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2011: A Brave New Dystopia

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Posted on Dec 27, 2010
Flickr / Ludovic Bertron (CC-BY)

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

Our manufacturing base has been dismantled. Speculators and swindlers have looted the U.S. Treasury and stolen billions from small shareholders who had set aside money for retirement or college. Civil liberties, including habeas corpus and protection from warrantless wiretapping, have been taken away. Basic services, including public education and health care, have been handed over to the corporations to exploit for profit. The few who raise voices of dissent, who refuse to engage in the corporate happy talk, are derided by the corporate establishment as freaks.

Attitudes and temperament have been cleverly engineered by the corporate state, as with Huxley’s pliant characters in “Brave New World.” The book’s protagonist, Bernard Marx, turns in frustration to his girlfriend Lenina:

“Don’t you wish you were free, Lenina?” he asks.

“I don’t know that you mean. I am free, free to have the most wonderful time. Everybody’s happy nowadays.”

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He laughed, “Yes, ‘Everybody’s happy nowadays.’ We have been giving the children that at five. But wouldn’t you like to be free to be happy in some other way, Lenina? In your own way, for example; not in everybody else’s way.”

“I don’t know what you mean,” she repeated.

The façade is crumbling. And as more and more people realize that they have been used and robbed, we will move swiftly from Huxley’s “Brave New World” to Orwell’s “1984.” The public, at some point, will have to face some very unpleasant truths. The good-paying jobs are not coming back. The largest deficits in human history mean that we are trapped in a debt peonage system that will be used by the corporate state to eradicate the last vestiges of social protection for citizens, including Social Security. The state has devolved from a capitalist democracy to neo-feudalism. And when these truths become apparent, anger will replace the corporate-imposed cheerful conformity. The bleakness of our post-industrial pockets, where some 40 million Americans live in a state of poverty and tens of millions in a category called “near poverty,” coupled with the lack of credit to save families from foreclosures, bank repossessions and bankruptcy from medical bills, means that inverted totalitarianism will no longer work.

We increasingly live in Orwell’s Oceania, not Huxley’s The World State. Osama bin Laden plays the role assumed by Emmanuel Goldstein in “1984.” Goldstein, in the novel, is the public face of terror. His evil machinations and clandestine acts of violence dominate the nightly news. Goldstein’s image appears each day on Oceania’s television screens as part of the nation’s “Two Minutes of Hate” daily ritual. And without the intervention of the state, Goldstein, like bin Laden, will kill you. All excesses are justified in the titanic fight against evil personified.

The psychological torture of Pvt. Bradley Manning—who has now been imprisoned for seven months without being convicted of any crime—mirrors the breaking of the dissident Winston Smith at the end of “1984.” Manning is being held as a “maximum custody detainee” in the brig at Marine Corps Base Quantico, in Virginia. He spends 23 of every 24 hours alone. He is denied exercise. He cannot have a pillow or sheets for his bed. Army doctors have been plying him with antidepressants. The cruder forms of torture of the Gestapo have been replaced with refined Orwellian techniques, largely developed by government psychologists, to turn dissidents like Manning into vegetables. We break souls as well as bodies. It is more effective. Now we can all be taken to Orwell’s dreaded Room 101 to become compliant and harmless. These “special administrative measures” are regularly imposed on our dissidents, including Syed Fahad Hashmi, who was imprisoned under similar conditions for three years before going to trial. The techniques have psychologically maimed thousands of detainees in our black sites around the globe. They are the staple form of control in our maximum security prisons where the corporate state makes war on our most politically astute underclass—African-Americans. It all presages the shift from Huxley to Orwell.

“Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling,” Winston Smith’s torturer tells him in “1984.” “Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves.”

The noose is tightening. The era of amusement is being replaced by the era of repression. Tens of millions of citizens have had their e-mails and phone records turned over to the government. We are the most monitored and spied-on citizenry in human history. Many of us have our daily routine caught on dozens of security cameras. Our proclivities and habits are recorded on the Internet. Our profiles are electronically generated. Our bodies are patted down at airports and filmed by scanners. And public service announcements, car inspection stickers, and public transportation posters constantly urge us to report suspicious activity. The enemy is everywhere.

Those who do not comply with the dictates of the war on terror, a war which, as Orwell noted, is endless, are brutally silenced. The draconian security measures used to cripple protests at the G-20 gatherings in Pittsburgh and Toronto were wildly disproportionate for the level of street activity. But they sent a clear message—DO NOT TRY THIS. The FBI’s targeting of antiwar and Palestinian activists, which in late September saw agents raid homes in Minneapolis and Chicago, is a harbinger of what is to come for all who dare defy the state’s official Newspeak. The agents—our Thought Police—seized phones, computers, documents and other personal belongings. Subpoenas to appear before a grand jury have since been served on 26 people. The subpoenas cite federal law prohibiting “providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations.” Terror, even for those who have nothing to do with terror, becomes the blunt instrument used by Big Brother to protect us from ourselves.

“Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating?” Orwell wrote. “It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself.”

Chris Hedges is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute. His newest book is “Death of the Liberal Class.”

Revisions have been made in this column since it was originally posted on Truthdig.


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By Old Man In a Cabin In the Woods, December 28, 2010 at 8:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good thing we’ve got somebody like this to write all this stuff. If I couldn’t read about how awful things are, I would have no idea how awful things are. I’d have no idea about this huge government-corporate monster that is devouring my soul. I must say, I didn’t know I was supposed to be getting worn down by convenience and pleasure so that the government could….Now, what was it again? I’ll check outside…...
It looks pretty good out there. It’s raining.

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By gerard, December 28, 2010 at 8:42 pm Link to this comment

Oh, please!  If you aren’t also looking for “balm for your soul” along with a lot of other peope’s souls here and there in the world, you are deliverately removing yourself from most of te human race. I have already granted you that you probably have a very viable solution for many people.  My doubt comes when I think in terms of millions.  I don’t know how you see that, and I’ve been trying to ask, one way or another.  Do you see small local community reconstruction everythwere as do-able for all people everywhere?
  Also, you dodged the power question, more or less.  Most tribal societies, as I understand it, for the most part share more or less equally, and are communitarian in decision making, for the most part.  But aren’t there times when some one individual’s or minority group’s word is given more power (benign though it may be), whose word is law when push comes to shove?  I’m sure tribes vary a lot, but—the power problem is an important one to think about, especially with so-called “western” acculturation regarding women’s “equality”, as one example. The entire idea of “individualism” is not “observed” to the same degree or in the same way everywhere it appears.  Sure, its excesses are destructive; that’s clear. But a lot of great value would be lost if suddenly all regard for individualism was cast aside
  Or is it that the idea of persons as “individuals’ and of “equality”—along with a lot of other ideas—simply don’t come up, or arn’t raised, or haven’t been raised yet?  Or ...?  (I’m not just asking this for “balm’s sake” or to make a point or argue.  I get my “balm” from a number of “universal” sources and am not sure I even want to be “saved” if everybody else goes down the drain.)
  We can continue this privately if you think best, but so far it seems to be worth sharing publicly. What do you think?

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By aacme88, December 28, 2010 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment

To David J. Cyr

When did the voters get a chance to vote for, or as you say, against a publicly run health care system?

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By aacme88, December 28, 2010 at 8:17 pm Link to this comment

bakari45
“Tell the truth, how many of you get off on Hedge’s
doom and gloom pornography. I mean yeah, what he
says is correct, but he offers no solution.”

Jeez, what do you want? It’s not up to him to offer solutions. It’s up to the President, to the Democratic leaders, to do that. Hedges is a writer. Being right is what he strives for. He is pointing out the problem, part of which is that the people who are supposed to be fixing it appear complicit in it.
Maybe it is for YOU to offer the solution, which you haven’t done either, just shoot the messenger.
However, in the spirit of the day, I myself will offer a solution. And it’s one that is uniquely inherent in the problem, in fact the problem is, in the long run, self-resolving.
The same people who have brought you the corporate state have brought you Global Warming, and financed the Global Warming Hoax hoax, to keep themselves in power a little longer. Because their power rests in the causes of GW. Their insistence on doing nothing has already insured some level of disruption of the already disintegrating veneer of world civilization. The fact that they now have more control than ever will insure continued resistance to action and increasingly cataclysmic results.
So, worrying about the arrangement of the deck chairs is somewhat futile. 
However, once again, if YOU have a solution, please feel free to lay it out.

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By TAO Walker, December 28, 2010 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment

Since this Old Man feels no “scorn” whatsoever for “gerard,” or any in her predicament, the source of her pain must be somewhere else.  She said earlier she’d like to converse Person-to-Person.  There’s a way to contact each other through this website.  She’s welcome to use it, if she wants, to swap some e-mails with this Old Indian. 

Can’t promise to have any balm for the soreness in her soul, though.

HokaHey!

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By David J. Cyr, December 28, 2010 at 7:53 pm Link to this comment

QUOTE (diamond):

“Seventy percent of Americans want a decent, civilized health care system which means a publicly run health insurance system, paid for out of their taxes”
____________

That might be true, but only 0.68 percent (just 2/3rds of 1%) of the voters voted for it.

The liberals, conservatives and libertarians all voted together against it… providing a 99.32% popular mandate for more denial of healthcare.

The votes of the election “winning” liberals ensured that there would also be greater profits from greater denial of healthcare than before.

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By bakari45, December 28, 2010 at 7:33 pm Link to this comment

Tell the truth, how many of you get off on Hedge’s
doom and gloom pornography. I mean yeah, what he
says is correct, but he offers no solution. His articles
and books have become to me just spectacle for the
liberal class who is afraid of fighting for real
revolutionary change. Hedges makes money by telling
you how bad things are (though he’s correct) so you’ll
feel like you know something that the other people
don’t. He makes you feel smug that you don’t watch tv
or buy into the consumer ideology. But will he point you
to a political party or organization that is working for
change? Will he write an entire about different political
economy? No, he’ll never do that, because real solutions
don’t sell books.

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By gerard, December 28, 2010 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment

TaoWalker:  I understand your scorn—but it is painful nevertheless.

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By Ken Prazak``, December 28, 2010 at 7:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Hedges and some of the commentators to his piece have one thing completely wrong. They associate corporatism with capitalism or free market. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In different ages is has been called different things, from mercantilism, to fascism, to corporatism, to crony capitalism. From Alexander Hamilton, to Henry Clay, to Abraham Lincoln, to Mussolini, to Hitler, to Dick Cheney.

All are enabled, indeed created by the state. The corporation is a legal fiction created by the state. It is propped up by the state, subsidized, exceptionalized, lionized, and deified by the state.

The corporation could not exist without the state.

To toy with the idea, as most progressives do, that all it takes to reign in the corporation is for the people through its government to regulate and tax the corporation, is to live in an Alice in Wonderland dreamworld. The corporate interests have the money and power to make sure that any legislation passed will benefit them at the expense of any upstart. They are continually taken kicking and screaming to the briar patch. The recent health care legislation is a primary case in point. The biggest winners were the insurance companies.

Anytime increased regulation and taxation becomes law, the big corporate interests benefit, and the little guy with the better mousetrap, instead of having customers knocking at his door, get the tax men and the regulators pounding at his door (with jack boots). Consider just one industry, the automobile industry and what happened to Tucker and Delorean.

But despite the massive power and wealth of the corporate elite in this country, their days are numbered. This country is going bankrupt. The status quo can not continue for long.

The myopic visions of both liberals or progressives on the “left” who see all on the right as the enemy, and those conservatives on the right who truly believe in limited government who see all on the “left” as the enemy need to check their premise of a linear philosophical paradigm. It doesn’t exist in the real world. The left understands that true freedom isn’t possible with interventionist, imperial wars while taking away personal rights at home in order to preserve them. The right understands that freedom is meaningless if one can’t keep what they earn in an honest marketplace.

The way out of this mess is to recognize how people have been divided and conquered by the power, corporate elite with this false-dichotomy political spectrum.

True freedom and prosperity will come to this country out of the bankrupt mess we are in, generated by the warfare/welfare state. The sooner people realize that the power of the state is at the root of the evil, and of corporate power, the sooner the day will be where we can begin to turn our country around. The military industrial complex must be dismantled. The notion that tax policy should pick winners and losers whether they be rich, middle class, or poor must end. A minimal state that does nothing beyond protecting our natural rights against force or fraud will lead to prosperity, greater income equality than we have now, and a justice system that is truly blind.

Some commentators of this piece have linked the tea partyers with corporate interests. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, there are some Republicans who have latched on to the tea party movement for their own political gain. But the spirit of the movement is to break down government power, which will in turn break down corporate power.

The key thing to watch in the upcoming weeks and months is to see to what extent tea party Congressmen insist on equal cuts in spending, from defense and domestic spending. If the recognition exists that cuts must be made across the board, a new paradigm will have begun, the left right false dichotomy will end, and the the fight will be with those who choose freedom, versus those who choose the Orwellian/Huxley combination of American elite tyr

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By Pelle Esbensen, December 28, 2010 at 7:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What a mood you must have been in to write this one. Great comparison of
these two Dystopias. I do miss the note of hope, that flare in each of these
novels, from your post. You seem to forget the role of the witness, the activist,
the resister, the human.

Each of these narratives reveal that no matter the nature of the control grid
emposed upon something, it will crumble, it will fail it will falter and fade away
with the breaking of a new dawn. This is not to detract from the truth of your
analysis, nor the direness of the present situation.

We are alive to carry on this debate. We see the apocalypse approaching, yet we
still do so from a relative comfort, compared to that of the years to come. The
momentum of change is building, and they cannot program us and certainly
have not programmed us out of understanding or resistance or voluntary
creativity.

Only if you believe that humans are static can you think this a loosing fight. We
are eternally, gratefully reprogrammable into freedom, as the third great
Dystopic English language novel of the twentieth century - Neuromancer -
demonstrated to us.

Gibson reminds that there are forces at work we cannot fathom. If there are no
other ways for these forces to manifest they WILL appear as ghost in the
machines surrounding us. We are not told what consequences Case’s rebellion
may have, but the novel’s end is prophetic in it’s knowing that evil and
totalitarianism - like good and utopia - will never be complete, because
humans are involved. We fail and succeed interchangeably in our endeavors.

I encourage all freedom lovers, who may have stared too deeply too long into
the abyss to reconsider all that has transpired to bring them here. This is not
the end. Orwell and Huxley and Gibson were not prophets nor pre-conditional
programmers. They merely left time(less) capsules floating in the streams of
consciousness.

Look into a pair of human eyes and know that no system will ever be able to
suppress al the magic in even one of us.

And keep fighting creative.

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By TAO Walker, December 28, 2010 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

Will it comfort “gerard” to learn it is “the Old Woman” who “decides”?  Or the Old Man?  What Son would refuse to honor a parent that way….however difficult it might be emotionally? 

Free wild Persons and Peoples don’t live in “history.”  There are no “questions of power” among us.  “gerard” is trying again, vainly, to project her own severely circumscribed experience as a domesticated “individual” onto those of us who are neither “individual”-ized nor domesticated.  Isn’t that tactic what can accurately be called a “power”-play?

Thanks, but no-thanks….to that DEAD END “bridge” to oblivion.

HokaHey!

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By Mr. Muhammad Zamiluddin Khan, December 28, 2010 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. hedges Essay should be considered Z I believe following my own theoretical referencing Framework"The Great Depression:The Civil War:The 2008 Global Financial Crisis:Next?” that has at the Beginning “THe Pilgrims:Harvard College:Boston Tea revolt:Slavery” and in between the threat perception as :The Anglo-French Invasion:The Confederates: The Communist State such as Soviet Union: The First and Second World Wars; The Cold War:The energy Crisis:The Environment and ultimately “The Disintegration”. And “The Technology’ not as derivative but as Fundamental element of Production must be processed into with Ethical Pronouncement and Moral Judgment derived from the “Article of Confederation ” and “The Constitution” to achieving the “Happiness and Human Bliss” as “Public Good” depending on “Individual Ingenuity and Free dome” set in the changing demographic and linguistic shifts coupled with fundamental changes in the US Economy as consequent to Global trade and Investment and Movement of Capital and Labor.Muhammad Zamiluddin Khan[Muhammad Khan’92,HSPH] a. k. a. Zamil Khan

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By gerard, December 28, 2010 at 6:02 pm Link to this comment

TaoWalker:  I was asking about what occurs when questions regarding power come up in tribal societies and small communities.  Ideally speaking, or otherwise.  Who decides when the old woman gets carried to the mountain to die—probably excrutiatingly?  Who decides that the eldest son will do the excrutiating job? Who decides?  That’s the power question, and it comes up just about everywhere in human history, sooner or later, let’s face it. It’s the key problem in government, self or otherwise, church or state, just and unjust laws, them or us, etc. etc. What actually happens, in your more natural/human community?

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By Mr. Muhammad Zamiluddin Khan, December 28, 2010 at 5:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Republic founded in 1776 that came to be known as United states of America does face challenges from within and without As “We the People” declared of having “unalienable Rights” to be enjoyed by everyone irrespective of gender ,race[/] and colr and religion having a state that does not sponsor favored status to any religion in particular does begin its journey though with one critical lack of eloquence in Print and Pronouncement since Independence is the Ethical and Moral underpinnings of the “Article Of Confederation” and the “Constitution” that is heavily relied on Judea o-Christian ethics due to temporal surrounding and boundary of the “Society” in 1776.Having journeyed over 250 years of independence this “Republic” very fondly pronounced as “Union’ for having the Civil War in its history did face seemingly insurmountable oppositions within its boundary,be it spatial or temporal such as:The Great depression:The Civil War:The 2008 Global Financial Crisis: and What? One way of approaching the aftermath of such crisis is to accept the precept and concept of “Multi_theocratic State” not “Theo-Centric ” ‘Society” overseas and to incorporate essential elements of continuing functioning of the “Republic” known as “USA” turned into"Union” after the Civil War and by bringing changes into the Economy and Society that foresaw the danger in the Civil War and after the World War Ii the Soviet Style “Statehood” whose declared policy on religion was “Atheism” and the Economic processes was founded on “Complete absence of Private property” as known in the Republic and Union in the USA and controlling of services,goods and resources at the Command of the"Soviet State” and also faced the challenge of Military Industrial Complex that self perpetuate and pushes the technological advancements controlled by the centralized “State” Regulatory processes that favors “Big Business” with “Absentee Ownership”. As Absentee Ownership in Bengal did wipe out the Old Society and Social fabric in Bengal after 1872 permanent Settlement and brought linguistic changes in the entire South Asia so does this “Absentee Ownership” as practiced through “Stock Exchange” and Reserve Bank system did increase “public spending” without economic efficiency.This what that may ,as per Orwell put us in"1984’ and the real question that becomes evident from the dissatisfied “republic” over “Union’ is that how “human Happiness and Bliss” could be achieved as “Public Good” with “Individual Ingenuity” and “FREEDOM” My General Propulsion subject to further elaboration is to go for indoctrination of “Abrahami legacY” that I present in My “SPACE AND FREEDOM:A Muslim Perspective-An Essay on Water,Health and Religion"with [ISBN:984-300-002138-0] and published by me,Mr. Muhammad Zamiluddin Khan in Dhaka,Bangladesh in 2008 proved that Christianity and Judaism is reconfirmed in writing By Islam and Prophet Muhammad [PBUH} and the Medina Charter { answer to Professor Richard Levins of HSPH,Harvard query on Universalism of Medina Administration in 7th Century over e-mail to me] does impress the “Republic"vs “Union” schism to work with the founding of “The Process “fashioned after the Treaty of Medina Charter but consitent with the Constituent Assembly of the Founding Fathers of the Republic in 1776 and I caution and argue not to contemplate changing the US Constitution ,rather to negotiate a better Union to learn from analysis done by Independent Thinkers. And I should mention that for this Academic Publication I received handwritten letter of Understanding and Appreciation from Professor Henry rosovosky,the Geyser University Professor emiretus in Economics and Member,Harvard Corporation.Mr.Muhammad Zamiluddin Khan[Muhammad Khan’92,HSPH],a. k. a. Zamil Khan

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By mrfreeze, December 28, 2010 at 5:53 pm Link to this comment

To Diamond:

Actually, Fat Freddie is worse than a dolt. He’s a self-proclaimed libertarian. As such, he has no expertise or capability of understanding complex human interaction, compassion or cooperation. Always remember the characteristics of a libertarian:

1) They’re just Republicans who like to smoke dope
2) After the roads, bridges, infrastructures, legal systems,cities and all other good things have already been created, they are the Neanderthals who complain that they too must contribute to the tribe even though many others have already done so.
3) They’re the knuckle-heads who show up at your party with no bottle (or thanks afterward)
4) They’re not the type of person one wants watching one’s back in a fight.

This is why FF is so easily dismissed in many of these discussions: he can only see the world though the lens of “what’s in it for me as long as I don’t have to pay for it.”

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By TAO Walker, December 28, 2010 at 5:46 pm Link to this comment

Apparently unable yet to demonstrate effectively the full measure of “self-ownership” he was touting earlier, “Fat Freddy” resorts (reflexively?) to the threadbare “nuclear-option” canard, in his somewhat fatuous response to this Old Man’s carefully considered response to his original query.  How comfortable is he with those who do have “the launch codes”?

What is “Fat Freddy” so deathly afraid-of?

HokaHey!

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By Leefeller, December 28, 2010 at 5:38 pm Link to this comment

Fat Fred,

I spend much of my time loitering around the barn yard with Billy the Goat, that doesn’t mean I believe loitering should be made into a law?......By the way, isn’t loitering what Congress does in DC?

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By TAO Walker, December 28, 2010 at 5:32 pm Link to this comment

In Nature there is no “problem of power,” either, despite the honestly-come-by misCONception in the comment by “gerard” below.  It’s main problem for domesticated people is in its own essential nature as an illusion.  “Power” cripples and corrupts because it isn’t real, making those who would try to “wield” it deluded….which is to say, clinically, insane.  Those who CONtribute to the illusion by submitting to the ego-mania at “power”‘s core aren’t generally in very good shape either….witness “your huddled masses” today.

Right now, of course, the virtual world-o’-hurt is full of “individuals” entranced by the seductive mirage of “power”....either as exercisers or subjects, and usually both at-once in various combinations.  The rest of us must take that into consideration like we do any other dangerous condition occasioned by the erratic behavior of out-of-Form Humans.  We respond to it as best we can, always in-keeping with our given organic function.

It seems “death” is often the sort-of ‘bottom-line’ standard by which things Human are judged by the domesticated among us.  In pretty much every “modern” town and city these days is at-least one ‘warehouse’ where those with no further “value” to the eCONomy, except what can be wrung-out-of their “end-of-life” time by the overarching institutional system, are carried (often by no-doubt sometimes sad and reluctant family members) to die.  A “power”-of-attorney is frequently a prominent feature of this process.

Go figure.

HokaHey!

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By Fat Freddy, December 28, 2010 at 5:30 pm Link to this comment

diamond,

Nobody should force their Will on anybody. Define “good of the many”. All social institutions should be Voluntary. Democracy, fascism, communism, it’s all the same. Form follows function, and it is the role of government to take from one group, and give to another.

Your Socialized healthcare is a scam. I’ve seen what it is. Last week I went to the “free clinic” to have a tooth pulled. It was nice, all right. All state of the art equipment, nice, friendly staff, but the Dentist was a fucking butcher. That’s where we are headed. No more private doctors, except for the very rich. Production line healthcare. People are herded in, and herded out. After doing a little research, I found that over half of the patients that go there are on Medicaid. Soon, we will all be on Medicaid, except for the very rich. We will have to go to “clinics” for our healthcare. You are a complete fool, if that’s what you want. I wouldn’t trust those doctors to give me an enema.

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By bakari45, December 28, 2010 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

Chris, can you please stop just writing about doomsday and
provide some viable solutions? Your jeremiads in books and
articles now seem to be nothing more than your private source
of income. Sure, you gotta make a living, but it’s difficult to take
you seriously when all you do is talk endlessly about the
problems and never, EVER, talk about real solutions. Are you
scared of the words, “socialism,” “resource based economy,”—
whatever system you think will actually put an end to the doom
and gloom that you so enjoy writing about?

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By Fat Freddy, December 28, 2010 at 5:13 pm Link to this comment

christian96

“Has anyone on this site solved any
problems yet?”

Well, as a member of the NJ Libertarian Party, I like to think I played a positive role in getting Brian Aitken’s sentence commuted by writing a letter (email) to Gov. Christie. I also participated in getting three local communities to abolish their loitering laws and I/we am working on Camden’s loitering law. Small steps, but steps nonetheless.

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By diamond, December 28, 2010 at 5:09 pm Link to this comment

‘The Democracy you dream of is nothing more than the majority forcing its Will on the minority.’

Fat freddy you really are a dolt. What are you talking about? That’s what democracy is: the good of the many. What you have in America now is polyarchy, where the will of a tiny minority is forced on the majority. That’s a form of Fascism, a system in which the people exist to serve the state: the state being an elite of around 1% of the population who get to have all the power and all the benefits while the majority fight over the scraps.

The health care situation is a good example. Seventy percent of Americans want a decent, civilized health care system which means a publicly run health insurance system, paid for out of their taxes,  but a tiny minority of billionaires who have grown rich on the profit driven disaster America currently has decided that wasn’t going to happen. And they got their way. The majority got shafted again. That is not democracy, which is based on the greatest good of the greatest number. You don’t seem to understand that at all. Which explains a lot.

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By Fat Freddy, December 28, 2010 at 5:07 pm Link to this comment

ardee,

Fat Freddy, December 28 at 2:53 pm

Wrong on all counts, as per usual.

Would you care to elaborate?

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By Fat Freddy, December 28, 2010 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

TAO Walker

I hope nobody ever gives you the launch codes.

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By REDHORSE, December 28, 2010 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

No matter what ones emotional/intellectual opinion of the overtly insane, dangerous, anti-human, anti-life, anti-soul reality Mr. Hedges presents: If one is physically unable or unwilling to act in ones own self-defense the entire exchange is moot.

    Mr. Hedges reports an alarming and deadly truth that names our President as an open conspirator in the destruction of the American Democratic Ideal. He names the “disease” and lists the “symptoms”. It is a blood boiling reality for anyone considering themselves FREE. The reponse makes it clear that TRUTHDIG is a “discussion board” not a platform for political change. If anything, the response validates the effectiveness of the hardwired passivity MSM propagandist “Big Brother” psychological techniques have installed in the American Psyche. This is not “entertainment” and “—-the Revolution will not be televised—”.

    To quote Orwell’s ANIMAL FARM:“All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.” Let me say it clearly. The snake bites and it’s going to bite you. Mama can’t save you.

    CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM NOW!! REPEAL THE PATRIOT ACT NOW!! STOP REVOLVING DOOR CASH POLITICS!! ORGANIZE OR PERISH!!

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By gerard, December 28, 2010 at 3:56 pm Link to this comment

TaoWalker, what you say, and the way you say it, is becoming more bewitching day by day.  One thing is missing—at least for me.  You do not address the problem of power, yet I am sure that even in the most idyllic tribal settings there are struggles (battles?) over the problem of power, are there not?When some contentious decisions have to be made, who makes them, and how?
  Near a village where I stayed for a time once was a hilltop which in long-gone ancient tribal times was traditionally called the “mountain for leaving old women who had out-lived their usefulness to die when food was in short supply. The carrying to the mountain was the duty of the oldest son.  Grim, grimmer, grimmest! But the dictat of tradition (whoever or whatever had decided “traditions” in times out of mind.)
  Please don’t misunderstand my question as an attempt to “put down” your comments.  For me, what you say is always helpful and welcome.  I hope you are more “right” than “wrong.” But I do have questions and find myself wishing we could meet and talk.

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By ardee, December 28, 2010 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

Fat Freddy, December 28 at 2:53 pm

Wrong on all counts, as per usual.

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By christian96, December 28, 2010 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment

Ardee—-I’m sorry.  I shouldn’t have been so specific by using your name.  My question should
have been, “Has anyone on this site solved any
problems yet?” Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

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By gerard, December 28, 2010 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment

subterranean (28, 5:46) has chosen a good “penname”. His message represents that subterranean urge in all of us when the going gets tough:  “Reach out and kill someone.”

Only now, millions of people everywhere are beginning to recognize that violence prodouces more violence, and therefore they are looking for non-violent ways to make changes. (So simplistic a statement as to be easily overlooked or classified as inane.)  That’s one more dangerous dilemma on the current scene—overlook the obvious.
All the murderous dystopias in history have been organized on the principles of violence. There is some evident truth in this fact:  The larger the organization, the more dystopian it becomes.  Still, small organizations have been and can be violent when there isn’t enough food for everybody, or enough shelter,—or when a few people decide they need power over others—so small size is no guarantee of nonviolence.
  It depends upon something else—something inside hearts and minds, something that has appeared briefly in individuals and groups from time to time,here and there, attempting to help solve problems created by violence.  It’s a rare metal, but a strong one. Each person has to first throw out a lot of habituated junk, and then look deep within to find it and learn how to use it and help create it in others.  Big job.  “Not for babies”, as one of my friendly enemies here recently reminded me.
  Jesus of Nazareth, among others, taught and exemplified non-violent action the best he could, but his church has pretty well destroyed it, what with the Crusades and all. Governments have never caught on because they are too stupid.  In crunch-times people tend to follow (obey) governments, not churches, because—well—they’d prefer to stay alive and keep their families alive as long as possible.  Who can blame them? Crucifixion hurts.
  It might be possible to act non-violently in various wise and well-planned ways, and not be crucified for it.  Precisely how to dis-arm the power structure, is the question.
  The main thing we have going for us is that the power structure is top-heavy and fragile. Of course that fact also makes the structure scared, reactive and—yes, violent.

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By Michael Cavlan RN, December 28, 2010 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment

I have become absolutely amazed at the level of cowardice and indeed
complicity of the American “left” or “progressives.” What ever the hell that
means.

From Organized Labour, to Peace Groups, Environmental groups, Social Justice
communities etc etc etc. When Chris Hedges was arrested at the White House,
there were 131 people with him. My friend Melissa Hill was in the Paddy Wagon
with him. The protest itself had about 500 people. FIVE HUNDRED PEOPLE. That
is a shameful condemnation of the so called peace communities.

Then I realize that the issue of class is not addressed. Most of the above groups
are middle class in orientation, leadership and membership.

It is working with working class groups and communities that I have hope.

From them will spring resistance.

No blogging words a plenty. We will leave that to the nice middle class
protesters and lefty trust fund babies..

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By TAO Walker, December 28, 2010 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

When “Fat Freddy” demonstrates the ability to assemble autonomously out of ‘nothing’ the constituents of both his “self” and the physical form it occupies here, then we can talk about the CONceit of “self-ownership.”  Meantime, since there is absolutely nothing to “ownership” anyhow except responsibility, notions about who “owns” whom (or what) are essentially Biological, and can only cause the kinds of CONfusion and misCONceptions so prevalent these days in the virtual world-o’-hurt, when attempts are made to ‘transplant’ them, as the make-believe CONcepts of “rights” and “privileges” and “power,” into the hot-house environment (the “global” eCONomy) so necessary to the process and propagation of the “civilization” disease.

This Old Indian belongs to a free wild People who in-turn belong to the Natural Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth who belongs to the Song ‘n’ Dance of Life Herownself.  We all “own” who-and-what we are responsible to.

Humanity has a given organic function within our Living Arrangement, as components in Her immune system.  The “self”-absorbed members of the subspecies homo domesticus, however, are seriously organically dysfunctional these Days, and are suffering presently the debilitating natural consequences of letting their responsibility to the Living Arrangement which engenders and supports them fall on the ground.

“WriterOnTheStorm” did essentially equate Humans with Bees in his earlier post.  Even allowing it as mere “metaphor,” though, he seems prone to get the-cart-before-the-horse, or the-chicken-before-the-egg, in suggesting there is some kind of sequential staging by which solitary Bees become the Swarms (the natural organic Form of some varieties of Bees) that nest altogether in Hives.  Carrying this misconception over to Humans, he posits the “individual” as the fundamental organic Form of Humanity.  Various random collections of these mysteriously occurring particles then try to work-out institutional arrangements whereby they might beneficially co-exist….but always as “individuals,” whose private ‘satisfaction’ remains critical….at-least to their very own “self.”

This is simply not sound Biology.  It’s true that departing from the given Living Arrangement, in vain pursuit of some “better idea,” leaves domesticated people groping for some artificial substitute to “order” their half-lives.  Religious, political, and other kinds of philosophy represent more-or-less ‘codified’ attempts to come-up with such always-insufficient simulacra.

There is in Nature no “problem” involving the needs of any “collective” versus those of any “individual.”  As Natural Persons, free wild Human Beings in the Form of what some among us call Tiyoshpayes enjoy exactly that latitude of Personal movement and ‘expression’  necessary to the healthy fulfillment of the Human function within our Living Arrangement.  It is orders-of-magnitude more extensive, too, than the severely curtailed version allowed the “individual”-ized members of homo domesticus. 

Our ORGANic “communities” likewise enjoy exactly that freedom necessary to function sustainably and healthily within The Hoop of Life.  It, too, is vastly more than is available to the “civilized” peoples. 

It is only in the artificial system holding our tame Sisters and Brothers captive currently that such false CONundrums as “group-v.-individual” arise, with their always inadequate attempts to think-up some ultimately prohibitively expensive cheap imitation plastic replacement for what is given freely, and most generously, in Nature.

HokaHey!

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By anonymous, December 28, 2010 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris,

Both books are rewrites (admitted by Huxley and Orwell) of the Russian Novel “We”.

btw/ I just started rereading “Darkness at Noon”.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, December 28, 2010 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment

TAO,

WriterOnTheStorm isn’t suggesting that human beings are like bees. The
metaphor is simply an illustration of the notion that there is a bigger picture
here than the individual’s perception of their own predicament. The “hive”, in
this comparison, represents any system facilitating the functioning of large
groups.

Depending on the particular human being in question, he/she may be unhappy
with their role in any given system, but discontent in no way should be
interpreted to mean that the system itself is not efficient for species survival.

As artists, both Huxley and Orwell were preoccupied with the outsiders and
misfits of the system. Psychologically, their works can be viewed as projections
of their own personal fears of ex-community. But the outsider role is also
essential to the system, functioning as an “mutant gene” within the organ of the
group—an evolutionary escape hatch.

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By Subterranean, December 28, 2010 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is only by hurling a lighted stick of dynamite at a concentrated mass of police and fbi pork-swine that progress is attained.One must be either for revolution, which is always violent, or simply accept what exists.

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By Sodium-Na, December 28, 2010 at 11:57 am Link to this comment

Re: JDmysticDJ,December 28 at 5:18 am.

“Hedges has a following and he is endorsed by many,those many are also considered to be irrelevant by the greater status quos.”

JDmysticDJ,

As an integrated whole your above Re is excellent. However,I take issue with the above comments of yours I quoted above. Why? Because the “the greater status quos” is considered also irrelevant by the RULING ELITES. Where one goes from this dilemma? Let me try to provide an explanation:

With a few exceptions,as far as the RULING ELITES are concerned,the only relevant things in their lives are their wealth and how to double it and triple it,by hook or crook. And this is true about the RULING ELITES in every country in the globe. No exception.

Question:

Should the above reality about the enormous power the RULING ELITES have hinder,or at least bother,Chris Hedges and his followers in reaching what they have in mind? No,it should not. Not even in the least for a simple reason: Chris Hedges and his followers,based on my own follow up on what has been written by Hedges and posted by his followers,they adhere firmly to their humanity. They have not lost it yet. I wish I could say the same about their TORMENTORS. No way!

Then,the question becomes:

Which group is truly more relevant?

Only the passage of time will tell.

Therefore,taking a position on the relevance of each group in the equation,at this point of the game,I believe,is immature. It is just too early. The total circumstances in every aspects of people lives,world wide,have made the struggle for survival so fierce which has made the relevancy of each group subject to what each group can and cannot do. Who could have predicted that PVT BRADLY MANNING and WIKILEAKS were in the offing? No one. So is about the relevancy of each group.

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By Leefeller, December 28, 2010 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

Why do I find other peoples interpretations on just about most anything annoying? Possibly because I have lived my life listening to different interpretations of a goat herders manual, the bible from those which only consider their interpretations absolutely correct as the gospel.

Fat Fred, I find the cartoon as one interpretation to another as interesting as any another opinion posted on this thread.
All the interpretations and opinions posted here would make one strange opinionated annoying comic book or maybe should be in Mad Magazine.

Is it possible after all the hand wringing and sweat covered fretting posted here,  the problem may just be good old apathy or maybe people doing the best they can to live their lives in peace?

It appears, in the peanut gallery one can always find hecklers whiners and complainers about the glass being half empty!

Peanuts anyone!

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By Fat Freddy, December 28, 2010 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

PECB

Don’t you know that when a person freely chooses to trade his labor for money, he’s being exploited? The same is true of a farmer who trades his crops for money. We need a government, that can be manipulated, to step in and place restrictions on the free exchange of goods and services. It’s for our own good, you know.

Maybe, just maybe, it is the government’s control of the money, and the special favors granted to the banks, that is really the cause all of the problems. Banks exist on a completely different set of rules from other businesses, which is a privilege granted by government. See: National Bank Act, Legal Tender Laws. When the government manipulates the money, it manipulates every single transaction involving money, which is, basically, everything, and the government in this country has been manipulating the currency since before the Revolutionary War. It is , in fact, how they financed the Revolutionary War, and practically every war in our history.

http://mises.org/books/historyofmoney.pdf

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By Fat Freddy, December 28, 2010 at 10:24 am Link to this comment

Are there any types of Living Beings in the Living Universe that actually occur as “individuals”?

Are you familiar with the concept of “Self-Ownership”, or do you believe that some other person or group has a higher claim on you and your life than you, yourself? Do you believe that you have a claim on somebody else’s life?

Self-Ownership is possible only through voluntary interactions, free from coercion and the initiation of, or threat of force.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDgkUPokclk

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By PECB, December 28, 2010 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

“...unfettered and unregulated capitalism is a brutal and revolutionary force that exploits human beings and the natural world until exhaustion or collapse. “

Hmmm . . . since when have we had “...unfettered and unregulated capitalism”?

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By David J. Cyr, December 28, 2010 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

QUOTE (of an avatar… being several shades of (D)evious blue):

“Contrary to the conventional wisdom here expounded upon by Hedges and others, some action is better than no action , and any actions that diminish rather than preserve the status quos are of value.”
____________

Democrat activists are relentless in their efforts to keep (D) hope alive; and keep people thinking they’re heading in the right direction, when they are heading in (D) Right’s direction.

The corporate state values every action the Democrat activists do, because Democrats reliably vote for corporate party candidates. Whether large or small, every liberal action appearing to be “against” what they vote **FOR** is just theater of mass deception.

For Democrats to **NOT** continue to preserve the status quo and perpetually protect the corporate state, with every action they take, they’d have to first stop being Democrats and never support any Democrat… ever again.

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By Fat Freddy, December 28, 2010 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

ardee

Kitty Antonik Wakfer

I find your opinion, and your link , to be an excuse for rampant capitalistic greed and the continuation of the destruction of our democratic society . That you channel Ayn Rand seems obvious enough, that you can possibly ignore the seemingly endless abuses by an unregulated corporate community seems flabbergasting.

That’s because you do not understand the difference between the “vulgar”, minarchist, capitalist apologist libertarians, and the Voluntaryist/Agorist, anarchist libertarians. You also do not understand the difference between market entrepreneurs and political entrepreneurs. Your reaction is typical, close minded knee-jerk statism. I have much better open and honest, free thinking discussions on minarchism vs. anarchism then I ever have with liberal/progressives on statism vs. libertarianism. Hedges, is borderline. The Democracy you dream of is nothing more than the majority forcing its Will on the minority. And you whine and complain when your opinion is the minority. People should be free to make their own decisions based on what is best for them, and not be forced into doing things that are not in their own best interests. Neither you, nor the government are qualified to make those decision for me, or anybody else, anymore than a Priest is qualified to make those decisions. Your faith in government is no different than faith in a omnipotent being that lives in the sky, regardless of how you try to justify it.

http://www.amazon.com/Myth-Robber-Barons-Business-America/dp/0963020315/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1293494996&sr=1-1

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By Lafayette, December 28, 2010 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

UNFAIR SHARE

CH: We have been gradually disempowered by a corporate state

 

For all their prescience, as seen in the two books mentioned, neither saw that the present dystopia (fleeting as it will prove to be, as soon as the US is back to 5% unemployment) would be brought upon ourselves by ourselves. We have largely let it happen - even if, perhaps, we did not see it coming.

In fact, Orwell, who wrote “1984” in 1949, did not think BigBrother was BigBusiness ... it took Eisenhower to first rail against the M-I-C (Military-Industrial-Complex) that would put us on the road to “Bigger is better”. Orwell thought, rather, it would be some kind of Hitlerian power that would somehow install itself in place, very much like the communist states began to do at that very time in postwar history.

And we know what happened to them. But do we understand why it happened?

The self-implosion of communism was due to three factors:
* It required a dictatorial state with a pretense of elective democracy,
* It needed a gigantic computer (not yet invented) to manage a centralized economy that mandated both consumer Demand and therefore Supply, and,
* It failed to recognize the fundamental nature of mankind based upon the principle of continued self-betterment.

And it is the last of the above that was most important, since it motivates us towards self-realization as individuals. Unfortunately, even if the West did allow unbridled capitalism to epitomize self-fulfillment (by means of the exaggerated accumulation of riches), our present socio-economic context runs against the grain of another inculcated human value.

That of fairness or “the level playing field”. Given America’s ingrained Income Unfairness, the notion that one should work hard (really hard) in order to obtain their “fair share” is a monstrous pretense. Americans work hard so a highly select few can obtain their Unfair Lion’s-Share of the economic wealth generated.

Dystopia is an attractive Greek-word, but it does not apply to our condition. We are nowhere near BigBrotherhood. Rent-seeking “oligopoly” (also of Greek origin) is closer to truly depicting our market economy.

And maybe, just maybe, BigBrotherhood is a hop, skip and a jump away?

Go figure ...

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By frecklefever, December 28, 2010 at 9:49 am Link to this comment

WHEN KARMA WAS STARTING TO WORK ITS REVENGE ON WALL STREET…THEY BEGAN BAWLING
FOR GOVERNMENT FUNDs…COMMUNISM..OR A MORE TASTY WORD WOULD BE STIMULUS….NOW
THEY WANT MORE..BECAUSE ITS NOT WORKING…WE HAVE BEEN SCUCKLED ON THE WORD
INDULGE,,,BECAUSE THAT IS THE LIFEBLOOD OF THE MEGALITH..SO LOGIC SAYS STARVE THE
BEAST….A PRACTICAL START WOULD BE TO DRIVE FORTY FIVE ON THE STREETS AND FIFTY FIVE
ON THE FOUR LANES…IT WILL SAVE LIVES…SAVE WEAR ON YOUR CAR..HELP THE
ENVIROMENT..SAVE WILDLIFE…AND TWEAK BIG OIL…LIKE THAT SAGE DON JUAN MATISE SAID
LONG AGO….THE TRIMMED LIFE IS THE IMPECCABLE LIFE..

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By drbhelthi, December 28, 2010 at 9:43 am Link to this comment

“- - In both instances, there’s a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight,- -”

How very accurate.  The most dangerous time to drive is at twilight.

With regard to comparing the destructiveness of Osama bin Laden to that of the corporations, that carry out the will of the few super-rich politicians who own them and manipulate the governments that support them - - .

It is similar to comparing the picture of a bulldozer with an actual bulldozer.

Osama bin Laden was awarded security by his partners in illegal arms and drug crimes, the GHWBushSr family, and its right arm, the NAZI element within the CIA.  All the false leads were invented by the CIA, amplified by the GHWBushSr family, which enjoyed continued illegal business with the bin Laden family. 

Osama bin Laden enjoyed the publicity for a few years.
Until.
His NAZI/American compatriots decided he knew too much, might at some future date “spill” the insider information on the Bush family, and decided he had to be “removed.”  Slipping him the drug that destroyed his kidneys was kid stuff for the CIA. 

Now, of course we don´t want to inform his relatives that Osama received kidney poison, and the two kidney transplant effort simply distracted from, and covered up reality.  Anyway, the leadership of Saudi Arabia has linked with the NAZI group, assists with nazification, which reflects their total loss of self-respect as Moslems.  They now worship at the NAZIBush Totempole, having kissed-off the Moslem belief and interest in the Moslem folk.

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By bogi666, December 28, 2010 at 9:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As long as the USG with its MIC, Mafia Industrial Complex, has the ability to “forced contributions” for the national security state’s protection racket of funding the Pentagram/spy agencies with the proceeds of the Treasury bonds of the national debt which Admiral Mullen declared a threat to national security. The “forced contributions"that fund the Pentagon/spy agencies is a threat to national security to protect US from threats to national security. Classic Mafia language even, and Al Capone is reveling in hell. Just as the Mafia “forced contributions” for protection, or the protectors will kill, injure or destroy you, the USG chants that the Pentagram/DHS,  threats to national security,or the US will be threatened whether real, imagined and/or created by the USG.

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By ardee, December 28, 2010 at 6:55 am Link to this comment

Kitty Antonik Wakfer

I find your opinion, and your link , to be an excuse for rampant capitalistic greed and the continuation of the destruction of our democratic society . That you channel Ayn Rand seems obvious enough, that you can possibly ignore the seemingly endless abuses by an unregulated corporate community seems flabbergasting.

christian96, December 27 at 8:24 pm Link to this comment

Ardee—-Have you solved any problems yet? Ha! Ha!
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!  Ha! Ha! Ha!

Oh dear, hasn’t your mental health professional warned you about neglecting your medication?

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By Arouete, December 28, 2010 at 5:35 am Link to this comment

“As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there’s a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.”
  William O. Douglas

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By bologna, December 28, 2010 at 5:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We possess an enormous tool of resistance and it is quite simply BOYCOTT!!

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By Christian Marks, December 28, 2010 at 4:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have unbounded admiration for Chris Hedges: for his unrelenting pessimism; for his ability to evoke the sinister horrors that lurk just beneath our fatuous acquiescence in the corporate state; for his suggestion that the reward for our uncritical compliance will be a rude awakening in the most paranoid episode of the Outer Limits imaginable; for giving up on the intelligentsia; for his willingness to engage in the few remaining gestures of protest, no matter how futile; for throwing his television in the trash; for a commencement speech to a graduating class whom he suggested were leaving school and entering a war zone; and for taking on the new atheists—although I do not believe in God.

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By TAO Walker, December 28, 2010 at 3:52 am Link to this comment

After delving around extensively in the website linked by Kitty Antonik Wakfer, this Old Indian has a couple of questions.  What “value-for-value” does the philosophical system presented there intend for its adherents to “return” to the Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth?  Where are the “self-responsible individuals,” around which the proposed new world order will be built, going to come-from?

Are there any types of Living Beings in the Living Universe that actually occur as “individuals”?  Can you name any?  What evidence do you have that Human Beings occur in Nature as “individuals,” rather than (as seems pretty obvious to even a casual observer) as members of those bio/social arrangements apart from which no Human Person can even come into existence, let-alone reach any kind of maturity?

How likely is it that Humanity, as such, could be engendered by a Living Arrangement without having some needed biological function to fulfill within that Arrangement?  What does your thought-system postulate as the given Organic Function of Humanity, if any, within the Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth?

This Old Savage would’ve posed these questions on the website itself, but the expressed invitation there to do so was hedged-about with a number of CONditions which worked to exclude anyone not prepared to “join” the club.  So here they are instead, perhaps offering Kitty Antonik Wakter a chance to elaborate on her organization’s purposes….and how she believes them to be responsive to the issues raised by Chris Hedges’s article and the ensuing comments on it here.

These are not idle questions. 

HokaHey!

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By stonecatcher, December 28, 2010 at 3:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

hedges does a good job of capturing many important themes of orwells omniscienct book-1948, I mean 1984.

No you’re right—he was right in the middle of the zionist transformation—in fact—it was one of the big boys [Warburg] who published 1984.  Orwell knew what was going down—and his book—a riddle to unwind.

the biggest omission on mr hedges part is his shtick on Goldstein.  in no way does Goldstein represent today’s Bin Laden.  Orwell makes it patently clear on pages 14 and 15 of Chapter One—that Goldstein is Big Brother “—an attack so exaggeraed and perverse that a child should have been able to see through it…”.

1984 was a warning of the coming New World Order—to be administerd by the inner-party [which just happened to number 6 million people]—ruled by a wrathful Big Brother [yahweh?]—and “...on a level with Big Brother himself…”—sits the decidedly tricky and invisible Goldstein.

To conclude:  Big Brother is Goldstein/Goldstein is Big Brother! Now you got it.

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By Michael Keenan, December 28, 2010 at 3:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Try the The Last Enemy PBS Masterpiece Contemporary

http://www.hulu.com/watch/68784/masterpiece-contemporary-last-enemy—-episode-1#s-p1-so-i0

Excellent and meant to be provocative of a future and ID card (since required)not to far away.

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By D E Bevan, December 28, 2010 at 2:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In a way, the corporate Mandarins are able to enjoy a state of eternal anonymity. After all, unlike politicians, they rarely need to stand for re-election. Appointing a political spokeperson is quite a sharp move because threats to their tenure in office are powerfully motivational.

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By mm2010, December 28, 2010 at 2:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris,

The corporate state is the natural product of a moneyed system. The sole function of the corporation is profit. The greed of the corporation is what drives us into slavery.

If you want to live in a better world, you have to transition out the moneyed system. Without money, what power would the corporations have? If they didn’t have money to pay off politicians, how would they control them?

You cannot separate wealth and power as Orwell did. Money is power. We live in a dictatorship of the rich. 

The only way any of this is going to end is to get rid of all money and trade. Figure out a better way to manage the resources. A system based on competition is never going to work itself out for the benefit of everybody.

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By Cogneclecticism, December 28, 2010 at 2:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@Diamond “The mystery for me has always been how Orwell got it all so exactly
right. He was writing in the ‘forties but it’s all there: the endless war, the
fabricated enemy, the Osama bin Laden/Goldstein aspect of it, the persecution of
anyone who sees the truth and dares to tell it, the complete control…”

It is no mystery.  You are looking at the situation backwards.  It was not a
prediction.  It was a manual for how it should be done.  All one had to do was pick
up the book, and make it a reality.  I’m sure Orwell would feel today, as Einstein
would have when his atomic wreaked radioactive havoc on the Japanese people. 
“My creative brilliance used for complete destruction.  What have I done?”

Great article as always Mr. Hedges.  I’m a member of that generation a few comments have referred to as weak, brainwashed, etc. etc.  Well, that doesn’t apply to all of us, and I would dare to say we will are the spirit that many of you continue to call for.  Remember, Manning was only 22.  How old do you think the Anonymous hackers are?  You will need us.  It will take all of us, pushing at once, with one voice in one direction if we are to succeed.  I’ll leave on this quote: 

“TO BE HOPEFUL in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives.

If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”
[...]
“We don’t have to engage in grand,
heroic actions to participate
in the process of change.
Small acts,
when multiplied by millions of people,
can transform the world. “— Howard Zinn

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By gerard, December 28, 2010 at 1:44 am Link to this comment

Kitty Antonik Wakfer:  Thanks!

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By gerard, December 28, 2010 at 1:37 am Link to this comment

jdmysticdj:  People can contribute to Manning’s defense by sending contributions to Courage to Resist in Berkeley.  I also think American Civil Liberties Assn. may be working directly on it, but one needs to give them a phone call and be sure. I know Courage to Resist is definitely involved.

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By skimohawk, December 28, 2010 at 1:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is of some comfort to know from reading Mr. Hedges’s piece and several thoughtful and provocative comments that my perception of our current situation is not necessarily delusional on my part.
That we chose to ignore Eisenhower’s 1961 warning, that the educated elite chose to follow the tenets of the William F. Buckleys and Ayn Rands, and that the American public unwittingly signed on to the corporate agenda has brought us to where we are.

Joseph Goebbels would no doubt be envious of both the current and most recent administrations in Washington: they have managed to sell “the big lie” to the vast majority of the American public, entangling us in the longest war in US history.
Unfortunately, that 80% of the public that gets its “news” from television is at the same time being lulled into complacency with such mind-numbingly insipid programming as “Bad Girls Club” or “Oprah”.
Several commenters have raised the issue, but none articulated the bottom line clearly:
TELEVISION IS THE ENEMY.
That miracle of modern technology, which could have been used to educate and enlighten the masses has instead become only a vehicle by which corporations and advertising executives are able to coerce those who otherwise might appear to be sane, normal people into camping out on sidewalks to be first in line to buy the latest video game or ( insert most recently-released electronic gizmo here. )
Instead of education or enlightenment, we are pummeled with non-stop advertising. Not only on television, but also on the radio, in the newspapers and magazines, and every street we drive on. Only by leaving the city and wandering into the woods are we able to escape the reach of corporate greed and avarice.
If and when the powers that be are able to privatize all our National Parks and National Forests there will be no escape, no refuge, no place to hide from the “buy buy! BUY!” mantra.

Several commenters have expressed their resignation to the status quo, essentially asking “what CAN we do?”
The answer is: fight back.
Turn off the television.
Or leave the television ON, and click “MUTE” at every commercial break. Stop listening to their sales pitches.
Return junk mail. If it’s been mailed first-class, reject it: “return to sender, refused by addressee.”
( Oh yes you can! )
If it’s third-class, CALL the company and tell them to remove your address from their mailing list.
Contact the FCC and ask them what progess is being made to moderate the volume levels of television advertising. We are all now PAYING for television. Why should be be paying money to have our visual and auditory senses literally assaulted?
Silly? Perhaps. Time-consuming? Most surely. Effective? I get NO junk mail, except during election season.
More importantly: stop believing the big lie.
We are involved in the longest-running war in US history not to battle some nebulous “terror”, but rather to keep those few US corporations who still make stuff in business: the Boeings; the General Dynamics; the Lockheed-Martins.
Other manufacturers have seen the handwriting on the wall, and are moving to China and India to exploit the masses there, knowing that the coming fuedalism here will mean the serf class won’t have the means to buy their products.
LET THEM MOVE! Encourage them to move! Ultimately China’s welfare state will collapse under the burden of a monstrous social health care system that can’t be sustained over the long term, and India’s natural resources will be depeleted to the point where it will no longer be economically possible to maintain a manufacturing base there. I’d give China maybe 20 years, and India maybe 30 at best.
What will that leave for corporate America? Africa? Antarctica?
When they’ve stipped bare and robbed blind the three largest consumer markets in the world, what happened in Paris in 1792 will look like one of the hair-pulling sequences on “Bad Girls Club”.

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By keepyourheaddown, December 28, 2010 at 1:20 am Link to this comment

it doesn’t matter NUCLEAR WAR WILL DESTROY IT ALL!

SOONER RATHER THAN LATER!

The people who call the shots in this world are really BEYOND STUPID!!!

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By The Oracle, December 28, 2010 at 12:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Very astute observations, Chris.

Throw into the mix the effects of Global Atmospheric Warming and, wow, are we all in for a wild roller-coaster ride, or what?

Scenes from what happened in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina remind me of the scenes from Pakistan after all the flooding there earlier this year, or scenes from the Great Depression, or scenes from World War II and its aftermath, or scenes from any disaster for that matter, man-made disasters like war or economic disintegration, or nature-caused disasters, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, fires, tornadoes, tsunamis, with Global Atmospheric Warming being a combination of the two, involving man’s impact on nature.

People moving, searching for high ground, food, water, a safe haven. People traveling in packs, or tribal/family units, or solo. Or people staying put, holing up, waiting for outside assistance, government or private. But as we’ve seen, sometimes governments are unable or unwilling to assist, just as private entities may be unable or unwilling.

Societal fracturing. Societal shattering. New arrangements arrived at, in new locations and old. Borders shifting. And what Huxley and Orwell envisioned still applying, as back then, as today, and as in the future, but with far fewer people participating in the future if even half of the worst of Global Atmospheric Warming occurs. People seeking pleasure (Huxley) and yet only finding pain (Orwell). Wheeeee!! Ride the roller-coaster!! And around and around we go again.

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By TAO Walker, December 28, 2010 at 12:18 am Link to this comment

“WriterOnTheStorm” seems to’ve got hold of the essentially Biological underpinnings of Everything-Going-On-Here.  He is way off-the-mark, though, in comparing Humans with Bees.  Large Mammals massed in “hives” (mega-cities?) is a prescription for exactly the Ecological and Species-specific disaster occurring right now. 

Humanity’s natural Organic Form is that of (in-English) “Community.”  These vary in size from one kind of climate and terrain to another.  There is no particular habitat, among Earth’s many natural bio-zones, to which Her Two-legged Children have not viably, and sustainably, adapted.  The effect of the “civilization” disease and its “global”-eCONomy operating system, however, has been to drive huge populations of captive “individuals” into CONfinement regimes no different in any essential way from the factory-farm and feedlot operations to which some among our Relations have in-turn been subjected by foolish domesticated Humans….and in which captives and captors alike are all sick and dying. 

Some insist that Humans have been the instrument and agency of their own domestication.  That no other known Species has inflicted that degrading and degenerative CONdition on their own Kind, though, at-least makes it questionable whether our tame Sisters and Brothers are not their “selfs” the “livestock” of some non-human order whose presence and manipulations are no more detectable to the inmates than the board-of-directors at Tysons, Inc. is to those billions of abused fowl “owned” by them and their “shareholders.”

The here-now obvious CONsequences of Humans trying to emulate Insects, therefore, ought to be obvious by now to just about anybody with even half-their already systematically diminished wits about them.  “Civilization” presents here as a world-killing disease.

So the on-going call by “gerard” for some kind of institutionalized response to the common predicament, while she laments the uniformly grim outlook (as seen from inside the CONtraption) offered by Chris Hedges and others here, must ignore all the evidence of the plight being organic in its essential nature.  The make-believe of “morality” will be no more effective as a remedy for our Mother Earth’s ailment than it would be for any other disease condition.

If there is to be a place in Her Living Arrangement for “future generations” of Human Beings it will be the one we have already, as vital components in Her natural immune system.  Otherwise, it will be none at all.

It seems fair to ask “Morpheus” to spell-out precisely the “cause” (as distinguished from the exact “symptoms”) against which he urges people to “fight.”  It remains quite fashionable to speak of waging “war” on every imaginable “threat” to the much too “self”-referential” interests of the subspecies homo domesticus. 

If “Morpheus” is suggesting that his fella-n-gal captives resist those “individual” habits and beliefs keeping them enthralled to the “self”-serving purposes of the retro-viral invader, he may be on-to something.  If, on the other hand, he is claiming there is some “power” outside their own suffocatingly encapsulating “self” that is the immediate “cause” of their misery and fecklessness, and which therefore must be fought-against, he is only perpetuating “the-myth-of-fingerprints.”

Come together, tame Sisters and Brothers, where you live-and-breathe every Day, in aid of our Mother Earth.  Help one another to break free of the crippling and lethal illusion of “individual”-ity.  Re-Form into ORGANic communities of free wild Natural Human Persons and Peoples.  Recover the organic integrity of our given Function in Her Living Arrangement.  Clean-up this mess.  Get well doing it.

This, not “revolution” or “leadership,” is The Medicine we need.

HokaHey!

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By JDmysticDJ, December 28, 2010 at 12:18 am Link to this comment

Huxley’s and Orwell’s fictional accounts of future society, simply do not equate to current realities, nor does Hedges’ hyperbolic writing accurately describe current realities. Proof of my contention is that Hedges can directly confront “corporate totalitarianism,” be carted away, pay a small fine, and be freed to attack “corporate totalitarianism” continually, and without restriction.

Is Hedges a “crank,” and is he portrayed as such, Hedges is for the most part ignored and perceived as being irrelevant to the status quos. Hedges has a following and he is endorsed by many, those many are also considered to be irrelevant by the greater status quos.

Buried inside of Hedges’ hyperbole are very real realities. Realities that are tragic and in need of being eradicated, but Hedges, and others, with their hyperbole, portray these realities as being beyond eradication, thus stifling hope, and actions, to deal with these tragic realities.

Hedges’ and other’s recent “Tiny act of rebellion,” was not tiny at all, though it may seem so to those who participated, and to those who observed the impact of that act of rebellion. Every journey begins with a single step; are we there yet? Not hardly.  A single step does not complete a journey.

Julian Assange’s suffering because of his act of rebellion should be palpable, but Manning’s suffering for his act of rebellion can only be incomprehensible; just as the suffering of innocents, and the morally outraged in Afghanistan can only be incomprehensible to those who are not directly suffering. Manning and Assange to a lesser extent, in their naiveté’ must have calculated that the morally outraged in the unencumbered free world would come to their aid when the consequences of their acts of rebellion became a reality.  Apparently, Assange, Manning, and all those who suffer are destined to be profoundly disappointed. Their survival depends on their ability to rise above their disappointment, and to view their acts of rebellion, and suffering, as being meaningful in an existential sense, though not in an immediate, more tangible, political sense. Manning’s cruel suffering and the cruel suffering of innocents can not be mitigated by moral outrage devoid of real concrete action. Manning and others must suffer from a thirst and hunger for relief from suffering; they must consider themselves to be naked of power and as unknown strangers, ill at heart, and imprisoned in their unrelenting realities. Those who suffer may someday say, “I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me, but thanks for the moral support (kiss my ass.)”

There is no futility more futile than a sense of futility that stifles initiative for real action. There should be a clarion call for action, not defeatism and expressions of futility.

Contrary to the conventional wisdom here expounded upon by Hedges and others, some action is better than no action , and any actions that diminish rather than preserve the status quos are of value.

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By eir, December 28, 2010 at 12:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is apt that Aldous Huxley and George Orwell, the children of Empire should most acutely understand a future that was actively being developed by the oligarchical monetarist Empire that bred them. 

They were uniquely qualified to understand the future that was being planned by the monetarist Empire they belonged to.

Rosa Luxemburg on the true nature of Empire

Julian Huxley’s Baby Boomers, The Little Lords of the Unzipped Flies

Empire proponent Bertrand Russell expressed its core belief in the future of man…

“But, bad times, you say, are exceptional, and can be dealt with by exceptional methods. This has been more or less true during the honeymoon period of industrialism, but it will not remain true unless the increase of population can be enormously diminished. ... War, so far, has had no very great effect on this increase, which continued through each of the world wars ... perhaps bacteriological war may prove more effective. If a Black Death could spread throughout the world once in every generation, survivors could procreate more freely without making the world too full.  ...This state of affairs might be somewhat unpleasant, but what of it?  Really high-minded people are indifferent to happiness,...especially other people’s.  (From Russell’s The Impact of Science on Society [1953])

How Bertrand Russell Became an Evil Man

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By RenZo, December 28, 2010 at 12:05 am Link to this comment

@ gerard
I made one suggestion. I have seen you before make several, or a whole list of excellent suggestions. They fall into a pit of despair here. Hedges and friends have the ‘right’ idea, to start with something meaningful, visible and civilly disobedient. Then starts a dialogue and follows more civil disobedience, larger and larger perhaps. And when a certain point is reached, ideas congeal, groups surround an ideology, and a movement starts or is recognized. I would have been in that demonstration at the WH, but for…. well personal things.
I am fairly certain of one thing, that politicians, at least some of them, will pay attention when thousands of citizens dmonstrate coordinatedly across the country for the same purpose. Certainly, stopping the wars is an excellent cause. Manning’s imprisonment is another (the conditions of it, not necessarily the fact of it), and Assange’s freedom is another. They are endless really, but what will pull in the most demonstrators?
Lastly, for the moment, there is no ‘place’ virtual or physical which is the center of these ideas, no one is coordinating proactively the ‘membership’ and the ‘causes’.

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By gerard, December 27, 2010 at 11:47 pm Link to this comment

morpheus:  I looked at the site.  Who are the people behind this? Where are they?  Not much explanation beyond patriotic mishmash plus the wonders of technology. Lots of glittering generalities—a primary mark of propaganda which doesn’t engage my confidence for now.  Want to know more.

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By FilthyCherry, December 27, 2010 at 10:55 pm Link to this comment

These books were hardly warnings.  1984 was a weezer piece allowed out to create a sense of helplessness and Huxley was merely telling us what the elite planned to do to us.  Read his academic work and research his brother “I’m a eugenics freak” Julian.

Still, good writing there Chris.

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By Morpheus, December 27, 2010 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment

@everyone,

Cheer up people. This would be depressing if we didn’t have a choice, if we didn’t have a way out. We can sit here and complain or do something about it.

The “REVOLUTION HAS STARTED”

Read “Common Sense 3.1” at ( http://www.revolution2.osixs.org )
We don’t have to live like this anymore. “Spread the News”

FIGHT THE CAUSE - NOT THE SYMPTOM

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By gerard, December 27, 2010 at 10:10 pm Link to this comment

On “a sense of urgency”:  Of course there’s a sense of urgency, a growing sense of urgency—and for good reasons.  That’s exactly why I keep bringing up the fact that stressing the darkness actually works to prevent the search for light and the discovery of ways to eliminate the production of more darkness.
  The remarks after every Hedges article make this clear:  Agreement on how terrible everything is, added information on more terrible aspects, more declarations of disappointment and more agitation on “why doesn’t somebody do something—preferably non-violent.”  Then when Hedges and a few others try to “do something”, too many rush for the wet blankets and hasten to write in that it “won’t work,” “won’t do any good” etc. etc.
  On the whole, the repetition of this pattern tends to make peope lose hope.  People who have lost hope don’t find hope again, or ways to be helpful. In fact, they tend to retreat into depression and resignation.I have likened this syndrome previously to the annual self-flagellation ceremonies of some religious orders and annually in Islam. I wish somebody—anybody—would point out one positive social action that resulted from such behavior. We need more than purging here and now.  We need ways—as many ways as people can think of—to explore the ways to climb out of the hole we all have dug, and help each other remain sane so the future can be saved for younger people.  No wonder many of them are “turned off”, by the way. This lamentation does not attract people; it drives them farther into denial.  Why can’t we see this S/R at work in Truthdig and elsewhere?  What pleasure or release comes from it?  And is that enough?
  Yes, Chris Hedges is very good at stating the situation as he sees it, but other ways of seeing it should not be scorned as “Mother Goosey” or useless or foolish. No wonder leadership doesn’t appear; there’s nothing here for a leader to depend on for assistance and cooperation. Truly, there is no MOVEMENT.  Just the statis of defeat and inertia.

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By RenZo, December 27, 2010 at 9:38 pm Link to this comment

@ Leo, December 28 at 2:31 am

You left out the most important thing we all could do. TURN OFF THE TV. Newspapers are bad, but tv owns your children and your family. It spouts lies, distortions and fear. I gives your worry a focus, determines your thought for the whole day, sets agendas, makes shopping lists for you, tells you you’re ugly, fat, worthless and then shows you how to catch up to the neighbors…..
TURN OFF THE TV.

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By RenZo, December 27, 2010 at 9:35 pm Link to this comment

@ tdbach, December 27 at 10:07 pm
“In other words, corporations and the mainstream media are “no more of an existential threat to a pluralistic “democracy than is Osama bin Laden.”
————
This was indelicately put to words. Corporations and MSM are indeed much more of an existential threat to us than Osama bin Laden. They control everything we hear see crave and consume. He sends us tapes from Waziristan. He is only anymore a figment of our gov’t's fear mongering, and never could destroy us even if it really was him who tried. Corporations don’t want to destroy us, just use us. They do.

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By Leo, December 27, 2010 at 9:31 pm Link to this comment

There are things an individual can do to defend the collective selves:

1 Tell more people.  I keep seeing the same names making the comments.  There
need to more people talking about this.

2 Stop wasteful spending.  Stop buying established newspapers. 

3 Vote for independent candidates in the next election.  The stranglehold by the
established political parties must be broken.  If more independent candidates
running on shoestring election budget can get in, we will all be better served.

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By Geoph, December 27, 2010 at 9:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s not conspiracy. It’s the nature of humanity.

Anyone who truly thinks this is about some group of people - whether it be a
cabal of corporations, politicians or whatever has been plotting this over the
past 50 or 60 years as deluded as any fringe cult member.

The motivation of power and money are all it is about. It’s basic social evolution.
To acquire power you need to offer a service others need. If no need is there it
is then created. The most successful power accumulators are not so much
malicious as they are reaching for the same goal of more power and the
ultimate power is control over others. This is why regulation and enforcement is
essential.

I wish it was conspiracy because then there would be people to take down in
order to stop it. As it stands, it is a force of human nature which is a much
shiftier fight.

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By moonraven, December 27, 2010 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment

maani:

Italy.

You forgot about Italy’s student protests.

Nobody does shit in the US.  Too cowardly. 

Mark Twain—whose autobiography is the topic of another thread on this site said:  “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”

A few gringo gooodytwoshoes types chained themselves to the fence of the White House.

Big deal.

Then one of them wrote about the experiencxe ad nauseum.

Big deal.

Nothing was accomplished except those folks looked powerless.

Postures of powerlessness do not cut it.

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By RenZo, December 27, 2010 at 8:53 pm Link to this comment

Mr Hedges is waxing more and more prophetic and literary as we snuggle deeper and deeper into our ruin. I believe what he says, in fact I know it is coming, like death and taxes.
The discussion of Pfc Manning’s torture is set into proper context here; whereas others see it as a new wrinkle in American justice, Hedges and I know that these tricks are practiced, reliable and well known to inmates of America’s prisons.
What is done to the world, to the poor, to the debtors, to the hungry among us and to the simple faithful peasants abroad, is being done in our name, as if by our own hands, and with our will. We have become torturers, war mongers, thiefs, crooks, liars, murderers and despots and we will so remain until we free our hands and rip the rat cage off our face. We still can leave the prison, save our children and let be the world (I think).

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By Damiano de Sano Iocovozzi MSN FNP CNS, December 27, 2010 at 8:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Hedges’ stunning knowledge of Orwell & Huxley gives me shivers. This change has been going on for quite some time.  For those who were born before 1980, there was a myth of America where we trusted our instiutions like houses of worship, politicians and authority figures.  For those generations, the United States was a force of good in the world, a nation of neighbors helping neighbors, a place where optimism lived & people trusted people. We live with the cognitive dissonance of the old mythology superimposed on an oligarchy or plutocracy of power: we the people is just in the way, yet must pay for the colossal bail outs, the wars and the mistakes of bad decisions.  Unlike Brave New World, there is no Soma to make us happy when we doubt our eyes, no happy pill to make us blot out reality or have doubts about the propaganda we’re daily fed.Since SCOTUS has declared corporations as individuals with rights, unfettered lobbying power and privacy, I’m afraid life as we knew it is gone forever.  Oh yes, we still vote, also a vestige of the past.  What we vote on now is one set of corporate interests over their competitors’ interests: who gets the natural resources to exploit, who gets the market on goods & services.  It all makes sense.

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By Maani, December 27, 2010 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment

Bill Wolfe:

“Did anyone see the videos of college student street protest in London?  That scene is unimaginable here in the US.”

It was not just London.  Greece, France, England, Ireland - all have had major, sometimes ongoing protests over government actions.  But you are right: we will never see that here.  People are either too apathetic (i.e., “bellies too full”), too weak (not willing to put themselves on the line for their beliefs), or too scared of their own government (i.e., police, arrest, etc.).

FreeWill:

“How do we get the population, so complicit with their enslavement and brain washing, to become conscious of the reality? The ‘factory’ education system continues to turn out drones, trained not to question and think independently. Our dysfunctional, stress filled family environment leaves our children abandoned of the parental caring that they need to become functional health adults. I can not see any revolution happening until the wholeness of the family unit is once again restored. I believe the problem starts there. Functional, whole, unwounded, individuals who have evolved out of a loving nurturing environment, and who have been taught to question and evaluate what is being presented, are not so easily manipulated by Big Brother.”

Bravo.  That paragraph should be must reading - and taken into serious consideration - by every adult. Superb.

TAO Walker:

Your capitalization of the word “CON” (and others) in your writing reminds me of something a visiting professor of mine once said about advertising, but it is just as applicable to politics: “Don’t forget the CON in ‘confidence,’ the SIN in ‘sincere,’ and the LIE in ‘believe.’”

Finally, unless I missed something in Hedges’ piece, he misses another element of the Huxley part of our current society: pharmaceuticals.  So many somas to choose from!

Peace.

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By tk, December 27, 2010 at 7:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Orwels quote “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. Then Huxleys quote ‘Most ignorance is invincible ignorance”. “We don’t know because we dont want to know.” Help explain the ease of selling Obama to the American people. It was as Stephen Butler Leacock has said “Advertising may be described as the science of arresting human intelligence long enough to get money from it.”

Obama is advertised to the public as an equal, just like you, no better no worse, mixed race, razed by a single mother, if he can do it, why can’t you? Obama is living proof America’s the greatest, fairest land in the world! 

What has he done? No investigations on the war, Foreclosures and unemployment are at or near generational highs, the lending institutions have not been forced to reduce the principal on any home loan or criminally charged, pension kick back scandals go unpunished and the middle class diappears and as Michael Moore recently pointed out we are fighting six wars and no one is talking about it.

None of the basic civil right protections removed by W have been restored. One would think if Obama was “as advetised” his biggest victory would have been passage of the Dream Act a failure dismissed as a dissapointment and my heart goes out to those that continue to suffer. 

Obama like all the rest are placed into politics so the worst of men can continue business as usual unabated when they decide that all animals are created not equally but solely and exclusively for the use of such men.

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By Peter Knopfler, December 27, 2010 at 6:25 pm Link to this comment

The Lone wolf howlin in the night!Thanks Chris,
insistent reminder and witness. The Human brain is
shaped by the environment, not all is genetics. Harvard
Divinity School Dad a minister, and off to war torn
parts of the world for 25 years comes home and sees the
political seeds planted and knows where they grow to
violence. Police State to slavery witness stands in
shock and awe, and the axis of evil is questioned. Your
only as good as your questions, to know is better to
not know I personally never get tired of hearing the
truth. Thanks fellows!

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By G.Anderson, December 27, 2010 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment

You didn’t think the massive police state erected to protect Americans in the terror war, 
was meant to protect Americans did you? It was meant to protect America, the real
America,  the one that matters, the plutocracy, from those others who happen to live
here. The guilty poor from the innocent rich.  The debt slaves, from their overseers. Soon
you won’t even be able to go to a mall, concert or sporting event without being screened
by the TSA.

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By TAO Walker, December 27, 2010 at 5:47 pm Link to this comment

The “individual”-ization process has trapped much of the subspecies homo domesticus in fake IDentities which render them easy pickings for the ruthless predators now running rampant in the virtual world-o’-hurt.  It is paralyzing fear for their own little suffocating “self” that keeps our tame Sisters and Brothers captive to the death-worshiping CONstruct described here by Chris Hedges and others.

Leaving all the make-believe (religion, philosophy, politics, etc.) out of it, what we are actually faced with here in these latter days is a “global” disease CONdition well-into its terminal phase.  Institutionalized virtual (which can easily become literal) cannibalism is epidemic among those who feel inextricably invested in the symptoms of the “civilization” disease, and especially in its false-eCONomy operating-system. 

Even with all its apparatus of coercion, however, the gangster-state cannot effectively prevent good-hearted clear-eyed strong-stomached Peoples and Persons from coming together in aid of our Mother Earth where they live and breathe everyday.  There is no way, either, to keep us from helping each other to escape from the captivity of the artificial “self,” and healing all together the sickness afflicting Her Living Arrangement….including even the “huddled masses” of ‘hooked’ Humans who’ve been misled to believe they are “superior” to Nature,” and so immune from the operation of Her self-enforcing Laws.

Try taking a few deep breaths, and get-a-grip.  There is a cure for what ails us.  It is in throwing-off the terror-stricken illusion of helpless “individual”-ity, coalescing spontaneously as Natural Persons into the Organic Form of Humanity called by English-speakers “community,” recovering the integrity of our given Organic Function within the Living Arrangement as vital components in Her natural immune system, and addressing all together the basic Biology of the condition our CONdition is in….to mutually beneficial effect.

Live together free and wild in the Song ‘n’ Dance Vision of Life Herownself, or perish all alone in the tortured isolation of the death-dealing CONtraption which exists nowhere, really, except in the fevered captive imaginations of its terrified inmates.

HokaHey!

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By whenthemancomesaround, December 27, 2010 at 5:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

On 21 October 1949, Huxley wrote to George Orwell, author of Nineteen Eighty-Four, congratulating Orwell on “how fine and how profoundly important the book is”. In his letter to Orwell, he predicted:

Within the next generation I believe that the world’s leaders will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging them and kicking them into obedience.

And it’s not capitalism.
It’s zionism.

The VP said he’s a zionist.
google it.

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By omygodnotagain, December 27, 2010 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

Memory_ Hole, the fact that this dichotomy has presented itself in book and documentary form, shows that there is a realistic logic.  What is the corporate west pouring money into? Answer trying to crush Islamic fundamentalists. Why the billions of dollars being spent? not just on war, but homeland security if not because these corporate entities fear these people. Yes, like Nazism and Communism they are both totalitarian, if the picture is as bleak as Chris
describes, liberal ideas like protests etc will do nothing, so where does one turn? When we were fighting Hitler, we turned to Stalin (a bigger mass murderer). World War 2 was won mostly by the Soviet Union with the help of the Allies, the turn point battle was Stalingrad, 1.5 million dead or wounded. That’s realistic logic… we have to turn to religious entities they have a power the corporate oligarchs fear. Imagine hundreds of thousands of Iranian martyrs storming Wall Street…

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By mdgr, December 27, 2010 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

Gerard,

As you may recall, I myself thought the progressive caucus might defect and, in its own way, make an effective statement that might even create a third party. That would have been a nice display of civil disobedience, but it appears that I was dead-wrong.

And as I’ve said to you several times before, our only point of disagreement seems to be in terms of strategy. I wasn’t picking on you, and do please stop whining.

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By diamond, December 27, 2010 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment

The mystery for me has always been how Orwell got it all so exactly right. He was writing in the ‘forties but it’s all there: the endless war, the fabricated enemy, the Osama bin Laden/Goldstein aspect of it, the persecution of anyone who sees the truth and dares to tell it, the complete control (gone now due to the internet which they also want to bring under their control)of the mainstream media which lies and distorts everything for their masters, the endless propaganda and trivializing of politics, the complete disregard for human life and human dignity so evident in Iraq and Afghanistan but not only there since the disregard for both is part of how American society functions. And then there’s the ‘How many fingers am I holding up?’ part of it, in which people who see a building come down in the manner of a controlled demolition are told it wasn’t a controlled demolition, it was a kerosene fire. Four fingers or five? And anyone who dares to tell the truth is dismissed as crazy. That’s why Assange won’t touch the true story with a ten foot pole. His enemies would love him to do it. In spite of that, the truth will inevitably come out - but will the brainwashed believe it or be able to force those in the elites to do anything about it? How many fingers are they holding up? The truth is whatever they say it is and if you say it isn’t they can have you arrested and put in solitary confinement as Bradley Manning is finding out.

Dick Cheney said on ‘Meet the Press’ that they were going to have to go to the ‘dark side’ for a while: but that was just another lie. He lives in the dark side and always has and the Republicans/neo cons/Tea Party are just the political wing of the dark side, which Orwell foresaw so long ago and warned against.

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By gerard, December 27, 2010 at 5:14 pm Link to this comment

mdgr:  I’m all for acorn seeds, one of which is the hope for nonviolent radical creative change. (Your biology is a bit off, but we’ll pass that one up.)
  As to “It is not going to happen through Jon Stewart “Sanity Rallies.” Who ever thought it would?
It’s irksome to have to remind you that my plea in favor of that gesture was that it tended to somewhat defuse some pretty insane stuff going on elsewhere at the time.
  Now back to business:  It is mean of you to pick up an “babies” and twist my meaning by lifting it out of context. My central plea is, and always will be keep the future open and alive for the sake of those coming after us.  Leave them hope, courage and the motivation to be creative, to think more clearly and act more effectively than either you or I seem able to do.
  Stop picking on me!

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By omygodnotagain, December 27, 2010 at 5:10 pm Link to this comment

Nyc Labrets
It doesn’t take a trillion dollars, back in 1980 the shipyard workers of Gdansk said enough, stopped working, soon the whole country stopped working and a few years later the Soviet Union was history. What we need is another inspirational figure like Pope John Paul, Nelson Mandela or Gandhi, whose remark in the Attenborough film is true today:

Brigadier: You don’t think we’re just going to walk out of India!
Gandhi: Yes. In the end, you will walk out. Because 100,000 Englishmen simply cannot control 350 million Indians, if those Indians refuse to cooperate.

Anna Nomad
You bring up a very good point, the issue is really that people mistake independence for freedom. Independence is doing what you want. Freedom is more complicated, its like wealth, you can spend all your money on frivolous things and you will be no longer wealthy, or you can invest wisely and become wealthier. So to with Freedom, it requires taking responsibility, if you do, you become freer.. we have overdosed on independence at the expense of freedom.

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By frank1569, December 27, 2010 at 5:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For those still clinging to the idea of some sort of
‘blowback’ or ‘people’s revolution,’ some things CH
didn’t mention:

We now have 2 full generations mellowed by Ritalin
and other kiddie pacification drugs, and those same 2
generations happen to be the least educated in our
history;

70% of us are overweight/obese - too fat and lazy to
even think about revolting;

Over 50 million Americans rely solely on ‘our’
government for shelter and food basics - they will
not ‘revolt’ against their only means of survival;

Most of our penal system is Corporate owned and
operated for profit - and we already have the largest
number of fellow citizens warehoused on Earth, half
of whom are non-violent ‘offenders.’

And, finally, most of ‘us’ simply refuse to accept
even the possibility of an America CH describes, no
matter how high the mountain of facts piled in front
of their faces. By the time they do, it’ll be way too
late…

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By tdbach, December 27, 2010 at 5:07 pm Link to this comment

Hedges is a crank, a merchant of fear no less than Dick Cheney is, just a different terror. Orwell and Huxley weren’t prescient, they were observant.  And 1984 and Brave New World weren’t intended to be literal possibilities but rather Swiftian commentaries on existing proclivities, be it the use of outside threats to expand government authority or lure of commercial pleasures that distract us from what’s important and render our democratic systems weaker and flabbier.

There is no corporate conspiracy to take over our country, only a tendency of corporations to seek influence to their business benefit, which can indeed be harmful to the welfare of the commons, but doesn’t lead to corporate-controlled totalitarianism as a matter of course.

In other words, corporations and the mainstream media are no more of an existential threat to a pluralistic democracy than is Osama bin Laden.

This statement was not solicited by, paid for, or otherwise encouraged by the “corporate state.” Indeed, I’m a liberal, regulate corporations to hell kinda guy.  I’m just not big on simplistic reductions of a complex world into convenient conspiracies. We’ve got enough work ahead of us to move this countryin a progressive direction without getting all worked up about nothing.

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By boiled frog, December 27, 2010 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By Roger Williams, December 27 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Unfortunately, Mr. Hedges is spot-on. I believe that what we must do is begin our own, personal revolutions in the hope that it would spread from person to person. By “personal revolutions”, I mean carrying out a counter revolution. Here are somethings that I am deliberately doing, for example:
1) TREMENDOUSLY decreased the amount of hours spent watching television. I have restricted my viewing pleasure to PBS, C-SPAN and a few re-runs of “Golden Girls” and a very, select few of other shows (which excludes most of the reality nonsense). I’ve found that this has opened so much of my time to do other things.
2) Without being overly prudish, restrict trivial conversation. When I go to parties and attendees insist on chit-chatting about the latest goings-on “House Wives of ___________” or the latest version of XYZ consumer product, I become deliberately obscure about the matter. This irritates a few people, but they realize that what they are discussing is really not that important after all.
3) Return to Love. This can be interpreted in various ways. For me, however, it means to work at building relationships with people; taking the time to REALLY understand where people are coming from in conversation and in general daily interactions. This is rather counter-cultural because, as a society, we’ve become dismissive of each other. Friendships have been reduced to “What can you do for me” mantras.

————————-

One other item I’d add to your list of resistance is use the one thing corporations want most: Your money. Vote with your wallet by purchasing as many things second-hand as you can. Buy locally from stores and manufacturers (they are still around but you have to look for them) and keep your money in the local economy. Don’t let it get siphoned away by major corporation.

As I see it, part of the problem is the marketing that goes into “you deserve something new/indulgent/decadent/makes you look cool”. Do we really? Why not make do and mend? Economic resistance is another way to starve the corporate beast of profit and weaken it.

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By mdgr, December 27, 2010 at 4:48 pm Link to this comment

“Acorn Seeds and Hedges”:

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/2011_a_brave_new_dystopia_20101227/

By gerard, December 27 at 8:49 pm

>There is no room for babies. . . .

No, there isn’t.

No room for Mother Goose, either. Hedges spoke here with vision. He had the courage to be honest. The article, as most of his offerings are, was luminously stunning.

However, that is not to say that things are hopeless.

Hedges article, while accurate, still describes the process at what one might call a “materialistic” level.

Everything he says is true, and he is one of the few individuals who could say it with such impassioned clarity.

But it does not yet exclude other possibilities.

Acorns grow from seeds, and seeds grow from the inside out, not from the outside in. What Hedges predicts is the logical endpoint to a process that has been unfolding for a long, long time.

There are, however, other cycles, and the last wave to wash to shore may yet be followed by others that have the “signature” of a very different cycle.

Therein lies our hope.

You may well-consider it too elusive, too ethereal for your taste. You have endorsed what was once quaintly called “civil disobedience.”

Can’t argue with that except it is not going to happen through Jon Stewart “Sanity Rallies.”

Yet there is a sense of urgency. The ecosystem is dying. The climate is changing. The economy is collapsing. You may feel very impotent, you may wish to do something about all this right away.

Can’t argue with that as well.

In that, I wish you luck, but this is an overall, general collapse of a culture that was in fact dead to begin with.

What comes next will depend on the acorn seed. Hedges didn’t mention it, but that’s where I would place my next hope.

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By bpawk, December 27, 2010 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment

Like all progressives, you are trying to applying intelligent, progressive ideas on a right-wing country. After demolishing Ralph Nader et al progressives, you have nowhere else to go to besides Obama, who only has to be left of ultra-right republicans to be defined as even remotely progressive. I’m afraid America is going down the tubes where there will just be rich or poor, as the middle class is being decimated as we speak with an ineffective president residing in the White House. You have nowhere to go as both dems and republicans eat from the same poisonous tree.

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Queenie's avatar

By Queenie, December 27, 2010 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment

Big B:
I meant the blowback would be from other countries just pissed off enough at the big bully. I was not referring to internal blowback. (sounds a tad painful)

gerard:
Not assinine at all.

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By tropicgirl, December 27, 2010 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment

Big B has the best hopeful point. In the end, we must have the military on our side. I do believe it will come down to that. We have to keep them human enough.

Anyone interested in this idea, who has not seen before, visit this group’s site and scroll down to watch the short video of Orders We Will Not Obey. Another idea attributed to the Tea Party that may help. But these are members of all military and all political parties.

http://oathkeepers.org/oath/

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By gerard, December 27, 2010 at 3:49 pm Link to this comment

After reading through this long stream of hopelessness, saying anything hopeful is bound to seem assinine by comparison.  There is absolutely no room for creative thought here, no room for revolutionary faith in human courage and strength. There is no room for babies, toddlers and young people,  no room for kids in college by the tens of thousands who are looking forward to life in a better world. 

The rest of the world—which is billions of people with billions of possibilities—is not thinking like this.  We need them as never before, to save us from our self-destructive selves.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, December 27, 2010 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment

Hard to fault Hedges’ foul mood after getting arrested for the non-crime of
impersonating a whitehouse garden gnome. Still, pulling out the biggest guns
in the revolutionary’s handbook—Huxley and Orwell—feels a tad
reactionary.

From Huxley to Hedges, what these dealers of dystopia fail to realize is that any
functioning society will have mechanisms of conformity (e.i. harmony),
oppression (i.e. maintenance), and propaganda (i.e. psychological hygiene).
Sure, it’s easy to complain when you’re just a worker-bee. But calling for the
destruction of the queen sometimes strikes this outlier as a fantasist’s denial of
the inescapable biological reality that creating hives is what us bees do.

Besides, what’s the alternative? Has anyone ever devised a mass-scale system
that could promise even the potential of having no malcontents, no
miscarriages of justice, no want, no waste, no unfairness, no power struggles,
no opposing ideologies? Dystopias, for all their emotional purge-appeal, are
every bit the naive and idyll fantasies that utopias are.

It’s a pity that hedges dropped the “corporate collective” narrative that he had
experimented with some time ago. Apart from the sound-bite friendliness of
the term itself, the idea had the potential to break the thrall of
capital/corporate aspiration without falling into cliched socialist tropes. And it
sounds a little more serious than the “orgy-porgy and the centrifugal bumble-
puppy”.

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By mrfreeze, December 27, 2010 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment

kerryrose -

In the last several years, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to have serious conversations about our current economic/political/cultural realities with most folks, especially conservatives. I’m convinced the reason for this lack of interest or apathy is all about being too comfortable.

Let’s face it: now that XMAS is over and the Media is reporting that “sales are up” obviously all is good with the universe…there are no “worries.” We can be happy!!!

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By Big B, December 27, 2010 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

Queenie

I too, believe there will be some blowback. We do, after all, live in a nation that is armed to the teeth. But one must realize that a large portion of these armed maniacs will be fighting to MAINTAIN the corporate status quo, for they have been told by every media entity from Faux news to their own mega-church pastors that anyone who does not blindly support the free market is an enemy and should be “eradicated” ASAP. Between that sizable group, and the private military contractors that major corporations have begun hiring as their internal security, we on the true left can look forward only to mayrterdom. After all, a privately hired merc will not have nearly the aversion to firing on protesting citizens as would a member of our own US military.

Our only hope for successful revolution against the coming corporate state lies, ironically enough, in the same thing that gave Lenin and Reds a victory over the whites, and that is in the hope that when the shit hits the fan, the peoples military will side with us, and not the state. That is of course, if this thing takes a stictly militant path (which I am afraid it will) If we all took the Ghandi route, we may eventually succeed, but that would take decades, and the cooporation of hundreds of millions of oppressed people in dozens of countries.

Maybe it would just be easier to put on a brown shirt and start shouting “Achtung, Juden!”

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By christian96, December 27, 2010 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment

Ardee—-Have you solved any problems yet? Ha! Ha!
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!  Ha! Ha! Ha!

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By moonraven, December 27, 2010 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment

ohiolibgal:

People do not, EVER, want to see the big picture.

They want to see the little picture—only on a bigger, flatter screen.

Nothing more.

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