Skip to comments.The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class
Posted on 02/27/2014 2:11:34 AM PST by Misterioso
This short book rewrites the history of modern American liberalism. It shows that what we think of liberalism today the top and bottom coalition we associate with President Obama - began not with Progressivism or the New Deal but rather in the wake of the post-WWI disillusionment with American society. In the twenties, the first writers and thinkers to call themselves liberals adopted the hostility to bourgeois life that had long characterized European intellectuals of both the left and the right. The aim of liberalisms foundational writers and thinkers such as Herbert Croly, Randolph Bourne, H.G. Wells, Sinclair Lewis and H.L Mencken was to create an American aristocracy of sorts, to provide a sense of hierarchy and order associated with European statism.
Like communism, Fabianism, and fascism, modern liberalism, critical of both capitalism and democracy, was born of a new class of politically self-conscious intellectuals. They despised both the individual businessman's pursuit of profit and the conventional individual's pursuit of pleasure, both of which were made possible by the lineaments of the limited nineteenth-century state.
Temporarily waylaid by the heroism of the WWII generation, in the 1950s liberalism expressed itself as a critique of popular culture. It was precisely the success of elevating middle class culture that frightened foppish characters like Dwight Macdonald and Aldous Huxley, crucial influences on what was mistakenly called the New Left. There was no New Left in the 1960s, but there was a New Class which in the midst of Vietnam and race riots took up the priestly task of de-democratizing America in the name of administering newly developed rights
The neo-Mathusianism which emerged from the 60s was, unlike its eugenicist precursors, aimed not at the breeding habits of the lower classes but rather the buying habits of the middle class.
Todays Barack Obama liberalism has displaced the old Main Street private sector middle class with a new middle class composed of public sector workers allied with crony capitalists and the countrys arbiters of style and taste.
A lot of not so good for people history started in the 20’s.
Nikita S. Khrushchev was a much more brilliant man than he appeared to the American people via television. He seemed uncouth and the personification of evil. Yet, Nikita Khrushchev understood the American people and their willingness to “go communist” even if euphemisms and shibboleths had to be used to bring them to disaster. Apparently, Nikita made both Nixon and JFK shake in their own boots.
what we think of liberalism today the top and bottom coalition we associate with President Obama - began not with Progressivism or the New Deal but rather in the wake of the post-WWI disillusionment with American society.FA Hayek, a European, learned English in America as a teenager in the late 19teens, and left America before 1920. He subsequently wrote The Road to Serfdom during WWII, in Britain and for a British audience. He used the term "liberal" throughout the book without any intention of referencing the new American (Newspeak, from my POV) meaning of the word. According to Safire's New Political Dictionary, the meaning of "liberal" was changed - essentially inverted - "in the 1920s." That agrees with the book review you post here.
My take on it is that it would have been impossible for a word to flip to the inverse of its prior meaning - leaving Americans with no single word which accurately conveys the original meaning - without the cooperation and even the support of what we now, imprecisely, term "the MSM." "The MSM" is, to be exact, major journalism - coextensive with the membership of the wire services generally, but essentially with the membership of the Associated Press.People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. - Adam Smith, Wealth of NationsThe Associated Press newswire is essentially a continuous virtual meeting of all major news outlets in America, which has been ongoing for over a century and a half. The "conspiracy against the public" which is the inevitable result is, IMHO, what we now call "liberalism."
"It is not the critic who counts . . . the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena - Theodore Roosevelt's 1910 speech at the SorbonneI take that statement as a codification of what the term "liberal" meant in 1910. And I note that journalists are never in the arena, but are always commenting on those who are. Therefore, the idea that "the critic doesn't count" is inherently unflattering to journalists. And I doubt there will be much disagreement with the idea that the members of our unified, "associated" press see no need to tolerate an unflattering attitude from anyone.
"It is not the critic who counts" - liberalism in 1910
Nothing actually matters except PR - "liberalism" today.
Thanks, interesting. Thanks, OUTSTANDING post. BTTT!