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Arts and Culture

‘Death of the Liberal Class’

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Posted on Oct 29, 2010

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

Unions, organizations formerly steeped in the doctrine of class struggle and filled with members who sought broad social and political rights for the working class, have been transformed into domesticated negotiators with the capitalist class. Cars rolling off the Ford plants in Michigan were said to be made by UAW Ford. But where unions still exist, they have been reduced to simple bartering tools, if that. The social demands of unions in the early twentieth century that gave the working class weekends off, the right to strike, the eight-hour workday, and Social Security, have been abandoned. Universities, especially in political science and economics departments, parrot the discredited ideology of unregulated capitalism and have no new ideas. The arts, just as hungry as the media or the academy for corporate money and sponsorship, refuse to address the social and economic disparities that create suffering for tens of millions of citizens. Commercial artists peddle the mythical narrative, one propagated by corporations, self-help gurus, Oprah and the Christian Right, that if we dig deep enough within ourselves, focus on happiness, find our inner strength, or believe in miracles, we can have everything we desire.

Such magical thinking, a staple of the entertainment industry, blinds citizens to corporate structures that have made it impossible for families to lift themselves out of poverty or live with dignity. But perhaps the worst offender within the liberal class is the Democratic Party.

 

book cover

 

Death of the Liberal Class

 

By Chris Hedges

 

Nation Books, 256 pages

 

Buy the book

The party consciously sold out the working class for corporate money. Bill Clinton, who argued that labor had nowhere else to go, in 1994 passed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which betrayed the working class. He went on to destroy welfare and in 1999 ripped down the firewalls between commercial and investment banks to turn the banking system over to speculators. Barack Obama, who raised more than $600 million to run for president, most of it from corporations, has served corporate interests as assiduously as his party. He has continued the looting of the U.S. Treasury by corporations, refused to help the millions of Americans who have lost their homes because of bank repossessions or foreclosures, and has failed to address the misery of our permanent class of unemployed.

Populations will endure the repression of tyrants, as long as these rulers continue to manage and wield power effectively. But human history has demonstrated that once those in positions of power become redundant and impotent, yet insist on retaining the trappings and privileges of power, their subject populations will brutally discard them. Such a fate awaits the liberal class, which insists on clinging to its positions of privilege while at the same time refusing to play its traditional role within the democratic state. The liberal class has become a useless and despised appendage of corporate power. And as corporate power pollutes and poisons the ecosystem and propels us into a world where there will be only masters and serfs, the liberal class, which serves no purpose in the new configuration, is being abandoned and discarded. The death of the liberal class means there is no check to a corporate apparatus designed to enrich a tiny elite and plunder the nation. An ineffectual liberal class means there is no hope, however remote, of a correction or a reversal. It ensures that the frustration and anger among the working and middle classes will find expression outside the confines of democratic institutions and the civilities of a liberal democracy.


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RayLan's avatar

By RayLan, October 29, 2010 at 7:59 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.

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By WarrenMetzler, October 29, 2010 at 7:44 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;
just as the corporations don’t need any hard experiential evidence to support
their worship of profit without regard for whether society receives a smidgen of
value from the products they sell.

Each person has free will. Hence each person personally chooses whether to act
in their daily activities with moral character, or to go with the current status quo
(which although the majority of each population, is always seeking personal
aggrandizement).

The significant immorality today is because most have personally chosen to be
immoral and seek control of their own destinies, easy ways, and lots of money,
power and fame. It is not because corporations have forced their views on
everyone else. After all, each corporate actions is an action chosen and done by
a person; no corporate action is an action done by some entity called a
corporation. And, I propose, each corporate action is taken to facilitate the
personal agenda of the person choosing and taking that action. No corporate
action occurs because the “corporation” chooses to act.

This fact is the main reason it was unconstitutional, immoral, and lacking in any
logic for the Supreme Court in the 1800’s to claim that corporations possessed
the same rights as humans.

Chris is right that today we have become significantly immoral, I propose he is
wrong in blaming corporations. He should know better having worked for the
New York Times long enough to know how they operated, and having been in
universities long enough to know how they operate.

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By keeperofthefire, October 29, 2010 at 7:43 am Link to this comment

this 60s hippy,activist,back to the lander has seen it all this life time,but the last 20 years slide into hell,i put the blame on the lots of talk no action american people!!!!!!!mr. hedges,i respect&admire; you,but truth be told,the “liberal class"has from day one of this phoney&corrupt; system of government,been a load of horseshit,its job always was to throw a few bones to the citizen slaves to keep them quiet,while the bankers&corporations; destroyed the world!!!i say f the “liberals”&since; this generation doesn’t have the guts to stamd up to these nazis,bring on 2012!!

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By surfnow, October 29, 2010 at 7:34 am Link to this comment

The political definition of “liberal” has been redefined. Now all it takes to be classified as a liberal , you just have to be pro-choice , and vote yes on insiginifcant social issues like gays in the military and affirmative action. This is why warmongering globalists like the Clintons can be defined as “liberal.” ” Progressives” are the new liberals.

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