Chris Hedges on his latest book, America: The Farewell Tour

I don't share this culture is mania for hope I think it's very dangerous and I think the hardest thing before us is to face what's before us honestly and because it isn't pleasant it's scary I got kids I'm terrified I mean my youngest son's favorite book is called out of the blue it's about NAR whales and I'm thinking probably if things do not change within your lifetime every single one of those sea creatures will be extinct to explain his latest book hedges justifies the pessimism by saying pretending the world isn't bleak feeds the mania for unreal hope that exists within American culture so what then is the antidote resistance if we don't resist he says you can't use the word hope let's welcome Chris Hedges I I always have a model for the books that I write when I did that work that I days of destruction days revolt with Joe Sacco the great cartoonist and if you have not read footnotes in Gaza which no one reviewed because it's so honest get it it's one of the great works on the Palestine Israel conflict he spent six years on it anyway he's an amazing reporter but he and I did this book and and the model was let us now praise famous men the great work by James Agee with photographs by Walker Evans and we went to the poorest pockets of the United States the sacrifice zones including Camden New Jersey which per capita is the poorest city in America and when we were there was per capita the most dangerous city in America Pine Ridge South Dakota were a male as average life expectancy of 48 that's the lowest in the Western Hemisphere outside of Haiti Immokalee Florida where we literally interviewed migrant workers undocumented workers who were chained in a at night this is America and it's the America we don't see for the salacious tawdry court gossip that now has taken the place of news at dinner last night with Cathy Coleman I think you know ahead of the classics department she I took Latin with her and she said I always thought Co Tonia's might be exaggerating until now this book came out of Durkheim's great work 1897 called on suicide I liked Durkheim a lot there was that triumph rate of Durkheim Weber and Marx almost all contemporaries playing off of each other but Durkheim like w eb de bois who we could probably argue was america's greatest intellectual married that brilliance and scholarship with rigorous reporting and investigation so when Dubois writes the philadelphia negro by the time he's done he's interviewed over 1,200 families in philadelphia to put together his masterpiece and Durkheim does the same thing he asks the question what is it that drives individuals and societies to carry out acts of self annihilation the pathologies that I focused on in this book and and I I think he captures what is fundamental to what's happened within our own society and that is the destruction of the social bonds that give us meaning dignity status a sense of place stability and purpose and this was done by corporate forces by the corporate coup d'etat that took place and held the primacy of profit above all else that primacy of profit where everything became a commodity human beings became commodities the natural world became a commodity that is then exploited until exhaustion or collapse and I spend time in the book with I actually write the gambling chapter out of the Trump Taj Mahal before Trump announced he was gonna run for president by the time I got there it was a decayed ruin most of the rooms had been mothballed they weren't even rented out because they couldn't afford to do the upkeep most of the restaurants were closed the arena was closed a few restaurants that were open you could see rodents literally like mice and rats scurry across the floor big mold spots and the ceilings lights burned out you went into the bathrooms and they were covered with plastic bags saying out of order kind of a metaphor for where Trump's going to take us and Trump preyed on this despair I mean I there's a very fine book addiction by design by Professor Joule at NYU which was they may be one of the very few books where she got inside the industry most gambling is done by slots 80% and people will go there for hours and hours and hours and they use player cards they all have profiles the gambling industry knows has projections as to how much people these gambling addicts will spend in a lifetime I wrote my chapter on sexual sadism which is always a part of a decayed culture out of San Francisco this is the largest BDSM operation ostensibly in the world it's live stream I mean I took classes there it was really bizarre I was in a basement with Dom's so there's a bunch of dweeby guys dressed in black and me and my tape recorder on my pocket but it's torture and they they waterboard and they actually use the word torture I mean this ripples like a very poisonous undercurrent this porn ofin within our society I also spend a lot of time with hate groups including at one point I was outside of Binghamton New York at night around a bonfire in the woods with the proud boys nights the alt-right the three percenters praying to my presbyterian God that no one would Google me and heroin addicts so I I mean like Durkheim like Dubois I saw out these people I I loved reporting as I know Chris does because it always chalant not only challenges but often overturns your assumptions about what you think you know forces you to ask questions that if you weren't out there listening to these people you wouldn't even know how to formulate and I think the argument of the book is that this social malaise or what Durkheim calls anomie which he defines as rule less Ness and by that he means the society no longer has rules or at least the rules are no longer obeyed I once said Ralph Nader who I like very much said you know you and I are not really radicals in the in the traditional sense of political life we are conservatives because what we are really calling for is the restoration of the rule of law which has been completely abandoned and and Matt Taibbi wrote a good book called divide where he spends time looking at the crimes of Wall Street and then spends time in the courts with the vulnerable who are preyed upon by a system I'm you go to further part of the problem in cities like Ferguson is that because these corporations have in essence orchestrated a tax boycott I mean under Eisenhower the wealthiest individuals and corporations paid ninety one ninety one percent and David K Johnson has written a couple good books on on this you have thirty or forty percent of these county budgets that are made up by imposing these ridiculous fines including a fine called obstructing pedestrian traffic which means standing on a sidewalk not mowing your lawn open container Eric garner loose cigarettes so on every level politically we live in a system Sheldon Wolin called inverted totalitarianism where you have the facade like the late Roman Republic but internally the citizen has been utterly disempowered we have a court system that has become a wholly owned subsidiary of the corporate state overturning our constitutional rights by judicial Fiat so it's rule less Ness in that sense and that creates this enemy which Durkheim it's interesting because you know Marx plays with a concept of alienation the Marx sees alienation as a positive force as something that will cause workers to question the means of production and the hierarchy of power and capitalism itself and leader but Durkheim looks at atomy differently and I think probably correctly because as he points out even like the hate groups people who seek to carry out violence are fundamentally driven by a desire for death and that atomy is creates a kind of lethargy a torpor a sense of a loss of self worth and self confidence and is extremely extremely dangerous and it's out of that enemy that we get the pathologies around us and I think Chris and I will talk about this I argue in the book that Trump is a creation of this anime that he is the symptom not the disease and we are not doing ourselves a favor by personalizing the problem or pretending that we got to this point because of Co me or the Podesta emails or Russian bots and of course the Democratic Party does not want an examination of the system of inverted totalitarianism or the corporate coup d'etat that they largely orchestrated especially under the presidency of Bill Clinton so with that all I'm gonna go to Chris thank you it's always fun with Chris Hedges we've been doing it for years starting I think with war as a force it gives us meaning I think Chris followed me at the New York Times we both came alive awake in a certain way at the any other times and then of course we had to leave me into television and radio Chris to an incredibly original voice in this country I just want to say for starters that and maybe some of you were here it's only a few months ago that I was on this stage with Steve Pinker and Steve Pinker is drawn to good news the way Chris Hedges is drawn to bad news Steve Pinker enlightment now better angels and this kind of thing Bill Gates says it's the most important book he's ever read the most wonderful it's really his Bible but kind of endless cheerfulness about it's not just cheerfulness he claims that every kind of violence from wife-beating rape wars between great nations street crime is down down down down down including rape but in any event I was just thinking it's called fiction well have you ever met Steve thinking have you ever have you ever debated I'm gonna say I pushed back on Steve Pinker pretty hard I think it is an imperial fantasy I'm not sure I'd call it fiction but to be telling the world from the pinnacle of a name chair professor at Harvard in the Imperial nation that the world is getting better and better and better you just hadn't noticed it there's a kind of presumption but any of it I wonder I'm gonna push back somewhat at you Chris have you ever met Pinker and I have not I I recommend it he's a terribly nice man I've tried out and in all the bottle lines there's a Ghanian novice I've never met but I have read him who's observed that it was this period in human history between I suppose the 16th 17th century Portuguese British American all sorts of millions of Africans taken out of their homes and dragged through the Middle Passage to slavery in the Americas it was a period known in Western history as the Enlightenment and because he he argues no to the Enlightenment it was what stopped slavery anyway this is just by way of Professor III I've read this whole book and with great admiration but I want to say that the finest writer in the book is truly if I can find my glasses what I do with my glasses I'm not sure but I can read it anyway Dietrich Bonhoeffer the Christian priest who was executed for allegedly being part of a Hitler murder conspiracy but he writes and and Chris Hedges is quoting him in the in the in the epigraph here then this nothingness into which the West is sliding is not the natural end the dying the sinking of a flourishing community of people instead it is again a specifically Western nothingness and nothing that is nothingness that is rebellious violent anti-god an anti-human breaking away from all that is established it is the utmost manifestation of all the forces opposed to God it is a nothingness as God no one knows its goal or its moment its rule is absolute it is a creative nothingness that blows in anti-god breath it blows an anti-god breath into all that exists and on and on but the point is I'd like you to start with a fundamentally religious theological designation of the nothingness the the nihilism but also it reminds me of James Douglas writing about the JFK assassination a marvelous book in my opinion JFK and the unspeakable he says don't ask who killed JFK you must find out what killed JFK it was disembodied evil a satanic force that killed Jesus killed Gandhi kills a certain kind of people and Thomas Merton saw it crowding JFK and it got him but you're talking again about something that only religious people can grasp in a way and and what is that force that's that's culture which we've created a commercial culture which orchestrates alienation loneliness unhappiness a sense of inadequacy and promises of us that if we invest in that culture both financially and personally which is a culture that at its core is about the cult of the self we can find the happiness that they have destroyed but of course as Proust understood every time we buy their experience whether just commercially or emotionally or their product it is only the starting point for new desires hmm and what in biblical terms it is is a culture of idolatry and the the writers of the Bible understood that idols demand in the beginning the sacrifice of others but in the end like mulac they always demand your sacrifice you you are sacrificed on that altar and I think that spiritual malaise that cult of the self has created tremendous depression and unhappiness which is fed by this never-ending cycle I mean what is Facebook or Instagram or any of these other social media platforms there there many forms of the self presentation that obsesses a figure like Trump hmm it's what Neal Gabler called life the movie and you know we all have our own versions of it it's about posturing it's not about truth and it's certainly the opposite of friendship friendship and most of us if we're honest will acknowledge that we probably only have two or three real friends and some of us have none friendship is about a relationship where that person loves you enough to tell you the unpleasant truths about yourself you don't want to hear because they care I mean I just lost James cone as you know and as a whole I can't fill friendship is about a relationship that ultimately is perhaps even beyond articulation as is faith and the transcendent and so I do quote bond offer and I quote I quote I I quote a lot of writers on theology Tillich and others because I think like Kierkegaard that there is a deep deep spiritual sickness within the society and that we have created powerful mechanisms to prey upon and to exacerbate hmm that sickness I mean Tolstoy got it right the only true happiness is to live for others as any parent instinctively under not knows I just taught Victor Hugo's lay mazhab in a prison oh the book it's a yeah II thought it was number one even yeah even well you know it was Eugen V Debs his favorite book hmm which he read in French over and over he was raised speaking French and it was lloyd George's favorite book yeah and it has the melodrama I mean well you know but it but it is but it fundamentally get that and so I think that that that is the nothingness that in the end what they're doing that the the the evil of this society is to how to make us hollow men and women to quote Eliot we could get from the sublime to the ridiculous which is to say the Trump moment but in a short form Chris what defines this moment of collapse in your view I mean Tolstoy felt that more than a hundred years ago Dostoyevsky Walker press he wrote brilliantly about it at forty fifty years ago what about this moment and then we're going to come to just what Trump is a symptom of or look and the cause of it's complicated so the social bonds are broken the primacy of profit has destroyed the economic base of the country which was in dust industry with deindustrialization the power of corporations has taken from us the ability to protect ourselves and promote our own interests whether that's labor unions whether that's a press that actually writes about and reflects the concerns of the majority of the American people I mean CNN is as culpable for the burlesque as Trump and they make an FIR and they make money on it they made more money last year than they've ever made but it's all court gossip it's not news there's no journalism anymore I mean stormy Daniels and her lawyer and you know it's just endless or his tweet and the reaction is tweed and it's it's not really incredible I mean three years from November 2015 the country has or since maybe even October 2015 when he started reaming through the jibes of the world we had talked this country the public conversation has been nothing but Donald J Trump it's a you couldn't have imagined it but I just want I want I'm gonna throw a complicated idea that he is totally symptomatic of a lot of different things he's symptomatic of populist speech McCarthyism grant looks consumerism gross sexism in person and in cultural monuments like Pro Wrestling he's a product of 60 years of television an advertising culture and a propaganda culture on crack I mean it just goes on and on a debased political culture that has presidential debates in Las Vegas I mean this this tells you something that sort of settles the case all enabled by a digital culture that we've chosen somehow inadvertently maybe not to regulate we regulated radio regular television we regulate computers we regulate cars but not this digital culture which is just consumed the old way not just a really newspapers but of reading anything but anyway this rampant thing he is symptomatic of it but at the same time he is the closest thing to me course he's on the wrong side but the same time he is feeding on the disgust with this world that we have made for ourselves oh we didn't make it it was made for us but he is in some sense the captain of the angry people well of course so this is just like Yugoslavia which I covered for the New York Times so you have the economic you have an ineffectual liberal elite that is unable to deal with a economic unwilling or unable to do the economic meltdown of Yugoslavia and so of course there what triggered it was hyperinflation and you vomited up these these bizarre buffoonish insane figures Radovan Karadzic slobodan milosevic Franjo Tudjman go back to vimar what happens in vimar the Liberals the Social Democrats in Ebert are in charge the Nazis are polling in the single digits in 1928 you have the 1929 crash Ebert in the Social Democrats instead of responding to the distress of the German people seek to placate the international banking system and impose draconian forms of austerity including abolishing unemployment insurance and there's a line in klemper the victor klemper who writes his Diaries I shall bear witness where after the Reichstag fire the Social Democrats are terrified that the Nazis are going to lock them up and they all flee to Switzerland and he and and and which I didn't know until I read the Diaries he was in Leipzig a hundred thousand people were in the streets protesting martial law hmm but the Social Democrats and and he said the sentiment was at least the Nazis have the courage of their convictions I think we underestimate the legitimate rage on the part of a working class that was deeply betrayed in particular by Bill Clinton and that the rage is worse towards the Democrats because they pretended that they were watching out for their interests so as you know I was in Anderson Indiana the old GM yep 25,000 Union jobs they were making 25 $30 an hour they had pensions they had medical benefits they had a strong union and so Clinton passes NAFTA and GM they didn't just close the plants they bulldoze them so they're huge grass we choked expanses were these plant mean the old UAW workers they can't even spend 30 years they can't even drive they won't even they will bypass those streets so they don't have to look at it hmm and those jobs went to Monterrey Mexico where Mexican workers are making $3 an hour without benefits they voted for Bernie Sanders but they weren't gonna vote for Clinton and and I think that the the power of Trump is and this was also true in Yugoslavia and it was also true in by Maher because remember a figure like in particular Goering was quite witty and funny Goering was quite funny actually and the in like trauma ridiculed these elites like the jeb Bush's hmm and what's happened is that the ruling ideology and David Harvey wrote a very fine book on this honor if you know it on neoliberalism but it's pretty smart right but it's out of this Marxian idea that every ideology is essentially created around the economic and political interests of the ruling elite so in this case neoliberalism which is a utopian as John Ralston Saul says a utopian ideology the whole idea that any society throughout history has decided that every aspect of that society should be ruled by the dictates of the marketplace is insane but this ideology and every promise of course of neoliberalism which Thomas Friedman popularizes in his columns has turned out to be wrong you know that it'll build a larger middle class that it will spread democracy around the globe I mean he was even writing there was gonna end Wars and remember the famous line the normal anomic yeah I mean it was so the collapse of the ideology is crucial because and this is across the political spectrum no one's buying it and and so they are using much more draconian forms of control that's the security and surveillance state which Snowden exposed and which are leaders including Obama did nothing to reverse and it has created such a revulsion towards the elites Republican and Democratic that when a figure like Trump comes along it is kind of darkly cathartic and I would also add just one more thing about the white working-class so when Durkheim writes on suicide he said usually the lowest rates of suicide are among the or hmm the poor and soldiers hmm I mean he talks about different forms of suicide and soldiers can sacrifice themselves but but the poor because they realize that the rules are fixed against them and Baldwin writes the same point he said when he talks about why african-american men tend not to have a midlife crisis hmm because they african-americans understand that there are two sets of rules but the white working-class which at a certain period especially after World War two achieved an economic prosperity that was kind of remarkable believe the myth and and and and with the understanding that that that they've been had I think Express a very frightening and violent rage which manifests itself in mass shootings hate groups and supporting a figure like Trump you're leaving one huge zone my favorite zone out which is George Bush and the Iraq war to my mind the leiden line is that that is pretty much the bone in our it's worse than a bone in the throat and it's but it said it set the stage for where we're at an illegal immoral irrational five trillion dollar or maybe a lot more war that goes on today in which the United States chose war chose torture ignited terrorism and body tears and literally killed a country in front of our eyes corrupted the Democratic opposition including our friend John Kerry and destroyed the media I mean every yeah the New York Times Washington Post in The New Yorker magazine all endorsed that war I was the New York Times now says it is the refuge for truth capital T Washington Post says democracy dies in darkness the war began and and went to its end with the cheerleading of those those institutions including your friend Tom Friedman William Safire the David and they're still working I mean anyway yeah back but the point is only that to see Trump he is symptomatic of all that betrayal of the working class at the same time he's the most I want to say viable person whoever tipped the tables on Jeb Bush and then on the Clintons I don't want to give him any credit for it exactly but it it makes him much harder to to analyze and I also want to here's the question for my friend Chris Hedges when you look at this destabilization of power authority the elites the war mongers the Predators Wall Street and you see one thing it's going to take a trump-like character to beat them do you find your heart really rooting for the Wreckers the Trump is so to speak or you certainly don't root for the establishment where's your heart Chris Hedges my heart is with at this point the 60 or 70 percent of Americans who are being pushed towards a modern form of serfdom in the oligarchic system who's their leader who's there who gets them yeah but this is maybe Michael Moore maybe you know this is the problem I mean you know the the that we can't personalize the crisis we're in and it goes back to Durkheim if we don't rebuild those social bonds were finished and you bring up the war so any as you know I had a very contentious relationship with the New York Times I had been the Middle East bureau chief for the New York Times was denouncing the war I was booed off of a commencement stage and of course I actually knew the Middle East and knew the instrument of war unlike Pinker and and I was given a formal written reprimand and told I was no longer allowed to speak publicly about criticizing the war and I left the paper over that issue so when you talk about all those people who were wrong being still in power but that's a miss reading because they may have been wrong but they played their role and the role of this is Chomsky the role of the liberal elites is to discredit and you can read the review of this book in The New York Times The Washington Post because that's exactly what they do to discredit the critics on the left because they set the moral parameters and they are essentially given their place in a capitalist democracy because they make sure nobody crosses those parameters nobody actually questions the system of capitalism nobody questions the intentions of going into Iraq they may concede afterwards that it didn't go quite as it should so they played their role perfectly which is why they're still there that's their role I know we can't talk about leaders I mean this is complete misreading of what's happened in this country it's far more serious than that and I I think one of the things that inform this book was the two years I spent writing a book on the Christian Right hmm because the Christian Right is really the antecedent but before that let me just respond one more thing on the war so in in and you know from the book in and this is from McCoy but late empire and McCoy the historian McCoy who wrote a very good book called shadows in the American century which I would recommend he writes that empires that they're beginning actually use military force very carefully and very judiciously empires at the end in decline engage in catastrophic military adventurism that fuels the decline in an attempt to restore a lost greatness so you look at for instance the end of the Athenian Empire they invade Sicily the entire Athenian fleet is sunk most of the soldiers are killed the Empire is over you look at the suez crisis the British Empire's in decline from the end of World War one until 1956 Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal the British invade with a French and after retreat in humiliation the pound sterling is dropped hmm as the world's reserves currency and the British economy goes into a tailspin that's the death but coy actually gives it a date which I would never do 2030 but the so we have 17 years of warfare it it's there was a front there's a front page story about the debt did you read the story on this side can you just hand me that I mean I forget the figure it's like three things I read The Times tonight yeah I haven't I just read that yeah what may soon exceed the cost of the US military interest on u.s. debt with a debt within a decade more than 900 billion in interest payments will be due annually this is what happens at the end of empire you extend yourself militarily beyond your ability to sustain it financially and the cost in order to carry out this military adventurism this is Thucydides mmm-hmm is to just hollow out the country from the inside so through Citadis writes that the tyranny that athens imposed on others it finally imposed on itself why because the military adventurism is so costly your roads are not maintained your public libraries our school your your you know the crown jewel of American democracy is our public school system and we are watching it be destroyed and and so as you hollow the country out from the inside you use the harsher forms of control which I spent 20 years reporting on on the outer reaches of empire militarized police suspension of civil liberties wholesale surveillance revoking basic rights like due process militarized drones it's all coming to a town near you and and that's how empires go down so yes the military adventurism is important but it's just eise and – we've got to stop personalizing this issue around Trump we've got to stop thinking that the Democratic parties are gonna cough up some magic candidate and and and the Christian Right my study of the Christian Right was extremely important in terms of feeding my understanding of where we are why so I write a book on the Christian Right it's called American fascists the Christian right in the war in America I was trying to reach out to them and and I got a lot bill moyers did not want me to use the word fascist and I actually when I finished the two years of reporting I sat down with Michael with Robert Paxton who wrote anatomy of fascism and Fritz Stern who wrote the politics of cultural despair and left Germany as an 18 year old two of our greatest scholars on fascism and I was with him for several hours and I just threw everything I had found and I wanted them to be able to argue me out of using that word and at least to my mind they could not they might have not going to say III tell me what's wrong with this sort of idiot definition of fascism fascism the fasces the binding of sheaves it stands for the unification of war-making power police power opinion making power the electoral machinery what else churches media the whole thing in one to my mind God knows what's ahead but in the this way I go back to the Iraq war that was all of those institutions bound together unanimously you know the media the you know the the the bush people knew somehow how to get elected they had the machinery the Democrats supported it in the Congress everything was United there in an effective war without dissent without essentially without opposition it scared the devil out of me and it still does isn't that a kind of your Huey Long famously said of course while fascism in America and we'll call it democracy but weren't we pretty close in that unanimity the binding in in after 2000 with an unelected selected president in the United States that was pretty bad and still yeah but Chris it was different so as bad as it was the and we you know that we can't divorce the war from the reconfiguration of the society into a corporate oligarchy we have the largest social inequality in American history worse than the Gilded Age mm-hmm and so the war is part of a peace I mean why are we still at war in Afghanistan the Taliban controls more territory in Afghanistan than when we went in 17 years ago why because Northrop Grumman and Raytheon Halliburton they're making a fortune it's it's propelled forward by the primacy of profit at the expense of everything else why are we expanding NATO which doesn't make any sense why are we expanding NATO to the Ukraine well because and and let's not forget that Reagan had promised Gorbachev that NATO would not be expanded beyond the German borders after the unification of Germany why because it's a billion-dollar industry I was just in Poland I got off the airport there's a giant billboard from Raytheon because if you have to reconfigure the old Soviet bloc military machine to make it compatible with NATO so this over and over and over it is about the primacy of profit over what's rational over in and we haven't even spoken about climate change these people are driving us closer and closer and and we're pretty close to the extinction of the human species because of the mania for profit and this is poliana I mean the great transformation which was his book on unregulated capitalism let me just on the Christian Right so I'm inside the Christian right and however bad Bush was and they were all bad and I would not say that they had totalitarian characteristics they may have had a Thor terian characteristics what we're seeing now is much worse and in the Christian right I interviewed dozens and dozens of people who came out of lives of real desperation who were followers in these mega churches and I would spend a lot of time in the churches and I was at a pro-life weekend and and their despair was real and the first chapter is called despair mm-hmm the the divorces the sexual abuse the domestic abuse the struggle with addictions the evictions the underemployment the jail time their lives in the real world and you went to their small towns in Ohio and it does look like everything's boarded up and the only nice building is the mega church and they couldn't cope with the real world and so they did what anthropologists call it crisis cults they fled into a world of magic magic Jesus and in that world like the world were in now reality and verifiable fact just does not intrude on your world vision because verifiable fact and reality I mean like you know on the let's say the issue of creationism I you can't argue them out of it because they're terrified of being pushed back into the world that almost destroyed them and so the nucleus of the totalitarian system that is headed our way especially as we barrel towards another financial collapse is magical thinking with a permanent lie I mean so Bush lies about weapons of mass destruction Clinton lies about NAFTA but Bush does not claim that Iraq still has weapons of mass destruction Clinton does not claim that NAFTA created millions of wonderful but class jobs but with Trump like the Christian Right verifiable fact and reality no longer matter you have the photographic evidence in front of you and Hannah arrant writes about this and she said that in any totalitarian system where the permanent why is replaces just any discuss and based on verifiable fact it creates a collective schizophrenia I'm sure we all feel it you know it doesn't matter you're gonna feel it but I want to interrupt you I I noticed on Facebook this morning well it actually a very good friend of mine a young man mid-30s african-american from Trinidad originally he served five to seven year sentence for a complete non crime he's a perfect model of young black men who go to prison in a system of mass incarceration very gentle very intelligent very very likable lovable human being but he wrote in his facebook page this morning I mean he knows more about injustice in America than you and I will ever experience he said just his note on Facebook's point there should be a line between negative miserable people and positive people and the negative shall stew in their mess until they realize that most of their pain is self-inflicted he's talking about us among others but sort of what's wrong with you people and what's right about him and I'm still trying to dope it out what is the type of human being including you and in your the just a more vehement version of me that is so compelled and rightly I think to dwell in this gathering darkness because it's real I mean we could it climate reports alone should terrify the hell out of us mmm I mean and worse and and and and you know I didn't I covered war for twenty years I didn't use none of us who survived use the word optimist or pessimist you made a very cold calculation of what the weapons systems were down there and then you responded and I actually look at that Facebook message as a kind of Creed occur from somebody who's thrown into the criminal cast and is trusting in the power of positive thinking which is fed to us across the cultural and political spectrum it's Oprah it's positive psychologists it's you know our modern version of Candide Pinker it's Hollywood it's the Christian Right and it's reality is not an impediment to what you desire but what that does is essentially erase reality and I I was with Cornel West this morning who I loved and then we were four hours together in any drag me off to his character guard class so I mean we were both talking about this and coming out of a religious tradition to go back to where you were which I do and coming out of particularly Calvin and Luther is to have a tragic view of human nature and human society and in fact that's the best protection it's not the it's not happy thoughts it's not positive thinking that in fact sets you up for despair I mean for 20 years and and you know without being melodramatic a lot of the people I work with were killed my closest friend was killed I worked with for 10 years Kirk sharp killed where he was he was killed in a nerd war what he was killed in Sierra Leone but we covered the war in Iraq we covered the war in sorry Evelyn Kosovo he was killed with another friend of mine and but I mean I lost many of the people I work with and so what was the primary aspect of our job it was true in El Salvador was true in in Bosnia the the Serbs would go into a village they would kill a bunch of people and then they would close the roads to try and keep the journalist out and we would have to put our satellite phones in our backpacks and walk in often many miles to report on this slaughter and we knew that we were going to wake up tomorrow and they were doing it somewhere else and we'd have to and you know it they were often had snipers shooting at us was very dangerous and that maybe it was Pyrrhic but that ability to document those crimes and recognize the destruction of those lives was enough we didn't think that we were going to stop it but it becomes in and that's why as you correctly pointed out it becomes in the act of resistance that you find freedom and not even freedom more than freedom hmm you find euphoria so I teach as you know in a prison I've taught in ten years in a prison and I taught a course called conquest I've done it too it's an amazing education well I had there my best students I mean I have t.i teach through the BA program at Rutgers and I've taught at Princeton in Columbia and they are the best students I've ever taught yeah their cells are libraries I mean I met one of my students after 11 years he got out 11 years in prison I'm with his mother at the gate and the first words he says to me when he walks out of prison because you can't have any of your possessions is I have to rebuild my library that's what students I have so I everybody should go home and read Malcolm's chapter in the autobiography on his time it yeah I've taught in those classrooms he said he confronted the fact that he couldn't read a tabloid headline when he went in he memorized the dictionary and he said it was like snow sliding off a roof his past life he just shed it he became a new man in praise God so Norfolk so I'm just gonna use them because if you want to talk about despair look at the whore of mass incarceration which is at once a form of social control for people who live in D industrialised pockets their bodies don't produce money for corporations on the streets of inner cities they produce fifty or sixty thousand dollars if you put them in a cage and all those corporations Global tel link are mark J pay they're all in there preying off of it so I taught a course on conquest we read open veins of Latin America bury my heart at Wounded Knee and CLR James's great work on the Haitian slave revolt black Jacobins the only successful slave revolt in human history in Haiti's still paying for it and I had given my syllabus to the class and I was in Montana and I said I'm not there this week I got a phone call my hotel room Montana they said this is the Special Investigations Division of the Department of Corrections of the state of New Jersey do you know your students just let us sit down strike in the prison hmm well I hung up the phone and I just broke down mmm because they knew better than I what would happen and it did happen every cell was strip-searched every student was interrogated and you have so little in prison oh your job is gone your education time your rec time gone because and they had to find the two leaders which they did they shipped them to another prison and they put them in indefinite solitary confinement mm-hmm now and but what was so moving is that it wasn't a surprise but they did it anyway and that is what I'm talking about I in that class my best student my only a-plus was picked up in the streets of Camden when he was 14 years old he was father his stepfather had beat his mother to death in front of him he was literally couldn't read or write he's on the streets he's dragged into a police station the cops don't investigate murders anymore they just grab somebody he was grabbed he's crying he can't just sign just signed a sign he signs he's tried as an adult he's 14 he's tried as an adult he's not eligible to go before a parole board until he's 70 years old he's 39 the bell goes off it's the last day of class and you got to get in the hall quick or you get a charge he waits till everyone's out of the classroom and he walks up to me and he said I know I'm gonna die in this prison hmm but I study as hard as I do because some day I'm gonna be a teacher like you hmm that is hope not and that that that is hope born out of a tragic out of the tragic and I can live off of that for a very long time does it change the world does it defy radical evil I mean you know vasily grossman this great work life and fate they do I finished it and which you should all read and it's about you know he has that passage that you know it's not a battle between good and evil it's a battle between a great evil trying to crush human kindness but if human kindness has not been crushed even now then evil will never win and if you come at the world like that instead of the way the consumer society wants you to come at the world then you are protected emotionally to continue acts of resistance and evil and realizing that as Daniel Berrigan once Tom asked at Daniel Berrigan how do you define faith he said it's the belief that the good draws to it the good hmm even if empirically everyone around everything around you says otherwise that's what faith is the Buddhists call it karma but you know what it's true the good does draw to it the good I think it's fascinating that we and you especially keep coming back to to religious insight I'm thinking of st. Paul that over the Romans we rejoice also in tribulation of course out of tribulation comes experience out of experience patience out of patience hope Jesse Jackson and his best days used to quote that but there's a lot of truth Chris I've never heard you better the fantastic mesmerizing but let's put it to your wonderful audience and give them a voice two questions very very short answers if you must but let's keep it quick and thank you for being here is Chris Hedges hot or what [Applause] thank you place for the talk quick question as the empire retreats what does it mean for the rest of the world speak into the mic please so my question is regarding the global kind of presence of the American Empire so as Empire retreats what does it mean for the world plus I think what can the especially developing nations can do about it right so he's asking about the decrease the contract what happens is the moment the dollar is no longer the reserve currency because that has an artificial value in essence because of that the moment that it is dropped then the empire has to contract because we can't pay for it nobody wants to buy Treasury bonds the value of the dollar drops imports become extremely expensive and what I worry and you know I would add the fact that we our financial system is once again being grossly mismanaged by Citibank and Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo and everyone else what they've done since the 2008 crash is been handed by the Fed out of electronic ether according to University of Missouri their estimate twenty six trillion dollars trillion and what have they done with it they haven't as China did rebuild the infrastructure and create jobs invest in the real economy they have taken that money and used it to buy back their own stock because of their competence that's why the whole idea of the open you know the overheated stock market is a sign of economic health is nuts they've hoarded it or they've gambled with it so The Times had a story I guess a couple weeks ago in the Week in Review about the next dot-com bubble being the fracking industry because like the dot-com industry the fracking industry is based on projected profits not actual fracking in fact as a huge money loser the 280 billion have been invested in fracking so so what the money the money was given to them at virtually 0% interest but it has to be repaid so what have they done they've gone to the beleaguered population and imposed harsher and harsher forms of debt peonage it's why even if you have medical insurance you're getting all these new costs and co-pays and it's why we have 1.5 trillion in student debt it's why we have 13 trillion in personal household debt and it's why cities and I open the book in scranton are facing and solvency and so I open the book there where they're selling off municipal assets their pension funds have dropped 40 percent because of the crash of 2008 and so they're selling off their sewer system their parking authority of their utilities in a desperate effort to stay solvent but then they don't have anything left to sell so my fear is that the system the malaise the anomie is so widespread the pathologies of self destruction including suicide are an epidemic but what happened a period of relative stability but with a financial crash which is coming it's gonna come I don't know when but it's coming and with the dropping of the dollar as the world's reserve currency that financial crisis and all of totalitarian movements rise to full fruition out of a crisis will because we are because our movements have been destroyed our press has been corroded our democratic institutions don't work then I worry that we will the monsters will really come out here what will it mean globally it's a multipolar world I think we have to go back to climate change Christian Parenti wrote a good book on this a few years ago called tropic of chaos he wrote it out of Africa where or you know in the in the global South were already seen serious effects of climate change including the war in Syria it's precipitated by a massive drought and and then you have fighting over resources that's inevitably what happened so it's you know I I I'm no fan of Empire I know how evil empire is i I saw it up close on the other hand the breakdown of these hierarchical structures are not thoroughly good but I wonder if you can speak sort of deeper like what happens and I work with with youth and sort of where discussion is coming from what happens as we find different ways to engage young people who are growing up you know on tablets on you know with Bitcoin and all these new things happening like how do we engage them and they are potential and keep it from just following the same patterns of the people who were empowered like controlling how technology impacts society the problem in marginalized communities is a structural problem and and what they as they carried out the kind of corporate coup d'etat which really began in earnest under Thatcher and Reagan they trip they change the whole paradigm stirred Hall writes about this where it you didn't look to government anymore governments that famous Reagan line you know government is not the solution as part of the problem and as stirred Hall writes quite astutely it suddenly they told the beleaguered white working-class that there was an assault on their national identity and and so they actually in the Clinton's rose to power on this people forget but Jesse Jackson's rainbow coalition was dismantled by the Clintons who were using coded racist language and you know 22 out law-and-order the Republicans Biden was a big factor in this so it was actually the Democrats that accelerated mass incarceration from about 700,000 under Clinton to by the time he was out two million now half of the people in our prison system were never charged with physically harming another person the other thing Clinton did they destroyed the courts 94 percent of the people in prison never had a jury trial and the students I teach were the longest sentences are the ones who went to trial and they make and they did not cover that unfortunately they trusted the system but the system makes an example of them because as Michelle Alexander points out if everyone went to trial the system would crash it's built on plea deals so one of the things that always breaks my heart in the prison is and as one of the reasons I teach in the prison is that the structural racism which is so pronounced as to make it as you know from Detroit almost impossible to make a living in the legal economy has effectively sold a lot of these people this idea that it's your fault you made mistakes I mean my students you know August Wilson had a great line he said all the great black warriors in this country are in jail because when the society denied them the ability to get what they needed for their family they just found another way to get it and I would agree I am I I think that I I I mean I I I'm all for working with youth and I think that's all great and we have this scared straight program in the prison which I hate but I think that that there's a reason educational systems and marginal communities don't work I taught Sheldon Wolens politics and vision in the bridge well yeah which is a pretty serious book but I remember after that class I just have to a little anecdote about my students so you know I don't know if you know the book it's a classic it's brilliant brilliant but he looks at a Western culture through the lens of various philosophical systems marx nietzsche block Rawls everybody so I did my chapter on Marx and there was this long silence and one of the students goes ah we waited all semester for Marx and it's over I said okay when I finish the book I'll come back in another two hours I'm Marx but I remember several of my students saying because I've taught these guys many times you know we can't talk anymore to our we're lonely we can't and I think that that there's there's a conscious effort on the part of the corporate state to deny they always talk about stem you know it's all vocational to deny what I would call an education to the oppressed to hide the fact that these structures of power are designed to destroy their lives you know from Detroit you lock up the men and you evict the women and children and that's what happens and why because if if you have are evicted on the averages every six months in a poor community you can't build you finally the third or fourth time you're evicted you don't talk to your neighbors because you know you're gonna be evicted it's why they make it so unpleasant when you visit a prison and I think it's because and the children are terrorized I mean there's no other word for it and people stand out in the rain for hours without bathroom facilities because they don't want they're terrified of any unity I mean them as Pollan writes the most astute political class in America are African Americans they are the moat they are the one class that tends to actually understand what their interests are which is why they're all being a race from the voter rolls including by the Democratic Party so my feeling is and this comes out of Rosa Luxemburg I like very much Lent Lenin's only intellectual equal and which Lenin would admit and she was right where Lenin was wrong but when she writes she said you have to do it Luxembourg would say yes you have to do what you do we have to address hunger we have to address despair we have to but at the same time we have to educate so if you look at the radical movements at the beginning of the 19th century these were sweatshops yiddish-speaking workers on the you know East Side working horrible 12-hour days and then going up and having their anarchist Yiddish just discussion group and I mean just keep going it's why especially after the Attica uprising have you read blood in the water you should read it it's brilliant Heather Ann Thomson's history of the Attica uprising because it's not just about the uprising it's you know it's a fascinating window into the elite they were terrified of the Black Power movement Nixon rockefeller you know actually on my phone you've heard them on the phone yeah yeah and they actually thought that the attic uprising was going to trigger a Maoist rebellion but that's why we still have Panthers Black Panther locked up I visit Mumia abu-jamal who's one of the great revolutionaries and intellectuals of our time I when I see him on a six hour slot and a visit and all we do is talk about books for six hours because he reads everything and I think we have to rebuild that radicalism so that on the one hand yes you are right they have to we can't ignore the immediate suffering because it's severe on the other hand we have to begin to build a consciousness – and I don't use the word lightly overthrow the corporate state I mean that's what I'm calling for where the Democratic Party is not going to save us how do we overthrow it we get into the street I covered the revolutions in Eastern Europe I watch day after day as 500000 East Germans went to Alexander Platz on East Berlin and brought down the Stasi state which until our own state was the most sophisticated security and surveillance state in the world and so I would say yes what you're doing is fantastic and important but at the same time consciousness consciousness consciousness and you know there's nobody better to start with and not them [Applause] hi when I was in grammar school we went through drills for what we would do if there was a nuclear holocaust and some of us in the room probably remember we used to joke about it and say you sit down and you put your head between your knees and you kiss your ass good-bye and there is a certain aspect of all of this that makes me remember that and in addition to what you just shared with us since I would like not to be right about all of this but to have a society and a set of new relationships with each other and the ecosphere that is really positive and sustainable what would you suggest is already happening now or that we could start that you personally find promising in addition to overthrowing corporations well I write about it at the end the last chapter is called freedom and I was at Standing Rock I actually gave a talk in Boston a couple years ago and all of the activists because there's a pipeline running through Boston and they said you know we've gone to our elected officials we've done petitions I said no what you have to do is go out and buy junk cars and when the construction equipment comes in to build a pipeline you've got to drive all the drunk cars to block everything and take the batteries out and walk away that's the kind of stuff we got to do it's the it's the activists who got on the railroad tracks in the northwest to stop the bitumen tar sands fuel that's what we got to do and and they will be vicious as they were in Standing Rock I mean standing Rock was an important event for me and I write about it because it had the spiritual element that Chris is bringing out that I think is key and it's what Reinhold Niebuhr called sublime madness sublime madness of the soul and we have to stop asking ourselves if we will succeed we have to enter into the realm of faith that what we're doing is right and that yes I mean we all think we're gonna this society is wonderful about you know eternal youth but we have very short lifespans on a planet that's 4.5 billion years old and it is that orden line the ironic point of light that flashes out wherever the just exchange their messages may I compose like them of arrows and of dust beleaguered by the same negation and despair despair show an affirming flame there read Solzhenitsyn The Gulag Archipelago and don't get the abridged the last volume is on resistance resistance in the gulags and they don't do they succeed I mean they're crushed and yet it is that power of an invisible witness I mean as Chris knows my greatest the greatest force that drives me is my father who was a Presbyterian minister who was a sergeant in North African World War two and joined the anti-war movement and the civil rights movement and the gay rights movement for which the Presbyterian Church pushed him out and he'd been a parish minister for 40 years he's a great preacher and the church said that's it you're not allowed to speak publicly the same thing the New York Times did to me about gay right his brother was gay he was very close to my uncle and so what am i dad do I was he was had a church in Syracuse I was a Colgate as an undergrad and his answer to them was to hold an Easter service for the G BLT community of the city of Syracuse and he came down and got me and he said this is probably the last time you'll ever hear me preach and he got up and he said marriage is a sacrament it's not a reward for being a heterosexual and any church that doesn't honor the sacrament of marriage does not deserve to call itself Christian mmm-hmm and when the New York Times called me in and said that I was no longer allowed to speak publicly about the Iraq war because I was quote/unquote impugning the impartiality of the New York Times and I'm not gonna pretend that was easy to lose my job and my pension and but I knew as I sat there that I had a choice and that choice was this I could pay fealty to my career and muzzle myself but to do so would be to betray my father and I walked out of 229 West 43rd Street and I realized for the first time what my father had given me and that was freedom mmm I didn't need the New York Times to tell me who I was I knew I would never be rewarded for virtue I knew the very institution that I invested my life in as he had would ultimately turn me away and I often say it's my voice you hear but it's my father's words and in the Christian faith we call that resurrection thank you and one question that I have is who is the we who are those who are going to take these steps who are the allies who are the leaders really so who are the leaders among us and how does that build we we don't need leaders we need movements even the best of lis power is a poison power is always dangerous no matter who wields it and it's always those movements that must keep leaders in check and they have destroyed our movements quite especially starting in 1971 with a Powell memo there's a moment in Kissinger's memoirs don't buy the book where it's 1971 there are tens of thousands of anti-war demonstrators Kissinger or Nixon has put empty city buses in a ring around the White House and he's looking out the window going Henry they're going to break through the barricades and get us and that's where we want leaders to be it is our job to make power frightened of us not to trust ever trust in power and that's why they destroyed our unions that's why they destroyed the press that's why they're turning these universities into corporations vocational corporations yes the higher end their systems managers who go to goldman sachs what's the largest major at Harvard computer science center and we've got to recognize that we have to rebuild movements to pit power against power that doesn't mean that you should not an advocate for not voting I'm just saying as Goldman did the voting was that effective it would be illegal with that with that without those movements I mean even Roosevelt and read his private correspondence and his letters to his brother he understood that those movements in as capitalism broke down could sweep away the whole thing he uses the word revolution and he says to the oligarchs his fellow oligarchs we've got to give up something or we'll get in quote-unquote revolution and so that's how you get 12 million jobs and Social Security and Roosevelt says that his greatest achievement is that he saved capitalism but it was those movements that pushed Roosevelt the old CIO the Progressive Party the Communist Party which we've kind of written out of our history but was a powerful and important political force so yeah its movements movements movements thank you maybe one more question yeah I'd like to know do you think history is irreversible this time in history is different because what is the the Industrial Age so human civilization let's put that in quotes has existed for 10,000 years since the end of the last ice age which is a tiny portion of time on the planet Earth and it's existed because of peculiar changes to the biosphere including the Gulf Stream which you know it didn't exist before now as that that they call that is called the Holocene we have now moved in the Anthropocene where we are destroying the biosphere that made this ten thousand year process possible and that was accelerated by the rise of technology and industry so we can't go back to where we are and that's why you have so many theories about why we have never found intelligent quote-unquote intelligent life in the universe because in order to achieve the level that we've achieved it requires such an amount of energy that you end up destroying the biosphere that makes the peculiar conditions this tiny window that made the our rise possible and the reason climate scientists are so terrified of going beyond 2 degrees Celsius is because of feedback loops and they know what feedback loops are because they've studied them on Venus which used to have water and is now 800 degrees that you essentially your whole system begins to to destroy itself because of a series of you know at acidification in the ocean rising temperatures once the polar ice caps are gone so we can't go back to where we are we have to respond creatively and rationally to a new system to create a new system and this gets into the question of human progress which i think is a myth and there's some good writers on it we were talking about John Gray the British philosopher is good on this Ronald Wright has written a good book on it and it is a myth the idea that we will progress inevitably and it's it's a disempowering myth because we all believe it so the belief that technology will save us is as specious as as climate change deniers and unfortunately because of the corrosion of our systems of mass communication including I think you would agree on PBS and NPR the most important existential issues that face us are not even articulated and that's extremely dangerous so what I fear is kind of what I saw in Bosnia that as hierarchical systems break down I mean how many more times can coastal cities be flooded and destroyed this isn't the last time that massive storms unlike storms we've ever seen I'm going to hit North Carolina or Puerto Rico or anywhere else I mean how can you just constantly rebuild is that and you know the on the on the on the commercial airwaves they don't even mention the word climate change so what I fear is that the in you know we talked earlier about the power of positive thinking I don't share this culture is mania for hope I think it's very dangerous and I think the hardest thing before us is to face what's before us honestly and because it isn't pleasant it's scary I got kids I'm terrified I mean my youngest son's favorite book is called out of the blue it's about Narwhal and I'm thinking probably if things do not change within your lifetime every single one of those sea creatures will be extinct that's the world we're facing and we're not responding and we're not responding because the people who have total control are blinded by a mania for profit by idols by the cult of the self and it's not just Trump [Applause] [Applause] Thank You Chris Hedges sometimes I see all of the forces and when we are divesting our economic systems where rather divesting from our safety nets advice divesting from our education and healthcare and to see people somehow make it work anyway is really inspiring to me and the fact that it really is a movement

40 thoughts on “Chris Hedges on his latest book, America: The Farewell Tour

  1. Only human? No, only mistreated!!!!!. Taught badly!!!!! To fell, but are Americans, taught by usa. Who's the blaim? Human? Good is gonna fix it through human by god. It's taking place now. People don't care!!!!! God do. He's showing it now through weather.

  2. human ain't perfect. Why aspect it. Don't live for god. Live for 💰. The black race have been deeply re-formed in a bad way that keeps othere easly collecting the money. Like they say, only human. Killed Jesus? Another aminal so don't aspect them to change. Money want do it. It's more like, what gose around comes around. And god fixed it like that. Fear good not trump. God makes it rain not Man. So don't aspect it. God is ropping his world. Its God's world. Education is laking in this world o purpose by people. Only human rights. Don't aspect much from human. Its not possible. God is exposing the truth of the matter.

  3. Brilliant words made hollow by what's on the table between them: two plastic cups, a Starbucks cup, and a plastic water bottle.Think of what these items mean–pollution of our waters, fracking, corporate hegemony. Are these men blind or unconscious?

  4. You live inward for building yourself up with God's grace….Nothing of this world will be nice, kind, and building you up. You will get an occasional person making a kind remark or gesture, but often this is for their self gratification and it usually doesn't come from a genuine place. Your eternal life will be the reward in heaven. God tells us so…Just have faith in what God believes in you and don't compare it to this world to titles, economics, or where you work.

  5. I agree to the Bush family are the main source to all this evil since driven from the CIA. It is clear that we need to get rid of the CIA and FBI since t his is how the agendas are being ran.

  6. Chris Hedges is great but he lacks the balls to name the Jew. The Chinese communist ideologues and peasants didn't wake up one day and decide they would become world class manufacturers and steal the industrial might of the USA. Global financial oligarchs decided that and then they brought the George W. Bushes and the Bill Clintons in line with their grand design. Same with loosening financial controls like Glass Steagal under the Financial Services Modernization Act. Bill Clinton didn't conjure that up, but Sandy Weil and Robert Rubin surely did. So what wasn't shipped to Asia was stolen outright.

  7. I love this guy. I disagree with everything he says – my view is the polar opposite – but I like to hear other peoples opinions. I read, listen to as much alternate opinions I can get to have an open mind. He fights his corner well. Educated and well spoken. Cultural 'self annihilation' does exist. It is called abortion. Its cultural suicide…society killing itself before it is even born.

  8. All wrong on man made climate change. I just cant understand why he falls for the bull. Venus has a very high atmospheric pressure that makes it so hot. No where is there a planet that has high pressure and low temperatures.

  9. Getting better where in fairy tales & fables private prisons war for profit human slavers human sacrifice Devil worship gay pride parades transgendering children all of the Devil

  10. “Chris Hedges: ‘Brilliant man, extremely INTELLIGENT, but actually I would rather K.I.S.S (Keep it simple) and just say ‘FUK’U AmeriKKKa!!!” 🔥🇺🇸🔥🐀🔥🐍🔥💀🔥🤮🔥

  11. Chris is great. So funny how he dismisses that Pinker guy. Just another phony old hippie hairy mess " intellectual. " Hedges seaks reality not happiness.

  12. Upon reading through some of these comments and their replies, I came across one which stated "It's both liberal and corporate." by Straight White Male. This is ABSOLUTELY true. Both sides have an agenda and both sides share the blame for a lot of what's wrong in western society. it's the current ' I'm okay, you're so-so ' attitude that tries to deflect the fact that we all screw things up with our biases in behavior. We gotta all do better.

  13. The America, the Canada, the Europe we don't see … these are where all of the wrongs we wish to do away with occur. We have to expose this stuff and be honest about our part in it. We all own it, and we all have to reject the oppression and bigotry and usury that we allow in the name of "Wealth".

  14. Chris, I've enjoyed several of your books and I have a great deal of respect for you. And while I'm sure that some of the prison inmates you taught (and met) are salvageable personalities most are not. Most of them, the Blacks, are delusional in that they are capable of convincing themselves of almost anything, a condition which is manifest in what one of them said to you, i.e., "I know I am going to die in this prison but I assure you I will use what I've learned here to better myself on the outside." He was simply telling you what he believes to be true. Every bit of it.

  15. Chris has tapped into a deep sense of what is here and what is to come. However, his past haunts him and he is a victim of much of the loneliness and tortured souls he speaks of. I respect you Mr. Hedges, be well my friend, be well.

  16. Thorstein Veblen, like Debois, was an economist, who like Debois, had things to say that the corporations did not want to hear, nor did they want anyone else to hear, was largely ignored, sidelined, hidden, black-listed. He also was a great intellectual who proved to the corporate masters that intellectuals cannot be trusted and thus needed to be discredited.

  17. People can not be governed without the rule of law. Even the crooks want the protection of the law. They only flee from it when it threatens their freedom.

  18. People of races except asians and J's are being evicted. The Democrats are replacing blacks with Hispanics as their voter base.

  19. I hate saying it but tape statistics for Africans in non African nations are equal, it's not just a cultural thing.

  20. We will never go back to normal America or classic America while multiculturalism exist as does feminism in it's current form. Soon there will be several alien indifferent cultures that'll be rooted in this land. There will be no peace or love in such a state. Honor killings,pedophilia, and enforced eugenics are the future in a nonwhite culturally divided America so thanks liberalism.

  21. Chompsky, yourself keep talking and telling us how bad and who these social villains are. Then go stick um in court and jail ? You must know someone from those posh schools you went to who studied law and is on side surely ? Noam , he's an MIT boy ,he must know someone whom can take these swines to task, please. Its time.

  22. Please Read, ‘Footnotes on Gaza’!!
    I recall being unexpectedly stuck in Trenton, New Jersey. I wanted to rent a car.
    People in ( the handiest bar that I could find! ) simply: #Laughed!!
    I was #shocked at the disintegrated ‘Capital of New Jersey’…the year….?! Mid-1990’s!💔

  23. well America got a cancer! it hidden in its money system! the system setup to drain all the wreath from people! & enslave the people in debt & work until you die broke! & go to store buy what you think is food ( diet food has stuff in it that make you eat more of it crave it ) the stuff added to water make you all dumb down and easy going like a drug! the problem i had was i was so sick i could tell no one my family or friends! i had something wrong with my blood! i took stuff to fight this stuff to make me a mocho man body builder well in that stuff i had a reaction that hidden stuff it did not show sign of the problem! I gained weight, i turned into a fat guy, my system stored stuff as fat! the reverse this needed a key to the injury it goes back to the blood right down to my proper mother and father i had something in my blood laying doormat till a blood clot formed this was tied to injury and where i was to my true uncle this was give to me over my true family would come for me! in that book was info that was key to my recovery from blood clots the first test case was his blood! my blood was different but new med work! america problem is a system we run under its flawed and people don't see it!

  24. The interviewer, to put it euphemistically, is a bad listener. Another commenter pointed out correctly that when the interviewer goes “mmm hmm”, it feels like he wants to come across as effective listening yet doesn’t truly understand nor comprehend what Mr. Hedges is saying. And the interviewer wants very badly to interrupt to hear himself talk & derails the topic at hand. The more he blurts out, the more of an elitist idiot he reveals himself to be

  25. Chris will never be on " corporate media," too bad,it would pop alot of bubbles, And not one youtube commercial!

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