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Death of the Liberal Class
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on August 8, 2013

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.
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on January 7, 2014
Chris Hedges zeros in on the shallowness and cowardice of the supposed "Left" in America and shows them for what they are: Corporate Fellatio Artists ( not as proud and eager about it as Republicans are , tho). He lays out his case like a legal proof, point by point. This is not a happy book, none of his books are, but it is required reading if you ever ask yourself why don't the "progressives" and Democrats in Congress ever get anything done, or why do they always cower in front of the Republican blackmailers. Hedges also exposes the media as the handmaidens of Corporate interests and not the public good. Which is why you hardly ever see him on any cable news shows. They don't want him telling the truth on their airwaves and the truth is this: the game is rigged by and for some of the most depraved people on the planet.

Get this book. It will shake you out of your dogmatic slumbers. Unless you'd rather be an ostrich.
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on May 21, 2011
This is a depressing book for it offers no hope. It chronicles the death of the liberal class - the sine qua non of a truly civilized democratic society. In a traditional democracy, says Hedges, the liberal class functions as a safety valve. It makes piecemeal and incremental reform possible. It offers hope for change and proposes gradual steps toward greater equality. It endows the state and the mechanisms of power with virtue.
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."
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on November 11, 2017
Hedges is a valuable intellect in these dark times. His writing (and speaking) is riveting and important. He introduces the reader to other intellectuals and ideas that add even more to the conversation. This is conversational and engaging reading and to amplify another reviewer, I not only learn something every time I read Hedges, but his writing helps me make sense of the world. It may be unsettling reading at times, but so is that foreboding feeling when you know things are very wrong, but you can't quite find the words to truly explain and describe those ills.or their origins.
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on August 12, 2014
(This is not so much a review but a reaction)Here I am at 2am on a weekday morning, just finished reading this book. I couldn't put it down, I binged read it like you binge watch Breaking Bad for the first time on Netflix. And now I'm just trying to process it. I'm trying to process it not because the message isn't clear but because is too clear, it packed so much, and it argued so well. It convinced me, I'm a convert. Liberals have failed the ones they claim to defend, and the price is being paid by the disenfranchised. But the price will be paid eventually by all, if not with complete societal collapse á la Roman Empire, it'll be paid with what seems by now inevitable environmental disaster. It seems like an unwinable battle. Acts of rebelry is what he recommends. Little acts in my case-support the alternative press and "dissident" authors, share this book and its ideas with friends, and support geniune grass roots movements. These seem inconsequential but what else to do, despair is not an option.

Is this how you write a review? This is my first time.
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on April 9, 2014
This is the first book I've read of Chris Hedges. I had to be cautious with the highlighter as there are gems of insight on every page, gems that would dry out the highlighter as his writing also tends to have rather lengthy sentences and even longer quotes. While this can slow the reading a bit it also deepens it. For Hedges, context matters. Just a short excerpt from it upset a friend of mine. He agreed with everything but took exception to Hedge's use of the term "liberal." Prepare to be challenged. Liberals have largely sold out to gain access to a system that is ever more dominated by corporate money interests. For those interested in more than a cosmetic face-lift of society, this is an important book. The ecosystem is on the verge of collapse and more people are falling through the cracks of a system that no longer cares for people. The Death of the Liberal Class helps the reader understand why.
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on November 11, 2015
The institutions that we in the working class have depended on in the past to defend our interests: trade unions, human rights organizations, universities, churches and the liberal wing of the Democratic Party have either been coopted or decimated by the ruling class power structure. It now befalls on all of us to exercise our constitutional rights to mobilize and revolt against the corporate power structure waging class war on us and the environment. This book is extremely important in the face of the 2016 elections around the corner. We have put too much faith in electoral politics.
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on September 18, 2015
Great read. Chris Hedges may be dismissed by many in the halls of power as a radical leftist, but he has a fierce intellect and great writing style that weave a compelling historical argument that liberalism is on life support in America, to the detriment of the 99%.
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on September 18, 2014
It's all true. It isn't subjective at all. A liberal, as Mr. Hedges might describe one, would read this book and if asked the question if the book was true or not would answer that it was ' good read' or better yet, that it was "thought provoking." The liberal class of which he speaks is so aloof, detached, vain, and indifferent , they wouldn't even recognize themselves in this book. They are every bit as bad as the neo-cons but in a different way. The neo-cons act upon their convictions, as sick as those convictions might be. The educated white liberals,always taking the moral high ground, posture themselves, pretending to have convictions that run counter to the neo-cons They never act upon those conviction though. .Instead, they leave it to the poor, the minorities, and the working class to fight the ' good ' fight, while they make their annual donations to the Sierra club and PBS.
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on March 2, 2016
Begin with Hedges. Read everything. Then get Nader. Seek them out.
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