The Great Drama of the Nice Liberals With Big Egos

America, you see, really needs to think that it has a "Left" playing a part in its political drama, and so everyone is being asked to imagine that there is some great heroism to be accomplished in defeating the "fascist" Trump by electing Joe Biden whereas in all likelihood little of importance will be happening.


Here one recalls that great work of 19th-century literature, Karl Marx's "The 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon," and its oft-quoted beginning:

Hegel remarks somewhere[*] that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

For us, however, the great importance of this opening sentence is that Marx died 137 years ago, and so he was not able to witness the great arc descending toward tragedy that awaits us now.


The nice liberals with big egos now claim that they are going to "pressure" Biden. Having told us to "first dump Trump, then battle Biden," they have a People's Charter. Ignored, of course, is the question of how they respond when the Biden administration tells the tiny minorities of nice liberals with big egos in office, as well as the public at large, this great, disempowering message, repeated throughout most of my lifetime: "what are you going to do, vote for Republicans?" No answer just yet. Maybe it isn't, but all this nice liberal action appears to be fealty accompanied by show-biz "opposition." Among the cosignatories I only know that Cornel West is working for the Movement for a People's Party. The rest, I don't know.

So the nice liberals with big egos want us to elect Biden. The main criticism of the great drive to elect Joe Biden is that it goes along with the general, and generally false, notion that electing a neoliberal Democrat helps "progressives" in their aim of taking over government. It's as meaningless a choice as any choice one could make in an era of universal unwisdom. An era of wisdom would put Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker in the White House, not that an individual vote or two selecting Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker in an era of universal unwisdom would accomplish anything either, by itself. The big issue, then, is the era of universal unwisdom. Accepting an unwise society is what "realists," a much larger category of villainous actor, do.

Okay so why do all these people on my Facebook feed keep telling me that I need to vote for Joe Biden as if the future of humanity were at stake? Supporting them are a bunch of liberals with big egos proclaiming the utmost importance of their votes for Joe Biden when most of them live in safe states and when they are all, given their ideologies, badly positioned to affect the outcome. Swing voters in swing states are not going to say "I think I'll vote Biden because some liberal with a big ego said I should." So the Facebook people should stop kidding themselves about who is the intended audience for all these panicky "OMIGOD DONALD TRUMP IS A FASCIST!!!!" messages. It's the Left.

Thus the real question of 2020 is not one of "should I vote for Joe Biden?" -- go ahead, vote for him if you want -- but rather one of why nice liberals with big egos need a Left audience for their "vote for Biden" message. There's this apparent desperation to persuade an audience who is itself of such tangential importance to the outcome. In the drama of history the nice liberals with big egos collectively play the role of a chorus, whose only audience is the Left.

We need to identify the historical drama we are seeing here. This is not a titanic battle of Fascism vs. Hope, nor is it even a titanic battle of Fascism vs. Breathing Room. We are not witnessing the climax of Star Wars Episode III, Episode VI, or even of (ugh) Episode IX here. Rather, the centerpiece of today's drama is one of nice liberals with big egos insinuating that they are heroes, when they are in fact mere extras. The question of how really to be the hero of history in an era of villains still hasn't received the attention it deserves.


At any rate, any true drama needs a dramatis personae. So here we go:

  • The coalition partners. I have discussed them at length in the linked-to diary. As I suggested in that diary, these are the people who really control American politics; they are the old and lasting villains in our drama. Donors and politicians, political parties and NGOs, cops and militias, city councils and property owners -- money changes hands and together these groups team up to push us offstage in the drama of history. It's been happening for so long that we now acquiesce in being offstage.

    The real plot development, as I suggested in my citation of a Richard Wolff video, would be to create coalitions ourselves to disrupt the established ones. How about -- Wolff opines -- lasting coalitions of different elements of the working class? One further tactic that was picked up with Occupy and that has not adopted since was horizontalism -- creating organizations in which everyone has an equal role rather than those in which "leaders" sell out the "followers" like what you see with unions today.


    Also desperately in need of plot development is the Democratic Party elites' obsession with targeted benefits, one-off benefits to specific groups of people. Our coalitions need to oppose the Democratic Party on this. Once upon a time, the governments of the New Deal/ Fair Deal/ New Frontier/ Great Society promoted universal benefits, benefits which created political alliances across the board. Now they don't do that. We need to do that, preferably through the Movement for a People's Party, rather than waiting for them to change their minds about it, which they won't.

  • Bernie Sanders. In his two campaigns he discussed important secrets of how to deal with real political problems. He thus achieved the role of potential hero. You form coalitions of your own, you break up their coalitions, you eliminate gatekeepers, you free up the government to do good things for the mass public rather than nominating heroes among the coalition partners and giving them handouts "for services rendered," which is what the coalitions do. I attended one of his rallies, in Riverside (California) back in 2016; it was invigorating in a way in which nothing else compared, or compares. Sanders, you may have noticed, has gone back to his day job, and will no longer be receiving action parts except perhaps as a Senator from Vermont, after things calm down a bit.
  • Biden bullies. In the penumbra of false sense of empowerment spread by the nice liberals with big egos fixated upon persuading the Left to vote for Joe Biden, there is this group of Internet-obsessives telling us that it's our fault if Biden loses. The reality of the matter is that if Biden needs the individual votes of the Left, whom he is not courting, then he's lost the election already, and not by a small margin. But Biden bullies do not care. You must take the Biden Pledge of Allegiance even if you live in a safe state. These actors are more like security guards keeping angry spectators off of the stage while the real atrocities are performed front and center.
  • Donald Trump. He's supposedly a "fascist," whereas George W. Bush, a more likely candidate for "fascism" given his use of dirty tricks to "win" elections, his championing of the USA PATRIOT Act, and his use of the events of 9/11/01 as his own personal Reichstag fire, well, Barack Obama built upon W.'s fascist foundation, eventually handing the great mass of government power to Republicans upon leaving office, while his wife Michelle gave W. a big famous hug. But both W. and Obama get a pass. Those who cry "fascism" appear as a collective Rip van Winkle in this regard. Trump's besetting sin is to troll the Left, and to make this trolling of the Left the basis for his re-election campaign, and so he, and not W., is the big "fascist."

    Trump is probably going to lose in three weeks, because "trolling the Left" is not really the basis for assembling any sort of winning campaign. It is, however, equally absurd to suppose that we are going to defeat him by running an addled neoliberal against him, just like we defeated Hitler and Mussolini (/snark), so if The Donald had had the least shred of imagination about how to handle his campaign, he would be winning by now. Nonetheless his campaign has had the intended effect so far: anguished voices cry out as one: "Please elect Joe Biden so that Donald Trump will stop trolling us! Our big egos are hurting bad!" It might be fun for Trump fans to see and hear this reaction on the road to their collective defeat.


    The two main reasons Trump is actually scary is that 1) he comes after, and builds upon, W. and Obama, and 2) he admits openly to doing what the rest of the political class will only discuss discreetly. These reasons, however, aren't really reasons for electing Joe Biden. One is thus left wondering if the nice liberals with big egos really dislike the whole establishment with its imperial Presidency, Trump's courting of militias, and so on, or if they just want Trump to shut up while abovementioned entities conduct their business with less of a mass media flourish. Trump would, in summary, make a good villain, except that he's not really an archvillain -- he's a troll, occupying the White House for now, whose role in the drama of history is to make the Left look bad for being panicked by his stupid charade. If he were a Tolkien character he'd probably be, I dunno, Grima Wormtongue? Or one of those huge trolls encountered by Bilbo and the dwarves? He could kill you but he's too lame to be Gollum, much less the Voice of Sauron.

  • The nice liberals with big egos. Their collective role has been discussed above. Mostly these are the folks who write books about how bad the current system is, or they're the folks who get elected and say nice things while going along with the general badness that pervades most of our electoral systems. It's their tolerance for neoliberal (D) politicians that is their complete undoing. They make great pronouncements while failing to come to terms with their own ineffectual natures. In the great drama of history they get lots of soliloquies, and no action parts. They are extras. They are the chorus of a Greek tragedy whom a pivotal segment of America is ignoring.
  • Climate-change-fueled disaster. This force is what gets the big action parts today, increasingly pushing the coalition partners aside, and it's going to continue to get the big action parts in the future. It is the ascending villain. It ravaged the West Coast this summer, and it's going to screw the South and the Eastern seaboard with hurricanes and floods at some point while the West gasps in drought. The neoliberal (D) politicians will parade their benevolence as regards these disasters (and thus their willingness to remain onstage front and center) by promoting an additional five-cent increase in the gas tax or something like that. Will the nice liberals with big egos see this as a cue to become something more than extras? If history is to be our guide, probably not. So mostly we can hope that history won't be our guide.

Lights! Camera! Action!

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Granma's picture

On the stage is the COVID-19 virus. I don't do Facebook. I do read Twitter. Voices there that surprise me are scientists and epidemiologists urging people to vote, please vote.

I believe that climate change events and Covid are going to determine much that goes in globally for the next year or so. Those two things may determine what else can happen in the near future.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@Granma Trump's "leave it to the states, then troll the good ones" approach is not a net winner. Maybe he'll die one of those abrupt deaths that you read about now and then, when the disease goes wild and the sufferer's systems shut down. Doing so would give the drama of history more of an Elizabethan feel. I suppose the fact that he's now taking a Vitamin D supplement makes that less likely.

I really don't know if COVID-19 will be a historical actor over the long run. I suppose it could.

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"Every election is fake." -- Janna Ordonia, from "Star vs. the Forces of Evil"

The day after we know the results of the 2020 election we will begin a massive headache, either way. If Trump wins he will begin an unrestrained mission of revenge, well justified. If presidents Biden and Harris win we are in for a huge neoliberal, neocon nightmare lasting 4 years, brought to us by Pelosi, Schumer, Biden, Harris, Obama and the Clintons and a host of really bad neocons, e.g. Susan Rice. Relations with Russia and China will collapse to outright hostility. I fear that we are solidly on that threshold right now. The world will divide up into two camps, the American Empire toadies and those nations that have backbone. False flags will fly left and right and the rest of the world will just tell us where to stuff those flags. The Democrats actually believe their Russia did-it nonsense, and will look to show Russia that they need to conform to the Empire's demands. Russia knows better and will not suffer the Fools of the West even the slightest. The world will arm to the teeth with next gen nukes, especially China. I believe that they have learned their lesson that the West cannot be trusted. They have had a history over the last forty years, as they developed, of not challenging the US militarily. They saw how that contest did not work out very well for the Soviet Union. They now understand how this contest is inevitable. But now they approach it from an position of enormous strength, both economic and technological. The cycle of US dominance will complete, managed by an utter fool, J. Biden, and a total incompetent, K. Harris, backed by the stupidest political party in my lifetime. They are complete incompetents and totally unqualified to manage the last phase of the most dangerous empire to ever dominate the planet. Up to this point, everything else has been a dry run. Don't forget to buy your iodine radiation pills, I just checked mine.

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Capitalism has always been the rule of the people by the oligarchs. You only have two choices, eliminate them or restrict their power.

Cassiodorus's picture

@The Wizard It's going to suck.

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"Every election is fake." -- Janna Ordonia, from "Star vs. the Forces of Evil"

Pluto's Republic's picture

@The Wizard

And Cassiodorus, too. Just about everyone commenting here is standing in the glaring light, where all the veils have been burned away. This is the place where it is clear that it is too late for solutions inside the US. Solutions do not scale to non-agile populations, which do not size up and down, as required for survival. The pandemic shows that there are no solutions that scale to humanity's population malignancy. This malignancy has profoundly damaged the planet and its impact cannot be mitigated.

Diversity is burning off rapidly. That means the planet can no longer sustain complex intelligent life. Our species really didn't get very far. Our cleverness is a set back to enlightenment. Technology development occurred much too early in the evolutionary process, while our brains were much too primitive and disconnected from the swarm. Our lifespans are far too short to bridge these intellectual and spiritual limitations. Technology was the Forbidden Fruit and it should be clear to objective observers why this species is compelled to destroy its planet/spaceship.

Logically, statistically, our convergence of failures has happened countless times before on billions of planets. I, for one, am tired of pretending this is not happening. A few days ago, astronomers announced that they have located 24 new “better than Earth” planets. (below) This recent, intense search for new planets to plant our genetic code should set off a thrill of cosmic alarm across the knowing Universe. Under no circumstances should our DNA escape the Earth. Was Earth thus contaminated? Are we a bad seed?

Meanwhile, all our future efforts will go toward asset-stripping everything on the planet. We are programmed to think and act like viruses. Those who do not act aggressively toward the planet are deactivated livestock who reproduce worker replacements and potentially aggressive offspring who can fulfill our biological imperative. Social visionaries and non conformists are always suppressed. This is what we have always been. Be glad that you were not always acutely aware of this reality.

::


24 planets that are warmer, wetter, and better for life than Earth

October 14, 2020

Washington State University astronomers identified 24 planets around other suns which may be even more habitable than our own world. Some of these systems also contain stars — potentially — even friendlier to life than our Sun.

 

These superhabitable systems are generally warmer, wetter, larger and older than Earth. Stars with lifespans longer than the Sun would allow solar systems more time to develop life, researchers speculate. By cataloging superhabitable worlds, astronomers will know where to look in the search for extraterrestrial life.

“We have to focus on certain planets that have the most promising conditions for complex life. However, we have to be careful to not get stuck looking for a second Earth because there could be planets that might be more suitable for life than ours,” said Dirk Schulze-Makuch, a geobiologist at Washington State University.

Researchers examined data from terrestrial exoplanets orbiting in the habitable zone around their stars, where temperatures allow liquid water to pool on their surface. Just a small percentage of the 4,500 exoplanets now known to orbit other stars are known to have conditions relatively friendly to life.

“Most important from the perspective of an observer searching for extrasolar life is that such a search might be executed most effectively with a focus on superhabitable planets instead of Earth-like planets. We argue that there could be regions of astrophysical parameter space of star-planet systems that could allow for planets to be even better for life than our Earth,” researchers describe in an article published in the journal Astrobiology.

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"There will be no end to the troubles of States, or of Humanity itself, until Philosophers become Kings in this world — or until those we now call kings and rulers truly become Philosophers." — Plato
Cassiodorus's picture

@Pluto's Republic

Species like us, however, are far less likely than the astronomers can tell. Think of the enormous stroke of luck it took to produce us -- the bizarre confluences that allowed life on this planet to be what it became, I don't know, 541 million years ago, and then the mass extinctions, not too few, not too many, that cleared away life on the planet (the big one, the Permian-Triassic Boundary, really did a number on it) and thus made it possible for the dominant large land animal to be the mammal, so that we could arise -- and then of course there was that still-yet-to-be-explained event beginning 70,000 years ago (in his book Sapiens Yuval Noah Harari calls it the "Cognitive Revolution") in which people (no idea if this just means our type of people, or all of the types of people who were around at that time) got a lot smarter. And then, after that, there was a long, long period of prehistory before the invention of agriculture, the beginnings of capitalism, the creation of the Newtonian, Cartesian, and Baconian social imaginaries as they shape our existences to this day, and so on. None of this stuff was terribly likely. It might also not be terribly likely that we survive it all, either. We live in a very, very unlikely moment.

And I really don't think we're going out to those planets. The most obvious reason for this is that they're too far away. I was at some point thinking of writing a science-fiction short story (maybe a very short story) about a serious attempt to settle a planet out there. People in my speculative future will have developed a technology which would preserve human bodies indefinitely in suspended animation. Then after several decades the explorers get to the planet and are defrosted. Once the explorers reach their new planet they discover that the Sun is orange, the tides on their planet are ferocious and the plant and animal life (if you can call it that) is inedible for humans, so they have to live off of potatoes they've brought along which have been genetically engineered to satisfy all of their nutritional needs (including the Vitamin D supplements they must take to live under an orange sun). And that's life for them. Eventually genetic drift wipes out their colony. It's more fun to think about Star Trek: Lower Decks than it is to think about this stuff. So in how many of these habitable exoplanets has life proceeded beyond single-cell forms?

The other reason is, of course, that space travel is dangerous. Long-term exposure to radiation on the heavy end of the spectrum outside of Earth's protective blanket of stratospheric ozone would give us all dementia in short order. But I guess that if Elon Musk isn't worried about it then only his underpaid employees will be going.

So I gather we're best advised to try our luck on Earth. We could blow that luck really badly -- and, as George Carlin once lamented, "nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care..."

Thanks for popping in!

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"Every election is fake." -- Janna Ordonia, from "Star vs. the Forces of Evil"

I saw part of the interview that Briahna Joy Gray did with Chomsky where he put the blame on voters for the end of the world if Trump is elected. Of course the unchallenged assumption is that Trump is worse than Biden. But for the world ending events cited by Chomsky how exactly is Biden better? I did not see anything in Biden's past that would indicate he would be some environmental president or if he could be pushed that way. It is like Chomsky is 30 years behind in understanding who is in power (and who the democrats have become) and the state of the environment (it is much worse now almost to the point of no return).

If anything, I could argue that Biden would be worse as he is the president most likely to get into a nuclear war with Russia. His proposed cabinet as revealed by Politico has war mongers and advisors who see the Russians as the Great Evil in the same way the Nazis saw the Jews as the Great Evil.

I like the analogy that the liberals/left don't understand they are not even talking bit players but the extras a film needs milling about to create a crowd scene.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@MrWebster She's someone I care about. Chomsky, well, let's just wish Chomsky a happy old age.

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"Every election is fake." -- Janna Ordonia, from "Star vs. the Forces of Evil"

magiamma's picture

The unwinding of all protections against. That is to say no forethought, no critical thinking, nothing to avert. Same as it is with COVID-19. Same as it always was only worse. We live in the times of Blatancy.

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

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Cassiodorus's picture

@magiamma His record is all bad, he's got the whole of capital in tow, and he can tell the Democrats "what are you going to do, vote for Republicans?" On the one hand he promises to do something. On the other hand, he lies all the time.

That's the reason I didn't give him a line in the dramatis personae, why I bunched him up with the politicians and the donors in what I'm calling "coalition partners."

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"Every election is fake." -- Janna Ordonia, from "Star vs. the Forces of Evil"

magiamma's picture

@Cassiodorus
The only thing that might change is the selling off of the parks etc. Not holding my breath. It’s really a democracy in name only and as such is used as a tool to dismantle society, the environment and the climate. The intended destruction of the environment is untenable. Not theirs to give away. Meh!

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

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travelerxxx's picture

@magiamma

Same as it always was only worse. We live in the times of Blatancy.

I've been calling it the times of Open Bigotry, which is true. But Blatancy is a better description as it's more encompassing.

Sorry to derail things, but I thought it was important to highlight the term.

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shaharazade's picture

the next fucker the Dem. one. There is no left, left. No socialist's that I can see since Debs. Me I just can't relate to any 'ism' other then prisms. Trump is insane, not that most pols aren't. He has whipped up the creepy crawlers and they have descended on my city. I live in Portland and as I type federal marshals in planes are circling. every night. Nor saying the Demorat's are any better but this empowering of RW thugs is just too much. The man is unhinged, deranged and dangerous. So is Biden and worse Kamala Harris.

How can it be worse? The neocons will continue the endless bloody war and the neoliberal's will continue making money with disaster capitalism. I know a lot of the nice liberals that you speak of. Their true blue Dems. They profess to be liberal. What does liberal even mean these days? Don't even get me started on 'progressive's'. WTF are they? Chickenshit liberals?

Don't know the answer to this mess but I do know the first step is to vote this fucker out. The voting true blue Dems.and their pols piss me off more then the pig ignorant Republicans as they are complicit and accept this world as the only reality. As that fucker Clinton said 'It's inevitable'. Well no it's not it has been created by the whole global lot of the rich psycho people with power.

Play it as it lays. Forget about freaking Marx or Hegel or even that dick Freud. Their world is dead and long gone. We need to look elsewhere for answers. Me,I think humans will somehow or another stop giving consent to these fuckers to rule globally. Democracy? As it stands today, I don't think so. It's as dead as socialism. Got no answers but I'm sure that this rigged system will not be the answer. Meanwhile vote that fucker out. He's certifiably nuts and he has thugs for enforcers.

"Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself" FDR.
I say our society is really tweaked and needs a reset. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7APmRkatEU

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Cassiodorus's picture

@shaharazade It's that for some reason or other they won't provide real resistance to the directors of society ("the real owners," as George Carlin called them), and so in the drama of the nice liberals with big egos they were told: "okay, you stand over there (pointing to a distant location) and sing as a Greek chorus. Do your commentary. But be sure to stay out of the way when the (D) neoliberals ascend to center stage." And, lest Carlin be ignored in this moment, we have this comedy routine:

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"Every election is fake." -- Janna Ordonia, from "Star vs. the Forces of Evil"