Death of the Liberal Class, Chris Hedges (2010)
Reviewed by Patrick Hallstein / McEvoy-Halston
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Chris Hedges, in Death of the Liberal Class, ostensibly isn’t wishing the liberal class to die – he’s simply demarcating it as deceased, or so he argues – but he certainly doesn’t have much good to say about it either, and as a DeMausian psychohistorian, I’m probably normally not much in mind to defend it myself. He describes it, the liberal class – a composite of left-leaning artists, journalists, and academics: lefty intellectuals – as if it entrance to it now requires abdicating anything that meaningfully defined liberals as liberal in the first place. You have to agree to no longer serve, to betray, the people, their best interests, and effectively end up sycophants to the mandarin corporate ruling class. And to see my sort of psychohistory at all accepted within academia right now, I would likely have to see it especially emphasize the destructive aspects of patriarchy, how it afflicts women; I would have to see it value all periods of history, applauding any acute psychohistorical study, whether it concern Ancient Greeks or modern times; and I would have to see it adopt the academic tone and focus tightly on subject matter, thanking friends and loving support “for making our work possible” but otherwise keeping our personal life, and the personal—out. And this would mean full disrespect of the remarkable truth that patriarchy, though indeed now retrograde, was once significant psychogenic evolution—people moving up the scale. It would mean implicitly slighting the fact that evolution of the old kind, gradual betterment of people through time, is real, that the further you go into the past the more primitive the people you are dealing with are, making deeper descent into history an increasingly more harrowing descent that at some point must stop you into bluntly asking yourself why you were so eager to climb down in the first place? It would mean betraying our awareness that our families didn’t just give us the support we needed but likely determined exactly what we’re up to in this reified realm of scholarship, and that the measured, neutral, reason-clearly-in-charge-here voice usually shows signs of its being an older psychoclass innovation. It would mean betraying what I ought to love, degrading myself, ostensibly too, from heights to lows, knight to accomplice, elf to forlorn orc. Nevertheless, if I am true to what I’ve either learned or confirmed from exploring DeMausian psychohistory, I’m not about to judge Hedges my peer; and am in fact trying to use the book to help keep faith in the same liberal establishment which treats the sort of psychological ideas so precious to us so very warily.