Everything Connects and the Surrender of the Left

(10AM – promoted by RiaD)

One day I will write more on “everything connects” but I think it does. FYI, I prefer to use the term “left” rather than “liberal” or “progressive” because I see left, right and center to be a kind of organic whole and those terms are more inclusive. The “center” in fact is made up of two poles–one is where the left and right meet in a kind of compromise and is generally where the social conformists line up and is generally where politics operates (and is the only healthy place for it to operate in a Democracy by definition. On the other end of the center where the extreme left meets the extreme right.

Because our political and cultural system operates under the laws of systems analysis I don’t believe that anyone in our political system is “wrong” just that diffent ideological stances all have a positive function and that is to keep a balance (homeostasis)–the system is only wrong when it is out of balance. Currently we have a kind of cultural/political fever in which the right has become too strong (in fact cancerous) and the left too weak.  

The right is important and valuable because it represents the force of conservatism and structure. People who are authoritarian in makeup (usually the majority of any population) want to follow authorities–they implicitly trust uniforms and people in positions of power–these people are important to keep society stable and organized. The left (always a minority) is made up of imaginative, experimental, well-educated, logical, compassionate and flexible people who are scouts for new ideas, technologies and so on. It is their function to make the organism of the society flexible and able to solve new problems. All life has these components–life exists on the edge of chaos; too much structure and conservatism and rigidity sets in and when problems becomes complex the organism cannot adapt and it perishes. Too much flexibility and openness to new ideas can create disorder and the organism will lose its boundaries and integrity and similarly perish. Left, right and the two centers all need each other and all must be strong and in balance and usually are. I did not include the working-class and ethnic left here because I assign them to the center because their ideology is rather narrow in focus and will switch easily to the right depending on their self-interest as they perceive it

Currently we are not meeting the challenges we face. The right is in the process of being destroyed by its relentless quest for power and its ability to ignore traditional values that kept conservatism conservative. Rather the current generation of rightists prefer to gorge on the national Treasury and to game the financial system. Since their followers would rather die than question authority there has been little chance for ethical conservatives to get back in power. The left has, it seems, abandoned the field by largely conceding to most of the right-wing demands (the Democratic Party) and even where it doesn’t (the blogosphere left) it accepts the center-right narrative of the mainstream-media on the most essential and critical matters, i.e., accepting the official narrative (which has no reliable evidence to support it) on 9/11 and the absurdly titled “Global War on Terror” (GWT) which is basically a recipe for perpetual war with an abstraction that has no end at all and, in fact, is a meaningless term.

The left-blogosphere perpetually ejaculates scorn on the right for following the logic of GWT–yet it largely accepts the reality of GWT such that no politician dares question anything about its underlying logic since even the more militant elements of the left accept it as a premise. Politicians have no solid pressure from the left they can rely on so they stay in the center or right whether they are Republicans or Democrats. This in turn makes it nearly impossible to deal realistically with the real foreign and domestic problems we face.

The mainstream explanation for the current inability for the authorities to take creative action is that there is too much ideological disagreement–I think like nearly all the media narratives this is very self-serving. The fact is that in order to keep the debate in a very narrow band of “acceptable” discourse, aka “political correctness” the mainstream media and political establishment (really they are one and the same) wants to keep new and creative ideas as far away as possible in order to keep any kind of change at bay. The current set-up is dependent on networks of power more that competence (usually there is more of a balance)which is not sustainable. It is the job of the intellectual left to expand the discourse by injecting true history, logic and reality-based assessments to our national political life. Thanks to the internet, the unofficial information is available on the somewhat disreputable fringes and while its value is very mixed it is not much worse than the fables and propaganda that dominate the mainstream media.

What I’m trying to say is that we on the left have not exerted enough pressure on the system to bring the center to the real center and discipline the right by calling it to account. We must develop a consistent and disciplined argument of our own–not so much to be “against” anyone but just because alternative narratives are imperative at this point in history. We should be creating a hierarchy of issues rather than reacting to the latest outrage which is usually founded on something deeper. In short we have to practice deep politics. If we see the country moving away from the Constitution and abandoning the Bill of Rights and Habeas Corpus we have to get at the source of it which is the justification of the GWT. Even if you think the official explanation for 9/11 is mainly correct the reaction of declaring GWT is illogical and an absurd exaggeration of the real threat which was a matter for the police–it was a crime not an act of war in any traditional sense of the word. A criminal gang is a criminal gang not a nation. Thus all the procedures for investigating and tracking down the suspects was suspended–to the objective observer it seemed to be something out of the court of the Queen of Hearts (in Alice in Wonderland). No aspect of 9/11 was properly investigated as required by law when there are plane crashes, criminal activities, and building collapses.

Half the shit we complain about is a direct result of lies about 9/11 and the GWT. Not questioning that makes it impossible to effectively critique the current power arrangements.

The real issue beyond even 9/11 and GWT is connected with the culture of waste, fantasy and addiction to speed, thrills and pornography that fuels the environmental crisis we face that is potentially more destructive than a dozen Iraq Wars. But that will have to wait for another diary. But we cannot be effective unless we address the issues I have addressed here.  


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    • banger on August 4, 2008 at 04:43

    if you can spare some…

    • Edger on August 4, 2008 at 06:09

    although I think you’ll find much less agreement here with official “explanations” for 9/11 and with WOT “justifications” or even it’s “reality” than you might expect. 🙂

  1. thought-provoking essay banger.

    I too have felt for a long time that no sane foreign policy can ever be articulated as long as it is built on an assumption of the GWOT. That is the underlying fallacy that needs to be challenged.

    But then, in the drive for empire, they needed an enemy, and one was crafted for us – one that is not likely to disintegrate like the Soviet Union.  

  2. was discussed in somewhat heavy academic prose by Kees van der Pijl even before the appointment of Bush hijo.  If you can get beyond the obvious defect in style, what van der Pijl is saying is remarkably clear and on-target:

    1) the “political class,” always responsive to economic trends, has been entrusted with the government end of the neoliberal economy

    2) thus, same “political class” views as its clear duty a need to prop up the neoliberal business oligopolies; they are, in fact, all neoliberals, regardless of the names of their political parties or their various and sundry campaign styles

    3) the public will to oppose them has been sapped by a “traditional left” (the unions, the NGOs, and so on) which is still committed to the strategy of appealing to the “political class” — thus you have environmental organizations which give a free pass to the Democrats regardless of how meaningless their claims to being “liberal” really are

    4) the only real opposition faced by said “political class,” then, is in the anti-globalization movement, which at that point had scored a major victory in opposing Bill Clinton’s attempt to reinvigorate the MAI, the Multilateral Agreement on Investment, at the WTO conference in Seattle in 1999.

    — to all of this we must add —

    5) the drying-up of the anti-globalization movement, especially in evidence vis-a-vis the police state imposed upon it at John Kerry’s nominating convention in Boston in ’04.


    so that ought to explain the “surrender of the Left” pretty thoroughly.

    • banger on August 4, 2008 at 19:00

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