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What if they held a class war and nobody noticed? For decades, liberals and progressives have been bashed for conducting a "class war" every time they suggest that it would be appropriate for the extremely wealthy to shoulder a bit more of the burden of paying for government. Meanwhile, a swarm of far-right think-tanks and political action committees have been working tirelessly to promote the idea that taxes on the wealthy should be lowered further from their historic lows, and that entitlement programs such as social security and medicare are too expensive to sustain (and in any case, immoral). The latest attempts to delegitimize public employee unions are the logical next step in what genuinely appears to be the systematic dismantlement of the middle class. This blog will highlight some of the more extreme examples of this activity that may not always show up in your news feeds.

Monday, November 14, 2011

How Did We End Up Here?

I used to have a rather negative opinion of the New Yorker's George Packer, mainly on the basis of his credulous support of Bush's excellent adventure in Iraq.  However, he has redeemed himself with a belated admission of having been wrong, and has written a number of incisive pieces on the War of Terror and other misbegotten artifacts from 2001-09.

I am working my way through a lengthy piece he wrote for the September 12 issue of the New Yorker concerning the apparently irreparable rips in the country's political fabric over the last ten years.  In discussing the vicious political attacks from the right wing on anyone raising reasonable, moderate questions about the strategy in Iraq, he writes this:

"From the start, important avenues of inquiry were marked with warning signs by the Administration. Those who ventured down them would pay a price. The conversation that a mature democracy should have held never happened, because this was no longer a mature democracy."

This comment strikes me as absolutely true, cutting to the point.  The US has completely abandoned even the pretence being a serious country.  The spectacle of the current Republican presidential debates merely offers an emphatic punctuation on what has been undeniably true since at least the time of Clinton's impeachment.  We are governed by a crop of elites who have no interest in charting the difficult course the country faces in the new century.  All they seem to care about is scoring cheap political victories and enriching themselves and their wealthy patrons.  

Our elites have given up on the country.  What about the rest of us?

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