The Death of the Liberal Class

The Death of the Liberal Class

eBook - 2010
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The liberal class plays a vital role in a democracy. It gives moral legitimacy to the state. It makes limited forms of dissent and incremental change possible. The liberal class posits itself as the conscience of the nation. It permits us, through its appeal to public virtues and the public good, to define ourselves as a good and noble people. Most importantly, on behalf of the power elite the liberal class serves as bulwarks against radical movements by offering a safety valve for popular frustrations and discontentment by discrediting those who talk of profound structural change. Once this class loses its social and political role then the delicate fabric of a democracy breaks down and the liberal class, along with the values it espouses, becomes an object of ridicule and hatred. The door that has been opened to proto-fascists has been opened by a bankrupt liberalism

The Death of the Liberal Class examines the failure of the liberal class to confront the rise of the corporate state and the consequences of a liberalism that has become profoundly bankrupted. Hedges argues there are five pillars of the liberal establishment -- the press, liberal religious institutions, labor unions, universities and the Democratic Partynbsp;-- and that each of these institutions, more concerned with status and privilege than justice and progress, sold out the constituents they represented. In doing so, the liberal class has become irrelevant to society at large and ultimately the corporate power elite they once served.


From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: Toronto : Knopf Canada, 2010
ISBN: 9780307400833
0307400832
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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s
ScienceMommy
Jun 26, 2017

Occasionally I read a passage in a book that is so insightful, so lucid and so eye-opening that I feel compelled to write it down so I can quote it to others. This book is FILLED with many such paragraphs....
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Here is an excerpt from pages 9-10:
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"In a traditional democracy, the liberal class functions as a safety valve...it offers hope for change and proposes steps toward greater equality. It endows the state and the mechanisms of power with virtue....But the assault by the corporate state on the democratic state has claimed the liberal class as one of it's victims....the liberal class does not want to recognize the obvious because it does not want to lose its comfortable and often well-paid perch."
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And from page 142:
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"The final phase of total corporate control, which began with Ronald Reagan, saw the steady assimilation of corporate ideology into liberal thought."
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This is powerful and well -thought out book, by a remarkable journalist, with a long and distinguished career. It helped me to make sense of the fact that I used to really love NPR -- but increasingly in the past ten years, have found their stories to lack a true progressive perspective...probably no coincidence that this has been concurrent to an increase in tag lines touting their various sponsors.

a
Avantel
Mar 06, 2015

For all those folks who believe in miracles, this book is a real one! I am one of the few ones in USA to call himself a “liberal”. However, I have had to accept many critics from conservatives points and in general I’ve been upset with this class who cannot even call itself “liberal”. “Death of the Liberal Class” is the book that our nation should have read instead of rants by (M)ann Coulter and legions like her.

This is a book to remember the many Americans and situations that made our nation, such as union members, journalists and Communists!!!
You see how the very existence of this book is a true miracle here in our FoxNews/Republican/Tea Party devastated nation?!
Those forgotten people mentioned by author Chris Hedges were key in letting most people live well in America. Chris Hedges shows how the liberal movements eventually went derailed, they became useless and even toxic (such our entertainment media) or a plain betrayal to their ideals, such as workers unions and the Democrat Party, colleges, artists, the revered government (including IRS),etc.

blahblahblah345662 Sep 25, 2013

There was a previous comment stating "reality has a left-wing bias", and I agree, which is why I refuse to accept 'reality'. No longer will I imagine myself in the shoes of the working poor, and instead I will hyper-focus on non-economic issues. I will avoid this thing called 'facts' and information based on the 'scientific method'. It's a fast-paced world, and snap judgements work better. Dealing with 'reality' bums me out anyway, and it's easier to complain about people right in front of me anyway, instead of 'looking at the big picture'.
(but seriously, if you remove the velvet glove from the iron fist smashing us down, the reaction from it will be just as harsh.)

p
Paul_F_Sullivan
Mar 06, 2013

It's on my Re-read List.

s
StarGladiator
Jan 28, 2013

Chris Hedges, one of the foremost thinkers today in America (right there beside Michael Parenti, Prof. Michael Hudson, Prof. Donald Gibson, etc.), gets it perfectly right with this book, and is correct in going back so far (there are still too many people unaware of all the deletary legislation passed in 1913: the oil depletion allowance, the Federal Reserve Act, the 16th amendment to pay the interest to the bankers for the Federal Reserve Act, and the alteration of the tax and financial structure of foundations, allow for the hiding of wealth and ownership by the super-rich). All those lobbyists didn't spring up one day like so much fungus (although it sometimes appears that way). When a submediocre author, Jaclyn Friedman, appears out of nowhere to cast epithets and accusations at WikiLeaks' Julian Assange, it is important to know that she was published through Perseus Books, and that at that time, Perseus was owned by Perseus LLC, which was the official business address - - listed on their tax filings - - of "American Friends of Bilderberg, Inc." with the directors listed as: David Rockefeller, Henrey Kissinger, Richard Perle, and so on. So also, it is important to understand during the trial of the "assassin" of Sen. Bobby Kennedy back in 1968, the mystery witness brought forward -- when the original mystery witness was identified by 16 other witnesses as an olive-skinned brunette woman in her late 20s or early 30s, with a slight foreign accent - - is instead a petite Nordic-appearing blonde, late 'teens or 20 years of age, who was in a full leg cast and on crutches at the time, who would later go on to a career as a lobbyist working on the consolidation of the US media. --- This stuff all tracks!

j
jesussongwriter
Sep 07, 2011

This book is misguiding. To critique something like the liberal class you have to define it. Liberal or conservative is just an ideal or what we may call someone's position in politics and to me there is no such thing as a "liberal class". I got the feeling that the authors disappointment with the liberal class was just a disillusionment when he states that "liberal institutions were created to make the world a better place." The same is said of democracy and look at our electoral system.

b
bsevertsen
Aug 16, 2011

Very coherent analysis, including historic precedents on the self destruction of liberal institutions. If you still vote for the lesser of two evils, read this book.

j
johannsen36
Apr 27, 2011

Fantastic. Everyone should read this. One of the best I've ever read.

sit_walk Apr 11, 2011

Required reading.

i
ireader
Feb 23, 2011

For those of use saddened by the seemingly increasingly neo-con world we live in this is a wake up call. Perhaps overly negative treatment for the ills of society, but nonetheless very appropriate analysis.

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