Sacrifice of Liberal Pawns

In the establishment worldview, MSNBC is the most left-wing news source among the corporate media giants. What this means is that MSNBC serves the role as gatekeeper. This far left and no further. Compared to how far left the American majority is, MSNBC isn’t very left at all. The Silenced Majority holds positions that are portrayed as radical in corporate media, from progressive taxation to universal healthcare.

One of the most left-leaning commentators on MSNBC was Joan Walsh. But in reality, she was a mainstream liberal and a defender of the status quo of the Democratic political machine. She was one of the liberal class attack dogs who put the ‘Bernie Bros’ (i.e., progressive reformers) in their place, including the large numbers of ‘Bernie Bros’ who happened to be some combination of non-white and female.

One might note that right now Bernie Sanders support is stronger among non-whites and females than among whites and males. It wasn’t accidental that Sanders spoke for policies that were straight down the center of public opinion. He was the voice of the average American. And that put the likes of Walsh in an uncomfortable position in being to the right of the American public.

Walsh went so far as to help promote the ‘alt-left’ framing that dismissed anyone to the left of the center-right Clinton Democrats. She was one of the main voices that turned it into yet another mainstream talking point — for example tweeting that, “At what point do some of these guys become the alt-left, a less toxic but still racially blinkered version of the alt-right?” Or when she tweetedtweeted: “Never use the term BernieBros anymore. Now there are alt-left bros who think mocking Clinton supporters is doing political work.” (These Clinton Democrats are the same people who dismissed Barack Obama’s supporters as ‘Obama Boys’ and for a similar reason, as Obama made progressive promises to the left of Hillary Clinton.) In her disconnection from reality, Walsh was oblivious to the sad reality of shooting herself in the foot. There is no honor nor reward in doing the bidding of corrupt power.

As mild and  moderately tame as she was, Joan Walsh was still too far left for the corporatist elite who own the corporate media, who control debate and frame the issues. As the Democratic Party pushes even further right, even the most establishment of liberals are seen as a threat and must be eliminated. So MSNBC fired Joan Walsh as a contributor, while giving Trump apologist Hugh Hewitt his own show. When the political left has their greatest opportunity in opposing the most despised president in American history, the plutocracy makes sure to hobble the leftist movement and shut out even the weakest of liberal voices.

MSNBC is what gets labeled as ‘liberal’ media by those who wield power and influence, specifically among the consolidated ownership class of corporate media and their lackeys in determining which voices get heard and silenced. As the American public keeps going left, the American elite keep pushing right. Joan Walsh thought she was safe by being a lapdog of power. She attacked those left of her, only to find herself the new target. What ‘liberals’ like her don’t get is that the very reason a strong left is necessary is to keep liberals like her honest and to hold the line of battle. Without a strong left to strike fear in the ruling elite, liberals become useless even as pawns of power and gatekeepers of media.

Joan Walsh didn’t understand the game she was playing and so she was played for a fool by those who did understand. She became the victim of her own moral failure. It is political karma. If you don’t defend others against attacks from the right-wing and, worse still, join in those attacks, then who will remain to defend you from those same attackers? Sadly too late, the targeted liberal commentariat finds themselves as part of the ‘alt-left’ they once despised. Alt-left is now everything on the left, anyone who speaks out against the dominant right-wing power structure.

* * *

‘Bernie Bros’ and ‘Alt-Left’ Are Propaganda Terms Meant to Disempower
by Michael J. Sainato (on Reddit)

The Democratic Party derailed Bernie: How the establishment has worked to discredit Sanders’ movement
by Conor Lynch

On Being a Good Ally: The Handmaid’s Tale And the Specter of Fascism
by Adam Theron-Lee Rensch

10 thoughts on “Sacrifice of Liberal Pawns

  1. I’m proud to have eliminated three followers of my blog because of this post. Good riddance to bad rubbish!

    If you support the corporatist and plutocratic attack on the political left, then fuck off! You aren’t welcome here. This blog isn’t intended for regressives and reactionaries, in particular not pseudo-liberals.

    America as a country was founded on a radical vision by progressive reformers and revolutionaries like Thomas Paine. It may have been slow progress over much of American history. But as a society we are moving forward, with or without the Democratic Party.

  2. What these people need to realize, people are naturally liberal by nature. As a whole, the human race wants to grow and expand our horizons, it’s just that a very vocal few that try to hold us back. I do like how one outspoken pundit put it that the conservative movement is not to stop or turn back progress, but to slow it to a manageable crawl instead of speeding off towards the unknown horizon.

    It has always been my humble opinion that the conservative movement is born out of fear. My co-workers and family that lean far to the right seem the least capable of trying new things or if something happens that they dislike, they will never do it again.

    • There is also the problem that, in a high inequality society, political polarization results. And that creates the conditions for the reactionary mind. What drives it all, more than fear alone, is constant stress and anxiety. This is not a happy society.

      And the dysfunction promotes insularity and ignorance, as minds close down. Some people are more effected than others and those are the people drawn toward the right, which means to attack the left. Worse leads to ever worse. It takes a conscious effort to fight against this.

      Keith Payne’s The Broken Ladder […] (pp. 110-111):

      “Political scientist Nolan McCarty and his colleagues have also traced political divisions over the last century in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, formulating a measure of polarization based on how lawmakers vote, similar to the data used for Andris’s graphs. The polarization index is at its highest when all Democrats vote one way and all Republicans vote the other. Using this index, they calculated how polarized American politics has been in every Congress since 1947. Figure 4.5 shows that polarization in the House of Representatives and the Gini index of inequality have followed strikingly similar trajectories. Results for the Senate are similar. Both inequality and polarization were relatively low through the 1950s and 1960s. They then began rising in tandem in the mid-1970s and have remained on par ever since.” […]

      As inequality becomes a chasm dividing the public, the center literally disappears while the once large middle class shrinks. That center is what holds civil society together, what creates a sense of a shared social order (something explained by Aristotle more than a couple of millennia ago and also explained by Adam Smith more than a couple of centuries ago). Inequality turns people against one another. This can be seen in different areas of society, such as on an airplane where people are forced into close proximity. The socioeconomic status of passengers, real or perceived, represents a microcosm of the larger society (pp. 2-4):

      “As they discovered, the odds of an air rage incident were almost four times higher in the coach section of a plane with a first-class cabin than in a plane that did not have one. Other factors mattered, too, like flight delays. But the presence of a first-class section raised the chances of a disturbance by the same amount as a nine-and-a-half-hour delay.

      “To test the idea another way, the researchers looked at how the boarding process highlights status differences. Most planes with a first-class cabin board at the front, which forces the coach passengers to trudge down the aisle, dragging their baggage past the well-heeled and the already comfortably seated. But about 15 percent of flights board in the middle or at the back of the plane, which spares the coach passengers this gauntlet. As predicted, air rage was about twice as likely on flights that boarded at the front, raising the chances of an incident by the same amount as waiting out a six-hour delay.

      “This air rage study is revealing, but not just because it illustrates how inequality drives wedges between the haves and the have-nots. What makes it fascinating to me is that incidents of rage take place even when there are no true have-nots on a flight. Since an average economy-class ticket costs several hundred dollars, few genuinely poor people can afford to travel on a modern commercial airplane. Yet even relative differences among the respectable middle-class people flying coach can create conflict and chaos. In fact, the chaos is not limited to coach: First-class flyers in the study were several times more likely to erupt in air rage when they were brought up close and personal with the rabble on front-loading planes. As Ivana Trump’s behavior can attest, when the level of inequality becomes too large to ignore, everyone starts acting strange.

      “But they do not act strange in just any old way. Inequality affects our actions and our feelings in the same systematic, predictable fashion again and again. It makes us shortsighted and prone to risky behavior, willing to sacrifice a secure future for immediate gratification. It makes us more inclined to make self-defeating decisions. It makes us believe weird things, superstitiously clinging to the world as we want it to be rather than as it is. Inequality divides us, cleaving us into camps not only of income but also of ideology and race, eroding our trust in one another. It generates stress and makes us all less healthy and less happy.

      “Picture a neighborhood full of people like the ones I’ve described above: shortsighted, irresponsible people making bad choices; mistrustful people segregated by race and by ideology; superstitious people who won’t listen to reason; people who turn to self-destructive habits as they cope with the stress and anxieties of their daily lives. These are the classic tropes of poverty and could serve as a stereotypical description of the population of any poor inner-city neighborhood or depressed rural trailer park. But as we will see in the chapters ahead, inequality can produce these tendencies even among the middle class and wealthy individuals.

      “What is also notable about the air rage study is that it illustrates that inequality is not the same as poverty, although it can feel an awful lot like it. That phenomenon is the subject of this book. Inequality makes people feel poor and act poor, even when they’re not. Inequality so mimics poverty in our minds that the United States of America, the richest and most unequal of countries, has a lot of features that better resemble a developing nation than a superpower.”

  3. I think you can also link this country’s rather nasty issue with Opioids to how this society is currently operating. As you said, this is not a happy country, until we have more equality and less overall stress on the individual parts, there will be no stopping the current problem with drugs at the moment.

    Aside from that, I deal with some fairly rich folks, working in theatre/entertainment like I do, the haves are no happier than the have nots. I begin to think the only way to bring a cure to the United States to end our culture of greed.

    • Liberals like to think only right-wingers are controlled by fear. But if liberals aren’t just as trapped in fear, why do they constantly attack anyone who offers a genuine vision of a better world that threatens the status quo that liberals identify with? Liberals may not be as obviously reactionary as right-wingers, but they are reactionary in their own way and it is just as destructive. It is the lesser evil rationalization on both sides that has created ever greater evil. That is what a fearful mindset does.

      Even wealth doesn’t protect one from how fucked up it all is. The liberal class is filled with people living in conditions of great comfort, pleasure, opportunity, and personal fulfillment. Yet they feel endlessly dissatisfied and driven by anxiety. Those good liberals are stuck in the same crappiness as the rest of us. No matter how much they project this onto others, it doesn’t change the crappiness and the effect it has on them. They can’t blame it just on Trump voters, as Democrats like the Clintons have also been pushing neoliberalism, imperialism, and militarism. It matters little if it is overt authoritarianism or friendly fascism.

      They attack those who would help them. Their fear is so overwhelming, they can’t see that making the world better for everyone would make their lives better as well. All they can imagine is that they are losing power. And so they see everything as a zero sum game, not any different than right-wingers. Both sides attack each other, as the world gets worse. The greatest losers are the majority of Americans who genuinely believe in the possibility of positive change and who are tired of endless empty rhetoric. But in the end everyone loses.

  4. You are correct there. Fear is one of all animaklind’s greatest motivators. Even more so than the need for shelter, food, or even to mate. We all run when things get too scary.

    While I was never a “Bernie bro” as the mainstream Dems like to dismiss his hardcore followers, I was a big supporter of his line of thought. He was more like the liberals of old that I remember and miss.

    • I’ve been long indifferent to the political game on its own terms. I never thought Sanders had much of a chance of winning and, even if he did win, less of a chance of accomplishing anything toward the public good. I have utterly no hope that reform is possible within the system.

      My interest was simply that Sanders’ campaign would change the political narrative of public debate, exacerbating conflict and unrest. And that has been accomplished. Both main parties are fatally wounded and thrashing about in the water, as ever more Americans are forced to admit to the overwhelming corruption and so abandon establishment politics.

      Now we wait as the melodrama plays itself out. It will get worse and worse. And even former powerful allies among the ruling elite will betray and turn on each other. The party system as we know it will be ripped apart. The longer the Clinton Democrats and post-Reagan Republicans try to maintain power, the more havoc and destruction they will cause.

      It’s a process of cleansing and renewal. It’s probably related to all the media stars falling victim to the sexual allegations. There is blood in the water. And no one with wealth and power is safe. Even those who previously were untouchable, like Trump, could be taken down.

      There will be prison time involved for some of the elite and their cronies. And eventually there will be wide-scale trust-busting along with similar democratic reforms and/or violent organizing of labor and citizenry. If democratic reforms do at some point become possible, it will more likely be following so much violence that the ruling elite become more afraid of losing their lives than they fear democracy.

    • I’ve assumed for quite a while now that it would continue to get far worse before it gets better. There is no reason to expect the powerful to give up their power easily. And I’ve known that times like these is precisely when reactionary forces are most dangerous — like an injured dog that is cornered and has nowhere to escape, maybe weak from blood loss but still enough vicious strength to harm or kill anyone who gets too close. They will get louder and will use their power more blatantly as time goes on, until at some point they begin to lose grip and their schemes will unravel as their alliances turn into schisms.

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