The value of independence

Chris Hedges responds to the liberal attacks on Cornel West after last week’s interview. (If anything, the things being said behind the scenes are even worse.)

And if I could take the opportunity to plug my fund drive, this is my real value to readers: I am not affiliated with the status quo. Believe me, just about any discussion with bloggers who work for the Democratic establishment and related institutions ends pretty much as Hedges describes: “We can’t expect that.” Or: “Yeah, like the Republicans would allow that to get done. We have to settle for this.”

They continue to pound home the idea that Democrats are mere helpless victims, incapable of representing the needs of working men and women instead of the military-industrial-media complex. It’s as if the Republicans take their hands and make them vote for those things.

If you’re a regular reader, you know better. So if you can, please support this independent voice by making a donation:

The liberal class, which attempted last week to discredit the words my friend Cornel Westspoke about Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, prefers comfort and privilege to justice, truth and confrontation. Its guiding ideological stance is determined by what is most expedient to the careers of its members. It refuses to challenge, in a meaningful way, the decaying structures of democracy or the ascendancy of the corporate state. It glosses over the relentless assault on working men and women and the imperial wars that are bankrupting the nation. It proclaims its adherence to traditional liberal values while defending and promoting systems of power that mock these values.The pillars of the liberal establishment—the press, the church, culture, the university, labor and the Democratic Party—all honor an unwritten quid pro quo with corporations and the power elite, as well as our masters of war, on whom they depend for money, access and positions of influence. Those who expose this moral cowardice and collaboration with corporate power are always ruthlessly thrust aside.

The capitulation of the liberal class to corporate capitalism, as Irving Howe once noted, has “bleached out all political tendencies.” The liberal class has become, Howe wrote, “a loose shelter, a poncho rather than a program; to call oneself a liberal one doesn’t really have to believe in anything.” The decision to subordinate ethics to political expediency has led liberals to steadily surrender their moral autonomy, voice and beliefs to the dictates of the corporate state. As Dwight Macdonald wrote in “The Root Is Man,” those who do not make human beings the center of their concern soon lose the capacity to make any ethical choices, for they willingly sacrifice others in the name of the politically expedient and practical.

3 thoughts on “The value of independence

  1. Great find. Thanks for post.
    Hedges MQs:

    “prefers choreographed charade”
    “attempt to fight for primacy of justice…pariahs”
    “denounce as impractical yet sense to be true”
    “callous heart…callous heart”

    Not to mention, recieved wisdom withers in sunlight.
    Makes the dance a little funky, though ; )

  2. If only current U.S. military spending wasn’t 1/3rd of what it was (in terms of percentage of U.S. GNP) at the height of the Vietnam War, Hedges might have a point about military spending bankrupting America. What’s driving the deficit and debt is lower revenue thanks to successive income tax cuts. We can afford our military, if we’re willing to pay for it.

  3. An interesting point Hedges made was that the “liberals” always needed the more radical left to keep them honest, and that once they managed to get rid of the socialists and critics of capitalism they began to drift right over to the other side. A while ago I was doing some reading to understand the roles of Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern in that era, and I discovered that right after WW II, several young democrats in Minnesota (McCarthy and Hubert Humphrey most prominently) led a movement to separate the democratic party from its heritage in the populist and labor movements to protect themselves from “red” contamination. this group also got into the pro-military Scoop Jackson democrats. McCarthy was a conservative Catholic and no liberal; he was not even anti-war – he just suggested that we should negotiate and end to the war.

    My point is that without a group of people complaining, raising hell, threatening not to vote or starting third parties we have permitted the situation we have now to evolve. So when you have people telling you to calm down, shut up, accept the lesser evil, look on the bright side, the President has done more good than you think – look at this list! – it could have been a lot worse, look at what he had to work with (anything else I am forgetting?), just tell them that you are being a bitch for their own good.

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