“Death of the Liberal Class” by Chris Hedges (Book Review by Sondra Miller)

Sondra Miller is a longtime supporter of the New Progressive Alliance. The media, the church, the Universities, the Democratic Party, and Labor Unions have all let us down. Whether we are helpless victims or just too lazy to do our civic duty, the end result will be the same if we do not change our course.

Chris Hedges opens his book on the Death of the Liberal Class with the saga of an

unemployed veteran from a disadvantaged childhood whose family was plagued with

inadequate healthcare, housing, and employment. This as an example of the challenges

facing the common man living under contemporary American capitalism. From there

he moves on to the broader political topics of the corporate state and the power elite.

He characterizes the classic liberal era of the 19th-century as one where mass

movements brought about social reforms and improvements in working conditions,

women’s rights, universal education and housing for the poor, which he claims ended

with World War I and the perpetuation of permanent war ever since. Now the pillars of

the liberal class - the media, the church, the university, the Democratic Party, and labor

unions - are no longer focused on the welfare of the common man but instead cater to

the interests of corporate money and have joined the cult of the self, and commercial



The chapter on Permanent War describes the consequences of spending half of

America’s discretionary budget on war, leaving a decayed infrastructure at home,

inadequate social services for citizens, and trillions in national debt, while providing

hefty profits for the industries in the military-industrial complex. He says the “The

political uses of the ideology of perpetual war eluded the theorists behind the

nineteenth- and twentieth-century reform and social movements, including Karl Marx”.

Hedges claims it was the decline into permanent war, not Islam, that killed the liberal

democratic movements in the Arab world. Perhaps the permanent warring ideology of

Islam itself has eluded Hedges. He may not realize the history of perpetual Islamic wars

of aggression were recorded in history books around the world for a thousand years

before the United States existed, or the Arab uprising for democracy in Egypt in 2011

resulted in the Presidential election of a Muslim Brotherhood member who plunged the

country back into the harsh Islamic political rule it had hoped to escape. So it was the

decline into Islam that hampered democracy. Islam is not a democracy. It is a theocratic



The final chapter of the book leaves the reader without a clear path for activism to

improve some of the issues presented in the first chapter, such as inadequate healthcare,

housing, employment and education, or to combat the climate change he discusses.

Instead Hedges gives the depressing prognosis that corporate control of the state is

already complete and the economic devastation of global capitalism will soon be

matched by ecological devastation. However he does go on to say that building

sustainable communities and the personal characteristics of non-violence and

compassion will preserve some vestiges of civil society for the few survivors of the next




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2-A Hard Look at Where We Are After the 2016 Election

3-Organizing? What Organizing?!?  by Sondra Miller

4-Quo Vadis? by Sondra Miller

5-Politics Today by Sondra Miller

6-Where are Progressives for State Legislative Districts and the US House of Representatives? by Sondra Miller

7-The Path Forward by Sondra Miller

8-Elections by Sondra Miller

9-Book Review by Sondra Miller: In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power


11-The Women’s March on Washington by Sondra Miller

12-WHAT IS THE FOCUS OF THE LEFT? by Sondra Miller

13-The Largest Third Party in America by Sondra Miller 

14-The Democratic Party is the More Effective of Two Evils 




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