Wed, 21 Jul 2010 18:58:50 GMT
Comment: Hey, everyone, we’re about to get started!
10:59 Chris Hedges
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 18:59:14 GMT
| ||Hello |
10:59 Question from Peter From Ontario
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 18:59:15 GMT
Comment: Hi Chris, thanks for your inspiration. Could you outline concretely how we might go about turning things around?
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:00:58 GMT
| ||(Questions are staggered so Chris has a chance to answer.) |
11:01 Chris Hedges
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:01:44 GMT
| ||(To Peter) We have to stop believing that we can effect change through established political or social organizations or electoral politics, and I think that still remains a huge hurdle for us people who in the end, through accommodation of fear and very clever advertising, are herded like sheep into a dysfunctional system, which is how so many people who should have known better voted for Obama. The environmental crisis that we’re about to face will be even more catastrophic than the economic, and we have to, on a personal level, reconsider how we relate to the society at large and to the ecosystem. We have both personal and social decisions to make. At this point most people are not willing to make those choices or take those steps. |
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:01:55 GMT
| ||Reader question from Terry—Seattle, Wash.|
If you could put a single book on the topic of global warming (or ecology in general) into the hands of everyone on the planet with the knowledge that everyone would read it cover to cover, what title would you pick?
11:02 Chris Hedges
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:02:56 GMT
| ||(To Terry) Either any of the books by Lovelock or the new book by Clive Hamilton “Requiem for a Species.” |
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:03:04 GMT
| ||Reader question from Alias—Laguna Niguel|
The great Thomas Pynchon has attributed the failure of the left to communicate with blue-collar workers to the “presence of real, invisible class force fields.” Do you agree? If so, what can be done to overcome these barriers?
11:05 Chris Hedges
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:05:22 GMT
| ||(To Alias) Well, the barriers can’t be overcome now because the liberal class betrayed the working class. It should have walked out with the passage of NAFTA, but it didn’t, and it continued to support. We have a working class but not one that can earn wages with pensions. The largest, most catastrophic mistake that the liberals made was to embrace capitalism when they should have embraced the workers. The fact that they continued to speak in a hypocritical language where they claimed to care about the working class when they betrayed them made them not only impotent but also a ridicule. |
11:05 Question From Jason
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:05:26 GMT
Comment: I listened to your chat with Derrick Jensen and I guess my question is the question he asked, what do we do, the average person that is? Join Greenpeace, run for political office, start a farm in the country and live completely off the grid, hide in the woods and weather the storm? I feel like nothing anybody says or does, no form of action, can stop the machine we call civilization from destroying humanity and world along with it.
11:10 imtoi via twitter
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:10:41 GMT
11:11 Chris Hedges
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:11:47 GMT
| ||(To Jason) Well, the coup d’etat is over, and they won. We lost. And now we have to learn to cope with it. It is very clear that the engines of corporatism and globalization are going to kill the ecosystem, no matter how many dead zones are created in the Gulf of Mexico or protests organized. We are going to have to make some very serious decisions about acts that dispute a system that in theological terms is a system of death and exploitation. And yet even then, it’s probably too late. If you read closely the science on global warming, it’s disrupting, even if we stop emissions, global warming will accelerate because of what has already been emitted. I think we have to begin to prepare for collapse, and if you want to survive, that’s going to mean access to a local food source. So, in the end I’m with Camus, I don’t think we’re going to fool ourselves into thinking we can make a change. It’s all hijacked, the political system, financial system ... hijacked military complex, it’s hijacked, even all of our social and educational systems. I’ve taught at places like Princeton and they all function like corporations. We’ve allowed these corporations to snuff out all voices of sanity and decency and why we listen to this garbage and why we watch it. ... Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow are as bad as the right wing; they are all playing the same wing, nobody is addressing the institutional methods that are strangling us. I don’t care if it’s from the left or right, it all acts as diversion to keep us in a state of self-delusion. |
11:11 Question From Tom Loret
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:11:59 GMT
Comment: I have recently read “The Gospel of Mary” by Karen L. King of Harvard U. The Coptic text points quite clearly to what Jesus really said ... that there is no god, just Good, and this is the New Testament. This document was unearthed in the 1980s. Is there any chance the larger Christian, particularly the murderous, genocidal, life-hating Christian right, will ever put this into their hearts and minds as a real insight and let us all get back to the business of a secular, humanistic democracy that approves of life and liberty ... for starters?
11:14 Chris Hedges
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:14:44 GMT
| ||(To Tom Loret) Well, I have a very dark view of human nature, and the capacity of evil that lurks within all of us because I’ve seen it. Many of us can become executioners and the rest of us silent accomplices. The so-called gospel of Mary is a gnostic text and gnosticism is a form of mysticism and I suppose in the end I’m not a mystic. |
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:16:32 GMT
| ||Reader question from Mackenzie—Gabriola|
Chris, in your latest column you talk about the coming environmental collapse. It’s well understood that the highest contributor to global warming, which pollutes more than all transportation combined, is meat production.
Why don’t you ever mention factory farms (what some climatologists say is “the most vital step in becoming an environmentalist”). Have you eliminated factory-farmed meat from your diet? Do you call yourself an environmentalist?
11:16 MN_Love via twitter
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:16:48 GMT
11:19 Chris Hedges
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:19:08 GMT
| ||(To Mackenzie) Well, I don’t call myself an environmentalist because I heat my home and drive myself with fossil fuels and I am complicit in the death of the planet. I have electricity, I am hooked into the system. I don’t eat red meat but to be honest it had nothing to do with the environment. After covering the war in Sarajevo and after seeing so much human flesh I couldn’t eat red meat anymore. But I certainly agree that industrial farming, though I hadn’t heard that it was the major cause, but along with the oil industry, I understand it is a major contributing factor. |
11:19 Question From Alias
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:19:26 GMT
Comment: What does the fact that Bolivian peasants were able to roll back the government’s plan to privatize the water supply while we here can only sit back ask people like yourself and Chomsky “What can I do” say about us?
11:21 Chris Hedges
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:21:46 GMT
| ||(To Alias) Well, as a culture, we’ve been rendered captive to electronic hallucinations that have disempowered us. One of the most pernicious elements of the electronic age is that it destroys the cohesion of real communities. People retreat into virtual communities, you can walk down the street where I live in Princeton at night and see that sort of glow of monitors that keep people inside their homes, and in a future civilization people will be living in cells called hives that essentially sever them from their neighbors. |
11:22 Comment From Joe Oborski
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:22:07 GMT
Comment: The French Revolution when adverse weather and disenfranchised middle class ran amuck
11:22 Question From MK Taylor
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:22:18 GMT
Comment: Why is it thought that the only habitable places on earth after climate change will be located in the northern extremities?
11:24 Chris Hedges
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:24:03 GMT
| ||(To MK Taylor) Because the droughts that are already gripping areas like the Southwest, temporarily push precipitation and hot air northwards, but eventually those droughts and heat extend further and further into northern environments. But there are good descriptions of this in books by Lovelock, for instance, or reports by [James] Hansen. |
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:24:08 GMT
| ||Question from Richard Nixon: Chris, in your recent article you wrote “Why c[...]ontinue to obey the laws and dictates of our executioners?” Can you expand on this a little. I took this as laws may need to be broken to get decent climate change reform. |
11:28 Chris Hedges
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:28:00 GMT
| ||(To Richard Nixon) Well, it’s very clear that the people who control the power systems have no interest in power change reforms because it would mean their extinction. So those of us who care about effecting change have to find mechanisms outside of the political structure, which Henry Thoreau wrote about in “Civil Disobedience,” where he analyzed an individual’s [relation] to the state and the moral questions of whether human beings should obey laws when they are immoral or, in this case, self-destructive. And I think that the questions that Thoreau asks are ones that we have to ask, and I think we have to follow in Thoreau’s footsteps where he writes about what he calls the machine. Thoreau writes about how many people around him are opposed to slavery and the war, but rather than expressing their opinions they sit around and do nothing about it. He said they hesitate, regret, sometimes petition, but nothing that actually has an effect. |
11:28 Question From Michael Marsh
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:28:04 GMT
Comment: Can there be an alliance between the philosophical, libertarian right and the moral left to confront the duopoly that is destroying the planet and our country?
11:28 Chris Hedges
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:28:52 GMT
| ||(To Michael Marsh) There is no left in this country, that’s the problem. |
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:28:59 GMT
| ||We’ll take one more question after this, but we’ll open up the discussion to everyone after Chris has to go. |
11:30 Chris Hedges
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:30:45 GMT
| ||(Continued answer to Michael Marsh) I suppose on some issues, yes, on issues on freedom from search and seizure, freedom of the press, other civil liberties. Many libertarians and firm supporters of free market capitalism and minimal government regulation and taxation, they reject the welfare state, and these are issues where the traditional left will not be in agreement with traditional libertarians. |
11:31 Question from Peter From Ontario
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:31:11 GMT
Comment: I’m a bit cynical about the idea of uprooting the powerful institutions that have created this mess. I realize this is throwing you a softball, but don’t you think anyone that tries to rebel will be squashed like a bug? I mean, I look around at my family and neighbours, and see people that have been indoctrinated by the same message, “focus on yourself right now and don’t worry about anything that will happen later on”. Whenever I share your column with family and friends, they always give the same response—quit trying to wreck the good times for the rest of us and get a real job.
11:35 lsmarr via twitter
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:35:24 GMT
| ||China will be the central battleground for climate change RT@bbcscitech: China overtakes the US in energy consumption http://bit.ly/9pjxGG |
11:37 Comment From radson
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:37:07 GMT
Comment: Capitalism’s greatest fear is self-sufficiency.
11:37 dbenwoods via twitter
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:37:17 GMT
| ||It’s so much easier to deny climate change in the winter. ... Warmest June on record globally - http://bit.ly/boqfey #cnn |
11:41 Chris Hedges
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:41:38 GMT
| ||Well, America has produced a country of people who’ve never had to grow up. They live in this illusion that reality is not an impediment to what they desire. They can have everything they want, they just have to dig deep within themselves, grasp that they are truly exceptional or believe that Jesus can produce miracles. It’s a form of magical thinking that is fed to us from the media to the corporations, from Oprah to Hollywood to corporatism to the Christian right, and it has created a society where we are captivated by illusion, an illusion about who we are and where we’re going, and that’s a very common characteristic among dying civilizations that lack the emotional fortitude to grasp that the world’s [institutions] are crumbling around them so they retreat into the magical. If you read Cicero or Joseph Roth, Freud (end of Austro-Hungarian) they saw very clearly, both the disintegration and the capacity of people around them to accept it. The danger is when you remain in a state of illusion, you essentially perpetuate an infantilism that leaves you unprepared, physiologically, intellectually and emotionally for collapse, and when collapse comes, you react like children, you search for a savior, a demagogue, someone who promises vengeance, moral renewal and fantastic visions of a new glory. It’s an old, old story, and we are not immune to the cycles of human history. The Greeks did not believe in a linear time, they believed that societies had a period of growth, maturation and decay, and I think the Greeks are right. So when your family doesn’t want to hear, they are retreating into the far more comforting arena of illusions that are provided for them by corporate entities that seek to keep us ignorant and disempowered and stop us from fighting back. And will they crush us like bugs? Probably. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t resist. Resistance is a moral imperative. The problem with the left is that it was seduced by the practical, and that is what killed it as a moral force. We have a commitment to non-historical values, justice, ... protection of life, love, which are of course deemed by the world to be impractical. But which keep alive that possibility of another way of being and another form of community, and at this point I think we have to look at the Middle Ages and the monastic communities that kept alive learning, humanities and life in a time of darkness so that these great contributions of human history are not lost, and that becomes a battle worth fighting because as we enter an age of barbarism, the snuffing out of these great forces of humanism will be tragic for the human race and I think we have to focus much of our energy in trying to protect these non-historical forces, commitments to values, and that’s going to entail rebellion and perhaps even great personal risk. But I think it is worth doing because at this point we can create a structure that can disarm corporatism, but because we can at least protect those virtues that permit people to live in ways that they are not slaves. |
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:41:56 GMT
| ||Thanks Chris, thanks everyone! |
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:42:05 GMT
| ||Stay here, we’re opening the floodgates. |
11:42 Chris Hedges
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:42:26 GMT
| ||Thank you, everyone. |
11:42 Comment From Sean
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:42:43 GMT
Comment: Oh my, a bit late from Thailand here. My question is, if I’m not too late, many folks understand and acknowledge the environment crisis but put forth the idea that “man only perseveres in crisis, only when it is a real in-your-face will man react” when pushed, they then place all hope on technology, saying that technology that has yet to be discovered will bring us to not only the end of this crisis, but to a wonderful new future. How does one contend with this kind of talk?
11:42 Comment From Sarah Redmond
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:42:53 GMT
Comment: Can’t get the audio, is it still live? 2:42 EDST
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:43:32 GMT
| ||Hey everyone, quick reminder: Robert Scheer live chat tomorrow.|
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:44:25 GMT
| ||How was that for everyone? |
11:44 Comment From Joe Oborski
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:44:39 GMT
Comment: Chris, the oligarchs used Hitler’s “Big Lie” and 30 pieces of silver to win over the right. Nader was right all along. As a young man I bathed in blood in Vietnam—I was a fool, I’m sorry. I don’t mind it for me but I have a young daughter, may God have mercy.
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:44:41 GMT
| ||Keep the discussion going if you like, we’ll keep the chat open and make it real-time. |
11:44 Comment From cognitis
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:44:53 GMT
Comment: Hedges’ stance of nonviolence doesn’t consist with his estimate of US institutions as oppressive inhuman corrupt.
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:46:30 GMT
| ||Here are some questions we didn’t get to ...|
11:46 Comment From tephen
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:46:34 GMT
Comment: What role can (Christian) religion play in shifting popular opinions on global warming? I’m not sure where the link between believing in god and disbelieving in ecological science comes from, but it’s obviously very real. Does it have to be this way?
11:46 Comment From ckane
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:46:39 GMT
Comment: Chris, don’t you think that the Republicans will take Congress this fall?
11:46 Comment From ckane
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:46:44 GMT
Comment: Chris, don’t you think that it is over for this country, that it is a lost cause?
11:47 Comment From Guest
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:47:04 GMT
Comment: Do you think that our troops would ever turn on the citizens of the country?
11:47 Comment From MK Taylor
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:47:12 GMT
Comment: When will the collapse happen, to your best estimation?
11:47 Comment From cognitis
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:47:19 GMT
Comment: You’ve cited often and, I estimate, aptly from both Athenians and Romans about inept uses of War, but you never cite Roman-approved uses of War or, more ominously that the Romans attributed Deity to War but NOT to Law.
11:47 altenergyjobs via twitter
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:47:59 GMT
11:48 Comment from Peter From Ontario
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:48:02 GMT
Comment: Truthdig: This was awesome. Never did I think I could get that close to Chris Hedges!
11:48 Comment From cognitis
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:48:43 GMT
Comment: You just corroborated Hedges’ argument of “Celebrity Culture”, didn’t you?
11:50 PVAddict via twitter
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:50:04 GMT
11:51 Comment From MK Taylor
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:51:52 GMT
Comment: Responsing to Guest: Remember Kent State? Soldiers shooting student demonstrators…
11:52 ebharrison via twitter
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:52:34 GMT
11:53 Comment From Sean
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:53:32 GMT
Comment: Hmm, although I was too late, I feel like this could’ve been better publicized. ... Will Chris be on again anytime? I’d like to bring a few more voices.
11:55 Comment From Beth
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:55:08 GMT
Comment: I second that.
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:56:07 GMT
| ||Hey Sean. We’re not sure when Chris’ next chat will be. You can catch Robert Scheer tomorrow. Feel free to visit truthdig.com/q_a or check the newsletter for announcements. |
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:58:20 GMT
11:58 clairebernard via twitter
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:58:53 GMT
| ||President Obama created a National Ocean Policy yesterday. Yay, finally some good news for our oceans!! |
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:59:24 GMT
12:00 Comment From Sean
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 20:00:28 GMT
Comment: Thanks, I’ll check that out.
12:02 robertmcclure via twitter
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 20:02:50 GMT
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 20:05:32 GMT
| ||Thanks everyone. Join us tomorrow for Bob’s chat and stay tuned to truthdig.com/q_a to stay on top of upcoming chats. |
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 20:05:41 GMT
| ||See you around! |
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 20:05:47 GMT
| ||(closing chat) |