Monday, February 27, 2012

Quote Of The Day

Ian Welsh wrote this late last week, reminding me why I don't visit his site all that often:
I have nothing but contempt for most of the current generation of intellectuals, thinkers, and members of any elite. They have demonstrably failed their job, if their job is conceived as serving the truth and looking after the common weal: of telling people what they need to hear and finding a way to make them understand. Some have fought the yeoman’s good fight, and lost and there is honor in that, but most did not even fight. Instead the spewed lies and reaped the rewards. They were complicit with the political and economic elites, they took their share of the loot, a petty pence, and wrote what would please their masters. They will be exorciated by history, but in the current day, they have their silver gripped firmly in their hands, as they lope behind and before their masters, making the world safe for oligarchy, poverty and the new despotism of the modern security state.

Justified Pessimism
It would be one thing if I thought he was wrong. The only misgivings I'd have in that case would be for Ian's well-being, as in he needs a more positive outlook on life. What makes this article (all of it is worth a read, by the way) hard to read is that it is absolutely true. We have gotten here, as much as anything, because entirely too many of the people who should be explaining what has been happening these last few years are instead excusing it, or pretending it's not happening.

funny dog pictures-if I can't see it,  it's not there
Image credit: I Has A Hotdog

Glenn Greenwald recently provided an example:
Repulsive liberal hypocrisy extends far beyond the issue of Guantanamo. A core plank in the Democratic critique of the Bush/Cheney civil liberties assault was the notion that the President could do whatever he wants, in secret and with no checks, to anyone he accuses without trial of being a Terrorist – even including eavesdropping on their communications or detaining them without due process. But President Obama has not only done the same thing, but has gone much farther than mere eavesdropping or detention: he has asserted the power even to kill citizens without due process. As Bush’s own CIA and NSA chief Michael Hayden said this week about the Awlaki assassination: “We needed a court order to eavesdrop on him but we didn’t need a court order to kill him. Isn’t that something?” That is indeed “something,” as is the fact that Bush’s mere due-process-free eavesdropping on and detention of American citizens caused such liberal outrage, while Obama’s due-process-free execution of them has not.

Repulsive Progressive Hypocrisy
Beyond a few liberal blogs, and the very occasional progressive commentator on Current, it's really hard to find any progressives who criticize the Obama Administration's appalling record on human rights (appalling, at least, by any American government standard). Nor do most criticize his equally absurd protection of the very people who caused this economic crisis by refusing to prosecute the obvious control fraud they committed.

It's rare to find anyone, among public progressive intellectuals, who will note the irony that Bradley Manning is being kept in jail indefinitely without trial, while the war crimes he helped expose are not being prosecuted.

Of course, they seem to have no compunctions about reminding us how awful The Other Guys (tm) are.

So, yes, reading Ian's blog has been something of a downer lately. On the upside, he's one of those rare progressives willing to see things for what they are.

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