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Hedges writes: "The quest by a bankrupt elite in the final days of empire to accumulate greater and greater wealth, as Karl Marx observed, is modern society's version of primitive fetishism."

Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges. (photo: Truthdig)
Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges. (photo: Truthdig)

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+9 # Peacedragon 2012-04-30 14:09
I am reading Tom Hayden's Reunion about a time when some of us believed that this country could be something more.
+22 # fredboy 2012-04-30 15:43
Yes, we seem locked into a plan to become the Insane Nation.
+9 # barbaratodish 2012-04-30 16:28
Chris Hedges: Maybe we all ARE ABSOLUTE INDIGINOUS spirits 0f identity, but our indiginous BEING is alienated by mistaking (and prefering?) HAVING material excesses for BEING love and happiness.
+3 # Heaviest Cat 2012-04-30 16:43
I agree with Hedges' basic thesis but apparently,the "communal ethic" does not prevent the very cruelty and exploitation,ge nerated by capitalism as Sitting BUll and Crazy Horse show.Come on, most Christians wouldn't torture their enemies. Infact would even pray for them. for the record, I'm a former christian turned agnostic.
+6 # Observer 47 2012-05-02 08:39
Seriously? Christians NOT torture enemies? How do you explain that "devout" Christian, George W. Bush, and his embrace of torture? Or the conditions at Guantanamo? Can you say, "the Crusades"? How about the Spanish Inquisition? The persecution of various Christian sects by other so-called Christians throughout the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries in Europe? The treatment of Jews by Christians during the same timeframe? Abu Ghraib? Ad infinitum. I can only suppose that your comment was a sarcastic one.
+1 # Heaviest Cat 2012-05-02 10:43
OH man, you're right. NO seriously I forgot all about that history. I was thinking more on a personal level like say my Christian neighbor. BUt I still maintian that Sitting Bull's or Crazy horse's use of torture is not consistent with recognition of oneness of the Earth and all life.Quoting Observer 47:
Seriously? Christians NOT torture enemies? How do you explain that "devout" Christian, George W. Bush, and his embrace of torture? Or the conditions at Guantanamo? Can you say, "the Crusades"? How about the Spanish Inquisition? The persecution of various Christian sects by other so-called Christians throughout the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries in Europe? The treatment of Jews by Christians during the same timeframe? Abu Ghraib? Ad infinitum. I can only suppose that your comment was a sarcastic one.
0 # Heaviest Cat 2012-05-02 10:59
Quoting Observer 47:
Seriously? Christians NOT torture enemies? How do you explain that "devout" Christian, George W. Bush, and his embrace of torture? Or the conditions at Guantanamo? Can you say, "the Crusades"? How about the Spanish Inquisition? The persecution of various Christian sects by other so-called Christians throughout the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries in Europe? The treatment of Jews by Christians during the same timeframe? Abu Ghraib? Ad infinitum. I can only suppose that your comment was a sarcastic one.

yeah, good points . I forgot all about this history when I wrote that. I was thinking more on teh personal level. But I stil maintian that the torture employes by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse is not compatible with the universal truth of all life as one and reverence for the Earth.
+1 # Observer 47 2012-05-02 12:49
No argument on this last point.
0 # JJS 2012-05-02 17:34
"...torture employes(sic) by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse is not compatible with the universal truth of all life as one and reverence for the Earth" Heaviest Cat

Haven't you ever seen a feline (cat, tiger) play with (torture) its prey, victim? I would say in nature there are instances where torture is part of nature. MAybe we need to rise obove nature in some aspects. It doesn't always have to be "dog eat dog". What we must destroy to live (plant and animal) should be revered and thanked. Is that the "universal truth" you are referring to?
+2 # CL38 2012-05-03 11:25
Don't forget the burning of witches, that was murder and torture combined.
+18 # paulrevere 2012-04-30 16:55
Erudite Mr.Hedges...I honor your perspective and thus quote this piece:

"All that concerns itself with beauty and truth, with those forces that have the power to transform us, is being steadily extinguished by our corporate state. Art. Education. Literature. Music. Theater. Dance. Poetry. Philosophy. Religion. Journalism. None of these disciplines are worthy in the corporate state of support or compensation."

Those are the human psyche's link to the meaning of life...and we, in our hubris, have forsaken it all.
0 # Majikman 2012-04-30 20:17
Ever wonder what it's like to be a millionaire in a Walmart world?
+19 # seeuingoa 2012-04-30 17:02
Either you give up or you


Gandhi style:

Step 1: Sit down and get arrested

Step 2: When released after a few hours
repeat Step 1.

Overload the whole system.
Where will they put all these people?

Concentration Camps?

and show their true face.

(google Gandhi and see how he managed)
+15 # Bodiotoo 2012-04-30 17:04
I am sick of eating with thier heads!
+9 # cordleycoit 2012-04-30 17:52
People are thinking it is just that the spectacle insists on drowning out truth with buzz. Truth can only be found by listening. Listen correctly and you will learn to instantly know the truth. Wait and listen to the Spectacle, you will know confusion, then chaos. Well done, Chris.
+18 # genierae 2012-04-30 17:54
Chris Hedges you are a genius, thank you!
0 # GeorgePenman 2012-04-30 18:42
Looks like the end of this post is missing.
No doubt with dysfunctional government, toxic politics, overpopulation and strain on diminishing resources we are headed for
+17 # noitall 2012-04-30 19:15
"The wilderness became, in the religious language of the Puritans, satanic." This sickness persists to this day. Example: On the Colorado River S.2109, This bill will force the Navajo and Hopi nations to give up all water rights to the Peabody Coal Mining Company and the Salt River Project and other owners of the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) in exchange for no compensation. It also will prevent any litigation by the Navajo and Hopi nations should they incur any future financial losses or physical harm as a result of water loss and/or water contamination. Granted, historically this has been the "American way"; this is how they've treated other sovereign governments and is the text of greed over honor regarding treaties. This is what their trade agreements have done to the world's rainforests and the indigenous people who become maids, day laborers, whores, peons in the slums. This is Amer. history continuously repeating itself. Custer lives. If AMERICANS allow this same treatment to continue, abusing treaties, the law of the land, cited in our Constitution, that protect Tribes their future generations and therefore, YOU, there is no hope. We are the canaries but we don't want to be dead for you to see the light. Nature is not your enemy, it is your life everlasting, world without end...unless you let them end it. Christianity has been used and has become a tool of destruction of God's PROMISE. We were here for over 10,000 years, it will be consumed in 200 yrs. THINKING?
+1 # paulrevere 2012-04-30 20:35
The raw that Americans refuse to accept or even acknowledge...
+12 # lcarrier 2012-04-30 19:40
Only we can stop the downward spiral. The beast of capitalism must be put on a leash, and those so-called "masters of the universe" must be made to learn that it is the universe itself that is master, and they are but the miserable minions of Mammon.
+3 # charsjcca 2012-04-30 20:48
What I presume is that the so-called 'best and brightest' have been placed in an untenable position by cyberspace. The Harvard and Stanford crew still wants to hold meetings in board rooms and produce 'white papers' to be read in 'scholarly' settings. This world is gone, buried by an evolving social consciousness. They are unwanted baggage. Someone needs to contact Cambridge and Palo Alto and let them know where we are.
+1 # williamgaia 2012-05-01 01:07
This is the most pessimistic (but truthful) essay I ever remember reading. Yet, this essay is severely flawed. The essay is flawed because it fails to take into account that nature has ways of correcting the erroneous paths we humans are tempted to take. "Just as the phoenix's ashes began to turn cold, out of the ashes a new Vision was there to behold." The civilization that almost unanimously condoned slavery, colonial exploitation, the raping of the planet's resources, the deprivation of civil rights to women is truly dying on the pyre of the false doctrines it exalted. But out of these ashes we see the sparkle of a new bird, the bird of paradise is becoming visible to perhaps five or so million people on this planet. That new "bird" has a name, a face, a place, an origin, a plan, an agenda, a goal for mankind. May the author sacrifice his pessimism for a few minutes and become a seeker.

Let us pray.

William Maxwell
-7 # mjc 2012-05-01 10:12
Think what you are writing represents exactly what is happening in our larger society. We can say with such assurance that the world IS a better place today, will produce peace and justice, but we just need to allow those in power to do their work, work we don't really understand and are not equipped to handle. If nature gets in the way, if we have to wipe out all the wolves in order to protect large cattle ranches, so be it. Sad.
+5 # noitall 2012-05-01 13:17
Like sheep, they were lead to slaughter. "Do their work" is key. Those in power are given OUR power to do OUR work and it is OUR job in a democracy to control those we assign. The cattle ranchers we protect by killing the wolves are killing us all with antibiotics, hormones, shit pollution, erosion of the land and loss of the topsoil. Today still, if you want a healthy steak, you eat buffalo. They wiped those off the map, millions of them, for this pink slime. THAT is what you don't understand. SAD!
+4 # Observer 47 2012-05-02 08:48
I don't accept that we GIVE power to those in charge. George W. Bush TOOK power via the Supreme Court of his father's making. He TOOK power by rigging the 2004 election. And so on. There are entities way beyond our government who are really calling the shots, and we have no say in the matter. The only recourse is refuse to buy into the system, to start a grass-roots movement that becomes overwhelming in force and is not co-opted by the powers in the shadows.
+1 # CL38 2012-05-03 11:23
+4 # mjc 2012-05-02 09:07
Think my post was not understood. The asylum keepers are the ones who tell us that we are in a better place today but there should be no resistance to them or their work. The work is to make money, increase wealth, at any price. I hate those who kill wolves to protect their corporate ranching techniques.
+1 # Observer 47 2012-05-02 08:50
I wish I had your optimism, william, but I believe that we've become so powerful that we can overcome even Nature's ability to correct. At least, She won't be able to correct until after the human race has annihilated itself and most of the other creatures on the planet.
-4 # Max Demian 2012-05-01 03:44
Yes, Chris Hedges, some of what you say here is right-on; but you need to face that your support for "cooperation", if anything above local-level communal living and food production, etc., is supporting globalism and one-world government which is a false "unity" designed to be capitalism's final enslavement of us all; and you are feeding right into it. Global capitalists, who are neo-liberals mostly in favor of worldwide hegemony, are now eradicating human rights and civil liberties in the guise of "promoting" them; and at the top they are eugenicists who believe in the eradication of most of the human species from the face of the planet. In other words, they want to mass-murder seven billion people. And your support for the "imagination" of "global unity" is a trap that will see the final realization of the goals of the globalist plutocrats to subjugate and control everything and everyone. Please don't continue to fall for it. They are the destroyers of the earth in the guise of "saving" it.
+11 # RMDC 2012-05-01 04:08
Yes, indeed, America is a dying nation. It is being looted and sucked dry by its own ruling elites. That is what all ruling elites do to their nations when they attain complete control of all areas of government.

The Age of Democracy is over. American political officials are put into office by the military-indust rial-banking-co mplex. We still have the electoral pageants with all the TV coverage and drama of competition, but it is all empty. The candidates know who "elected" them.

America rejected the communism that Hedges referred to and followed the ideology of social darwinism or the struggle of each against all that was given to them by their masters. Ayn Rand is better known in the US than Marx or the Iroquois council of people. Americans will never work together as people and citizens. They only act together when propagandized as in the case of the Tea Party or the post 9-11 community.

America is dying. We will all be better off when it finally dies and the "union" breaks up into many smaller nations that can rebuild some semblance of the community Hedges writes about. The old 50 state union has no future. Let it pass into the pages of history.
0 # Activista 2012-05-01 11:26
"The candidates know who "elected" them" - and serves the MASTERS.
Best example is Hillary serving AIPAC.
+4 # Majikman 2012-05-02 00:19
RMDC I've thought the same thing for quite some time...particul arly about the future of the soon-to-be-form er 50 state "union".
+2 # 666 2012-05-01 05:55
Chris is absolutely right in drawing our attention to the absolute insanity of those in power. Reminds me quite a bit of Poe's "The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Feather" (there are plenty of free versions of this short story on the net).
+6 # Peace Anonymous 2012-05-01 09:36
The only thing that can change it is the will of the people. Watching American Idol isn't going to get it done. I am not sure if the saddest part is the criminals who did this or us for sitting back and watching it happen while doing nothing. It is easy to blame the morons but if we were all so smart we would have got off our asses a whole lot sooner.
+4 # 666 2012-05-02 05:26
True, however... There are plenty of us who have been railing and warning against this since the raygun years. But that only relegated us to the lunatic fringe as "voices crying out in the wilderness" and made us feel like cassandras... We have to hope that eventually more people will wake up. And without that hope, there's only the bleak landscape of despair.
+6 # wfalco 2012-05-01 18:41
A beautifully written piece by one of our most important political,spiri tual, and cultural philosophers.
Hedges writes about ultimate truths and beauty that are rendered as meaningless by the corporate state.
Whole groups of people are demonized. Who are today's "demons"? The urban and rural poor,elderly existing on Social Security, liberals, socialists, progressives, Moslims,environ mentalists,scie ntists, and even the relatively harmless Democrats.

A respected friend recently suggested in our biweekly liberal "think tank" discussion group that we were, in fact, near the end times. She mentioned it was all "hopeless" and that all "great" empires will inevitably fall. I initially treated her with rational skepticism, arguing there is always hope. Perhaps Mr. Hedges has helped me come to the realization that the "end times" may be necessary. It will be difficult -but the rebuilding process can not begin without the collapse.
+2 # Activista 2012-05-02 09:42
GB is already in second recession. US is artificially "stabilized" till election.
After election bombing of Iran starts, inflation hits - and economy tanks.
The national and personal debt is overwhelming. One should study Germany after the World War I. This will be the scenario.
I can not see USA pulling itself out of the recession - our money culture and consumerism - fraud by banks will deepen the crisis.
+1 # ardvaark 2012-05-03 12:20
The economic collapse is the obvious reaping of the whirlwind. What is not so obvious is the moral collapse and collapse of the family which began years ago. Changing a self-destructiv e course is called repentance and it happens an individual at a time. There have been many communal societies throughout history. They failed because of greed and immorality. Let's stop blaming and start living right.

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