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A good summation of Chris Hedges’ main points in ‘Death of the Liberal Class’ was found on the blog Law and Disorder. I have edited, corrected and changed the list a bit. As wealth has concentrated and taken over every institution of society, social injustice has sky-rocketed. The ruling elite who are benefitting from the current paradigm are blind to its toxic byproducts. As discussed in my previous post, I see such violent outbursts of antisocial behavior as a result of the current system.

The 19-year-old suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings has told interrogators that the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan motivated him and his brother to carry out the attack, according to U.S. officials familiar with the interviews.

The following bullet points will explain this belief further:

  • The pillars of liberal establishment, liberal religious institutions, labor, public education, esp. public universities, culture, the press and finally the Democratic Party, which made incremental or piecemeal reform possible – which watched out for the interests and the grievances of those outside of the narrow power elite – no longer function.
  • The term neo-liberalism is a reconfiguring of what it means to be a liberal in a democratic society. Neoliberalism is actually an ideology that prizes market fundamentalism and seeks a return to laissez-faire economics, i.e. unfettered capitalism. Community is devalued in favor of unregulated capitalism.
  • We have figures like Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Pelosi and others that continue to speak in the values of social liberalism but have betrayed every one of those values.
  • The subservience to Wall Street, the slavish catering to the permanent war economy, the failure to defend basic civil liberties, including habeas corpus – all of these have ultimately been embraced by the majority of the power elite so that a liberal is indistinguishable from a conservative on the core structural issues.
  • The liberal class and liberal institutions are traditionally allowed to function in a capitalist democracy because when there is a crisis within the society, they perform as a formal channel or mechanism within the power structure for injustices to be alleviated.
  • The New Deal: perfect example of how the liberal class functions.
  • The interests of the financial elite have usurped all of the pillars of the liberal establishment.
  • What kept the liberal class honest in the past were the populist movements which held fast to moral imperatives.
  • With the open-ended ‘War on Terror’, a culture of permanent war psychosis has been institutionalized by America’s ruling elite. Under such an atmosphere, social norms have degenerated, opening the door to demagogues.
  • With this gradual coup, which corporations have carried out in the United States beginning with Reagan and accelerated by Clinton and Bush, and certainly further by Obama, we’re left powerless; we have no mechanism to fight back.
  • The ruling elite understood that people were not moved to act primarily by fact or reason but could be manipulated through emotion. This is the result – we live in a society utterly saturated with lies.
  • The liberal class has been reduced to the status of courtiers to the financial elite. The term ‘limousine liberals’ comes from this situation. 
  • The corporate state is rapidly reconfiguring society into a form of neo-feudalism, where you have these speculators on Wall Street earning 900 thousand dollars an hour while at the same time you have families of four barely able to feed and sustain themselves. The ever-looming threat of medical bills is another scythe hanging over their heads.
  • The elite institutions of education which charge astronomical sums essentially provide education for the elite, while public education is gutted for the masses.
  • People are trained to work as cogs in the corporate structure. Inner city schools are turned into boot camps for the corporate machine; that’s what charter schools are about, along with the ability to break teachers unions.
  • Everybody has their place and a caste system is solidified. There’s no hope for escape. We are fed endless stories of the few rare exceptions of people breaking into the top 1%, to somehow make us think that we’re responsible for our own predicament.
  • The dismantling and co-opting of the liberal class by the financial elite is one of the most vicious things that has been visited upon the working class.
  • The weakening and dismantling of a true liberal class explains how we can stand by passively as millions of people are forced from their homes through foreclosures by banks, the wealth gap widens to even more grotesque disparities, and the environment is destroyed for short-term economic growth and profit.
  • As these grievances mount, there is no mechanism within the structures of power or traditional institutions by which these injustices can be ameliorated.
  • Social grievances become expressed in these very frightening proto-fascist movements, such as the Tea Party or right-wing demagogues and extremist groups who give legitimacy to this anger, rage and sense of betrayal.
  • While being cleverly deflected away from Wall Street, the anger of the disenfranchised is directed at government and the present-day hollow mirage of a “liberal class”. The hypocrisy of the so-called “liberal class” is readily apparent from those on the low-end of the economic spectrum.

I’ve often wondered why there are so many conspiracy theorists and paranoid thinkers in today’s society:

The Southern Poverty Law Center released a new report on Tuesday finding that “the number of conspiracy-minded antigovernment ‘Patriot’ groups reached an all-time high of 1,360 in 2012″ and that the number of hate groups has remained at “near record levels” of more than 1,000…. – source

If you have a mass media which is nothing more than a mouthpiece for the corporations and Empire, then the truth will be nearly impossible to discern. Such a society which cannot tell fact from propaganda or reality from fabricated illusions will be a breeding ground for conspiracy theorists and believers in the absurd. That’s exactly what we have today.