A core trait of liberals and reformists is to genuflect before power, always looking and begging upward for Better Policy to trickle down from Better Elites. Liberals are basically elitists with some vague hopes for more “progressive” practices on the part of the power structure. They basically dream of benevolent despotism, and fantasize that this benevolence exists in intent, somewhere up there. This benevolence is somehow, mysteriously, prevented from realizing itself. The already classical example is the fundamentalist cult of Obama’s Good Intentions which he mysteriously cannot act upon.
Since a cult can’t get by on mystery alone and needs a more tangible explanation, the mystery is sometimes explained in terms of how those nasty Republicans thwart Obama. Of course this doesn’t explain why Obama couldn’t do what he wanted for two years of a veritable one-party dictatorship, when the Dems held both houses of Congress. Nor does it explain how the benevolence has been unable to trickle down through the executive branch bureaucracies, over which the president has vast unilateral power. But then, in the end, it’s all still a mystery.
I used the “progressive” cult of Obama as a prime example, but we see the same phenomenon everywhere hierarchies and middle classes exist. Middle class liberals and reformists look upward and dream of Better Elites, like cargo cultists worshipping an airplane high overhead.
This is an example of how the petty bourgeois mindset is simply an adaptation of the original peasant mindset, just as the modern professionalized and suburbanized petty bourgeoisie is a temporary offshoot of the peasantry. The basic mindset remains the same, and today’s technocratic worship, “if only Obama knew…”, is the same notion as the that of the Russian peasant who sighed, “if only the tsar knew…if only those nasty ministers and officials wouldn’t keep thwarting his benevolent will.”
On Bloody Sunday, January 1905, the tsar’s troops fired on a peaceful procession coming to the Winter Palace to present a reverent petition, killing and wounding as many as a thousand people. This instantly broke the spell. It was a mortal blow to the cult of the tsar’s benevolence. Never again would it be taken for granted among any significant portion of the Russian people that the tsar was an essentially well-meaning would-be benefactor who was being misinformed and disobeyed by subordinates. While this change of basic mindset didn’t permanently turn the Russian people into revolutionaries, and the 1905 revolution ended up fizzling out, it was still a permanent change, and a significant milestone on the road to 1917.
I wonder now, when we strive for a change in the basic mindset toward corporatism, let alone for a real movement to abolish it, is there any possible event which could strike off the blinders once and for all? We saw the way open police brutality temporarily boosted support for Occupy, but also the way this increased support was more of a mood than a basic shift in the state of mind. Conversely, we see how a historically unprecedented wave of Monsanto-driven farmer suicides in India, upwards of 300,000 by now, for all intents and purposes a mass murder campaign, means very little to Western liberals. So we cannot rely on moral sense to demonstrate to any significant number of middle class Westerners the difference between good and evil. If anything’s to do it, it will be something visceral and horrific, right before their eyes.
But by now, can any action, any crime, rise to the level of clarity for such willfully blind masses? Is a sea change in mindset still possible for masses still living within the intact corporate civilization? Or has corporate Gleichschaltung, “coordination” and indoctrination, reached such a terminal point that nothing large-scale will happen until the system starts collapsing of its own diseased weight?