The Absurdity of Liberalism: Response to Chris Hedges
November 7, 2010 9 Comments
This past week both Chris Hedges and Dr. Paul Craig Roberts spoke of the end of liberalism – that is no, or never has really been, a true left-wing movement in America. I think saying there never has been goes too far, but it illustrates the ever-prevalent fallacies and contradictions that are staring everyone in the face – liberalism doesn’t really exist. It’s a fantasy. Let’s examine Chris Hedges’ essay and see why this is. Hedges argues in “The Phantom Left” as follows:
“The loss of a radical left in American politics has been catastrophic. The left once harbored militant anarchist and communist labor unions, an independent, alternative press, social movements and politicians not tethered to corporate benefactors. But its disappearance, the result of long witch hunts for communists, post-industrialization and the silencing of those who did not sign on for the utopian vision of globalization, means that there is no counterforce to halt our slide into corporate neofeudalism. This harsh reality, however, is not palatable. So the corporations that control mass communications conjure up the phantom of a left. They blame the phantom for our debacle. And they get us to speak in absurdities.”
First of all, this assumes that the loss of a “radical left” is a good thing. Hedges even cites a loss of communism and independent press, as if these were truly organic, natural and neutral institutions that arose to combat the purportedly oppressive bourgeoisie. In other words, he appears to still believe the classical Marxist and leftist dream – that man is not fallen and basically good at heart, simply in need of more education and more government programs. The big fat pink (or red) elephant staring everyone in the face is that ” there are smart people who understand worldviews and the power of giving people a narrative to believe in. The corporate elite created communism as a way to attain real assets through a central bank that taxes the so-called wealthy. In other words, Hedges blames the very thing that created communism and anarchism as tools for useful idiots. Having a liberal pontificate and tell us about the ills of our culture is like having Spongebob lecture us on marine biology.
Why is this? Because liberalism is a fantasy. It’s a life of contradiction – the liberal educates himself and ascends the left power structure and becomes an accomplished author and takes the “critical stance” to use the Frankfurt School’s lingo, and snobbishly engages in moral platitudes. This is pure contradiction and double-mind. Why? Because liberalism is born of pure relativism. Relativism says there are no objective morals or standards, and so every man “follows the dictates of his own heart” (Jer. 23:17). Every liberal knows he accepts this worldview and that this is his fundamental operating principle. But no one really lives this way. Does Hedges live in the ghetto? I doubt it. Shouldn’t a true liberal who believes in radical egalitarianism and equality move to the poorest, most crime-ridden neighborhoods and properly educate the thugs? None of these leftists do that, and thus they live a fantasy. It’s fact that some people are better than others, and can perform tasks better than others. it’s a fact that some people are more talented than others at certain things. But liberalism cannot face this, and so, because of envy, must try to level the playing field.
Hedges says he doesn’t like the slide towards utopian globalization. What? He had just rebuked the loss of true, authentic anarchism and communism. Well, who on earth does he think gave us globalization? Communism – “The Internationale.” And the Internationale was created by big banks and think tanks – the very thing Hedges claims to hate. He should read Anthony Sutton, as I always tell liberals to do. And then, after reading Sutton, he should take some courses in philosophy and logic, since it should be clear that the “true left” amounts to relativism, and relativism hasn’t a leg to stand on. In fact, it is liberalism/relativism that produced modernity, which Hedges fusses about. So Hedges has the “corporate” “right” guilty of conjuring up the myth of a dangerous left, when it was the corporate banking elite that created the movements he defends.
Hedges is correct, however, when he continues about Glenn Beck, John Stewart and Stephen Colbert:
“The two comics evoked the phantom left, as the liberal class always does, in defense of moderation, which might better be described as apathy. If the right wing is crazy and if the left wing is crazy, the argument goes, then we moderates will be reasonable. We will be nice. Exxon and Goldman Sachs, along with predatory banks and the arms industry, may be ripping the guts out of the country, our rights—including habeas corpus—may have been revoked, but don’t get mad. Don’t be shrill. Don’t be like the crazies on the left.”
I am glad someone on the left has awakened to this. But guess what – this isn’t a new idea. This is the kind of inconsistency the “far right” which Hedges invokes throughout, has been pointing out and critical of, all along. Again – Santayana: “Liberalism ends in anarchy, or to avoid anarchy, imposes its will on an unliberal world. But by imposing its will, it ceases to be liberal, and is become despotic.” What Hedges criticizes in liberalism is just the flaw that the right has pointed out all along – it ends up being inconsistent with its own foundational principles. A truly consistent liberal would be a pure and total anarchist. But anarchists end up needing leaders and hierarchs, and damn, that sure does screw the egalitarianism up. Hedges goes on to criticize the fake left for reactionary stance against the tea party and for selling out Democratic values for money. So, in other words, a liberal/relativistic position sold out. A relativistic position was not consistent with it’s “principles.” Let that sink in. Should this surprise anyone? And not only should it not be surprising, on what grounds does Hedges critique it? The issue here isn’t the tea party or opposition to it. The issue is the worldview of a liberal, which I am critiquing on its own grounds. I applaud Hedges for criticizing the false left. But I am simply saying it’s the outworking of leftism/relativism to do just that, and if liberalism is true (which is nonsensical and constradictory), then there is nothing inherently or universally wrong in being contradictory or unprincipled.
“Fox News’ Beck and his allies on the far right can use hatred as a mobilizing force because there are tens of millions of Americans who have very good reason to hate. They have been betrayed by the elite who run the corporate state, by the two main political parties and by the liberal apologists, including those given public platforms on television, who keep counseling moderation as jobs disappear, wages drop and unemployment insurance runs out.”
What did Santayana say? Liberalism becomes despotic. It is a stupid fantasy to know history, to know that liberalism ends in a despotic facade, and to continue living the lie, playing a dungeons and dragons role as liberal dungeon mage. It’s not real because it never has been real. It’s a great choice of words - ”phantom left” because there never has been a left. The left is an alternate right masquerading as light. It has its hierarchy, its saints, its devotees, its holy books and its churches. Have the people been betrayed by a corporate elite? Yes. Who has always pointed that out? The right. Why? Because there will always be elites and hierarchy. So be unprincipled and unscrupulous? No. Only if God exists and has standards is there a basis for a true right. Otherwise, as is often the derision, there is “fascism.” What is fascism? It is the other bastard child of liberalism. Liberalism and fascism are both corporate creations of the controlling elite. But if God exists, then no collectivist state and no great dictator can claim to be God on earth. Thus God is the great protection against the apotheosis of the state or the corporation or the Party Leader. This is the “true right.”
The goal of the social engineers was always a synthesis of the dialectic of communism and fascism. Of socialism and capitalism – to achieve the hybrid union of the two polar opposites. And no one has consistently railed agianst this, but the classical “right,” who knows that reality is not a Hegelian magical dialectic, that is controlled by synthesis, but that it is a system of right and wrong, good and evil. That is the real dialectic. So while Hedges says he disparages the middle of the road blob the left has become, this is all the more absurd, since it is the dialectical synthesis – the third way – that has always been the goal of the left. We need no hermaphrodite monster from the union of opposites. Hedges says politics has become spectacle. Liberalism has always been spectacle, and it has been so because it is not based in reality. The continuation of Hedges’ piece is good, and should be acknowledged as such. I applaud him for recognizing the flaws in the mainstream political spectrum. By doing such, he has taken a step in a very elitist direction. He has taken the right step.