Monday, March 06, 2017

Chris Hedges Sees Liberals as Trump's Essential Enablers

He's got a point. Our liberal elite went along to get along as our political centre was inexorably shifted to the right.

In the States they've evolved a politics in which Ronald Reagan would today be considered much too left to ever win the Republican leadership. Democrats have trailed behind, abandoning the final vestiges of liberalism to become conservative-lite. Their righteous indignation over Trump has become too much for Chris Hedges.

Where was this moral outrage when our privacy was taken from us by the security and surveillance state, the criminals on Wall Street were bailed out, we were stripped of our civil liberties and 2.3 million men and women were packed into our prisons, most of them poor people of color? Why did they not thunder with indignation as money replaced the vote and elected officials and corporate lobbyists instituted our system of legalized bribery? Where were the impassioned critiques of the absurd idea of allowing a nation to be governed by the dictates of corporations, banks and hedge fund managers? Why did they cater to the foibles and utterings of fellow elites, all the while blacklisting critics of the corporate state and ignoring the misery of the poor and the working class? Where was their moral righteousness when the United States committed war crimes in the Middle East and our militarized police carried out murderous rampages? What the liberal elites do now is not moral. It is self-exaltation disguised as piety. It is part of the carnival act.

[Rolling Stone columnist Matt] Taibbi, when I interviewed him in New York, said political power in our corporate state is controlled by “a tripartite system.” “You have to have the assent of the press, the donor class, and one of the two [major] political parties to get in,” said Taibbi, author of “Insane Clown President: Dispatches From the 2016 Circus.” “It’s an exclusive club. It’s like a membership system. They all have to agree and confer their blessing on the candidate. Trump somehow managed to get past all three of those obstacles. And he did it essentially by putting all of them on trial. He put the press on trial and villainized them with the public. I think it was a brilliant masterstroke that nobody saw coming. But it wouldn’t have been possible if their unpopularity hadn’t been building for years and years and years.”

The press, like the Democratic Party, is an appendage of the consumer society. These institutions are not about politics or news. They are about imparting an experience. They create political personalities, marketed as celebrities, to make us feel good about candidates. These manufactured emotions, the product of the dark arts of the public relations industry, determine how we vote. Issues and policies are irrelevant. It is marketing and entertainment. Trump is a skillful marketer of his fictitious self.

“When you work in that environment long enough you unconsciously become an agent for whatever that commercial strategy is,” Taibbi said of the press in our corporate-run political theater.

“What we call right-wing and liberal media in this country are really just two different strategies of the same kind of nihilistic lizard-brain sensationalism,” Taibbi wrote in “Insane Clown President.” “The ideal CNN story is a baby down a well, while the ideal Fox story is probably a baby thrown down a well by a Muslim terrorist or an ACORN activist. Both companies offer the same service, it’s just that the Fox version is a little kinkier.”

“People have this idea that Trump has no connection with the ‘common man,’ but he does,” Taibbi said. “He has exactly the same media habits that ordinary people have. He believes the stuff that he reads on the internet and watches on television implicitly and unquestioningly. That is what gives him that connection with people. He thinks like they do. He has the same habits they have. A classic example is the thing with the so-called 3 million illegal … voters. He reads that, probably in an Infowars story, it’s policy like two minutes later. He doesn’t go through the process of asking himself if it’s untrue. He’s a perfect consumer in that respect. That’s what makes him so dangerous.”

The liberal class, by embracing neoliberalism and refusing to challenge the imperial wars, empowered the economic and political structures that destroyed our democracy and gave rise to Trump. Multiculturalism, when it means, to use the words of Cornel West, nothing more than having a president who is a “black mascot for Wall Street,” betrays the disenfranchised and endows the ruling elites with a false progressivism, a false humanism and a false inclusiveness.

Fyodor Dostoevsky excoriated Russia’s bankrupt liberal class at the end of the 19th century. Russian liberals mouthed values they did not defend. Their stated ideals bore no relationship to their actions. They were filled with a suffocating narcissism.

In “Notes From Underground,” Dostoevsky lampooned the defeated dreamers of the liberal class, those who preached goodness but lived in moral squalor. These defeated dreamers denounced the social and cultural depravity they had largely created. They had an open disdain for the uneducated, the poor, the working class, the lesser breeds beneath them. And in the end they ushered in a moral nihilism to empower a dangerous class of demagogues, killers and fools.


Anonymous said...

Amen. Looks like Hedges does not need to read my mind.

"Trump somehow managed to get past all three of those obstacles."
So Julian Assange was right in his statement that Drumpf was not part of the ruling cabal. But Hillary is...

The Mound of Sound said...

Really, A..non? Look at Trump's cabinet and his still unconfirmed nominees and then get out the ruler accessory of your Swiss Army knife and measure just how far removed Trump is from the ruling cabal.

As for Assange, Trump's old buddy, Roger Stone, let that cat out of the bag when he went through meltdown this weekend. Stone revealed that Assange collaborated with the Trump campaign through back channels on the release of Hillary's emails.

I was roundly roasted back then when I suggested Assange was bent. Then he promised to surrender to American authorities if only Obama would pardon Chelsea Manning. When that happened, Assange backpedaled furiously.

The leak was his last best chance of getting out of his house arrest in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. Stone, by his own admission, was in on it. Scuttle Hillary and all will be forgiven only once Trump had everything he could squeeze out of Assange there was no advantage in continuing that arrangement.

So don't cite Assange to me as authoritative, A..non. But I expect you're dead right when you conclude that Hedges doesn't have to read your mind.

Dana said...

Hairless, minimally evolved bonobos we are, cavorting in our own shit. It's best to expect little more.

Purple library guy said...

Now this is the page I'm on.