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2011: A Brave New Dystopia

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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tropicgirl's avatar

By tropicgirl, December 27, 2010 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment

““I just wish more people could see the big picture clearly - and correctly as opposed to the Tea Party types.

I’m in awe at how prescient Orwell and Huxley were. Eisenhower was so worried about undue influence by the MI complex that he warned us stridently in his farewell address, January 1961.”“

Wow. I don’t know how anyone could be more confused. Orwell and Huxley were not enlightened by god to warn us of the future. THEY WERE WILLING PARTICIPANTS, they WERE the globalists that believed in this AND SO WERE ALL THEIR FRIENDS, and were the first who began to put these things in operation via the UN and other organizations. Its already well underway, and they have NOTHING to do with Eisenhower.

Eisenhower would have pointed you to the United States Constitution as the antidote for these monsters. Like the Tea Party would do (or say they would). How incredibly backwards can you be?

And today, you can replace Huxley and Orwell with the likes of Clinton and Blair, or even O-Stupid and Bush, but just picking two off the top of my head…

“”...(the) contemporary manifestation (of the Totalitarian New World Order we have today can be seen) in the “Third Way” movement of Bill Clinton and Tony Blair. In the Third Way, capitalism, socialism, and communism merge to form a misanthropic combination of the three. This blending is now represented in the terms “the New World Order” and “the new enlightenment.”

The Third Way promotes Communitarianism, a toxic blend of communism, socialism, atheism, and Cosmic Humanism.”“

But, in the end, it doesn’t matter what you call it. Republicanism, Democratism, Progressivism… they really don’t care as long as you submit and it leads to absolute control by unelected, self-appointed world figures, through world taxes and a unified, no-border mandate.

Still, it needs to be said that although the sources of these ideas come from philosophical discussions that may, in themselves, not be diabolical, they have been used by contemporaries, such as Clinton and Blair, to cloak what is simply a worldwide criminal operation. No doubt a creative one.

Thereby taking away any sense that the New World Order is legitimate in any way whatsoever.

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moonraven's avatar

By moonraven, December 27, 2010 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment

I disagree with ardee that the state of mindless cynicism that prevails in the US was arrived at by accident.

Just as Hitler used the US genocide against indigenous folks as the model for The Final Solution, what could possibly have prevented the powers that be—military/industrial complex, Big Banks, Big Guns, Big Oil—whatever you choose to call it—from using both Orwell 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World (incidentally, the Spanish title is Un Mundo FELIZ—very much to the point) as well as some clear elements from Animal Farm, and a whole host of what is lumped together as sci-fi as a basis for creating their totalitarian state?

Why re-invent the wheel?

If folks have read the books, even better—they feel comfortable with the familiar.

Or if you want to wax Hegelian, why not consider that the geist of history in this case is simply a lying dope fiend?

In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is King.  Not.

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By kerryrose, December 27, 2010 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment

Thanks mr freeze

‘You cannot see because your stomach is too full.’

So true. Experiencing ‘the edge’; unemployment, foreclosure, the inequities and horrors of the legal system, violence and abuse… opens your eyes.  When you are comfortable… there is little empathy.  Knowledge comes from experience.  As the ranks of those who experience ‘the edge’ grow so do the amount of people ‘who can see.’

Chomsky once said that he tried to explain a situation to British politicians regarding a worsening power structure, and they just didn’t get it.  In Dublin, they ‘got it’ immediately.  Chomsky says that is what comes from having a boot on your neck.  You can ‘see.’

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By FreeWill, December 27, 2010 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment

It’s great that some one who has some voice ( Hedges) is seeing the big picture. The question remains, 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 neutering environment and who have been taught to question and evaluate what is being presented are not so easily manipulated by Big Brother. Totalitarianism begins in the home environment and must be defeated there. If we are nurtured in a patriarchal, totalitarian environment as children; we will seek the same as adults.  As long as we look to others including “leaders” for the remedies the cure will allude us.

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By Bill Wolfe, December 27, 2010 at 2:43 pm Link to this comment

Did anyone see the videos of college student street protest in London?

That scene is unimaginable here in the US.

I was in Pittsburgh at the G-20 protests. The repressive force was militarized, including high tech gizmo’s that produce ear spliting sonic torture.

US repressive security forces would have violently smashed anything close to the London scene. Kids having hand to hand combat with cops in London would be met with tanks adn deadly force here in US.

Hedges is right, the prospects are bleak indeed.

Even if we could genrate movement politics, there would be no “street heat” - the national security state would make Chicago ‘68 seem like a picnic.

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By Nancy Bordier, December 27, 2010 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

The Interactive Voter Choice System empowers the electorate to prevent the predictions in George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” from coming true.

For a prototype of how the system will work when fully developed, check out the website

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By ray, December 27, 2010 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

America must embrace corporate rule, their are no options- accept it or die.
Just be happy we have not been nuked yet & soup kitchens still have funding.
WalMart Nation ideology will provide the essentials to exist- so has become our lot.
The top 1% own 70% of the nations wealth- so there is no turning it around- we have developed into a third world status & opposition is futile!

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By zagostino, December 27, 2010 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment

What C.Hedges writes powerfully resonates, yet….I
was in the mall this past Friday before Christmas,
and it was crowded, I was at Best Buy and long lines
of people waiting to purchase flat screen T.Vs snaked
down the isles.

We are still within the gravitational pull of
Huxley’s Brave New World,Orwell’s dystopic vision
drawing ever closer.

Hopefully there are enough erstwhile hippies and
free-thinking radicals out there to mitigate the
worst of what seems immanently approaching and that
C. Hedges presages….

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By Mathilde, December 27, 2010 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

2004 cult dystopian movie “FAQ” is now available in a Special Collector’s Edition

“FAQ” in

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By John Steinsvold, December 27, 2010 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

An Alternative to Capitalism (some would refer to as

The following link takes you to an essay titled:
“Home of the Brave?” which was published by the
Athenaeum Library of Philosophy:


John Steinsvold

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By Don Farkas, December 27, 2010 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment

Re.Memory_Hole’s post:

Your comment about needing to reject the false dichotomy being presented between accepting an oppressive religious theocracy and a neo-feudalistic corporate state is very well stated and well made.  As you said, the choice between them is certainly unacceptable to any reasonable person. 

However, the horror and tragedy awaiting future human society that Chris Hedges seems to be forecasting is that, despite reason, we are now being compelled by those who have assumed increasingly unstoppable power over the economic and political conditions of our lives, and who are willing to enforce their dictates using ever more invasive surveillance and disproportionately draconian police powers, to make a choice to unconditionally serve either one or the other of the presented unreasonable options without ever being allowed to create more reasonable alternatives.

The difficult challenge is to somehow find a way to create, communicate, and facilitate the conditions for formulating better and more reasonable alternatives despite the repressive measures.

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By balkas, December 27, 2010 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment

alas, nader leads, as far as i know, a movement and not a governmental party.
a movement cannot ever put even one person in congress.
this may be one reason why movements or organizations are allowed. they bring
zero positive change.

in fact, the more movements and organizations, the more they are liked by cosa
nostra gang.
and if each has own pet peeve [s] to promote, all the better!

as for chomsky, he even denies ROR for palestinians and not to mention the fact
that he wants to reward war criminals with a state of their own in expalestina.

it took him 10 yrs to acknowledge srebrenica massacre. tnx

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Nyc Labrets's avatar

By Nyc Labrets, December 27, 2010 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment

To my friends that say ‘Fight The Power’ I ask, ‘Do you have a trillion dollars,
and the ability to launch geo-synchronous satellites into low Earth orbit? Or
know anybody that does? Because I don’t.’

A trillion bucks is what it would cost, at a minimum, to create a parallel Mass
Media network in the United States that is comparable to the one that
Corporate America already has had in place for decades now.

And without that, in a country where +80% of the wholly under-educated
population gets its ‘news’ from the TV, good luck getting any sort of alternative
message across.

And lets not forget that our Corporate Masters spend over $300 billion dollars
a year, just in advertising, to get their message out to the populace.

How do you even begin to challenge that kind of control of the National mind-

You can’t.

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By balkas, December 27, 2010 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment

“Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in
order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish
the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture
is torture. The object of power is power.”

i evaluate above quote as a set of conclusions! alas, not desirable nor possibly

structurally, “power”, “means” , “end”, “persecution”, et al, in the above quote
are labels.
such labels cannot be evaluated as true or false and right or wrong.

but there is a desirable or absolute certain truth: we were always ok; we r ok
now, and we always will be ok. 
we just thought we were not ok; i.e., as good as ‘nobles’.  thus, we ?all can be
equally powerful.
we all r equally able to mind our collective and personal business.

don’t allow anyone to tell u u.r not able to govern, care, pass laws, serve ur
country, etc.

it is, of course, an entirely different phenomenon in us becoming not ok. or to
put it another way: us being conditioned to evaluate with absolute certainty that
we r less valued and wld stay that way for an eternity.

conditioning is occurring. similar to that of pavlov’s dog. so, what is needed is
deconditioning. as of necessary truth, we
can decondition people from accepting u.s constitution as a holy writ. we can
teach people to spurn the shibboleths, such as greatness of america, god bless
america, wars of defense, being independent, etc.
more cld be said. tnx

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By felicity, December 27, 2010 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment

ardee - Your comment reminds me of the scenario
resulting finally in WWI which was a product of
chauvinism, of ambitions for national prestige, of
capitalist competition for markets and new fields of
investment, of age-old hatreds between nations and
fears engendered by crises and by the race for
superiority in armaments.

When such factors combined to rule the constellation
of events, political leaders were hardly more than
playthings of fate. 

So, like your suggestion that there has been no real
purposive planning toward totalitarianism, there was
no purposive planning toward WWI.  The tragedy is, of
course, that neither of them was realized in the
obvious machinations leading up to them.

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Queenie's avatar

By Queenie, December 27, 2010 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

I have a couple of questions, Chris. If all the good paying jobs are gone forever and 90% of us are living as poor slaves to the corporate controlled state, will the remaining top 10% spend enough to keep the profits/shares rising on Wall St.? Their mantra being “grow or die”, how will they grow if only a few can afford what they are selling? Will corporations begin to cannibalize each other until there is only one corporation?
And what about the rest of the world? Are all the developed countries going to just roll over and kow tow to corporate USA? I don’t think so. Corporate USA may be the bully on the block with the military to back them up but other countries have the right to say no, we aren’t buying what you are selling. In fact, this is already happening with the genetically manipulated products for instance.
During this last holiday season, AAA stated that record numbers took to the highways instead of fly and put up with the inhumane treatment of passengers. When shareholders of airline stock see their worth declining, there will be some changes made. The same with other companies. I believe it was Monsanto’s CEO who said, “If we have to label this as genetically modified we might just as well put a skull and crossbones on it.” Or something to that effect. They have to label in other countries and their sales are like 3 percent.
Can all of mankind be bullied into submission by corporate/state terror tactics without some kind of blowback? I don’t think so.

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Anna Nomad's avatar

By Anna Nomad, December 27, 2010 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

Since Orwell and Huxley (among others) were able to envision and describe our dystopic predicament with such relative ease and accuracy, we must seriously consider whether this outcome was therefore inevitable. 

Perhaps state-conferred “freedom” is as worthless as it is illusory.

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ohiolibgal's avatar

By ohiolibgal, December 27, 2010 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment

I just wish more people could see the big picture clearly - and correctly as opposed to the Tea Party types.

I’m in awe at how prescient Orwell and Huxley were. Eisenhower was so worried about undue influence by the MI complex that he warned us stridently in his farewell address, January 1961.

Yet here was are and it will be exceedingly difficult to change course going forward.

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mrfreeze's avatar

By mrfreeze, December 27, 2010 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

Nyc Labrets

Yes, Neil Postman’s forward to his insanely prophetic book “Amusing Ourselves to Death” gets right to the heart of this whole matter. I’ve always felt that (as George Carlin put it so well) Americans can’t see the truth because we’ve become too fat and lazy. I once read an account by a reporter who, whilst travelling through China in the early 90’s, was criticized by his Chinese guide: “You cannot see because your stomach is too full!”

My favorite line in this essay: “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.”

Indeed, whenever I hear someone go on about “the American Dream” it can usually be reduced to some “cheerful conformity” about working hard and becoming rich.

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By drbhelthi, December 27, 2010 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment

There have always been folk among us who possess “vision” similar to that of the prophet Daniel, as recorded in the “Old Testament” of the “Bible.”  These folk are describing the current-day situation in terms similar to those of “Daniel,” however, in modern-day terminology.

One need not believe in the Vatican church of Rome, the church of Ying-Yang, or the church of Mohammed of Medina, in order to discern what is going on in the world today.

One need only discern what has been happening in the “western world” since the end of WWII, especially in whats left of the U.S. of A., when the NAZI cult began to take over. 

Of course, the evil string-pullers do their best to disguise the visible scene.  They murder persons such as Chip Tatum for shining the light behind the scenes.  They punish the Sibel Edmnds, the Pvt. Mannings and the Mr. Assanges to the extent of their corrupted laws, for revealing their evil goings-on behind the scenes.

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By Roger Williams, December 27, 2010 at 12:58 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.

My comment is becoming way too long, so I will stop here. The point I am making is that if we take time to really disengage from the madness and teach others to do the same, our personal revolutions will spread.

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By Steve_I_Am, December 27, 2010 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sadly, I think Chris Hedges is “spot on” in his view that we are living in a dystopian world. 

American history IS the history of the struggle between the Plutocrats and “We the People” - from the Boston Tea Party, in which American patriots threw millions of dollars worth (in present value) of tea owned by the British East India Company (the largest multinational corporation of its day), through the first rise of the American plutocrats after the Civil War (the “Robber Baron” era) to the ascendency of the Middle Class during the “New Deal/Great Society” era. 

Now, however, with the Second Rise of the Plutocrats - which began in this country with Reaganomics - and which culminated with last year’s Supreme Court decision in CITIZENS UNITED v. FEC decision, we appear to be locked into a state of permanent corporate rule.

After the first Republican Great Depression, the middle class rose up, under FDR, and his “New Deal,” and reigned in the Corporatists which had destroyed the U.S. economy. 

In 2008-2009 the Democrats, under Obama, have (for now, at least) prevented a Second Republican Great Depression from occurring. 

But, in doing so, have they also prevented the middle class from rising up, again, and reigning in the new generation of Corporatists who now have complete control over the levers of political power in the U.S.?

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By RayLan, December 27, 2010 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment

What strikes me as the most disturbing sign of our mass delusion is how the real cause of the economic collapse is conspicuous by the absence of media acknowledgment - the unregulated and unethical Wall Street casino speculations. The red herring of government spending and associated deficit takes up all the air time. Of course the deficit is a problem, but it was already significant before the collapse because of the stupid immoral wars putting the public sector in a financially vulnerable position.
Now because the public sector has had to rescue the private bad boys the deficit is even worse, but the rich individuals and corporations don’t care cause their tax cuts have been extended. The government has been enlisted as corporate greed enabler- what Chomksy calls Nanny Capitalism.

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Nyc Labrets's avatar

By Nyc Labrets, December 27, 2010 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment

Stuart McMillen’s 2009 cartoon on ‘Who Was Right, Huxley Or Orwell?’ covers this ground: or

Odd that Hedges didn’t cite it, or the Foreword from Neil Postman’s seminal work from 1985, Postman’s ‘Amusing Ourselves To Death’, that McMillen based his cartoon on, since one passage above is practically verbatim from what Postman wrote.

Huxley died the day that I entered the USA, (as did JFK), so his work sticks with me more than most.

Other than that, great, and sadly accurate, piece.

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By Mr. Muhammad Zamiluddin Khan, December 27, 2010 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One fundamental argument is made that is the Capitalist State has turned into neofeudalistic State.I suppose all other appealing suggestions and comparisons with the “1984’ and the"Brave New world” is simply to establish this central argument and relies heavily on citations of these two books where the pursuit of happiness is urged by one character in the “Brave New world” should be achieved in one’ sown individualistic search for it instead of searching “happiness’ as “public good” -the progress in science and technology in the USA and beyond stand up on the presumptive notion of the best way of “pursuing happiness and human bliss” as public good and through the intervention of “State’ the uncertainty and uniformity is achieved and as one would be led to assume the present state of affairs suggest in attempting that personal liberty and freedom get lost through coercion and torture{some real incidents is cited].But one must also admit the very fact that this article is written and disseminated prove that the collective search for “happiness and human bliss’ through the “State’ as guaranteed by the “Fundamental Law”, that is “The Articles of Confederation” is not in disappearance at all rather is facing the challenge of incorporating fundamental shifts in the US Economy and consequently the changes in social fabric.Thanks.Mr.Muhammad Zamiluddin Khan[Muhammad Khan’92,HSPH] a. k. a. Zamil Khan

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By Memory_Hole, December 27, 2010 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

“Taking Chris’s message to its logical limit, our salvation lies in Islamic Extremists who reject the West and all it stands for.”

omygodnotagain, your comment is not an extrapolation from Hedges’ fine work, but completely devoid of logic. Islamic extremism is merely another form of totalitarianism. There was a book, Jihad vs. McWorld, that summarized the choice we the people are being presented with by those who are effectively the World Controllers.  You can have a world of religious theocracy based on a patriarchal, misogynist, life-negating ideology, or you can have the neo-feudalism of the new corporatized state in the US. 

BBC produced a surprisingly candid film a few years back called The Power of Nightmares.  It detailed how astonishingly alike was the ideology of the neocons of the W. Bush administration with that of Al Qaeda.  Both believe the masses cannot be trusted with the truth.  Both do not believe in democracy.  Both believe the masses need a guiding Myth that will permit them to be governed by those who know better than them. 

Needless to say, it is a false choice, a false dichotomy that must be rejected.

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By Jay Gold, December 27, 2010 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment

The most prescient 20th century dystopia was “We” by Yevgeny Zamyatin.

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By Sodium-Na, December 27, 2010 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

A columnist who can build and establish,in one single column,a network of thoughtful connections,ranging from the works of Aldous Hexly to George Orwell,to Ralph Nader/Noam Chomsky,to Sheldon Wolin,to Oprah,to Barack Obama,to Osama bin Laden,to Emmanual Goldstein,to Weston Smith,to PVT BRADLY MANNING,to Syed Fahad Hishami,to the FBI and to Bernnard Maxx must be a superb writer whose vision seems to be infinite.

That is what I call “The Hedgesian Vision” that can rarely be matched.

The more I read “The Hedgesian Vision”,the more I have become fascinated by its profound depth.

Whatever compliments I try to inscribe,it comes too short for what you really deserve,Chris Hedges. I humbly ask forgiveness. Thank you.

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By Leefeller, December 27, 2010 at 11:58 am Link to this comment

” Clockwork Orange: comes to mind or even one of my favorites, Woody Allens “Sleeper”.

Hedges started off his article with a chronic case of the “we’s”, even so, I find his premise very close to the way it seems. 

Opportunism, power and corruption go together like…... like bread, butter and tequila!

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By Jim Yell, December 27, 2010 at 11:58 am Link to this comment
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It is burned into my memory the incident when an elected official had passive protesters moved from his office and in doing the removal the security people forced the eyelids open and sprayed pepper spray directly in these people’s eyes. For all I know this monster of an elected official is still in office.

We have paid the Military-Industrial Complex to develope weapons that are virtually not usable on the battlefield, but are designed to control crowds—one they have bragged about makes people feel that they are on fire. It is being presented as none lethal and none dangerous, but it is not physically inert. It is torture by the state and has physical health implications. It is also psychologically distructive.

The grand announcement that resistance will win the day, is likely to have no meaning in a government that is willing to and able to manipulate the news media, the contents of text books and dismiss the concerns of voters. This has already come to pass. It will only get worse.

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By alturn, December 27, 2010 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

What is left out is the creation of state religion. That we have done, too, and it has been turned over to those same who control corporations.  Those who do not comply with its edicts, including the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom, are banished from the discussion.  Instead, the church is left to interpret the thoughts of those who have achieved for us.

Yet the stranger at the gate continues to knock.

“I come to take you with Me into the New Country — the Country of Love, the Country of Trust, of Beauty and Freedom. I shall take you there if you can follow Me, accept Me, let Me lead and guide. And, if this be so, together we shall build a New World:
A world in which men can live without fear, without mistrust, without division; sharing together the Earth’s bounty, knowing together the bliss of union with our Source.
All this can be yours. You have only to take the first steps and I may lead.
Allow Me to help you. Allow Me to show you the way — forward, into a simpler life where no man lacks; where no two days are alike; where the joy of Brotherhood manifests through all men.
Mine is the task to lead and guide, but you, willingly, must follow. Otherwise, I can do nothing. My hands are tied by Law.
The decision rests with mankind.”
- Messages from Maitreya the Christ

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By Mark Lee Krangle, December 27, 2010 at 11:43 am Link to this comment
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Chris, this is possibly the sharpest effort anyone in
the establishment and alternative mass media has ever
made to accurately describe the evolution of American
totalitarianism. Your using Huxley and Orwell to
discuss stages of U.S. totalitarianism is brilliant
even if imperfect. But, there is equally strong
writing, which is not getting mass circulation.

I had prior knowledge of 9/11 and tried to agitate
ABC-TV online into sitting down with me and hearing
me out about it, about my own experience with U.S.
military-industrial-organized crime totalitarianism,
and about ABC’s own damaging of my efforts to reveal
details that go beyond Chris Hedge’s challenging
outline of today’s U.S. of A’s extreme system.

Please read my effort because I remain subject to our
totalitarian system’s persecution. Please listen to
my story. I’ve placed it into a free download at a
safe online self-publisher Please look carefully into
the margins of totalitarian America, where I am. I
was incarcerated in federal prison during the 9/11
roundup for an e-mail to that tried to
push them into communicating with me and no one has
looked at this carefully even in the alternative

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By davidg, December 27, 2010 at 11:32 am Link to this comment
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Add to the list:  The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.  It add’s religion to make a trilogy.  It’s a “family on C Street” takeover, so to speak.

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By Gitmo, December 27, 2010 at 11:25 am Link to this comment
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“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.”

  ‘Old reformers’ Do you mean the likes of Nader, Chomsky and Kerensky? This idea that ‘we’ have any power in this situation is Utopian. It is thought that because we are enfranchised we the people have the power. The day voting makes any difference is the same day it becomes illegal.

  Why did Mr. Hedges leave out one of the seminal works of dystopia?  Jack London’s, “The Iron Heel”. Go get yourself a dose of London, Reed, and James P. Cannon. The United States has plenty of writers and intellectuals that have unencumbered vision and more than a chauvinist, nationalistic track of thinking. There is only one way forward and it has very little to do with capitalism. The criticism of impotent, perfidious liberals is fun to read, but, Mr. Hedges it up to us to change the world. Fellow traveler?

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By Tau_Seti, December 27, 2010 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

Reading the article and the comments, after the chill of reality swept past, and old
message came to mind:

“Remember, even the seemingly insignificant individual may yet change the course
of Destiny with a selfless act and perhaps in so doing becomes the right hand of

I take pause and wonder, is Pvt. Bradley Manning such a person?

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By Noses Malone, December 27, 2010 at 11:14 am Link to this comment
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Great excerpt from Andrew Bacevich’s ‘Washington Rules’ that further exposes the unending hypocrisy of our elites:

“Writing in the mid-1980s, Major [David] Petraeus hewed to the then-existing military consensus, and so questioned the wisdom of any U.S. “involvement in counterinsurgencies unless specific, perhaps unlikely, circumstances obtain-i.e., domestic public support, the promise of a brief campaign, and freedom to employ whatever force is necessary to achieve rapid victory.”

“In light of such criteria,” Petraeus wrote, “committing U.S. units to counterinsurgencies appears to be a very problematic proposition, difficult to conclude before domestic support erodes and costly enough to threaten the well-being of all America’s military forces (and hence the country’s national security), not just those involved in the actual counterinsurgency.” (pg. 194)

To be clear: polls show a majority of Americans don’t support the war in Afghanistan, the war has lasted just under a decade, and we have limited the use of force in order to win the “hearts and minds” of Afghans.

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By Alfred LaMotte, December 27, 2010 at 11:06 am Link to this comment
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Does Chris Hedges have anything positive to say?

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By FRTothus, December 27, 2010 at 11:05 am Link to this comment

We are indeed in a pickle, but instead of describing our prison, perhaps we ought to look at how we, each one of us, can neuter the power of our jailers and make the bars and walls irrelevant.  Protest is never futile.  Being ungovernable is our strength.  Our unruliness is an asset, and what the little men behind boardroom doors most fear, which is why they must listen to our phone calls and read our mail, and write ex post facto laws that protect them after they do it.

“Perhaps, you have a responsibility to be informed, to know for yourself. To know the truth. And then, perhaps you must decide with your own conscience and your personal energy and your resources what you should do.”
(Isabel Allende)

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By Hank Cook, December 27, 2010 at 11:03 am Link to this comment
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You, like most who have a “job”, are part of the Corporate State; “it’s a job”; don’t
question; just do what is expected of you; SUBMIT and be grateful.  Bottom Line: 
“Resistance is futile.”

This is your reality now; who are you to question and say otherwise?

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By Mike789, December 27, 2010 at 10:59 am Link to this comment

From Chris Hedged vantage of power for the sake of power, I’d suggest a short 120 page turner by Christian theologian Paul Tillich, “Love, Power and Justice.” These concepts, according to Tillich, do not in their true essence, stand apart from one another, but are inherently engaged. When one is not cathexed with the contingencies of the other two, a perversion of the original concept is the result.

For leaders who proclaim the moral high ground, it should be a mandatory read.

I’m not as scarred as Hedges, and therefore not as fatalistic. There is something astir across this great land. We get it. Maybe it would be better said that we “Grog” it. Eventuallly we’ll get and prevail over the obvious injustices. In this world they are recognizable. A storm is a brewin’.

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By elisalouisa, December 27, 2010 at 10:59 am Link to this comment

Raylan “-it isn’t a question of conservative over liberal - whatever ideology is represented will serve as a puppet defense of the corporate gulag.”

True. Just look at the accomplishments of Obama; what better puppet could there be? This doesn’t “just happen.” Possible candidates are reviewed years ahead of an election, interviewed as to their cooperative nature and finally backed for the
purposes of the oligarachy. Bitter pill to swallow for those who accept msm’s spin that participating in the electoral process puts the people in control. If your will pardon me, what a crock.

Thank you Chris Hedges for this brilliant essay which takes us into the coming year, 2011.

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By omygodnotagain, December 27, 2010 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

Taking Chris’s message to its logical limit, our salvation lies in Islamic Extremists who reject the West and all it stands for.

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By omygodnotagain, December 27, 2010 at 10:39 am Link to this comment

Fellow truthdiggers how long do you think it will be before Chris Hedges is taken to Room 101.

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By Al Mollitor, December 27, 2010 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

This reminds me of watching George Stephanopoulos interviewing Ron Paul early in the last presidential campaign. Pail said something like “if I should be elected” and Stephanopoulos said amatteroffactly “You know that’s not going to happen.” Here was a major corporate new anchor helping to set the limits of debate and our choices for us.

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By madisolation, December 27, 2010 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

And it’s always seen through the red, white, and blue lens of war. If there were no wars, the “President” who goes about proclaiming he has power over us would sound nutty during peacetime. We’d mock him if he tried to project himself as all-powerful, but war makes it possible for him to strangle us with his power, until we’re as dead inside as his drone victims. But now with war, the “President” is a willing participant in our destruction and death, a truly bad individual whose mask is slipping, but he doesn’t even care anymore if we’re onto his evil: his police state is in place.
Long live Julian Assange and may God watch over Bradley Manning.

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By Skip Mendler, December 27, 2010 at 9:17 am Link to this comment
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The question is: how then shall we live?  Beyond the
rhetoric of “we must smash this system,” we have to
think about how we deal day-to-day…

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By RayLan, December 27, 2010 at 8:55 am Link to this comment

“It is defined by the anonymity and facelessness of the corporation. “
Yes this is why the condition transcends politics - it isn’t a question of conservative over liberal - whatever ideology is represented will serve as a puppet defense of the corporate gulag.

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By thom delahunt, December 27, 2010 at 8:51 am Link to this comment
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we can change this. we can take advantage of our own
banking system by having the social security
administration create a department that would
accomodate on demand deposits. It would be a not for
profit public bank. owned by the taxpayer. given the
low overhead of the ssa, it could pay higher
interests rate for savings and checking. and for the
same reason it lend money for lower interest rates.
the interest off these loans would pay the
depositors’ interest.  eventually. it would be
totally self financed through normal, however less
onerous, fees. and the depositor would never need
worry about losing his wealth due to a collapsing
house of cards.  since politicians tend to follow
money, the taxpayer would become his real employer. 
the only people to lose out on this would be the
banks. that wouldn’t be a bad thing, would it?

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By eso, December 27, 2010 at 8:51 am Link to this comment
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Yes, Chris, I know that, I mean about Orwell and Huxley. What we now need is some way to undo the corporate state. Any untraditional ideas?

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By Jon Mann, December 27, 2010 at 8:47 am Link to this comment
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I used to believe the internet would be the great leveler for free speech and the
marketplace of ideas.  Now, I fear it is turning into another tool of the
corporate/media/military/industrial/government alliance.  Not a Brave New World,
or a New World Order as much as Rollerball…

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By Larry Snider, December 27, 2010 at 8:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Mr. Hedges,

All of your analogies fit there target neatly and define us perfectly as we watch our own demise as independent beings while eating popcorn. Except the corporation is not the be all and end all and a part of the current throw the bums out mentality of the 2010 election cycle was public intolerance for both political parties not dealing with core issues. It is possible to reframe my words and turn them into another justification for a dystopic state, but I see recognition on the left and the right and whether here in the United States or in other countries there is a new movement in support of dialogue and freedom and actually reform not only of government but of the corporate sector. Obama showed us that the government can swallow GM and showed us a way for the people to begin to refashion the institutions that manipulate as well as run our society.

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By grumps, December 27, 2010 at 7:32 am Link to this comment

ardee - It seems to me that with rare exceptions, people who really benefit from this system are more conservative. And conservatives want order for psychological as well as economic reasons, so whenever they make decisions, it is toward more and more control.
That makes them my enemy.

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By ardee, December 27, 2010 at 7:05 am Link to this comment

There is, in my opinion, a difference in the realities of this world and the fictions, however prescient, of the two tales discussed. In both ‘Brave New World’ and ‘1984’ there were conscious efforts made to arrive at the totalitarianism they portrayed.

Our world certainly has its comparisons to both the fictional worlds in those stories, but the similarities do not include the intent that made both those places what they were. I believe that what is happening in this world is the result of independent decision making rather than purposive planning.

While I condemn rampant and uncontrolled Capitalism, the seeking of ever more and larger profits through machinations including the manipulation of our populace and our Legislators, I see no overarching enemy consciously leading us towards totalitarian sameness.

I see corporate bodies working for their own self interests and while the results may be the same in the end the solutions are certainly different.

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By David J. Cyr, December 27, 2010 at 5:23 am Link to this comment

The debate, between those who watched our descent towards corporate totalitarianism, was who was right.

Yes, Chris, no need for any more debate.

Conservatives and liberals have proven
that they are both truly Right… wing.

In the Bush years Gitmo was a place.

Under Obama Gitmo is a state of mind…
to be achieved for anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Liberals are the things they elect.

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