Top Leaderboard, Site wide
October 21, 2014
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

Get Truthdig's headlines in your inbox!






Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh


Truthdig Bazaar
Dog Woman

Dog Woman

By Chris Abani
$14.20

more items

 
Report

How Democracy Dies: Lessons From a Master

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Oct 10, 2010
AP / Matt York

By Chris Hedges

The ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes spent his life battling the assault on democracy by tyrants. It is disheartening to be reminded that he lost. But he understood that the hardest struggle for humankind is often stating and understanding the obvious. Aristophanes, who had the temerity to portray the ruling Greek tyrant, Cleon, as a dog, is the perfect playwright to turn to in trying to grasp the danger posed to us by movements from the tea party to militias to the Christian right, as well as the bankrupt and corrupt power elite that no longer concerns itself with the needs of its citizens. He saw the same corruption 2,400 years ago. He feared correctly that it would extinguish Athenian democracy. And he struggled in vain to rouse Athenians from their slumber.

There is a yearning by tens of millions of Americans, lumped into a diffuse and fractious movement, to destroy the intellectual and scientific rigor of the Enlightenment. They seek out of ignorance and desperation to create a utopian society based on “biblical law.” They want to transform America’s secular state into a tyrannical theocracy. These radicals, rather than the terrorists who oppose us, are the gravest threat to our open society. They have, with the backing of hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate money, gained tremendous power. They peddle pseudoscience such as “Intelligent Design” in our schools. They keep us locked into endless and futile wars of imperialism. They mount bigoted crusades against gays, immigrants, liberals and Muslims. They turn our judiciary, in the name of conservative values, over to corporations. They have transformed our liberal class into hand puppets for corporate power. And we remain meek and supine.

They want to transform America’s secular state into a tyrannical theocracy. These radicals, rather than the terrorists who oppose us, are the gravest threat to our open society.

The huge amount of taxpayer money doled out to Wall Street, investment banks, the oil and natural gas industry and the defense industry, along with the dismantling of our manufacturing sector, is why we are impoverished. It is why our houses are being foreclosed on. It is why some 45 million Americans are denied medical care. It is why our infrastructure, from public schools to bridges, is rotting. It is why many of us cannot find jobs. We are being fleeced. The flagrant theft of public funds and rise of an obscenely rich oligarchic class is masked by the tough talk of demagogues, themselves millionaires, who use fear and bombast to keep us afraid, confused and enslaved.

Aristophanes saw the same psychological and political manipulation undermine the democratic state in ancient Athens. He repeatedly warned Athenians in plays such as “The Clouds,” “The Wasps,” “The Birds,” “The Frogs” and “Lysistrata” that permitting political leaders who shout “I shall never betray the Athenian!” or “I shall keep up the fight in defense of the people forever!” to get their hands on state funds and power would end with the citizens enslaved.

Advertisement

Square, Site wide
“The truth is, they want you, you see, to be poor,” Aristophanes wrote in his play “The Wasps.” “If you don’t know the reason, I’ll tell you. It’s to train you to know who your tamer is. Then, whenever he gives you a whistle and sets you against an opponent of his, you jump out and tear them to pieces.”

Our democracy, through years of war, theft and corruption, is also being diminished. But the example Aristophanes offers is not a hopeful one. He held up the same corruption to his fellow Greeks. He repeatedly chided them for not rising up and fighting back. He warned, ominously, that by the time most citizens awoke it would be too late. And he was right. The appearance of normality lulls us into a false hope and submission. Those who shout most loudly in defense of the ideals of the founding fathers, the sacredness of Constitution and the values of the Christian religion are those who most actively seek to subvert the principles they claim to champion. They hold up the icons and language of traditional patriotism, the rule of law and Christian charity to demolish the belief systems that give them cultural and political legitimacy. And those who should defend these beliefs are cowed and silent.   

“For a considerable length of time the normality of the normal world is the most efficient protection against disclosure of totalitarian mass crimes,” Hannah Arendt wrote in “The Origins of Totalitarianism.” “Normal men don’t know that everything is possible, refuse to believe their eyes and ears in the face of the monstrous. ... The reason why the totalitarian regimes can get so far toward realizing a fictitious, topsy-turvy world is that the outside non-totalitarian world, which always comprises a great part of the population of the totalitarian country itself, indulges in wishful thinking and shirks reality in the face of real insanity. ...”

All ideological, theological and political debates with the representatives of the corporate state, including the feckless and weak Barack Obama, are useless. They cannot be reached. They do not want a dialogue. They care nothing for real reform or participatory democracy. They use the tricks and mirages of public relations to mask a steadily growing assault on our civil liberties, our inability to make a living and the loss of basic services from education to health care. Our gutless liberal class placates the enemies of democracy, hoping desperately to remain part of the ruling elite, rather than resist. And, in many ways, liberals, because they serve as a cover for these corporate extremists, are our greatest traitors.


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.

Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, March 16, 2011 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment

Checked out the profile on the Teabaggers.  Mildly interesting
since sometimes too much information is a useless exercise
unless it can be used for some reason.  Are these people going
to be pilloried or crucified?  I guess that could be entertaining.
I did resent Coulter’s personal ad along side of it, given that the
site is allegedly non-partisan. Advertisements are noxious enough
as it is.  By the way, has anyone noticed the inordinate number of
ads that show up on Truthdig?  It takes several minutes to load a
TD page these days because of all the ads that have to come up. 

Yeah, I suppose like the list of teabaggers, just knowing who are
the elites is kind of feckless unless knowing who they are can be
functional in some advantageous way. I think the point was that
there is such a class and that naming individuals lends some
credibility to saying there is. 

What I find of more utility would be to know to what political party each
of the listed elites donated money to.  A list of what is known appears
at http://www.newsmeat.com/billionaire_political_donations/

43 donated more to Republicans
35 donated more to Democrats
3 dontated equally to both parties
2 donated nothing to any party

Not sure what this means exactly except that there are more wealthy
elites who donate to Republicans.  I would guess the dollar amount
would matter more than the number.  So I crunched the numbers and it
turns out that:

Republicans received $42,868,903 in donations for political candidates,
Democrats received $20,540,066. 
Hmmm… Republicans received more than twice the amount as
Democrats.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, March 16, 2011 at 10:29 am Link to this comment

I fear there is more work to discovering, understanding and exposing the structure of the present elites than one person can handle.  Some sort of wiki setup may be indicated.

I know there are various whisteblower web sites already, although I don’t know of one that focuses on the U.S. power structure.  This is a difficult undertaking because the powerful have no reason to want their business to be known, and their secrecy not only leaves large gaps in our knowledge but also provides a fertile field for paranoid imagination which, amusing or exciting as it may be, obscures critical matters.

I recall someone publishing a large chart several years ago which laid out the ‘interlocking directorates’—the known boards of directors of important institutions connected through their common members.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, March 15, 2011 at 10:03 pm Link to this comment

They had an interesting article at the Public Record on the Tea Party, it seems as I suspected, Eric Hoffers True Believer has come home to roost!

What I found was the Tea Bags do not know who is calling the shots, it sure as hell is not them!

Been wondering about all the negative hoopla about SSI: this explains some of it at a Tea Bag meeting; link; http://pubrecord.org/politics/9003/party-patriots/

“More than half of the audience appeared to be of retirement age and more than a few carried oxygen bottles; however, most cheered when Yaaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute stated “social security was the most immoral scheme ever devised by politicians” because it forces the responsible to care for the irresponsible.”

No wonder we are getting all this negative flack about SSI and Unions. ! Manipulated; not morons, not imbeciles just naive people being taken advantage of and indoctrinated and manipulated, to screw the rest of the people, according to the article Tea Baggers are scared, well if they watch Fox News what a surprise!

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, March 15, 2011 at 9:47 pm Link to this comment

Part III has been posted to the site as have been IV, V, and VI. 
The link is
    http://pubrecord.org/special-to-the-public-
record/6974/exposing-enemy-economic-elite/

Part VI has a prefacing paragraph that contains links to all the
previous five parts in bolded “here” words.  This is the final
installment of David DeGraw’s six-part series on the The Economic
Elite Vs. The People of the USA.  The six-parts that are published
here online essentially also make up the contents of the published
book of the same title.

Some of the comments on all of six parts at the bottom of the page,
made by other readers back in 2010, are interesting and gives DeGraw
somewhat of a challenge and some provide more information.

An interview of the author can be found at
http://pubrecord.org/multimedia/7118/author-david-degraw-the-
american/

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, March 15, 2011 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment

I’ll be very interested to see what the author comes up with in Section III where I take it he is supposed to name names and delineate structures.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, March 15, 2011 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment

She, I had forgotten about this article by Hedges.  I checked out the link and am elated, for I even found one of my favorite things in the world,..... underrated sarcasm, on of all things, the Republican Governor of Pennsylvania! .... I will place this site next to me Truth Dig!

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, March 15, 2011 at 1:28 pm Link to this comment

Sometime ago (last October/November) a few participants on this
forum were seeking a list of real, meaning existing, economic elites
in order to make some rational assessment about the abstract word
“elite.”  The website listed below is an extensive six-part report that
seems to provide exactly that information. 

Apparently a news reporting journal website The Public Record has
credibility as I have not been able to find any negative remarks about
its reporting and practices of gaining information.

http://pubrecord.org/special-to-the-public-record/6940/economic-
elite-people-united-states/
This address might not fit the text box of TD so it should be
copy/pasted into a browser to access.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 28, 2010 at 11:08 pm Link to this comment

It depends on what you mean by ‘liberal’.  Jay talks about ‘true liberals’ but this is like the ‘no true Scotsman’ argument.  If we look at liberalism over the long term, it is as I said.  More recently, liberals have supported imperial war in Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Serbia and numerous other places, none of which can be considered liberations.  Many liberals, even within the social-democrat or Welfare-statist category denoted by the mass media use of the term, support all kinds of coercive domestic programs and policies, for example they tend to believe in the forcible abrogation of the Second Amendment.  And I was recently reading an article whose author was positively thrilled that Global Warming was going to justify all kinds of coercive measures against all kinds of people the author didn’t like.  There are numerous liberal supporters of the Drug War and the crazed security theater of the TSA.  Liberalism does not look particularly liberation-minded to me.

Report this
Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, November 28, 2010 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment

I don’t see that today though, more for the hyper Christian and predatory Capitalist set these days.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 28, 2010 at 12:19 am Link to this comment

Jay, November 24 at 6:09 am:

Hedges has many good points. He mis-defines a few things though. First of all liberals support liberation - if they don’t then they aren’t ( or are no longer ) liberals. ...

I think that’s highly debatable, if you’re using the word ‘liberal’ in the political-theory sense.  The classical liberals (Locke and Jefferson, for example) justified slavery, and Jefferson actually practiced it, so they certainly didn’t believe in liberation for everybody.  Capitalism is the economic system of liberalism, and it has liberated some while subjugating others.  In the 20th century, American liberals became big proponents of imperialism, which necessitates war and police repression.  In general the spirit of liberalism has been ‘liberty for me, feudalism for the lower orders’.

Of course you may be using the word in some other sense, I suppose.

Report this

By montymouse, November 27, 2010 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment

Came across your website today. Chris,I’ve read many of your articles and very impressed, this one especially. Will very soon be back to read some more. The main stream media drives me mad!

Report this

By Jay, November 24, 2010 at 1:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges has many good points. He mis-defines a few things though. First of all liberals support liberation - if they don’t then they aren’t ( or are no longer ) liberals. True liberals oppose the take over of the U.S. by corporate fascists. Secondly this whole idea of a “Christian” theocracy. There is no such thing. Christians are followers of Christ. You know - the guy who said “render onto Caesar the things that are caesars and render onto God the things that are God’s” and “My kingdom is not of this earth”. He was crucified by soldiers of an imperial army for advocating peace. So how can people who follow a guy who advocated peace, love and separation of church and state be part of a theocracy? The religious right is fascist - not Christian. Just like the Nazi’s who called them selves “socialist” were not socialists. Fascists coop popular religions and political movements in order to seize power. If the religious right takes over this country you watch - real Christians will be fed to the lions. Same old.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 2, 2010 at 9:41 pm Link to this comment

Yet once again I’ll recommend ‘How Harvard Lost Russia’ not as a description of an entire class or structure, but rather, among other things, a picture of a certain milieu, in this case the aura, the aroma which follows Larry Summers around.  (Besides, it is a good story, a sort of compact Russian novel.)  If you have considerably more time, you might consider reading Robert Caro’s The Power Broker.  This, too, is merely the biography of an individual, not a picture of a whole class, but it does give a view of a certain context that might be relevant to the issue.  I’ve mentioned the marked continuity of policy between administrations of supposedly strongly diverse ideologies in recent decades. I could go on, but I think I’ve already given the reasoning for believing that the most powerful people in a community are will form some sort of self-recognizing, coherent structure, for which I think there is plenty of observable evidence in the United States.  But people will believe whatever they like; some people will go with the principle ‘Ain’t nobody here but us chickens.’  Of course even C. Wright Mills’s classic was derided as ‘Marxist’ and so forth—the usual.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, November 2, 2010 at 8:03 pm Link to this comment

Having common sense and logic simple or complex I can handle, but
it is the “observable phenomena” that is theorized of a ruling class or
power elite in America as Being There that I’d like to see some of. 
Can you point some out?  That was a rhetorical question. The elitists
were the quarry that this forum devoted so much time discussing, so
the conversation was not furthered much.  Such is life that is really
built on hearsay castles of sand.  It seems someone has missed a
great bookselling opportunity with the gripping involvement of
progressives and conservatives that there hasn’t been a stellar political
historian who has not written a “good contemporary description of the
structure of political power” in the United States.  C. Wright Mills’ work
a half a century ago might just be the only authority.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 2, 2010 at 10:02 am Link to this comment

The theory of a ruling class or power elite does correspond with observable phenomena, simple logic, and common sense, so there is probably something to it.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, November 2, 2010 at 7:14 am Link to this comment

C. Wright Mills still looks interesting.  The funny thing about ideas is
that if they have validity, they tenaciously remain in focus. 

Well it sounds like, Anarcissie, we are pissing in the wind.  Far as
finding even one “real” power elite let alone a few that could be
called the ruling class.  So we will just have to speak of the
entire concept as a myth.  And them as mythological.  At least in
Nazi Germany, you knew who were the Nazis, maybe not all the
corporate supporters, but some of the big ones were known, i.e.,
Krupp Steel and armaments manufacturers, Bayer and I.G. Farben,
chemical and pharmaceuticals, and Siemens, still in electronics, but
not the likes of Oskar Schindler who was a real hero.  So it seems
America will have to be run by a “fictitious,” even exaggerated
institution and Americans will simply have to suck up to the situation. 
Why bother complaining or to carry on with vacuous rhetoric about it
then.  Just roll over, Rover.  For surely we are dogs. 

So you are saying it might be dangerous to my health to dig into the
real membership of this fiction?  Well I don’t want to spend my tenuous
life, then, rekindling my research occupation.  Some young lion
mythbuster will come along, I’m sure as they always foolishly show up,
who will blow the lid off some day.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 2, 2010 at 1:30 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous—I don’t really know of a good contemporary description of the structure of political power in the United States.  I wish I did.  There was C. Wright Mills’s Power Elite back in the day (1956), but now that’s more than 50 years ago and may be pretty obsolete, especially as to the details.  Several years ago in a gallery or museum I saw a huge chart, presented as a work of art, showing the ‘interlocking diretorate’, the Boards of Directors, trustees, and so on, of hundreds of leading American institutions, who have many members in common, a huge web of power and high status.  But I believe much of the ruling class or power elite, while not exactly hidden, is not exactly visible either; digging is required, and it is not likely anyone will pay you or even thank you to do it.  Might not be healthy work, either, come to think of it.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

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

Anarcissie - “…there is a set of people who have a lot of power
including the power to order other people’s lives.  I take it these
people have organized themselves into some kind of self-recog-
nizing structure, because otherwise we would observe war between
the powerful, as we do in a population organized into small
independent tribes.”

There have always been internecine wars to establish power structures. 
History bears this out from prehistoric times and what archaeology has
unearthed, right up to now as we can see in the internal war in Iraq
between the Shias and the Sunnis rages on and similarly in other places. 
So we ought not to be surprised at the quasi vestigial “tribal” wars that
rack our political system.  It seems to be the way mankind works. What
we are attempting to do in our discussion is to identify as close as
possible those individuals who are considered the elites, whether liberal
and also conservative, who are attempting to commandeer the
government of a huge population for the strict benefit of their “special”
members.  There is no way to wage war on what cannot be grabbed
with the bare hands.  That being said, I want to know who “these
people” are?  How do we identify them.  To what degree have they
organized into some self-recognizing structure and if there is any
antidote.  If there isn’t, then do we just give up? 

It might be that Buckley had a perceptive view.  The case of Hungary
sort of like gives testimony to his adage.  Here we see a country whose
volatile political, economic and cultural dimensions have fluctuated all
around and in and out of the communist spectrum finally settling down
into a democratic republic, social democratic that is.  Yet I from what I
can gather, it is still in turmoil.  Will it settle down like water seeking its
own level?  Some people think the utter confusion and disturbance
between the major parties here in the US will not but will only get
worse.  We will see what the election will bring, won’t we?

This article is a microcosmic view of how the elites do not always win. 
See if you can google the PDF article by József Bayer, “The Process of
Political System Change in Hungary - the Deepening Crisis, Emerging
Opposition.”  The link doesn’t work directly and only program code
garbage comes up.  While it presents an amazing glance of the ebb and
flow of how a country government evolves, its demographics is so
much different than the United States that I don’t think it is a reflective
path that is possible here.  But it does present almost a cinematic view
of huge movements of people and the variety of thinking in major
groups that vie for power in revolutions and counterrevolutions.  I also
think the Russia/Soviet Union failure gives a clear representation of
what can go wrong that presents what not to do on a nation-scale.

It is hard to decipher what goes on in rapid and unpredictable politics
of unstable countries such as Hungary and then try to apply the
dynamics onto other ones.  Each situation is unique although an
overarching view might show how the herds move toward one end of a
pendulum swing then over to the other.  I think it also presents a
chimera and not a good gauge for how things would go here.  For
those who like to read about the turbulence of government swings, this
site can be a fascinating read.  I don’t think however it is a paradigm
for the US.
http://esbalogh.typepad.com/hungarianspectrum/mdf/

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, November 1, 2010 at 1:02 pm Link to this comment

After a few reflections between Tequilas, I find the similarities of religion and politics insanely similar. Both seem to have a ruling class or a group of people who decided how everyone should proceed while one is here on earth, at least until ones demise, for some even after.

Once again this week Hedges is going on about Liberal failings, while criticizing the recent rally of insanity for being entertainment, to me Hedges sounds like the kettle calling the pot black?

What seems necessary in the grand scheme of things, appears to be a constant agitation coming from all directions, lambasting clear focus aside like road kill, this seems mostly done by hyper boil and deceptions.

Pigeonholing seems highly important with keeping the constant fuzzy focusing alive and well. This may be especially so, if one wants to become a a card carrying member of the pigeonholes.  Now I have recently discovered pigeonholes have something to do with missing socks,.... so even I may be an unwitting though non card carrying pigenholer?

Report this
Orbis Unum's avatar

By Orbis Unum, November 1, 2010 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment

Re: Anarcissie, November 1 at 3:31 pm.

Response: Specifically speaking, William F. Buckley’s quoted remarks are founded upon obvious historical reasoning. Having said this, many liked-minded individuals have approached the dilemma of present day political misdirection by restating the self-evident principles. And, like history has proven over and over again, Men of Good Will must unite and pledged themselves in support thereof, if to halt such misrepresentations foisted upon the unsuspecting from womb to tomb, having been perpetrated against All Walks of Life universally by every geopolitical framework of government, which has existed historically and which remains firmly entrenched today by such programmable social deceptions.

For those cognizant, competent, and solution oriented, which may be found within this discussion forum, we offer the following web link as food for thought as a knowledgeable framework, from which may be found expressed within the Universal Declarations proffered. 

We link: http://www.scribd.com/rahyah

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 1, 2010 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

Leefeller—William F. Buckley once very conservatively remarked that technically, a revolution is a movement in which one goes around a full circle and comes back to the beginning.  If so, the symbol of my revolution shall be the Enso, in the hipper, zippier version where the circle is left open as if the brush were still drawing the form.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, November 1, 2010 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

Me suspicions support Anarcissie"s opinion, when all I have to do is look at the Mexican revolution, when the dust settled it was business back to the way it was! Possibly France may be another place to observe resultant similarities or differences after viva La revolution? Well it seems the French are always pissed off so that may be a difference?

The riling class is ever present in the background poking and prodding things as they feel need poking and prodding.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 1, 2010 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous—I understand that I have left some, even many of your questions unanswered, but I had to run off to the latest Hedges hair-pull and provoke a couple of our resident righties.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 1, 2010 at 10:39 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous, November 1 at 11:26 am:

If it is as you describe, do you really think conservatives with a capital “C” want to and can seize complete control of the American government?  Are their intentions really only to extend their “power, wealth and social status, individually and collectively, by any means necessary?”  You speak of “seemingly radical changes” and I am wondering where the idea of ‘seemingly’ comes in?  Do you think what happened in Russia (uh, Soviet Union), that “the ruling class [conservatives by your definition] simply [will dispense] with [our] existing visible government and replaced it with [a] new one more to their liking?”

It appears to me that the ruling class or power elite of the U.S. have the government well under its control through the existing parties and other institutions, hence the remarkable continuity of policy between the various Federal administrations between the 1980s and the present.  But as things have not been going well lately, supposedly due to the excesses of some participants in the financial system, we may see a consensus for a transition to a more centrally-controlled, China-like arrangement.  I gave the demise of the Soviet Union as a high-relief example of a transition brought about by a ruling class; it is not (in my view) the basic model.

‘Conservatives with a capital C’ would be ordinary people who overtly describe themselves as ‘conservatives’.  I don’t see them as very significant to the r.c., who know how to manipulate them when necessary—or think they do.


I think the activist Left are/were much more than those who merely thought there was less peace, freedom, and equality than preferred.  They appear to be a species of hydrophobic and militant socialistic zealots, but not that much different from their linear opponent conservatives in their exertion.  Also to what degree more would have Leftists wanted peace, freedom, and equality, which in really are the classic “liberal” qualities?  What would they define peace as, for instance[?]

I don’t know about ‘hydrophobic’.  There have been many leftists whose aim was peace, freedom and equality, but who thought getting there needed just one more state, one more war—one more hit, one more fix, as the Ministry song goes.  And violence gets people very excited and enthusiastic.  However, I think history shows that violence against violence produces more of the same.  You can defend what you have by force, but something else is required if you want something new and different.

Historically, liberals have not shown much affection for either peace or equality.  Liberal states have been the leading imperial powers in the last two or three centuries, and you can’t build an empire without war.  Most liberal regimes were founded by procedures which included civil wars, mass expropriation, reigns of terror and so forth.  And so today we have Mr. O saying he is not opposed to war, just ‘stupid wars’.  To me, that is a quintessentially liberal remark.

As for equality, many iconic liberals supported slavery, so that the (conservative) Dr. Johnson was moved to complain, “How is it we hear so many yelps for liberty from the drivers of Negroes?’  Liberalism is capitalism, and capitalism produces gross inequalities of wealth and power.  However, liberals do like ‘equality before the law’ at least between people who can hire good lawyers.
 
I see liberalism as a mix between anarchism (freedom for the property owners) and feudalism (not so much freedom for anybody else).  It is not, then, the Left, but a middle-of-the-road synthesis of Left and Right.  This could make it a desirable political philosophy for a ruling class, as long as the anarchistic side didn’t get out of hand.

Looks like I’m out of space here.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, November 1, 2010 at 7:26 am Link to this comment

I suppose this is as good a forum as any to continue to civilly thrash
out what we have started.

Anarcissie, November 1 at 1:53 am – If it is as you describe, do you
really think conservatives with a capital “C” want to and can seize
complete control of the American government?  Are their intentions
really only to extend their “power, wealth and social status,
individually and collectively, by any means necessary?”  You speak of
“seemingly radical changes” and I am wondering where the idea of
‘seemingly’ comes in?  Do you think what happened in Russia (uh,
Soviet Union), that “the ruling class [conservatives by your definition]
simply [will dispense] with [our] existing visible government and
replaced it with [a] new one more to their liking?”

Anarcissie, October 30 2:35 pm – I think the activist Left are/were
much more than those who merely thought there was less peace,
freedom, and equality than preferred.  They appear to be a species of
hydrophobic and militant socialistic zealots, but not that much different
from their linear opponent conservatives in their exertion.  Also to what
degree more would have Leftists wanted peace, freedom, and equality,
which in really are the classic “liberal” qualities?  What would they
define peace as, for instance. 

Peace with whom, as that implies stressful conflict if not downright war? 
What could they mean by more freedom and more equality?  Again as
with other abstractions, these words are ideational and are not
descriptive enough to have any firm understanding of what the Left is
aside from their being a committed movement. 

Liberalism begins with the profound idea of freedom.  Individual
freedom is the first principle of the Liberal.  This is in stark contrast to
what conservatives perennially define liberals as.  In their self-serving
habit, they define the liberal as opposed to individual freedom.  Just a
glance at Conservapedia shows the intentional distortion of the
language in order to give their particular shade of politics a justified
sheen.

The first mistake, but not entirely unique to the conservative buffet of
verbal lingo, is the fusion of the two words liberal and leftist that in
reality are manifestly dissimilar.  It is my aim to show this divergence of
the two terms.

It is also my contention that the conservatives desperately want to
connect liberalism with communistic leftism because of the historic
stigma attached, which will give them assistance to perpetuate their
agenda (that you so crisply noted).  It is completely a fabrication on
their part.  It is a deliberate corruption of the two terms.  But given the
hysterical nature of conservatism that has evolved in the 20th-21st
centuries in the West most noticeably in America but shows itself in
Europe as well, it is not unexpected.

Some further archaeology of the word liberal needs to be done In order
to unveil how liberalism tenably ought to be understood, then to see
what elitism means to authentically catch hold of who deserves the
pejorative name liberal elite.  As a later project it will also do our work
and our mental health well to uncover what conservative elitism is.

As usual, I have some “miles to go” today.  I look forward to further
dialogue.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 31, 2010 at 9:53 pm Link to this comment

The conservatism of the ruling class or power elite is somewhat different from the conservatism of the ordinary people.  The latter is a preference for known forms, relations, procedures, and often focuses on the surface features of daily life.  The former is a determination to maintain and, if possible, extend one’s power, wealth and social status, individually and collectively, by any means necessary.  That might involve seemingly radical changes.  A good example is the demise of the Soviet Union, where the nomenklatura, led by Yeltsin and people like him, determined that they would have a better chance of holding on to their status by dismantling the Soviet state, which was apparently sliding toward some sort of democracy or anarchy.  The lesser conservatives clung to the Communist Party and were swept to the sidelines.  Notice that in this case the ruling class simply dispensed with the existing visible government and replaced it with new ones more to their liking.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 31, 2010 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment

Thank you Anarcissie, I understand what you have said.  But is
General Motors an institution unto itself, or would it be part of the auto
industrial machine?  Does what happens to GM also happen by proxy to
the others in the group?  Yeah I guess Chrysler was in a similar sludge
boat. Those were somewhat rhetorical questions.

It seems like it is not a radical fascist matter of having a government
appointee, i.e., Rattner, have power to remove and install heads of
an auto megacorp.  This is a special case due to the financial mess,
actually more than a mess, earthquake 8.0 on the Richter Scale, that
GM got itself into. Some reports I read says it was because of its legacy
costs, others due to its credit rating, such s S&P 500 index cutting
GM’s credit rating, and hence couldn’t get loans to “ride out the
catastrophic sales losses, others say it did not produce state of the
art fuel efficient cars, the global slowdown, and so forth.  I assume
Chrysler was in a similar pickle.  The trade off of letting them go
bankrupt would have meant an even more loss of jobs which would
not only have affected those huge auto manufacturers but all the little
companies down the line that sold parts, paint, upholstery, whatever,
everything involved in making a car, but also such things as the regular
marketplace would have been affected, groceries, utility bills, etc., a lot
of unseen expenditures.  I’ve been hearing about auto industry financial
woes since I was a kid, like Lee Iacocca’s GM problems decades ago. It
is a chronic problem, that only became acutely obvious to the public in
2008 because of the entire possible financial black hole swallow-it-
whole. It seems to me it was wise of the government to put someone in
charge of administrative duties.  It is called a prophylactic approach,
you know, like a financial condom.  They did get a lot of the public’s
money so I don’t think it was on the same order as a fascist central
government intentionally setting itself up as a coercive social force, but
more as a protector against further hemorrhaging by an industry that
as you noted has recurring problems, this is not a new issue.

I suppose it can be spun anyway a partisan wants.  But I fail to see that
free enterprise has been knocked a wallop except by its own ineptness
and corruptions.

Yeah, if conservatives want to whine about the drift towards more and
more centralized control, then their ranks ought to learn not to get
themselves in such financial shithouses that the government is called
upon to salvage the economy thusly.  It is power politics that is for
sure, but it is not being presented exactly who is the one playing the
game and who has stakes in the game.  While the public is getting
screwed, I see the corportocracy doing the screwing not the govern-
ment. I don’t see capitalism in such danger unless the capitalists bring
disaster upon themselves then expect the government to bail them out
with general funds.  It is a way to get back the redistributive money that
is fed by taxes which is on an income scale, where the more wealthy,
cry babies, don’t want to pay anything. And they find many ways not
pay much and come out fairly well. 

That is the way I see it. I think real liberals see it that way too.  We are
not against capitalism but just against some devious practices by
capitalists to do society that doesn’t fill their xmas stocking as much as
they would like. Yeah ironies do abound.  You are right on that score. 
And much obliged that you took the time to explain the picture as you
see it.  I have Gladwell’s book Blink and I think he is very bright, but he
teeter totters having a conservative disposition and a liberal one.  He is
hard to catch, the little guy is slippery in his facedancing routine.  He
says he is Now a Liberal, that it was a “fun radical thing to do” to be a
conservative.  Hmmmm.  Eyebrows raised.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 31, 2010 at 2:12 pm Link to this comment

The new world order was not contrived by all the Joe the Plumbers out there and it should be known I had nothing to do with it either!

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 31, 2010 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous—Since some people have more power than others, and ordinary people do not appear to have much power over more than their private lives, I take it there is a set of people who have a lot of power including the power to order other people’s lives.  I take it these people have organized themselves into some kind of self-recognizing structure, because otherwise we would observe war between the powerful, as we do in a population organized into small independent tribes.  I call this structure ‘the ruling class’ even though one could argue it is not really a class.  One can also call it ‘the power elite’ or whatever. 

It is not the same as the government.  The government is a particular institution whose central role is the use of coercive social force at the behest and in the interests of those who have power.  A powerful person, for example Rupert Murdoch, may not wish to be in the government, or lack the talent for occupying a role in that particular environment.  If he needs governance to be applied, he can always call the cops, or hire some.

In regard to the centralization of power, it is my understanding that the U.S. government has recently taken a far greater role than it usually does in the management of certain important institutions, like General Motors for example.  I have just been reading an article about how a government appointee, Steve Rattner, was given the power to remove and install heads at General Motors and Chrysler.  (See http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2010/11/01/101101crbo_books_gladwell; and there is a lot of other commentary on this review and the book reviewed on the Net.)  This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened, but I think the number and size of the instances have increased markedly in the last few years, especially since the financial system collapsed in 2008.  Moving in the other direction, many have observed the extraordinary powers accorded to people like Larry Summers, whose status and repute seem to derive entirely from his connections to rich people and the said financial industry.  This is evidence to me of a progressive merger between the large institutions these people represent.  I am hardly the only person to have made this observation.

I suppose some rightists, who are generally more intuitive and percipient about such things than leftists, sense the shift away from their old local authorities into the centralized structure and don’t like it: hence Tea Parties.

Of course the ruling class are conservative.  They want to conserve their power, wealth and social status, however, not vague nebulosities and superstitions like ‘free enterprise’ or ‘Christian values’.  Intelligent conservatives know that in order to conserve the important things, one must be prepared to adjust, modify and sometimes abandon the less important.  Some conservatives might like to conserve old-time Robber Baron free-wheeling capitalism (mostly a dear antique legend) but they can’t afford to have their entire system seize up because some of its operators tend to get too greedy.  The correct function of the economic system is to keep moving value away from working people and give it to rich people, but this must be done moderately and judiciously to keep the poor working and buying, i.e. creating appropriatable value, instead of going into the streets and possibly supporting fascist or socialist movements.

As always, ironies abound, because the world is more complicated and contradictory than our ideas of the world.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 31, 2010 at 12:09 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, October 31 1:36 am
“My use of dirigisme may be incorrect.  What I am thinking of is
not merely government influence but outright overall control of the
major economic institutions—the sort of thing we are told to observe
in Russia and China, and many other states. That’s what seems to be
happening in the U.S., too, not because some party or other wanted
it that way for ideological reasons but because the ruling class saw
it as the only way their immediate interests could be protected from
the vicissitudes—and each other.”

Oh…Okay.  What exactly is it that seems to be happening in the US,
and when did this start or who of the ruling class started it? It had to
start somewhere, didn’t it?  I don’t really care about the “inner
workings,” but it seems a bit nebulous a claim to try to understand it as
a problem.  What major economic institutions might the government
take overall control?  The banks?  All the mortgage companies, or the
Wall Street financial exchange machine?  The International Monetary
Fund?  The World Bank?  The WTO?  I’m not too sure what you are
talking about?  This seems a huge undertaking and would take
Congressional collusion, don’t you think?  Are you equating the ruling
class with the government?  What do you suppose are the vicissitudes
that the ruling class was/is so worried about? The ruling class are the
wealthy, right?  And the wealthy are mostly conservatives, right?  So are
they the ones who will be taking over all the economic institutions and
the government?  Wouldn’t that be an irony?

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 30, 2010 at 9:36 pm Link to this comment

My use of dirigisme may be incorrect.  What I am thinking of is not merely government influence but outright overall control of the major economic institutions—the sort of thing we are told to observe in Russia and China, and many other states.  That’s what seems to be happening in the U.S., too, not because some party or other wanted it that way for ideological reasons but because the ruling class saw it as the only way their immediate interests could be protected from the vicissitudes—and each other.  I am not privy to the inner workings, of course.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 30, 2010 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

Sorry OM you feel you’ve been pushed into a ditch.  You act as
if you are being persecuted!  I’d say you were just driving too close
to the shoulder.  Climb out!  I’ll call the highway patrol as I pass by
just to make sure you emerged in one piece.  But I was told by my
wise mom to never stop for a stranger, one never knows if there is
a crossbow under his coat.  I’ve been shot in the heart a number of
times, so no more stopping.  Or, just ask Benito to give you a hand. 

Unfortunately for Poor Barack, Poor Liberal Barack, he does have to
push hard, he’s black and a liberal and thus has been in the crosshairs
of the Republican coalition from the day he took the oath.  Yup, his
ditch is much deeper than yours and the sides of his trench is much
steeper than yours, you and who you applaud that put him there made
sure it was deep.  Do keep him down, put your foot on his head, that’s
the typical way to beat who conservatives don’t like, right?  Why he
don’t deserve to raise his liberal black head.  How dare he try?  Soooo
kind, so caring of the country, yeah that abstraction called a country. 
Blame is the name of the game, isn’t it?  That is the favorite game of
deflection the conservatives love to play.  It is the only game they will
allow.  They say no to everything else.  And then cry “poor me, poor
me, poooooorrr meeeee! We are all in the black Obama ditch.” 
Well Obama and his “kind” know the back of the bus very well, and he
still knows it if only by metaphor now, as the Republican conservatives
will never let him not know it.  Once one knows something one cannot
not know it. The theater continues.  I hope you don’t think I am being
too impolite.

If they were, please unfold your arms, Anarcissie. Even a cursory
scan of most economies of the modern age can be characterized
as dirigiste to some amount, meaning state economic action
exercised through subsidizing research and developing new
technologies.  This is more clearly seen in new energy R&D by the
US. While there are always arguments against subsidies of any kind by
vested interests whether it is the medical industries, armaments-war
industrial manufacturers, or now corporate environmental violators,
there are also arguments for such government involvement.  For R&D in
energy we easily see that subsidies can be used to guarantee adequate
domestic supply by supporting indigenous fuel production thereby
reducing import dependency, or worse, supporting “overseas” activities
of national energy companies.  Other benefits means competition and a
reduction in product prices which can stimulate certain economic
quarters or portions of the population, e.g., alleviating poverty and
increasing access to products and services.  Furthermore, and an
argument that strikes at the heart of a currently distressed economy,
subsidies can help to maintain or even increase employment.

Now onwards towards better definitions of leftist and liberalism…
I see a vitally important need for those of the liberal persuasion to
return to classical liberalism.  That means I perceive that the
intellectual tradition has almost vanished from contemporary life from
the academics and those not trained in the academic disciplines, the
un-academics, and, consequently, has disappeared from the intentions
of many conventional institutions that consider themselves “liberal.”

For more than a century, those considered Leftist, promoted the belief
that if one is not on the Left, then one is on the Right of the political
flanks.  Odd logic I think, but that is the way it is.  Astute thinkers,
though, see liberal, properly understood, as neither in the Left nor Right
camp; it is in a compound on its own.  You know, the one that has
tolerance, freedom, forward thinking, as part of its credo, but keeps
rationality as one of its trump cards.

BTW: I did not select any particular political spectrum.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, October 30, 2010 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

As i was explaining “Liberal Elite” you both repeatedly replied by using the the buzzword definition. So I conceeded that the common buzzword meaning that you are familiar with is what “Liberal Elite” means. I heard no protest from anyone. Nor do i protest. i informed you that I let it go several posts back.

Wherever you perceive is your “assigned” seat in your mythological bus is one that you relegated to yourself. and You failed to say which graph you were using.

I stated: We all know where Price is coming from now. I note where Price ranges the American public on his graph. I know where i am on it. I am more conservative than George Bush on social matters as well as economic matters. Therefore I am bunk mates with Mussolini.

Please know that the mysterious graph in question was the one you recommended, the one you were talking about, the one that you think explains everything best. The Right has been explained there i have been explained there.

Find George Bush on that graph. Go to the social right of George Bush by only one block. Now go to the economic right by only one block. Its not far. It is practically the same place. You should be very close to another name. So now we all know George Bush is very bad because Mussolini is very bad. Now i know that i am bad too. Lesson learned. Right is Bad. Got it.

Instead of responding to your insult sent via the rational Mr Price, I was willing to let that pass in order to continue to explore what “Left” means. Since i dont know, i ask questions. But after a few more insults on top of the insult i’m less in the mood. 

As far as this accusation You took my comment “It seems academic,” and applied it as you felt it would serve your view best but it was wrongly and illegitimately put. The tone of your post says otherwise. In the same post you responded to my other questions like this: Your question is pedestrian… This seems like a beginner’s course in sociology… If you arent referring to me and my famed delinquency, what are you referring to?

It is clear that i am holding you back instead of letting things progress at their natural pace. You have places to go. In fact you have almost already arrived.

So I shall not write much more, but read the rest of the way.

In commemoration of the occasion i wrote a poem called “Push On”.  To understand my poem, you need to know the “back seat” alludes to Mr President’s overworn ‘car in a ditch’ metaphor. He states that the conservatives need to “stay in the back seat” in his speeches. One makes references to what one thinks is pertinent and one cannot be blamed if no one else gets it. I hear you and I get the message, Mr President!


PUSH ON

I sit beside my pal Benito
Sippin’ Slurpees, crunchin’ Cheetos
In a ditch.
Mr President rolls up his sleeves.
In a ditch.
“Help me please”

But Barack, this is what I DO.
From my place, with my crew.
In the back seat of your car.

You can push.
I might pull,
or just sit in the back and chill.
Benito needs another refill
in a ditch
in the back seat of your car.

Poor Barack and his buddies
pushin hard, deep in muddies
in a ditch
dirty ditch
Anarcissie folds her arms.

If your hands are on the wheel
and you hear the tires squeel
in a ditch
sweaty ditch
A time will come when you’ll be blamed
cause that is how we play the game
in a ditch
from the back seat of the car.

‘She’ goes by, but never slowed
‘She’ is five miles down the road.
Leaving slowpokes to be towed
in a ditch.

And now i think my song is done
Meanings many, definitions none
in a ditch.
deep deep ditch
in the back seat of the car

In a ditch you will agree
The back seat is for Benito…
...and for me.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 30, 2010 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

You took my comment “It seems academic,” and applied it as
you felt it would serve your view best but it was wrongly and
illegitimately put.  I was specifically referring to the options that
Obama actually has that Bush would actually have had. Furthermore
you keep attributing thoughts to me that only you have. You don’t
think I would let you get away with that even for a second, do you? 
The questions you ask are rhetorical and are self-fulfilling. You seem
not to want answers but really to preach what you think is the case. I
am asking a consequential question, what is the difference between
the liberal and the left.  Between Liberalism and Leftist attitudes. It is
you who are forcing the discussion into the realm of abstraction and
attempting to permanently fix it there when you speak of Other rather
than actual items of attitude that can then be judged, refereed.

I have no problem understanding Anarcissie, and we are working our
way through the fine differences between our perception of what
liberal and leftist mean.  Yes our viewpoints are different but we are
not about burying one another about them.  I don’t believe we even
need anyone’s help to begin to gain insight into each other’s views.  I
already know Anarcissie has an anarchistic tang to her perspective and
she knows mine is liberal.  This discussion started out in the attempt to
grasp what liberal elitism is since it is a term, among many in a similar
status, that is too abstract, too conceptual and until it can be applied
correctly to individual instances it has no real meaning.  Nor do the
others.  A graph, actually many graphs, if that is your cup of tea, has
been provided. You have identified yourself as farther to the right than
Mussolini, if I recall correctly (personally I could not be too proud of
that location as Mussolini was vicious, and he was hanged for it.  But I
will grant that he was quite the “melodramatic” figure.).  You failed to
say which graph you were using.  I am completely baffled by your
reference to a “back of the bus scenario for conservatives.”  You are the
only one saying they “deserve” that position, a fictional position by the
way, your fiction.  Yes, a bit melodramatic. 

What is your real intention OzarkMichael, since I am convinced
Anarcissie and I do not need you to help us understand each other?  Of
course she would have to either concur or deny that.  Why would you
even be interested in whether she and I understand one another in any
case?  We are grown ups and are and have always been quite civil with
one another.  This is not the only forum on which we have met and
both have disagreed…and agreed…at times on a search for veracity.

If you are assigning me the position of referee, which means as a judge
of fair play, I would have to give you a C minus. What makes you think I
think your concepts are not worth understanding?  I haven’t seen any
concept yet, though, that can be judged. Please present some or at
least one and I will be happy to make a grade pronouncement.  Don’t
worry about my trigger finger. The election will go the way it will go,
Que sera!  I’ve already said whatever the people do is what they
deserve.  Those of us who are not happy with the results will simply
work harder the next time to right the wrongs that are sure to come
from the public ignorantly shooting themselves in the head.

You have really not answered any question except perhaps personal
questions for your self and to yourself.  Wherever you perceive is your
“assigned” seat in your mythological bus is one that you relegated to
yourself.

I will say what is the liberal stance since you continue to only frolic
about definitions.  Then you may be the referee. Your prejudices are
part and parcel of all your questions.  I expect them to be part and
parcel of all your pretense of answers.  This will take a few posts
throughout this busy day.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 30, 2010 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous—the activist Left in recent history would be people who thought that there was less peace, freedom and equality than they would prefer, and that something could be done about it.  Hence, although the aims of most of their participants were merely liberal—to gain the liberal rights in a liberal society—the Civil Rights / Black Power, feminist / women’s-liberation, labor and other such movements could be considered ‘leftist’ because they attempted to obtain a greater degree of equality.  A more fundamental critique of the social order possible to any of these movements but actually adopted by only a few might for instance condemn capitalism.  But up until now that has been the view of a small minority—the socialists, communists and anarchists you mention.  Liberals accept capitalism and the radical disparities of power, wealth and influence which it generates and disagree mainly as to the extent to which capitalists should be regulated by the government.  The elite—the ruling class—seem to be tending toward the view that a sort of dirigisme is required, especially since the debacles of ‘07 and ‘08.  This is in no way a leftist tendency, although it is advertised that way to the more credulous progs and accepted by them as such (apparently).

In fact, I think it’s remarkable that the Left, the serious Left, as been so completely eliminated from public discourse.  Someone should figure out how it was done.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, October 30, 2010 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

What you have done is to “sort of” particularize from a general political philosophy.  It sounds as if you have a sterling question, but you don’t.

and then about Obama’s pure liberal heart She says:
It seems academic.

My participation in this forum at this phase of our conversation… was for me to understand you.  Obvious and academic questions are much better for establishing a foundation than ‘sterling questions’.

I dont blame you for preferring the fine deep philosophical questions… it seems to you that nothing of consequence has been asked yet…
but at least i ask questions and want to know the answers. I stop to approach the Other instead of merely racing along with whatever prejudices I already have.

Furthermore, the comparison and contrast between you and Anarcissie helps me understand you both, and maybe you would understand each other better if you went over these basics. Because your viewpoints are different and you use the same word to mean different things. Your viewpoints are mysteries to me and to eachother.

When I said a few posts ago that i was going to listen to you guys, I meant it. This whole question about which political spectrum graph to use is to help you two communicate. Maybe you thought I was taking sides but what i really wanted to do was to find a graph where both of you would voluntarily take a position on it and explain why. “Assigned seats” wouldnt shed any light on anything. Although we all know that an assigned seat in the back of the bus is just what conservative people deserve, that is not what I want for you two.

I want to know where you really are and from that location I will try to see things from your point of view. You would understand eachother better too. After that we could perhaps attack eachother relentlessly but in a meaningful way.

Meanwhile, Shenonymous, you have a referee’s neutrality and impartiality to grade my questions. Yes, you have already established that my concepts are not worth understanding, and now my questions about your concepts are not up to par either, barely worth answering, burdensome.

The Truthdig method is get right to the pistols and continually blaze away, without ever establishing proper distances/positions/relations.  You are better than that, Shenonymous. Maybe your fear and iritation over the coming election cycle is making you jittery and a bit trigger happy.

Well, I am enlightened suddenly. After writing this post it seems that you are right, that nothing of consequence is being asked.

I cherish you both as individuals. We all gave it a good try under the circumstances. I have fulfilled my obligation to answer a question, and we at least closed that issue with the buzword understanding agreed to between us, which is better than nothing.

I go back to my assigned seat.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 30, 2010 at 5:36 am Link to this comment

Complicated doesn’t phase me.  Only if it is unfathomable would it
be useless.  The kind of Left, the post-modernist Left, is what Price
is saying is not perceivable in America today.  He makes a clear
distinction between Leftists and Liberalism even though he admits
the terms Left and Right as they are used are obscure.  Price says,
and I agree, that the popular idea is that liberal or liberalism is said
to be synonymous with Leftist.  Defining liberalism as government
performing like a referee that would be between the individual and
their rights and the state or society and its rights to represent the
entire society.  The left and the right went on the attack against
liberals.  But that was a period of fading opposition to liberalism by
conservatives right on through the 19th c.  The left drifted into
socialist movements that included anarchist, socialist and communist
active factions. 

If you are not using this notion of left the way you do, Anarcissie,
perhaps you could provide the way that you do do? 

I think Obama is dead center into liberalism, not Leftist in the sense of
committed to socialism, but is hamstrung by the dynamics of the
political theater to effect the changes he envisioned as a candidate. 
The reality of being in the office of president of a country, any country,
but particularly one as severely divided as the US in ideology is
sobering to what one can actually accomplish.  The push/pull that is
demanded because of the structure of government and the way matters
of legislation have to be arbitrated is not an easy ride unless there is a
clear majority on your side.  Yes Obama is cautious, but being cautious
is a terribly limited sense of the word conservative and does not really
reflect what most people think that word means.  To say his policies
would not have surprised Bush (I think McCain can be disregarded
completely) only means that they were what actually can be done under
the circumstances, those that “were forced on him by events.”  It seems
academic.  He will do what he can and that is his imperative.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 30, 2010 at 5:28 am Link to this comment

Trying to make sense of what you are saying OzarkMichael, of
course the terms individual and general public do not mean the
same thing.  How did you come up with the idea that I had conflated
the two?  Exactly what principle DO I PROPOSE?  How about justice
fitting in there somewhere as a place to start?  As a liberal, I propose
that the individual must be free.  But by choosing to live within a
society, however, the individual is required to give up some of that
freedom to become “part” of an interacting society.  Unless we are all
clones of one individual, there will be differences that would need to
be negotiated which necessitates giving up some freedom.  The key
problem is to what degree must the individual’s freedom be
relinquished?  Are we here now going to engage in a dialogue about the
relative virtues and rights of the individual verses the herd?  That would
be a drastic turn in the discussion.  You ask, “For example, if the
individual’s “right” is conflicting with the collective “right”, would you
want the government to protect the one person’s right or the public’s
right? Maybe you mean you want the government to be neutral about
that?”
  What you have done is to “sort of” particularize from a
general political philosophy.  It sounds as if you have a sterling
question, but you don’t.  You would have to be specific and say
precisely what right is being challenged in favor of the individual or
the government (society). In some cases it would be in favor of the
individual, in others, the government.

No, I don’t think there is a “solid and constant” liberal/Leftist principle. 
First of all I think there is a distinction between liberal and Leftist so
that has to be clarified.  I thought that was what this conversation was
about, making those distinctions.  Your question is pedestrian and
whether I think the individual is to be supported ‘all’ the time.  Of
course not, if the individual chooses to be part of a society, there will
be times when the individual’s desires are not gratified in lieu of the
society’s needs to flourish and be healthy.  This seems like a beginner’s
course in sociology.  I think you have taken prematurely a rather frozen
view of these matters, even though you act as if you are mystified.
Thaw out a bit and it might be more comfortable.

Another habit you might check yourself on is putting words and
sentiments into the mouths of others.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, October 29, 2010 at 11:00 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous said: I like the explanation of liberalism that views government to act as a referee, whose primary task is to maintain neutrality in all matters and to maintain a “level and equal playing field for individuals and the general public in terms of all businesses and all institutions that affect the interests of the people.

First, is there any institution or business that doesnt “affect the interests of the people”? Probably not so lets just say all businesses and all institutions and everything you can think of are under your referee’s close but impartial inspection.

Second, does individual and general public mean the same thing? Sounds like two different things to me. Maybe two competing things? Exactly what principle do you propose for the government to follow? If so I want to understand it. For example, if the individual’s “right” is conflicting with the collective “right”, would you want the government to protect the one person’s right or the public’s right? Maybe you mean you want the government to be neutral about that?

Is there a solid and consistant liberal/Leftist principle involved that I dont know about? ie do you support the individual all the time? Or the public all the time? Or neutrality all the time?

If mostly you want the government referee to support the public right all the time, that means there must be individual rights that you think need to be attenuated or eventually obliterated.

Or vice-versa, it depends on wherever you’re at.

This will help define “Left” for me. Anarcissie?

Anyone else is welcome to throw your two cents in on this question..

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 29, 2010 at 10:11 pm Link to this comment

A person who was seriously leftist in my scheme could not possibly be elected president, and if one happened to get into the office by chance he or she would be promptly removed by whatever means were necessary.  In any case a president, by himself, does not change everything, in spite of all the monarchical delusions around here.  It takes a movement, a party, a lot of people in Congress, and so on.

My take on Obama is that he is a cautious, small-c conservative with absolutely no intention now or ever of modifying the general order of things in the U.S.  Most of his policies would not have surprised anyone if they had come from Bush or McCain.  Some moves, like bailing out the banks (a procedure initiated by Bush) or buying stock in GM, were forced on him by events.  In general, he is going to follow the same set of policies which have become institutions in the U.S. since the 1940s, as I think he must.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, October 29, 2010 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment

I should ask Leefeller what he thinks too. Sorry for my thoughtlessness.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, October 29, 2010 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment

There is no significant Left in America at all. What is called the “Left” in America today are either Liberals or Left Fascists, those who support Leftist social regulation through cooperation with the establishment Corporate-State

We all know where Price is coming from now. I note where Price ranges the American public on his graph. I know where i am on it. I am more conservative than George Bush on social matters as well as economic matters. Therefore I am bunk mates with Mussolini.

“Right” is very easy to define. But “Left” has an almost unreal quality to it. No one seems to measure up to it.

Anarcissie. Is it possible that a real Leftist who won an election and became President in this country would find out that cooperation with corporations was necessary(even if only temporarily)?

To put it in the vernacular…Could it be that you have your arms folded as Mr President is trying to get the car out of the ditch? I know my place in the story and on Price’s graph. I am sipping a slurpee and giggling with glee as Mr President stalls the engine because he doesnt know how to use a stick. But my position isnt the mystery here.

So Anarcissie, maybe Obama’s cooperation with the Corporate elite is like the war or gitmo or the recession or even the misinformed fearful common man; all ‘inherited’ and not chosen by the true Leftist President Barack Obama. Its all in the ditch and he has to move the massive beauracracy and popular opinion towards the true Left, while all the conservative elite are pulling the other way, making compromise an absolute condition for getting anything done, making change even more incremental than he wanted.

Thats what keeps the car in the ditch, and merely compromised the President’s beliefs.  But if you knew his true heart, you would know that he is a true Leftist. Its just that now his arms and legs are dirty because of contamination from contact/intertwining with the Right.

Shenonymous might agree with that assessment?
Anarcissie might disagree?

Please explain where you stand and it will help explain what “Left” means.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 29, 2010 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous—Price is mighty complicated for my taste.  I did agree with this: ‘Liberal, post-modernist, American society is not “Leftist” in the least. There is no significant Left in America at all. What is called the “Left” in America today are either Liberals or Left Fascists, those who support Leftist social regulation through cooperation with the establishment Corporate-State. These are not “Leftists”.’  Of course I don’t use the word left the way he does.  I wouldn’t use the term fascist quite so readily, either, although I do agree contemporary liberals (as the media call them) are moving toward the construction of a highly authoritarian corporate-state system.  You can observe this in the enthusiasm with which a number of people who call themselves progressives contemplate government.

In any case all of these categorizations, including mine, are artifacts of analysis. 

Ozark Michael—Many people do not believe that anarchy would be a good thing, even a sort of utopian anarcho-communism (if it could ever be brought into being).  They think a certain amount of government is necessary or even desirable.  So the truth of ‘Left equals good’ depends on who you’re talking to, who’s passing the judgement.  Until very recently in history, the people who mattered despised the values of the Left and admired the values of the Right.

As for Alinsky, as I said before, his aims seem to have been liberal rather than radical.  Sometimes the most modest aims require extraordinary actions.  The four people who began the Greensboro sit-in were only trying to get served at a lunch counter—a very modest liberal aim—but they had to violate the sacred laws of private property and set off an enormous radical-seeming movement to do it, because the society of their time and place was so grossly distorted by racism.  I am less familiar with Alinsky’s doings but as I said his aims seemed to have been liberal.  I brought him up not because of his aims, anyway, but refute the notion that the people rise up suddenly from their television sets and change the world in an hour or two.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, October 29, 2010 at 8:16 am Link to this comment

@ Shenonymous:  I had not checked out the website that you recommended so i did miss your point there. Reading through it now. Apologies for my density.

@ Anarcissie: If you follow the old King-of-France idea, then the extreme Left are anarchists (of the pacifistic, communistic sort, not the thug sort)

So the further Left you go the better it gets. I understand why you dont like the old standard graph. Shenonymous gave a link to several new ones, does one of them suite you best? Which graph is most acceptable, and why?

It seems that if avowed far Leftists take power they always become Rightists… is that part of the problem? The animal farm story.

I want to know this from you Anarcisie: was Alinky the thug sort or the good sort of Leftist?

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 28, 2010 at 9:41 pm Link to this comment

If you follow the old King-of-France idea, then the extreme Left are anarchists (of the pacifistic, communistic sort, not the thug sort) and the extreme Right some sort of authoritarians such as fascists or absolute monarchists, or possibly theocrats.  Classical liberals, social democrats, socialists would be in the middle somewhere.  The older liberalism (for example, Locke) seems to have called for anarchy or a severely constrained republic above, monarchy below, an interesting and powerful synthesis.  (Locke justified slavery; the famous liberals Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry were actual slavemasters.)

The actually-existing historical Communist Parties are assigned to the Left, but their methods do not seem libertarian or egalitarian to me except in name, regardless of their goals.

Perhaps this spectrum is too consistent and rational to be desirable.  Modern liberals like to say that both the extreme Left and the extreme Right are authoritarian, but I think this is mere propaganda.  Liberalism sells itself as freedom, but there are plenty of restrictions on most of those who live under it, many of them implemented as property claims.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 28, 2010 at 9:40 pm Link to this comment

By Anarcissie, October 28 at 10:49 pm
”Someone else probably proposed what I believe is called the
‘Nolan Diagram’ or ‘Nolan Graph’ in which ideological positions are
characterized as having two dimensions, ‘political’ and ‘economic’,
with each axis running from ‘freedom’ to ‘controlled’.  The problem
is, there are several other dimensions along which ‘freedom’ might
be measured, for example social or cultural freedom.”
 

Just happened to catch this comment of yours before signing off for the
evening.  Price gives the Nolan Diagram (Nolan Graph) at the website I
provided earlier, see pages 5 and 6.  He proposes that the standard or
popular Political Compass and the Nolan systems present fallacies.  I
highly recommend that at least a scan through the entire article would
help set the “compass” correctly for further discussion or at least
provide all the graphs you might want to devour.  But of course you all
can do as you please.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 28, 2010 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment

Left Right is certainly simple and easy to remember.  Besides their
associations are already set in the minds of the public. Why try to
change it?  Concepts evolve and they are concepts. They just need
clear definition.

I don’t’ think I am deceived about anything.  I am merely trying to
find my way as much as I think you are OM.  Do watch your mouth,
please.  Try reading the website provided regarding The Rational
Spectrum before going on.  You might learn a thing or two before
going off again like some lost economical-political soul.

I like the explanation of liberalism that views government to act as a
referee, whose primary task is to maintain neutrality in all matters and
to maintain a “level and equal playing field for individuals and the
general public in terms of all businesses and all institutions that affect
the interests of the people. 

In asking and answering the question of what makes an ideology
Rightist or Leftist, it seems that R. G. Price whose Rational Spectrum
seems to illustrate what OM was seeking rather specifically, also gives
an etymology and history of Left and Right as political terms,
Anarcissie.  Price arranges Left and Right in a relationship to
Liberalism.  Once this relationship is defined he will then see how Left
and Right maybe compared with each other.  I like his rather in depth
but succinct continued history of the contrasting positions following it
through the influence of the Church and then the power of the King and
baronial system, taking it via the First, Second, and Third Estates and
the power play among these factions.  This leads to the French
Revolution and Paine’s The Rights of Man.  All fascinating to see this
history and how it is we get to this point.

Liberals originally were called Leftists, and opposed the former
merchantile State controlled trade social and economic system
demanded the establishment of democratic systems of government
separated from the Church and the State, and certain freedoms.  Much
more goes on.  The Right was the conservatives who were opposed to
the demands of the Leftists.  And much more important history follows
again.  I’m too tired to go on this evening.  Maybe someone else can
take up the gauntlet?

One more thing though, fortunately Americans are not under the
patronage of The Church that would by reason of their dogma find
some of the freedoms unlawful that Americans hold sacred (pun
intended).

Looks like this article on The Rational Spectrum gives the entire history
of economic systems which would seem to be a ready and quick
reference for most anyone’s opinion here.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, October 28, 2010 at 8:05 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, you are saying that modern Left/Right is so intertwined that the old spectrum graph clouds the issue instead of clarifying it. Correct?

Eventually we get to the King of France and his allies and opponents.  Liberalism, which mixes paradoxical notions of the Right (private property) and the Left (equality) has begun to appear.  Subsequently the terms Right and Left became somewhat confused.

Are you saying that the intertwining(picking up impurity from the Right) was already happening in France in the days of the King? If so, has the Left ever existed in a coherent concrete practical political way?

If not it is an exotic, fragile concept. I am not saying it isnt noble, but it almost doesnt exist. Correct me.

Revolutions from the “Left”... French, Russion, Chinese, Cuban.  What you are saying is that the Right is behind it and no matter what the outcome they always win, even when they are dragged to the guillotine?(dramatic and incorrect in a concrete way I know)

In which case, what does the old fashioned political spectrum describe? millions of people have had their political belief pinned to that graph. Most of them willingly.

Shenonymous said: Leftists of any stripe would favor strong government that legislates for the benefit of the general population with a redistribution of the wealth regardless of position of power.

When She says this, is it true by your book? Is She describing the political Left? If not, what is She describing? Is She deceived even about herself?

What does the old spectrum describe? The Right vs What? It cant mean the Right vs the Right. It cant be the Right vs the nothing.

I am not saying it encompasses all reality. I am not saying there isnt a better graph. But first please tell us what the old graph does define.

I know you have read and thought about this more than I have. And you embrace your conclusioon in a truthful way. You have your conclusions but I dont understand the process or the conclusion.

Please give me the process. From far left to far right, slot by slot, on the old spectrum… what are we comparing?

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 28, 2010 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

Someone else probably proposed what I believe is called the ‘Nolan Diagram’ or ‘Nolan Graph’ in which ideological positions are characterized as having two dimensions, ‘political’ and ‘economic’, with each axis running from ‘freedom’ to ‘controlled’.  The problem is, there are several other dimensions along which ‘freedom’ might be measured, for example social or cultural freedom.  Contradictions may occur: quite possibly Chris Hedges loves peace, prefers social welfare, believes in personal privacy, and hates Lady Gaga.

Historically, the designations of ‘Right’ and ‘Left’ were supposed to have come from the seating arrangements of the pre-revolutionary French parlement which supposedly had the friends of the King of France on the right and the opposition on the left.  However, the association of the notion and indeed the word ‘right’ with authority go back much further.  The word comes from an Indo-European root -reg- meaning to rule, to straighten out, and in the days when men fought with swords, the place of honor in a phalanx was on the right, because everything depended on the valor of that man’s right arm.  Hence the political term ‘Right’ was associated with the notions of power, authority, wealth, social status, repute, and the military virtues, and the use to which these were usually put, to wit, war, imperialism, and slavery.  (We don’t like the last three, but until rather recently, historically speaking, they were held in high esteem.) 

Once the Right has made its assertions, there are those who don’t like them, and prefer peace, freedom and equality: the Left.

Eventually we get to the King of France and his allies and opponents.  Liberalism, which mixes paradoxical notions of the Right (private property) and the Left (equality) has begun to appear.  Subsequently the terms Right and Left became somewhat confused.  For instance, many political regimes, like that of Lenin, which I regard as fascistic in form if not in name, are assigned to the Left because of Lenin’s supposed intentions, and many who think people should be left alone to play with guns, take drugs, and make and waste fortunes without the interference of the government, think they are of the Right.

I myself prefer to use the terms ‘left’ and ‘right’ in what I conceive of as their historical meanings of anti-authoritarian versus authoritarian; but this will probably stick in someone’s craw.  The paradoxical mix of liberalism, in my view, can’t be assigned to either; it’s a pick-and-choose ideological supermarket, which is probably what has made it, and its Siamese twin capitalism, the most revolutionary social formation ever seen on earth.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 28, 2010 at 6:37 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie’s comments were pretty sketchy.  Yours was not much
better. A year ago could refer to any number of TD forums.

Well, someone already created graphs of the political spectrum as
it was in 2004 and represents that which I believe you are talking
about.  I don’t think the landscape has changed at all. This is a
good model for discussion as the skeleton is already set up, except
for any huge changes in the last six years, if anyone can think of
them, we can just plug them in.  Check it out.

http://rationalrevolution.net/articles/redefining_the_political_spectru.htm

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, October 28, 2010 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, the protest by Anarcissie against the standard political spectrum was just a few posts down.

Assuming we all deserve to approve of our places on whatever political spectrum you use, I can see a problem ahead and I am warning you.

I recall that this same discussion happened about a year ago. Anarcissie protested the same way and s/he went into more depth about it, s/he even took the trouble of presenting a new paradigm. IIRC it had two axis instead of just one. One end was authoritarian and one was liberty. I dont remember the vertical axis descriptors

I am not endorsing her graph, I just remember that Anarcissie doesnt like the standard one. S/he doesnt see a place to call home on that type of graph.

Not that everyone has to agree to the graph format but I think it would be a nice start. Not that everyone must agree to the seat that is assigned to them, but that would a good development

If we see eachother/ourselves better for the exercize that would be a fine conclusion.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 28, 2010 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment

If there was a political chart or some alternative presented I did not
see it.  Please give a particular post date and time where it can be
found.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 28, 2010 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment

Bill and Hillary Clinton are being accused of being “the epitome” of
liberal elitism.  Thing is that all politicians are elitists of a type so
the definition gets lost as anything importantly descriptive.  If they
are elitist then what they do and say has to be the evidence and no
one is providing that.  Same problem accompanies any accusation of
Obama.  Just to accuse does not convince. 

Others who qualify as belonging to the set of liberal elites also are
being relegated to non-existence by changing the focus from those
who would belong to a class to using the term as a philosophical point
of view.  To do that takes the term out of the realm of reality into an
abstraction once again bringing it full circle to where we began in
saying the term was much too indistinct to understand whether it is
applicable to reality.  And no progress has been made at all.  Terms
must be applied to real instances for anyone to check to see if it fits. 
It is silly to keep running in circles chasing tales, not tails in this case.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 28, 2010 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

Trying to put the term into a philosophical realm, as you promised
to do but have not yet done so, I will try to do it: 

To put it in some understandable perspective: The government spent
some $700 billion to buy investors’ toxic assets to keep the US
economy from a total financial system collapse, with both the
Republicans and Democrats (George Bush, John McCain, and Barack
Obama) agreeing on the actions, without explaining the difference
between the assets’ nominal and real values or saying exactly why
letting the market find that real value or America’s financial base
would totally collapse if their action was not taken.  At this conduct the
majority objected at once, but they quickly discovered that absolutely
no one in a position of power in either party or any economist with a
national voice would take their objections seriously, that decisions
about their money were being made in bipartisan backroom deals
among interested parties, and that the laws on these matters were
being voted on by people who had not read them.  Elitism came into
stark fashion to be used as a descriptive term.  But it applies to both
major parties not just one side. 

The ones using the term Liberal Elite as a buzzword club are your very
own people, the conservatives, from centrist to middle to far Right
against the Democrats.  But on the other side, there is not a dearth of
progressives calling the Democrats making policy also Liberal Elites and
who also call conservatives elitists as well. 

The problem with providing a philosophical definition is one of giving a
general description that can be used theoretically.  Ostensibly, what we
see is that elected representatives become controlled by political elites:
high-ranking political “arena warriors,” from various arenas, the media,
lobbyists, and, though it may not seem perfectly evident who exactly
we know big business is involved.  The political elites at times dominate
government groups.  It is a question of political power. 

It must also be understood that without democracy there would be no
such thing as political elitism.  So get rid of one and you get rid of the
other.  Pure majority democracy is essentially a rule of government by
the mob of the people.  Essentially democracy is the will of a nation’s
people to rule themselves most often through elected representatives. 
It is by these representatives that democratic governments becomes
invested with authority. And it is from this authority that a structure of
elitism comes into existence.  Elitism, and liberal elitism nor
conservative elitism are not exempt, is concerned with class structure. 
Not unique to democracies, here was definite class structure in Marxist
socialistic organizations, called “executive” central committees.  No
government structure can avoid it.  While political elitism predominantly
draws from the wealthy class, that does not account for industrial or
manufacturing interest groups, or lobbyists who represent other kinds
of groups that have an interest in the machinations of government and
their power to alter or influence government.  Media, who are owned by
corporations, are also part of the elite aggregate.  These people have
the ability to bend the laws with little concern for the middle class
except for their vote and absolutely none for the poor.  There is a
process by which elites through their influence actually “control”
government but that is reserved for the next post.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, October 28, 2010 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

The ideal political chart would collect assent from everyone present. They would recognize their place and proudly occupy it.

Anarcissie had some protestation against the standard Left and Right. If i remember correctly she had an alternative chart.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, October 28, 2010 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment

My problem communicating with you is that the term “Liberal Elite” is used so often as a buzzword, a club or cudgel. i dont think I can overcome the groove it has made in everyone’s brain.

Anytime that i use the term you arent following but instead are going back to the buzzword. I suppose that the common use of a term eventually supplants the real meaning and there isnt anything to be done about it.

I will stay and listen to political definitions from your point of view since you were kind enough to try to understand me.

Meanwhile lets have closure on “Liberal elite”.

I will get in step with the common meaning: “Liberal elite” means a wealthy and powerful person from the class of “Haves”(10%) pretending to care about the Have-nots(70%).

Let me add to your list. Old Ted Kennedy was a Liberal elite. The list get longer every year because every politically successful liberal eventually becomes an elite. Poor Obama and hopeful Hillary included.

That is the common use of the term “Liberal elite” and that is how you prefer to understand it. Its nice and concrete for the rabble, and for you it places the term upon a reasuring Leftist foundation. That is why you like the definition, but there is another reason…

Every conservative who uses the term that way might win the PR war today, but lets all admit that he is undermining his own political philosophy by expressing Friedrich’s sentiment, ie, “its all about class, baby”. In other words, if class determines consciousness, then eventually the Left will have its way. When the Right concedes the point it signals that its days are numbered. Take heart then.


The common meaning of “Liberal Elite” secretly concedes that the system cannot work for the 70% common back street Americans, who therefore will need to a revolution of some kind to put things right.

Moving on if you like… Please explain what quality or mark you use to place some political ideas further left or right on the political chart. There is more or less of some idea added or taken away. What is it exactly?

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 28, 2010 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller, October 28 at 2:56 pm:

‘It would be nice if these names had some real meaning to them.  I maintain, liberal elite, is just like a frosting on a cake of illusion, for what really is a liberal? In the name calling game how does one know anything to be true or real? ...’

We can ask people to explain themselves.  ‘Liberal elite’ may be a stereotype, but some stereotypes are valid perceptions of common behavior, and are worth examination.  I don’t think we’re going to get anything coherent out of Hedges, but Ozark Michael has been kind enough to explain his views on the subject, so that’s something.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 28, 2010 at 11:57 am Link to this comment

It seems that yes, a lexicon is a good idea, since all the terms are
bandied about willy-nilly and are much too fuzzily given definition
as one wants to turn a phrase.  It is like trying to dance with an
elusive Grand Bazaar firefly.  They are a bit small and are hard to
catch if you run too fast or they happen to land on a tree.  But if
you stop and linger a while, many of them can be caught!  Giving
precision to our language is something I have struggled for all the
years I’ve been posting as a truthdipper. 

So yes, do let’s start with what Left and Leftist mean with respect to the
political game.  Others might want to put in requests for definitions…or
add definitions! Looks like Leefeller wants to put socialism on the list.
Yeah, I think that one would be good as well as capitalism. 
Mechanically we can alphabetize later.  Oh this could be a very useful
tool.  Then we could just direct TD inhabitants to it when we think they
need to sharpen up their thinking!  No?  LOL Some other words: 
Liberal, elitism and elitist, Right, conservative, fascism,…

I’ll give it a go with the word Left:  But first we have to understand that
there are degrees of location, such as Left Center to the far ends of
Extreme Left.  And therein I believe people get confused and mix up
metaphors.  Center Left, in my book of political words refers to
Democrats, Liberals would be Left, and Socialists would be the
extremists on that side.  I would surmise there are shades of
differences in between each main locus.

Not to leave the Right out in the cold:  Old Fashioned Republicans (Pre-
Nixonite?) would be Center Right, maybe like a rational Eisenhower,
Conservatives Dead Right (I only say that as that is what they think they
are.  Okay, dead, but maybe not correctly dead?  Was that funny?), and
Libertarians, Extreme Right (not too funny, no humor in that group). 

Such is my scale.

If you were facing the south pole, left would be on the east side.  But
that is not what we mean, is it?  Leftists of any stripe would favor
strong government that legislates for the benefit of the general
population with a redistribution of the wealth regardless of position of
power.  Left-leaning minds have the tendency to see that government
has as its first function providing for the common welfare through
taxation and funding social programs such as the safety net Social
Security, health care for the underprivileged, Medicare for the elderly,
Obama care for everyone else, guaranteed basic education, watchdog
for the environment through regulation, and equitable wages through
regulation of employers, and not the least to protect certain freedoms
as spelled out in the Constitution.  I would also add in other social
points of friction such as separation of church and state, affirmative
action, legalization of abortion…This is what I would start out with in
defining Left.  An invitation, of course, is open to revise, or edit.

A bon mot:  “There has grown in the minds of certain groups in this
country the idea that just because a man or corporation has made a
profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the
courts are charged with guaranteeing such a profit in the future, even
in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest.
This strange doctrine is supported by neither statute or common law.
Neither corporations or individuals have the right to come into court
and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back.” – Robert
Heinlein, Life-Line, 1939.  Amazing, it seems like it was written
just yesterday.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 28, 2010 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

It would be nice if these names had some real meaning to them.  I maintain, liberal elite, is just like a frosting on a cake of illusion, for what really is a liberal? In the name calling game how does one know anything to be true or real?  Categorizing people into niches certainly provides a larger target for pointing at, obviously they are used liberally by the conservatives. Another word which has little meaning in the mind of reality, is the word socialist. Reality being defined here as the world of Joe the Plumber. 

Obama has been touted by the conservative talking heads as a socialist and by the (supposed) liberals as a corporatist fluky, how is that possible?
For the small minded indoctrinated morons, anything which does not please the corporate elite seems to be labeled socialist and believed as fact, well any of the drooling masses watching Fox News.

Looking at social security for example, one could suppose it is socialist because it says so in the name and corporatist s who capital on opportunity find social security an uncomfortable part in their scheme of things. Others visualize social security as a untapped cornucopia to be fondled, like a Catholic choir boy.

Socialism as a word, has been used for the fear of it since the steel workers strikes back in the early twentieths century. A political ruse to gather public opinion against the steel workers and the publics own best interests.

Nothing new, labels like the bigoted N word or socialist (suggesting pinko), seem the same to me as labeling something Liberal elite. Labels are stereotypes and used with little or no concern to facts. Creating difference to build fear and animosity of alleged differences. On occasion I have resorted to name calling,..... though very conservatively when the insatiable need arises forcing me to call some morons on Truthdig Imbiciles!

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 28, 2010 at 8:06 am Link to this comment

To me liberalism does not mean ‘leftish’, it’s a specific political philosophy, or more accurately a related set of them.  If Sanders were really a socialist he would be outside the gates—private property, especially in the form of its gigantic child capitalism, is a cardinal principle of liberalism.  If we are going to use ‘liberal’ to mean ‘leftish’ then we’re going to have to decide what we mean by ‘Left’; the usual meanings are at odds.  The use of these terms in the media is sadly confused and incoherent, so one must go through the tedium of establishing a vocabulary, or resign oneself to gabble.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 28, 2010 at 1:27 am Link to this comment

Having acquired his wealth by marrying it, Kerry seems to be well
qualified as an elite, but whether he is really liberal is the question? 
Bernie Sanders would have to be, at least by his Independent
(socialist) political party affiliation, the most liberal of Senators. 
Sure can’t call him an elitist! The right-wing conservatives more than
love to harpoon Kerry, they literally gush at it, so could that be a sign
of his “liberalism” too? Yeah, I guess Kerry is a liberal Democrat.  The
February 2010, National Journal ranks him 6th as being in the top 10
most liberal Democratic Senators.  Sanders did not make the list.  But
the trivial tattletale from a blogger, July 2010, says that Kerry evaded
taxes by having his 7 million dollar yacht built abroad, and he docks
it in Rhode Island instead of Massachusetts which is supposed to make
him a piker on income for Massachusetts.  It’s all reported by ultra
conservative websites.  A laugh riot.  Seems to me that if a Democrat
is walloped and criticized by right-wingers, that automatically cleanses
them and elevates them to be ultra-liberal!  Accusations from tricky
anarchists would also add to the theater.  It’s all an eyeroller to
heavenward.  Bush-Cheney ads in 2004 painted Kerry as a liberal elite. 
That tells me he isn’t!  He is accused of calling Americans stupid again
by Rt-Winger bloggers when in fact what he said was that Americans
were misinformed and that accounts for the drop in support for liberals. 
The truth is so elusive.

Obama on the other hand, again is bayoneted by the rightwingers and
for me that disqualifies him of being a liberal elitist.  A Liberal? Molto
così sì.  But elitist is pushing it into blather.  No evidence has been
tendered in either case, only accusations.  To find a real elitist, a liberal
one, more looking is required.  Now maybe Hedges himself could
qualify as a far left-wing progressive liberal elitist?  He did get a
college education.  Was a journalist.  Went to theology school.  When
that refined definition makes its appearance it might just describe him
perfectly. 

Conservative Elitism, like Liberal Elitism, is vaguely defined but is
equally a phenomenon.  I already gave some nominees.  I guess an
accusation by a known public figure gives it more legitimacy?  In July
2009 Rick Perlstein, a liberal journalist for Newsweek, wrote “…for the
mainstream media elite, the Right consists of (neo)conservative elites
and GOP activists of the talk shows.  There isn’t room for thoughtful
traditional conservatives or libertarians (the latter apparently only
consists of “nutty” tea party types).”  To name one, Pat Buchanan, could
be a swift competitor, Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, most definitely, and
their crony colleagues.  Aw there is a bevy of them.  But for more
intellectual ones, David Brooks might fit the bill just to name one right
away.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 27, 2010 at 9:19 pm Link to this comment

If I had to pick out an example of the liberal elite, I would pick someone like John Kerry or either of the Clintons.  I do not see any sign of Ayers commanding, directing or influencing anybody, and Alinsky appears to me to be rather like Martin Luther King in using radical methods to achieve orthodox liberal goals (to wit, the enjoyment by the poor or by Negroes of the usual liberal rights in a normal liberal society.)  By contrast someone like Kerry has the background—good schools, plenty of money, military service, opposition to a particular war, introduction to the Right People, upwardly mobile government service, elected office, and so on—and he has real power. 

Another, of course, is Mr. O.  A little edgier than Kerry, but, well, this is 2010.

I was going to say, ‘Now all we have to do is recount all the evils they are up to,’ but then I remembered that Chris Hedges is way ahead of me.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, October 27, 2010 at 7:41 pm Link to this comment

Might we think that Alinsky’s texts are kept by his bedside along with the Bible?

Just for clarity: “Saul” is NOT a friend of mine.  I haven’t seen him in many, many years. He is merely an acquaintance from long ago.

After being displaced from my bedside table decades ago, I soon found myself in a situations where Saul’s advice was needed. Saul was wise in this respect: Creativity and Objectivity. However he had no real Subjectivity. That is his problem, his weakness, which in my opinion ruins everything. (that was poetry, sorry)

It is said by a few biographers that his legacy “lives on as a staple of leftist method and is a veritable blueprint for revolution,” but the reality is that Alinsky’s tornado of ideas have been commandeered exactly by those, ironically, who he would most vigorously attempt to override, the
conservatives.  This more or less proves that his ideas were and still are the most potent available.

True. Some of Alinsky’s rules are universal, can be used in situations by anyone. They take the approach of forcing your powerful opponent into a form while reserving formlessness for yourself. Channelling them along their usual familiar path while you are striking from unexpected places. Keep your opponent off balance and their effective strength is halved. Keep your own strength a mystery and then your threat of attack is doubled.

What i need to do is show that some of Alinsky’s rules cannot be used by anyone else, and those rules are what defines the precise meaning of Liberal Elite That was helpful critique, She.

You are as always, Shenonymous, the foil for me. My evil twin, as it were. Except I am never sure if I might be the evil twin instead of the good one. That is why your thoughts, once we get on the same wavelength, are more valued to me than my own.

I dont have a copy of either book, so i have scrambled on the internet to find pieces and quotations. After I have defined “liberal elite”, it would be a kindness for you to tell me what you think of it, and if you want, by way of rebuttal, a nice long study of Alinsky.  That means I might need to buy the books maybe. We will see.

Next post i will try to define Alinsky clearly, then finally the “Liberal Elite” will become clear.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 27, 2010 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment

The fawning over Hedges and his opinions with the usual
accompanying drool is hysterical.  The new article says nothing
new, but only gives those cacophonic voices another forum to belch
out the same old claptrap as always. It is not worth a vowel or
consonant of one’s time.

The progs, as they are now being called, will be choking on their own
arrogance come Nov. 2.  If the conservatives win over Congress they
really will have worked their asses and mouths off for it; actually there
is no difference between the two ends.  They both issue stink, but it is a
stink Americans will have to live with, deservedly, for a long time to
come. 

There is something laughable in posturing to censure Alinsky while at
the same time using his imagery of the club in clubbing opponents to
death with their own books of rules, don’t you think?  Alinsky is copied
by the resident soldier of conservatism OM, see “Reveille for Radicals,” 
p.152.  Might we think that Alinsky’s texts are kept by his bedside
along with the Bible? 

It is said by a few biographers that his legacy “lives on as a staple of
leftist method and is a veritable blueprint for revolution,” but the reality
is that Alinsky’s tornado of ideas have been commandeered exactly by
those, ironically, who he would most vigorously attempt to override, the
conservatives.  This more or less proves that his ideas were and still
are the most potent available.

Too bad the Democrats are so clueless.  Their new vitality comes after
the horses have left the corral.

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, October 27, 2010 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

Just for clarity: “Dave” is NOT a friend of mine.  I haven’t seen him in many, many years. He is merely an acquaintance from long ago.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, October 27, 2010 at 2:17 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller’s critique is spot on, and i have no one to blame but myself.

I drifted into defining Liberal Elite by contrasting it with plain Liberal. This digression has landed me in a swamp where i have to define a broad concept(Liberal) which is controversial and difficult for anyone, especially me a conservative. I didnt want to do that, I am describing it all from Saul Alinsky’s view.

The precise term “Liberal elite” is the conservative critique of Saul Alinsky and those who follow his methods. It does not have a ‘class’ feature to it since that is antithetical to conservative philosophy. It doesnt have anything to do with Liberals, either. Nor is it ‘elite’ in terms of sweeping majestic power.

But i have three terms “Liberal” and “Radical” and “Liberal Elite”. I will define the terms together as classes, doing so with some trembling, hoping only to crystalize the concepts of Saul Alinsky:

American Radical is a communist, socialist, or anarchist.

American Liberal believes in the American economic and political system and desires to make it more fair for the poor. The Liberal expresses his belief directly(at least as far as any other politician does)he does not address the power relation directly because he either believes in the system or enjoys his own power. After lots of talk nothing ever gets done(according to Alinsky) because they (Liberals)constrain themselves by adhering to a morality of means. They try to be ‘ethical’ and ‘honest’ and play by the rules.

American “Liberal Elite” is a Radical who uses the current political system, but secretly rejects the ‘morality of means’. All of this for a specific immediate(now) definite incremental change. While doing this they hide their true political orientation and conceal their long range goals.

The above is not poetry but a very concise definition of Alinsky which he would probably approve of. I created the definition myself.

Yes Leefeller i am “making it all up” ie I have read the books and created my own unique opinion. 

Now whether Saul Alinsky is right, or his views encompass you, i dont know, and i am sorry for pretending to know, or inferring that i know. Because i dont. Except there were some heated embraces of Alinsky, which i suppose were only emotional and rhetorical.

Anyway…

Alinsky did not use the term Liberal Elite, it is the conservative view of what he was doing. Whether the conservative critique of Alinsky is valid or not is of course up to you to decide. Except i havent explained it yet, instead i digressed to Chris Hedges

Anarcissie: A member of the elite ought to be able to effect his will, and to me, Bill Ayers does not seem to have been effective, inside the system or out… The current Wikipedia article has him saying he is a small-c communist, which is illiberal—private property is a cardinal principle of liberalism—but it’s quite possible that there he is just babbling.

Ayers cannot fully acquire the label “Liberal elite” in my book because he has ‘blown his cover’. he will always be known as ‘the communist’ ‘the terorist’

But as far as “Liberal elite” style, he has it right now. He teaches at colleges, chairs foundations, acquires honorary degrees. He is incrementally effecting change. There are students of his who are walking around with their viewpoint changed because of him. Whether Ayers is babbling or not is not for me to say.

I have to describe Alinsky better, and you will need to critique that too. But the true meaning of Liberal Elite is found in its primary relation, I never got to that yet.

Many thanks for the chance to do this.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 27, 2010 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

Feedback? OM, convenience of labels does not seem different then the convenience of stereotypes.  Labels in the lumping, have always been used for the us and them of it!

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 27, 2010 at 10:33 am Link to this comment

A member of the elite ought to be able to effect his will, and to me, Bill Ayers does not seem to have been effective, inside the system or out.  Furthermore, he does not look like much of a liberal, inasmuch as (according to him) a major motive of his career as a terrorist was opposition to war and imperialism, whereas the liberal establishment has generally favored war and imperialism.  The current Wikipedia article has him saying he is a small-c communist, which is illiberal—private property is a cardinal principle of liberalism—but it’s quite possible that there he is just babbling.  On the whole my impression of Ayers is that while he might be a sort of mascot of an elite he is not himself one of them.

In the case of both Ayers and Alinsky, I have the impression that neither one cared to develop his ideas of political philosophy much.  As existence precedes essence, so action precedes knowledge; or, as Uncle Friedrich put it, ‘It is not enough that you understand in what ignorance man and beast live; you must also have and acquire the will to ignorance. You need to grasp that without this kind of ignorance life itself would be impossible, that it is a condition under which alone the living thing can preserve itself and prosper: a great, firm dome of ignorance must encompass you.’

Sometimes, though, it is better not to just get things done.  It turns out to depend on what the things are, and that responsibility requires the heavy lifting of opening one’s eyes.  Thinking, and not thinking: there is danger on both sides, and one walks the razor’s edge.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, October 27, 2010 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

The relation between liberal and “Liberal Elite” is understood if you place Liberal Elite in the place of “Radical” in Alinsky’s quotations in my last post.

But Alinsky guides the Radical to focus on methods that work within the system instead of all the fury and bluster of giving up or acting outside the system. Only then does the Radical become the Liberal elite.

The Radical who follows Alinky’s Rules is a Liberal Elite. The Radical who does not follow Alinsky remains a mere ineffective Radical. (The normal Liberal is not Radical in any way, and cheerfully works in the system)

Bill Ayers is a fine example. Alinsky wrote disparagingly about the Weather Underground in Rules for Radicals. (Ayers was a plain unpolished unfocused Radical at that time) But today… Ayers works within the system. Yet note his views are the same as ever. It is a matter of method. That is to say he follows Alinksy’s Rules now. Ayers could qualify as a Liberal Elite and Alinsky would be proud. 

So now you have three catagories of Leftist. Liberal, Radical, and Liberal Elite.

The sentiments from all three catagories are expressed on Truthdig. Except no one understands the catagories. Sometimes you can catch one person expressing all three conflicted concepts as their personal credo in one post!

Alinsky had insight and objectivity which was largely ignored in his day and remains so to this day.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 27, 2010 at 6:36 am Link to this comment

Anarcessie, thanks for the update, I have not been able to gather enough gumption for stomaching the whining nor am I in the mood to cover my ears, eyes and mouth to observe more of the firing squad. 

Actually your comments sarcastic as they are, probably covered it quite accurately and saved me the frustrating experience, nice sarcasm .....Thanks!

Calling it a circular firing squad seems most polite, I would never have been inclined towards such courteous edict, possibly even uncivil.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 26, 2010 at 11:46 pm Link to this comment

Well, there’s a great deal of buzzing over at the new article, which has clearly excited everyone but me.  Even Alphysicist showed up.  I think he is after the Liberal Elite from the left rather than the right, but no matter as long as you bite one ankle or the other.  I’ve seen at least one 9/11 Truther, and the Mossad cannot be far behind.  Ah, the poor Liberal Elite!  They must be really something.  Meanwhile these proggies are going at those proggies and vice versa over the virtues and faults of Mr. O, reminding us that when the Left, even the pseudo-Left, wants to form a firing squad, it stands in a circle.  Anyway, it’s the mother of all threads, and my customary sarcasm and paranoia would be like spit in the wind.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, October 26, 2010 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment

Dear Chris Hedges,

  I dont know why, but nobody hates a normal liberal more than the “Liberal Elite”. Saul Alinsky hated normal liberals, and in his books he lets it show. It is therefore highly ironic, Chris, that in your hatred of normal liberals you employed the phrase “Liberal Elite” as a club against them.

Proof from Alinsky’s Reveille for Radicals, and a few other places too:

Liberals… talk glibly of people lifting themselves by their own bootstraps but fail to realize that nothing can be lifted except through power…  Radicals precipitate the social crisis by action, by using power…

Liberals protest; radicals rebel.

Liberals become indignant; radicals become fighting mad and go into action

Liberals give and take oral arguments; radicals give and take the hard, dirty, bitter way of life.

Liberals in their meetings utter bold words; they strut, grimace belligerently, and then issue a weasel-worded statement ‘which has tremendous implications, if read between the lines.’ They sit calmly, dispassionately, studying the issue; judging both sides; they sit and still sit.

This is very relevant to Truthdig. Perfectly expressed by Alinsky years ago, but the unknowing Truthdig bloggers echo it at each other today.  Truthdig hosts the eternal civil war of the Left, but the origin of it all is never investigated, the concepts of which are never clarified, but of course furious barrages are fired back and forth anyway.

It is a civil war within the individual liberal too. well, thats not bad, a tension between ideals in one person is a noble thing. But to not understand one of the ideals leads to a real confusion which remains unresolved as the days go by. Worse, if one of the ideals is a moral contradiction to everything else the person holds dear, the person appears to destroy themselves as they naively dabble with the unexamined concept.

Well, my planned explanation of Liberal elite took a detour into the relation of Liberal Elite to plain Liberal. It is superficial, and explained only from the Elite point of view. Plus the deeper implications are left untouched, i know.

Does anyone wish to critique what I have said so far? Does anyone have any questions? Chris?

I need some feedback from anyone who is reading this since Chris is too busy.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, October 25, 2010 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

Anacissie said: In any case, Chris Hedges, who no doubt follows every syllable of our discussions, has now answered my question with a mighty J’Accuse, thundering prophetically against the ‘liberal elites’.

Anarcissie, that was good poetry. I assume you refer to the new Hedges article. The buzzword triumphs even among the Left, blurring the correct meaning even more. Buzzwords are great cudgels, which even a Liberal Elite can use.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, October 25, 2010 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie said: However, conversations between two are different from conversations in and for the public, which changes the meanings and connotations of what is said.

You deserve your answer, and you deserve it on the ground of your choosing. So the conversation continues on this public venue.

Leefeller says: Manipulations never cease in politics as they do affect the common folks lives.

Very true. For now i will not include the myriad manipulations from all people or even all elites. Nor will I compare Conservative elites to Liberal elites. Nor will i compare the different meanings of the word ‘manipulation’ My purpose here is explain “Liberal Elite” so that you will expertly manipulate the concept.

I will first sketch it out without giving it depth or proof. The specific proof will follow in a future post.

Liberal elite is not a financial class with power, it is, in its concise and proper meaning, an ideology. It is not an absolute, it is relational and relative. (and not relative to me or any accusing conservative), but between the Liberal Elites and his own clients. The Liberal part is relative to his/her supporters. The Elite part is not about finances or class at all, it is in relation to truth.

The point condensed to one sentence: The primary(inside) relation of Liberal Elite means he is more Liberal(“leftist”) than his clients and he is Elite in his relation to truth compared to his clients.

That last phrase ‘relation to truth’ is a very idiosyncratic expression of mine(although it was explained in the past, with ‘subjectivity’ and all that).  I dont blame you if the meaning is fuzzy to you for now. I will try to make it clear next time.

That is all i want to accomplish for now. What you dont have yet is proof, nor have I shown the severity of the unbalanced relation, or the implications. 

“SAge ALmightY” is SAul ALinskY. If you understand him from my perspective you will gain a perfect understanding of the proper concept behind “Liberal Elite”. At every step along the way, and especially once you have mastered it, please critique my concept as heavily as you like. Then, from your own understanding, you will be able to adroitly turn aside the buzzword whenever its tossed at you or the people you love. Or perhaps you will find fault in the term, or perhaps you will embrace it.

But you dont know yet so be careful.

Saul Alinsky not only invented the concept, but he lived it. He popularized it with his books. Thats where we will go next. You will (I suppose) want to defend him but perhaps you ought to wait till i specify my attack on him first. Especially if you havent read the books.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 25, 2010 at 11:02 am Link to this comment

ITW, I have a friend who happens to be a doctor, and he is nothing like your friend Dave, bizarre as it sounds, I would classify him has a conservative liberal possibly a moderate, with leanings to the left, after all he is left handed, we have both been on the same side and even have fought Fascism together.

I remember telling my friend I liked Kucinich because he Kucinich seemed to care about people, and my friends comment was, ‘Kucinich is way to much of a progressive, Kucinich would never get to first base the same for Nader’. A conservative would have said many other things as I suppose Dave would and possibly even our resident country Doctor OM possibly would, after an extensive cat and mouse game!  (absolute speculation) 

For some reason I do not believe wealth is a true indicator of stereotyping conservatives, though the suggestion seems to have strong merit. Both parties have wealthy people at the helm, which may explain both parties being so out of touch or showing real lack of compassion or caring for the plight of the common slob on the streets. Now…. am I stereotyping?

Interesting, I feel the Teabaggers seem to offer up poor people to bat for them. Unfortunately creating the illusion poor people are ignorant; hence the ignorant masses! Opposed to wealth and opportunism plus a large helping of what I perceive as ignorance offered by the Republicans, of course we have an occasional token Joe the Plumber or Palin for bate.  One could suspect this may all be part of the grand scheme of things offered up by the Teabaggers benefactors,  as an effort to take votes from the Dems?

Manipulations never cease in politics as they do affect the common folks lives.  This seems to be the real trickle down theory!

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 25, 2010 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

My email address is .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  However, conversations between two are different from conversations in and for the public, which changes the meanings and connotations of what is said.

In any case, Chris Hedges, who no doubt follows every syllable of our discussions, has now answered my question with a mighty J’Accuse, thundering prophetically against the ‘liberal elites’.  They’ve not only spoiled the political culture and the economy, but the arts as well, probably by taking Lady Gaga seriously.  He knows who they are!  And you who hitherto spoke against them may find yourselves overpowered, if not satirized.

If the auditorium does not immediately fill up with conspiratists and choir members, I may show up there myself!  But no promises.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, October 24, 2010 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie said: The problem with the word ‘fascist’ is similar to that with ‘liberal elite’ but is much more advanced and widespread.  I thought I might get some kind of answer if I asked about ‘liberal elite’...

You asked directly two or three times and deserved a direct answer some time ago. I apologize heartily to you for not giving you the direct answer that you earned and deserved.

To protect myself from the rest here that doesnt want to know, I put up poetry, stalling in case they might change their minds and start to ask questions like you did. Truthdig is the home of untimely barrages of critique before anyone takes the time to understand the concept in question, but I tried anyway.

Here is how many Truthdiggers relate to to me: Truth, in the abstract, is not relevant in the concrete. It has no existence in the concrete, it is not solid. Looking for Truth is futile. What truth could there be about conservatism? Why none, and that is why conservatism is irrelevant to the common man.

If there is no possibility for learning any truth, (since my abstract truth is by definition no truth all), then why should I place my hard-won concept directly in front of Truthdiggers? 

If there is no possibility that an individual who is swallowed up in the class ‘Common Man’ can have a truthful relation to his OWN idea of truth, but will forever be captive to YOUR idea and YOUR approach to truth, which one of us is disrepecting him more?

The liberal elite is the one who is entrenched in the language of class. The ‘common-man back-street have-nots’ etc etc, on and on, and without let up, destroys the Common Man as an individual who can relate to truth himself. The individual vanishes figuatively, and in my case right now, literally.
 
I do wish we could chat longer but Im having an old friend for dinner.
 
Anarcissie, send me a private email on Truthdig.

Or to this address: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

I will share what i know. Without poetry. I owe you that twice over. Then please tell me what you think. In fact, your critique at that time would teach me, for there are many things that you know which i do not.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 24, 2010 at 1:02 pm Link to this comment

Global warming does not exist, but god does as do the liberal elite? Now…. am I being insensitive or sacrilegious or even blasphemous?

Would it be a stupid assumption on my part in suspecting most of the alleged scientists who poo poo global warming are closet or openly religious?  Seems similar in many aspects of the all knowing and I suppose not liberal.

I will argue the religious possible point of view. God would not allow global warming unless he wanted it to be so.

End of argument!

So a list of non scientists who say they are scientists is better than a list of religious experts who make unsubstantiated claims about things which exist in their minds and do not exist in my un-scientist mind.  Concept being, learned exceeds being unlearned, especially if one procured a titled ordination to dabble in myths and fables!  Apparent certainty of unknowledge with credentials behind profound beliefs is what one needs to promote profound pontifications.

In my case I do not know if global warming exists, but I suspect it could be real. unlike the existence of a mighty might in the sky.  As the Pious may easily say, even if global warming exists, it is mighty might’s punishment for the vast unfolding of sins on this horribly handicapped earth. I will not list all those who may have sins on their sleeves,  for my name may be among the long list of the naughty. 

All anything seems overly ambitious and a tad egocentric maybe even bigoted. So when ever I see the word all, little question marks appear over me head, causing me to reach for the Tequila!

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 24, 2010 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

The problem with the word ‘fascist’ is similar to that with ‘liberal elite’ but is much more advanced and widespread.  I thought I might get some kind of answer if I asked about ‘liberal elite’, whereas asking what people mean by ‘fascist’ is usually hopeless.  It seems that ‘liberal elite’ is also a hopeless subject as well, however.  It’s a kind of corny poetry.

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, October 24, 2010 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

She:

Please don’t misunderstand me. I don’t question the authenticity of your list.  I just said I only recognized one name on it.

My favorite tequila is Chenaco Anejo, which I like to drink like it was cognac (but it’s better than cognac).

Sorry diabetes keeps you from enjoying this.

My acquaintance, “Dave” is not old. He’s probably just turning 60 this year.  But his full-scale endorsement of all the right-wing absurdity and bigotry goes beyond the typical shift from liberal to conservative as one ages (my father never made that shift—he stayed ultra liberal till he died in his 80’s).  In my family, I haven’t seen such changes, though I see them in others.

I know it happens. But I think such a drastic change, as in “Dave”, means your moral code and your standard of ethical behavior was clearly never too tightly attached.  I would never have believed it of this guy.  But who knows what changes happen between someone whom you last had contact with in the mid-70’s and now?

We all like our “stuff”.  And we mostly want more “stuff” and we want to kill anyone who tries taking our “stuff”.  But how did we get our “stuff”?

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 24, 2010 at 10:46 am Link to this comment

Well, Anarcissie, coyness in OM’s case is a strategy.  Even so, while
conservative fascism is being tossed about rather cavalierly, I’d like to
point out that the left is not without such stains on its hands.  And in
order to pretend at least to be concerned with justice, we liberals have
to see the source of this blight, if we are to shed its rancid smell.  I do
not mean to just out of hand include anarchists, but if the shoe fits,
well then walk with us.  Sorry for the flurry of posts but have to be off
for the day and would like to take up that problem some time soon

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 24, 2010 at 10:31 am Link to this comment

It was ‘Alphysicist, October 18 at 4:30 am’ who introduced ‘liberal elite’ into the present discussion.  She or he has since vanished.  Ozark Michael seems to know what the magic phrase means, but is too coy to give us either a plain list of instances or a definition.  The many other Truthdiggers who regularly slag liberalism seem to be absent.  So I guess we’re not going to find out about any ‘liberal elite’ from those who profess to see in it some kind of malign influence on the country and the culture.  Odd, isn’t it?  But at least we have been spared the usual plague of 9/11 Truthers and anti-Semites.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 24, 2010 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

Oh here you go, ITW and Leefeller…
Tequila Sunrise / Eagles

It’s another tequila sunrise
Starin’ slowly ‘cross the sky, said goodbye
He was just a hired hand
Workin’ on the dreams he planned to try
The days go by

Ev’ry night when the sun goes down
Just another lonely boy in town
And she’s out runnin’ ‘round

She wasn’t just another woman
And I couldn’t keep from comin’ on
It’s been so long
Oh, and it’s a hollow feelin’ when
It comes down to dealin’ friends
It never ends

Take another shot of courage
Wonder why the right words never come
You just get numb
It’s another tequila sunrise,this old world
still looks the same,
Another frame, mm…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNDfJqBxWRo&feature=related

and a very nice instrumental…you can sing along as you drink your
shots of Herradura Seleccion Suprema (5 haha’s)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEtz1OhStQk&feature=related

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 24, 2010 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

Good morning ITW:
  Tequila?  I have nothing against tequila.  But I bet that little
worm does.  I actually have had it many times ala Margueritas with
my enchilada dinners.  That is afore diabetes introduced itself to my
body.  I just use it now in my feeble attempt at some humor on TD
as Leefeller honors it so much and seems to rely on its effects to
assuage his disgust at the piety or hypocrisy and fascism that shows
up so shimmeringly.

I didn’t make up the Liberal Elite list.  They signed it.  Check out the
link I provided. It is a fact of life that frequently when money becomes
plentiful those who suddenly get it turn conservative. It is a common
phenomenon that afflicts old people too. My mom was a perfect
example of that, poor as a church mouse, she was one of the most
liberal, and socially minded her whole life, but when she achieved old
age (hard to say exactly when that was) she became frightfully
conservative. Curious about that phenomenon, I started studying why
that might happen and discovered that it is not an unusual change as
people age.  They become more fearful of their coming death and want
to “conserve” what it is they think they have.  If they have any religion,
and hers was tentative to be sure as floating between Catholicism, then
when excommunicated because of divorcing my dad (he was abusive
from WWII soldiering stress), she became a Baptist as they welcomed
her with wide open arms.  But then she became disenamored with
Protestantism and petitioned to go back to the highly ritualistic Church,
and after due penance, she was accepted back, dragging her only child
with her.  As I was saying, if the elderly have any religion, it becomes
much more pronounced as well.  So much for principles.  The payoff of
a promised heaven afterlife is a strong ticket for the guileless to buy,

A Wiki entry on liberal elite notes members of the country’s intellectual
elite, most of whom are members of the professional class not upper
class, liberalism remains the most prominent ideology. Fully 72% of
professors identify themselves as liberals. At Ivy League Universities, an
even larger majority of 87% of professors identified themselves as
liberals. Additionally those with post graduate degrees are increasingly
becoming more Democratic.

You might be right about the irrelevancy of what makes a liberal,
but that was only a peripheral question as the search was for what
the mass noun and indistinct ‘liberal elite’ meant.  And listing self-
proclaimed liberals was only to help bring some reality to the otherwise
murky category being discussed.  But maybe ‘degree’ of relevancy is
closer rather than complete irrelevancy since in order to be concerned
with the welfare of the common man and the rest of ordinary humanity,
a liberal attitude would have to prevail. I would be square in the middle
of middle and unquestionably liberal, and will remain so whether I
navigate between poverty and wealth.  How about you?

Even so, I think your assessment of the Teabaggers is a bullseye.
I know many doctors who place themselves in the Republican
conservative camp.  All my doctors have been.  Well there was one
exception, when I lived in California and had Kaiser as my medical
provider.  Shockingly he was liberal.  They have money, whether or not
they came from meager beginnings or had to work their asses off to get
through med school.  Seems those are more fixedly conservative than
those who come into money by way of inheritance perhaps because
they do not want to give up one penny to help others. I guess they think
they help others in their doctoring and that is enough.  Well maybe. The
doctors without borders program defies that, as well as the abortion
clinic heroes one of which was sacrificed to a madman.  Doesn’t it
depend on the quotient of altruism that carries the day?

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, October 24, 2010 at 8:53 am Link to this comment

She:

What have you got against Tequila? (“Salt and lime are proof that God exists. Tequila is proof that Satan exists.”—Richelle Mead).

Seriously, if that’s “Liberal Elite” I feel humbled—the only one I ever heard of was Robert Reich (though Staughton Lynd, the subject of another thread is someone I’ve known about since I was 8)

Your questions about what makes are “liberal” are good but, sadly, irrelevant.

Why? Because the new Right of Teabaggers and fundamentalists don’t give a shit about any of those things and will lie their asses off to “disprove” them.

Remember the list of “100 Scientists” who questioned the validity of global warming?  I looked down that list and saw a name I recognized, someone I knew at the same ultra-lefty summer camp that I went to with Lynd’s children, someone whose brother is still friends with my brother, after 40 years.

Let’s call this guy “Dave Arnold” (not his real name). “Dave Arnold”‘s name is on that list of 100 Scientists.
1) Dave is a medical doctor, who went to med school in the 70’s (I won’t say where).
2) Dave is NOT in medical research but runs a therapeutic practice at a major hospital.
3) MDs are not, by definition, scientists, although, if engaged in medical research they function as scientists.  Dave does not.
4) To evaluate Global Warming realistically, one would expect to be a scientist (which Dave is not) and in a relevant field, such as (to name a few):
Geography
Geology
Climatology
Ecology
Paleontology
Oceanography
Marine Biology
Meteorology
Dave is none of these, nor anything else related.
5) Dave has abandoned all his liberal roots and endorses on his Facebook page the Fox pantheon of Palin, Hannity, Limbaugh.
6) Despite a background that was openly in favor of integration and the Civil Rights movement (Many people at that camp knew MLK personally, and he was alive and working at the time), Dave has endorsed the blatantly racist policies of Arizona’s immigration laws and Jan Brewer.
7) Dave has joined Teaparty orgs that cater especially to MDs…Clearly he’s totally into his material goods, his wealth (he’s VERY well paid in his position) and, again in an abandonment of his youth, has the position “I got mine, but I’m gonna make damn sure you don’t get yours”.

How did “Dave Arnold” go from a Dylan-singing ultra-liberal anti-War activist in the 60’s to “Dr. Dave Arnold”, selfish, anti-constitutional, racist, right-wing, wealthy lying fascist who CLAIMS (falsely) to being a scientist, and one capable of judging the INvalidity of Global Warming? 

He’s a real person—I’m just not telling you his real name, his actual med school, his specialty, or where he works.

But Dave is indicative of the selfishness, the fascist, and total truthlessness that the Far Right is willing to employ to:
A) Gain Power
B) Retain THEIR wealth
C) Shut down everyone who dares question them.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 24, 2010 at 6:57 am Link to this comment

Isn’t midwifery overrated?  Look where it got Socrates.  Fascism. 
You dredge up an old dialogue as a playing chip.  But you only give
your side of it.  Typical of intentional conservative myopia.

Brownshirtism could be said to be well endowed in contemporary
American politics.  It is alive and highly animated and modern fascist
personalities can be named.  Seems to me on the earlier forum you
were accused of being a fascist by ThomasG/MarthaA and to neutralize the charge you accused them of it.  It really was a hoot.  Like: 
              WILL THE REAL FASCIST PLEASE STAND UP!

Leefeller, youse is sooo funny.  I can now go tra la la-ing about my day
with a song in my heart.  But won’t you reconsider and give us your
absolute definition of Fascism with a capital F?  Won’t you give at least
one name you think is a modern contender for the job?  Don’t you
think the name David Koch conjures up one rather immediately?  Surely
there are others?  BTW: Who had to pick up all those scrabble letters
strewn all over the floor?

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 24, 2010 at 3:44 am Link to this comment

Attention:

It should be known, Leefeller has been epitomized as the common man. He has come to grips with being the epitome of the common man, but it should be known there may be question of his early epithet!

As for Fascism, Leefeller has his own absolute definition, but he would rather keep it to himself and will not share it even with Ozark Michael, nor will he share his comprehensive list of fuzzy Fascists!

Regarding games, Leefeller finds them most annoying especially board games and has been known to throw Scrabble games across the room in a fit of annoyance.
This throwing of Scrabble Games across the room has been in support of the common monkey at the local zoo, who occasionally throws dirt at most annoying common spectators!

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 23, 2010 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment

Consulting the master of the upside down world, Mr. Dodgson. Take
note OzarkMichael:  You have not served enough victuals, the table
(game) you (play) set is set only for one: yourself. Hannibal dines
on his fleshed out meal alone so pirouette as you take your bites.

Truth, in the abstract, is not relevant in the concrete. It has no
existence in the concrete, it is not solid. Looking for Truth is futile. 
What truth could there be about conservatism? Why none, and that is
why conservatism is irrelevant to the common man. However truth is
measured, it is always measured relative to the one who measures. 
Catching the criminal will be easy, for the criminal will fall head first
into his own roast pan.

The common man, I named one, so however you feel, Leefeller, I
would say you are an epitome.  And no I don’t mean e-pits o’me. 
E-pits o’me is uncommonly tout sweet to the core. LOL But of course
the term common man is another gross generalization, a meaningless
plurality, just like liberal elite or ultra-right-wing conservative are
meaningless pluralities until names are attached. OM’s recollection is
right far as I can recollect, no names were nominated for modern
fascists.

To tie up some loose ends, here is a tentative and cultured definition: 
The Common Man designates a generalization of the average citizen, in
stark contrast with the social, political, or cultural elite.  It also
defines a man who holds no title. I disagree with that inasmuch as he
would hold the title of Common Man. Now to gain deeper understand-
ing, Aaron Copland wrote a famous musicwork, “Fanfare for the
Common Man” and Arthur Miller wrote an essay “Tragedy and the
Common Man.” So while the epithet might seem socially insignificant,
they make up most of the men in the entire world, therefore are
massively important and the notable musician and the venerable
author gave honor to this order of human beings.

If, “As Leefeller notes, the term ‘liberal elite’ is used imprecisely
and indiscriminately just like the term ‘fascism’. Ah yes…,” (see
OzarkMichael, October 23 3:28 am), then we are right to assume he,
Leefeller, knows how it is used precisely in order to make that
declaration.  And if he says fascism is a term used imprecisely as
well, then as well he knows too how to use that term precisely
So Leefeller, step up to the plate, but be careful, please, that Hannibal
doesn’t devour you.

Not to worry, unlike other truthdippers, I won’t leave you, Leefeller, with
your curiosity hoisted regarding fascism whilst I dance a jig. But I don’t
think we are really hunting for fascists, for they stick out like a sore
thumb.  According to a published political pundit, I’ll provide the name
of at least one modern fascist”:

You, OM, gave Adolf’s 25 prescription, but Naomi Wolf in her “Fascist
America” gave it in 10 Steps and named George W. Bush as the leading
‘modern’ fascist.  Let’s see, his cronies would also have to have fascist
leanings, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and all the others in that
Cabinet.  Then all the corporatists joined the elites of that genre.

Elites more or less name themselves… with their deeds. Right wingers
once attacked Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean as a
liberal elitist by saying he should take his tax-hiking, government-
expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York
Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show
back to Vermont, where it belongs. Howard Dean survived and is still
one of the most articulate, and influential liberal elites.  Body
piercing?

A favorite game of the conservatives is to make a case that liberal elites
are the “real” fascists, and are Marxists who want to transform America
into a communist state. It is typical conservative drivel and dross
strategy.  The empire of liberals, however, strikes back.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 23, 2010 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

Instead of setting a meal for a cannibal, or dancing at someone
else’s cotillion, I give you a quiz. You can chase your quarry with a
No. 2 pencil, no fork and knife required, no pound of flesh will be
served.

The way you answer will tell you whether you are an American Liberal
or not and if you are you can be the judge of the elites to see how
they size up.  A few names will be provided.

You are an American Liberal if you answer yes to these questions:
•  Do you think that the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights is
so crucial that it would not be worth living in America without them?
•  Do you think that those who inherit multimillion dollar fortunes do
not deserve special tax breaks?
•  Would you believe the vast number of scientists who have publicly
declared that global warming is real and has been and is caused by the
folly of human activities rather than the corporate oil and manufactur-
ing lobbyists who screech that global warming has not been proven
yet?
•  Do you believe that nuclear weapons should always be prohibited,
and that even the United States should drastically reduce their store of
such weapons?
•  Do you believe that a relatively small group of fundamentalist
reilgionists ought not to be able to determine the laws by which all
American must live?
•  Do you think the federal environmental regulations consistently
save indigenous species from man-caused extinction?
•  Do you believe in fair wages for work performed?
•  Do you think it is a travesty to use American tax dollars to bail out
corporate banks?
•  Do you think is criminal to send jobs to other countries when
almost 10% of employable Americans are waiting in the unemployment
lines?
•  Does it cause you to be angry when the government has secret
programs to spy on thee lawful activities of Americans?
•  Do you believe that Americans deserve a government administered
comprehensive single payer health care plan that will preserve and save
lives of the underprivileged as well as the middle class in addition to
Medicare that serves the elderly?
•  Do you think all American children deserve a quality education
regardless of income or class standing?
•  If you answered in the affirmative to all of these questions, then
you are an American Liberal. 

The following are self-avowed academic liberals listed in 2006 in the
article,
“We Answer to the Name of Liberals” and who can rightly be called part
of the American Liberal Elites:
Bruce Ackerman and Todd Gitlin
George Akerlof, Berkeley
Jeffrey Alexander, Yale
Eric Alterman, City University of New York
Kenneth Arrow, Stanford
Ian Ayres, Yale
Benjamin Barber, Maryland
Yochai Benkler, Yale
Joshua Cohen, Stanford and Boston Review
Lizabeth Cohen, Harvard
Robert A. Dahl, Yale
Norman Daniels, Harvard
Michael Doyle, Columbia
Cynthia Fuchs Epstein, Graduate Center, CUNY
James K. Galbraith, Texas
Robert W. Gordon, Yale
Jorie Graham, Harvard
Adam Hochschild, Berkeley
Arlie Hochschild, Berkeley
G. John Ikenberry, Princeton
Christopher Jencks, Harvard
Pamela S. Karlan, Stanford
Michael Kazin, Georgetown
Chang-Rae Lee, Princeton
Margaret Levi, University of Washington
Sanford Levinson, Texas
Doug McAdam, Stanford
Jane Mansbridge, Harvard
Katherine S. Newman, Princeton
Robert Post, Yale
Robert B. Reich, Berkeley
Susan Rose-Ackerman, Yale
Ruth Rosen, Berkeley
Elaine Scarry, Harvard
Arthur Schlesinger Jr, Graduate Center, CUNY
Richard Sennett, LSE and NYU
Kim Lane Scheppele, Princeton
Jane Smiley, Carmel Valley
Christine Stansell, Princeton
Charles Tilly, Columbia
Michael Tomasky, The American Prospect
C.K. Williams, Princeton
William Julius Wilson, Harvard
Alan Wolfe, Boston College
George M. Woodwell, Woods Hole Research Center
http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?articleId=12124

Shall these be lined up against the wall?  More Liberal Elites to be listed
in subsequent posts.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, October 23, 2010 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous said: To discuss the liberal elite is to describe affluent, politically liberal-leaning people. I have given a few living examples and one dead one.  Liberal elite is most often used as a negative label implying that the people who support the rights of the working class are themselves members of the upper class, or upper middle class, and are therefore out of touch with the real needs of the people they claim to support and protect. This is a fiction however. As Alinsky demonstrated, he was probably the only or at most one of the few who were in touch with the real needs of the people.
His activism still sticks in the craw of the
conservative elites.

Shenonymous said it perfectly but doesnt know it yet. Hannibal responds:

You’re so close to the way you’re gonna catch him, do you realise that?

However, to catch the criminal(conservative) concept, you will now have to reason as the criminal reasons. Here is the wrong way to do it: “Truth is measurable.  What is the measure of truth in this claim?  If no measure, then not relevant.” No. That will not work if you want to solve the case. For the criminal you seek does not measure truth the way that you do. Does not judge the way you judge.

For him, everything is upside down: The most relevent truths are the ones that are not measureable. If we could apply the criminal’s modus to what Shenonymous said, then we are on the trail of the criminal.

The answer is right there in her quote above. Or as Hannibal said:

Everything you need to find him is there in those pages.

There are only five sentences in the Shenonymous quotation. Pick the one sentence, and only one sentence, which defines the Liberal elite relationship the way that the criminal understands it. If we delve into that, it will lead to the apprehension of the criminal, (the correct meaning of “liberal elite”) And then you will be capable of preventing future crimes. Or, if liberal elite applies to you, it might blow up in your face.

My question to you is: which sentence?


Pick one sentence. Its acceptable to guess if you dont know. As Hannibal says:

Make an effort to answer.

And thank you for playing.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 23, 2010 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

Om; If the introduction is any indication, I suspect I need to run down to Liquor STore Larrys and stock up on more Tequila for the impending long haul of the sequel!.....When the dust finally settles, I will ask youse guys to define the common man and why it seems conservatives seem to have little empathy towards the masses of slackers on this earth?

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 23, 2010 at 1:53 am Link to this comment

I am not the only clever responder in the room. A meat eater to be
sure, I do not eat my own kind.  I am not a cannibal.  Interesting,
that you, OM, are taking my comments personally.  It was meant for
the entire body of truthdippers.  Me thinks Anarcissie protests too
much, such is her style, and you, clever fellow, would slip your
Hannibal supper in between her words.  Anarcissie frequently relies
obliquely on an economy of words.  So you might get caught in a
bare bones meal, but since you show that you relish embellishment,
it most likely suits your purpose for then you can dress them up
with the entrails you think you have harvested.  I would use the
metaphor of Caliban instead.  Rearrange the letters and it spells the
Spanish word cannibal, which is the etymology of cannibal.  But in the
Arabic, it is a word for “wild dog” but more on that later.  Now the
Caliban we know was really forced into slavery by Prospero, who
represents the upper and rich class, a sorcerer who has slaves. This
groveling beast however has transformed since he was written into
literature.  Unlike Hannibal, now he is a “noble” savage, a rebel who
comes to symbolize the exploitation of the corportocractic-serving
conservatives.  Hannibal only serves himself.  However, the metaphor is
not complete. For as a slave, Caliban’s deformity, his fish-like features,
places him as the underdog.  Prospero calls him a “misshapen knave”
and if our liberal elites, as a mass noun, can be served up as Caliban,
the analogy fits as that is how the opponent conservatives see the
liberal elites as misshapen, mistaken, fools.  Such is that sense of
Caliban. From the point of view of the not-so-elite liberals, they are
grateful for the efforts of those who would take up the sword.

Leefeller, pay attention as this may be another instance where you can
learn something.  Leefeller who, with no insult intended, in this instance
represents the common man.  But he is also a player and can serve two
functions, valiantly both as carrot and as stick especially if a glass of
tequila is involved.  See how you are used, Leefeller?

What we are dealing with here is rhetoric. And it is a game that can be
enjoyable even in its misleadings down a primrose paths.  It depends
on the players.  And in the words of Tina Turner, “what’s love got to do
with it?”

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 23, 2010 at 1:42 am Link to this comment

So on the other hand, with a spin of the top, what act more aptly
demonstrates human beastliness than what Hannibal represents? 
Why of course, cannibalism.  Also fondly recalling Dante’s Inferno,
we envision the damned who eat their own and each other’s flesh. 
I know I know, how can one say “fondly?” 

Cannibalism is tied to fears of swallowing and being swallowed; the
loss of personal identity.  Did you know cannibalism was used to
justify colonialism?  The cannibalistic natives, it was thought, had to
be conquered and civilized for their own good.  In such cases, the
practice of cannibalism is used to define the alien, though in reality it
often mirrored the conquerors themselves, and therein lies the rub. 
As that is a similar attitude conservatives take towards liberals.

Neverataloss, aka Shenonymous, for words, as I have said already, to
discuss the liberal elite is to describe affluent, politically liberal-leaning
people. I have given a few living examples and one dead one.  Liberal
elite is most often used as a negative label implying that the people
who support the rights of the working class are themselves members of
the upper class, or upper middle class, and are therefore out of touch
with the real needs of the people they claim to support and protect. 
This is a fiction however.  As Alinsky demonstrated, he was probably
the only or at most one of the few who were in touch with the real
needs of the people.  His activism still sticks in the craw of the
conservative elites.

The phrase “liberal elite” is contrasted with the power elite of C. Wright
Mills, who uses the term elite to mean the connected interests of the
leaders of the military, corporate, wealthy political elements of
conservative society and suggested that the ordinary citizen was a
relatively powerless subject of manipulation by those entities.

Words are used to represent things and experiences in the real or
imagined world. Different words can be used to describe the same
thing or experience.  Words are flexible and as such can be cleverly
spun to instill fear as today’s conservatives do, or to give courage such
as Alinsky did.  Colors are words that have extended meaning as well,
such as red and blue.  We have Red America and Blue.  But as a tease,
that will be another topic on another day.

Liberal elite has been defined a few times.  I even gave an example for
the benefit of others to jump in with their definitions by defining
conservative elite. But the gamesplayers are far and few between.  I see
the definition as given does not suit you, OzarkMichael.  So if you
want to strut your stuff, please do so.  We have been waiting we can see
that you have your dancing shoes on and are prancing about
impatiently once again.  The curtain is drawn and your performance is
on the top of the bill.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 23, 2010 at 12:37 am Link to this comment

Om attempting to get up to speed here, as for your question, sure…. give us your opinion, if it is fact, substantiation would be appreciated.

She the concept of wanting to win an election over and above and including the actual interceding to halt attempting the early release of the American hostages in Iran for political gain seems most criminal and disgusting,  this little tip of the iceberg forces me to reinstate my feelings of politicians as manipulative opportunists of the lowest degree, even lower then whale shit!

Sadly this may be business as usual possibly from either party, am I stereotyping?

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, October 22, 2010 at 11:56 pm Link to this comment

Darn. An error in my last post.

Correction below…

To Anarcissie, who indicated that she wants to know:

Love your suit

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, October 22, 2010 at 11:28 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous said: But I won’t tease you into wondering what Aristotle thought, for in your laziness (or for me not to be so snot nosed about it, in your “busy” schedule)maybe you wouldn’t bother to find out.

That was a clever rejoinder. However.. My warning that this discussion could be cut short has nothing to do with laziness or business on my part, or on yours.

I offered a method for you to understand what “Liberal elite” means. Either you want to know or you dont.

More than that I would even play the role of a criminal(Hannibal Lector) to your hero(Agent Starling). Because the criminal knows, but he is bad. The hero doesnt know, but She is good. I concede that you are the good guy. And you are the one who faces danger. Here, i am a criminal in a cell. Maybe you didnt pick up on the nifty clues last post so let me drop the drama for a bit.

Partisans on both sides hurl invective back and forth in the rough and tumble of American political arguments. The idea seems to be to hit those buzzwords, to throw as much crap as possible and hope that some of it sticks. No one disputes this.

When a term is used as a buzzword, it is automatically unfair. It is like a bomb. Wouldnt you like to know how to diffuse it? Then learn the real concept. But that entails a risk.

In other words, you are satisfied with the false meaning of the buzzword because learning the true definition of the word might bring the concept a little too close to home.

To Anarcissie who said ‘yes I want to know’:

nice suit

As Leefeller notes, the term ‘liberal elite’ is used imprecisely and indiscriminately just like the term ‘fascism’. Ah yes…

Long ago a certain wise and kind person reassured me that even though the term ‘fascist’ was often used incorrectly, it was still important for a conservative to understand precisely what ‘fascist’ really meant. Even though ‘fascism’ could be used as a cudgel against me and against ideas I believed in, it was important that I face the music.

To truly understand if and how ‘fascism’ is a misused term, I had to interact with a person who used the term wisely and precisely. Not without risk! But the rules I live by teach that truth must be related to directly.

Perhaps She used SAge ALmightY against me? “Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules”

No matter now. The education began. She defined ‘fascism’ as a concept, because that is how it needs to be recognized in others and possibly even in the self. Line by line, principle by principle. Meanings distilled and then “if the shoe fits, wear it”.

This process of instruction went on for many posts.

In the course of explaining ‘fascist’ to me not a single modern name was given. Nor did Leefeller or Anarcissie jump in with modern names. Nor did I insist there had to be any. Not once.

Thanks to her, the instruction went well. Before long i gave evidence of how well i had mastered the ‘fascism’ concept, providing a tour de force towards Martha/Thomas.

Now, set ‘fascism’ aside. We are talking about “Liberal elite” now. Why are you asking for lists of names? Why now, with the tables turned, is there stubborn insistance upon gathering lists, and publishing data? Going everywhere all the time is useful, unless.. the answer is here and now.

I felt drawn to participate at this time on this thread only because you asked a question and I percieve that none of you know how to begin to answer it. I happen to know. You either want me to midwife or not. Yes or no?

If you dont want guidance, know that my affection for you is unchanged. We are friends. Years of correspondence, arguments, discoveries, laughter, and tears, will not be discarded.
 
If you dont want to know, thats ok. But why should I remain here in this cell(Truthdig) for no reason? Being tortured by the insipid Truthdig videos. When you leave, they’ll turn the volume way up. Dr Hedges does enjoy his petty torments.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 22, 2010 at 7:32 pm Link to this comment

I don’t ‘think, Anarcissie, we are at odds in our assessment of the
term ‘liberal elite.’  Define the word reality and it might help the
resolve the problem you feel.  But as I proposed Oct. 21, 10:43am,
I don’t think the term is ambiguous, and I gave the definition of
ambiguity, but rather fits the definition I gave of the word ‘vague.’ 
I indicated that the term will stay that way until an instantiation,
meaning a real example, is given. Which is ostensibly what you are
saying as well.  However I did give an example of a conservative elite,
Ronald Reagan, but I would have to qualify him for his actions taken
that would jettison him into elitist classification.  I here provide a model
of conservative elite to show how the term liberal elite ought to be
given a case in point so that we can move on.  I can think of a few at
the top of my snotty nosed head:  Starting with Reaganomics, his
refusal to support blacklisted entertainers such as Larry Parks, Joseph
Bromberg, Charlie Chaplin, John Garfield, and Paul Robeson to name a
few. Also his elitist support of McCarthyism enabled him to continue
working in Hollywood but his films continued to appear in mediocre
films, called B films. With the help of a smear campaign against Pat
Brown and promises of tax cuts he won an easy victory as governor
of California.  Then Reagan quickly established himself as one of the
country’s leading conservative political figures putting him squarely in
an elitist category.  This included declaring dramatic budget cuts and a
hiring freeze for state agencies and when he put up student fees
students complained whereupon he sent state troopers to deal with
their protest meetings.

Elitist qualifier again comes from Reagan tax cuts that never material-
ized, in fact, he presided over the largest tax increase any state had
ever demanded in American history. Next, the Iran-Contra scandal was
on his watch, and here is the connection: Reagan public relations man,
Michael K. Deaver began raising money for Reagan’s presidential
campaign from some of his Guatemalan clients (Amigos del Pais).  A
BBC report estimated that this money amounted to around ten million
dollars. Francisco Villgarán Kramer claimed that several members of
this organization were “directly linked with organized terror”.  This story
is quite involved and deep into foreign pockets to fund the campaign. 
Reading Jonathan Marshall’s book, The Iran-Contra Connection is a
revelation, “The activities of Singlaub and Sandoval chiefly involved
three WACL countries, Guatemala, Argentina, and Taiwan, that would
later emerge as prominent backers of the contras…. these three
countries shared one lobbying firm, that of Deaver and Hannaford.” 
Very convoluted and sleazy.  Jeane Kirkpatrick becomes part of the
mess and can be included among the ‘elites.’

Deaver and Hannaford also began to get work from military
dictatorships that wanted to improve its image in Washington.
According to Jonathan Marshall, Deaver was also connected to Mario
Sandoval Alarcon and John K. Singlaub of the World Anti-Communist
League (WACL). In the book, (1987) he wrote “The activities of Singlaub
and Sandoval chiefly involved three WACL countries, Guatemala,
Argentina, and Taiwan, that would later emerge as prominent backers
of the contras…. these three countries shared one lobbying firm, that of
Deaver and Hannaford.”  Ta tah

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 22, 2010 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment

In 1979 Jeane Kirkpatrick wrote a telling article for Commentary,
entitled Entitled Dictatorships and Double Standards. The article
argued that right-wing “authoritarian” governments, such as those
in Argentina, Chile and South Africa, suited American interests
better than left-wing regimes. She criticized the emphasis placed
on human rights by Jimmy Carter and blamed it for undermining
right-wing governments in Nicaragua and Iran.  Then she argued
that right-wing dictatorships were reliably pro-American and
proposed that the US government should treat authoritarian regimes
much more favorably than other governments. Kirkpatrick added:
“liberal idealism need not be identical with masochism and need not
be incompatible with the defense of freedom and the national interest.”

Bill Van Auken pointed out (Social Democrat to Champion of Death
Squads): “The policy implications of Kirkpatrick’s position were
unmistakable. Washington should seek to keep in power right-wing
dictatorships, so long as they suppressed the threat of revolution and
supported American interests and policies. And, the limits placed by the
Carter administration on relations with regimes that had carried out
wholesale political killings and torture, as in Chile and Argentina, for
example, should be cast aside.”  Ain’t politics grand?

During the campaign against Jimmy Carter, Reagan was informed that
Carter was attempting to negotiate a deal with Iran to get the American
hostages released. This was not good news for the Reagan campaign. If
Carter got the hostages out before the election, the public perception of
the man might change and he might be elected for a second term.

To stop the Carter re-election, other notables such as William Casey
and a few other reps of the Reagan presidential campaign made a deal
at two sets of meetings in July and August at the Ritz Hotel in Madrid
with Iranians to delay the release of Americans held hostage in Iran
until after the November 1980 presidential elections. Reagan’s elitist
aides promised that they would get a better deal if they waited until
Carter was defeated.

On 22nd September, 1980, Iraq invaded Iran. The Iranian government
was now in desperate need of spare parts and equipment for its armed
forces. Jimmy Carter proposed that the US would be willing to hand
over supplies in return for the hostages.

Treachery out of the G H W Bush CIA leaked info about the Carter deal
to Reagan and Bush.  The story goes on and on and on.  And why these
truths are not given headlines by the quasi Democratic liberal elites is
unfathomable even if it was 30 years ago. Whatever…this is a perfect
example of an elitist attitude, conservative style.

There is so much more to present but I think a non-random sampling
of how to define conservative elitism has been given.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 22, 2010 at 10:54 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous—The article from the American Prospect is interesting.  However, the title of it implies that there is an unreal, illusory version of the ‘liberal elite’ which is what most people who use the term are still talking about.  I’m trying to find out how much of the term is connected with what we sometimes fondly call reality.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 22, 2010 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, October 21 at 10:21 pm:

... But we can understand what Liberal Elite means by studying it in itself, and by itself. Remember your first principles? ...

The problem, which I previously stated, is that I don’t know what ‘it’, this ‘liberal elite’ is, as you appear to be using the term.  Therefore, I cannot study its nature very well, either in isolation or in relation to other entities.  I did not think Alinsky was a very satisfactory example, for the reasons I gave.  I can gin up for myself several meanings for ‘liberal elite’ but that will by no means guarantee that we will be talking about the same thing.

What is required is either a definition or procedure for determining whether a person or thing is a member of the set we call ‘liberal elite’, or a set of concrete examples of such persons or things.  We could then ask whether they were functioning in certain ways sometimes ascribed to them, for example ruining the public schools, assuming we find such a category can reasonably be said to exist at all.

I’ll tediously remind you that I said I was talking about the contemporary world, not the ‘30s or the ‘60s when the answers to my questions might have been different.

Report this

Page 1 of 4 pages  1 2 3 >  Last »

 
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Publisher, Zuade Kaufman   Editor, Robert Scheer
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.

Like Truthdig on Facebook