At Greanville Post, Robert Kall notes that blowhard bag-o-bones Bill O’Reily said on his May 8 show that he “despises progressives,” but that “liberals” are okay with him. Kall asked a number of what he thinks of as “progressive leaders” what they thought about the distinction O’Reilly was making here. Although most of his respondents point to a difference (e.g. politically, or in the degree of one’s activism), Noam Chomsky sees none. He says:
The US is the only industrial country where one cannot (on pain of exclusion from polite society) describe oneself as a socialist (and Communist parties function freely elsewhere). After “socialist” was demonized, attention turned next to “liberal” — now almost a term of abuse. So the people who in other societies would be called social democrats, socialist, etc. (“liberal” is a special US term) now call themselves “progressives,” which seems to have less dangerous connotations, though people who are dedicated slaves of private power are working hard to demonize that term too.
If this is accurate, then what the hell is Bill O’Reilly talking about? Not that we don’t ask ourselves that question every single time he opens his maw. After all, O’Reilly is more than anything else a hilariously deranged CPD case. Although I agree with Chomsky that this can be viewed as nothing more than a matter of semantics, I think that Robert Kall parses the distinction that O’Reilly is trying to make better than his interview subjects do:
O’Reilly’s stark remark got me thinking. Why would he be okay with liberals but despise progressives? Me, I tend to lump liberals with Obama Democrats– who have been lulled, like boiling frogs, to accept more and more evil through the lesser of two-evilism that they keep embracing as they’ve accepted Democratic leaders who look more and more like Republicans. Hell, I think Obama is, outside of women’s rights, to the right of Reagan and Nixon.
Swap out “evil” for “conservatism” and you’ve pretty much nailed my point of view: the Democratic Party leadership, President Obama and the “liberals” who support him are no such thing. If O’Reilly somehow has it in his warped little mind that Obama Democrats are liberals, it is rather telling that these “liberals” are okay by him, is it not? Kall is onto something else too:
After doing this little project, I finally got around to interviewing Bruce Levine on my radio show: Learned Helplessness in America; Bruce E. Levine Author of Get Up Stand Up; Uniting populists, energizing the defeated and battling the corporate elite.
He writes and talks about how many Americans have been victims of learned helplessness. I think the liberals O’Reilly approves of are among these. They are cowed and beaten down and have lost hope that they can do much of anything. Good liberals. Well behaved liberals, not the same as progressives liberals.
He closes with this:
Aren’t you proud Bill O’Reilly despises you?
Me, I’m not so much proud as relieved: I’m fairly sure I would not be able to live with myself if Bill O’Reilly did not despise me.
It’s certainly mutual.