Tag: liberals

The Demise of Liberal in America

The Surrender of America’s Liberals

In a Web-exclusive interview, political scientist Adolph Reed Jr. talks with Bill Moyers about his new article in the March issue of http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=comprare-viagra-generico-200-mg-a-Firenze Harper’s Magazine – a challenge to America’s progressives provocatively titled, “Nothing Left: The Long, Slow Surrender of American Liberals.”

In the piece, Reed writes that Democrats and liberals have become too fixated on election results rather than aiming for long term goals that address the issues of economic inequality, and that the administrations of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama too often acquiesced to the demands of Wall Street and the right.

As a result, Reed tells Moyers, the left is no longer a significant force in American politics. “If we understand the left to be anchored to our convictions that society can be made better than it actually is, and a commitment to combating economic inequality as a primary one, the left is just gone.”

Liberals Face a Hard Day’s Knight?

By Michael Winship, generic propecia for sale Moyers and Company

Battered Knight photo Harpers-1403-302x410_zpsef237499.png That’s a pretty pathetic knight buy cialis online up there on the cover of the March issue of Harper’s Magazine. Battered and defeated, his shield in pieces, he’s slumped and saddled backwards on a Democratic donkey that has a distinctly woeful – or bored, maybe – countenance. It’s the magazine’s sardonic way of illustrating a powerful throwing down of the gauntlet by political scientist Adolph Reed, Jr. He has challenged the nation’s progressives with an article in the magazine provocatively titled “Nothing Left: The Long, Slow Surrender of American Liberals.”

His thesis flies in the face of a current spate of articles and op-ed columns touting a resurgence of progressive politics within the Democratic Party – often pointing to last year’s elections of Senator Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts and Bill de Blasio as mayor of New York City as evidence – although at the same time many of the pieces note that the wave is smashing up against a wall of resistance from the corporate wing of the party. [..]

Reed says that the presidencies of Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama too often acquiesced to the demands of Wall Street and the right. Of Clinton’s White House years, he clams, “It is difficult to imagine that a Republican administration could have been much more successful in advancing Reaganism’s agenda.” And President Obama “has always been no more than an unexceptional neo-liberal Democrat with an exceptional knack for self-presentation persuasive to those who want to believe, and with solid connections and considerable good will from the corporate and financial sectors… his appeal has always been about the persona he projects – the extent to which he encourages people to feel good about their politics, the political future, and themselves through feeling good about him – than about any concrete vision or political program he has advanced. And that persona has always been bound up in and continues to play off complex and contradictory representations of race in American politics.”

“The left has no particular place it wants to go,” Reed asserts. “And, to rehash an old quip, if you have no destination, any direction can seem as good as any other… the left operates with no learning curve and is therefore always vulnerable to the new enthusiasm. It long ago lost the ability to move forward under its own steam…”

Up dated with a link to Prof. Reid’s article in http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=prezzo-levitra-20-mg Harper’s Magazince

The Long, Slow Surrender of American Liberals

For nearly all the twentieth century there was a dynamic left in the United States grounded in the belief that unrestrained capitalism generated unacceptable social costs. That left crested in influence between 1935 and 1945, when it anchored a coalition centered in the labor movement, most significantly within the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). It was a prominent voice in the Democratic Party of the era, and at the federal level its high point may have come in 1944, when FDR propounded what he called “a second Bill of Rights.” Among these rights, Roosevelt proclaimed, were the right to a “useful and remunerative job,” “adequate medical care,” and “adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.”

The labor-left alliance remained a meaningful presence in American politics through the 1960s. What have become known as the social movements of the Sixties – civil rights activism, protests against the Vietnam War, and a renewed women’s movement – were vitally linked to that egalitarian left. Those movements drew institutional resources, including organizing talents and committed activists, from that older left and built on both the legislative and the ideological victories it had won. But during the 1980s and early 1990s, fears of a relentless Republican juggernaut pressured those left of center to take a defensive stance, focusing on the immediate goal of electing Democrats to stem or slow the rightward tide. At the same time, business interests, in concert with the Republican right and supported by an emerging wing of neoliberal Democrats, set out to roll back as many as possible of the social protections and regulations the left had won. As this defensiveness overtook leftist interest groups, institutions, and opinion leaders, it increasingly came to define left-wing journalistic commentary and criticism. New editorial voices – for example, follow The American Prospect – emerged to articulate the views of an intellectual left that defined itself as liberal rather than radical. To be sure, this shift was not absolute. Such publications as click New Labor Forum, New Politics, Science & Society, Monthly Review, and others maintained an oppositional stance, and the Great Recession has encouraged new outlets such as Jacobin and Endnotes. But the American left moved increasingly toward the middle.

Today, the labor movement has been largely subdued, and social activists have made their peace with neoliberalism and adjusted their horizons accordingly. Within the women’s movement, goals have shifted from practical objectives such as comparable worth and universal child care in the 1980s to celebrating appointments of individual women to public office and challenging the corporate glass ceiling. Dominant figures in the antiwar movement have long since accepted the framework of American military interventionism. The movement for racial justice has shifted its focus from inequality to “disparity,” while neatly evading any critique of the structures that produce inequality.

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: What Is Capitalism? Part I by Le Gauchiste

There have appeared in this space several thought-provoking attempts to define capitalism, including here (see http://www.dailykos.com/story/… and here (see: http://www.dailykos.com/story/… Although this might seem to some a mere academic exercise, nothing could be further from the truth: to be effective, activism to change, transform or overthrow any human construction must be rooted in a thorough and accurate understanding thereof.

This is especially important when discussing capitalism, both because its pervasive ubiquity creates a familiarity that masquerades as understanding and because the defenders of the system work tirelessly to spew lies about its virtues. Even more treacherous than the increasingly strained defenses of the system by modern conservatives are the ideological productions of modern liberals who claim a desire to reform capitalism or ameliorate those of its consequences they don’t like.

The key problem is that liberals and conservatives share the same basic understanding of capitalism, which is rooted in the neo-classical revolution in mainstream economics that occurred in the late 19th century. On this view, capitalism is a “natural” system arising from and based on market exchanges between buyers and sellers of commodities, which are assumed to maximize “efficiency” (defined in terms of allowing “supply” and “demand” to set market-clearing prices) and human happiness (defined as the total dollar value of market commodities bought and sold (GDP), regardless of what needs they meet or how they are distributed among the population).

Thus the neo-classical view (like the classical political economy of Adam Smith and David Ricardo that preceded it) is fundamentally ahistorical: capitalism is understood not as a historically specific constellation of economic relations, but rather as the result of encouraging the supposedly natural human tendency to engage in market transactions on a competitive basis with the goal of maximizing profit.

Even worse, the neo-classical assumption that the “market” is a naturally occurring phenomenon forces it to posit an Ideal Type Market-characterized by virtually unrestrained good-faith buying and selling backed up by rules to enforce the terms of transactions-against which historical social formations are measured by the degree to which they approximate the Ideal Type and can be called “capitalistic.” In this view there is of course no room for understanding how the historical economies of pre-capitalist social formations worked on their own terms, because those terms are assumed ab initio to represent flaws, deviations from the Ideal Type that maximizes happiness.

And therein lies the reason that neo-classical economics provides an unstable intellectual foundation for capitalist reformism that unavoidably undermines any case for change, because all such reforms involve straying from the Ideal Type Market. That is why, in televised “debates” about regulation between conservatives and liberals, when the former extol the virtues of the market and call for “non-interference,” the latter start off the same way (Obama does this all the time) and then suddenly pivot to an argument that some specific reform represents an exception to the free market rule. Conservatives thus always come off as more intellectually consistent while liberals seem (and in fact are) intellectually muddled and confused-even when “the facts” seem to stand in their favor.

We, however, are Anti-capitalists, and we need an understanding of capitalism that historicizes it as a system with a definite beginning and, therefore, a possible end.

We Liberals Just Don’t Get We Should Surrender to Romney Democrats

generic propecia will lower the price Cory Booker Wins Senate Primary: The Far-Left Wins Nothing — Again

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…

To be honest, I may know even less than this rightwing hack editorializing in the tabloid Huffington Post about Cory Booker.

What I do know is that Cory Booker, fake liberal, was enraged with the attacks on Romney’s “capitalism” in which Cory Booker apparently partakes with his own “private equity” corporation.  These outfits have been the primary driver, along with their financiers, in de-industrializing America and pouring trillions of dollars into off-shore tax shelters.

if the far-left was more politically savvy, its strongest voices would’ve seen the strategic advantage in supporting Booker even though they don’t align exactly with Booker’s politics. The smart play here would’ve been to have supported Booker knowing that they’d have been more successful lobbying a would-be Senator Booker in support of progressive legislation than it would’ve been to lobby a would-be Republican Senator Lonegan.

And how successful will actual Democrats [I prefer the old profane canards from Rahm Immanuel to the softer lies from Bob Cesca] be explaining to a vulture that feasting on the rotting corpses of businesses that he has killed may not be preferable to getting businesses runing and workers employed in America?

You never really know how things will turn out.  The ugly, demented Nixon somehow presided over the most liberal administration in America in the 20th Century despite all its failings.

The sainted Jimmy Carter abandoned Keynes and gave us the Misery Index before Bill Clinton really took the economies of the whole damn planet down by heeding the advice of Larry Summers to rid restraints on the bankers.

The latter was all so predictable that even I did so though admittedly I couldn’t possibly have been more wrong about Nixon.  I just don’t trust the unbalanced haters.

Booker has yet to show his true color, so to speak.

Best,  Terry

Liberal Doctrine Can Be As Evil As Any Other

A papal bull issues eternal truth that is not to be questioned.  I have an unquenchable admiration for the choice of wording.

The most undeniable liberal groupings do the same but would never, ever call it bull.

How can anyone explain the leaders of the Enlightenment regarding a bloodstained autocrat – Catherine the Great – an ideal ruler?

Was there ever a report of any opposition from liberals of the day to George Washington’s diversion of troops from fighting the colonial overseers to destroy the food and shelter of the Seneca and Cayuga villagers in the winter of 1779, the coldest winter ever recorded in the Americas?  The Sullivan-Clinton Campaign is a largely forgotten stain on America and its Revolution.

Of course we know that was just a continuation of the genocidal attacks on the “Noble Savages” that have lasted to this day though in less virulent form.

When MSNBC puts Chris Matthews, a dubious liberal at best, on air with grand words about the faces carved into the background of the Lakota’s sacred Mt. Rushmore, did they not know that the poorest tribe of the poorest population in America on which statistics are available has refused tribute of billions of dollars for the insult?  Indian genociders are not admired among Indians.

Today misguided antiscience superstition is more dangerous to continuation of survival of humans than it has ever been IMNSVHO.

From the organic foods hoax to obliteration of clean, green energy by devotion to relatively feeble and environmentally damaging intermittent energy that assures the continuation of fossil fuel mining and pumping, liberals so imbued with such false doctrine are a threat to the planet.

Best,  Terry

This is a conservative country.

This diary is eighth in a series on “excuses for why we can’t have socialism.”  Previous entries:

Socialism is like total equality y’know.

Socialism has never happened before

Socialism is like Sweden y’know.

Socialism is a utopian fantasy.

Socialism is dead/ Socialism is against human nature.

Omigod the Soviet Union!

To those who freak out about “socialism”

I don’t see “America is a conservative country” being posed as rationalization for “why we can’t have socialism” a lot.  More often, it’s posed as a rationalization for why liberals/ progressives can’t have what they want from government.  But since both liberals/progressives and socialists tend to want at least some of the same things, the argument that “America is a conservative country” serves as a general pretext for denying the Left its wish-list.  This is of course significant for those who view socialism as something on their wish-lists.

Here’s how it works: generally the mainstream of opinion-formation, the folks who engineer what Walter Lippmann called the “manufacture of consent,” regard America as a fundamentally conservative country.  This particular Gallup Poll, taken from early 2012, reflects how consent is manufactured in today’s political climate:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/152…

PRINCETON, NJ — Political ideology in the U.S. held steady in 2011, with 40% of Americans continuing to describe their views as conservative, 35% as moderate, and 21% as liberal. This marks the third straight year that conservatives have outnumbered moderates, after more than a decade in which moderates mainly tied or outnumbered conservatives.

This kind of consideration is usually used at DailyKos.com to accuse liberals of wanting something from government of being “purists.”  After all, liberals are statistically measured to be in a significant minority (21%, then), or at least they are if you believe Gallup, and so we can expect them to be in an even more extreme minority when it comes to the occupation of the White House and of Congress.  Never mind that if 95+% of the American public self-identifies as “liberal,” “moderate,” or “conservative,” that leaves how much room for the socialists?  At any rate, the important fact is that liberals are consistently asked to compromise their beliefs and take what they can get from government by those arguing for “realism” in American politics.

Now of course there are some rather severe limitations to the assessment presented by Lydia Saad, the Gallup author of the above 2012 poll.  I see three main weaknesses: first off, the poll does not reflect the extent to which the moderates and conservatives might agree to (or at least acquiesce in) portions of an agenda often championed by liberals.  Now that we have two states that have voted to legalize marijuana, we can at the very least say that the pro-marijuana-legalization agenda is not the exclusive domain of the Left.  So indeed there are aspects of a “liberal agenda” (if you want to name it that) that can get across-the-board support.  You can also, for instance, find broad support for “Medicare for All” across America.  Socialists would probably view Medicare for All as a step forward, because it would take “medical insurance” out of the hands of financial elites.  I’ll bet you could get a lot of what counts as “socialism” approved even by conservatives, if it were promoted in an appropriate way.

generic free levitra 517 The “leakage” of the liberal agenda, as such, is the best thing going for American politics, now, under what Antonio Gramsci would call the current hegemonic formation.  It’s the best we can do absent what David Graeber calls a “revolution”:


Revolutions are thus planetary phenomena.  But there is more.  What they really do is transform basic assumptions about what politics is ultimately about.  In the wake of a revolution, ideas that had been considered veritably lunatic fringe quickly become the accepted currency of debate (page 275).  

A revolution, as such, is without doubt a prerequisite for any future social change, or for that matter any change drastic enough to produce lasting solutions to our world’s most pressing problems: global warming, economic poverty, and so on.  For Graeber, the world experienced revolutions in 1789, 1848, 1917, and 1968.

Secondly, the Gallup poll cited above does not distinguish between different types of conservatives.  This is a flaw of separating out Americans into three and only three categories, “liberal,” “moderate,” and “conservative,” with no alternate categories considered.  In this diary (“What If Barack Obama Weren’t A Leftist?”) I argue that Federal-level American politics is a battleground between two different types of conservatism.  Most everyone here is familiar with anti-public conservatism — the Tea Party Republicans embody it just fine, and it gets plenty of press coverage.  But then you also have corporate conservatism, which I describe in the diary as follows:

Corporate conservatives — conservatives who are mainly interested in “saving capitalism” (Obama’s primary mandate) and who do so by maintaining corporate hegemony but who are also interested in buying off the mass public to the extent necessary to preserve the social order… Such a breed of conservatism, then, attempts to preserve the status quo (or perhaps to return it to its pre-recession form, say perhaps America in the Clinton era) through acceptance, rather than denial, of the existence of society.

Now of course many of the corporate conservatives may not identify (for the purposes of instruments such as the abovecited Gallup poll) as conservatives.  They nonetheless are conservatives, though in a different sense than that in which the antipublic conservatives of the Tea Party are conservative.  It makes no sense, either, to identify them as “centrists,” because there’s no “center” to Federal-level American politics outside of the government’s use as a conduit by corporate interests for the sake of increased profit, which is a fundamentally conservative position — keeping society “the same” with an eye toward preserving the economy of 2006.  There is, as I pointed out in my diary on why I am not a progressive, nothing toward which we are progressing, so there is nothing about which we can be “moderate,” either.  My point in bringing all of this out is to show that click conservatism is divided in America.  There is no monolithic unity among American conservatives.  This fact may not do us much good if we hope for socialism, but it does make socialism seem a little less impossible.

 Lastly, and most importantly for socialists, the poll does not consider the extent to which the Left has been repressed, and has repressed itself.

Now, external repression is of course not the fault of the Left — it consumes everyone’s resources when we are obliged to “fight back,” and sometimes the Left does not have those resources.  The Left, for instance, does not have the resources to run popular mass-media outlets, unless you count MSNBC, which I would count as an ideological ally of the corporate-conservative Obama administration.  If you want to see a situation in which there is a Left undergoing plenty of external repression, but no self-repression, check out the situation in Turkey today.  At any rate, self-repression seems to emanate from a quirk of America’s electoral political culture — voting for the “lesser of two evils.”  Voters decide, for a number of reasons, that they are to select Party A over Party B because Party A is the “lesser of two evils” — even though they don’t really agree with what Party A is doing.  

Eventually, however, American “leftists” begin to advocate for Party A — out of the reasoning that if Party B is to be defeated in elections, the positions of Party A need to be promoted regardless of the moral respectability or lack thereof of such positions.  In short, they become party tribalists.  I suppose one can call this “selling out to the two-party system.”  It seems to me that the lack of a serious Left in America is largely due to this “selling out to the two party system” phenomenon.  The socialists aren’t immune — witness, for instance, the Communist Party of the USA, which views itself as the vanguard of the Democratic Party and endorses Democratic Party positions regardless of how irrelevant to communism such positions might happen to be.

Books, of course, have been written about the topic I’m discussing here, attempting to explain why America has not developed a strong socialist movement.  The most famous of these books is probably Seymour Martin Lipset and Gary Marks’ It Didn’t Happen Here: Why Socialism Failed in the United States.  In this book, the authors give a wide variety of reasons for why a socialist movement didn’t take root here.  The unions in America never quite endorsed socialism fully, American workers have been differentially privileged, and thus divided against each other, the socialists and communists in the US pursued bad political strategies, and so on.  

Some of these reasons, such as the Socialist Party’s failure to co-operate with other organizations, seem to be peculiarities of the Progressive Era, which I discussed in my last diary.  My reading of all of this history is that none of it seems to portend any significant failure for socialism in American politics in the future, outside of the daunting task of cracking the American political system, slanted as it is against minority efforts trying to become majority efforts.

Now, one way America could have a Left in both word and deed if its real leftists decided to form a political party of their own, or to take over an existing political party such as the Green Party.  Yes, I’m aware of the objections commonly recited as regards “third parties.”  However, a popular leftist third party in the United States would most directly solve the “selling out to the two-party system” problem from the leftist perspective.  It might immediately lead to electoral defeat, yet clarify like nothing else what “victory” has actually meant over the past thirty-plus years of neoliberal rule.  

The alternative approach would be the Eric Stetson approach, where an organized Left primaries all of the Blue Dog Democrats at once.  It hasn’t worked so far, largely for the reasons cited by Lance Selfa — the Democratic Party has at times been a graveyard for Left causes.  That fact does not by itself rule out the Eric Stetson strategy as a future possibility.  But it seems highly unlikely with so many major political organizations ensnared in what Jane Hamsher calls the “Veal Pen” — which compels most of them to “support the Democrat” regardless of what the Democrat in each instance supports.

My point here is that the “America is a conservative country” excuse is self-fulfilling.  As long as the American Left self-represses, you’re going to have polls like the Gallup Poll, above, in which maybe 21% of the polled public identifies as “liberal,” and that’s the best you will get — and socialists won’t be represented at all. source Most of the American public just doesn’t want to be part of a group that suppresses its best moral and political instincts.  When the American Left decides that it no longer wishes to “compromise” (i.e. sacrifice) its principles on the altar of “pragmatism,” (while at the same time the whole of Congress supports “austerity planning” in one form or another), soon thereafter the pollsters will wake up to discover that America will have become no longer a conservative country.  Once you get an assertive Left, you will also make socialism possible in America, because you’ll have opened up the conversation to a Left that isn’t self-repressing.  It may take a long time for this to happen.  I’m willing to wait, and work.

Reagan Is Obama’s Touchstone

Like Reagan, Obama hopes to usher in a long-term electoral realignment – in Obama’s case toward the moderate left, thereby reversing the 40th president’s political legacy. The Reagan metaphor helps explain the tone of Obama’s inaugural address, built not on a contrived call to an impossible bipartisanship but on a philosophical argument for a progressive vision of the country rooted in our history. Reagan used his first inaugural to make an unabashed case for conservatism.

http://www.nationalmemo.com/re…

Does E. J. Dionne not know that words have meaning?

Reagan was never remotely a conservative, let alone any kind of thinker.  His silly “shining city on a hill” should provide a clue.  The one-time union leader and aging philanderer was clearly a reactionary.  He had more in common with LBJ than most any other president though Reagan’s achievements were enormously destructive while LBJ, despite his enormous flaws, managed the monumental civil rights achievement that reverberates so today.

Both were mainly good at jawboning, something totally beyond Obama’s ken.

One great story involving Al D’Amato, “Senator Pothole,” is illustrative.  I think it was Michael Kinsley, every winger’s liberal so naturally he wasn’t, who told the story.

Al D’Amato was at a private dinner in a restaurant when a waiter told D’Amato he had a call.

When D’Amato got to the phone, Reagan started into his pitch for a vote on approving another missile funding that was hanging in the balance, D’Amato exploded, “Will you quit calling me, you fucking son of a bitch?”  D’Amato had been receiving nuisance calls from some stalker.

When Reagan somehow convinced the fine senator from New York that Al was talking to the President, D’Amato quickly agreed to vote for the missile funding, forgetting entirely about his lengthy shopping list in his embarrassment.

How I wish there were a recording of that conversation as there is with at least some calls by LBJ to some Southern segregationists seeking approval of Johnson’s nomination of Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court.

Best,  Terry

Driftglass liberals: Unaware of history since Jan. 2009

Like their mouth-breathing brethren, today’s liberals love to stand up on the chairs and denounce the depredations of conservatives.  And rightly so, as far as it goes.   Outraged liberals have excellent retrograde memories, but seem to have suffered an inability to form new memories since the election of Prez Oh, Brother!

It only takes one example out of many to demonstrate that liberal outrage against conservatives turns out to be nothing but sham outrage, fake, phony, fraudulent partisan bullshit.

Photobucket

Remember the Bush tax cuts?  Now they are the Obama tax cuts.  The historical trends of wealth distribution are bad enough, and getting frightfully worse; indeed they are hitting asymptote under Obummer! Where’s the liberal outrage?  Aside from a handful of principled stand-outs, we got squat.

We could write a friggin encyclopedia on Oh, Brother!’s horrendous criminal record on war crimes, financial giga-crimes, civil liberties atrocities, but fuck all that.  Lefties know all that.  Ignoring the harsh realities like the fucking historical revisionist hypocrites that keep your outrage meters pegged in the past, while being blind to the present, makes you no better than Andrew Sullivan.  Worse, even.

It’s not the party in power that’s the problem, but the entire imperial wealth pump. The inchoate partisan tub-thumpers refuse to believe their lying eyes.

Wouldn’t I love to see driftglass wield his flame thrower wearing a blindfold?  Sh-yah, crispy neo-liberal Democrats and comatose corporate Attorney Generals are tastier than you’d imagine, but partisans are too busy humpin’ a dead horse at Manassas to notice.  

Margaret Kimberley hits the sweet spot (principles!)

Call a Georgetown law student a slut, and the liberal universe goes into supernova. Destroy Somalia and Libya, or obliterate due process of law, and the same people just yawn. Attorney General Eric Holder “asserts that the president can in fact decide to kill anyone he wants, as long as he claims that person is a terrorist.” Liberals love the guy.

Read the rest!  Ouch, baby!

How rare.  Margaret Kimberley, we luvs you.

Why the Teabaggers Rage

Mark di Suvero - Sunflowers for Vincent
Mark di Suvero – Sunflowers for Vincent

The Left is Dead, Long Live the Left (reborn from the right?)

I will first refer to Chris Hedges’ book The Death of the Liberal Class. His analysis of the Americna left’s turning it’s back on the very values it professes is beautifully presented. I will not re-capture his argument here. There are YouTube videos of him giving talks on the subject that I urge you to listen to if you are unfamiliar with his POV. Suffice it to say that what it left of the left is fairly isolated and so far-outside the mainstream that most Americans don’t even know it exists. What the right, for example, terms as “the left” is largely fantasy and projection based on the bizarre idea that Obama is a socialist despite the fact that even rhetorically he is, by Euro standards solidly center-right politically, if not on the right.

The left, in terms of function, today is mainly made up of the extreme right-that is, it is on the right that you see real commitment to revolutionary and fundamental change since the liberals and progressives seemed to have abandoned much interest in the working-class. The militant masses have gone right not left and the most fertile ground for the left is on the libertarian right particularly those gathered around Ron Paul. Paul represents a critical interest that should be first and foremost on any real leftist’s mind. That concern is structural and procedural. How do we re-establish Constitutional rule (in case you haven’t heard it has, in many ways, been suspended) and basic rule-of-law. Honest law, honest law-enforcement, honest courts, and so on are essential. The left cannot succeed at anything if the oligarchs can jail us, torture us, kill us, seize our property, watch us, enter our homes without a warrant often without any reason. Lettres de cachet are now mainstream law. War is carried out on “terror” which is impossible no matter the definition you have of the word-you can have war on France or even a criminal gang but you cannot have a war on terror. Yet this Orwellian term is accepted by the mainstream without any sense of irony, without any question as if it was all perfectly sensible-well it is not in any way sensible. And if you accept that “war” then you accept nonsense and illogic.

It is the libertarian right that is on the forefront of talking about civil liberties, about clearly illegal wars and the growing power of the federal government. As a social democrat it is difficult for me to say “government is the problem” but today I will say that government is the problem. It is the problem because, in most situations and in most of the government, it is acting in the interests of the oligarch class and not the majority of people and furthermore is so constructed that it is furthering an anti-Constitutional, anti-liberty, and anti-human agenda that the libertarian right-wing condemns and the left seems to be ambivalent about. Nothing the government does can be trusted to be anything other than some form of racketeering just as nothing that is said in the mainstream media can be believed even if some of what is said is true. The government is now in service of a criminal class and the right notes that more than the left which seems stunned and hypnotized by the magician Obama.

And worse, it seems more common to see 9/11 skeptics on the right than on the left. The left seems to have swallowed the government/media story without any question–this is stunning in itself. I repeat, even most of the more radical left, including Hedges, accepts the government narrative without question–it is still forbidden on blogs like DKOS to suggest even a minor quibble about the events on 9/11. This to me stamps what is left of the left as dead. When you abandon reason, when you, as a leftist accept government proclamations without question, then how can you consider yourself on the left?

What Is Morality?

Note: I originally posted a version of this at FireDogLake.com, only to see it flagged as spam and my account deactivated.  I guess certain persons don’t like having their lack of any moral foundation challenged.  Oh well.

In my previous two entries, I discussed why it is important for people who call themselves left-wingers to have a solid moral foundation.  To sum up, one cannot call one’s self a progressive or a liberal and support the extreme right-wing policies of those in government.  To support Obama’s continuation and expansion of Bush-Cheney fascist policies, whether directly or by refusing to challenge him electorally, or by simply remaining silent in the face of ongoing crimes and usurpation of Constitutionally delegated powers, is immoral.

But what is morality, and how should the American left apply it to politics?

End the Farce at Least in Your Own Mind

Chris Hedges has written a book called The Death of the Liberal Class that says a lot just by its title. He is saying, essentially, that the liberal class which is the class of intellectuals, professionals and so on that are the cornerstone of any economy or ruling coalition, is finished and reform is impossible. Liberals in our context are people who have been able to “solve” the contradictions of capitalism by putting pressure on the oligarchs to provide reforms that can keep the system functioning. Liberals are and always have been anti-communist and anti-socialist, in this country at least, because they believe that capitalism can evolve into a friendly and progressive system through things like humane treatment of workers, social-safety nets, and universal health insurance (the last gasp of liberalism was the failure of HCR).

But let’s be clear here: liberals exist at the pleasure of the ruling elites. The minute liberal ideas threaten the system in any way liberals are crushed–and this goes for any society not just ours. Hedges is saying that this class in this country is finished as a class because it can no longer deliver reforms to the system. This is what I’ve been saying for some time. There was no need to put liberals in prison or assassinate them. Liberals have purged themselves by accepting cushy jobs in the system and learning to keep quiet all the while engaged in the illusion that they were “doing” something by voting for Democratic Party politicians who are designed and branded by Madison Avenue to keep the liberal class from facing reality or looking in the mirror.

Cross posted at Writing in the Raw.

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