I've always liked Chris Hedges. But I've never heard him go on like this
Class struggle defines most of human history. Marx got this right. The sooner we realize that we are locked in deadly warfare with our ruling, corporate elite, the sooner we will realize that these elites must be overthrown. The corporate oligarchs have now seized all institutional systems of power in the United States. Electoral politics, internal security, the judiciary, our universities, the arts and finance, along with nearly all forms of communication, are in corporate hands. Our democracy, with faux debates between two corporate parties, is meaningless political theater. There is no way within the system to defy the demands of Wall Street, the fossil fuel industry or war profiteers. The only route left to us, as Aristotle knew, is revolt.
The problem is this: "Revolt" usually means shooting guns, and I imagine that Chris Hedges enjoys that prospect as little as I do.
As I always point out -- and as guys like Hedges always try to forget -- the only revolution likely to succeed in this country is one that old school liberals (such as yours truly) don't want to see. The rebels will surely go in another direction. This generation has been hit with incessant propaganda designed to make libertarianism
seem attractive, novel, effective, vibrant...revolutionary.
Savor the paradox: Libertarianism has caused most of our problems, yet millions of young idiots out there believe that libertarianism is the great untried solution.
directs our attention to this important piece
on the recent anti-NSA rally in DC:
Yet I cannot support this coalition or the rally. It is fatally compromised by the prominent leadership and participation of the Libertarian Party and other libertarian student groups; their hardcore ideology stands in direct opposition to almost everything I believe in as a social democrat.
The Libertarian Party itself — inaccurately described by Stop Watching Us as a “public advocacy organization” — is a right-wing political party that opposes all gun control laws and public healthcare, supported the government shutdown, dismisses public education, opposes organized labor, favors the end of Social Security as we know it, and argues in its formal political manifesto that “we should eliminate the entire social welfare system” while supporting “unrestricted competition among banks and depository institutions of all types.”
Yet my progressive friends would take the stage with the representatives of this political movement? Why? The loss is much greater than the gain. Organizers trade their own good names and reputations to stand alongside — and convey legitimacy to — a party that opposes communitarian participation in liberal society, and rejects the very role of government itself. And their own argument for privacy is weakened by the pollution of an ideology that uses its few positive civil liberties positions as a predator uses candy with a child.
Precisely. Excellent image, that.
Time and again, the libertarians have taken attractive positions on any number of non-economic issues: "No war! Pot good! NSA bad!"
That's their big gimmick. The ultimate goal is to talk you into dumping Social Security and ceding all power to the great corporations. They try to confuse you into thinking that you can't have legalized weed and
Social Security, that you can't have curbs on the spooks and
health inspections for your food.
Of course, each reader must decide when it is advisable to hop into a political bed with a strange bedfellow. I think the recent rally against the NSA was necessary -- and in so good a cause, I can tolerate a certain amount of Randroid companionship.
That said, Chris Hedge's call for revolution would, if widely heeded, frighten the hell out of me.
Let's think this through. Suppose we enter truly rebellious times. What will occur?
Obviously, the libertarians will commandeer that movement, just as they tried to commandeer the Occupy movement and all other recent movements. And I'm pretty sure they'll succeed in taking over the insurrection. Liberal-ish bookworms like me have no love for firearms or violence -- or, really, any kind of actual activity
. Deep down, we prefer talk talk talk
. That's our thing. It's what we do.
Libertarians are a different breed of cat. They all have delusions of Supermanhood. They want to take over -- they've made that point perfectly clear -- and they will use any means to achieve that goal.
Sorry, Chris. But given the present state of our political culture, I stand with those who say that revolution is not
the answer. Rebellion is a youngster's game, and I don't trust today's easily-hornswoggled young people. Most of 'em wouldn't know how to find a rock in a pile of rocks.