Chris Hedges: My Hatred Of Authority, Along With My Loathing For The Pretensions, Heartlessness, And Sense Of Entitlement Of The Rich
“This great evil. Where does it come from? How'd it steal into the world? What seed, what root did it grow from? Who's doin' this? Who's killin' us? Robbing us of life and light. Mockin' us with the sight of what we might've known. Does our ruin benefit the earth? Does it help the grass to grow, the sun to shine? Is this darkness in you, too? Have you passed through this night?… We were a family. How'd it break up and come apart, so that now we're turned against each other? Each standing in the other's light. How'd we lose that good that was given us? Let it slip away. Scattered it, careless. What's keepin' us from reaching out, touching the glory?”
There is a palpable evil in this world. And it is everywhere. In some way every single one of us serves it. Even as we believe we resist it in certain aspects of our lives, there is no way out. We all are oppressed, victimized and exploited by it. And as a result we often participate in that oppression, victimization and exploitation of others without being mindful of it. In the United States and other “civilized” societies it is most often in ways that we don’t actually see or appreciate or don’t want to see because of our own ego’s subconscious fear of its own identify crisis and because the propaganda and our resultant brainwashing is literally so all-encompassing.
This post is much more than Hedge’s recent remarks. I want to use his remarks below to frame even broader systemic crises that are unfolding before our eyes.
Politicians and the corporate press in this nation have gone full bore stupid with this recent mass killing in South Carolina by someone who was clearly very unstable. And possibly driven to that instability by prescription drugs. And definitely driven to that instability by a collapsing state-enforced corporate capitalist society. It seems every few years the issue of the Confederate flag comes up. I’m certainly no fan of people who use the flag as a sign of hatred. But I suspect that’s s small number of ignorant people. Black people are offended because it is akin to waving the Nazi flag at Jews. White southern people are offended because it is part of their cultural identity that goes beyond slavery to a way of life that is now mocked and ostracized by many. There certainly are ways to resolve these issues but we never can have an honest dialog or any meaningful action because politicians never miss an opportunity to stick their ignorant mouths into the mix. So, it wasn’t a surprise that politicians called for the ban of Confederate flag sales and the politically-correct corporations obliged. Even though these same corporations sell all kinds of toxic trash that is killing the natural world and countless people. But all of this has quickly devolved into dismantling the Jefferson Memorial, statues of Robert E. Lee and other memorials to the South’s white heritage. Now, I completely understand how these may all be offensive at face value to black Americans. Maybe we need more memorials to their cultural history and identity in this nation. Whatever the answer is, it’s not going to be found in politicization or by politicians. The first thing that came to mind when the corporate politically-correct press and Washington politicians started talking about blowing up all of these historical memorials is ISIS and the Taliban blowing up historical cultural heritage sites in the Middle East. Some of which are priceless treasuries that are thousands of years old. All of those sites represented cultures that were repressive and brutal in some way or another. In fact, that’s pretty much most of human history. So, do we destroy our entire cultural legacy because it may have been controlled by pathology? And while most people will chide this remark, it’s very accurate. That is, politicians in our nation are of the same ilk as the lunatics in ISIS and the Taliban. So blowing up antiquity is really no different than blowing up the Jefferson Memorial. Or, even asinine talk of it. By the way, CNN proffered this and I noted years ago that CNN and 24 hour propaganda news is headed for the trash heap. This is a good proof point for the literal idiocracy and CNN’s part in perpetuating it.
The North was not exactly virtuous in the Civil War or those times. There was a small pocket of abolitionists and humanists who wanted to see slavery defeated. But make no mistake, the North minted massive profits off of the slave trade in countless ways. History has been rewritten, by the state of course, that this war was about the abolition of slavery. That’s just not true. It was an afterthought. Do we remove the Lincoln Memorial too for his vile and reprehensible views on black Americans and slavery? And while we are busy wagging our finger of our moral authority at everyone else, I suspect the first thing we should do is round up all of Washington’s politicians stoking these flames and put them in prison because they are very responsible for all of this with their destruction of our freedoms and economic determinism.
Here’s the fundamental issue behind all of this and actually the reason why I decided to put this post up. A friend of mine was traveling through my state two days ago and she called to say she brought me a present. She’s from Wisconsin and she brought me a Scandanavian dessert that goes back nearly a thousand years called a kringle. There is a famous local baker who supposedly makes the best kringles in Wisconsin. If the state had its way, there would be no kringles. We would all be eating Ho-Ho’s, Twinkies and McDonald’s cherry pies because they can mint large profits off of feeding us all state-enforced industrial garbage in lieu of our cultural artisanal and craft food and drink made with love. Eating a kringle in lieu of a Twinkie is exactly the same thing as this politicized Confederate flag issue.
My point is that the state robs people of their cultural identity and their history and replaces it with the conformity of a dumbed-down culture that serves the state. What is American culture today as defined by the state? Shopping. That’s just about it. Well, and gladiator sports, gambling, video games and a vibrant free pornography industry paid for by Google ad placements. If I may speak on behalf of someone else, that’s fundamentally why black Americans are offended by the Confederate flag. Where’s my history? Where’s my cultural identity? What about what the state has taken from me? What about the suffering, struggle, brutality and state sponsored murder of my ancestors beneath the Confederate flag that you wish to glorify? Where are the memorials to my struggle and strife and our historical roots? To my ancestors who were responsible for creating your culture under the subjugation of slavery and the constant threat of murder? They have been obliterated. The state has robbed black America of its cultural identity. And they still continue to rob them of that identity today. Of course, to varying degrees and through differing methods, we could say the same thing about every culture in this nation. Germans, Italians, Irish, Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, African or whatnot. Within a generation or two, most of their cultural identity dies out and their grandchildren are soon eating the state’s junk food, are indoctrinated into the state’s propaganda and educational system, are fighting the state’s profitable wars and are enslaved into the state’s dumbed-down corporate culture of work and associated wage/debt slavery.
There certainly are equally valid claims from many who wish for us to remember the cultural identity of the South beyond slavery. There were a small number of aristocratic slave owners in the South but beyond that were just people with all of the foibles and capable of acts of kindness we all share today. And while I certainly am not an expert in that period of time, I know enough that many people in the South held virtues of family and an agrarian life of self-sufficiency high on their list of virtues in comparison to the North controlled by corporations, banks and politicians who all exploited the North’s population in much the same way as the economic aristocracy of slave owners in the South. The reality is there is a thin veneer of evil that dominates humanity and the rest of us are caught beneath it. That includes fighting their wars and being enslaved to their economic oppression.
There is an old saying that history is written by the victors. More broadly, I think we can conclude that history is written by the state. Because it is almost always the victor through its endless application of violence. And out of that comes many lies and deceits. That includes robbing humanity of their cultural identity and replacing it with the identity of conformity that is the state.
Robbing people of their cultural identity is a very sinister and covert form of state violence. And that is what Washington politicians and the corporate press are making hay with today in this recent mass killing. A killing that really has more to do with the endless cultural and social violence created by Washington politicians and a class-based society than it does with the Confederate flag.
It seems quite regularly now that there is some new case of someone taking the lives of multiple people. Then politicians never miss an opportunity to politicize that situation to make hay and lay blame. Yet it is these very politicians who enforce a system of structural violence that actually creates the social dynamics leading to these situations. Politicians are daily murdering or oppressing all of humanity through endless institutionalized violence yet they are going to provide us teaching moments through their magnanimous hypocrisy? The problem is the authoritarian, anti-democratic system that politicians enforce. A system based on violence. The problem is not the violence we see or the lack of morality of the masses of people suffering under this system. We don’t need more rules and regulations or police officers or greater powers to spy on people or more wars or other examples of institutionalized violence to solve our problems. The problem is not the people who are acting out in endless self-destructive, violent ways that now overflow our hospitals, our healthcare system, our prisons and our court systems. The violence is the symptom of the state and its institutionalized enforcement of class and hierarchy, the purveyor of violence.
If humanity lived under a community-focused environment of equality (democracy), if people had their own natural rights and associated responsibilities that allowed them to self-actualize and self-correct in their journey, if forgiveness and understanding were part of that culture, if living and working environments were inclusive rather than competitive & violent, and if participation in any environment or community was truly voluntary rather than enforced through state violence, and no environment existed where someone benefited at the expense of someone else, (the state and its economic control systems) then the world would look nothing like the world today or frankly anytime in “civilized” human history. And we wouldn’t have politicians or the state. But there is no way that can happen because the system is and always has applying or applied unprecedented violence to stop that from happening. Why? Because this system, as it has been generally contrived for thousands of years, with few exceptions, would collapse under those fundamentally-human values and human emotional requirements. ie, Something akin to nonviolently embracing Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs.
We innately are born with the ability to meet humanity’s needs. The universe has given us the tools to succeed; innate human values meet our innate human needs. We are living under an unnatural control system that does not embrace our innate values or our innate needs. It is an artificially created system that must use violence to prop itself up. And that is why civilizations have always failed. That is why wars exist. And that is why humanity is now devolving under state tyranny. Because these control systems are inconsistent with the natural laws of the universe. And, so the universe is restoring the balance. The reality is when humanity is actualized, it innately wants to nonviolently meet its innate needs and the innate needs of its community. And it innately wants all of humanity to enjoy that same experience. There is nothing more innately fulfilling than contributing to other people’s well-being. And doing so without the intent of financial reward. Money is a control construct that enriches the state and state actors. I noted some time in the past that preterism has some reasons to consider that the Roman Empire or the state more broadly to be the Biblical beast and that the mark of the beast to be state-enforced money that it forces upon people to loot their labor and wit. -
Innate human values of community, dignity, forgiveness, compassion, acceptance, honesty, respect, kindness, equality, trust, love, selflessness, etc that are derived from our mind’s higher power or our mind’s divinity. They are the values of truth. They are the values of democracy. They are the timeless values of the eternal light of the human mind. They are the values of a culture that has citizen government rather than hierarchy or a ruling class of state authority and its pathological manifestations of control.
Everything in modern society is contrived in some way. There is almost no authenticity anywhere. I mean that literally. There are people trying to share their authenticity but it’s a struggle under corporate, state and religious hierarchical domination. Now, there is plenty of authenticity with individuals but, in general, authenticity requires vulnerability and in a system of violence, (institutionalized class and hierarchy and the associated pathological rule of man) vulnerability is preyed upon. So, instead we live in a system of mass conformity to the Borg that is the state. It goes so far that we contrive our own inauthentic personalities to conform to this structural violence. We have lost our humanity. Most of us are so lost we have no idea who we really are. Which, by the way, is why we have so much self-destructive behavior and so many people pumped full of medications. Mind you, in my experience we are probably not aware of any of this unless we are actually in some process of waking up. All of this social ignorance and violence (one breeds the other) is due to a system based on institutionalized class and hierarchy.
Hedges pulls no punches. The very wealthy really just don’t give a shit about anyone else. How can anyone with any sense of decency shut off the injustices that we create by conforming to and serving this system without feeling some semblance of selling their soul? Anyone who has publicly said this economy or the world is in recovery is either completely brainwashed or a pathological crook or both. Don’t kid yourself. The rich don’t care about anyone else. That includes just about every politician, corporate bureaucrat and religious lunatic minting millions or massive power off of creating fear within those they exploit and manipulate. Those at the top of this system care about their money, their authority & power and their possessions. And they care about possessing you because that is how they maintain their authority. If they did care about other people, then there would not be billions of people in this world living in abject poverty. With the technology and ability modern humanity has, no one on this planet should go to bed hungry or without modern shelter and health care. Instead of that technology and ability uniting humanity in the cause of goodness or with a loving intent, it is used to control and exploit humanity of its surplus intellectual and labor value. The overpopulation meme is totally contrived bullshit meant to control us. All of humanity would fit into a one mile cube or easily into the state of Rhode Island. Think about that. The mass of all of humanity would fit into a 1x1x1 mile cube. That leaves the entire planet to produce what we need to survive. Humanity has shown throughout history that when it isn’t being controlled by a contrived system, it can and does integrate itself into the environment and does live within its means. The reality is far more sinister as Chris notes. Pathology uses the rest of us to destroy the planet and destroy each other for their own amusement and insatiable need for more. The wealthy view the poor as parasites and vermin to be treated as such. They are the untermensch that class views with disgust. Which is what drove million of Europeans to the New World - mind you, Social Darwinism and Darwinism in general are state religions.
And Chris’ latest article America’s Slave Empire - “For years we were called niggers to indicate we had no value or worth and that anything could be done to us,” Ray said. “Then the word ‘nigger’ became politically incorrect. So they began calling us criminals. When you say a person is a criminal it means that what happens to them does not matter. It means he or she is a nigger. It means they deserve what they get.” Interestingly, what really has changed as far as the institutionalized control system? I just don’t see racism in most people. (Racism is another ism, like communism and capitalism, perpetuated by the state as a control system. People are taught to hate and no one does it better than class and hierarchy enforced by the state.) What I do see is incredible institutionalized violence against the poor by those who control us and this system. And frankly, it’s regardless of color. There is no profit to be made off of the poor. They can’t consume capitalism’s endless overproduction. There is no method through which to exploit surplus labor or wit unless through outright slavery. Even if that slavery is emotional. Ah, yes, slavery is still alive in many forms. By putting the poor in prison, using them as slave labor and privatizing the prison system into capitalism, there are massive profits to be made. Not only by running the prison system but by forcing them into making things, pumping them full of pharma drugs, stealing the small pittance of money they make, etc.
For black Americans, especially men, the institutionalized violence is far worse in many ways. In the decades following the Civil War black men were rounded up and placed into southern prisons (the state) on trumped up charges and used as slave labor. And we still see it today. In the end, the reality is this system is not racist, per se. The violence is based on class or the thin veneer of evil that dominates humanity that is the state. And racism is enforced by institutionalized class or the state to divide humanity for purposes of control. It just so happens that much of the world is dominated by white class-based violence. But that violence is directed at people of all colors and nationalities including whites.