Liberalism’s Death Bell Tolls, Part 2: How the Left Became Irrelevant
Richard Gale and Gary Null
Progressive Radio Network, March 5, 2013
In 2012, liberalism handed Obama a second opportunity to honor his earlier campaign slogan “change we can believe in”. And once again, following Obama’s inauguration and State of the Union speeches, the liberal left fell for the Obama charm. It forgave Obama for his many broken promises during his first term; it forgot his habit of saying anything to please anyone in order to win support. What is obscene in this gesture was the liberal faction’s hubris in pardoning Obama for a litany of betrayals, policies, executive orders, and secretive negotiations against the American people for which the president never sought forgiveness. This was supposed to be the administration that would be unquestionably committed to accountability and transparency. However, the Obama regime has already far exceeded its GOP predecessor in the number of documents classified secret and the number of Freedom of Information Act requests denied; almost half a million were denied between 2008-2009 alone.
Nassim Taleb, author of The Black Swan, wrote “Charm is the ability to insult people without offending them” and this is the kind of disdain Obama has displayed towards American citizens who have kept him in power. As 40,000 people stood in the cold on the National Mall to demand that the administration take dramatic steps to tackle climate change before the planet reaches a point of catastrophic environmental free fall, Obama judged that golfing with Tiger Woods should be a higher priority. The irony of these polar images represents the arrogance and self-obsession Obama has shown towards power and domination and his callous disregard for the voices of environmental sanity that can see the big picture over and beyond the technocrats hovering about the White House’s inner sanctum.
Central to Obama’s agenda of hope for America were his proclamations about political party compromise. Since the GOP, the FOX network and neocon media, the billionaires behind the Tea Party, ALEC, and the private corporate elite controlling the political right already proved themselves morally bankrupt and traitors of democracy and freedom, why would compromise be thought as a means to inaugurate the kind of urgent changes necessary to restore balance and harmony and lessen the inequality gap? So, we must ask, what happens when ideas that are sensible and life-affirming (e.g., Obama’s first campaign promises) compromise with failure and deception (e.g., the GOP and the agenda of the 1 percent)? This is the real Obama deception: a charm and intellect that shields a deep and frightening moral weakness to act according to the higher ideals of tolerance, compassion and justice that could truly change the direction of the nation and lessen the insanity, psychopathology and maliciousness that has become our national anthem. Moreover, the duplicity that now characterizes the Obama White House is equally rife throughout corporate liberalism.
In 2008, candidate Obama ran on a promise of stronger government accountability and greater transparency. His promises also included government making private industry accountable on condition of receiving public funding. Wherever we find corruption in the world today, a lack of accountability and transparency is close at hand. This is the code behind all criminal cartels and syndicates.
During a TED Talk, Trinidadian economist and activist Afra Raymond defined “corruption” as “abuse of trust for the benefit of yourself, friends and financers.” In a democracy, which relies on the expenditure of public funds, corruption manifests when the government secretly funds programs against the will of the people. In such cases, tax dollars go directly to corporate and corporate-sponsored entities that threaten the quality of life rather than protect and preserve it.
Having again rallied around Obama, the faux liberal media—Huffington Post, the entire MSNBC lineup, The Nation, Democracy Now, Alternet, Mother Jones, Daily Kos and others—has in Chris Hedges’s words, “betrayed the core values they [liberals] use to define themselves—the rule of law, the safeguarding of civil liberties, the protection of unions, the preservation of social welfare programs, environmental accords, financial regulation, a defiance of unjust war and torture, and the abolition of drone wars.”
During the early decades of the twentieth century, these ideals and causes would have been a standard platform of causes to define the progressive agenda with a liberal perspective. Modern progressivism’s roots began with La Follette’s Weekly, a publication founded by Senator Robert La Follette in 1909. Today the magazine is known as The Progressive, and still remains a leading voice against war, militarism and the oligarchic demands to keep the death machine functioning in Washington. How many major corporations and financial institutions have publicly expressed opposition to the escalation of America’s wars and the new lethal military technologies, such as air drones and bioweapons, that have earned the US such disdain and condemnation from other nations and populations around the world? Such companies can’t be found because in a full blown oligarchy and during a war economy they are the government’s partners in crime and among the building blocks of fascism.
The liberal media today finds itself incapable of reporting to Americans the true state of the nation’s affairs. Liberalism has failed and will continue to botch efforts to create a reliable story because it has not been able to move beyond the Red-Blue divide. Its downfall has been its inability to accept and support alternative choices. For this reason, liberals continue to blame Ralph Nader for Bush’s victory and remain irrationally apologetic to Obama and the Democratic party. According to the progressive platform, this lunatic argument reconfirms how impoverished liberalism has become.
No longer should we rely on what the liberal left or the conservative right tells us about the state of the nation and America’s role in the world. Both institutions are bereft of ethical and spiritual substance. The right suffers from pre-rational superstition and anti-intellectualism that has turned the US into a laughing stock among developed countries. The left suffers from a highbrow intellect and a poverty of spirit that was once, and could be again, a moral and revolutionary force to relieve suffering and fight on behalf of peace and human and civil rights.
Richard Gale is the Executive Producer of the Progressive Radio Network and the former head of communications for the State of the World Forum and the Gorbachev Foundation. Dr. Gary Null is the host of the nation’s longest running public radio program on natural health and the environment and a multi-award-winning director of progressive documentary films, including War on Health: The FDA Cult of Tyranny (2011) and Seeds of Death: Unveiling the Lies of GMOS (2012).