The Death of the Liberal Class
That piercing stench is the aroma of failure and betrayal lying in a dumpster outside a lobbyist’s condo. Chris Hedges, toting his kit, approaches the body and examines it for evidence of foul play. A uniform steps aside, giving Hedges room. He bends down and opens the surprisingly fat wallet. It is clear that the vic was once a powerful presence, as Hedges can see from the wallet’s contents, scattered about the corpse. The Social Security card is worn at the edges, but it remains ...more
Hedges is certainly correct that the liberal class has abandoned the historical objectives of liberalism—that of defending real, progressive democratic reform—but he greatly generalizes the differences ...more
I really liked most of this book. It's a great work for anyone that wants to understand the outrage that has kindled movements like Occupy Wall Street. Piece by piece Hedges indites the liberal institutions that are supposed to make us think and edge progress along. He rightly points out that what we tend to call liberals today (and are yelled about on such outlets as Fox news) have basically sold out to corporate culture in or ...more
Hedges' thesis is that there is a set of social instutions (press, liberal churches, universities, artists, labor unions, and the Democratic Party) that have historically advocated the interests of the poor, working, and middle class ...more
Chris Hodges is a radical. He is a vociferous critic of what is wrong with America and the human race, and many of his ideas strike a receptive chord in a lot of people who don’t go quite as far as he does, but still appreciate his thoughts. For the most ...more
By that definition, it's easy to take most of todays politicians who claim to be liberals to the cleaners for neglecting, or outright defiling, their ...more
In THE DEATH OF THE LIBERAL CLASS, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges argues that the increasing irrelevancy of the liberal class -- a class that has historically helped to champion the needs of the poor, the working class, and even th ...more
"History has shown time and again that when the liberal class ceases to function, as happened in Tsarist Russia, Weimar Germany, and the former Yugoslavia, it always opens a Pandora's Box of evils that infect the remnants of a civil society."
Mass communication technologies and propaganda killed populism.
The cultural embrace of simplification has banished complexity and pushed to the margins difficult, original, or unfamiliar ideas. (p.88)
The book goes through the history of the liberal class, what it's purpose was supposed to be and how that got convoluted and then dismantled entirely. Keeping us in a ...more
Despite a fair amount of hyperbole, Hedges makes a fair argument that we are currently living in a corporate controlled "inverse totalitarian state" in which the progressive movement, once so strong during the early part of the the 19th century has been completely co-opted and is now impotent to make any real political changes without radical civil disobedience.
One thing that I enjoyed about this book was its vignettes of different progressive historical movemen ...more
As I generally do, I was listening to National Public Radio (my driving companion when I'm not listing to gangster rap) and I first heard a story Hedges Laments The 'Death Of The Liberal Class'. I was struck listening to Hodges talk about his life and the liberal class. It was a soon after that that I ended up being at Barnes & Nobel and quickly bought the book when I saw it. You must understand that this is about a year (I don't know why it took me so long to read it, it was really good), a...more
Some of us are old enough to remember the last wave of genuine dissidents who made a difference. Some of them were actual US Senators; Fulbright and Proxmire and Hatfield spring to mind, with others like Wellstone an ...more
Quoting John Gray, classical liberalism has four principle features or perspectives: it is individualist, in that it asserts the moral primacy ...more
But it's only an expression; it won't convince anyone who isn't inclined to believe this way already. I buy about a th ...more
Some trade unionists may find Hedges' criticism of "liberal institutions" within which he includes Unions, uncomfortable. Others may find it a refreshingly honest analysis, not of what Unions have done wrong, but what they've failed to do right.
Hedges' definition of the liberal class, and its institutions, though debatable on scope, can be useful in understanding complacency and ineffectiveness of various progressive forces, organizations etc.
Aside from his co ...more
Hedges is known as the best-selling author of War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2002), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.
Chris Hedges is currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute in New York Ci ...more
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The wounded, the crippled, and the dead are, in this great charade, swiftly carted offstage. They are war's refuse. We do not see them. We do not hear them. They are doomed, like wandering spirits, to float around the edges of our consciousness, ignored, even reviled. The message they tell is too painful for us to hear. We prefer to celebrate ourselves and our nation by imbibing the myths of glory, honor, patriotism, and heroism, words that in combat become empty and meaningless.”