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American Irrationalism


#1

American Irrationalism

Chris Hedges

There is no shortage of signs of impending environmental catastrophe, including the melting of the polar ice caps and the rise of atmospheric carbon to above 400 parts per million. The earth’s sixth mass extinction is underway. It is not taking place because of planetary forces. Homo sapiens is orchestrating it.


#2

Chris Hedges peels away, layer by layer, the illusions we live by. As of late, he has been sounding more and more desperate to reach our consciences.

For myself, I have determined that I must take the time and energy to examine my true beliefs. I must literally "name" the things I believe. I must determine and list my values, both moral and political, and stand by those beliefs. I vote my conscience. To hell with polls and fear based projections of what could happen if so and so wins.

Would you decide to keep, as a friend, someone who continually caused you to lose your job? To make less money every year? To kill your neighbors and their friends in other countries? To decrease the efficacy of your children's education? To prevent you from seeking medical help when needed? To take money from your table and give it to rich friends who would benefit only other rich friends? Well, I wouldn't!

Would you trust a friend who told you you have only two choices--to put in power one person who will kill your mother and father, or one person who will kill your children? I don't think so.

Is it time for big changes to be made in our system? Yes! Let's figure out how--together.


#4

" We have allowed our elites to push more than half the U.S. population into poverty"

Hedges is a little off in his statistics. He uses a US poverty rate of over 50%. The poverty rate is generally regarded to be about 14%. Therefore, about 86% of Americans do not live in poverty as defined by the US government. Maybe Hedges is using a different definition but he does not provide one. In Chis Hedge's world things are really bad in the US but in the real US things are not that bad. The right wing creates its own facts but this is not something that the left wing should copy.


#5

Chris Hedges is using the "low income" values of the federal government as his measure of poverty. Frankly, they are far more realistic than the silly numbers peddled by the officialdom. Nobody believes a family of 4 can live on 22K a year.


#6

Bravo to Hedges for his brutally honest analysis. There are very few journalists on the contemporary scene who display this degree of courage in "telling it like it is."


#7

And, OF COURSE, President Hillary is going to make everything even better, eh, Lrx? I'll bet you just can't wait.


#9

Did you ever wonder about when the US economy started on its downhill course (at least for the middle and lower classes) was when all of the state governments started up with their lotteries?


#11

Very well put Paularae!


#12

Give it a rest! I have never seen such a political suck up in my life as you are. To begin with the "official" U.S. poverty rate is ridiculous. People cannot survive at even twice the official poverty rate. Just like the CPI, all of these numbers are rigged to make our elected officials look like they are doing some good for the people when in reality they aren't. If you wish to see the true numbers versus the bullshit numbers just go to ShadowStats. And yes, in the "REAL" United States things ARE that bad. You just need to put your silver spoon down long enough to venture out into the real U.S. and see how happy everyone is. Hint: They ain't!! The right wing does create it's own facts, just like Hillary Clinton does. Oh, but then she is a right winger, a 0.01%er, and a political elite isn't she? I feel certain she really sweated her ass off working on those $275,000/hr. speeches she gave to such admirable and hard working folks like Jamie DIamon and Lloyd Blankfein. Look, if either Hillary or the Donald did the work of say a highway department worker for an hour they would collapse from exhaustion. As for the left wing, we should do everything in our power to eliminate not only parasites like Trump but the Clintons as well. They contribute only to their own ego and wealth and could give a rat's ass about anyone else.


#13

US poverty level for one equates to a little under $12K/year, and for a family of four a little over $24K/year. That's real poverty. Thank goodness your family of four has an income of $36K/year, WAY above poverty level. Why, you and a hundred million other people like you must be living on Easy Street now.


#14

One VERY good comment- Bravo paula!!!


#15

What i do like about Hedges is the fact that he points out that the responsibility and onus rests upon ourselves, to grow politically educated, to become politically organised and to act for ourselves. That the emancipation of the working classes must be the act of the working classes themselves. Not by any condescending savior as the Internationale advises us.


#16

Amen, Brother Hedges. The big problem is that he assumes some sort of obviously undeniable reality will emerge undistorted when some of these nastier illusions are stripped away. But beneath one illusion lies simply another illusion, ad infinitum. No doubt some illusions are less socially dysfunctional than others. The practical problem becomes one of changing out bad illusions for better ones. Hedges craves being an absolutist, and the world's inherent imperfection upsets him. But something as simple as opting for a less commercial exercise in magical thinking might qualify as an upgrade. As John Oliver says, once you've found the bottom then everything becomes up.


#17

The greatest period of literacy in the U.S. was the first half of the 19th century. There were reforms that came from it but the only reforms that last are those that either favor the wealthy or do the wealthy no harm. Every study has shown that few rise above the level they were born into. For most, hard work means illness and early death.
History itself is a river of blood. The thinking of clinical psychopaths is so different from normal thinking that any analysis that leaves out this factor fails from the outset. The tragedy is that psychopaths have always ruled thanks to their inability to feel guilt or empathy which allows them to quickly rise and assume positions of power. In other words, history has been largely run by the insane and humans have progressed despite it.
The U.S. is exceptional on always having been a violent psychopathic society that has now progressed to it’s final destructive end. There is overwhelming blood drenched historical evidence that the elite circles of the U.S. and the U.K. are an exclusive club of sociopaths, psychopaths and trusted sycophants ruling in the name of white supremacy elitism. Our collective situation as normal humans grows more perilous every day as our insane destructive elites not only possess weapons of mass destruction but, blinded by profit, are causing an environmental catastrophe.
“In recent centuries, a set of legal instruments were put in place that encourage and reinforce psychopathic tendencies through a system of incentive structures that reward selfish behaviors. This enabled the misguided philosophies of neoclassical economics and neorealist politics to gain undue influence over our thinking about social policy and institutional design.”
How Will the 99% Deal With 70 Million Psychopaths? http://goo.gl/YpDIbi
The newest weapon of mass destruction is neoliberalism. It’s economic purpose is to impoverish the world and create a feudal system of slaves under a world capitalist oligarchy, “the new world order”. Genocide will be practiced in many forms to reduce the population down to an ideal size of profitability. Instead of bread and circuses it’s breadboards and circuitry. The only problem is that the entire history of capitalism is constant warfare. The essence of capitalism is to compete and destroy one’s competitors. With Germany and Japan now openly rearming it’s beginning to resemble the 1930’s. World War III will come before any “new world order”.
Capitalism is the insane belief that the worst people will somehow do the best for everyone. Unfortunately they infect the whole society and when a whole society is antisocial, for the sake of elite individuals, the river of blood becomes a flood. Americans conditioned to authority and brainwashed from birth have lived in wage labour/bondage since the Ponzi scheme started in Virginia in 1607 at Jamestown, the system of White Supremacy(Racism) and capitalism. Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions and a godlike technology is a lethal mix that is destroying the ecology and, possibly, the human race in the sixth mass extinction event caused by insufficiently regulated technology.
The majority of people have never been that well informed. Most only want a little entertainment after as hard day’s work. It is not knowledge that drives most to revolt but pain. When most have lost enough they will revolt. It will then depend upon which leaders will prevail, a battle that often continues after a revolution. We have seen the stirrings of revolt in the Sanders candidacy and Trump’s. It all began with Occupation Wall Street. But the old will neither fight or lead a revolution, although the wisest may advise. New tactics and leadership are growing within the disenfranchised youth. Change is coming but it will be painful and probably, unfortunately, bloody.
A revolution that is not a socialist revolution will only be another redistribution with the new boss the same as the old boss. Socialism provides the only form of direct democratic governance, equality, and is the only cure for sick societies and an insane world.


#19

"They lack the incentive and probably the capacity to challenge the structures and assumptions that define corporate capitalism.
Today’s politics is just one more product of a diseased culture."
--chris hedges

the "culture" of 21st century america is more than diseased; it is a non-living, non-human construct. remember when mitt romney declared, "corporations are people, my friend!"? a capitalistic corporation is a paper contractual agreement written for the single inglorious goal of creating wealth for its owners. this non-living entity also serves to protect its upper echelon of deciders from any personal liability for any reckless endangerment of the community of the living. from honeywell's exploding hot water heaters to the exxon valdez oil spill, b.p.'s macondo blowout which killed some 14 oil rig workers onto volkswagen's emissions problem--people die, but the corporation "lives" to continue destroying the environment for more ever more money. so? if non-living, capitalistic corporations are legally seen as people, what part in this "culture" do living, breathing humans play?

simply, we are but resources to be exploited for our labor as long as we serve the "greater good"---profits!. as automation increases the need for human labor decreases creating evermore homeless, impoverished and massive refugees from corporately promoted wars for profit. to the corporation these represent a liability--they are useless throw-away resources. a recent study indicated that four out of five ceo persons would support the corporation's policies even if they knew the long-term effects harm the living world and future generations. their incentives, as with the politicians, are simple--money, entitlement, power and instant gratification. why, you might ask, can not one person of virtue arise from their ranks to find the capacity to kill the non-living hydra beast and to put an end to this inhumane destructive paradigm once and for all? easy! they, too, are but highly rewarded and easily replaceable resources who serve the corporate goal. should they in a moment of ethical concern stand against the imperial force, the corporate conglomeration would oust and replace them.

must say that i felt disappointment while reading comments in this thread. so many argue over "a living wage" seemingly unaware that money is a human paper construct which has no intrinsic value; only an ever changing agreed, (ah-greed?) upon value. you are playing in a game rigged against you and you're playing by their rules! ask the brave water and land protectors encamped at cannonball n.d. what are the important values. they know!


#20

Well said, Paularae! " It is time for big changes be made to our system."

Maybe a Robinhood party, where we steal political power from the politically rich, the 1% and give it to the politically poor, the 99%.


#21

Having witnessed four decades of Washington DC's reverse Robin Hood agenda where the 1% get everything they want and more, all at the expense of the 99%, a Robin Hood Party would be welcome.

Although DC politicians and media claim gridlock in DC, that gridlock only applies to legislation that benefits the 99%...legislation benefitting the 1% is pushed through post haste.


#22

We, the 99% have the potential political power, the 1% continue to have the current political power because they own the MSM, the Presidents and the congress; the military; the police; the national guard; and the banks. And that has given them the power to brainwash and divide and conquer the masses.


#23

A number of writers have figured out that this election is just a big reality show.