Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

August 17, 2012

The American Left and the Arab Spring

Filed under: Libya,Syria — louisproyect @ 2:28 pm

Clay Claiborne


The American Left and the Arab Spring

by Clay Claiborne on August 17, 2012

For someone sitting on the very edge of survival, hope is extremely important. Often it is only hope, sometimes even false hope, that allows him to make it to the next day. That is one of the reasons that religion has always found such a resonance among the lower classes, especially in times of great hardship or struggle. Cynicism is deadly for someone on the edge of survival. Even in the darkest night, he cannot afford to be cynical. That cynicism just might push him over the edge.

Cynicism is a privilege. When practiced by those in a position to do it well, cynicism allows them to criticize the oppressor and sympathize with the oppressed without ever having to move out of their comfort zone. In fact, one of the main objects of this practice of cynicism is to make the cynic more comfortable. He may not, as yet, be wanting for much personally, but he can see the growing misery all around him so he has to think or do something. The cynic solves this dilemma by thinking that nothing can be done!

Hope is entirely a question of subjective attitude. So is cynicism, but cynicism pulls off its master trick by masquerading as objective reality. The cynic always tends to think things really are the way he thinks they are. Time and again you will see him substitute his subjective understanding, even when he knows it is limited(!) for objective reality.

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1 Comment

  1. Great post, Clay has done a lot of work and produced an excellent, very well researched summary of the post-revolutionary situation in Libya, and the still delusional situation among too many pseudo humanitarians.

    My observation is that factual accounts such as Clay’s are helpful to people grounded in reality but not as well informed about the details. However, they do nothing to dispel the illusions of those emotionally invested in contrary fantasies. It is not worth the effort to try doing so. If life doesn’t bat them on the head and they wake up on their own, they may be able to fulfill their deepest wish and die deluded. The realization that is this is routine is why the Buddhists developed their concept of compassion, otherwise one would go mad over the vain effort to enlighten that part of humanity that clearly needs more lifetimes to wake up.

    Manuel García, Jr. http://manuelgarciajr.wordpress.com

    Comment by manuelgarciajr — August 17, 2012 @ 8:23 pm

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