Home > political-economy > Betrayal and the cowardice of the Left…

Betrayal and the cowardice of the Left…

We take our text for this post from John Powers’ post Capitalism and Four Antagonisms:

American author Gore Vidal in a book, Matters of Fact and of Fiction: Essays 1973–1976, wrote:

There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party…and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt—until recently… and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties.

The observation, “there is no difference between the two parties” is kind of a sore spot for many, for one thing there was the role Ralph Nader’s presidential campaign played in the 2000 election. There are many other reasons that a difference seems to make a difference even while admitting the kernel of truth that there is only one party, “the property party” or “the money party.”

I have a sense that the left is frozen with fear of its own conclusion that there is only one party. I sense an absolute cowardice among the Left — a willingness to overlook their own empirically arrived at truth. In the United States, to be a leftist is to be a coward, complete with nervous ticks, sweaty palms, and stuttering denials. It is a secret shame.

You have to wonder at the clamor over the Messiah’s most recent betrayal. Just what did the Left expect of a polished corporate flunky? Confiscation of private property? Nationalization of the banks? The installation of a party commissar in every corporate boardroom?

And, to what end? Would a political commissar in BP’s boardroom — eating with them every day, joining them at the holiday party, exchanging photos of kids and grand kids — have prevented the Gulf disaster? Human beings are sociable. Put a commissar in BP’s boardroom and in six months he will be regularly using the corporate “We” in every other sentence. Our inner borg makes it impossible for us to reject friendship and identity with those we see and work with every day.

The Left needed this betrayal, longed for it, pined for it. The American Left is self-betrayal as mode of existence. The most cynical and self-serving of betrayals is to oneself. It is a betrayal that, of necessity, requires the Other. If the Messiah did not exist, the Left would become its own Other. And, that is the point about Barack: before he was the polished corporate flunky, he was that kid on his grandfather’s shoulder’s at the beach. He became the Other because Otherness (self-betrayal) is the mode of activity of the Left and the Other a mere product of that activity — like a uPod for the hive-minded.

Categories: political-economy
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