Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Death of the Liberal Class

Chris Hedges was not thrilled with the results of the election, but anybody who reads him knows not to be surprised. (Source) The way he sees it, and it's a point of view I'm not at all unsympathetic to, is that we've simply reinstalled a party that is beholden to the money, and it's the money that calls the tune no matter who runs the government.

Hedges, probably more than any other single political commentator I read, punctures the essential bubble of falsehood that encloses the myth that Americans really are making a choice between two distinctly different understandings of the way the country should work.

No. That's not what happens in elections. What happens in elections is we all engage in a quadrennial mime show of people exercising the right of self-government. What nonsense. We live in a plutocracy. That has nothing to do with self-government.

Here's a bit of what Hedges had to say: 
Liberals, by voting for Barack Obama, betrayed the core values they use to define themselves—the rule of law, the safeguarding of civil liberties, the protection of unions, the preservation of social welfare programs, environmental accords, financial regulation, a defiance of unjust war and torture, and the abolition of drone wars. 

The ineffectiveness of the liberal class, as I saw in the former Yugoslavia and as was true in Weimar Germany, perpetuates a dangerous political paralysis. The longer the paralysis continues, the longer systems of power are unable to address the suffering and grievances of the masses, the more the formal mechanisms of power are reviled. The liberal establishment’s inability to defy corporate power, to stand up for its supposed liberal beliefs, means its inevitable disappearance, along with the disappearance of traditional liberal values. This, as history has amply pointed out, is the road to despotism. And we are further down that road than many care to admit. 
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