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The Great Unraveling


#1

The Great Unraveling

Chris Hedges

The ideological and physical hold of American imperial power, buttressed by the utopian ideology of neoliberalism and global capitalism, is unraveling. Most, including many of those at the heart of the American empire, recognize that every promise made by the proponents of neoliberalism is a lie. Global wealth, rather than being spread equitably, as neoliberal proponents promised, has been funneled upward into the hands of a rapacious, oligarchic elite, creating vast economic inequality.


#2

How long before we can just call the neo liberals just liberals? They can't be new forever? Isn't that one of the accomplishments of the Obama presidency? The liberals have embraced their dark side and they like it.


#3

"A tiny elite, living in a modern version of Versailles or the Forbidden City, will have access to amenities denied to everyone else. Hatred will become the primary ideology."

Exactly as I have thought but it will be worse. We will go back to the feudal system, but it will be worse. There will be an elite science city... where they will be genetically modifying humans... they will have energy resources of what ever kind, but that will not be able to be mass produced. There will be no democracy. I for one would not want to live in an elite place like that...


#4

The term, "neo-liberal" confuses many, especially when presented without clear definition. Better to just call them what they are: Capitalists, Imperialists, Fascists.


#6

Capitalism is the problem.
Socialism is the solution.
End of story.


#7

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#8

My questions were mostly rhetorical. I honestly don't think a historical review of 'Liberalism' will help at all in understanding our current environment. It would be like going to Weimar Germany and suggest that studying German politics during Bismarck would help predict outcomes. These terms are only useful when it is understood that they have to change in definition over the course of generations.


#9

The neoconservative and neoliberal doctrines are not related to traditional conservative or liberal ideology. These doctrines are about exploitation. Neoconservatives support a militaristic approach to foreign relations: A nation is either our friend and will do what we tell them to do, or we will bomb them into submission. Neoliberals support the global consolidation of the economy through the exploitation of nations, their people and natural resources.

The terms have almost become interchangeable because if a person is a neocon, he or she is undoubtedly a neoliberal as well. And while you will find many right-wing and centrist voters who have bought into the neo-order, you will find far fewer among left-leaning voters. That said, the leadership of both major Parties are part of this new world order.


#10

Chris begins superbly, accurately diagnosing and repeatedly describing the core cancerous tumor of the 'metaproblem' of, as he mentions repeatedly, "empire" and "imperialism" in our world --- which now has metastasized to a Disguised Global Crony-Capitalist Empire merely HQed in, and 'posing' as, our former country, having employed the facade of the neocon 'R' Vichy party of Trump and the neoliberal-con artists of the 'D' Vichy party of Clinton much more effectively than Hitler ever dreamed the crude and only single party Vichy sham of the "Occupying" Nazi Empire's phony government in captured France could ever work to fool all the people all the time with its seminal weapons of disguise and tyranny.

Empire is not a form of government but the antithesis of government. Empire is also the 'metaproblem' (and proximate cause) of all our superficial (but dangerous) 'issues', subordinate 'symptom problems' (like; wars, racism, political deceit, inequality, oppression, tyranny, et al.), and all our current "ailing social order".

Yes, Chris begins well in focusing on this Disguised Global Crony-Capitalist Empire, this "Empire of Illusion" (as he himself wrote), this "Empire of Chaos" (as Pepe Escobar writes)' this 'Empire of Money' (as Lessig diagnoses), this "Empire of Capital" (as Ellen Wood wrote), this 'Empire of Sociopathy', and this Empire of "Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Humanity" (as William Robinson writes:

"The U.S. state is a key point of condensation for pressures from dominant groups around the world to resolve problems of global capitalism and to secure the legitimacy of the system overall. In this regard, “U.S.” imperialism refers to the use by transnational elites of the U.S. state apparatus to continue to attempt to expand, defend, and stabilize the global capitalist system. We are witness less to a “U.S.” imperialism per se than to a global capitalist imperialism. We face an empire of global capital , headquartered, for evident historical reasons, in Washington."

However, this 'metaproblem' of Empire --- which is the actual cause of all the superficial 'issues', subordinate 'symptom problems', and our entire "ailing social order" can only be addressed, understood, confronted, revolted against, and non-violently overcome by an essential Second American peaceful Revolution against Empire by a sufficient percentage of Americans --- right here in the disguised metropole of the Empire if the people themselves understand and unite against the one term that rallied our founders against the near global British Empire, and that revolutionary term for the oppression that we all feel today is 'Empire' just as it was in the 'non-violent symbolism' of the original Tea Party against Empire, and the Declaration of Independence against Empire.

Americans will never be rallied to the non-violent popular resistance, and pro-active organization of a peaceful "Political Revolution" (Sanders), nor a fully non-violent Second American Revolution against Empire by any rallying cry except against "Empire" because this justification is in our very DNA.

So while Chris's description of the "neoliberal order" the "neoliberal system" and other's descriptions of the "Deep State", plutocracy, oligarchy, etc. may well resonate and be understood by principled progressives, the real cause and ignition of the peaceful Revolution that Chris is hoping for can only be explained to the majority of Americans as a confrontation against Empire:

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 2007 "Dark Ages America; The Final Phase of Empire"

Liberty, democracy, equality, and justice
Over
Violent (and Vichy disguised)
Empire


#12

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#14

I think that people understand the corrupting influence of money and will rally against the dictatorship of big money destroying representative democracy (much less the economy and the biosphere). The response Sanders is getting is a good example of that as was Occupy. People understand that we are getting screwed. The counter to the corporate promotion of "libertarian" idiocy and fascism is class awareness and militant solidarity.


#15

I suppose you hate stewed tomatoes too?


#16

A system of corporate communism is being buttressed further by the neoliberal agenda. Collectively, the corporations own the means of production. Collectively, they are the essence of world government. "Free trade" agreements have been and are developing to ossify this order.


#17

As usual, Mr. Hedges makes many incisive points. However, to use the premise of Utopia when speaking of authoritarian ideologies is to not speak about their rabid misogyny. I feel the need to constantly point this out since so many sources make this key component of the massacres of our time invisible; and it IS this misogyny that treats women as chattel that also manages to eradicate the voice of the FEMALE and its spiritual counterpart, the Divine Feminine which--when left missing from the life equation (and that includes political and religious systems)--allows the masculine to show its muscle, force, and domination of ALL living beings...without a TRUE life-affirming counterbalance.

And THAT is the core problem from which all of the others spring.

Here is the quote:

"Islamic State, much like the Christian right in the U.S., seeks a return to an unachievable purity and utopianism, a heaven on earth. It promises to establish a version of the seventh-century caliphate. Twentieth-century Zionists seeking to form Israel used the same playbook when they called for the re-creation of the mythical Jewish nation of the Bible."

I would also add that while Mr. Hedges has great respect and likely reverence for patriarchal religion (Christianity, in his case) as shown by his former pursuit of a degree in Theology, organized religion is a lot like money. Both of these are capable of GREAT evil when put into compromised hands.

So this idea that religion is somehow a distant adjunct to the spread of hatred is not true. The early church used the threat of outsiders, and the TAUGHT hatred of others outside of its "flock" to spread war. Also SELDOM mentioned and NEVER apologized for--was the long habit of that same church to burn women (via the propaganda campaign of that era: the ruse of witchcraft) in order to shut women up and teach them to be obedient to the patriarchal institutions that turned their lives into prisons.

Hatred (in service to pushing authoritarian creeds) is a very old and enduring part of today's War Machine. And the church planted those seeds! Surely Mr. Hedges knows that the Air Force today uses Christian chaplains to condition drone pilots and others TO USE weapons. That is the opposite of Christ's teachings, and it is just as problematic as any rabid Islamic group using religion to literally toast a town or behead a journalist.

When religions are skewed to worshipping only the masculine side of The Force, and as a result, societies are built upon unequal ranking systems that begin with gender and grow more complex through the use of other hierarchical markers and indicators, any hope for a fair, just, humane, and DEMOCRATIC society (or social order) are gone. Dead on arrival.

Balance must be reinstated.

Many economists are speaking honestly about the mountains of debt that can NEVER be repaid; and thus they argue that a monetary RESET is pending. The ecological state of the world suggests a very different kind of RESET. And as things collapse--as they will, since this is the END of the paradigm of militarism and the dominator society--what follows must be resurrected upon a new base. And this time, the intended partnership between male and female, the twin sides of the force, must jointly co-create a society that makes life worth living for all.


#18

Keep in mind that Americans in 1776 didn't really rebel against Empire except when some wealthy American businessmen felt that they would be economicaly better off without England. Only about a third of Americans wanted independence whil about one third wanted to remain in the Empire and the other third just didn't care one way or the other. The economic interests of a ealthy few were the primary motivation for the revolt.
Americans can rid themselves of the 'Empire' moniker simply by starving our government of the money it needs to pay for our oversized military. Of course the problem with this is that our 1% depends on the military to siphon funds away from the 99% via tzxes to "keep our country safe". But to find a leader here who can stand up to the 1% seems to be next to impossible.


#19

This logic insists that women were responsible for their own chattel status, Native Americans were responsible for their own eradication and restriction to reservations, and Blacks were responsible for slavery.

The all-inclusive WE clause is based on a few things:

  1. Original Sin: we are all guilty sinners
  2. The false premise that what exists is a Democratic state that allots equal empowerment, access, resources, voice, and agency to each citizen
  3. The false premise that what is done by elites that are no longer answerable to The People becomes The People's fault
  4. The false premise that those who live BY the sword and use all manner of killing, imprisoning, character assassinating, financial deprivation, false witness, and STATE powers to assert their plans, policies, and agenda... if not stopped by persons of peace and conscience, are therefore held EQUALLY liable

This is no different than stating that:

  1. The Arab young man mowed down by a drone should NOT have been where he was, and since he was, he was killed for justifiable reasons
  2. The young Black kid--along with the entire Black community--is responsible for what armed and dangerous rabid cops do unto them
  3. The schools in inner cities that don't perform "up to standard," no matter their lack of financial, social, and psychological resources--prove that TEACHERS are to blame

In short, these blame-frames that lump all persons into one UNIFORM frame are a product of old Biblical thought. They make no allowance for what armed power does and has been able to do for centuries!

Is the blame-frame germane to the present?

When blame is universally spread, its blanket of condemnation places the innocent and the guilty, those who favor the sicko policies and those who don't, those who took action to oppose the savageries of our martially-dominant times and those who ideologically supported them... into ONE camp.

This insistence on this singularity is dangerous to the reimagining of another world, another way. It is stuck in the past. Like I said--Biblical.

On a tautological level one could argue that every person living is doing ecological harm. People must eat and defecate, after all. But here again, the real story--which is to say honoring the FABRIC of truth--is that the footprint of a Donald Trump is how many thousand times more ecologically costly than that of a Trobriand Islander?

Distinctions matter.

Here is the quote:

"We in the United States are not morally superior to Islamic State. We are responsible for over a million dead in Iraq and 4 million Iraqis who have been displaced or forced to become refugees. We kill in greater numbers. We kill more indiscriminately. Our drones, warplanes, heavy artillery, naval bombardments, machine guns, missiles and so-called special forces—state-run death squads—have decapitated far more people, including children, than Islamic State has."


#20

The term "Neoliberal" is used by Hedges to denote the difference between "Liberals" who by definition have the public's best interests in mind as compared to the newer ersion which does not. This is similiar to "Neoconservatism" which is Conservatism minus empathy with a focus on only serving the interests of the corporate State.
I prefer to use the term "corporate fundamentalists" to describe both 'Neo' ideologies as it is far more accurate to compare the blind allegiance of people to the corporate State as we do with people's blind allegiance to a particular religion. In each case it is the 'blind allegiance' that serves the corporation or religion so well, as its followers are encouraged to believe whatever they're told and to never question the sanctity of the ideology.
Milton Freidman is one of the ayatollahs of corporate fundamentalism waging a "holy war" against all those who oppose him or the corporate caliphate. Though the corporate terrorists are better armed and better paid than their poor counterparts, the destruction and havoc they bestow upon their enemies is far greater than anything any religious fundamentalist had ever accomplished.
Yet the corporate fundamentalist, like their religious brethren, never consider themselves to be "fanatics", but rather the only sane people around. Their commitment to turn the world into a corporate caliphate is just as intense as the ISIS commitment to ban the corporate model all together. As the two destructive forces clash, the rest of us will pay the price for their lunacy.


#21

"Those who oppose us offer a vision of a new world. We offer nothing in return."

Who is this WE, Mr. Hedges?

Does Monsanto, due to the shear girth of its politically purchased influence--flush on cash from its Agent Orange war crimes in Vietnam and now a darling to the MIC--get to speak for Organic Farmers?

Does Big Coal, Big Fracking, and Big Oil get to speak for those inventors who KNOW other ways to create energy?

YOU make the voices of the iconoclasts, visionaries, rebels, inventors, and heretics--to the status quo that Mars built--invisible and that is an unconscious means of supporting the status quo. After all, what greater claim to uniformity is there than to render alternatives to it (and those who posit them, have dedicated their lives to these advances) invisible?

And why is that YOU adopt the frame of the military-industrial-media complex in doing its propagandized work for it by insisting that WE, citizens, are just a seamless outgrowth of the ranks of soldiers: those authorized by elites to DO the killing.

I may live in a neighborhood where a MAFIA boss hires hit men to kill persons who refuse to pay him a cut of their business, but that doesn't make me responsible for those deaths.

Fortunately, the lords of karma don't condemn ALL for the acts taken by those in power, acts that are based on lying to citizens, falsifying election results, stealing citizens' strength, hope, and resources so that millions are sick, must take anti-depressants to cope with their lives, or are obese and thus lack the energy to engage the world.

What is done by the pharaohs, kings, tyrants, unitary executives, banking cartels and OTHER sociopaths is NOT what is done by most innocent people.

I understand that this collective guilt trip is supposed to rouse solidarity AGAINST the system, but I think it forecloses on any possibility other than said system through its insistence that there is no alternative.

In short, the argument that stays stuck on fighting what's wrong is the argument FOR fighting.

If need be, for what, the 50th time, I'll quote Yogananda and the wisdom of the I ching in just how self-defeating this ideological stance is. It's one thing to properly diagnose what's wrong, but equally OFF the mark to then insist that all are part of THAT WRONG.


#22

Big Thank-you's go to Chris H and Sioux R...we are at the end, we are at the beginning; a combined event...it's global...hang onto your hat, the wind is gonna pick-up a bit...


#23

" ... attractive to tens of millions of youths, most of them Muslims cast aside by the neoliberal order. Islamic State offers a vision of a broken society made whole."
This sounds like the way gangs in this country recruit new members ...