Mid-terms & the Collapse of Mediating Liberalism

My good friend Phil Harrison, (designer of this blog template) emailed me a link to The World Liberal Opportunists Made, which makes uncomfortable reading.

Writer Chris Hedges says,

The collapse of liberal institutions means those outside the circles of power are trapped, with no recourse, and this is why many Americans are turning in desperation toward idiotic right-wing populists who at least understand the power of hatred as a mobilizing force.

By liberal institutions he means the Democratic Party, the Churches, the press, the unions, and the arts. To be honest I found it a little sloganeering, like he was standing on a soapbox in Hyde Park rallying a crowd, providing little evidence for his assertions but plenty of passion. But part of me also thinks, we need a bit of this. Instead, from our leaders, we get idiotic statements of how we’re all in this together, or ‘tired and emotional’ suspicion and resentment.

The conclusion,

Capitalism, and especially corporate capitalism, was once viewed as a system to be fought. But capitalism is no longer challenged in public discourse. Capitalist bosses, men such as Warren Buffett, George Soros and Donald Trump, are treated bizarrely as sages and celebrities, as if greed and manipulation had become the highest moral good. As Wall Street steals billions of taxpayer dollars, as it perpetrates massive fraud to throw people out of their homes, as the ecosystem that sustains the planet is polluted and destroyed, we do not know what to do or say. We have been robbed of a vocabulary to describe reality. We decry the excesses of capitalism without demanding a dismantling of the corporate state. Our pathetic response is to be herded to political rallies by skillful publicists to shout inanities like “Yes we can!”

The liberal class is finished. Neither it nor its representatives will provide the leadership or resistance to halt our slide toward despotism. The liberal class prefers comfort and privilege to confrontation. It will not halt the corporate assault or thwart the ascendancy of the corporate state. It will remain intolerant within its ranks of those who do. The liberal class now honors an unwritten quid pro quo, one set in place by Bill Clinton, to cravenly serve corporate interests in exchange for money, access and admittance into the halls of power. The press, the universities, the labor movement, the arts, the church and the Democratic Party, fearful of irrelevance and desperate to retain their positions within the corporate state, will accelerate their purges of those who speak the unspeakable, those who name what cannot be named. It is the gutless and bankrupt liberal class, even more than the bizarre collection of moral and intellectual trolls now running for office, who are our most perfidious opponents.

I love straight talking. Are things much different here? What is to be done?

5 thoughts on “Mid-terms & the Collapse of Mediating Liberalism

  1. Great set of statements.Hard-hitting indeed

    I wonder if liberal institutions ever got a head of steam here..I think the liberal class has got lost within the twittering classes!

    Have the churches ever really got it?…universities in the North have always seemed complacent to me, Labour movement has folded in on itself, and the arts is obsessed with per-capita spending. The voluntary/community sector is being led by govt funding into service provision and in danger of losing its critical voice.

    But what to be done…!!? a radical rethinking of the civil (or good) society rather than the Tory big society – to reclaim some of this.

  2. I’m with you Jonny. I just wonder what we would define here as the ‘liberal institutions’. There is barely an institution untouched by sectarianism – the Unions possibly, but I agree with your assessment. And I laughed at the thought of the churches being thought of as a liberal institution. But I do think that the gospel has the capability of doing something new…though I’ve not much hope for its followers.

    Have you calmed down Tim?

  3. Agreed Glenn! Problem is that when a christian “movement” appears that is on the fringes of say, the evangelical mainstream, the mainstream eventually cherry-picks the acceptable bits of it, so the original movement is left a bit toothless. I think that’s happening with social watered-down to a simple church add-on.

    As to what are the liberal institutions in NI, dunno…I remember Billy Mitchell stating the Ulster League and Covenant was a profoundly liberal document!

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