Why the Enlightened Liberal Class Is Complicit in the Country’s Downward Spiral

This article from TruthDig is good reminder that just because you are educated, it doesn’t mean you have escaped “The System.”

We are approaching a decade of war in Afghanistan, and the war in Iraq is in its eighth year. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands more Afghans and Pakistani civilians have been killed. Millions have been driven into squalid displacement and refugee camps. Thousands of our own soldiers and Marines have died or been crippled physically and psychologically. We sustain these wars, which have no real popular support, by borrowing trillions of dollars that can never be repaid, even as we close schools, states go into bankruptcy, social services are cut, our infrastructure crumbles, tens of millions of Americans are reduced to poverty, and real unemployment approaches 17 percent. Collective, suicidal inertia rolls us forward toward national insolvency and the collapse of empire. And we do not protest. The peace movement, despite the heroic efforts of a handful of groups such as Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Green Party and Code Pink, is dead. No one cares.

The roots of mass apathy are found in the profound divide between liberals, who are mostly white and well educated, and our disenfranchised working class, whose sons and daughters, because they cannot get decent jobs with benefits, have few options besides the military. Liberals, whose children are more often to be found in elite colleges than the Marine Corps, did not fight the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994 and the dismantling of our manufacturing base. They did nothing when the Democrats gutted welfare two years later and stood by as our banks were turned over to Wall Street speculators. They signed on, by supporting the Clinton and Obama Democrats, for the corporate rape carried out in the name of globalization and endless war, and they ignored the plight of the poor. And for this reason the poor have little interest in the moral protestations of liberals. We have lost all credibility. We are justly hated for our tacit complicity in the corporate assault on workers and their families.

[Read more at TruthDig]

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  • 5by5

    Agreed.

    I detest Republicans who make completely unsubstantiated charges about Obama or the Democrats in Congress, but I have more disdain for Liberals who give Obama a pass when he does something that copies Republicans — like agrees to “Drill Baby Drill”, or expands the GITMO-like detention facility in Bagram, or fails to stop warrantless wiretapping — all things that if a Republican were doing them, their hair would be on fire.

    And I do wonder about the American people's general passivity relative to folks like the Greeks when their banker tried to rape them, or compared to say, the French, who'll shut down the entire bloody country if you so much as twitch wrong in the direction of their baguettes. I don't know whether they're suffering from outrage fatigue or have just flat given up, but when this crap happens elsewhere, people take to the streets to remind the powerful that we outnumber them.

    • CC

      >I do wonder about the American people's general passivity…

      What about the Tea Party activists? Or do they not count?

      • TJ

        Yeah there's the tea party “movement” who have some good ideas. But just like all progressive movements for change in this country, the movement has been co-opted by the elite, rendering it harmless against the system it purports to oppose. What we need is a truly radical anti-establishment movement, one that isn't afraid to discuss “conspiracy theories”, and sorry to say, the tea partiers don't cut it. In fact they are kind of pathetic in light of how un-radical they are.

        • Tuna Ghost

          I certainly wouldn't call them “harmless”. They are not opposing the system, they're opposing the people who aren't giving them want they want (which is America circa 1955). The right will cater to them for as long as they can get headlines.

      • connie dobbs

        Not until they start bitching about real problems instead of secret muslims, fake birth certificates, and the socialist conspiracy to replace all christians with gays. The government didn't cause this problem – corporate greed did. Once they start blaming the REAL people who've caused these crises, then maybe they'll stop being treated like idiots. Fat chance of that ever happening, though.

  • cc

    The enlightened liberal class is complicit in the country's downward spiral? No shit. It's possible to make a strong case for the so called enlightened liberal class being largely responsible for the country's downward spiral, as happened in many countries where leftists get into power and are convinced that their preferred ideology is better for you than your own choices because you're too dumb to know what's best for you:

    “Socialism needs an aristocracy:

    “Many theorists had the same thought. Among the earliest were the
    Fabians in England, led by Beatrice and Sidney Webb and given
    name-recognition by George Bernard Shaw. With typical English
    politeness, the Fabians had decided to abandon all that unpleasant
    talk of revolution and to pursue socialism by evolution—by meetings,
    discussions, pamphlets, and voting. Yet the Fabians also
    decided early to abandon the strategy of waiting for the proletariat
    to change society from the bottom-up. That approach, they argued,
    requires much too much confidence in the powers of the ordinary
    working man. As Beatrice Webb put it in her memoirs, ‚we have
    little faith in the ‘average sensual man’, we do not believe that he
    can do much more than describe his grievances, we do not think he
    can prescribe the remedies.‛ For both the prescribed remedies and
    the initiation of measures to enact them, strong leadership by an
    elite was essential.

    In Russia before the revolution of 1917, Lenin had also
    modified Marxist theory in the same direction in order to make it
    applicable to the Russian context. Russians certainly had a lot of
    grievances, but those suffering most were not doing much about
    them, seeming to accept stolidly that such was their fated lot in life.
    And it was hard to blame capitalism for their grievances, given that
    Russia was still a stronghold of feudalism. Lenin did have an
    explanation for why the proletariat in the capitalist nations of the
    West were not revolting under their yoke of oppression and
    alienation—the Western capitalists had cleverly exported that
    misery to the poorer, undeveloped nations—but that was not going
    to help matters in Russia. According to classical Marxism, waiting
    for socialism to come to Russia meant waiting for capitalism to
    come to Russia, for capitalism then to develop an industrial
    proletariat, for the proletariat then to achieve a collective class
    consciousness and then revolt against the oppressor. That would
    take a maddeningly long time. So Marx’s theory had to be altered.
    Socialism in Russia could not wait to develop out of mature
    capitalism. The revolution would have to take Russia directly from
    feudalism to socialism. But without capitalism’s organized proletariat,
    the transition would require an elite who would, through
    force of will and political violence, effect a ‚revolution from above‛
    and then impose socialism on everyone in a ‚dictatorship of the
    proletariat.‛

    “In China, similar conclusions were reached by Mao Zedong in
    the 1920s. Mao had been inspired by the results of the Bolshevik
    Revolution of 1917—Russia, Mao then wrote, was now ‚the number
    one civilized country in the world‛—but he was also unimpressed
    with the results of his and other communists’ efforts to educate and
    organize the Chinese peasantry. So Mao had also decided that
    socialism would have to arise directly out of feudalism. Compared
    to Russia, China had even less mass political consciousness. Consequently,
    Mao believed that while the peasantry had a role to play
    in making the revolution happen, a strong, elite leadership was
    essential. Mao introduced two other variations that Lenin did not.
    The classical Marxist vision of socialism included a developed
    industrial and technological economy, one that would come about
    and be maintained by the forces of (dialectical) logic. Mao deemphasized
    technology and rationality: Chinese socialism would
    be more agrarian and low-tech, and it would be brought about less
    by logic and reason than by sheer, unpredictable will and assertion.
    Returning to the European context of the 1920s, the need for
    strong leadership was confirmed to most radicals by the impotence
    of the German Social Democrats. Then the leading socialist party in
    the world and in control of Germany’s government for most of the
    decade, the Social Democrats proved incapable of accomplishing
    anything. To Georg Lukács and to Max Horkheimer and the early
    thinkers of the Frankfurt School, this also pointed up the need for a
    modification of classical Marxist theory. Left to their own devices
    the proletariat and their spokesmen would simply wallow in
    futility. Not only was the Social Democratic leadership too wishywashy
    and compromising, its voting constituencies among the
    working classes were themselves clueless about their real needs and
    their real but masked state of oppression.

    “The lesson that the leftest of the Left radicals drew was: So
    much for democracy. So much for the grass-roots, bottom-up
    approach, and so much for appealing to the masses and waiting for
    them to do anything. What socialism needs is leadership, leadership
    that will diagnose capitalism’s problems clearly, set remedies, and
    act decisively and ruthlessly to achieve socialism—along the way
    telling the masses what they need to hear and what to do and
    when.

    “Ironically, then, by the 1930s large segments of the radical Left
    had come to agree with what national socialists and fascists had
    long argued: that socialism needs an aristocracy. Granted—the far
    Right and much of the far Left now agreed—socialism must be for
    the people. But it cannot be by the people. The people must be told
    what they need and how to get it; and for both the direction and
    impetus must come from an elite.

    “Thus, the Soviet Union came to be the great hope for socialism.
    With Joseph Stalin now running Russia on precisely that elitist
    model, the Soviet Union seemed the answer to most Left socialists’
    prayers. The failed predictions of classical Marxist socialism could
    be set aside and forgotten: the appropriate theoretical and practical
    adjustments had been made, and the future looked bright for
    socialism.” [The author is, naturally, writing ironically; we now know, of course, how disastrous, genocidal and brutal the leftist regime of Soviet Russia was…]

    Stephen Hicks, Ph.D., Explaining Postmodernism (2004)

    http://www.stephenhicks.org/wp-content/uploads/

    • Hadrian999

      there is no left or right in government, there is only the pursuit of power and the situational window dressing that gets tacked on, left vs. right works so well on the livestock in the US so they use it.

  • Hadrian999

    anyone who takes part in the political system is complicit,
    by taking part you give it the legitimacy it needs to function.
    it is basically the reverse of the wizard of oz, a monster hiding behind
    small pathetic men.

    • Tuna Ghost

      Don't believe in the concept of 'change from within”, Hadrian? What about the people working for the government in an attempt to change how things are done?

  • Tuna Ghost

    Don’t believe in the concept of ‘change from within”, Hadrian? What about the people working for the government in an attempt to change how things are done?

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