The Left’s Destructive Self-Indulgence of Idealism

As Bernie Sanders’ campaign continues to gain momentum, a few sober-minded adults have seen fit to chide his supporters for their idealism. These members of the reality-based community claim that Sanders’ supporters are unwilling to accept that politics, as any undergraduate will tell you, is all about compromise. One simply cannot conjure up House and Senate majorities that will raise the federal minimum wage to $15/hour, make higher education free, and pass a single-payer healthcare system. Sanders, if he were to be elected president, would have to operate within the world as it exists rather than the world as he wishes it to be.

As Paul Krugman wrote a few days ago, “while idealism is fine and essential — you have to dream of a better world — it’s not a virtue unless it goes along with hardheaded realism about the means that might achieve your ends.” He warns Sanders supporters not to “let idealism veer into destructive self-indulgence.”

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Corporate Media, State Interests

The media’s complicity in suppressing information governments deem unworthy of our attention is not exactly newsworthy any more. In the age of Chelsea Manning, Wikileaks, and Edward Snowden it is no longer surprising to discover that state interests are considered sacred by most journalists and pundits in the corporate media. This was expressed most clearly by Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, in a review of Times‘ dealings with Julian Assange. Pontificating on the role of the media, Keller declared that the newspaper of record was “invested in the struggle against murderous extremism” and had ” no doubts about where our sympathies lie in this clash of values.” This was a wholesale adoption of the government’s position in the War on Terror and a complete abdication of the supposed responsibilities of the press.

A new report in The Miami Herald is simply another example in this long history of collusion between the state and corporate media–the consequences of which, as this report details, can be deadly. The failed military invasion of Cuba by a CIA-sponsored paramilitary organization in 1961 was “a decisive point-of-no-return for the Castro regime” which “substantiated the Government’s warnings against imperialist aggression from the United States,” according to a dispatch from the Canadian embassy in Havana.  There were casualties on both sides and the invasion itself strengthened the Castro regime. According to a memorandum from Kennedy aide Richard Goodwin, months later Che Guevara would thank Goodwin for the Bay of Pigs–as the invasion came to be known–calling it “a great political victory.” For the United States, it was a strategic disaster by all accounts.

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