Why The Center Doesn’t “Get” The Left


Why are you so shrill?

Why are you so angry?


Stop rocking the boat, everything is fine.

via videosift.com

Things could be worse you know.


Why is it,do you think, that the Center doesn’t understand the Left? There are a couple of stereotypical and pat answers…

They are too comfortable and secure.

They only care about themselves and their comfort and security.

Having never known real hardship, they just can’t fully identify with the suffering of others, in other words a lack of empathy.

And being comfortable and secure and not truly knowing how bad some folks have it, or how it feels to be oppressed or not have equal rights, or never have to face the travesty of a legal system or the nightmare of catastrophic health crisis to really get a feel for how dysfunctional the system is for anyone not in the comfortable middle.

But is that their fault? After all our entire system is designed for one main goal….well one main goal besides enriching the Ruling Class that is. It is designed to keep the comfortable middle comfortable. And for that the system works reasonably well. Until the Ruling Class gets greedy and tries to harvest too much too soon.

A comfortable middle virtually ensures that the citizens will not ask questions, will not demand answers….and will not rise up when they find that they don’t like the answers to those questions.

The system works well…especially for those at the top who sit back and reap the harvest. It even works moderately well for the middle, most of whom are kept just on the edge of comfort to make sure that the last 1/4 point of profit can be squeezed out of their productivity to be harvested.

But it doesn’t work out so well for the folks on the bottom.

Or the folks in the countries that the Ruling Class harvests that don’t have those pesky labor laws, environmental protections, or a functioning legal and political system that can be easily corrupted for a few pennies from the vast coffers of the Corporate Machine.

It especially doesn’t work well for countries that The Ruling Class invades and occupies, either to harvest resources to feed the machine or to keep the machine safe. At any cost.

But the system has made sure to build into the machine an information distribution system that is carefully controlled, the main stream media. It only tells the Middle what the Middle needs to hear….in the opinion of the system. And another bonus of keeping the Middle right on the edge of falling off the cliff is that they have to run so hard to stay in place that they have neither the time nor the inclination to actually examine the situation that they are in, to examine the machine for what it is. Or for that matter, thanks to a wonderful propaganda arm to go hand in hand with the main stream media, to even know that they are in a system….and not in the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” as they have been told all their lives.

The Middle are kept in a cocoon. A cocoon of alleged safety, a cocoon of information that concentrates on the immediate crisis and the salacious details of celebrities lives and never looks at the big picture, a cocoon of exhaustion and hustling and stress, and a cocoon of propaganda that satisfies what little curiosity they can afford in their diminishing spare time. troubling images and information are carefully kept from them…there are no coffins in the systems wars, no dead babies or raped women and girls, only shock and awe, bright lights and the carefully extended feeling of the power of their local national machine….that by extension, makes them feel powerful too. Invulnerable even. Exceptional.

Yes, they know there are problems in the world, but those are minor problems. Other peoples problems. Things that can be fixed by tuning the system, not changing it.

And they are constantly assured that Good People are Working Hard to fix those problems. Occasionally they even get a Hero. They are given a simple choice, elect this brand of politician or that brand, trust them, and go back to not paying anymore attention to the system than is absolutely necessary. And if things never seem to work out quite the way that politicians say they will, assure them they will…promise they will…. Well….that is just how the system works.

You can’t fight City Hall, after all, so why even try?

The system is barely tolerable. It is designed to be exactly barely tolerable. Everyone knows the system sucks, but….things could be worse.

And that is the real conclusion, the real answer to the question.

The system sucks but….things could be worse.

And if you Angry Left people rock the boat, MAYBE…possibly, things will get worse.

Yes, things were bad under Bush. Too much of what the system is really all about was exposed. The Ruling Class got to greedy, the wars of aggression to aggressively bald, and the smug arrogance and certainty of the Ruling Class was too much on display for comfort. It was uncomfortable. The great sin.

But now we DO have a Hero, a Hero who will ‘fix” everything, a hero we can be comfortable with. a hero who has “Got this.” And as long as someone has “Got This,” we don’t have to worry that WE might be asked to have to do something, to pay attention, to see the sausage being made, to look in to the Abyss.

That’s what Heros are for, it’s not our job.

The system works. It is tolerable. Things could be worse.

So why do we want to risk changing the system?

especially if we have to be rude or Loud to do so…..we might get in trouble if we are Loud! That is what they taught us in the system’s schools, and they taught us well.

Behave. Things could be worse you know!

Just keep your head down and work hard and everything will be ok. The system will reward you if you cooperate. and if you don’t ….YOU WILL BE PUNISHED.

And why should you stick your neck out? Why should you risk Things Getting Worse? By trying to help Others for who things ARE worse. This is just how things work, the way of the world. One man can’t make a difference. and if you buck the system you buck it alone, because everyone is smart enough to behave, what are you…an idiot?

If you do what you are told and don’t make trouble, you will be fine.

Don’t worry, we are going to fix the system any day now.

All we need are 60 votes.

Just you wait and see, be patient, it has only been 3, 6, 9, 12 months. Things are in the works, progress is being made, victory is right around the corner.

Don’t rock the boat.

After all, look what has happened to those Other people.

Things could be worse.


But things could be much, MUCH better too….

“There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

And then there are those who never even think to ask.

Because somewhere deep down inside, they KNOW they won’t like the answer.


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  1. Photobucket

  2. up your theories here Buhdy.

    Check out this guys [www.dailykos.com/comments/2009/12/11/132327/54/86#c86 response] to my rebuttal to his diary suggesting it will all be the lefts fault when the dems are crushed in 2010.

    • Edger on December 11, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    Diaspar is the last city of man, a self-enclosed and self-perpetuating utopia one billion years into the future, surviving on the desert remains of Earth. Men are born nearly fully-grown from the central matter replicators, live lives of thousands of years, and then, when they feel the time is right, return to storage to be reborn on a schedule known only to Daispar’s central computer. There is little strife, no poverty or need, and life is devoted to art, creativity, and exploration of ever more subtle nuances of well-understood fields. Diaspar is apparently the culmination and final twilight of mankind.

    Into this closed, static, and complacent world comes Alvin, a boy with no previous lives in the city, an explorer’s wandering impulse, and none of the fear that stops his fellow citizens from thinking of leaving the city. The rough outlines of the story from there could be written by any widely-read SF fan: Alvin upsets the social order, ventures where no one has gone before, discovers the truth of humanity’s past and turning away from the stars, and finds wonders and secrets all others have forgotten.

    The City and the Stars, Arthur C. Clarke, 1953

  3. We have a big sociological problem in this country in addition to a frank political sickness that takes full advantage of it.

    And in all this, I’m not talking about what Pink Floyd calls “the worms”.  They’re the ones who take advantage of this phenomenon.

    To some portion of the population, the phrases “the commons” and “the general public good” mean absolutely nothing.  We deride and demonize these people on the left and for good reason, because many of those self same people take every advantage of the commons and the general public good when it suits them, but simply don’t believe in it as a principle.  We have difficulty compartmentalizing that in and of themselves, they can be personally good and decent people for the most part, but with a mental worldview that, if enacted, would destroy the country.  These people we might call “the conservative middle class”.  They believe in loyalty to family and charity, perhaps, to strangers, but not in the government as a possible agent of public good.  Many are Randians, but this is not necessary since Randian thought has been so thoroughly injected into the public discourse a la Reagan saying “Government isn’t the solution to the problem, government is the problem”.

    Some portion of the population are what I would call “starry eyed dreamers”.  These are products of a public education system that did little in terms of teaching people basic civics, American government and the Constitution, and yet still believe that America can and should be a better place.  They have little understanding of the historical context of not putting one’s eggs all in a basket of a single person, or that it is possible to criticize a leader and the government and that this is par for the course, that dissent is healthy and good.  They can be pocket authoritarians but are not authoritarians by sentiment — they believe in a pseudo-historical context that never was, that a hero of some kind can change everything.

    Then there is the uncomfortable middle.  They know something is deeply wrong, but have been, essentially, softly blackmailed by corporatists without even knowing it because it’s all done under the desk.  If you quit your job, you lose your health care.  This is blackmail, but it isn’t put that way, so you don’t get overly resentful.  It’s just the way things are, after all.  And, when one has mouths to feed or a mortgage payment to make, it’s hard to imagine taking any risks and losing everything.

    And I am sad to say I believe that those three types of people, with some variants in between, and some people being in multiple categories, comprise the majority of the American people.

    People who have something to lose in the game don’t want to see truth even if it comes in multiple self supporting lines of evidence.  Or even if they do see the truth, there is no advantage in acknowledging it openly.

  4. postpone full-on cannibalism for another 6 months.

    • jamess on December 11, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    and everything Fine — until it’s NOT!

    (not fine, for those at the Top of the Food Chain, that is)

    End Users, of this system, need to

    Demand our Seats at the Table!

    We need to see OUR Bailouts! — or else “throw the bums out.”

  5. really!

  6. I check out old Harper’s Weekly articles and cartoons from the 1870’s. There is not one iota of difference between then and today: Corporate wealth and Political corruption go hand in hand. Then if you jump to the Old Life Magazine period of the 1890’s to 1910, the same shit is still there; same type of cartoons. Call em trusts, monopolies, corporations, it’s the same thing, with Uncle Sam looking down and patting the poor and people of color on the head.

    Social Security, Medicare, Roe v. Wade, The Moon Program were all freaks, sqeezed inside a forty year period in the 20th Century that also saw the Bill of Rights being applied to States as well as the Federal Govt. So what the f**k happened? Who applied the brakes? IMHO, there’s a filter now that separates Americans from Reality and each other. It is ubiquitous and numbing. It is physical and emotional. It is in the signs, signals, voices, gestures, and sales pitches that drown out all authentic communication. It is the distraction of mindless materialism.

    Check out the political and cultural cartoons of Peter Breugel the Elder. Nothing’s changed in 400 years!!

    Gotta run—————

    • Underdog on December 11, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    with the same shit going on over and over. I think the biggest reason for my idealism is because it has to be that way, or nothing can change.  


    “Wars and revolutions and battles are due simply and solely to the body and its desires. All wars are undertaken for the acquisition of wealth; and the reason why we have to acquire wealth is the body, because we are slaves in its service.”


    “I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.”


    “Democracy passes into despotism.”

  7. as Elizabeth Warren explains in this article. Lots of people who were comfortable back in 2007, even through 2008 aren’t quite as comfortable anymore.  

    Even more sadly, according to many experts, things aren’t going to get much better in the near future. According to a Goldman Sachs report (who although they know that the people at GS & their peers will be just fine, fine, fine),   Unemployment won’t peak until 2011– so more of the “comfortable” folks may find themselves quite uncomfortable soon.  

    Of course, those with power and those who already have lots of money won’t be sharing that pain–but they may begin to understand that the shrinking middle class won’t keep patiently waiting and “hoping” that “change” will make things better sometime in the misty distant future–when that former middle class, now becoming part of the growing poor class, refuse to vote or vote for the lizard people just out of plain frustration and anger.  

    • sharon on December 12, 2009 at 1:50 am

    when i hr’d stevie boy’s diary, i left a comment directed to him and kos suggesting they rethink the community building/moderation model and he acknowledged that the site is split.  http://www.dailykos.com/commen…  he seems to think that we might be able to unite again under a common cause – but, as he said, we’d have to agree on the cause.  mahakali overdrive, who seems to be almost deer in the headlights confused these days trying to hang onto her trust in obama (and i do emphathize because she is clearly an intelligent and caring person who second nature does not include thinking out of the box) piped in about electing more dems.  i disagree, if only based on where that got us now.  mb did not respond to that which suggests he is still thinking in an electoral paradigm.  and chances are he does not fully realize how toxic the environment is over there.  how do we let him know?  i could tell he was really ticked off in the comments on the diary he wrote earlier this week, but for some reason he doesn’t seem to realize how pervasive the hanging on for dear life has become over there.  i have to get back to school work, but thought i’d mention this in case others have thoughts about how to get through and if there is a cause we could unite behind again.  sure as hell isn’t going to be electing obama again – unless things change – and i don’t think they fully believe it yet.  i also think there is validity to what cits described in her diary today and it is worth trying.  if we say it calmly and repeatedly it may very well sink in that they are hanging themselves and the next election.

  8. No one seems able to define what the political “center” is.  There is no middle road, no halfway philosophy…it’s bullshit designed to cover up the reality that there is only the far right (which runs the country) and everybody else.

  9. How are we different from “independents”? We believe we are all stronger when the least among us are taken care of. In the field of economics, we can see that this is true. This country had its highest growth rates when money was actually directed to the hands of the middle class. The independents need to be convinced of this economic reality.

    They tend to have some vague notion of the “hidden hand” which leads them to suspect money should be directed to the rich, to the “supply side.” Us radical sharers on the left will remain commited to “E plurbus unum” while the independents wander back and forth. We need to convince the middle that this country progresses when evrybody does.

    Us trying to convince politicans by ourselves will fruitless. We need to convince others and together convince the politicians. Move-on should be doing ads with simple economic messages. We will continue to be ignored until there is more of us.

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