Trump's Liberal Allies

Posted on March 10, 2017

Jan van Eijck

Journalist and author Chris Hedges

Journalist and author Chris Hedges

This blog is meant to draw attention to the analysis of Chris Hedges of how the liberal elite is failing in its task to organize a credible and effective opposition to right wing populism. See, read and share his post Donald Trump’s Greatest Allies Are the Liberal Elites. This was published in truthdig on March 5, 2017.

Hedges contrasts the moral crusade of the liberal elite against Trump that we can witness right now on Facebook and on Twitter with the complacency with which that same elite accepted the build-up of the security and surveillance state during the Clinton, Bush Jr and Obama presidencies. Why did they keep largely silent when the criminals of Wall Street were bailed out? Why didn’t they protest more loudly against the drone war that Bush Jr started and that Obama continued? Why didn’t they protest when 2.3 million men and women, mostly people of color, were locked away in a partly privatized prison system where they are kept for profit? Why did they do nothing when the US election process was gradually turned into a farce by the unlimited influence of big money in campaigns financed by the corporate state?

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer prize winning, well known New York Times journalist who was kicked out of his NYT job because he was doing the right thing: keep reporting what he believed was the truth about the Iraq war. He is one of a small bunch of US journalists who managed to stay loyal to their true calling, in George Orwell’s sense: to speak the truth that someone else does not want to hear. That’s why he is now considered as a fringe left-wing radical by the mainstream elite. But the elite had it wrong in a dramatic way when Trump came to power. Maybe it is time for us to start listening again to people like Chris Hedges.

Here is a quote from his post, to whet your appetite, where Hedges has the following to say about the Democratic party:

A genuine populism, one defined and often articulated by Bernie Sanders, could sweep the Democratic Party back into power. Regulating Wall Street, publicly financing campaigns, forgiving student debt, demanding universal health care, bailing out homeowners victimized by the banks, ending the wars in the Middle East, instituting a jobs program to repair our decaying infrastructure, dismantling the prison system, restoring the rule of law on the streets of our cities, making college education free and protecting programs such as Social Security would see election victory after election victory.

But this will never happen within the Democratic Party. It refuses to prohibit corporate money. The party elites know that if corporate money disappears, so do they.

Hedges’ conclusion is that the liberal elite in the US right now is just as bankrupt as the Russian liberal class was at the end of the 19th century. The post ends with a quote from Fyodor Dostoevski’s Notes from the Underground, where the Underground Man laments that in his period in Russian history it is impossible to be at the same time a thinking, intelligent man and an active man of character.

We must hope that the intellectual elite of today can quickly learn some harsh lessons from the past.