no force you to sit out this election. They did not coerce you to vote for the Replicants.

Report this
Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, November 1, 2010 at 6:50 am Link to this comment


In the midst of the fury of a mid-term election it is perhaps appropriate to step back and reflect upon the more general question of national psychology.

Here below is linked one of the more erudite explanations of why the American society is disintegrating before our very eyes in its hell-bent rush for more, bigger, easier, cheaper for which we supposedly work harder, better and faster. Particularly it poses questions about America’s nuclear family and why it is no longer performing its necessary social cohesion.

It gives also a sensible explanation of how the PC is perhaps not the best event to have ever happened to us - because it puts our youth out-of-touch with the reality in which they must live and will want to thrive.

This adeptly animated lecture (employing graphics) is by Philip Zimbardo, a professor of psychology at Stanford, who researches societal phenomenon and interprets them. That is, the lecturer discusses how we relate to time—whether our focus is “present” or “future”.

It’ll only take 9 minutes out of your otherwise “busy life”—but, most importantly, it explains why we lead busy lives from the perspective of our relationship to time and how we employ it.

This animated lecture is accessible here.

Report this
Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, November 1, 2010 at 6:46 am Link to this comment


In the midst of the fury of a mid-term election it is perhaps appropriate to step back and reflect upon the more general question of national psychology.

Here below is linked one of the more erudite explanations of why the American society is disintegrating before our very eyes in its hell-bent rush for more, bigger, easier, cheaper for which we supposedly work harder, better and faster. Particularly it poses questions about America’s nuclear family and why it is no longer performing its necessary social cohesion.

It gives also a sensible explanation of how the PC is perhaps not the best event to have ever happened to us - because it puts our youth out-of-touch with the reality in which they must live and will want to thrive.

This adeptly animated lecture IS by Philip Zimbardo, a professor of psychology at Stanford, who researches societal phenomenon and interprets what is happening. That is, the lecture discusses how we relate to time—whether our focus is “present” or “future”.

It’ll only take 9 minutes out of your otherwise “busy life”—but, most importantly, it explains why we lead busy lives from the perspective of our relationship to time and why/how we employ it.

This animated lecture is accessible here.

Report this's avatar

By, November 1, 2010 at 3:58 am Link to this comment

The Liberal Democratic Party will do what the Democratic Party failed to do

Report this

By Morpheus, November 1, 2010 at 1:06 am Link to this comment

Wake the Hell up America! - Join the Revolution!

Read “Common Sense 3.1” at ( )
We don’t have to live like this

Report this

By D. McGuire, October 31, 2010 at 9:36 pm Link to this comment

The Dead Liberal Class’s legacy is the Patriot Act and States Secrets to protect and
perpetuate its failure, enabling other forces to advance the nightmare.

Report this

By Brad Evans, October 31, 2010 at 7:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The oldline WASPs and liberals Jews who made up 80%+ of the Liberal Class from WW2 on now make up barely 6% of the US population, a shrinking proportion.  Now only their clients (gays, Blacks, Hispanics) are left and the white ethnics and southern fundiegelicals are getting ready to fight over the shrinking pie.
  Hedges wants to go back to a class system nearly as fixed as the one rising now.  His father’s brand of WASP Mainline Protestantism was about being FOR the poor not OF them; the Volvo voter of today is his descendant.  The old robber barons at least had the decency not to lie to the poor that they were moving to the suburbs “but we’re wrestling with this issue!”.  Paternalism in any form is sick and grotesque.  The sooner the Mainline churches burn down (along with the Studies and Sociology and Ethnic Studies departments at colleges) the better.

Report this

By johnny, October 31, 2010 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment

Again, Chris Hedges is confusing the Liberal Class with the Blue Dog Petite Bourgeouisie that stopped being liberals when they sold out.

Report this

By wanderedin, October 31, 2010 at 4:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Articles and books such as Hedges simply seek to shore up the stale right v. left, conservative v. liberal paradigm to insure that percentages of the population continue to be herded into the preformed pens of the elites. The elites simply want to get Their Way—they do not care about whether this country is “socialist” or “fascist” just as long as the billion$ keep pouring in. Political ideologies are just ways to carry out divide and conquer tactics used against the masses which ultimately is just a dynamic of capitalism. Anger and angst moves product. The wealthy elites no longer need the middle class, they have technology now. They have devices that can make your blood boil from a quarter mile away, there are guns in existence that have theoretical 1 MILLION rounds/minute capacities; as has been said, the middle class was invented as a buffer between the poor and the rich. Bottom line here is: it’s not the Blacks, the Mexicans, the Jews, Freemasons, Jesuits, liberals, conservatives, et al, ad infinitum…it is THE RICH whom everyone else should have a problem with.

Report this

By morristhewise, October 31, 2010 at 3:26 pm Link to this comment

Utopians dream of the day that snobs and elitists will be hung on the gallows and
their wealth distributed evenly. But unfortunately that will never work because
those in charge of the distribution will become the new snobs and elitists.

Report this
Napolean DoneHisPart's avatar

By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 31, 2010 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment

My opinion-

Since two separate economies exist ( the ‘Wall Street vs Main Street’ analogy works here ), you have two different pools of money, per-say.

Referencing the article, you have the ‘liberal class’ or folks who wake up to the machine and were not pedigreed or born into a position of influence, power, etc… this breed of folks are feeding from the spigot of the inflated commercial paper.

They can employ others in business, be enlightened as Chris seems to be and enrich the learners / doers of society, and possibly be statesman and influential folks in society ‘for the betterment of man’ or so Chris says they are supposed to be…. yet the crux:

They see the fiat, that inflated commercial paper, pressed off a machine and NOT created from a service or product… these wide eyed do gooders simply see the “dream” of riches and oppulence they’ve been craving since childhood, being conditioned and breast-fed the lifestyles of those they unwittingly serve.

In the real economy, found at the hardware store where the laborer goes to purchase his supply, the cash money supply is somewhat ‘fixed’ unless commercial paper enters that pool.  In this economy, one must ‘earn’ or actually ‘do something’ to get that money in their hands.  Something must be produced, a service rendered… something tangible must take place.

Another glimpse at what the tool of slavery is today- the fiat, and better stated: ignorance of finance and the banking system- The Machine.

Commercial paper is created ( the ‘fractional reserve lending’ allowed to banksters ) easily and is purposed to allow greater liquidity for ventures, projects, and further facilitating commerce.

Yet, when that inflated money goes from being check written money, or debit money or credit card money ( in other words, NO CASH ).... and turns into cash on a major scale as has been happening since the first ‘economic stimulus, well that’s when folks say that ‘inflation ‘hits the street.’

Haven’t we been seeing the price of goods and services stop falling and have begun to rise?

That’s inflation, and your dollar is sliding into further worthlessness…. a look at a dollar chart will show this year’s bubble of the dollar.

This is purposed to get knee jerk reactions out of the main street economy to start buying stuff, because things are getting more expensive…  and if folks ignorantly go buying from big corp, and banking with big bank, and keeps voting for big gov ( dems and reps folks is the same party ), then you will once again position yourselves to supporting the system of your enslavement.

Yet, here is the point of choice and where WE CAN YIELD POWER IN NUMBERS… and not in capital.

A- Support your local community businesses, NOT corporate brands ( conglomerates and internationals ), but support your local, privately held corporations, like the one folks in your neighborhood own and run, and employ the community.

B- Support your local food sources and local farmers.  NOT the big box stores with those almost ‘wholesale’ price ( which really is maybe 5-10% less than local, but you trade quality for slave wages elsewhere in the world and no infrastructure at home ).

C- Ignore the big banks, move your business and money to locally chartered community banks, invested in the local community and earning local deposits. 

D- No more pedigreed politicos ( sorry Rand ).

Report this
David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, October 31, 2010 at 11:48 am Link to this comment

The (rap artist?) FiftyGigs said:
“Compromise is our assurance of success.”

It’s the nature of liberals to always be morally compromised, which has resulted in an Earth environment that is now thoroughly compromised… a compromise that humans will not likely survive.

Republicans need only pretend to be “conservatives” to enable their partner Democrats to so successfully be conservative… in the most regressive sense of the word.

Report this

By FiftyGigs, October 31, 2010 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

Nicely said, gerard. A little humility can go a long way.

“We share stupidity ... Trying to unload our responsibilities on others leads further into blindness.”

There were an ungodly number of outstanding signs at the Jon Stewart rally. I liked “Compromise is not an obscene word.”

Republicans, since the primacy of the twisted Newt Gingrich about twenty years ago, have been playing with the mixed up notion that there are absolutes—something is right, and something is wrong, and compromise is a condition that allows the wrong to pervert the right.

This singularly corrosive pseudo-philosophy is certain doom, unless it’s stopped. There is no absolute right, because we are all imperfect humans, even Republicans. No one person or party knows all. Every solution, even Republican ones, will contain error.

Compromise is our assurance of success. It isn’t just that a given response will be more likely to contain the right solution, it’s that the compromise signals the time when we end the arguments, and join together, and make the response work.

We should never work to make any President fail.

Republicans need to become Americans again.

“Let us trust God, and our better judgment to set us right hereafter. United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions which must destroy that union upon which our existence hangs.”

Report this
Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, October 31, 2010 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

Thank goodness Chris Hedges represents a minuscule minority about the United States and the globe.

The majority understands that capitalism has lifted billions of people (hundreds of millions of children) out of hunger and poverty.  Socialism tends to lead to famine, tyranny, and the death of millions of human beings.

Beware of those who believe they know what’s best for you.

Report this
RayLan's avatar

By RayLan, October 30, 2010 at 9:51 pm Link to this comment

“The term “middle” is obfuscatory. “
If that is obfuscatory then what isn’t - like liberal, American, democracy - self-centered assholes don’t want to acknowledge that the majority has a small percentage of the wealth - because they want to believe in the right wing wet dream - that greedy acquisitiveness has no negative impact on society - or the nation.

Report this

By gerard, October 30, 2010 at 9:13 pm Link to this comment

When will the blaming stop?  “It’s their fault.” “No, it’s not.”  “It’s not my fault.” “It’s liberals.”  It’s oligarchs.” “It’s etc. etc.
  You don’t have to try at all to blame our situation on any and all.  We share criminal instincts. We share stupidity. We share ignorance, venality, lying and murdering. Trying to unload our responsibilities on others leads further into blindness.  On the other hand, self-lashing turns out to be counterproductive and boring.
  Go on long enough, and the tone of the entire column sounds self-indulgent, as if each one tries to prove the “other” more guilty and the “self” more knowing and more tntitled to lash out.
  Enough already!
  How many of you bitter critics looked into any of those faces on the Mall at either “rally.”  How many saw their hopes and expectations, their eagerness to live and let live.  Even the anbriest teabaggers were not so merciless as some of these comments here.

Report this
G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, October 30, 2010 at 9:02 pm Link to this comment

“Every man and woman, no matter
station in life, has a seat at the table, has a voice to be heard and will be heard.”

Yes, not just the victims..or Palin will rule…

Report this

By Gregg Gordon, October 30, 2010 at 6:52 pm Link to this comment

To:  Mr. Cyr

I don’t think I’ve ever seen an analysis so simplistic put in terms so high-falutin’.  And who knew we’ve been doomed since the Civil War?  My main problem with “the liberal class,” the left—whatever you want to call them—is that they spend too much time whining.  So tell me:  What are you doing to cure the problem?  Are we to merely wait for (and then savor) the death of the liberal class?  And then, at long last, will the revolution finally begin?

P.S. Your brief summation of World War II seems to disregard the role of a small nation called the Soviet Union, along with her 25 million dead.  (More than three times as many Russians died in Leningrad alone than “the more highly evolved liberal led fascist state” lost in both theaters of war.)

Report this

By cruxpuppy, October 30, 2010 at 6:44 pm Link to this comment

It is generous of you, felicity, to take the time to point out the obvious to Mr. Cyr. I hope your intervention will help to dissuade him from what seems to be a suicidal mode of thinking.

I’m afraid he might douse himself with gasoline and set himself on fire. In any event, such self-hated can come to no good end.

Mr. Cyr, most probably, is a product of the middle class, as is our pundit under discussion, Mr. Spectacles. Most everyone in this forum is also. Cyr’s disappointment and disillusionment have prompted him to throw out the baby with the bath water. He cannot forgive the middle class its political lassitude. Nor can our pundit, though he understands fascism and does not use the term so indiscriminately.

Report this

By mikeburns, October 30, 2010 at 6:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What a jolly crew!  I say chaps more talk, more solutions, and more thinking and
more typing.  What a fun discussion.
Lets keep this fun rolling on.

Report this

By FiftyGigs, October 30, 2010 at 6:27 pm Link to this comment

“America was a liberal idea”

Thank you, felicity, for stating a truth too often overlooked.

No discussion of the “death of the liberal class” (whatever that is) can be complete without discussing the death of liberal media. (It should also include the death of liberal Christianity, but let’s not bite off more than we can chew in a few paragraphs.)

It is very disappointing to read that ABC—formerly the ground zero target for conservative venom against liberal media—has retained Andrew Breitbart for some kind of authoritative exposition on election night. (Maybe he’s going to entertain the studio audience during commercial breaks, but I think he’s actually being considered an expert.)

Breitbart, you may recall, was the guy who heinously distorted Shirely Sherrod’s speech as part of his “journalistic” duties, causing her to be fired, the administration embarrassed for over-reacting, and Fox News for bad reporting—oh, wait, Fox got off scott free.

Well, in short, he was wrong, intentionally and with premeditation.

One founding principle our forefathers designed was a responsible, objective, professional, cultured, educated, sophisticated information service called a “press” which would prevent we liberal sheeple from going astray from reality.

So, pundits and reporters and commentators and general sophistrists ... what’s YOUR excuse?

You lie, you demean the President, you elevate incompetents, and then have the balls to accuse the sheeple of believing you?

Obviously, if liberalism and the liberal class is a failure, then so is the notion of a free press, in which case repeal of the First Amendment should fix everything nicely. Right, conservatives?

Report this

By felicity, October 30, 2010 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Cyr - America was a liberal idea.  From its
inception, Americans threw out the conservative ideal
that there are those born to rule and there are those
born to be ruled.

And it’s that conservative ideal that liberals have
been fighting for over 200 years. Wealth, incidence of
birth…do not entitle. Every man and woman, no matter
station in life, has a seat at the table, has a voice
to be heard and will be heard.

Report this
David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, October 30, 2010 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment

A thoroughly confused and crux-less puppy wrote:
“This is a middle class nation. All that it is has been made possible by liberalism, expressed in its founding documents.”

The term “middle” is obfuscatory. What now comprises the great middle cohort of Americans is an indentured class, but yes, that indentured servitude has been made possible by liberals, who have created and for generations protected the corporate state.

Those “founding documents” provided a remarkably clever procedural means for a small liberal selected ruling class to permanently eliminate any threat of democracy and perpetually subjugate everyone not money worthy to be part of the liberal oligarchy.

Whenever the mindless flock of liberal sheeple are not comfortable, fearing that the evil of the state won’t be well managed by liberal leaders, they predict that America will soon become fascist. Now there’s a really BIG lie… of omission.

The corporate state was the result of liberal culture winning the Civil War, after which metal chains enslaving just some were replaced by mental chains enslaving near everyone.

World War II was not a war against fascism. It was a war between fascists, and the more highly evolved liberal led fascist state won. Liberals created a more sustainable fascism… but one that the earth cannot much longer sustain.

Why were the liberal sheeple so outraged with how Cheney/Bush did what Democrats were doing before them, and Democrats are again doing now?

Nothing discontents liberals more than seeing their consummate evil being poorly consummated.

Death of the liberal class? Good riddance!

Report this

By felicity, October 30, 2010 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment

Many historians argue that great nations inexorably
follow the trajectory of primitive, republican,
imperial, decadence. How often do we hear America
referred to as that ‘once great nation.’

Report this

By madisolation, October 30, 2010 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

Your post paints as dark a portrait of the American landscape as Chris Hedges’ excerpt. You’ve added to the CH’s take and given me a lot to think about.
My spouse and I have argued the idea that corporations are a force unto themselves. He believes right and wrong doesn’t enter into in the calculations of corporations. I argue that corporations are made up of people, and these people should have a sense of moral responsibility and want to give to the country that allowed them to become so wealthy. In the end, though, I suspect corporations are like The Langoliers: they will, without thought, eat up everything in their paths. My only hope is that they turn on and destroy each other and leave us to start over again.

Report this

By ardee, October 30, 2010 at 7:48 am Link to this comment

RayLan, October 30 at 11:31 am

Thank you for a note of sanity in rebutting a poster who consistently posts his emotional reactions sans any sort of real factual data.

Report this
RayLan's avatar

By RayLan, October 30, 2010 at 7:31 am Link to this comment

“What CH doesn’t realize is that the Socialist State works even worse than the corporate greedy capitalist state.”
Where did you pull that out of.
Socialism is relative. The US has many socialist policies and programs - not the least of which is providing an army. Socialist countries like Sweeden are not doing worse than we are.

Report this

By C.Curtis.Dillon, October 30, 2010 at 3:26 am Link to this comment

As Anderson and others have pointed out, the middle class serves as a buffer and also as a conduit for the working class.  If one can see a way to go from poverty and manual labor up through a series of steps to a comfortable life, one is not inclined to destroy that system by violence.  But, if those baby steps are destroyed by an corrupt system where wealth accumulates at the top, then the working class and poor don’t see a way to prosper and they are more inclined to demolish what remains.  Revolutions happen when the masses have no other outlets for their anger.

The middle class is not inherently liberal.  In fact, I would argue that middle class life generates more conservative leanings as one tries to preserve what he has.  That said, I’m sure the middle class is more liberal than say the ultra-wealthy who have a lot to protect.  So it is not credible to argue that the death of liberalism is tied to an attack on the middle class.

I also think many believe there’s an active conspiracy by corporations to destroy this country.  I’m not inclined to accept that.  Having spent much of my career in corporations, I always viewed them as political entities with leaders and followers.  The leaders articulate a philosophy which is then carried out by the followers.  That philosophy is dedicated to whatever the leaders’ goals are.  In most cases it’s quite simple ... market share and profits.  Whatever increases either of these measures is considered good.  So the company strives to improve its financial fortunes by whatever means are required.  Unfortunately, many of these goals are short term and little thought is given to what impact they might have down the road.  That’s why companies move production to cheap labor countries without thinking about the long term impact on their sales in the US when, over time, no one can afford to buy their products anymore.  Also, they see the world as a huge marketplace and understand that a decreasing market in one country doesn’t necessarily mean a decreasing market elsewhere.  If America goes in the tank ... no big deal.  Just start selling where things are going better.  Most transnationals are international by design and view the world through a different lens than we do.

The real issue we face is a political system that no longer views preserving this country as its primary purpose.  Politicians see their roll as preserving their own privilege and wealth ... just like the corporations.  Most politicians are sociopaths and only really care about their own well being.  They do whatever is needed to increase their slice of the pie.  Like the rest of us, they delude themselves into believing that this country is too strong to fail no matter how corrupt they become.

One final observation: the people are not, for the most part, thinking creatures.  As marketing professional know, they are influenced by visual images and by powerful emotional arguments.  We saw this with the rise of Hitler and the Communists in Russia.  They used those methods to convince normal humans to become monsters.  We too do that ... witness Iraq and the lies used to take us to war.  As Hedges knows, opposition to the war in those times was cause to fear for your life.  The Tea party and others are angry and rightly so but are allowing their anger to be used by others for the wrong reasons.  And, unfortunately, right wing hatred sells better than left wing “why can’t we all get along?” arguments.  When pushed into a corner, animals (and humans) will destroy the weaker to preserve themselves.  That’s why the right gets so much traction while we spin our wheels and complain on blogs and comment streams.

Report this
G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, October 30, 2010 at 1:33 am Link to this comment

Forget about the liberal class for a moment…even beyond that..

As Max Weber pointed out a long time ago the middle class acts as a buffer between those at the top of society, and those at the bottom..

Without a middle class, revolutions begin, and civil wars start.. Marx showed that the souce of those revolutions, are the now defunct middle class..

When the middle class realizes their future is to be be crushed beneath the boots of the elite, without hope or recourse..

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, October 30, 2010 at 1:32 am Link to this comment

RayLan, October 30 at 1:54 am Link to this comment

” Because CH constantly avows a Socialist state and attacks anything and everything about the American system”
Well, not exactly - because he deals with reality- being as we are experiencing right now - that corporate greedy captialism doesn’t work. Deal with it.


What CH doesn’t realize is that the Socialist State works even worse than the corporate greedy capitalist state.

What we need is obvious:
End corporations as legal “persons” and make the owners of that corporation legally responsible for its actions.
Write sensible regulations for safety, cleanliness, and pollution control and ENFORCE THEM!
End tax benefits for shipping jobs overseas. Instead increase tax PENALTIES for that and reward job creation at home.
Build a non-oil dependent energy infrastructure that doesn’t rely on foreign energy.
Design the above to develop into a non-fossil fuel, non polluting energy source.
Re-install Glass-Steagel.

Report this

By mdgr, October 30, 2010 at 12:11 am Link to this comment

Just amazing how many people seem to relish the role of the blind man and the elephant. It’s not that one necessarily needs sunglasses to read Chris Hedges, even though he’s lucid beyond belief. But one does need half a brain. Alas, there are probably an equal number of people on both sides of the aisle with little or no ability to understand the written word.

There is a lot of trollish patting oneself on the back after grossly misreading what was written, however—all of which only serves to reinforce the premise that the liberal class to which Hedges refers consists not only of collaborators but many a blooming idiot.

Report this

By cruxpuppy, October 29, 2010 at 10:20 pm Link to this comment

What is this “liberal class”? Movie stars, academics, Democrat politicians? It’s the middle class, Mr. Spectacles, which includes bus drivers, construction workers, teachers, nurses, and any other occupation you can think of, all of whom aspire to a particular standard of living and share in common certain values, among which is tolerance, whether MLK used the term or not.

When you say “death of the liberal class”, you are actually saying the middle class is dying. You are speaking of “liberalism”, which is not a class,per se, but a way of thinking, one that stands in contrast to an earlier “aristocratic” way of thinking, and one that emerged with the American Revolution of 1776.

Jefferson described this middle class in terms of the ideal of the “yeoman farmer” in his time, the sort of fellow he was himself, and to which most Americans aspired. Your own little piece of the pie, self-sufficiency, self-reliance, freedom to be a snake-worshipper if you chose, and the right to be consulted in the matter of taxation. Political freedom for the individual, that is the foundation of the middle class, and with this freedom, a certain degree of economic achievement.

This adds up to some degree of democracy, of which we have never had much.

A corporation is a fascist structure. Leave your Bill of Rights at the door. And as corporate power and the corporate mindset acquires greater influence, what little democracy we do have withers away. This is purely the result of economic tyranny, the war that is always waged on the middle class by financial oligarchs, who have developed their ultimate weapon in the form of the corporation.

As Thom Hartmann likes to say: there is no middle class without democracy ( or some moitie thereof ). When you announce the death of the liberal class, you are not doing anything useful. The real liberal class, the middle class is not dying, despite the betrayals of Clinton and others that kowtow to the corporate state. It is under siege, but very much alive, even if its spokespeople have sold out in droves to corporate power.

This is a middle class nation. All that it is has been made possible by liberalism, expressed in its founding documents. The anger on the right and the anger on the left is middle class anger. The advocates of the neo-fascist corporate state, such as John Roberts, and other leaders too numerous to mention who aid and abet the class of financial oligarchs, are a distinct minority, though made powerful by great wealth.

But great wealth is no protection from an outraged and oppressed middle class that finally realizes it is under siege.

You need to rejigger your message, Mr. Spectacles and come out in defense of the middle class and stop this malingering about the “death of the liberal class”. It just isn’t what’s happening. There’s a war on, friend, and your malingering is like music or the financial oligarchs. You are announcing the death of their enemies, who are, ostensibly, your friends and comrades!

Report this

By Hadley, October 29, 2010 at 10:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By thisisnodrill, October 30 at 12:30 am
History will record that blogs, in the early 21st century performed as virtual worlds where people thought they were doing something real, only to find out later that they had essentially wasted their time and energy, while politicans, corporations and banks WERE in the street, stealing everything in sight….I write these words knowing that unless I DO SOMETHING real, my words are just empty punches at a virtual punching bag.

This is where some get it wrong. There are 1,000’s and 1,000’s of people out of work right now. This means there’s a HUGE population of professionals who are NOT connected to “The Work Force” - which also means that they have little, if no communication on a day-to-day basis with what we remember not too long ago as our ‘co-workers/team-players/partners in crime/meeting at the bar & bitch about the job—- friends.

Perhaps this is another way of controlling the anguish, the heartburn - the outright ANGER that many are experiencing? Isolating creatives and professionals is quite interesting, isn’t it? Kinda 1984-ish.

I don’t think that people participating in blogs are being passive at all - I believe that this is the one outlet to the core of our anguish - to work it out and resolve it—once and for all.

Report this
RayLan's avatar

By RayLan, October 29, 2010 at 9:54 pm Link to this comment

” Because CH constantly avows a Socialist state and attacks anything and everything about the American system”
Well, not exactly - because he deals with reality- being as we are experiencing right now - that corporate greedy captialism doesn’t work. Deal with it.

Report this

By BobZ, October 29, 2010 at 9:30 pm Link to this comment

Hedges makes a compelling case for the end of liberalism as we know it, but I
still have faith that the conservatives/corporatists/tea party/GOP will overplay
their hand, and attempt to move us into a fascist state and start to replace all of
the safety nets of the last 75 years. At that point American’s might wake up and
realized they were duped by slick political marketing, simplistic sound bytes,
and Fox News wedge issues. And Wall Street will create yet another financial
bubble which will be the last straw. They almost sank us in 2008 and the books
are not yet closed on that financial debacle. The Tea Party candidates in
particular will ensure that Congress will return to the Democratic Party in 2012.
There are legitimate progressives among Democrats and we should be thankful
for that. Obama did sandbag us to a certain extent. His hiring of Summers and
Geithner should have set off massive alarm bells, but we were still caught up in
the euphoria of Obama’s election to realize we just put more foxes in charge of
the henhouses. Germany will never go back to a fascist state and someday we
may not either.

Report this

By thisisnodrill, October 29, 2010 at 8:30 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges speaks the truth in my view.  One example: we have Robert Reich, who was Clinton’s labor secretary, an administration that did as much to marginalize labor and jobs in America as did Reagan, suddenly now, from his perch at Berkeley, slinging arrows via the Huffington Post regarding the state of the economy and the middle class and labor in general.  The man has tenure, no doubt a great salary, no doubt great medical benefits, so from his “I’m not like you” position in life, feels NOW he can deliver lectures about ‘what went wrong.’  This is but one example.  Leadership on the ground where we live is ideologically bankrupt, as is our current president, who worships the banks and the Street, while turning a blind eye to an effective employment and industrial policy for the country, and letting 100,000 new foreclosures occur every single month now for tens of months, not to mention the abandonment of the unemployed.  Congress is made up of millionaires, not working Americans.  Politicians of both parties, but surprisingly, Democrats, have along with corporations and banks, declared all out war on the American family, and American worker.  So far, we remain off the streets, but keyboarding like mad, sending our energy and anger into the blogspace, where it absorbs everything, but nothing comes out in the way of ACTION that makes actual changes.  History will record that blogs, in the early 21st century performed as virtual worlds where people thought they were doing something real, only to find out later that they had essentially wasted their time and energy, while politicans, corporations and banks WERE in the street, stealing everything in sight.  Hedges has it right.  And we will probably not wake up from this virtual world we’re trapped in.  I write these words knowing that unless I DO SOMETHING real, my words are just empty punches at a virtual punching bag.

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, October 29, 2010 at 7:48 pm Link to this comment

RayLan, October 29 at 11:59 am Link to this comment

“Mr. Hedges performs exactly as he blames the corporate state: he postulates
views he prefers, without any hard experiential evidence to support his views”

There is no evidence for that pronouncement whatsoever. Why would Chris ‘prefer’ to believe that the liberal class is dying? He is not a conservative - he is not sold on free market capitalism - if he were biased and trying to sell a bill of goods - it would be more political expedient to celebrate the life not the death of liberalism as indeed many Dems still try to do.


Why? Because CH constantly avows a Socialist state and attacks anything and everything about the American system, political as well as economic.  Therefore, a middle class is anathema to has it would be to a feudal right wing advocate wanting a return to barons, dukes and princes.

Report this

By doublestandards/glasshouses, October 29, 2010 at 6:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The operative word here is “death.”  Liberalism isn’t going to rise up again as the result of an election.  Elections no longer have anything to do with it.  What has this election cycle been but a spectacle, devoid of any discussion of the real problems facing the country?  In that regard it out does any election in our history. 
There is an interview of Sheldon Wolin, who coined the term “inverted totalitarianism”, with Bill Moyers on you tube which is worth watching.

Report this

By CitizenWhy, October 29, 2010 at 6:23 pm Link to this comment

berniem ... George Washington suppressed the widespread celebration of Guy
Fawkes day because many of his soldiers were Irish and other Catholics and the
event is anti-Catholic in nature. This was an important step toward the policy
enshrined in the First Amendment. Surely a day that is not peculiarly English, and
representative of the triumph of the new propertied classes over the old monarchy
and lordly magnates would be more appropriate. Like May Day.

Report this

By berniem, October 29, 2010 at 6:10 pm Link to this comment

Hey, anyone interested in forming a national Guy Fawlkes Party? We could take protests at corporate facilities to a new level and if done in unison, nationwide, it would make the homeland security crowd’s head explode! It would undoubtedly force the corporatocracy to reallocate financial resources from fixing elections to protecting their butts!

Report this

By gerard, October 29, 2010 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment

In my opinion, the “dumbing down” process in the U.S. has been going on for dccades—a (consciously or unconsciously) concerted effort of single-minded business interests (for profit) and narrow, historically sanctified (nativist) impulses that appeared early in various sectors including government, and have never been questioned or understood.
  Education has been underfunded, prevented from free-thinking and uncensored teaching, neutered to defeat several social and political ideologies and conform to an enforced political correctness that has less to do with information than with indoctrination.
  All major forms of media have been bought and sold since the beginning of mass newspapers, having now reached a new low with the recent Supreme Court ruling.
  The energy and resources spent on expanding the country by means of murder and stealth set a pattern of class and race injustice inforced by the courts from the beginning.
  The rapid development of the country on a farm-to-city pattern created a huge gap between city workers and farmers (rural and urban development) and then further between those who seemed to be managing things (city people) and those who seemed to be managed (tenant farmers), and next those who kept some sense of community, and the hordes of mobile city people who lost all sense of local belonging.
In the process, millions of immigrants from countries all over the world, somehow got mixed in with varying rights to full citizenship.
  That’s just the top layer skimmed off.
  One could, and should, go on and on explaining the enormous forces that have moved this multi-faceted country from the relative order of post-Civil War Constitutional law to present-day social and legal chaos. Look at it one way and it seems like an accomplishment.  Look at it another, and it is a mess so complicated that there is no sense of where to begin to reform or how.

  I guess in a word what I want to say is don’t lose hope. Give credit where credit is due. Don’t accuse, blame and divide. Understand differences and similarities.  Work together to promote change without violence and acrimony.  Sounds namby-pamby?
Well, better than some things I can imagine.

Report this

By ardee, October 29, 2010 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment

Liberal: a noun, an adjective and a curse word.

Those sensitive to the right wing demeaning of that political position now call themselves Progressives. A rose by any other name…...

Too damn much jibber jabber over definitions and semantics and too damn little discussions of ways to end war, correct wrongs and fix the system.

Report this

By Chris Herz, October 29, 2010 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Spot on Surfnow. 
I was just reading some old stuff from the New Dealers and from the old British Labour Party, about how large corporations need to nationalized because either the state, as representative of the people seized them, or they seize the state. 
There’s real progressivism.

Report this

By CitizenWhy, October 29, 2010 at 2:17 pm Link to this comment

Is liberal progressive blogging an example of being reduced to rhetoric?

Is the Tea Party’s use of New Left tactics that are designed to dominate the media
and the public discussion more effective than blogging?

Report this

By CitizenWhy, October 29, 2010 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment

When discussing widespread prosperity and policy, these questions must be

... Is a middle class best created through prudent savings and spending, or
through accelerating spending fueled by debt?

... How can we have a growth economy (generating jobs) based on prudent
savings and spending? ... Does such an economy require a low defense/war
budget?  ... In such an economy what should government spend on? ... What
industries would be engines of growth? ... Can investors make a good return in
such an economy? ... Why doesn’t anyone model various forms of this economy,
suggesting policies to make the model work? ... NOTES: Is Germany a good
example of this? ... Despite the bad press, Japan, in its so-called malaise, has a
low unemployment rate and a free health care system. But for some reason, the
young do not seem to want to marry or have kids.

Report this

By lasmog, October 29, 2010 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

Great excerpt, I can’t wait to read the entire book.  - I suspect that globalization greatly accelerated the demise of the liberal class in the US.  Once corporations were able to access the poorest workers of the world the ability of labor to organize and collectively bargain largely disappeared.

Report this

By JOHN Cudahy, October 29, 2010 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s all very true what you wrote.    The power elites have been criminally
harassing me for 20 years because I found ways to encourage friendly relations
among many countries.    Government agencies have sent gangs of street thugs
to commit crimes non-stop to stop my open-minded, creative approach to
solving problems.    It looks like the power elites want to turn most people into
serfs.  NEVER.  I stand up to corrupt politicians, dishonest cops, and media-
trash.  But the arrogant fools don’t play fair.  Crimes and criminals are their
only response to honest, bright people.  CIA, FBI, Canada’s CSIS & RCMP, Israel’s
religious fanatics, they are all part of organized crime along with local cops
and politicians at every level.  Toronto, Canada

Report this

By Basoflakes, October 29, 2010 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

Chris, you need to point out who is still saying things that can be interpreted as a liberal or progressive, viewpoint - such as Democracy Now, Ralph Nader and a handful of journalists like Hersh, Chomsky, Fisk, Pilger, Scheerer, and a few others - and praise them or else they too will evaporate.

Other than Democracy Now, there is not one show on TV that can be described as truly liberal, and certainly not progressive.  When shows start showing the horrors of the wars from the Iraqi/Aghan point of view, the genocide in Palestine, the criminal acts of complacency and non-action by the entire Congress - Dems and GOPs and Lie-berman, the criminals on Wall Street, the Big Banks and corporate America, especially the MIC, then the country can become aware.

I’m still amazed that the one celebrity who has done something is being ignored in Haiti, Sean Penn.  He is heroic in his deeds and even the cholera outbreak, which he predicted, fails to showcase his efforts, because Penn is not afraid to call out our government and others who are responsible.

What it boils down to is even if there are progressive voices out there, corporate media silences them.  The biggest threat to our democracy is the silent press.

Report this
Samson's avatar

By Samson, October 29, 2010 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

“the middle and lower class will be on their own thereby giving rise to liberalism. “

In strange, orwellian, American political rhetoric, ‘liberal’ is somehow equated with ‘socialist’.  But that’s never been true in a strict sense.  And Mr. Hedges is using the stricter, more traditional political science definition of ‘liberal’.

‘Liberals’ have always been members of the upper class or upper-middle class who believe that the best way to hold on to their position is to give the lower classes the minimum of reforms needed to keep them from thinking that life might be better off without the upper class.

‘Liberals’ are not working class.  ‘Liberals’ do nor ‘rise’ from laid off workers who are losing their jobs and their homes.

The political movements of laid off workers who are losing their homes are not ‘liberal’ movements.

A more socialist or populist political movement might arise from the sources of laid off workers that you state. But it won’t be a ‘liberal’ movement that’s mainly worried about protecting the upper classes from serious change by proposing the minimum change possible to keep the rising populist movements from going even further to achieve real change.

A ‘liberal’ is a presidential candidate with $750 million of corporate money in his accounts which he uses to promise ‘Change’. Knowing that of course that once elected, his role would be to provide only the minimum amount of change required to prevent the very growth of the lower and middle class political movements that you see coming.

Report this
Samson's avatar

By Samson, October 29, 2010 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

“The media, the church, the university, the Democratic Party, the arts, and labor unions—the pillars of the liberal class—have been bought off with corporate money and promises of scraps tossed to them by the narrow circles of power. Journalists, who prize access to the powerful more than they prize truth, report lies and propaganda to propel us into a war in Iraq.”

There’s an important message here. Because most of this country seems to be sitting back waiting for these people to do something.

The anti-war movement is a fine example.  It has leaders.  The leaders are bought off and won’t challenge the Democrats.  So, we see that even though Obama lied about opposing these wars and that they are continuing just like Bush was still in charge, we still don’t see any organized challenge from the anti-war movement. 

The problem is exactly what Mr. Hedges describes. The leaders are bought off.  It happens different ways, but the bottom line is that the leaders of the anti-war movement are too connected to the Democratic party to challenge them.  Most often its money, as these ‘antiwar groups’ become full time jobs paid by donations ... if the donations are coming from Democrats during the Bush years, that creates an antiwar movement that’s unable to challenge the Democrats when they take power.  The groups are too dependent on those donations, and the ‘leaders’ like their full-time paid jobs and paychecks too much to put it at risk.

For some strange reason, most of the left can’t figure this out even thought its been going on since the Democrats took control of Congress in 2006.  We see pro-war Democrats making sure the wars are fully funded.  And we see an antiwar movement that’s impotent to do anything about it because they are too closely connected to the Democrats.

Mr. Hedges isn’t talking about most of us. He’s talking about the people who get paid every day to be ‘liberals’.  They get a cushy job at a university, or as the leader of some non-profit group.  But then, its human nature not to put their own comfortable position at risk. So, our ‘leaders’ stop leading, at least not in any direction that puts their own financial security at risk.

This is the fundamental reason why the anti-war movement is so weak today. Its leaders are bought off.

The lesson to be learned is one Bob Dylan got right decades ago. 

“Look out kid
You’re gonna get hit
By losers, cheaters
Six-time users     *)
Hangin’ ‘round the theaters
Girl by the whirlpool
Lookin’ for a new fool
Don’t follow leaders
Watch the parkin’ meters”

—Subterrainean homesick blues

Don’t follow leaders.  Don’t wait for leaders. If we wait on these dang liberals to give us change to a better world, then .... look out kid, you’re gonna get hit.

If you’re reading this article, its really worth a read through all of those lyrics to that wonderful song ...

You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.  Sadly, that line these days is almost as obscure as the historical reference to the lights going out at the end of the Victorian age.

Report this

By cootieville, October 29, 2010 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Okay,so liberals face extinction because they became complacent, co-opted, and comfortable with the real power system in the USA, which discarded them as soon as it had no more use for them. Liberals deluded themselves about the success and permanence of their ideas because they subscribed to two superficial and untested theories, which can be summarized as follows:
  “God looks after children, drunks, and the United States of America.” - Bismarck (the man, not the battleship)
  “Good is better than evil because it’s nicer.” - Mammy Yokum
So, is there a way up or out? Governments and rulers may have to lie to stay where they are, but nothing butches up a person or a political movement like telling the truth - for decades on end, if necessary.

Report this

By Hadley, October 29, 2010 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Citizenwhy: But neo-liberals, led by Bill Clinton, also see corporations as employers and job
generators who can go “on strike” in a powerful way by: ... 1. Not hiring, laying
off ... 2. Hoarding cash and profits rather than investing them ... 3. Sending
jobs overseas. ... These three factors describe how corporate US is making a
mockery of the Obama presidency.”

Right, it doesn’t matter who’s in office, the Corp’s will act and delegate whenever and to whomever they choose. But as keeperofthefire knows, without public support in the form of consumerism, none of this works to their advantage and crashes their World Trade plan to the confusion and international bankruptcy that is looming in the future.

Hedges disses the Elite Liberal Class: Professors who (sold out) and earn $180K, Union bosses who (sold out) to Corporate Capitalism and implied slurs against “Artists” (who sold out) and now living the easy life in the H’wood Hills is a symptom of Clinton ‘liberals’ who fell for the Corporatists agenda.

The insurgence of computers and software that replaced many jobs, diluted the value of many professionals’ work to one keystroke, enabled unqualified Administrative assistants to do the work of many - without even having to think.

To be fair, many were forced to succumb to the latest technology, many times over with constant upgrading of not only their machines but their brains with more educational instruction. No sooner were the educated informed, they were disqualified immediately because of new technology. Thus the downward spiral of personal earned income vs investment, with the Corporations laffing all the way to the off-shore banks.

The lack of students learning critical thinking can be attributed to the wealthy professors and their cushy paychecks. It can also be attributed to the Clinton liberals who see nothing wrong - and the corporate ‘artists’ who had no backbone and went along with the program to make mo’money.

Yes, Progressives are the new liberals, as surfnow says. We know how we got here, and why - and the powers that sold us out. Since we have the background knowledge that made them so rich, we also have the knowledge of how to turn it all around.

Report this

By bill75252, October 29, 2010 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges - corporatists are ruling the day but the liberal class is far from dead.  The pendulum will swing back to the left starting pretty soon after the mid-terms.

Here is why.  The fragile economy will be made even worse by the coming layoffs as large states like Texas fire teachers and health workers to cope with drastic tax shortfalls.

Since the corporatists do not want bailouts, the middle and lower class will be on their own thereby giving rise to liberalism.

Report this

By CitizenWhy, October 29, 2010 at 10:59 am Link to this comment

“The lights are going out all over America.” Those of you old enough will
understand the allusion.

Report this

By CitizenWhy, October 29, 2010 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

The author is describing neo-liberals who have displaced public policy concerns
based on economic conflicts and inequities with social issues, as noted by

But neo-liberals, led by Bill Clinton, also see corporations as employers and job
generators who can go “on strike” in a powerful way by: ... 1. Not hiring, laying
off ... 2. Hoarding cash and profits rather than investing them ... 3. Sending
jobs overseas. ... These three factors describe how corporate US is makig a
mockery of the Obama presidency.

In effect, corporations, not government, have the power and the political will to
turn on or off the engines of growth and jobs. Either way, growth or no-
growth,  the corporate elite become richer.

In 1938 Capital (corporate America) was also “on strike,” ( a term openly used
then, never used now), causing a “depression within a depression.” This
frightened Roosevelt, who toned down his anti-corporate rhetoric and sought
cooperation with corporate America, partly to prepare for what he saw as
inevitable war with Germany.

The ability of Capital to go on strike must be recognized and understood to
develop policies that benefit the middle class and the disenfranchised.
Globalization has made it even easier for Capital to go on strike. Corporations
are no longer concerned primarily with the US market. They can invest their
cash and profits abroad.

Another policy reality must be faced: Do we expand the middle class through
prudent savings and spending, or through accelerated spending fueled by debt?

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 29, 2010 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

Providing solutions may not be a requirement for revealing deep truths, but it does relieve the boredom of hearing the same deep truths preached to the choir over and over again.

Report this

By Don Bates, October 29, 2010 at 10:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Regardless of whether you buy Hedges’s arguments, it’s clear to me that we need more writers like him who are willing to say things that many of us want to say but can’t or won’t, most likely out of fear of losing jobs, family, etc.

Recall what Martin Luther King said: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

We have entered an era of parasitism (where one organism, the parasite, benefits at the expense of the host) that is unparalleled in my 70 years on the planet.  If liberalism in the larger sense dies, what then?  I think poet W.B. Yeats gave us a hint in “The Second Coming”:

“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”

Plausible?  Palpable?  Possible?  We’d better hope not.

Report this
RayLan's avatar

By RayLan, October 29, 2010 at 8:37 am Link to this comment

“In short, identifying the problem is only half of the problem.  The solution to the problem is the other half,”
I can never get my head around this ersatz sanctimony about how providing solutions is a requirement for revealing deep truths - like someone who has enough insight to uncover a problem, is flawed because he/she doesn’t offer solutions.
So much of the problem is the denial of the problem in the guise of believing in ‘solutions’ - which turn out to be self-righteous ideology rather than reality. The best parts of Plato were the Socratic questions rather than the pat solutions.

Report this

By Tom Brungardt, October 29, 2010 at 8:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To those who say that Mr. Hedges offers no evidence for the claims he is making here, I just want to remind them that this is one part of one chapter of a much bigger book.  Perhaps the evidence is contain within the pages of the book.

Report this

By Devamitta, October 29, 2010 at 8:04 am Link to this comment

“Without vision, the people perish.”  A good rant may get people to nod their heads in assent or maybe even stand and cheer.  But where is the vision in this rant to get people to formulate a new vision and march and organize to deliver it?  In short, identifying the problem is only half of the problem.  The solution to the problem is the other half, the half missing from the Hedges piece.

Report this

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 >

Right Top, Site wide - Care2
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right Internal Skyscraper, Site wide

Like Truthdig on Facebook