Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/12/09/end-we-will-all-pay-cowardice-liberal-class
I don’t think Chris is wrong here. It’s not surprise the “liberals” cater to people that push feel good platitudes as solutions to our problems, the biggest being identity politics. In fact, reading the news tells me Biden has put identity politics front and center. What this really means is he won’t change anything at all so as not to make his corporate friends upset. What that should tell anyone that is paying attention is what Chris just mentioned. We are in for a very wild ride, one that I suspect will crash before 2030.
Leave it to Chris Hedges to tell it like it is. And more’s the pity that he and we have no methods to promote to change this outcome. I can say, 'so glad I am not there in America at this time," but there is nowhere to hide when the planet is in the crosshairs of American exceptionalism.
Much of what Chris says is true. But what is his way forward? Complete disintegration of society and economy followed by violent revolution? And with the right so strong at present, how will that turn out?
The best way forward is to phase out Capitalism. Put a very strong focus on consuming less and rebuilding communities. Admit that much of what Capitalism has done has been at the expense humanity and we can do better. Take a strong stance against greed and corruption.
That would be a great start.
I am a bit concerned with the creation of a new class, called “Liberal Class”. This confuses the issue.
These neoliberals really should not be differentiated from the right-wing neoconservatives. We have seen Biden being supported by the worst neoconservatives on the right.
NeoX both utilize the Leisure Class to represent the Upper Class which inturn oppresses the Working Class through ownership in big businesses and local monopolies (a.k.a. Capitalist Class). Nancy Pelosi was the campaign manager for her predecessor and had the time to knock on doors for decades before running herself. Her husband is a very wealthy member of the Capitalist Class.
The only difference between the Neoliberal and NeoConservatives is geography and the underlying businesses that they represent. That’s why there are many states where the Democratic Party is not competitive with the Republican Party (dark-red) and vice-versa (dark-blue). If the Democratic Party truely represented the Working Class, the party would be competitive in all 50 states.
The dark-blue and light-blue states have more minorities, which leads to calls for racial equity and diversity in candidates to cover up worker oppression. However, those diverse candidates are always chosen from the same Leisure Class who got their “jobs” by who they know (not what they know) and always represent the interests of those who made them who they are and got them elected. Malcolm X described minorities in the Leisure Class in a harsher way.
The entire idea of identity politics is to divide and conquer the workers by distracting from the struggle for worker political power. Note Nancy Pelosi will not allow the MFA bill to be brought to the floor for a vote.
Amusing that a liberal site would publish a critique like this up top. I mean, it applies to our friends here, too.
But I have to quibble with Brother Hedges about characterizing this as cowardice, and I lean that way precisely from the nature of the middle class liberals we have here. I don’t see cowardice. I see self-interest. It’s dishonest as heck, to be sure, but it’s still protecting their material interests.
The liberal classes problem is that the social progress they claim to want is in direct contradiction to the economic royalism they crave and pursue. It’s the same old conundrum–they want cheap change. A costume switch or a nice makeover. But what they absolutely reject–and in here with often great ferocity–is any change that amounts to a structural risk to their own considerable class privilege.
They’re not cowards. They’re enemies of my class. Even when we agree on many social issues and foreign policy issues, when it comes to justice of the distribution of the stuff of life, we’re simply not on the same side.
And therein lies the problem. The only way it seems to transform this nation into one that can sustain itself and survive into the second half of this century would be the true Left in America to rise up in the same fashion that the Koch’s Tea Party and the Trumptards have and, through actual progressivism, lead the way to more liberal and just USA.
But true progressives in this nation have, as Hedges points out, long ago sold their souls to corporate democrats, under the never-ending guise of lesser of two evil-ism. In America’s past, when the shit has genuinely hit the fan, and conservatives and oligarchs alike ran the nation into an ice berg, it was always liberals that came to their and the countries rescue. The problem now is pretty obvious. There are not enough liberals remaining in America that could organize and elicit that kind of rescue operation.
Long story short, hedges, like many of us, have come to a pretty stark realization. There is no saving us this time.
I don’t look at it so much as cowardice, but conditioning. We are literally living out and Orwell novel. A giant psychological experiment is coming to full fruition in 21st century America. We have been assimilated into a capitalist cabal that has turned us all from being workers and citizens, into what corporations like to call “human capital”
For the fascists to succeed in the 21st century they had to accomplish something the fascists of the 1930’s didn’t figure out. The people has to accept fascism as a viable alternative. And now, in 2020, we have come to love Big Brother.
I think Chris Hedges is overwhelmingly right about the nature of the problem. Our system of government does not represent most people, and it has proven to have wholly inadequate checks and balances. This is what happens when an undereducated citizenry, groomed for servility and exploitation, is at last too disinformed to hold our government accountable.
We’re trashing the Democrat establishment because a noble few in that party can still arouse and re-awaken our hopes. If the majority of Democrats are disappointing enablers of our decline, the Republicans are a monster of a death cult. We should not have to identify with this Coke or that Pepsi - they’re both rotting our teeth.
We need a huge overhaul in government: proportional representation and ranked-choice paper ballots, multiple parties that speak for more of the public, and real debate instead of angry football.
We need a huge overhaul in media: comparative review from multiple viewpoints, a commitment to avoid fallacies like ad hominem and missing middles and false choices, and trained literacy and skepticism as opposed to op-ed and fact checkers taken as authorities alike.
Failing this… America’s crash is going to be so great amidst a time of climate breakdown, I don’t know if anywhere will be a refuge.
I agree in general with most of the first 8 or 9 comments as they regard capitalism, greed, classism, criticism of neoliberalism and neo conservatism, and criticism of both political parties. The only problem I have with them is the too frequent absence in “progressive/leftist” responses of a recognition that the climate catastrophe in progress trumps all problems. At the same time I will admit that capitalism prevents our addressing almost all our serious problems including climate.
I agree that it is not cowardice, it is greed.
Chris, your skill as writer is unsurpassed, but a few issues as
we share a James Luther Adams/Paul Tillich bond: Why call it a
“Christianized fascism”? There’s nothing Christian about fascism and
coming from you it may confuse those wanting to believe in the “Christ of
God” (Lk.9.20). And is what the West and all shameless journalists silent about Assange’s torture, and Biden’s cabinet choice includes a torture ghoul for the CIA, something like the metaphorical and symbolical verse in Revelations: "Men worshiped the dragon . . . and they worshiped the beast,
saying, ‘who is like the beast, and who can fight against it’ " (Rev.13.4).
And why do you show a happy smiling face on your post? I’m miserable.
I suspect Hedges uses the term “Christianized fascism” because even if you, me, Hedges, and many others could agree they aren’t Christian in their actions, they identify as such. Chris has seen up-close fascist regimes come to power, and as an ordained minister knows full well they are not Christian like.
“I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ”.
I ain’t afraid of your Yahweh
I ain’t afraid of your Allah
I ain’t afraid of your Jesus
I’m afraid of what you do in the name of your God
Holly Near’s inspiration, taken up by the wonderful Klezmatics, below…
Posters have drawn the analogy in the past, but it’s worth repeating: Phil Ochs described this 50+ years ago with his song “Love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal.”
I think that it is connected with a strong human drive for self-preservation. The child or adolescent sees someone who is hurt and feels empathy. But later, taking a stand has a price tag, and the example of those whose lives were ruined for doing so is a reminder and deterrent to those who consider speaking out. And who except for the very bravest wants to wreck their lives? That is why standing together in sufficient numbers – solidarity – was so crucial historically to social change.
Chris Hedges is right. We are at a fateful impasse. But there are other dynamics that brought us to this place in addition to the fears/cowardice of perhaps once well-meaning liberals. We still do not understand well enough the sources of the conformism, authoritarianism, – yes, and greed, in their own way – of non-professional, non-owner, non-elite people, including workers. We don’t understand why progressive leaders (Bernie, e.g.) are either sell-outs or cowards, or why “leftwing” leaders and groups are so incompetent or so stupid (Leninism, Stalinism, identity politics, sectarianism, “correctness”). There is enough failure to go around.
There are a lot of people out in the hinterland who don’t qualify according to this writer’s categorizing. It is convenient to label and condemn people and the political process and to assume that capitalists are corrupt - many are - and that ordinary working people are stupid - yes, according to your superiority, they are. But a lot of folks at the local level are working all the time, doing the daily educating, organizing, lobbying, and pushing the process towards greater equity and justice.
Go ahead and write and pontificate about everything that does not meet the standard of perfection and pledge to start a Bernie-style revolution if that makes you feel more superior. But don’t ignore the realities of how things actually get done. The perfect often is the enemy of the good where legislating is concerned. Compromising is not pretty but that is how politics works and those of us who don’t like losing what we are championing just pick ourselves up and get back in the fight for what was left out for the next go-around.
Here in Wisconsin, the governor took advantage of Justice Scalia’s shredding of parts of the Voting Rights Act and instituted barriers to voting that the right wing felt sure would give them total control of state government. It was the ACLU and the League of Women Voters who challenged the legislation in court and we got out in every place possible to educate and register voters. Our efforts paid off - we swept the top five leadership positions in the state and now are tackling gerrymandering to return equity to the legislature.
March and shout and condemn and write and send money to AOC and the squad. That’s fine - they are important voices. But don’t discount the grandmothers and the retired teachers and the neighborhood organizers going door to door to address oppression and get people to the polls. We are the invisible activists creating the incremental change that eventually results in real shifts in politics. We deserve some recognition and acknowledgement, as well.
I am reading Barack Obama’s memoir “A Promised Land” as I write this, and finding it therapeutic - very !
Cynicism is a dead end road.
By pretending to care about the underprivileged in a given society these types of people act so as to reinforce their own sense of privilege. They see themselves as better then those Conservatives who “do not care about the poor” and they see themselves as better then those poor people because they have more wealth and a higher social status.
The last thing they want is to lose their position in the hierarchy and especially if it to peoples they see as their lessors. It less about cowardice then it is about arrogance and hubris as exhibited by Rahm Emmanuel when he dismissed the left as “retards”.
I look forward to his next book, “How I Sold My Soul in a Buyers Market, While the World is Convinced I Still Own It.”