(Questions are staggered so Chris has a chance to answer.)
11:01 Chris Hedges
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:01:44 GMT
(To Peter) We have to stop believing that we can effect change through established political or social organizations or electoral politics, and I think that still remains a huge hurdle for us people who in the end, through accommodation of fear and very clever advertising, are herded like sheep into a dysfunctional system, which is how so many people who should have known better voted for Obama. The environmental crisis that we’re about to face will be even more catastrophic than the economic, and we have to, on a personal level, reconsider how we relate to the society at large and to the ecosystem. We have both personal and social decisions to make. At this point most people are not willing to make those choices or take those steps.
Reader question from Terry—Seattle, Wash. If you could put a single book on the topic of global warming (or ecology in general) into the hands of everyone on the planet with the knowledge that everyone would read it cover to cover, what title would you pick?
11:02 Chris Hedges
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:02:56 GMT
(To Terry) Either any of the books by Lovelock or the new book by Clive Hamilton “Requiem for a Species.”
Reader question from Alias—Laguna Niguel The great Thomas Pynchon has attributed the failure of the left to communicate with blue-collar workers to the “presence of real, invisible class force fields.” Do you agree? If so, what can be done to overcome these barriers?
11:05 Chris Hedges
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:05:22 GMT
(To Alias) Well, the barriers can’t be overcome now because the liberal class betrayed the working class. It should have walked out with the passage of NAFTA, but it didn’t, and it continued to support. We have a working class but not one that can earn wages with pensions. The largest, most catastrophic mistake that the liberals made was to embrace capitalism when they should have embraced the workers. The fact that they continued to speak in a hypocritical language where they claimed to care about the working class when they betrayed them made them not only impotent but also a ridicule.
11:05 Question From Jason
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:05:26 GMT
Comment: I listened to your chat with Derrick Jensen and I guess my question is the question he asked, what do we do, the average person that is? Join Greenpeace, run for political office, start a farm in the country and live completely off the grid, hide in the woods and weather the storm? I feel like nothing anybody says or does, no form of action, can stop the machine we call civilization from destroying humanity and world along with it.
11:11 Chris Hedges
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:11:47 GMT
(To Jason) Well, the coup d’etat is over, and they won. We lost. And now we have to learn to cope with it. It is very clear that the engines of corporatism and globalization are going to kill the ecosystem, no matter how many dead zones are created in the Gulf of Mexico or protests organized. We are going to have to make some very serious decisions about acts that dispute a system that in theological terms is a system of death and exploitation. And yet even then, it’s probably too late. If you read closely the science on global warming, it’s disrupting, even if we stop emissions, global warming will accelerate because of what has already been emitted. I think we have to begin to prepare for collapse, and if you want to survive, that’s going to mean access to a local food source. So, in the end I’m with Camus, I don’t think we’re going to fool ourselves into thinking we can make a change. It’s all hijacked, the political system, financial system ... hijacked military complex, it’s hijacked, even all of our social and educational systems. I’ve taught at places like Princeton and they all function like corporations. We’ve allowed these corporations to snuff out all voices of sanity and decency and why we listen to this garbage and why we watch it. ... Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow are as bad as the right wing; they are all playing the same wing, nobody is addressing the institutional methods that are strangling us. I don’t care if it’s from the left or right, it all acts as diversion to keep us in a state of self-delusion.
11:11 Question From Tom Loret
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:11:59 GMT
Comment: I have recently read “The Gospel of Mary” by Karen L. King of Harvard U. The Coptic text points quite clearly to what Jesus really said ... that there is no god, just Good, and this is the New Testament. This document was unearthed in the 1980s. Is there any chance the larger Christian, particularly the murderous, genocidal, life-hating Christian right, will ever put this into their hearts and minds as a real insight and let us all get back to the business of a secular, humanistic democracy that approves of life and liberty ... for starters?
11:14 Chris Hedges
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:14:44 GMT
(To Tom Loret) Well, I have a very dark view of human nature, and the capacity of evil that lurks within all of us because I’ve seen it. Many of us can become executioners and the rest of us silent accomplices. The so-called gospel of Mary is a gnostic text and gnosticism is a form of mysticism and I suppose in the end I’m not a mystic.
Reader question from Mackenzie—Gabriola Chris, in your latest column you talk about the coming environmental collapse. It’s well understood that the highest contributor to global warming, which pollutes more than all transportation combined, is meat production. Why don’t you ever mention factory farms (what some climatologists say is “the most vital step in becoming an environmentalist”). Have you eliminated factory-farmed meat from your diet? Do you call yourself an environmentalist?
11:19 Chris Hedges
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:19:08 GMT
(To Mackenzie) Well, I don’t call myself an environmentalist because I heat my home and drive myself with fossil fuels and I am complicit in the death of the planet. I have electricity, I am hooked into the system. I don’t eat red meat but to be honest it had nothing to do with the environment. After covering the war in Sarajevo and after seeing so much human flesh I couldn’t eat red meat anymore. But I certainly agree that industrial farming, though I hadn’t heard that it was the major cause, but along with the oil industry, I understand it is a major contributing factor.
11:19 Question From Alias
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:19:26 GMT
Comment: What does the fact that Bolivian peasants were able to roll back the government’s plan to privatize the water supply while we here can only sit back ask people like yourself and Chomsky “What can I do” say about us?
11:21 Chris Hedges
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:21:46 GMT
(To Alias) Well, as a culture, we’ve been rendered captive to electronic hallucinations that have disempowered us. One of the most pernicious elements of the electronic age is that it destroys the cohesion of real communities. People retreat into virtual communities, you can walk down the street where I live in Princeton at night and see that sort of glow of monitors that keep people inside their homes, and in a future civilization people will be living in cells called hives that essentially sever them from their neighbors.
11:22 Comment From Joe Oborski
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:22:07 GMT
Comment: The French Revolution when adverse weather and disenfranchised middle class ran amuck
11:22 Question From MK Taylor
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:22:18 GMT
Comment: Why is it thought that the only habitable places on earth after climate change will be located in the northern extremities?
11:24 Chris Hedges
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:24:03 GMT
(To MK Taylor) Because the droughts that are already gripping areas like the Southwest, temporarily push precipitation and hot air northwards, but eventually those droughts and heat extend further and further into northern environments. But there are good descriptions of this in books by Lovelock, for instance, or reports by [James] Hansen.