Liberals, Curb Your Enthusiasm

Larry David: comedic genius, limousine liberal.

The gay marriage controversy is easily resolved. If I were President of the United States, I would issue an executive order legalizing gay marriage in every U.S. state and territory. My decision would be accompanied by a brief speech explaining that, in the United States of America, the government should make every effort to ensure the rights of consenting adults to build a life together in any way they see fit. It is a fundamental American value that government should guarantee “the pursuit of happiness” as an “unalienable” right.

The Emancipation Proclamation, internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and prohibition of stem cell research all flowed from executive orders. Presidents have used the executive order to make sweeping changes to American society before. There is no reason why gay marriage could not or should not be resolved in the same way.

Most importantly, I would legalize gay marriage so fast in order to focus on what I consider more pressing matters.

Yet, over the past several years, activists have been filing lawsuits, judges have been handing down rulings and lawmakers have been working on legislation to legalize gay marriage. President Obama, facing reelection this November, recently came out in support of it. The media has been abuzz with this politician and that politician coming out for or against. In short, a healthy amount of the nation’s resources and attention has been husbanded to the gay marriage controversy. More than one respected source has alluded to gay marriage as either the civil rights struggle of our era, or the gravest threat to American values.

And yet, one wave of the presidential hand can make all of this go away.

A friend of mine said she read a statistic somewhere that most of the legislation that has been introduced and debated by this current Tea Party Congress revolves around abortion or women’s reproductive rights.

This is a case of the tail wagging the dog. Gay marriage, abortion, marijuana and other such issues have been on the lips of our elected officials for a reason: they distract our attention from the grave structural problems that plague our civilization.

Childhood poverty has reached levels not seen since the late 1800s. The American worker, despite skyrocketing productivity over the past 35 years, has not seen their wages keep up apace. The average CEO makes around 300 times their average worker. Many multi-billion dollar corporations pay no taxes. There is no more class system in the United States, only an economic caste system. The financial sector is still largely unregulated; the student debt bomb being the next terrorist device set to explode because of it.

Our elected officials will give impassioned speeches about gay marriage, but when it comes to children living in households where their parents make less than 3 dollars an hour, they are totally silent. Indeed, the longer they can string these culture war issues along, the more they can make speeches about them and ensure that our structural class problems remain invisible.

As much as I would love to blame conservatives for trying to foist their religious fundamentalism onto the rest of us, the lion’s share of the blame must go to those who pass as “liberals” in this day and age. This includes not only so-called liberals in government, but self-styled liberals of the rank-and-file.

In order to test this, find yourself someone who you might consider a liberal and suggest to them that our country has more pressing matters to attend to than gay marriage. You will be met with moral outrage, if not a full-blown accusation of homophobia.

It is symptomatic of what has become of the entire liberal edifice over the past 35 years.

For example, somewhere along the way, the most prominent black leaders started worrying about “the n word” and which corporations were promoting blacks to middle management positions. All the while, almost a third of America’s black population live below the poverty line and the life expectancy of black Americans remain far below the national average. In essence, the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons of the world became preoccupied with issues relevant to the black middle class or, in other words, those with the disposable income to give to their organizations.

One can only hope that Tavis Smiley and Cornell West have breathed new life into the black civil rights movement.

In the same manner, gay marriage has been the issue du jour of the white liberal class. Whether gay, straight or transgender, liberals around the country have mobilized for the fight for gay rights. For me, it is self-evident that all people, regardless of sexual orientation, should have the right to get married. I consider myself a well-wisher of the gay marriage movement.

I can only say that if gay marriage is your number one political concern, you must have a pretty good life.

The people who pass as liberals in this day and age have played right into conservative hands. Liberal leaders have taken their most impassioned stances and scored their biggest victories in recent years on culture war issues. They have scored these victories because, in the end, conservatives have largely allowed them to do so. Allowing gays to marry will not make any deep structural changes to our broken socioeconomic system. That means that, while it is a loss for conservatives, it is a loss they can live with.

We live in an era of decadence, which literally means a “falling apart”. Both the liberal and conservative elite have reached a consensus that radical reform of our system is unacceptable, so they have resigned themselves to tinkering along the edges. While gays will be allowed to marry and marijuana will someday be legal, the economic caste system that rots our democracy will go unchanged.

While the people of France recently elected a new president in the hopes of altering the direction of the European Union, our president is campaigning on gay marriage. While the people of Greece turned many of their austerity hawks out of government, our leaders are garnering votes over the question of whether man came from God or ape. We are, without question, the single dumbest and most vegged out nation in western civilization.

This goes a long way towards explaining what has become of the Democratic Party in recent years. They are a conglomerate of special interests: gays, minorities, environmentalists, etc. Each interest single-mindedly pushes their agenda to the forefront and, at varying times, is successful at getting their pet issue at the center of the public debate. By bringing their issues into relief, the fundamental traditions on which the Democrats used to stand (the New Deal and the Great Society) fizzle away.

Whether one votes Democrat or Republican, the outcome is the same: the economic caste system stands unperturbed. Liberals should not cheer their superficial victories. They should instead mourn the fact that the culture wars are the only wars they have the heart to wage.

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5 responses to “Liberals, Curb Your Enthusiasm

  1. So much for the truce on social issues.

  2. Michael Fiorillo

    Social issues are also how (neo) liberals mask their anti-labor assumptions.
    You’ve no doubt heard it a million times: “I’m a social liberal and a fiscal conservative.” In other words, gay marriage (a good thing), trumps union busting, privatization, bank bailouts and austerity for the 99%.

    Sure, Bloomberg supports the right to legalized abortion: he wants to assure that his female employees can “kill it, kill it” (his words, as attested to in a discrimination suit brought against him) and not interfere with productivity.

    This allows them the smug self-satisfaction (which liberals are infamous for) of taking safe positions on identity politics, while permitting the ongoing class war to continue in its one-sided fashion.

  3. Kudos for saying the (often) unspeakable. The two parties are collaborating in focusing on social issues so they can pretend they’re enemies while they sell out the country & its people.

    And some liberals, mainly those in the middle to upper-middle class, are either too stupid to walk and chew gum, or are actively collaborating as well.
    I post at a popular Democratic board & I’d say at least half the posters there are of this persuasion. They’re like Republicans, except they’re vehement in defense of all the “rights” — except for labor rights.

    They cheered when an entire school of teachers was fired in Rhode Island. They loved two-tier wages in the auto unions — this is what they call “saving” the industry. They quote Republican boiler-plate about how workers have limousine pensions, and they don’t make as much as some other worker and they don’t have a fancy pension, and they can be fired at will, so why should a union worker (especially a dumb auto worker/teacher/garbage collector) have such things?

    They’re quick to jump on language issues — don’t call women “gals,” don’t say “tar baby” — but they could care less that black and women teachers are the two groups most affected by education deform and black workers most affected by the attacks on public unions (as blacks are more likely than whites to be public workers).

    Posts about these issues, that affect the actual survival of real people, typically get few comments, but posts about some movie star or politician using the wrong word get dozens of outrage-filled comments. If you draw attention to the disparity they’ll draw themselves up indignantly and say how they can pay attention to more than one issue at a time. Or they’ll imply you’re racist/sexist/homophobic, which pretty much shuts down any discussion — as it’s intended to.

    You want to get them really mad — post something about someone abusing a dog, especially a puppy. The death penalty isn’t harsh enough.

    If you got your sense of the public pulse at that place, you’d have to believe that the next election will be decided on important issues like Romney putting his dog on top of his car.

    Since many of these posters are Democratic party activists or cadre in their real lives, I can only conclude that their apathy or downright hostility to labor issues represents the real stance of the Democratic party — which is also the real stance of the Republican party and all possible third party candidates (yeah, Ron Paul).

    In other words, the fix is in.

    Love your blog and hoping that MORE will sweep the field, because that kind of independent organizing is the only hope the working class has. I don’t believe it matters who wins the next election, the war on workers will intensify once it’s over.

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