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Liberals Are Useless

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Posted on Dec 7, 2009
AP / Jens Meyer

A woman in Germany selects a candy box with President Barack Obama’s face on it.

By Chris Hedges

Liberals are a useless lot. They talk about peace and do nothing to challenge our permanent war economy. They claim to support the working class, and vote for candidates that glibly defend the North American Free Trade Agreement. They insist they believe in welfare, the right to organize, universal health care and a host of other socially progressive causes, and will not risk stepping out of the mainstream to fight for them. The only talent they seem to possess is the ability to write abject, cloying letters to Barack Obama—as if he reads them—asking the president to come back to his “true” self. This sterile moral posturing, which is not only useless but humiliating, has made America’s liberal class an object of public derision.

I am not disappointed in Obama. I don’t feel betrayed. I don’t wonder when he is going to be Obama. I did not vote for the man. I vote socialist, which in my case meant Ralph Nader, but could have meant Cynthia McKinney. How can an organization with the oxymoronic title Progressives for Obama even exist? Liberal groups like these make political satire obsolete. Obama was and is a brand. He is a product of the Chicago political machine. He has been skillfully packaged as the new face of the corporate state. I don’t dislike Obama—I would much rather listen to him than his smug and venal predecessor—though I expected nothing but a continuation of the corporate rape of the country. And that is what he has delivered.

“You have a tug of war with one side pulling,” Ralph Nader told me when we met Saturday afternoon. “The corporate interests pull on the Democratic Party the way they pull on the Republican Party. If you are a ‘least-worst’ voter you don’t want to disturb John Kerry on the war, so you call off the anti-war demonstrations in 2004. You don’t want to disturb Obama because McCain is worse. And every four years both parties get worse. There is no pull. That is the dilemma of The Nation and The Progressive and other similar publications. There is no breaking point. What is the breaking point? The criminal war of aggression in Iraq? The escalation of the war in Afghanistan? Forty-five thousand people dying a year because they can’t afford health insurance? The hollowing out of communities and sending the jobs to fascist and communist regimes overseas that know how to put the workers in their place? There is no breaking point. And when there is no breaking point you do not have a moral compass.”

I save my anger for our bankrupt liberal intelligentsia of which, sadly, I guess I am a member. Liberals are the defeated, self-absorbed Mouse Man in Dostoevsky’s “Notes From Underground.” They embrace cynicism, a cloak for their cowardice and impotence. They, like Dostoevsky’s depraved character, have come to believe that the “conscious inertia” of the underground surpasses all other forms of existence. They too use inaction and empty moral posturing, not to affect change but to engage in an orgy of self-adulation and self-pity. They too refuse to act or engage with anyone not cowering in the underground. This choice does not satisfy the Mouse Man, as it does not satisfy our liberal class, but neither has the strength to change. The gravest danger we face as a nation is not from the far right, although it may well inherit power, but from a bankrupt liberal class that has lost the will to fight and the moral courage to stand up for what it espouses.

Anyone who says he or she cares about the working class in this country should have walked out on the Democratic Party in 1994 with the passage of NAFTA. And it has only been downhill since. If welfare reform, the 1999 Financial Services Modernization Act, which gutted the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act—designed to prevent the kind of banking crisis we are now undergoing—and the craven decision by the Democratic Congress to continue to fund and expand our imperial wars were not enough to make you revolt, how about the refusal to restore habeas corpus, end torture in our offshore penal colonies, abolish George W. Bush’s secrecy laws or halt the warrantless wiretapping and monitoring of American citizens? The imperial projects and the corporate state have not altered under Obama. The state kills as ruthlessly and indiscriminately in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan as it did under Bush. It steals from the U.S. treasury as rapaciously to enrich the corporate elite. It, too, bows before the conservative Israel lobby, refuses to enact serious environmental or health care reform, regulate Wall Street, end our relationship with private mercenary contractors or stop handing obscene sums of money, some $1 trillion a year, to the military and arms industry. At what point do we stop being a doormat? At what point do we fight back? We may lose if we step outside the mainstream, but at least we will salvage our self-esteem and integrity.

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By Gregor, December 8, 2009 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment

Samson, I never said Mr. Hedges was a liberal. I said he was useless. His criticism is that liberals accept NAFTA, write letters to Obama that he will never read etc. He then says he doesn’t dislike Obama even though Obama continues to allow the corporate rape of the country. What’s the difference between what he believes and what the liberal he criticizes believes? Neither holds Obama’s feet to the fire.

For what it’s worth, I am a socialist as Mr. Hedges claims to be. I voted for Cynthia McKinney. And contrary to Mr. Hedges, I DO dislike Obama. Have right from the start.

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By Truth Excavator, December 8, 2009 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So, what you’re saying is liberal are pussies.

And I couldn’t agree more.

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By Go Right Young Man, December 8, 2009 at 4:08 pm Link to this comment

psmealey, December 7 at 7:24 pm
truedigger3, December 7 at 7:53 pm


Trudigger3, I understand you may care none what I think, however, to you and psmealy I say bravo for what you’ve both written. 

Yes.  Bravo!

-

Standing from Right of Center I feel little prepared to comment a great deal.  I will only offer that Mr. Hedges appears deeply frustrated that his overall agenda is supported by less than 20% of nearly 130 million American voters.  Less than 30% of self proclaimed voting “progressives” lean toward his brand of Socialism.

I don’t see that the majority will be bending much.  The president and the congress must and will.  Failure to move toward the middle will cost them the Oval and the majority they enjoy today.

-

I do find it interesting that no one, including on these very threads,  was to utter the word socialism before the last election or be pegged a Neo-con, fear-mongering, racist.  Today next to no one masks an agenda of an heavily socialistic form of governance.

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By DaveZx3, December 8, 2009 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment

Samson and Matt Funicello identify what I also think is wrong with the Democratic party, and the liberal left (if you consider them one and the same) 

It is spelled NAFTA.  During this period, the direction of the party took a turn away from the working class men and women of America towards the intellectual elitists who harborded agendas that were much further left than the working class ever considered reasonable, in my opinion.

If a third party can materialize which can capture the huge political power of working class America without the radical element, that party will rule for a long time.  I would be the first in line, but
I don’t think Nader is the guy, and wonder who might fill the bill.

I apologize for pasting the whole post of Mr. Funicello, but it seems to have gone unnoticed, but is so pertinent.  Read it and weep.

Samson, December 7 at 11:08 pm #

“In one sentence, Hedges gives the answer to this”
“Anyone who says he or she cares about the working class in this country should have walked out on the Democratic Party in 1994 with the passage of NAFTA”

Matt Funiciello, December 7 at 8:34 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

“It is very disheartening to see all the comments from those so readily proving Hedges’ point beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Democrats are our Brutus. NAFTA was their knife. Our constitution and our principles are Caesar’s bloody corpse laying at the Dems’ feet.

Obama is their new Clinton and he’s our new Bush.

Grow up, you whiners! The working class is going to eat your babies. You better stop talking down to those of us who actually work for a living.

Revolution requires real desperation and we, down here, are experiencing just that and, trust me, you will soon.

Don’t worry about saving us. We are not WITH you. If you really wish to save yourselves, you might want to stop proselytzing to us about your idiotic fantasies about your incrementalist, corporate puppet leaders.

You are weak and we are not. We are survivors. The whole system is built on our backs. Like the cockroach, we’ll be fine.

You might want to stop cynically chatting about Mr. Hedges thought processes and learn how to do something besides pretend you care about us. We don’t need you or your fake pity. We can build houses, grow food and box. What can you do?

Reading (and believing) Judith Miller or laughing with Jon Stewart every night does not mean that you are people of value or that you are intelligent.

In fact, Corporate America sells you their agenda the same way they sell it to the NASCAR crowd over at Fox TV! You’re not bright. You are actually quite useless and easily duped, just as Hedges says.

Get a clue. Nader has been right about everything ALL HIS LIFE and you have not. You liberals are bad citizens for pretending to to be the engaged citizenry called for by Jefferson when, in reality, all you are is followers”

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By OzarkMichael, December 8, 2009 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment

The process of moderates being dumped on by idealists/extremists is happening at a record setting volume.

Is it any consolation to you that the Republicans have the same problem?

Is there something to learn from that? No, to you its just amusing or crazy talk. Well, thats how i should feel reading Hedges and you bloggers. its just “amusing and crazy” Truthdig talk.

Except when I see the same questions, the same issues, and sometimes the same solutions. And the same block-headedness, which demands respect, but gives none. Makes me wonder.

But let the battle for control of the ship of state be joined… continuously… with each side reaching for more extreme measures against the other… until the ship sinks.

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By gatecrasher (reg. pending), December 8, 2009 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

nobody’s better at the “effete liberal” indictment than a liberal.  far more than the rest of us, Chris has been steeped in liberal culture for most of his life. after all, he’s not a marine, or boxing laborer NOW. for all the working man’s rough-hewn integrity, he chose a liberal, info industry life.  NOW he’s a liberal evincing a typically liberal affliction- self-hatred.
as a “rousseau communalist”; i.e., hippie rejecting socialist doctrine, i distinguish myself from fellow liberals only by lack of faith that progressive goals can be achieved in a political time frame. change at that level is moved by history- not politics. as a refugee from seriously reactionary and militaristic circumstances, i cannot begin to to tell you what the liberal milieu socially and intellectually can mean to those isolated in the vast jocked out, jingoistic american mentality. let’s acknowledge that we are humanist believers here for each other. we are entitled to faith in history as well as our own efforts. it’s kind of sad that our community questions itself for getting beaten in congress by big banking, the military, and insurance. better: on what basis did we ever think we could mean anything to plains state congressmen with decades-long relationships with our opposition?
listening to thom hartmann and chris yesterday (dec. 7) was a great pleasure. i need liberals and liberalism to just be there to be part of. i have no illusions about my effectiveness re compassionate healthcare. but i know history is moving rather quickly toward that neccessity- and in the direction of progress.

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By politicky, December 8, 2009 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment

What an interesting critter you are Mr. Hedges.

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By gerard, December 8, 2009 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment

What’s wrong (or right) with this picture?
The right wing are mostly habitual followers who do what they are told by instigators who rile them up and give them confidence in some simple ideological rant, very often against something rather than for something, often resisting change itself.
  Left wingers are usually more aware of the complexity of problems, possibly because they read more source materials and therefore they don’t follow mass directives easily. It’s impossible to sloganize complexity.
  Also, the right wing ideology is closer to the
present “conservative”-corporate-militaristic status quo and therefore has less to fear from repression.
  “The Left”—whoever they are—probably won’t stay on the margins forever, but there’s nothing wrong with waiting till you are reasonably sure that what you do is going to be effective and helpful,not just make matters worse. Self-criticism carried to extremes, though, undercuts action of any kind.
  Another huge factor, obviously, is that media owners and backers support the right wing “conservative, militaristic status quo” factor and prejudice readers/viewers against movement toward the left. That is why the bug-a-boo “socialism” is stil effective after all these decades. That means the left is not entering a level playing field.
  Sadly, that word is still effectively used to kill or damage legislation that would actually help the very people who scream “socialism” the loudest—health care, ending wars, regulation of corporate profiteering, regulating emissions.etc
The fact that screaming it is still effective is proof of ignorance.  And it still hampers left-wing organization. Not that the left is so smart, but that it’s just one jump ahead of Fox Inc.
  Why don’t we look at the roots together and understand how to effect changes instead of hammering each other?
  I’ve been reading some of the junk-argumentation trying to overthrow Copenhagen, and I swear—I knew better than to believe that kind of propaganda when I was in high school. If we can’t win over that, each one of us had better be questioning our own credentials.

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By truedigger3, December 8, 2009 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment

Franklkin D. Rosevelt did a good job in reformaing the system. It was not a perfect reform, but nothing is perfect, so what is wrong with restoring the new deal at least as a start.!
The only difference, during Rosevelt time, the US was not the only superpower in the world, now it is, which demands different foreign policy geared toward peace.
Another difference is the problems with the environmnt and climate change.
Many easy things can be done to reform the current mess, if the pigs stop piling pork on themselves and let everyone and evrything else be damned.
Public financing of elections is another good step too.

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By Virginia777, December 8, 2009 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

TD-ers, we can have a revolution any day we are ready to.

All it takes, is the mobilization of the Left.

Chris Hedges, I sure wish you commented on your articles, but you got it right, that the Left is in a mess.

But listen to me, all liberals are NOT useless, the Left is not “gone”, not at all.

and all it takes is mobilization, and let me tell you, I am ready!

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By Mike de Martino, December 8, 2009 at 1:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why do you we all waste our time commenting on this article? The liberal cause is just lacking in money! We are not the benefactors of the cash flow of corporations. When asked for money, it goes to the Democratic party for them to distribute to the likes of Ben Nelson. We need our own brands. Our own cash flow.
how about leftahol or lefty shoes or liberal lite the new sandwich spread. Why not take over the solar industry or wind farm technology. we can create a cash flow too!

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By Virginia777, December 8, 2009 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

I “love” how Thong-girl has no hope for our future:

“This country was once great, but greed and corruption and distrust have dissolved any hope we had for a future”

(how profound, not!)

Fine, Thong-girl, miss the revolution, stay home with garth.

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By garth, December 8, 2009 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment

By Virginia777, December 8 at 3:50 pm #

hey garth,

Don’t believe the Left can be mobilized? guess what, it can!!

But you don’t have to participate in the revolution, stay home.

Report this!

Yeah right!  I don’t believe the left can be mobilized.  Just as the phony Tea Baggers were only acitivated, not mobilizerd, by oodles of money from the insurance companies, minus the dough of the Big PHRMA, which according to their agreement with the Obama administration backed out of the campaign to overturn the Health Insurance Lottery System (i.e. You pay your premiums and when you need the insurance, you better hope you pass through their filter of deniers. 
The tea baggers have left us with a re-reported memory of of a dud.  In short, it was all bullshit, but the left could not mount a counter attack.
Lefts can’t be mobilized for the same reason that terrorism does not come from the poor, downtrodden masses.  It needs money to light the fuse.  It needs some grand plan or maybe a small scheme.
The left does not wajnt to use the money behind it to fund the common riff-raff, nor does have the inspirational message to ignite a revolt.
The Bolivians re-elected Morales, but first, years ago they threw out Bechtel and the right-wing land owners.
There is no right-wing nor a left-wing to speak of.  Right now the USA is flying on one wing.
Do you think for a moment that China and Russia are not watching what happens in Afghanistan?  The US is trying to surround Russia and China with missile bases.  It seems that these maniacs in charge cannot “not” do what they do.  They have no decision making capabilities.

So we, as Nigel Benn has pointed out the wars in the Afghanistan and Iraq have everything to do the economic health in the west, are tied to the outcome of those wars.
The liberal left, the right wing nut or just plain advocate, have next to nothing to do with the outcome.

Unless of course, you want to be as smart as a Bolivian.

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By Virginia777, December 8, 2009 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment

and how Anarcissie would you recommend dealing with the paradox?

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By Virginia777, December 8, 2009 at 12:00 pm Link to this comment

Very interesting, Anarcissie:

“This sort of paradoxical, unstable synthesis of contradictory ideas is characteristic of liberalism, and so it often winds up on the Right”

this is very important to understanding whats going on with the Left.

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By Amon Drool, December 8, 2009 at 11:58 am Link to this comment

jeezus…leefeller…get a life.  no one here swallows hedges whole hog.  most of us find in him too much of the scold.  our decaying democracy has evoked in him much passion and blunt straight talk…things which a lot of us find understandable.

btw, the spelling in your latest post brought to mind Folktruther….he left me shaking my head at times, but i do miss the guy

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By Virginia777, December 8, 2009 at 11:57 am Link to this comment

a couple more points:

Of course liberals are(n’t) useless, proven by the existence of two near-by examples right here: Robert Sheer and Chris Hedges.

Secondly, (and I can feel the sling-shots being drawn) although I love him, I resent (as always) Chris Hedge’s Obama-bashing.

This is so counter-productive. He is a lot better president than we’ve had in a long time and i don’t know why this is so hard for the Left to digest this fact.

But “he” isn’t even really the key, not at all. The “key” is a mobilized Left, one that resumes its former values and inspiration.

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By Virginia777, December 8, 2009 at 11:50 am Link to this comment

hey garth,

Don’t believe the Left can be mobilized? guess what, it can!!

But you don’t have to participate in the revolution, stay home.

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By Anarcissie, December 8, 2009 at 11:48 am Link to this comment

Virginia777, December 8 at 1:17 pm:
‘you are right, Anarcissie, but I have to say that liberals are useless when they don’t know bad from good.

They are not even liberals anymore.’

Historically, liberalism (in the widest sense) has been on the Left only part of the time.  For instance, Jefferson, a classical liberal, wrote “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” but since he was a slaveholder and a plantation-owner in a place where those who didn’t own land couldn’t vote, it is obvious that either he didn’t consider slaves or poor people to be “men” or that he was speaking very abstractly.  This sort of paradoxical, unstable synthesis of contradictory ideas is characteristic of liberalism, and so it often winds up on the Right, as when liberals defend the established order of capitalism or imperial war.

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By Anarcissie, December 8, 2009 at 11:47 am Link to this comment

Virginia777, December 8 at 1:17 pm:
‘you are right, Anarcissie, but I have to say that liberals are useless when they don’t know bad from good.

They are not even liberals anymore.’

Historically, liberalism (in the widest sense) has been on the Left only part of the time.  For instance, Jefferson, a classical liberal, wrote “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” but since he was a slaveholder and a plantation-owner in a place where those who didn’t own land couldn’t vote, it is obvious that either he didn’t consider slaves or poor people to be “men” or that he was speaking very abstractly.  This sort of paradoxical, unstable synthesis of contradictory ideas is characteristic of liberalism, and so it often winds up on the Right, as when liberals defend the established order of capitalism or imperial war.  On the other hand it is obviously a very powerful system of ideas, because practically everyone in the West believes in it even when they vehemently deny that they are liberals.

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By Mike de Martino, December 8, 2009 at 11:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Liberals are not in charge of the cash flow of corporations. We run out of money. Who the fuck knows who Chris Hedges is in this country? You are not part of the mainstream. Focus on the real issues not this bullshit. There is nothing wrong with liberals that a whole pile of money wouldn’t fix.

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By garth, December 8, 2009 at 11:41 am Link to this comment

Virginia777

What I left out on the Lautenberg and Stabenow stab was their votes on the Bankruptcy bill of 2006. They voted for it.  Lautenberg said, “It won’t affect tha tmany people.”

In retrospect, I think he was wrong.

But in the end, yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Clause.  He lives on the hearts and minds of every…..blah, blah, blah.

I had a good home but I left.
.....

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By Thong-girl, December 8, 2009 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

Mike3 is absolutely right about Americans.  This country was once great, but greed and corruption and distrust have dissolved any hope we had for a future.  I really don’t like the right at all, and don’t feel any loyalty to them; I don’t like Democrats any better frankly.  In between, you have the rabble and it’s impossible to find more than 13 of us who agree on two or more things.  We’re angry, uneducated and selfish.  What have I missed?

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By Virginia777, December 8, 2009 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

No, Liberals are not Winning,

Liberals Are Useless

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By Virginia777, December 8, 2009 at 11:12 am Link to this comment

garth, I don’t know what you are trying to say, but listen, we need the Left to wake up and Mobilize.

this is our goal.

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By Virginia777, December 8, 2009 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

not that I don’t love and admire Chris Hedges for swinging the bat!!

That Fighter gave the Liberals a knock-out punch, a punch that was most needed.

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By garth, December 8, 2009 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! I love it.  I can hardly keep up with the posts. Truthdig is an opiate.

One post, though, keeps coming back.  That is the one that derisively said something to the effect that if you progressives want to see change, make us do it.  It harkenened back to the days of FDR and what he said to a woman in his inner sanctum about the social programs.  “If you want it make do it.”

The neo liberals use the same challenge now for the Obama administration, only they are trying to “use” the past, not to “mention” the fact that they are setting everything up for an escape route.  And that is, “Well, you just didn’t show us that there is a better way.  You didn’t make us do it.”
This challenge, “If you want it so bad show us.” is really analagous to the unruly kid in middle school who says, “Oh, yeah, make me do it.”  At this point it is best to call in the parents.


Liberals, so far, are not useless.  They can serve as Joe Palookas.  Take Dick Durbin, for instance.  He mentioned the word “Nazi” in referring to the tactics of the previous administration.  Then he went before the Senate to apologize.

He’s got ..........No balls.

Or take Senators Lautenberg, the millionaire from NJ, and Debbie Stabenow, the harpine from Michigan, who defended their votes on live radio by saying that it won’t affect that many people.
Harry Reid launched an attack that will no doubt be withdrawn because he overstepped the bounds of civility.  It is not important that he’s defending an outageous ‘Health Insurance Continuation Bill.’  What matters is that we fake civility.  They think that the population of the U.S. is only three million, and all of them are small business owners.  The 1/2 million super rich are here by Divine Right.
The workers are fungible.  They don’t figure into this Capitalism.
Communism has begun in the U.S.  It commenced with garage high tech firms, where there is no heirarchy of management.  Sooner or later they will jettison the Vulture Capitalists and go it on their own.  When push comes to shove, they’ll say, “Fuck Bill Gates.  This is ours.”

Instead of a cantankerous move from the left, we should sponsor a movement from within.  Get someone like the Salahis to infiltrate the White and give Obama a “hot foot” while he’s presiding over a Cabinet meeting.  Or an exploding cigarette from a joke shop, or dip his hand in some warm water while he naps.  Make him piss all over himself.  Bring him down a peg or two.  To hell with this “no drama Obama.”

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By Mike3, December 8, 2009 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

The official American line, admittedly Republican, is that America is a classless society.  Well for a classless society you seem to be pretty class conscious not to say pretty arrogant and intolerant of each other’s point of view. Even when someone like Hedges writes a good article that could be of real help, you still don’t get it. To really understand class structured society, you have to have been born in Europe, and as most of you haven’t you are in this particular area rather restricted. I know Americans very well, you’re not a bad bunch I like you, but as far as understanding what has happened to your country, and I am speaking generally now for the vast majority of Americans, generalizing, (I know truth dig is one of the “superior” sites), you really have no idea, you’re still babes tossing insults at each other. I have noticed (in my work) meeting both Europeans and Americans, that quite a few Americans although outwardly friendly have a concealed anger, just below the surface – you are also very hard on each other – much harder than Europeans. But just where this anger goes and what form it takes we will have to see. Surely one of the problems is that America has lived in its own fantasy world for too long, and as this fantasy disintegrates there is confusion and anger. Perhaps anger is not a bad thing, but you have to be angry at those things that have destroyed your Republic, not at Hedges. Good luck.

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By Virginia777, December 8, 2009 at 10:52 am Link to this comment

You got that right, Peetawonkus!!

The cynical griping does absolutely no good

worse! it actually makes things worse, it makes people give up trying to make change,

and if everyone gives up, we are lost.

(and as to that Thongy-troll, no comment)

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By Leefeller, December 8, 2009 at 10:51 am Link to this comment

A note from Mom!

Profoundness such as Hedges professes provides so much food for the thoughtless the empty spaces between their ears may explode. No one writes with such eloquence and superficial arrogance as seen on these weekly triads. Such rapture and insight of never before obtained magnitudees, unknown until now, all of man and women kind has missed much; until now (well a short while back actually) the advent of Hedges!

We should really call this a new time, a time of insight and rapture.  0BH or time “Before Hedges” this is the beginning of time as Hedges has stopped time itself and restarted it with these enlightening articles of wisdom. As the tree of knowledge most surly does not hold a candle to what these weekly reviews of man and womankind provide for the simple minded minuons of fantisys extrodinare!

If I missed something please let me know, otherwise I will now join the rest of the nation and throw up on myself!

Leefellers Mom!

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By ardee, December 8, 2009 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

Ouroborus, December 8 at 10:31 am

Despite the noisy and unnecessary intervention of liecatcher into our discussion, whom, I guess, attempts to prove something or other, I appreciate your responses.

My point in listing the immediate necessary changes to our governance illustrate, I think, how much simpler reform of the current system would be as opposed to what you and others fail to advance as a replacement.

What the arrogance of liecatcher illustrates in his assumption of your “logic”, other than he may have difficulty forming an opinion when his head is so firmly up his ass, is that no mention of what comes next is illogical in fact.

You, with whom I have no problem, nor ever once had in fact, advance only pessimism. What purpose does this serve to motivate, energize or resolve??

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By Zoe, December 8, 2009 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

I hear your anger.  I understand it, empathize and sympathize with the plight of our nation. What I don’t understand is how to seriously make change.

A vote for Ralph Nader doesn’t seem like a meaningful change.

My ranting here or elsewhere doesn’t make any changes.

Speaking to neighbours and friends doesn’t seem to make any inroads.

So, Chris, as our lives have indicated life is rough, tough and often disappointing.

What do we do that will really count?

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By Thong-girl, December 8, 2009 at 9:57 am Link to this comment

By Peetawonkus, “Incoherent, rambling posts by people who pass bitter cynicism on as wisdom or else propose nihilism as a response or use any thread to yap on about the evils of abortion. Good God. It’s amazing how many people posting here are defeated before they’ve even started. They don’t even know what bloody class they belong to.”

We do know what bloody class you belong to, no-class.

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By Peetawonkus, December 8, 2009 at 9:42 am Link to this comment

It’s amazing all those who throw up their hands and say, “Well, you can’t count on the People. The People have been missing for years. Yeah, the world is a shitty place but watcha gonna do.” Thanks for showing up and telling us how useless everything is. Just spit in the face of hundreds of years of people who fought and died in struggles against ruling class oppression so Johnny and Jill from Suburbia can share their boredom with us. Nice. Incoherent, rambling posts by people who pass bitter cynicism on as wisdom or else propose nihilism as a response or use any thread to yap on about the evils of abortion. Good God. It’s amazing how many people posting here are defeated before they’ve even started. They don’t even know what bloody class they belong to. If you really think any kind of change is hopeless, STFU and get out of the way. Put that TV teat back in your mouth, Consumer, and go back to sleep.

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By Amon Drool, December 8, 2009 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

mark e smith…thx for pointing out how our 18th century design of democracy has not kept up with the times.  i do have a few criticisms of what u said and here they be.

u say:  “The highest law in our land, the supreme law which cannot be appealed, is vested by our Constitution in the hands of nine unelected people..”  well, supreme court rulings can be appealed/overturned by the combined force of the executive and legislative branches.  the problem is this combined force has to be “super-majoritarian’ to overturn a supremes’ ruling.  this does have the effect of emasculating democracy…making implementation of the will of the people all too difficult.  also, i’m pretty sure the phrase “judicial review” is not in our constitution, altho some ‘idea’ of it may be able to be tweezed out of that document.  john marshall assumed judicial review and the other supremes figured “why not? it gives our 3rd branch of gov’t more institutional power…let’s go for it’

u also seem to be saying that representative democracy is not ‘real’ democracy because the people are not directly engaged in their own governance.  well, u know, of course, that bringing all the people together in a country our size is impossible.  maybe u believe this—bringing the people all together at once—can be achieved thru the speed of our instantaneous technology.  maybe…maybe not.  i’d prefer to take another route.  design a representative democracy that more easily responds to the will of the people.  as a radical small d democrat, i would prefer a unicameral legislature.  our ‘upper’ legislative branch, the senate, is absurdly undemocratic.  600,000 people in wyoming have the same amount of power as the 40,000,000 people in california in the senate!!  one man, one vote?  this plays out in the current health care debate.  my impression is that the more ‘representative’ house of representatives would be able to pass a health care bill with a decently strong or at least door-opening public option.  but such a bill will be checkmated by small state senate repubs and senate bluedogs.  one of the reasons for the inclusion of the senate in our constitution was a pragmatic one.  the small states were afraid of being overwhelmed by a federal unicameral legislature.  they would have blocked passage of the constitution if they didn’t get more power thru an instituted senate.

there is a definite need to re-engineer our machinery of governance.  we need a better informed populace AND a more responsive governmental mechanism that would enable an informed populaces’ will.  i do believe we need to focus on these 2 things and not get hung up on the capitalism vs socialism debate…altho, i do think the degree/the mix of each ism is a worthwhile and probably eternal debate.

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By Virginia777, December 8, 2009 at 9:19 am Link to this comment

carlosinhp, I’m with you! Its time to Speak out, to challenge erroneous opinion, to stick your neck out.

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By Virginia777, December 8, 2009 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

you are right, Anarcissie, but I have to say that liberals are useless when they don’t know bad from good.

They are not even liberals anymore.

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By carlosinhp, December 8, 2009 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

One of my pet peeves is when folks go ahead and rant (and by all means do), but are intellectually or politically lazy. So he things liberals are pathetic. Welcome to the club. It’d be more helpful to have concrete examples of what he means. Is he referring to Michael Moore with his comment on sending Obama letters, some beltway organization that’s soaking up resources, other? Next question, well who is trying to do more, where should folks look to join up?

Do it right or dont do it at all.

you want to know what’s truly liberal, having beef with someone and not having the guts to call it out publicly. That is some weak game, if we want to move forward we have to have enough love for our work and those around us to challenge them and help them grow. Otherwise, we’ll never grow.

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By Anarcissie, December 8, 2009 at 8:44 am Link to this comment

Outraged, December 8 at 4:58 am:
’...
however…. “the left” is NOT necessarily socialist, this is rhetoric.  The Left?  What is “the left”?  Who is “the left”?  Additionally, to “the Left” of WHAT exactly? ...’

The Left is a sensibility, a preference for freedom, equality and peace as opposed to a desire for authority, power, private wealth, and social status; the categories or groups of people who have that preference; and the theories and practices produced by those people to bring their preferences about, socialism being one of these.

The Left is supposedly so called because in the prerevolutionary French parlement the friends of the King of France sat on the right and the opposition sat on the left.

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By Thong-girl, December 8, 2009 at 8:40 am Link to this comment

We are simply unable any longer to define who we are or whom we want to become at some point.  After a lifetime of watching the “left” has its way with abortion rights, and their subsidies, I am sick of the fact that we no longer even hear anyone mention the fact that it has become an industry and it is disgusting.  A woman’s right to choose used to sound like a no-brainer, until I saw blogging star Jane Hamsher try to castrate some poor guy for just suggesting we try a new approach.  Abortion, the industry, is a spectacular failure of the “left” in spite of the fact that the “right” did everything they could to stop them.  Yet we have a famous “left-wing personality,” like Hamsher, making bigoted remarks about men, which would, if it had been any other group, pure Rush Limbaugh.  Maybe that is what she was going for, to be the Left’s answer to hatred.

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By Virginia777, December 8, 2009 at 8:32 am Link to this comment

Excellent points!

Mcoyote: “If we are willing to kick over the beehive of modern liberalism you will see the true face and the true nature of the ruling class war against the people with crystal clarity” - Exactly!

Ouroborus: “I submit it’s an inherently flawed system and the experiment has failed.” - so true

Also gerard: “Not just “liberals” or “progressives” but everybody except the relatively few very rich are suffering from this destructive mantra which was sold as “freedom.” - very, very true also

Hedges is dead-on that the worst problem we face today is that our Left is a mess. I am glad that, as usual, he isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade.

That said, I always worry about self-defeating cynicism. I think one could almost call the liberals of today “good” at saying whats bad, whats wrong - and then not doing Anything about it (and griping isn’t doing much).

I think, ok, now if (and I mean “if”, liberals must realize how things stand) we can recognize there IS a problem (a big one), now lets figure out solutions to this problem. We are in desperate need of a mobilized left.

Is the Right so much smarter than the Left? they have managed to mobilize people, how about us?

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By votermom, December 8, 2009 at 8:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Liberals are worse than useless. Not only are they ineffective, they are actively evil is using sexism to bring down someone who would have actually been effective Democratic president. Because she had cankles. I hope liberals are choking on their arugula.

From now on I’m voting only for a woman for president; I don’t care if she has 666 tattooed on her forehead.

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By Mestizo Warrior, December 8, 2009 at 7:58 am Link to this comment

Chris you are absolutely correct! In my 43 plus years of activism I have seen exactly the same thing that you wrote of.

Liberals like to talk the talk, but usually will not or cannot walk the walk! Heaven forbid that an activist of either African American or Latino background attempt to organize these bleeding hearts into an action that would be considered as “confrontational!”

The late labor/community organizer Saul Alinsky once said something to the effect of; ” A liberal is the guy who leaves the room once an argument turns into a fight!” So true.

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By liecatcher, December 8, 2009 at 7:07 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges’ Columns
Liberals Are Useless

@ Ouroborus, December 8 at 10:31 am

Hey Ouroborus:

I admire your attempts to educate Ardee by using
logic & common sense.

It’s a case of none are so blind as he or she who
refuses to see.

Those who’ve seen, recognized reality, & were
economically able to leave, have left

for safer & greener pastures. See Jim Rogers on You
Tube explaining why:

“Billionaire Wall Street Guru Flees The Coming
Collapse”.

I correspond with an expatriate living in China who
has also reached the conclusion

that the vermin running the show are here to stay.

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By Ouroborus, December 8, 2009 at 6:51 am Link to this comment

C.Curtis.Dillon, December 8 at 10:37 am #
We need more political parties.  In fact, the more,
the better.  Although messier from a legislative
standpoint, forcing coalitions would make for a more
vigorous political process.  And allow parties to
stake our a more politically robust platform.  The
major problem with Democrats is they are too diverse
to have any meaningful agenda.  Witness health care
and its emasculation by a handful of conservative
Democrats.  They have lost their focus and that is
what is destroying them.
================================================

More political parties; yes, but apparently not an
option in America.

Lost their focus? Yes, but I’d suggest they’ve lost a
lower part of their anatomy as well.

And then there is the driver of the
system…money/lobbyists/corporatists/oligarchs/MIC
(military industrial complex)!
Not much room for us, yes?

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By Mcoyote, December 8, 2009 at 6:47 am Link to this comment

Liberals like to talk about changing people - sort of a hearts and minds program - and see that as a prerequisite to political success. People are to be converted - educated or whatever - to become like-minded people. The problem is that this conversion program is not political. Converting people to be more like liberals - in sentiment, preferences, likes and dislikes - is a big job, and a useless one, as well, politically. The idea there is that social problems are caused by individual people being bad - violent, bigoted, wasteful, stupid - and that social problems can be solved by converting individual people to be good, as”we” are - loving, kind, caring, peaceful.

Almost everyone in the general public has already heard it all, and things get worse, not better. Now what?

This “liberal” mentality will tolerate no serious discussion of social or political problems. Let’s say someone wants to talk about this or that happening in their life, whatever - his career, his life (which is all anyone ever wants to talk about) - and you want to talk about public transit. Not the personal “green” choice of riding a bike or public transit to work - that would be about the person’s individual life again - but actually have an intelligent and serious conversation about public transportation for all the people.

Good luck, right?

Unlike liberal activism, which calls for a tremendous amount of time and energy in the hopes of reforming people’s sinful (apathetic) nature, and that brings very small and useless results in return, confronting (CAPITALISM) the commodification of our daily lives is much more productive - a small amount of effort can cause enormous effects because everyone is caught in this trap, and it is miserable and people want out of it. The more resistant people are to confronting this, the more in love with their own role and status in the system they are. It is a relatively small number of people, but they dominate the Democratic party and liberalism.

It has to do with some messed up middle class liberal-elite culture of messed up white people striving and succeeding and living a messed up so-called lifestyle and being complete assholes wasting all of our time and making everyone around them miserable.

It doesn’t take years of study, or deep understanding, or special knowledge, or the right guru, or the right theories.

Just look around everyday, all day, everywhere you go. And it doesn’t take baby steps, we aren’t on the path to anything, we aren’t getting there, we aren’t improving and all of the rest of that drama.

It isn’t difficult, it isn’t hard to understand, it isn’t arcane or esoteric. The hard, miserable work, the really difficult, soul-smashing thing to do, is to keep participating in this ongoing and omnipresent and insane discussion going on all the time by the upwardly mobile good people. It takes a huge amount of thought, time, and energy; it is immensely unpleasant and stressful, to play along and keep propping up an insane world view….. It only sounds weird, or difficult to fathom or grasp, because we are embedded in an ongoing insane set of social interactions.

Modern liberalism is occupying the space where the Left should be, confusing and misleading people, steering people away from accurate perceptions and clouding their minds, preventing them from asking the right questions because they think they already have the answers. That is dead wood that needs clearing. If we are willing to kick over the beehive of modern liberalism you will see the true face and the true nature of the ruling class war against the people with crystal clarity. As it is, we can’t even see the enemy now. We are looking out the tent flap watching for the approach of those dreaded right wingers, and the enemy is behind us right in our own tent.

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By Thong-girl, December 8, 2009 at 6:45 am Link to this comment

There is no “right” way to vote any longer.  Nihilist’s who said years ago that you cannot turn this ship around, you must dismantle if first, are the only people who are right.  I know, I know, nihilism is a bad word, but get over it.  Do you actually think Obama will change the way this Pentagon runs the world?  Anyone who tries to dismantle the military, will fail, or die. But you all know that, especially Hedges, and you also know it will not change until it fails miserably.  Get used to it, or leave.  I will choose the latter and good luck to those who think any one person or party will try.

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By cabdriver, December 8, 2009 at 6:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s the structure of the balloting system that’s neutralizing 3rd parties in American politics.

We NEED 2-choice instant runoff voting.

Nothing more complicated than that- just “who you really want”, and “who you’ll settle for”- and if both of those choices are the same, fine.

Once that’s in, at the very next election, the electorate will receive a snapshot of our actual political makeup, across the board.

And after that, we can take it from there.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, December 8, 2009 at 6:37 am Link to this comment

There is no perfect system of governance.  All governments are subject to the whims and corruptions of the humans who run them.  The idea of checks and balances was a crude way of recognizing this fact and putting in place a system which would work against said corruption.  However, when you have a 2 party system (or one party with 2 wings) as we have in America, the idea of checks and balances falls apart.  Especially when the courts allow themselves to dally in politics as the current SCOTUS is doing.

That said, the idea of our democracy is a good, if somewhat flawed, one.  Over time we have enfranchised more and more people to participate in the government but the people have not responded as, I’m pretty sure, they were expected to.  One would hope that all voters, be they liberals or conservatives, would be more involved than the annual trip to the polls.  This failure is more to blame for our current state of affairs than almost any other.  We have abdicated our responsibilities to our elected representatives and they have responded by working to their advantage, not ours.  We offer so little resistance to their corrupt practices that they feel emboldened to do even more heinous acts without fear of repercussions.

Those who criticize Hedges’ voting for Nader: he voted for the person he most liked and respected.  Why should he pick the lesser of 2 evils just to deny the greater evil a shot at the brass ring?  He voted for the person who most matched his own political leanings.  Using your logic, we could never raise alternative parties because they would never stand any chance of winning so why bother?  One must always vote his conscience no matter what impact that has on the outcome.  Anything else is morally bankrupt. 

We need more political parties.  In fact, the more, the better.  Although messier from a legislative standpoint, forcing coalitions would make for a more vigorous political process.  And allow parties to stake our a more politically robust platform.  The major problem with Democrats is they are too diverse to have any meaningful agenda.  Witness health care and its emasculation by a handful of conservative Democrats.  They have lost their focus and that is what is destroying them.

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By Ouroborus, December 8, 2009 at 6:31 am Link to this comment

ardee, December 8 at 10:01 am #

With a few real reforms, chiefly the ending of the
power of money over legislation, the ending of the
power of the Duopoly and opeing up elections to third
party and independant candidates, cancelling the
status of corporations as individuals before the law,
I think we can dramaticallt reform our nation.
==============================================
Wow, that’s a pretty large order, don’tcha think?
Just who is going to accomplish all of that? The
people? Why, they’ve been mostly missing in action
for years. That is unless you include the tea
baggers, birthers, and the Palinites.
I wish I had your, what, hope?, optimism?, positive
outlook? But the evidence would indicate otherwise.
Sorry, but unless something changes drastically;
we’re done; at least, we’re done as the America I
grew up with. We’ve genuinely lost something very
important.

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By drew3000, December 8, 2009 at 6:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s funny, that the allegation is that that liberals are useless and then everyone says “I’m not a liberal.” Why do people constantly equate working-class with liberal? There’s no provable corallation to be made. Working class people represent a diverse ideological range of perspectives. There are many non-liberal working class people. Many pro-Nafta working class people and many pro-war working class people. Liberalism is something else and not defined by class identity. It’s a world view.

And while I really enjoyed this piece and shared it everywhere, saying your doing something by voting for Ralph Nader is like saying your doing something by writing one of those letters to your senator that he deplores. Realistically, you know it’s not going to shift things.

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By ardee, December 8, 2009 at 6:01 am Link to this comment

Ouroborus, December 8 at 8:39 am

I do understand your antipathy for a system that appears to have let us all down, whether or not you believe in the honest intentions of our Founders.

But, until one advances an alternative system of governance that I can support, I think my support goes to the reformation of our current one.

With a few real reforms, chiefly the ending of the power of money over legislation, the ending of the power of the Duopoly and opeing up elections to third party and independant candidates, cancelling the status of corporations as individuals before the law, I think we can dramaticallt reform our nation.

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By Leefeller, December 8, 2009 at 5:09 am Link to this comment

Fretting is what the left right and middle do for they spend much time fretting about each other. While the following the money crowd is pulling the strings. 

While all this fretting is happening in the peanut gallery, opportunists are taking what they can!  If one has raised hogs; politicians and their connected at the hip special interests are just like hogs running to the trough, to gorge themselves, a very confusing loud and amusing event to behold, maybe some here cannot relate to hogs?  I assure you it is an accurate picture of events!

George Carlin, (RIP) stated he did not believe in voting, because the government does what it wants, which never seems to be what he wants. Why do I suspect Carlin may have been onto something!

Share and share alike is not the motto of the opportunist, it is more to the tune of take what you can while the getting is good! Not sure were the getting is right now, but it does not seem so good to me.

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By joell, December 8, 2009 at 5:00 am Link to this comment

@By Baronscarpia, December 7 at 7:34 am

“Saying you’ve “done something” by voting for Ralph Nader is like saying you’ve “done something” by not voting.”

i also voted Nader because i thought he was the best candidate. why do you think democrats spend all those millions to keep him off ballots; they would prefer you not voting or for a republician than for Nader;  voting 3rd party represents a challenge to the dem/rep trap & it frightens them if it gains real traction.

democrats are very good at neutralizing 3rd party challenges. stealth operatives like michael moore, medea benjamin, The Nation, The Progressive, along with the major media “frighten liberals” into not “throwing away their vote.”

Nader said it best, “you’ve got to make democrats lose elections to get their attention.”

by he way Baronscarpia, what have you accomplished by voting for Obama?

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By Ouroborus, December 8, 2009 at 4:39 am Link to this comment

ardee, December 8 at 8:28 am #

I would suggest that you are for throwing the baby
out with the bath water while I wish to salvage an
inherently good system and wrest it from those who
have usurped its purpose for their own.
===========================================
If indeed, “it’s an inherently good system”; then it
follows that the failures are a result of the “us” as
the guardians of said system. We’ve failed, IMO.
I submit it’s an inherently flawed system and the
experiment has failed.

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By ardee, December 8, 2009 at 4:28 am Link to this comment

Mark E. Smith, December 8 at 5:47 am

How freaking stupid are we?

Well, you write very well and the bulk of your facts are without question rather accurate. Yet your conclusion may be debated. I ,myself, consider that, as our founders were , in part, the wealthiest among the colonials their achievement in creating a system that could, potentially, be such an excellent method of governance is remarkable.

You dismiss the checks and balances ,especially the Supreme Court, and who could blame you given todays realities. As Hamilton noted, governments are run by men and men are no angels. If they were govt. would not be necessary at all.

I am in full agreement with the sentiment expressed by night-gaunt that a small cabal has usurped the business of government for its own purpose. One might certainly rail that we the people have allowed this to happen, that we have been seduced by easy credit and cheap plastic toys and even cheaper lives and abrogated our responsibilities to the body politic.

Yet I think our system, in and of itself, does not merit your condemnations, nor does the thirteenth amendment:

  Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

  Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.[1]

merit your misinterpretation. Those convicted of crime have their rights of citizenship abridged, nothing more and nothing less. But, rather than get bogged down in minutia and interpretations I would suggest that you are for throwing the baby out with the bath water while I wish to salvage an inherently good system and wrest it from those who have usurped its purpose for their own.

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By Ouroborus, December 8, 2009 at 3:58 am Link to this comment

Mark E. Smith, December 8 at 5:47 am #

How freakin’ stupid are we anyway?
=======================================
IMO, your post was spot on, thanks. Oh, and to your
final question;

Pretty freakin’ stupid I’m afraid.

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By liecatcher, December 8, 2009 at 3:28 am Link to this comment

@Mark E. Smith, December 8 at 5:47 am

Hey Mark E. Smith:

Does that mean the so-called system of checks &
balances is a hoax?
Then that would explain why the vaticanized Supreme
Court voted to support Bush 3’s
position on the torture photos. So when you said:

“What was NOT spelled out in our Constitution was the
rule of law. The highest law in our land, the supreme
law which cannot be appealed, is vested by our
Constitution in the hands of nine unelected people
who are required to have few qualifications other
than being favored by a sitting oligarch, uh I mean
President.”,

you were right on the money.

Our founding fathers made enormous profits from human
trafficking & opium & those venues are still active
today, & their descendants today have added the
MILITARY INDUSTRIAL CONSPIRACY and the FEDERAL
RESERVE ACT to enslave us all.

“Because we care more about the profits of the rich
than about our own health and welfare. Or at least we
worship a Constitution that does.
How freakin’ stupid are we anyway?”

I believe the answer to your question is: as numbed &
dumbed down as the Oligarchs brainwashers want us to
be.

The only question that remains is: Who then are the
real MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE if America is “THE” AXIS
OF EVIL?

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By Mark E. Smith, December 8, 2009 at 1:47 am Link to this comment

Outraged, although some civil rights may have been spelled out in the Constitution, they were easily denied to Native Americans, slaves, women, and workers who didn’t own land. And many of them have been taken away.

What was NOT spelled out in our Constitution was the rule of law. The highest law in our land, the supreme law which cannot be appealed, is vested by our Constitution in the hands of nine unelected people who are required to have few qualifications other than being favored by a sitting oligarch, uh I mean President. And we are forbidden by our Constitution from having a direct vote on or the ability to directly recall that oligarch, or President if you prefer.

Try reading Towards An American Revolution by Jerry Fresia:

http://cyberjournal.org/authors/fresia/

Your precious Constitution starts out with a lie. It says “We the People of the United States of America, but the “people” who wrote it were oligarchs—slaves, women, minorities, and landless workers were not consulted when the oligarchs gathered in secret to write a Constitution establishing a government over the people, by and for the oligarchs.

A Constitution written by We the People would have ensured the general welfare by guaranteeing basic human economic rights like food, clothing, shelter, education, and health care, like the Constitutions of socialist countries. Socialism puts people before profits and property.

Because our Constitution did not vest supreme power over government in the hands of the people, the way any democratic form of government must, even the rights it spells out can be interpreted away by the supreme court. And the “progress” that liberals and progressives think we’ve made, like abolishing slavery and black/women suffrage are illusions. Letting people vote in “elections” where they cannot vote on issues but only on their choice of oligarchs to decide issues for them, does not give people a voice in government. It is akin to appointing guardians for incompetents. You can let them choose between which guardians they prefer, but you don’t let them actually handle the checkbook, credit cards, or money. And slavery was never abolished. It was established by the 13th Amendment as legal punishment for a crime. Would you say that the death penalty had been abolished if it remained as legal punishment for a crime? Would torture be abolished if it was legal punishment for a crime?

Would you consider that you had a voice in your own affairs if you were not allowed to decide how to spend your money but were allowed to vote on which of two people nominated by the Democrats and the Repubicans, would decide for you how your money was spent? What if you could vote for some of your friends, but you know that only the Democrat or the Republican had a chance of winning? Would that give you a voice in government? Is a Constitution that doesn’t guarantee EVERYONE a voice in government the solution, or is it the problem?

The oligarchs feared democracy. To them it meant mob rule. They knew that if the unwashed masses had a real voice in government, there would be no wars of aggression, there would be no bailouts for the rich, and there would be health care for everyone, just as there is in socialist countries like Canada, Australia, England, Germany, France, and every other developed country in the world except the United States. Yup, they all have socialized medicine, so they’re all socialist—every single developed country in the world except us. Because we care more about the profits of the rich than about our own health and welfare. Or at least we worship a Constitution that does.

How freakin’ stupid are we anyway?

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By Outraged, December 8, 2009 at 12:58 am Link to this comment

Re: KDelphi

Your comment: “Fleeing from the very word socialism, when, in reality, it could have saved the Left from the pathetic condition in which it finds itself.”

I am not a socialist, therefore I am not “fleeing from the very word”, however…. “the left” is NOT necessarily socialist, this is rhetoric.  The Left?  What is “the left”?  Who is “the left”?  Additionally, to “the Left” of WHAT exactly?

I surmise that not only the MAJORITY but also the MINORITY would like a LEVEL PLAYING FIELD, are ANTI-CORRUPTION and are ferverent in their protection of CIVIL RIGHTS as were spelled out in the Constitution.  This is OUR inheritence, all of us, and should not be squandered.  Are there diverse issues… sure.  But until THE RULE OF LAW is recognized and utilized in these areas, all other points are moot.

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By Outraged, December 8, 2009 at 12:12 am Link to this comment

Re: Mr. Hedges

Quote: “But few of these “revolutionaries” found the time to spend 20 minutes on the Green Line to see where human beings in their own city were being warehoused little better than animals. They liked the poor, but they did not like the smell of the poor. It was a lesson I never forgot.”

Ain’t it the truth though.  Let’s face it, I mean let’s just call it as we see it, “these types” simply do not enhance a backyard barbecue…. no matter how many shrimps are on the barbie.

It appears the mantra is…. yeah, of course “I” care, but goddamn it man, “those people” shouldn’t be in my neighborhood…. hell, I wish them all the best AS LONG AS “THEY KNOW THIER PLACE”, keep their mouth shut and do what their “supposed” to do.  Sure… I get it.

Truthfully, I “got it” back in the tenth grade, at least wherein I found myself back in the tenth grade.  What really riles my soul is those of my age (that’d be pushin’ fifty) that continue to engage AND QUALIFY this blantant, in your face BS fiction.

My local mayor denied the homeless a shelter in the “revered” downtown of the frigid “north pole” where I live.  I got news for the mayor, most folks around these here parts think “his” downtown SUCKS, which….btw, is why everyone INCLUDING businesses are moving to the outlying areas, not to worry Der mayor and Der police chief have things “well under control”.  It’d be comical if it wasn’t so serious.

In the past week, in the local newspaper (frontpage), we see the city/school district endorsing….. YES!!!!  endorsing…. arresting schoolchildren who are truant more than five days out of the year.  FIVE DAYS!

Not to “outdone”.... the OTHER corrupt entity in this area, a principal of a nearby school district attempted to gloss over in an op-ed the REALITY OF ARRESTING CHILDREN for the supposed “inexcuseable” crime of missing more than five days of school by claiming that the newspaper was showing it in the “WRONG” context or out of perspective.

How could it be claimed that arresting children could be “out of perspective” for the “CRIME” of missing more than five days of school, unless one has lost their moral compass.

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By KDelphi, December 7, 2009 at 11:41 pm Link to this comment

The neolibcons wont get this, nor the majorities in 2010..but they’ll be glad to bitch about how the working and poor classes are too stupid to “vote in their own interests”

Tea and sympathy are just not enough…they not only dont “feel you pain”—they dont even understand what it is.

Fleeing from the very word socialism, when, in reality, it could have saved the Left from the pathetic condition in which it finds itself.

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By John Earl, December 7, 2009 at 10:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One of the best commentaries I have read in years.I
left the Democratic Party in 1997 and I don’t know
why I was ever in it except for ignorance.

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By liecatcher, December 7, 2009 at 10:48 pm Link to this comment

@bambudude, December 8 at 2:16 am

Hey bambudude:

Outstanding !!!!!!!!!!!!!

I ended a recent blog by saying: all we can do is
pray

while they prey. However, you included several
positive

self-help suggestions. AMEN BROTHER.

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By spike65, December 7, 2009 at 10:42 pm Link to this comment

Bambudude, did you read the article?  Socialism, rebellion -  that’s the direction of the answer.

I’m not trying to be a prick, but what Chris is saying is “Drop the exceptionalism, Americans.”

Electoral politics is a dead-end.  Put your energies into movement building.

Why can’t you get that point?

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By liecatcher, December 7, 2009 at 10:40 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges’ Columns
Liberals Are Useless
Posted on Dec 7, By Chris Hedges

Hey Chris Hedges:

I agree with everything you said, especially:
“The only talent they seem to possess is the ability
to write abject,
cloying letters to Barack Obama—as if he reads them—
asking the
president to come back to his “true” self. This
sterile moral posturing,
which is not only useless but humiliating, has made
America’s
liberal class an object of public derision.”

In fact, the most cloying & nauseating of such
letters was:

“Who Are You and What Have You Done With the Community
Organizer We Elected President?”
Posted on Nov 18, 2009 By Robert Scheer

And furthermore, not too long ago, after reading a
paragraph like this one:

” If liberals had even a bit of their fortitude we
could have avoided this mess.
But they don’t. So here we are again, begging Obama
to be Obama.
He is Obama. Obama is not the problem. We are.”,

I would have thought: there he goes again blaming the
victims.

However, now I only wish you could have included a
few paragraphs on

both the numbing & dumbing down of America, who
really puts

the POTUS in the White House, & the farce of talking
about a two

party system.

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By Shift, December 7, 2009 at 10:20 pm Link to this comment

So many words, so little action.

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By bambudude, December 7, 2009 at 10:16 pm Link to this comment

OK, OK, everyone knows that the system is broken beyond repair and can’t be fixed. Liberals are useless and the Republicans are fascists and/or nuts.  What the hell do we do now?  What do you suggest Mr. Hedges?  How exactly do we fight back?  Rebellion? Gimme a break.  The US corporate/government axis has shown it will destroy anyone who dares challenge it. So what can be done?  Unless I get a some decent suggestions, my current plan of fighting for a better America for the working class and working to support my union brothers and sisters will be pretty much all I can do.  Meaningful change is not gonna happen. The system is so rotten and corrupted, the excessive power of the rich/corporate elites is such that the only thing I think will happen is that the system will destroy itself of it’s own excess. Unfortunately this will also result in much suffering and many deaths.  My only hope is that this suffering and death is not confined to the working class. If there is any justice, it is that these consequences are visited on the ruling elites in direct proportion to the amount of pain and suffering they have inflicted on others. We’ll see what happens after that. Until then, defiance, organizing, start growing food, know your neighbors, building up your connections and help develop local economic cooperatives, mutual support and aid for non-violent resistance to this cruel system of “Get Rich or Kill Others Trying.”

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By michael maser, December 7, 2009 at 9:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Cogent, well-written and heavy on smug and sanctimonious, too.  I reject Hedges lumping them all in together. Including all of Obama’s year. Wow, I mean, a baby doesn’t learn to walk and talk in its first year! Does that mean we drown it??  I think Hedges, and many other pot-shotters, are quite comfortable sitting in judgement off on the sidelines and saying ‘Told you so ...’  I think that’s pretty pathetic, actually.

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By Mark E. Smith, December 7, 2009 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment

Did Hedges think that Nader (or McKinney) had a chance of winning? Of course not! So he voted to consent to delegate his power to, and authorize the legitimacy of whichever candidate won the election, which he KNEW was going to be either Obama or McCain.

He seems to have fallen for the old canard spread by political party operatives trying to get out the vote, that not voting is “doing nothing.” The people who boycotted the election in South Africa in 1984 weren’t doing nothing—they delegitimized the Apartheid regime, which could, due to the massive election boycott, no longer claim to be a legitimate government with the consent of the governed, so that nations like ours had no further alibi for supporting Apartheid, and the “rebels” suddenly, overnight, became freedom fighters opposing an illegitimate government. The same with Haiti when only 3% turned out to vote. And the same last week in Honduras where people were shot, beaten, and imprisoned by the forces of the illegitimate military coup regime for refusing to vote in its fraudulent election.

When you vote, you are delegating your authority. When you delegate your authority to people you cannot hold accountable, you are acting irresponsibly. Refusing to legitimize, grant your power, and delegate your authority to a government engaged in wars of aggression and known to be fiscally incompetent, isn’t “doing nothing,”—for many it would be the first sensible political thing they’ve ever done in their lives.

I’m tired of people like Hedges who vote when they know darned well that their vote won’t make a difference, and then criticize others for not being similarly irresponsible.  If you know in advance that the only two candidates with any chance of winning are both committed to expanding the defense budget, as was the case in ‘08, and you are opposed to war, the ONLY possible act of conscience is to refuse to vote.

The military coup regime in Honduras inflated the numbers to make it appear that more people had voted than actually did. Corrupt governments don’t hold elections to see who the people want in office—that’s been decided long before the election. If the purges, the voting machines, and the rest of the vote-rigging fails and the wrong candidate wins, the Electoral College, Congress, or the Supreme Court will step in and ensure that the right candidate takes office, or the winning candidate will concede, and in any event the winner will be sworn in before the popular vote has been fully counted. In a presidential election the popular vote is merely symbolic anyway—our Constitution prohibits us from voting directly for President. Corrupt governments only hold elections to demonstrate the consent of the governed, and anyone who votes is deemed to be consenting.

Chris Hedges wasn’t a Republican, and he walked out on the Democrats, but he lacked the moral courage to withhold his vote from an election where only a Republican or a Democrat could win. So he’s correct in classifying himself as one of the hand-wringing liberal intelligentsia. Me, I’m no genius, but if I know the outcome of an election before it is held, I won’t vote. The only possible outcome in ‘08 was war and bailouts, I found that outcome unacceptable, so I didn’t vote. Hedges found it acceptable, as long as he could “engage” by casting a polite protest vote. Didn’t anyone ever warn him not to “engage” without first knowing what he was engaging in, or who he was getting engaged to?  wink

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By repeater, December 7, 2009 at 8:12 pm Link to this comment

“Liberals are a useless lot.”  True, but not news.  Liberals are historically, and practically by definition, people who are willing to work within a capitalist framework.  Another word for liberals—at least in the classic sense of the word—is bourgeoisie.

What I would like to see—and what I think Hedges would like to see—are some revolutionaries.  Radicals.  People not only desirous of upending but willing to upend the status quo.

In that regard, I think Hedges is wasting his breath browbeating liberals.  By constitution they’ll never do anything.

What needs to be done instead is to radicalize liberals, and lead those already radicalized.  Teach them how “to make decisions under stress, . . . to endure physical discomfort,” &c.

Dumping on liberals doesn’t get anyone anywhere.  Though, that said, this column is still the best thing I’ve read on the Internet in a long GD time.

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By Samson, December 7, 2009 at 7:45 pm Link to this comment

One problem in a political discussion is that most Americans don’t know the definition of the word ‘liberal’.

So Gregor, if you read carefully, Mr. Hedges gives himself a political label that is very different from that of ‘liberal’.  So no, I don’t at all get the impression he’s talking about himself.

But, from your wounded tone, I suspect you do feel he’s talking about you?

Good, that’s step one towards enlightenment.  Please try to proceed from here with an open mind.  Rereading Mr. Hedges with a more open mind would be a good thing to try.

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By Gregor, December 7, 2009 at 7:35 pm Link to this comment

So Chris Hedges thinks liberals are useless. I assume he feels that statement applies to himself as well. How else could he state “I don’t dislike Obama—I would much rather listen to him than his smug and venal predecessor—though I expected nothing but a continuation of the corporate rape of the country. And that is what he has delivered.”

I’m so sick and tired of reading these phony bastards saying Bush was a louse. Liberals are deluded. Sure Obama is continuing the rape of the country but I don’t dislike him. These “intellects” are the core of the problem they denounce.

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By Samson, December 7, 2009 at 7:24 pm Link to this comment

Right wing ‘news’ channels are backed by lots of money from people who don’t mind losing lots of money at first to establish the tools they need to control information.

Murddoch didn’t press Faux News to make a profit in the first quarter of operation.  He was willing to lose millions at first to establish his propaganda voice.

Backers used to pay to put Limbaugh onto new radio stations.  They’d buy all the ad time for a two hour block to put Limbaugh on, so the station was guaranteed to make money. The backers didn’t mind if they lost money doing this.

Forget all the arguments about stereotypes about liberals and conservatives, and as always, follow the money.  The reason there is so much right-wing media is because there’s lots of money putting it there.

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By Samson, December 7, 2009 at 7:20 pm Link to this comment

I do love the new modern Democratic campaign slogan.

“You have to push us really, really hard not to be the evil, corrupt war-loving, give-all-your-money-to-wall-street people that we really are.”

Isn’t it simply better to just vote for someone decent to begin with?

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By gerard, December 7, 2009 at 7:10 pm Link to this comment

Re: Carmody:  “If a fake news channel can get thousands of people to protest phony issues on a phony premise, why can’t the left seem to accomplish anything close to that?  Until the left can manage some kind of uprising of its own, some way to channel its frustration into real action, it will stay on the margins forever.”

Main answer.  The right wing are mostly habitual followers who do what they are told by instigators who rile them up and give them confidence in some simple ideological rant, very often against something rather than for soething.
  Left wingers are usually more aware of the many complications of problems, possibly because they read more source materials and therefore they don’t follow mass directives easily.
  Also, the right wing ideology is closer to the
present “conservative”-militaristic status quo and
therefore has less to fear from repression.
  “The Left”—whoever they are—probably won’t stay on the margins forever, but there’s nothing wrong with waiting till you are reasonably sure that what you do is going to be effective and helpful,not just make matters worse. Self-criticism carried to extremes, though, undercuts action of any kind.
  Another thing, I think, is that media tends to support the right wing “conservative-status quo” factor and to prejudice readers/viewers against movement toward the left. That means the left is not entering a level playing field.

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By Samson, December 7, 2009 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

In one sentence, Hedges gives the answer to this.

“Anyone who says he or she cares about the working class in this country should have walked out on the Democratic Party in 1994 with the passage of NAFTA. “

The Democrats get power by lying.  They win elections by pretending to be anti-war, by pretending to be against wall street and big corporations, by pretending to be on the side of workers.  But when elected, they only serve their rich backers.  The wars go on, wall street and health insurance companies get our money, and labor law reform is forgotten.

The key is to WITHDRAW OUR SUPPORT.  They win on our votes.  That’s why they take the trouble to lie to us.  They absolutely positively need our votes to win.

Which means we have the power to sink the modern Democratic party by withdrawing our support.  Which means we have the power to change this as soon as we decide to do so.

The day everyone who opposes these wars stops voting Democrat, things will start to change.

The day everyone who wants honest health care that focuses on health instead of profits stops voting Democrat, that’s the day things will start to change.

The day everyone who supports unions and the right to organize stops voting Democrat, that’s the day things will start to change.

All of the power and the money of the rich leading Democrats is built on our votes. We can pull the rug out from them anytime we want.

What we really need to do right now is to start organizing leftist/progressive/anti-war/pro-single-payer campaigns in every CLOSE 2010 House race.

Here’s a list
http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2009/House/house_races.html

Start to organize.  Don’t wait on others, because with millions on hand, the Democrats are sure to be buying off the people you might think of as leaders.  So, don’t wait on leaders. Find one of these races that’s close to where you are and start organizing.

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By Samson, December 7, 2009 at 6:55 pm Link to this comment

LOL!  Gawd I love Hedges.

Of course, this comes from a McKinney voter who also isn’t the least bit surprised at any of this.  smile

Anyone who learns to ‘follow the money’ wouldn’t be surprised either.  In 2000 and 2004, Bush set records for raising hundreds of millions of dollars.  I think around $500 million for 2004.

In 2008, Obama raised over $700 million, setting a new record. Meanwhile, the Republicans were running on public campaign financing, obviously signaling that they couldn’t raise more than the $90 million or so that this gave them.

The same money that backed Bush for eight years backed Obama in 2008.  That was all you needed to know about the last election.

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By colin2626262, December 7, 2009 at 6:55 pm Link to this comment

“Render unto Caeser the things that are Caeser’s.”

I don’t know why I continue to leave comments on this website.  I like to read the left-wing websites because they’re usually anti-war, and I usually always hold that position myself.  But look at the comment below me, by julie d’oceanie.  Okay, she doesn’t like our government because it wages wars.  And she’s deeply cynical: “hope is for sissies.”  Then there’s the article she’s responding to:  Hedges says of liberals, “They talk about peace and do nothing…”  Okay, what is he doing?  Writing a bunch of articles and books and giving a bunch of speeches and interviews that appeal to a few cynics.  Is this doing something?

There is no way any kind of movement of change will develop or work if it is comprised of cynical, secular people.  They key word is secular.  95% of America believes in God.  Okay?  Why was the Christian Right successful?  Why did Obama get elected?  These people are religious, openly religious.  Can the Left claim to be religious?  Maybe an isolated individual here and there, like Michael Lerner or somebody, but for the most part, no.  They’re people like Chris Hedges and Noam Chomsky and whoever else—in other words, people who deny God, at least in the public sphere.  No change in America can come from a secular movement, and we shouldn’t want it to.  Think about this.  It’s the only way change is possible.  Belief in God.

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By Useless Liberal, December 7, 2009 at 5:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you really think there’s no difference between liberals and conservatives then you’ve already forgotten the Bush years.  As moderate as Clinton was - he was nothing close to Bush.  And Obama and the Democrat caucus do NOT compare to people like Palin or Cheney. 

So enough with the sanctimonious outrage… the far left protest against Gore (in voting for Nader) was what lead us into the Bush years. And if you think there would have been no difference between Gore’s reaction and Bush’s reaction you’re hallucinating.

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By julie d'oceanie, December 7, 2009 at 5:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, I’m glad someone finally agrees with me, and that that someone is the esteemed Chris Hedges.  Thanks, Chris, for the affirmation. 

My cranky conversation-stopping comments at liberal holiday dinners this year run something like: “Well, the only thing Obama seems to have accomplished this year is to have entirely destroyed the left in this country…” 

Last year, I was the petulant liberal who refused to vote for Obama, because all the things he was for, such as, among other things, (1) endless wars in the middle east and (2) a role for crooked insurance companies in the nation’s health care, I was against.  All my liberal friends are against those things, too, and seemed to think at that time that voting for Obama, instead of McCain and that silly woman, would be the way to their side winning on those issues.

I couldn’t figure out how they arrived at that conclusion.  I do remember, though, that it had something to do with “hope.”

Hope is for sissies, sez me.

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By idarad, December 7, 2009 at 5:09 pm Link to this comment

Liberals are none the less capitalist and capitalist tend to like the status quo as long as there are a few bucks in it for them.  Chris is “right”, but then so are the liberals.  We, the people need to march like we did in Seattle… but on DC, Wall Street and everywhere until too big to fail - fails and destroys itself.

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By useridml, December 7, 2009 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment

Bravo! As Pogo Possum said: “we have met the enemy, and he is us.”

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By Diane, December 7, 2009 at 4:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Cut to the chase. We have the opportunity to wake up the masses via recognition of the 911 myth. The unwillingness of Chris Hedges, and other left wing intellectuals to look deeper into the findings of almost 1000 (independent) architects and engineers …in addition to scientists, pilots, firefighters, other professionals, and 911 family members will only allow the situation to worsen.  If you read a piece by Erik Lawyer titled: Mayday, Mayday, Mayday you will see how the epiphany of the 9/11/01 anomalies crosses party lines.

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By Carmody, December 7, 2009 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

psmealey, thank you for:

If a fake news channel can get thousands of people to protest phony issues on a phony premise, why
can’t the left seem to accomplish anything close to that?  Until the left can manage some kind of uprising of its own, some way to channel its frustration into real action, it will stay on the margins forever.

So can someone please tell me why the right can do it but not the left? I don’t know. Really.

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By Matt Funiciello, December 7, 2009 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is very disheartening to see all the comments from those so readily proving Hedges’ point beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Democrats are our Brutus. NAFTA was their knife. Our constitution and our principles are Caesar’s bloody corpse laying at the Dems’ feet.

Obama is their new Clinton and he’s our new Bush.

Grow up, you whiners! The working class is going to eat your babies. You better stop talking down to those of us who actually work for a living.

Revolution requires real desperation and we, down here, are experiencing just that and, trust me, you will soon.

Don’t worry about saving us. We are not WITH you. If you really wish to save yourselves, you might want to stop proselytzing to us about your idiotic fantasies about your incrementalist, corporate puppet leaders.

You are weak and we are not. We are survivors. The whole system is built on our backs. Like the cockroach, we’ll be fine.

You might want to stop cynically chatting about Mr. Hedges thought processes and learn how to do something besides pretend you care about us. We don’t need you or your fake pity. We can build houses, grow food and box. What can you do?

Reading (and believing) Judith Miller or laughing with Jon Stewart every night does not mean that you are people of value or that you are intelligent.

In fact, Corporate America sells you their agenda the same way they sell it to the NASCAR crowd over at Fox TV! You’re not bright. You are actually quite useless and easily duped, just as Hedges says.

Get a clue. Nader has been right about everything ALL HIS LIFE and you have not. You liberals are bad citizens for pretending to to be the engaged citizenry called for by Jefferson when, in reality, all you are is followers.

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By bozh, December 7, 2009 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am also puzzled ab hedges’ label “liberals”. Mind u, i am glad he voted for nader.
From what i can see and hear, most of the Left in US is just a tad right of franco, mussolini and The Right a tad left of hitler.

For anyone to earn the label “leftist”  or “liberal”, to me, must be for the right of people to be informed; to live; to obtain health care/free higher education.

Obviously US soldiers in afpak [who, to me, are innocent]have the right to live and wait to defend their country if it gets attacked.

What amers now have is privelege of being disinformed and deformed.
Yet,there is a ‘war’ on drugs but not war against oversugaring/salting/larding which may be more harmful than the other drugs. go figure! tnx

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By tdbach, December 7, 2009 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment

You lost me when you raised Nader as a voice of reason. The Ayatollah Khomeini of the socialist left, Nader is an absolutist in the most dangerous sense.

If things continue to get worse around here and we slip into a second Depression, there may well be an uprising that calls him from his political exile. And if that happens, you will soon find out just how bad things really can get.

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By truedigger3, December 7, 2009 at 3:53 pm Link to this comment

I am not sure what do Chris Hedges mean by the word liberals? Who are their leaders and what is their COMMON battle cry and their “line in the sand”?
Are they the multi-millionaires who populates the leadership of the Democratic party.?
Are they any member of the Democratic party?
Does he mean liberal=Democrat=anti-war=pro the working class and the poor, if that the case then he is flat out wrong.
Are they the red necks racist working class/poor??
Are they the scattered isolated groups, with each has his own pet issue that it only cares about and any other issues be damned like: sexual orientation , gender, race, homelessness, environment, animals etc etc ..? 

Are “liberals” ,are the well fed and living very comfortably the editorial staff and writers of the ruling class mouth pieces like the NY Times,  the Washington post, the Los Angles Times etc etc.?
Ary they the anti-war movement which was casterated by zionist infiltration?
Believe it or not the following super-wealthy characters are considered and called liberals:
Thomas(war-monger/married to a billionairess)Friedman, Alan(torture)Dorswich), Paul(globalization)Krugman, Bill(status quo)Moyer, George(billionaire/currency speculator) Soros etc etc and the list is very long.
What a dilema to define who are liberals in this country? Maybe we are looking for a non-existent entity??!! And maybe that answers Hedges indignation, he is scolding and exhorting a mirage.

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By psmealey, December 7, 2009 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment

Hedges IS what he hates.  He is himself, Dostoevsky’s Underground Man, that
ineffectual (but morally and intellectually superior) cynic who can only piss and
moan from the sidelines.  There’s so much hypocrisy and self-loathing in this
piece, it sounds as though Mr Hedges is in the throes of a terrible bout with
depression.  I sincerely hope that he seeks psychiatric help and soon.

HAVING SAID ALL THAT, whatever my issues with his Timothy Leary-tinged
message and his foul delivery, the real problem is not that he’s wrong, it’s that
he’s right (and many of the Truthdig posts below the article prove his point). 
Sitting around and bitching about how Obama is letting us down, and writing
self-important blog posts about how you were right about Obama and that
others were sheep led astray is the problem. 

If you want change, Obama said it himself, PUSH him to do it.  Don’t think that
your responsibility ended on election night, and our new monarch would turn
the country around and do our bidding without our needed to push him to do
it. 

So much of the whining from the left has come from a cadre of liberals who
seemingly have no understanding of the Constitutional powers of the President,
and the constraints placed on the office by the National Security State.  They
simply don’t understand that what was broken in the last 8 years, cannot be
fixed overnight.  That if you turn too quickly, too fast, laws will be broken and
unintended consequences (and manufactured reprisals) will be severe. 

Obama is headed in the right direction, and I completely agree that we’re not
moving there fast enough, but that’s up to us to fix.  If a fake news channel can
get thousands of people to protest phony issues on a phony premise, why
can’t the left seem to accomplish anything close to that?  Until the left can
manage some kind of uprising of its own, some way to channel its frustration
into real action, it will stay on the margins forever.

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By colin2626262, December 7, 2009 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment

Someone wrote that Hedges’s column was trivial and useless.  This is wrong.  It’s not trivial.  It makes a lot of good points, and it’s extremely honest.  However, I might agree wtih it being useless.

I wrote a letter to Barack Obama, but I don’t think of myself as a liberal.  My letter wasn’t cloying.  I was very harsh.  I wanted him to think about his supposedly Christian beliefs.  Obama is a Christian, you know—or he says he is.  Of course, I didn’t think he was actually going to read it.  I just wrote it for myself mostly.

Why might Hedges’s article be useless?  Because it doesn’t contain useful thoughts.  Like many on the Left, he’s filled with anger.  Is anger useful for changing the status quo?  Think about it.  If you’re calling for people to get fed up and angry, what you’re really calling for is violence.  You cannot be angry and sit on a picket line.  You cannot be angry and engage in a nonviolent protest like a march.  You have to be filled with love, even for those who are oppressing you.  That’s what nonviolent civil disobedience is, but that’s not what’s being preached in Hedges’s column.  He’s just saying we should be angry, especially at the people who aren’t angry enough.

Let’s think about this.  Hedges says liberals are useless.  Why?  Because they’re wimps.  They just let themselves get beat down by the powers that be.  They don’t act.  They’re not militant enough in wanting change.  They should be more like brutal thugs, boxers and marines.  They should be men! 

This is useless.  Did the civil rights movement succeed because of the angry, militant Black Panther party?  Or was the conscience of the nation touched by the nonviolent civil disobedience of the followers of Martin Luther King?  Even our leaders had to pay attention and make changes when they saw innocent blacks down south being attacked with polioe dogs.  It’s not about getting angry or getting even or anything like that.  It’s about justice, yes.  But justice at any price? 

What does Hedges want people to do?  Does he want us to form militant groups or terrorist organizations and attack corporate America?  Maybe he wants us to plant bombs in selected corporate or government targets or assassinate CEO’s and politicians and bankers, anyone who supports the corporate state.  It would be our own version of jihad, except it wouldn’t even pretend to be religious.  It would simply be political.  Hedges might want it to be called the CKS, short for Corporate Killing Squad.  Would that make some real changes?  Surely, the liberals would be appalled, as they always are by those who are too extreme on the Left.

Of course, what I’m saying is not actually what Hedges espouses, but someone could interpret his words in this way.  The most important thing to do is to nonviolently demonstrate.  There is no way this would word, however, unless a lot of people do it.  All the people who are out of work should demontrate.  There are millions unemployed.  But it has to be nonviolent.  How can a person remain nonviolent?  How can a person be nonviolent, I should say? 

Look at the mass movement against British imperialism in India.  Gandhi and his followers were committed to nonviolence, and they kicked the British out of their oountry.  Why?  Because it’s impossible in the modern age to oppress people who are clearly innocent.  You can’t bring out the national guard and shoot protesters if they’re protesting nonviolently.

Of course, I’m getting way ahead of myself.  There is no mass movement yet.  But there could be.  If someone could articulate a truly inspiring vision, a vision based not on anger but hope and faith, then a majority of Americans could join a movement.  Someone has to form the idea behind the movement first.  And it won’t be people like Chris Hedges.  He’s too angry.  He doesn’t speak of nonviolence.  He doesn’t speak of God.

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By Amerikagulag, December 7, 2009 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Continuing the ‘liberal/conservative’ argument is exactly what brought us to this juncture.

There is only ONE party in DC. Anyone who believes otherwise is a fool. Just ask Jonathan Turley.

I will never vote inside the box again. After 2 stolen elections, two illegal wars, and a Congress that refuses to act on treason, anyone who still believe this government gives a shit about ‘the people’ is still drinking the kool aid.

What the country needs is a second party. Failing that, a revolution.

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By Orley Allen, December 7, 2009 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Once having gotten a great Union job with real benefits, no one abandoned the
Democratic Party faster than the workers eulogised in your piece. It seems that at
a certain income level, we’re all Republicans, although I don’t know anyone who’d
actually cop to that, including me. Thanks for relating your personal experience.  It
highlights for me that organized labor’s commitment to the great causes of our
time is the best hope we have to mount a countervailing force against the
corporate evil that rules us now.

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By Leefeller, December 7, 2009 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment

If liberals are useless, what does that make a conservative?  How about someone who likes to make decisions on facts, maybe sitting here on the picket fence with a stake up their ass?

Nader cry me a reefer! Palin is going to kick some ass in 2012, she is not your useless liberal, she has two books.  Just because she had someone write one and the new coloring book was done by an admirer, Palin will show youse guys what useless is!

It is nice, Mr smarty pants Hedges has so many supporters or is it a large family? 

What the hell is this Liberals are useless crap, except poking a stick in a barrel full of baby rattlers, not the snakes!

Well, one can see Hedges is lighting a fire under a room full of rutabagas!

Aha! The sweet smell of barbecuing rutabagas twisting in the wind,  brings a tear to me non vegetarian heart!

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By gerard, December 7, 2009 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment

A couple centuries of “rugged individualism” has left us lacking a sense of community and lacking the unity needed to organize for public actions. Not just “liberals” or “progressives” but everybody except the relatively few very rich are suffering from this destructive mantra which was sold as “freedom.” Even those at the top of “liberal” organizations who have traded off moral integrity for money or power have weakened the sense of community.  Probably conscious community building, wherever, whenever—the sooner the better—can and will get re-created out of dire necessity. Bridge the gaps? For example, unless I can somehow learn how to talk with religious fundamentalists (very hard—I don’t know where to even begin!) I can do nothing but preach and criticize. Somewhere I must find (or create) the zeal, the faith, the sensitivity, the love, the skill . . . .

One thing I do feel is true—self-flagellation may not be helpful at all, though it is a widely used religio/political technique.

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By Peetawonkus, December 7, 2009 at 2:13 pm Link to this comment

garth,
C’mon. You don’t really think Hilary Clinton is an “outspoken liberal”, do you?

But I like that rose petal part. Pink or yellow?

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By phreedom, December 7, 2009 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

Part 1 of 3

Thanks again Chris,

You do have a colorful and sorted experience(history), and I respond to your pieces because they most closely approximate the complex paradox of the ideals our culture promotes and what actually manifests as day to day life here.

My first reaction is that are slightly off, as you attribute your conclusions to personal events and relationships that have little to do with what it would take to “mass motivate” or “mass identify”. By slightly off, I mean, well, that it does not matter, since your resulting attitude and perceptions of important matters are accurate and worthwhile. Though I would suggest, not to romanticize the experience of “tough”, the actual first hand no choice version, by equating that version with the fully chosen and sufficiently replicated version. Since the way Americans arrive at “tough”, and conclude from the experience of “tough” , only breeds our specialized and righteous violence, many times taking the form of “damaging inaction” or “turf/life-style protecting”, both being forms of “justified aggression for the better”?

You should know that the toughest people in the inner cities or any compromised living environment are the most afraid, but I think you know that, since you had a reason to try out seminary. But,  I also understand that once those juices get flowing, they intoxicate and thus distort, actually making one run to a safe remembrance or mindset, since “the fight is on”, at that point in the head, oddly prideful I suppose, and a natural response from “going there”.

In my boxing experience I remember that the body is trained to always be “on the edge/verge of hitting or being hit”. My training in the martial arts went like, “train the body to forget the mind to forget the body”.  I do not think bragging about boxing sends the right message, especially, when it addressed to such a culture which is equally insecure and violent.

(part 2 of the way)

Rhuen Phreed
11 Marlborough Street, #22
Boston, MA 02116

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By garth, December 7, 2009 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

One of the most outspoken liberals, Hillary Clinton, has suggested that Afghanistan should pitch in and help pay for the the invasion of their country.

Well, I say what is good for the goose is good for the gander.  Why don’t we all take a up a collection and see if we can get the Democratic Socialist countries in Europe to invade us. 
It’ll be great.  Why I’ll throw rose petals.

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By phreedom, December 7, 2009 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment

Part 2 of 3

I suspect, early on, based on your seminary episode, that you put yourself in harms way, in and outside the country, initially to convert or save souls(so more or less artificially courageous, somewhat delusional robust, though tough and courageous none the less). I have met a few boxer ministers, a few martial expert ones and even a marksmen or two,,I almost ended up one of the martial arts expert variety ministers.(weirdly, I might have did a little boxing at the same YMCA that you did, the sweaty dungeon then, ring ropes snug against the concrete walls on three sides, was it?) 

But maybe unlike you, I grew up in one of those inner city projects,, and went to seminary. So as you know, your bravado is contagious to someone like me, and as a knee jerk reaction to some of what you describe, I automatically want to match danger with you, foolishly. I ache to tell you, that you do not know what you are talking about, but you do. I want to somehow disprove, by matching experiences of surviving indiscriminate violence/danger with your choices of calculated courage, but I know in the end there is little difference. I want to point out that the core basis of your conclusions are not “deep” enough, and were determined without enough “monkey on your back”, and consequently such conclusions could not be sufficiently sincere or effective as to their current expression, but again, I know in the end they are sincere and effective enough.

I suppose my gist, is that I worry you value & admire blind loyalty, to achieve revolution, and/or radically sustained action against the status quo. Well, in my experience, to encourage any uncivilized version of loyalty that is fostered by a romanticized view inner city struggles and/or social & economic deprivation is wrong headed. Your piece almost sounds like a justification to recruit inner city thugs(who can hold jobs) and young men who end up in the military because in fact they are simply young(who know how to hold guns), but I know it is not. But you do bunch the good and the bad to close together, the thoughtful and the primitive as in common, and the motives to open your mind and educate yourself to become civilized possibly rise above the decrees of a strife driven societal structure, well, you seem to suggest that those “who did not get away” have an equal chance to make a choice that a person, “who got away” would have.

My dear Chris, you point to all the things that make Americans violent and selfish, and seem to believe that these same experiences and characteristics will produce the push or inspiration to create a different more socially conscious end game. 

You do not really believe that communism or socialism is winning today because they suck, do you?, when both systems or theories have put capitalistic practices into a balanced perspective/approach, and at the same time treat the welfare of its people as an essential cost of doing business?

(part 3 of the way)

Rhuen Phreed, 11 Marlborough Street, #22, Boston, MA 02116

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By phreedom, December 7, 2009 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment

Part 3 of 3

I voted for Obama because I am a Buddhist, and sort of believe no amount of personal history, or accumulated personal action can deter a person from a significant and immediate change. Unlike religious people, who have faith in things other than human beings, Buddhists only have faith in human beings, and this type of faith is based on the notion, that with enough time and normal circumstances, all people have the ability to be enlightened, or in the least, be sufficiently on the path to it.

As a socialist also, to me, Obama seemed like our best chance of leading the type of change and evolution of our society that was needed. On the other hand, I believe that Ralph Nader, still,  truly represents, the only type of movement that will lay the foundation for widespread and sustained systemic and political change. A movement that is based on the supreme power of the consumer, a movement which should development a militancy, in regards to their power as national and global players, to withhold consumption, and redefine the consequences and benefits of consumption on terms that will force the political & economics, power that be( and seem to have always been), to align their goals to that of the people’s.

But in terms of workers unions I am inclined to agree with Jean Baudrillard’s rethinking of labor, as having become in modern times, merely a “mirror of production”,,  versus the currently ongoing myth that labor is distinguishable from or apart from a homogenous process/act of production. That labor has been recruited and incorporated,  blended into the same intention or motive of production. Both, working together now as one motive, having become perfect reflections of one another. (see The Mirror of Production, by Jean Baudrillard)

Even recycling initiatives and those to save or safeguard the environment run the same risk today as labor has in the recent past, to become a “mirror of production”, and not a method or influence to effect outcomes and motives or the quality of life for people.

The unions that need to be created and supported are “consumer unions”, backed by a good amount of survivalist like consuming, and supported by a well thought out, minimalistic credo. A credo that emphasizes need based and not novelty based consumption habits, and easily makes the hard distinctions between the two. Even instruction on one may become the other, when that is acceptable and when it is not. Consumption that is promoted and enforced today, must be somehow detached from the cost of living, the price of a safe and secure day to day life. Consumption separated from the cost of living, through reasonable sacrifice, away from the all consuming, consumptive blackmail, “you must indiscriminately consume to live(have health/life) and exercise your rights(be safe and secure)”.

Lets get off the liberals, and talk consumers,, that will sting and be inescapable,,any political or ideological position today has simply become a “mirror of production”. 

(finished)
Rhuen Phreed, 11 Marlborough Street, #22, Boston, MA 02116

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