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    Liberals are Useless

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    Liberals are Useless

    Postby Idahopotato » 08 Dec 2009 13:25

    I couldn't have said it any better myself:

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/liberals_are_useless_20091206/

    Truthdig

    Liberals Are Useless
    Posted on Dec 7, 2009

    By Chris Hedges

    Liberals are a useless lot. They talk about peace and do nothing to challenge our permanent war economy. They claim to support the working class, and vote for candidates that glibly defend the North American Free Trade Agreement. They insist they believe in welfare, the right to organize, universal health care and a host of other socially progressive causes, and will not risk stepping out of the mainstream to fight for them. The only talent they seem to possess is the ability to write abject, cloying letters to Barack Obama—as if he reads them—asking the president to come back to his “true” self. This sterile moral posturing, which is not only useless but humiliating, has made America’s liberal class an object of public derision.

    I am not disappointed in Obama. I don’t feel betrayed. I don’t wonder when he is going to be Obama. I did not vote for the man. I vote socialist, which in my case meant Ralph Nader, but could have meant Cynthia McKinney. How can an organization with the oxymoronic title Progressives for Obama even exist? Liberal groups like these make political satire obsolete. Obama was and is a brand. He is a product of the Chicago political machine. He has been skillfully packaged as the new face of the corporate state. I don’t dislike Obama—I would much rather listen to him than his smug and venal predecessor—though I expected nothing but a continuation of the corporate rape of the country. And that is what he has delivered.

    “You have a tug of war with one side pulling,” Ralph Nader told me when we met Saturday afternoon. “The corporate interests pull on the Democratic Party the way they pull on the Republican Party. If you are a ‘least-worst’ voter you don’t want to disturb John Kerry on the war, so you call off the anti-war demonstrations in 2004. You don’t want to disturb Obama because McCain is worse. And every four years both parties get worse. There is no pull. That is the dilemma of The Nation and The Progressive and other similar publications. There is no breaking point. What is the breaking point? The criminal war of aggression in Iraq? The escalation of the war in Afghanistan? Forty-five thousand people dying a year because they can’t afford health insurance? The hollowing out of communities and sending the jobs to fascist and communist regimes overseas that know how to put the workers in their place? There is no breaking point. And when there is no breaking point you do not have a moral compass.”

    I save my anger for our bankrupt liberal intelligentsia of which, sadly, I guess I am a member. Liberals are the defeated, self-absorbed Mouse Man in Dostoevsky’s “Notes From Underground.” They embrace cynicism, a cloak for their cowardice and impotence. They, like Dostoevsky’s depraved character, have come to believe that the “conscious inertia” of the underground surpasses all other forms of existence. They too use inaction and empty moral posturing, not to affect change but to engage in an orgy of self-adulation and self-pity. They too refuse to act or engage with anyone not cowering in the underground. This choice does not satisfy the Mouse Man, as it does not satisfy our liberal class, but neither has the strength to change. The gravest danger we face as a nation is not from the far right, although it may well inherit power, but from a bankrupt liberal class that has lost the will to fight and the moral courage to stand up for what it espouses.

    Anyone who says he or she cares about the working class in this country should have walked out on the Democratic Party in 1994 with the passage of NAFTA. And it has only been downhill since. If welfare reform, the 1999 Financial Services Modernization Act, which gutted the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act—designed to prevent the kind of banking crisis we are now undergoing—and the craven decision by the Democratic Congress to continue to fund and expand our imperial wars were not enough to make you revolt, how about the refusal to restore habeas corpus, end torture in our offshore penal colonies, abolish George W. Bush’s secrecy laws or halt the warrantless wiretapping and monitoring of American citizens? The imperial projects and the corporate state have not altered under Obama. The state kills as ruthlessly and indiscriminately in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan as it did under Bush. It steals from the U.S. treasury as rapaciously to enrich the corporate elite. It, too, bows before the conservative Israel lobby, refuses to enact serious environmental or health care reform, regulate Wall Street, end our relationship with private mercenary contractors or stop handing obscene sums of money, some $1 trillion a year, to the military and arms industry. At what point do we stop being a doormat? At what point do we fight back? We may lose if we step outside the mainstream, but at least we will salvage our self-esteem and integrity.

    I learned to dislike liberals when I lived in Roxbury, the inner-city in Boston, as a seminary student at Harvard Divinity School. I commuted into Cambridge to hear professors and students talk about empowering people they never met. It was the time of the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua. Spending two weeks picking coffee in that country and then coming back and talking about it for the rest of the semester was the best way to “credentialize” yourself as a revolutionary. But few of these “revolutionaries” found the time to spend 20 minutes on the Green Line to see where human beings in their own city were being warehoused little better than animals. They liked the poor, but they did not like the smell of the poor. It was a lesson I never forgot.

    I was also at the time a member of the Greater Boston YMCA boxing team. We fought on Saturday nights for $25 in arenas in working-class neighborhoods like Charlestown. My closest friends were construction workers and pot washers. They worked hard. They believed in unions. They wanted a better life, which few of them ever got. We used to run five miles after our nightly training, passing through the Mission Main and Mission Extension Housing Projects, and they would joke, “I hope we get mugged.” They knew precisely what to do with people who abused them. They may not have been liberal, they may not have finished high school, but they were far more grounded than most of those I studied with across the Charles River. They would have felt awkward, and would have been made to feel awkward, at the little gatherings of progressive and liberal intellectuals at Harvard, but you could trust and rely on them.

    I went on to spend two decades as a war correspondent. The qualities inherent in good soldiers or Marines, like the qualities I found among those boxers, are qualities I admire—self-sacrifice, courage, the ability to make decisions under stress, the capacity to endure physical discomfort, and a fierce loyalty to those around you, even if it puts you in greater danger. If liberals had even a bit of their fortitude we could have avoided this mess. But they don’t. So here we are again, begging Obama to be Obama. He is Obama. Obama is not the problem. We are.

    Chris Hedges, author of “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle,” will speak with other anti-war activists at Lafayette Park across the street from the White House at 11 a.m. Dec. 12 in a rally calling for the withdrawal of all American troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

    AP / Jens Meyer

    A woman in Germany selects a candy box with President Barack Obama’s face on it.
    A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion. Editor, Robert Scheer. Publisher, Zuade Kaufman.
    Copyright © 2009 Truthdig, L.L.C. All rights reserved.
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    Re: Liberals are Useless

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 08 Dec 2009 14:19

    Everyone on either extreme of the polical spectum is a fool, not totally useless, extremists have uses, but not very effective either. Someone could (and I'm sure has) easily write something just like this for conservatives. I could go on for years talking about how conservatives are a bunch of brainwashed idiots with an utter lack of both morality and perspective, and I could write something just as damning about liberals. The only way to make real progess is to grow some balls and admit that each side has valid points, and that the stubborness of each side is what really does the damage.
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    Re: Liberals are Useless

    Postby Idahopotato » 08 Dec 2009 14:42

    A Thing of Eternity wrote:Everyone on either extreme of the polical spectum is a fool, not totally useless, extremists have uses, but not very effective either. Someone could (and I'm sure has) easily write something just like this for conservatives. I could go on for years talking about how conservatives are a bunch of brainwashed idiots with an utter lack of both morality and perspective, and I could write something just as damning about liberals. The only way to make real progess is to grow some balls and admit that each side has valid points, and that the stubborness of each side is what really does the damage.


    It goes well behind that ATOE. Conservatives have traditionally had their rallying calls of "Gods, Guns, and Gays." And while I disagree with their stances (save perhaps the guns), they are able to mobilize people around them for calls to action. Many political experts attribute Bush's second presidency directly to the mass conservative turnout due to the myriad gay marriage ballot measures all across the country. It may be overstating the case, but then again it may not. The point is that the left has not had a major victory in my lifetime (Obama is hardly left and Clinton even less so) and most likely never will as long as they fail to mobilize. We have a war that has lasted longer than the Vietnam war and taken more casualties. Where are the million protesters in DC? We have the worst economic situation since the great depression. Where are the disenfranchised unemployed workers protesting? We have more 50 million people without health care, to which 20,000 plus deaths can be directly attributed. Where is the civil disobedience? Global warming is destroying our environment, our health, and our direct way of life. Where is the action against the coal and oil industries? Why is no one (save one example thus far) forcing the coal plants to shut down? Why take action when you can pop a bumper sticker on your Prius so the Whole Foods crowd can see just how much you care about the war/environment/working class etc.
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    Re: Liberals are Useless

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 08 Dec 2009 15:16

    You have a point, rightwingers do mobilize themselves better, especially if something goes against the church, or threatens their capitalism. I don't know why the left don't push harder, it'd be interesting to find out. I'm somewhat of an extemist in both directions, depending on the issue, and I don't identify as a liberal by any means, but I would rather see trends to the left than to the right, we have more than enough right as it is.

    I'm in Canada though, where our political waters are very muddy. Our leftwing parties don't command respect because most Canadians seem to be a near 50/50 split of capitalist/socialist and the leftwing parties rarely do anything significant to demonstrate that they can properly run the capitalist part of the country. The liberal party is pretty much the definition of what's wrong with politicians, they sway left and right not at all depending on what is "right" but on what they think will get them votes. And worst of all, our conservative party does a pretty good job of apearing harmless, thus removing that sense of urgent fear from the people who should be terrified of having them in power. I myself don't even get that concerned when the conservatives win, because while I know they have bad things planned, they're too chicken-shit to actually do what they want to, especially while they have a minority government (like now). If they had a majority I imagine the left would mobilize at least a little better out of fear.

    My dad is a good example, he's a very successful entreprenure, and is extremely capitalist in some ways. He'd never vote for the left parties, because he knows what he's talking about when it comes to economics, and knows that they sure as hell don't know what they're talking about. He's voted liberal in the past, but they've messed up too much lately to get his vote, and they're doing absolutely nothing to rebuild themselves. So he votes Conservative, despite the fact that they are the opposite of my dad's morals in 90% of their platform. Capitalist he may be, but he's also more socialist than he thinks he is, he wants rehab beds for every single person who wants to get clean (massive shortage right now), he wants better support for poor children, and he cares a lot about poverty overseas. He's got all kinds of plans for social reform companies in his future, and honestly I think a lot of what the conservatives stand for makes him ill, but he can't vote for idiots that will run the country into the ground either. The conservatives may be a pack of immoral hate-mongering USA suckups, but the country will continue to function under their command, and he doesn't think it would do so well with the other parties.

    So us well balanced Canadians are fucked when it comes to voting.
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    Re: Liberals are Useless

    Postby Idahopotato » 08 Dec 2009 16:44

    Sometimes I forget that you are Canadian. That changes the debate a bit. In this country, we don't have a legitimate left. We have the far right, and then the middle right. There are fringe elements on both the left and right, but for political purposes, there is no real left in this country. We have one socialist rep in this country, and for that matter I think we have only one out of the closet Atheist as well. We have a ton of liberals, but those are mostly the types that the article spoke about, which is exactly why I posted it. Our democrats are similar to your conservatives in that they are too afraid to do anything, even when they have the majority of the Senate, the majority of the House of Reps, the majority of governors and state legislators, the highest presidential popular vote ever, and at one time the largest approval rating of any sitting presidents in this country. Even with all of that, a fringe minority can hold up all serious discussion and effectively shift policy debate to the right. In our current healthcare debate, single-payer was off the table before the debate even started. The democrats have no concept of bargaining. Their strategy is no different than if I went to a car dealer with a high price of $20,000 in my mind, a goal of $15,000, and then started my first asking price at $22,000. And then scratching my head wondering why I ended up paying $35,000. But then again, how many of these congressmen have ever had to negotiate the price of a car, let alone have to worry about trying to decide between putting food on the table or paying their kids doctor bill.
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    Re: Liberals are Useless

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 08 Dec 2009 17:19

    Idahopotato wrote:Our democrats are similar to your conservatives in that they are too afraid to do anything.


    They're also pretty similar in policy. In some ways the democrats are maybe a little tiny bit more left than our furthest right party, but not by much and not very often. It makes it very confusing and angering for me talking with some Americans about politics, because anyone to the "right" in the US seems to think that the Dems are socialist, or are leftwing, when in reality the Dems are about as far rightwing as I think is sane for a political party to be. When Obama won I didn't think "oh yay, the liberals won, the US is great now", I thought "thank the god I don't believe in that the US just moved a half inch to the left and is now slightly less frightening in some ways". (I should say though that any single country as powerful as the US is frightening, regardless of their politics)

    I find myself often trying to wrap my head around an American veiwpoint of having been raised in an almost exclusively rightwing society (compared to the people I grew up with anyways), and a society that is largly religious fundamentalist/extremist.

    It's just so utterly different than my experience that I have a hard time comprehending it, despite the fact that the province I grew up in is the most rightwing province in Canada. Voting anything other than Conservative here is a joke, and Alberta is often referred to as the Texas of Canada. We're the only province in Canada that would get richer if we seperated. We used to be called the bible belt, very recently it was illegal to have a store open on a sunday. - but still, for all that, my experience is still so much further left than what the average American seems to get (seems, I didn't grow up in the US so all I have is an outside view, and of course the fanatics are louder and more visible, so I am guaranteed to be seeing a more right-wing america than reality) that I have a hard time even remotely putting myself in the shoes of someone who is actually scared of Obama because he's too "socialist" - to me that's roughly on par with believing that the Pope is too Jewish.


    I do apologise though, because I know many Americans are not that rightwing, and didn't have that extremist Christian, extremeist capitalist experience that I'm ranting about. What I say about is a broad generalization of what people in a more "left" country, and a country slightly better at keeping religion and politics seperate, see when they look at America. Obviously it is not an accurate or fair veiw, but it is a common view from up here.
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    Re: Liberals are Useless

    Postby Drunken Idaho » 08 Dec 2009 18:09

    Another Canadian here, Potato.

    I'll agree that the liberals in the US are largely useless. I find your Democratic Party to be a sad excuse for a Left Wing. I hate to sound like all the other critics, but there really is a lack of any spine in them. Watching this healthcare debate carry on, for instance, feels like watching a train wreck. And it pains me to say so, because I know that once (and if) you get a public option, you're whole friggin' country is going to love it. Maybe you'll get really lucky a few years down the line and score some Universal care. Do you ever hear about a country with socialized healthcare in talks about re-privatization? Sarah Palin's recent commentary on Canada's system doesn't count. The concept is laughable. None of your democrats seem to be properly representing the facts on that issue. Meanwhile, the conservatives are throwing every lie they can fathom at it.

    But even our own "Liberal" party (that's what it's called) is too conservative for my tastes. Harper and his conservatives can go to hell. NDP is much more up my alley, and I don't mind Jack Layton's views at all. Green Party is good too, but hard to take seriously sometimes.
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    Re: Liberals are Useless

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 08 Dec 2009 18:15

    Layton's a joke though, if they replaced him they'd do much better as a party. I know at least 1 person (me) who would be voting for them if they'd replace him, but since he's still in charge I'm out, have to vote for someone else. I know you agree with Jack's politics, and I'm not trying to be offensive, but all he does is toss insults aroung like a child. They all do that of course, but he is BY FAR the worst.
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    Re: Liberals are Useless

    Postby Drunken Idaho » 08 Dec 2009 18:21

    But what else can you do when you're the everlasting minority? :P

    He won me over during the last election we had. Each of the party leaders, except Layton, looked truly pathetic to me in the debates and on the issues.
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    Re: Liberals are Useless

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 08 Dec 2009 18:25

    Drunken Idaho wrote:But what else can you do when you're the everlasting minority? :P
    He won me over during the last election we had. Each of the party leaders, except Layton, looked truly pathetic to me in the debates and on the issues.


    Really? That's when he lost me, I actually thought he was fine, and handled himself well - untill the debates where I don't think he said one real thing. I think he just spouted catch phrases and insulted everyone else, and the only solid things he promised his party would do were obviously BS that would get tossed the second they were elected.

    Instead of just relying on making the other parties look bad, he could focus on making his own look good.

    ANYWAYS (how do we Canadians always derail the threads here?!) - the options for leftwing people in this country are poor.
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    Re: Liberals are Useless

    Postby Idahopotato » 08 Dec 2009 18:45

    A Thing of Eternity wrote:
    Idahopotato wrote:I do apologise though, because I know many Americans are not that rightwing, and didn't have that extremist Christian, extremeist capitalist experience that I'm ranting about. What I say about is a broad generalization of what people in a more "left" country, and a country slightly better at keeping religion and politics seperate, see when they look at America. Obviously it is not an accurate or fair veiw, but it is a common view from up here.


    No need to apologize. You are not far off. Not everyone in the US grew up in an extremist Christian household. Only about 80%. As for capitalist beliefs, that would be closer to 99%. We have a society of me first, you get what you deserve, the individual rules supreme, we all can be movie stars or at least wealthy as long as we work hard, the poor deserve to be poor, pull yourself up by your boot straps, blah blah blah.

    You are dead on Drunken Idaho when you talk about privatizing national health care systems. And while there has been a massive push in that direction from the financial interests in every one of the industrialized nations that have health care systems (meaning all save the US), not enough money out there has been able to pull it off. In this country, Medicare is in the same boat. They have been trying to privatize it since it first started. They even allowed private insurance to administer plans under the name Medicare advantage. It turns out that none of the companies could manage a Medicare plan without going bankrupt, so they lobbied congress to increase payment to them instead of traditional Medicare. It ended up costing tax payers an additional 20%+ so that these companies could make a profit. Even still, they weren't able to dismantle our only single-payer program. The funny thing is that a very large population that receives Medicare, have no idea that it is government administered. Hence the famous quote earlier this year from an elderly gentleman telling Obama to "keep your government out of my Medicare." As for the public option, well it won't work. The right has done a great job with convincing the rest of congress and policy wonks that private insurance couldn't compete with a good public option. Somehow suddenly competition is bad for the market. The public option now, if it even manages to make it in the final bill, will be merely a dumping ground for the sick so that insurance companies can continue to game the system.
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    Re: Liberals are Useless

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 08 Dec 2009 18:59

    I thought that was funny too, the whole "gov healthcare is going to run the private insurance companies out of business" propaganda from the right. Sure it will. Just like it did in Canada, where we "don't" have private insurance at all... :roll:

    That's gotta be in the top 5 most rediculous arguments ever put forth from the right on this whole healthcare issue.
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    Re: Liberals are Useless

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 08 Dec 2009 19:00

    Idahopotato wrote:
    A Thing of Eternity wrote:
    Idahopotato wrote:I do apologise though, because I know many Americans are not that rightwing, and didn't have that extremist Christian, extremeist capitalist experience that I'm ranting about. What I say about is a broad generalization of what people in a more "left" country, and a country slightly better at keeping religion and politics seperate, see when they look at America. Obviously it is not an accurate or fair veiw, but it is a common view from up here.


    No need to apologize. You are not far off. Not everyone in the US grew up in an extremist Christian household. Only about 80%. As for capitalist beliefs, that would be closer to 99%. We have a society of me first, you get what you deserve, the individual rules supreme, we all can be movie stars or at least wealthy as long as we work hard, the poor deserve to be poor, pull yourself up by your boot straps, blah blah blah.


    That said, I apologize anyways, as there a plenty of Americans on this site who do not fit into the stereotype I'm talking about.
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    Re: Liberals are Useless

    Postby loremaster » 09 Dec 2009 14:40

    It doesnt matter who you vote for, the government always get in.

    Isn't there a french phrase to the effect - plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose?

    And i dont know if this has ever been shared, British politics is getting quite heated with a general election imminent. Has anyone over the pond (or even over the channel?) heard of Boris Johnson? Some of his Gaffes put Dubbya to shame. And yet he is one of Britain's most popular politicians. No-one knows why, all i know is i'd vote for him in a second if he ran in my constituency.
    The HLP hasnt released Frank's notes yet, Brian hasn't got the handwriting quite right!
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    Re: Liberals are Useless

    Postby Apjak » 09 Dec 2009 16:27

    G. K. Chesterton said:

    The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected.
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