September 21, 2007

Once More into the Land of the Blind

In "Blinded by the Story: Liberals and Progressives as Political Creationists" (written at the time of the Democrats' accession to the genuinely horrific FISA legislation, and before the Democrats' completely typical performance this week), I wrote:
I also note that, following the Senate cave-in, Atrios has dubbed Harry Reid the "Wanker of the Day." Will all this diminish in even the smallest degree Atrios's, or Digby's, or any other leading progressive blogger's efforts to ensure a huge Democratic victory in 2008? Of course not.

The reason for that is very simple, and it goes to the progressives' central articles of religious faith: The Democrats aren't really like this, not in their heart of hearts. The Democrats don't actually favor a repressive, authoritarian state. The Democrats are good, and they want liberty and peace for everyone, everywhere, for eternity, hallelujah and amen.

People who continue to believe this have evicted themselves from serious political debate, and they have willingly made themselves slaves to their enthusiastically embraced self-delusions. They confess a comprehensive ignorance of history, a stunning inability to understand the political developments of the last century, and a desire to place the story they have chosen, primarily because it flatters their own false sense of vanity and self-worth, above every relevant fact. In terms of these dynamics, they are no different from Sam Brownback and his ludicrous defense of his religious beliefs against the evidence of evolution.


Brownback has his story, which he refuses to give up or even to question: "Man was not an accident and reflects an image and likeness unique in the created order." And most liberals and progressives have their story, which they also refuse to surrender: Democrats are genuinely on the side of liberty and peace. If they act in ways that are inimical to those ends, there must be some explanation of which we are unaware. Some other factor must be making them do it, because they would refuse to behave in that manner if they could act in accord with their deepest convictions.
The following is an almost perfect example of the phenomenon I described. Avedon Carol is a wonderfully intelligent, funny and compassionate woman, and she has been a great blog friend to me, for which I am tremendously grateful. I hope we'll continue to be friends after this post.

I came to this post of Avedon's by way of IOZ, who offers an entirely accurate and very brief response to part of Avedon's deeply felt and very angry complaints about the Senate denunciation of the MoveOn ad. But at the end of her post, Avedon engages in some very desperate reaching, so as to avoid certain facts which apparently are too discomfiting to be contemplated:
You know what I want to see people talking about? I want to see people asking whether these Democrats are compromised. I want open discussion of the fact that the Democrats have been voting in ways that are indefensible and that maybe this has something to do with Bush's little program to spy on American citizens. It's not as if there's any reason to think this administration is above doing things we know the Nixon administration did, after all. Maybe what I ought to be asking Mikulski and Cardin is, "What do they have on you?"

Because actually voting in the Senate to condemn Democrats' supporters for supporting the truth is otherwise completely inexplicable. Really. You just don't do that.
This is exactly what I observed about this perspective: "Some other factor must be making them do it, because they would refuse to behave in that manner if they could act in accord with their deepest convictions." And now we know the mysterious X factor that is making the Democrats act in the way they do: BLACKMAIL!

Very sorry, Avedon, but while these ruminations might represent some promising initial thoughts for a juicy Washington novel, they will not do as serious political analysis -- especially when a full and convincing explanation lies spread out before you in open sight. Let's apply Occam's Razor, shall we? In addition to all the issues I discussed in "Blinded by the Story" about the historical record proving what the Democratic party in fact stands for -- which, among other things, is a militarized state which engages in an aggressively and endlessly interventionist foreign policy, coupled with an increasingly authoritarian domestic government -- there are some unpleasant truths about the nature and concerns of our ruling class which are being completely ignored.

I discussed those issues in detail in "The Elites Who Rule Us," as well as in a followup essay, "It's Up to Us Now." From the latter essay, this is the critical point:
[T]o impeach Bush and Cheney for actual constitutional crimes...well, that's an entirely different matter. That would be an occurrence of great moment: it would serve notice that Congress had drawn certain lines and had solemnly announced that certain actions are impermissible to government officials. That would constrain the governing class in its future behavior. Since the Democrats may control all the levers of power after the 2008 election, they themselves might be so constrained as a consequence. That would never do. As I have analyzed in some detail, it must always be remembered that the ruling elites are not like you and me, which is to say they are utterly unlike 99.9% of the Americans they claim to represent. They say they are devoted to fulfilling the wishes of "the people," but that is only the cover used to delude Americans into ceding them more and more power, so that the ruling elites may satisfy those special interests of greatest concern to them (and whose support makes their election possible in the first instance) and continue their own lives of immense privilege and comfort. The ruling elites live in a world entirely unlike ours, and their motivations bear no resemblance to the concerns that dominate the lives of most of us. As the earlier essay discussed, they could not care less about "the people" for the most part. They will only offer faint concessions to "the people's will" when expressions of that will become so overwhelming that the elites' hold on power is thought to be threatened.
In short: the ruling elites do not care what you think. I repeat: they do not care.

Oh, yes, they care to some extent when elections come around -- but any such concern Democratic politicians might have for certain voters' views is obliterated by one consideration loudly and repeatedly announced by almost every liberal and progressive blogger. As I've noted before (with regard to the vacuous, narcissistic bloviating of that great political thinker, Markos Moulitsas), the Washington Democrats know you will continue to vote for them no matter what they do.

When you approach the negotiating table and tell your opponent you'll give him everything he wants before you even sit down, exactly how successful do you think those negotiations will be from your perspective? Yet this is precisely what the liberal and progressive bloggers do time after time after time -- and then they profess amazement when the Democrats act in ways opposed to those same bloggers' views. And note this is not even about all voters' views, just the views of some of them. Since you'll vote for them anyway no matter what they do, why the hell should they care? Sure, you're "alienated" for the moment -- but who are you gonna vote for in November 2008, hmm? They already know the answer to that question.

The ruling class does not care about you or your views. The MoveOn denunciation is an aspect of the performance put on by one part of the ruling class for the benefit of another part. They may criticize each other in certain predetermined ways and within certain narrowly circumscribed limits -- but you may not criticize any of them in ways that go beyond what the ruling class as a whole has decided is acceptable. Wesley Clark has told you that explicitly. Your role -- and your only role -- is to vote for them as required, and then to shut up. Almost everyone in the ruling class has identical beliefs, but they are usually more adept at hiding them from the unfortunately necessary voters (necessary for the moment, at any rate).

But, you might wonder, aren't there any principles at all that deeply matter to them? The answer to that is indisputably: No. There are not, with the exception of perhaps two or three members of Congress. I repeat what I said before: the ruling class is not like you and me. Their concerns are not ours. Their motivations are not ours. Their primary, and often their sole, concern is power: achieving it, maintaining it, and expanding it. Power. That's it. That's the whole thing.

It's hardly a secret. Overwhelming evidence for all these statements, and for all the arguments made in my earlier essays, lies all around you. Take off the blinders -- and look at it.