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Death Of The Liberal Class

The failures of contemporary liberal institutions

By Chris Hedges
  • Read in 16 minutes
  • Contains 10 key ideas
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Death Of The Liberal Class by Chris Hedges

Death of the Liberal Class is a serious indictment of modern liberalism and today’s liberal leaders. It offers a scathing critique of the failures of contemporary liberal institutions while still providing a glimmer of hope for the future of American democracy.

Key idea 1 of 10

The liberal class has failed to protect American workers from exploitation.

The American political and social system is divided into two broad groups.  

There are conservatives, who stand up for business interests and encourage smaller government, and there are liberals, who stand up for the rights and welfare of everyday people in society.

In recent years, this divide has begun to look more and more lopsided with the decline in power and influence of the liberal class. This decline is most easily recognized by the group’s recent failure to live up to their goals, namely: protect the rights of normal people.

Liberal politicians and policy makers have, for example, done next to nothing to protect workers against plummeting wages and the ever-growing practice of outsourcing jobs to developing countries, like China or India, resulting in an increase in poverty and unemployment.

To illustrate this, let’s look at the life of Ernest Logan Bell as a typical case of the condition of the working classes in America.

The 25-year-old Marine Corps veteran has been unemployed for several years. He has little money and little hope of finding a good job, and thus feels increasingly alienated as well as abandoned and betrayed by government and the country he served.

Moreover, regulators and liberal politicians failed to curb financial speculation that put many working families’ savings at risk. After the most recent financial crisis, the U.S. Congress had a strong mandate to create laws that would end risky trading and financial exploitation, in order to avoid another crash.

But the needed laws never came into existence, and penalties for banks were virtually toothless. As a result, working families are no less at risk of losing their homes or their savings than they were a few years ago.

Clearly, the liberal class has failed to stick to its own stated goals, protecting the people from exploitation and neglect. As you’ll see, however, the problems of the liberal class extend well beyond this superficial analysis.

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