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The points of view put forward here represent the thinking of an individual that does not believe in the political process, and one that believes that change can come from inside the process. Fascinating stuff.
CHRIS HEDGES: Well, that’s precisely what we’re trying to do. There is a point where you have to—do I want to keep quoting Ralph?—but where you have to draw a line in the sand. And that’s part of the problem with the left, is we haven’t.
I covered the war in Yugoslavia, and I find many parallels between what’s happening in the United States and what happened with the breakdown of Yugoslavia. What is it that caused this country to disintegrate? It wasn’t ancient ethnic hatreds. It was the economic meltdown of Yugoslavia and a bankrupt liberal establishment that, after the death of Tito, until 1989 or 1990, spoke in the language of democracy, but proved ineffectual in terms of dealing with the plight of working men and women who were cast out of state factories, huge unemployment and, finally, hyperinflation.
And the fact is that these neoliberal policies, which the Democratic Party is one of the engines for, have created this right-wing fascialism. You can go back—this proto-fascism. You can go back and look at the Weimar, and it—Republic—was very much the same. So it’s completely counterintuitive. Of course I find Trump a vile and disturbing and disgusting figure, but I don’t believe that voting for the Democratic establishment—and remember that this—the two insurgencies, both within the Republican Party and the—were against figures like Hillary Clinton, who spoke in that traditional feel-your-pain language of liberalism, while assiduously serving corporate power and selling out working men and women. And they see through the con, they see through the game.
I don’t actually think Bernie Sanders educated the public. In fact, Bernie Sanders spoke for the first time as a political candidate about the reality the public was experiencing, because even Barack Obama, in his State of the Union address, was talking about economic recovery, and everything was wonderful, and people know that it’s not. And when you dispossess—
ROBERT REICH: Well, let me—let me—
CHRIS HEDGES: Let me just finish. Let me finish. When you dispossess that segment, as large as we have—half the country now lives in virtual poverty—and you continue to essentially run a government that’s been seized by a cabal, in this case, corporate, which uses all of the machinery of government for their own enrichment and their own further empowerment at the expense of the rest of the citizenry, people finally react. And that is how you get fascism. That is what history has told us. And to sit by—every time, Robert, you speak, you do exactly what Trump does, which is fear, fear, fear, fear, fear. And the fact that we are going to build some kind of—
ROBERT REICH: Well, let me—let me try to—
CHRIS HEDGES: —amorphous movement after Hillary Clinton—it’s just not they way it works.
ROBERT REICH: Let me try to inject—let me—let me try to inject—
AMY GOODMAN: Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich?
ROBERT REICH: Let me try to inject some hope in here, in this discussion, rather than fear. I’ve been traveling around the country for the last two years, trying to talk to tea partiers and conservatives and many people who are probably going to vote for Donald Trump, to try to understand what it is that they are doing and how they view America and why they’re acting in ways that are so obviously against their self-interest, both economic self-interest and other self-interest. And here’s the interesting thing I found.
This great antiestablishment wave that is occurring both on the left and the right has a great overlap, if you will, and that overlap is a deep contempt for what many people on the right are calling crony capitalism—in fact, many people on the left have called crony capitalism. And those people on the right, many, many working people, they’re not all white. Many of them are. Many of them are working-class. Many of them have suffered from trade and technological displacement and a government that is really turning its back on them, they feel—and to some extent, they’re right. Many of them feel as angry about the current system and about corporate welfare and about big money in politics as many of us on the progressive side do.
Now, if it is possible to have a multiracial, multiethnic coalition of the bottom 90 percent that is ready to fight to get big money out of politics, for more equality, for a system that is not rigged against average working people, where there are not going to be all of these redistributions upward from those of us who have paychecks—and we don’t even realize that larger and larger portions of those paychecks are going to big industries, conglomerates, concentrated industries that have great market power, because it’s all hidden from view—well, the more coalition building we can do, from right to left, multiethnic, multiracial, left and right, to build a movement to take back our economy and to take back our democracy, that is—
CHRIS HEDGES: I don’t think it makes any difference. The TPP is going to go through, whether it’s Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Endless war is going to be continued, whether it’s Trump or Clinton. We’re not going to get our privacy back, whether it’s under Clinton or Trump. The idea that, at this point, the figure in the executive branch exercises that much power, given the power of the war industry and Wall Street, is a myth. The fact is—
Can a compromised system produce results that benefit the non-elite portions of society. I’m thinking no.
A good talk on some of the problems facing people who wish to debate sensitive topics in society.
“No idea is above scrutiny and no people are beneath dignity. And what I mean by that is that no idea in Islam, like any other religion and any other philosophy and political thought and creed, is an idea. An idea is by definition adopted voluntary and therefore should be subject to scrutiny. And so I don’t subscribe to any form of blasphemy or censorship when it comes to an intellectual and rigorous debate around any idea. On the other hand, no people are beneath dignity.
So no idea is above scrutiny, no people are beneath dignity. And what I mean by that is, it’s very easy when understanding it in this way to recognize, and you can recognize it in your gut, the difference between somebody who is saying I don’t like the religion of Islam. Let me scrutinize it, you know. I think this whole thing about the literal word of God doesn’t sit comfortable with me. That’s very different to someone saying all Muslims are terrorists and they are a disease in America we must expel them. Your gut can recognize the difference between those two. I think Muslims as a people deserve every dignity like any other human being. But every single idea – Charlie Hebdo is a case in point. People have the right, the absolute right to scrutinize and satirize.”
Well, it never hurts to reinforce an important concept, especially one that many people miss or gloss over when the argumentative fur starts flying.
I would like to take this time to edify and hopefully illuminate those with access to my very small part of the blogging community.
Blogging community, if you care to listen please note that for future reference that if you intend to talk about a topic that you are unfamiliar with, or wish to actively criticize please recognize that looking up terminology you will be dealing with in a dictionary is not the endpoint of your commitment to honest discussion.
Defining your terms is important, but the level of detail present in most dictionaries is not sufficient to base a reasonable argument on. An example of the problem described can be found in the wordpress reader, while browsing the feminism tag. Every day I see posts that either start out with the dictionary definition of feminism in the topic sentence or maladroitly inserted into a body paragraph just before a long list of criticisms of said definition.
The problem, dear blogging community, is that arguing with dictionary definitions is about as useful licking a frozen fence post with your tongue. Feminism (and other topics) are often rife with nuance and complexity that require a more careful reading to fully appreciate what they are about.
Would you feel okay in expressing your opinion based on what the dictionary says about a possibly esoteric topic such as:
a theory of the mechanics of atoms, molecules, and other physical systems that are subject to the uncertainty principle.
Huh, fascinating stuff eh? Did you see about part about the many types of quarks? How about the double-slit experiment? Quantum tunnelling behaviours that are associated with electrons?
the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
…is somehow going to give them enough insight to intelligently comment on Feminism in a meaningful way? My new goto method for jarring people out of their sullen stolidity is linking to a poignantly concise, accessible piece by bell hooks called Understanding Patriarchy.
Of course, some choose not to look farther than the meanings of words that are easy and convenient for them and their ‘arguments’. Then other methodology must be used, including the neigh-terrible Red Pen of Justice in the most serious cases of cranial-rectal inversion.
One of the best methods for avoiding various peoples RPOJ’s is using the dictionary, coupled with other resources such as Wikipedia to further flesh out the context of complex topics that one might wish to speak on. You’ll still get your ass handed to you by those possessing specialist knowledge, but you will avoid the eye-role and exasperated sighs of those who must yet *again* give the 101 level context necessary to properly frame a discussion.
When actual science is involved, WLC loses. Dispensing the boots to the head is Sean Carroll.
Great from the opening statement forward.