What Hedges is talking about is what I tend to call the Empire’s ‘big tools’, like; myth, mystery, tribalism, ethnicity, fundamentalist religion, nationalism, racism, law, technology, military strategy, economics, modern politics, media, ideology, et al. ---- all of which Empire will inexorably apply to serve Empire (through ‘Empire-thinkers’) and to suppress any attempts to reform or overthrow Empire by the natural majority of empathetic and loving ‘democracy-thinkers’.
In 2007, to discuss how the aligned Empires in Vichy America and Vichy Israel worked to confuse and misrepresent the majority of their people, I wrote:
"Fighter pilots have a saying that, ‘speed is life’.
But, for all the rest of us, “inclusiveness is life” — and tribalism is death by the oldest lie of empire.
Racism is another deadly old lie of empire, as is aggressively fundamentalist religion.
Nationalism is a somewhat newer lie of empire, proving particularly deadly in the 20th century.
While, economic ideology is the newest, and current, lie of empire (which is causing our economic and environmental collapse).
But all the lies and deceptions of “empire-thinking” lead ineluctably to the very same grave — so choose your empire poison, stupidly. Or choose your inclusiveness, wisely."
Hedges is certainly correct that diseased ‘states’ (as he calls Empires) will always employ the means of money and other enticements to the ethically void or amoral to use their “knowledge” to game the system in favor of Empire. And thus Empire is a force that has ebbed, but is now advancing to global proportions in our 21st century post-nation-state world.
But I would be a bit more optimistic (if not really ‘hopeful’) that several factors outside of merely knowledge may well give justification for some alternatives to the consuming black-hole of this current Disguised Global (crony) Capitalist Empire at the event horizon we are fast approaching.
First, there is some significant possibility that the most Americanized myth of forward progress. which is oft called the ‘American system’ (and which might more accurately be termed the system for an Empire to disguise itself, and still accumulate all wealth to the metropole of the Empire) may well be discovered to be a fraud in a third Great (but not existential) Economic Crash — 1929, 2008, and 2016? — such that the proximity of the 2nd and 3rd are close enough to reinforce the same memories (which the 1st and second did not).
This first ‘hopeful’ possibility to realize and recognize the danger/damage of the cancer of this Disguised Global Capitalist Empire may well be reinforced by some of the more ethical, empathetic, wise, and also ‘knowledgeable’ economic experts like; Krugman, Stiglitz, Wolff, et al. to use the ‘crash event’ as a teaching moment to educate the people about the vast difference between economic ‘models’ which totally ignore ‘negative externality cost dumping’ and the now essential need in the ‘real world’ to be mindful of ‘negative externality costs’.
However, the process of educating a sufficient portion of the population to actually start a non-violent Second American Revolution against Empire would likely be a difficult accomplishment within the timeframe that we are likely to need.
Secondly, on a potentially positive note, the small but growing principled progressive left community, the more politically conscience Black community (at the tip of the Empire’s spear), and the principled anti-war (and anti-empire) libertarian community could conceivably aggregate all of their various (and useless); ‘identity issues’ and subordinate ‘symptom problems’ and coalesce and cooperate in a broader coalition of popular resistance in peaceful and non-violently simply exposing, and ‘outing’ the Disguised Global Capitalist Empire as being an Empire — which since the mid 20th century has been an unpopular and thus unmentionable thing to actually be.
If this later ‘hopeful’ condition could be made to arise organically (as the “Occupy”-something movement did) but could have its populist progressive energy actually directed and focused on diagnosing, exposing, and ‘shouting out’ the Empire — this would likely be an escape path from Empire which would be less damaging that waiting for the economic crash scenario to occur.
As Zygmunt Bauman hauntingly puts it, “In the case of an ailing social order, the absence of an adequate diagnosis…is a crucial, perhaps decisive, part of the disease.”13
Berman, Morris (2011-02-07). Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire (p. 22). Norton. Kindle Edition.
What the hell, it could be possible, if as George C. Scott said in “Dr. Strangelove”, “depending on the breaks”.