Death of the Liberal Class
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In this searing polemic Chris Hedges indicts liberal institutions, including his former employer, the New York Times, who have distorted their basic beliefs in order to support unfettered capitalism, the national security state, globalization, and staggering income inequalities. Hedges argues that the death of the liberal class created a profound vacuum at the heart of American political life. And now speculators, war profiteers, and demagogues— from militias to the Tea Party—are filling the void.
to fit. With a he-diddly-dee and a hononny-no. For whichever side will pay the best.”31 The kind of commercial censorship imposed on The Cradle Will Rock has been the favored tool, briefly disrupted by the Federal Theatre Project, used to dominate the theater and the arts since the era of World War I and the rise of the corporate state. Money, as in the rest of the liberal establishment, rewarded those who behaved and did not write or speak from the bottom up. For its four years, the Federal
power and money to perpetuate the parochial and selfish interests of the elite, but the legions of embattled strikers in the coal fields, on factory floors, and in steel mills, who gave us unions, decent wages and the forty-hour work week? How was it possible to pass the Taft-Hartley Act, which, in one deft move, emasculated the labor movement? How is it possible that it remains in force? Union workers, who at times paid with their lives, halted the country’s enslavement to the rich and the
revolt against materialism, are the only possible responses. Neither is capable of engineering the unifying beliefs and practices relative to sacred things that are essential to religious belief. The cult of distraction, then, is both a means of concealing the meaninglessness of modern life and of reinforcing the power of commodity culture. Celebrity culture provides monumental images of elevation and magic. The psychological consequence of this is to enjoin us to adjust to our material
the basest instincts within us. Technology evolves, but human nature remains constant. The twentieth century was the bloodiest in human history because human beings married the newly minted tools of efficient state bureaucracies, mass propaganda, and industrial slaughter with dark impulses that have existed since the dawn of the human species. “You become hypersensitive to the pecking order and to your sense of social status,” Lanier said of these virtual clans:There is almost always the
with them. It begins as an attempt to do your work well, and ends with being branded an enemy of society. . . . The dissident does not operate in the realm of genuine power at all. He is not seeking power. He has no desire for office and does not gather votes. He does not attempt to charm the public. He offers nothing and promises nothing. He can offer, if anything, only his own skin—and he offers it solely because he has no other way of affirming the truth he stands for. His actions simply