- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Nation Books; 1 edition (October 17, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1568586442
- ISBN-13: 978-1568586441
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 150 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #686,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Death of the Liberal Class Hardcover – October 17, 2010
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The Amazon Book Review
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In this tsunami of terrifying revelations, juxtaposed truths, and demonstrated facts, Hedges (War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning) argues that the traditional beacons of the liberal class—the universities, media, church, labor unions, and arts–have sacrificed themselves completely to the dominance of corporate greed and unbounded capitalism. We are all to blame and everything moral about our democracy stands to be lost—is indeed already vanishing, in Hedges's view—and those who draw attention to it are banished and booed. While every page erupts with calamities of the human spirit worthy of their own irate broadcasts and bull-horned fury, Hedges is at his best when he unpacks the density of his polemic and embraces the power of his narrative. Regardless of form, however, his most interesting theses include the parallel between the current domestic climate and the fall of Weimar Germany and the conclusion that "Everything formed by violence is senseless and useless. It exists without a future. It leaves behind nothing but death, grief, and destruction." These insights come not just as warning, but as witness. (Nov.)
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The real danger to progressive social ideals is not President Obama’s failure to push through a more liberal agenda or the threat presented by the Tea Party and others pushing the Republicans more to the Right. Hedges argues that the true threat to liberalism is the long and gradual weakening of its ideals. Drawing on analysis and interviews from his long career as a journalist, including 15 years with the New York Times, Hedges chronicles the corruption of such bastions of liberalism as the Democratic Party, academia, and labor unions. He cites the NAFTA agreement and welfare reform during the Clinton administration and union coziness with corporations as recent examples of the merging of government and corporate interests to the detriment of the interests of the poor or even the middle class. He also reviews the long history of assassination and co-optation of radical voices in the U.S. and the singular career of Ralph Nader as a consistent voice against capitalist excess. This is a thoughtful analysis of why and how liberals have compromised principles due to the allure of power and wealth. --Vanessa Bush
Top customer reviews
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Reading this work by Chris Hedges is like having a dear, close, trusted even admired friend who seems so sad and you say "Tell me what is troubling you."
You may wish you had not posed the question, for your world view will never be as before.
Hedges contrast Truth and Justice against Power and Influence and shows the two camps do not coexist. You will be asked to choose a side and live and work there. You may not wish to make that choice. If so, do not read this book, it's a powerful piece.
"... liberal principles were egregiously betrayed to protect careers, to preserve access to the powerful. Liberals conceded too much to the power elite.
"The tragedy of the liberal class and the institutions it controls is that it succumbed to opportunism and finally to fear. It abrogated its moral role. It did not defy corporate abuse when it had the chance. It exiled those within its ranks who did. And the defanging of the liberal class not only removed all barriers to neofeudalism and corporate abuse but also ensured that the liberal class will, in its turn, be swept aside."
`The future is not bright' is a growing awareness that has its roots in many sectors of society today, and while causes mount in abundance saviors may be a long time in coming. Down into the dark tunnel and hope light will appear in time.
OK, but it is a great work and puts words and reasons behind the story of our times. Backing up at least to Woodrow Wilson's, where others might have chosen a more recent period as a turning point, the author unraveled a sad tale. Chris Hedges does mark the election of "Reagan, the corporate pitchman" as a point for acceleration into the following decades of corporate control of all branches of society; media, journalism, academia, government, religion and even art.
Perhaps the bright light is that Hedges lays one root cause as being the liberal classes' acceptance of the permanent war establishment and its propaganda successes from the Wilson era on. A time could come when that is finally viewed as too foolish to support any longer. Let's hope -- not likely is it?
Suffer if you must, but do not miss this seminal work from the Conscience of Our Time Chris Hedges. He is a master at answering the many requests for "why", Verifiable facts.
Get this book. It will shake you out of your dogmatic slumbers. Unless you'd rather be an ostrich.
The foundations for classical liberalism were laid by Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), John Locke (1632-1704), and Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677). The work of these theorists was expanded in the eighteenth century by the Scottish moral philosophers, the French philosophes and the early architects of American democracy. The philosopher John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) redefined liberalism in the nineteenth century to call for the redistribution of wealth and the promotion of the welfare state.
According to Hedges, the liberal era , which flourished in the latter part of the nineteenth century and early part of the twentieth, was characterized by the growth of mass movements and social reforms that addressed working conditions in factories, the organizing of labor unions, women's rights, universal education, housing for the poor, public health campaigns, and socialism. This era effectively ended with World War I. The New Deal was the final political gasp of classical liberalism.
Over the past three decades, ever since the Reagan administration, the liberal class has failed to protect the minimal interests of the working and middle class as corporations dismantled the democratic state, looted the U.S. Treasury, waged imperial wars that can neither be afforded nor won, and gutted the basic laws that protected the interests of ordinary citizens. The state has put the liberal class on a death march. Liberals did not protest the stripping away of the country's manufacturing base, the dismantling of regulatory agencies, and the destruction of social service programs.
Discontent and unrest are beginning to be fueled by the coup d'tat we have just experienced but the liberal class lacks the capacity or imagination to respond to this discontent. Because of this, revolt will come from the right as it did in other eras of bankrupt liberalism, in Nazi Germany, fascist Italy, and tsarist Russia. One of the great and tragic ironies of history is that this revolt will be funded, organized, and manipulated by the corporate forces that caused the collapse. But the blame lies with the liberal class.
Hedges concludes on a most depressing note: "We stand on the verge of one of the bleakest periods in human history, when the bright lights of civilization will blink out and we will descend for decades, if not centuries, into barbarity."
Most recent customer reviews
first heard him talking about the book on canadian radio a few years back, kind of made sence .Read more