We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Monday, November 5, 2012

From the “Lesser to the Greater Evil”. The Demise of Critical Liberalism

Click here to access article by James Petras from Global Research.

Although I generally agree with this introductory statement, I find that it contains some problems.
The U.S. electoral show is a shadowplay. The policies of Barack Obama did not mark a departure from those of his predecessor; they were simply fine-tuned to render them more effective. Be it domestically or at the international level, they reflect a seamless continuity, although packaged more attractively. In case of a Mitt Romney win, one should not expect a rightwing surge or the hardening of current policies, but just another swing of the rhetorical pendulum. For James Petras, it is futile to obstruct Romney or to support Obama. It is not the men, but the system that must change.
Unfortunately, nothing is mentioned about system change in the article. Framing the title as "the demise of critical liberalism" ignores the fact that critical liberalism has always assumed the role of limiting criticism of the system by assuming that there is no alternative and always focusing on reforms to the existing system. The demise should be celebrated because critical liberalism has functioned to preserve the system, not to challenge it. It is dying because the ravages of class rule is becoming so obvious to so many, and the ruling One Percent is relying more on its growing police state and control of the media to preserve the system.