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The Illusion of Freedom


The Illusion of Freedom

Chris Hedges

The seizure of political and economic power by corporations is unassailable. Who funds and manages our elections? Who writes our legislation and laws? Who determines our defense policies and vast military expenditures? Who is in charge of the Department of the Interior? The Department of Homeland Security? Our intelligence agencies? The Department of Agriculture? The Food and Drug Administration? The Department of Labor? The Federal Reserve? The mass media? Our systems of entertainment? Our prisons and schools? Who determines our trade and environmental policies?


Disagree, Chris. Wars won't just "go on," as Bernie will begin scaling down the MIC and resorting to force as a last resort. I have been one of your biggest supporters, and that's why I must disagree out loud.

It seems that you have retreated into a despairing state, and perhaps now there is also your reputation at stake, as you have already taken your stand.

Yes, what you say is happening.

But for perhaps the last time, I am going to give my all to what I see as a chance at turning this dystopian future around, even if it means that I could be wrong. Bernie is NOT another Obama or Clinton and he looks darned good from where I stand.

Maybe Bernie is what we need to arouse more people to see the things you see.

Perhaps you could at least have lunch with him sometime and discuss your misgivings, rather than dismiss him outright.

Will continue to read your excellent pieces, just think that you are very wrong and am sorry that you continue to disparage him with this important election coming up.


stockholme syndrome. taught lies from birth.
pretty words. pure evil


This Illusion of Freedom goes along very well with our well established
Illusion of Security provided by the TSA and all the rest.

Maybe I will take a vacation down south and visit Disney World so I can experience the
Illusion of Happiness.

I think that our Illusion of Government has forgotten the promise of "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Coca-Cola" that is guaranteed by the Constitution.


Hey Chris , give this a listen www.youtube/watch?v=k7-zE-yFl_M . It's why we keep trying .


As bleak and accurate a vision of where we find ourselves as can be. Hedges lays it out and connects the dots - rule by a small minority of the truly evil and complicit fools dedicated to world corporate military/MICC domination and exploitation of people and the Earth itself to enrich themselves and the connected few until nothing is left. They will stop at absolutely nothing to secure their power and profits above all else with the ability to sooth, and divert attention of the people, often very dramatically, from their enormous crimes.

Hedges accurately describes the truth - "The powerful web of interlocking corporate entities is beyond our control. Our priorities are not corporate priorities. The corporate state, whose sole aim is exploitation and imperial expansion for increased profit - if our voices are to be heard, corporate systems of power have to be destroyed" - "Those rebels who rise up to try to wrest back power from despotic forces will endure not only the violence of the state, but the hatred and vigilante violence meted out by the self-deluded victims of exploitation. The systems of propaganda will relentlessly demonize those who resist."

Even our most moral leaders will be/have been destroyed if they attempt to alter/destroy the essential mechanisms of the forces that control our lives and maintain all as believing wage and interest slaves.

I would despair but for a vast human spirit.....and beauty.


Much as I like and have learned a lot from Chris Hedges, I do find that sometimes he seems to trip forward into his rhetoric so much that he must speed up to keep from falling. I wish he would learn how to brake the momentum or to school me more effectively.


I read Hedges because the man is paying close attention but his prognosis is always so very dark.

I disagree with his comment that feels core to how to live during these very challenging times and that is "we are "free" only as long as we play our assigned parts." I believe that we are free only as long as we listen to the very deepest and most courageous parts of our being and act accordingly. Of course, there's no safety there but there is the freedom that governments have never been able to offer nor can they offer. Perhaps there lies the key to triumphing over any system of oppression. The most recent model included.


Aside from all that, how are things going? Mr. Hedges calls it as he sees it, and I am frightened to have to agree with him. Now more than ever I see those around me buying the corporate lies they are fed, even when the falsehoods contradict the prevoius weeks lies they also bought into. I canceled my cable TV two years ago, and it's as if some calamity knocked my TV on it's side to reveal a completly different program being displayed when viewed sideways. Everyone else now seems entranced by their hundreds of channels showing dozens of different shows with the good guys prevailing in every plotline.
As for what passes for news, well...The U.S. is allied with Al Qaeda and ISIS,(the U.S. has always been allied with Al Qaeda and ISIS...) EastAsia is allied with EurAsia, EastAsia has always been allied with EurAsia...Ignorance is Strength


Dear Chris. For months now you've been telling us we're naive for believing the duplicitous Sanders who's on a fool's errand. But your way, Chris, where does it take us? Blood in the streets? Where is the hope in your message? You have become the Progressive Prodigal Son wandering the wastelands in a binge of defeatism . . . come back to us Barbara Lewis Hare Krishna Beauregard.

Sanders is on the verge of winning both Iowa and New Hampshire. Check the cross tabs; if voters under the age of 50 show up in the numbers of those above 50, he'll win by double digits in both states. If Bernie weren't the threat he is, would Hillary be dusting off Bill? You know . . . devastate the social safety net Bill? repeal Glass-Steagall Bill? increase the prison population by 60% Bill? Nafta Bill? Third-leg Bill? $1.5 million speech to UBS Bank Bill? Neoliberal par-excellence BIll?

And what are Sanders' faults? That he's a realist? That he's chosen his battles--healthcare, education, inequality--rather than the war machine? That he's a politician? Something in what he's done in his 24-year run in D.C. gives him an 83% approval rating from his constituents and 70% of the vote, including 25% of Conservatives voting against their party. This man is electable, and we'd be a damn sight closer to a more equitable society if he were.


"Failed to open page." at least on my browser.


Yes, I am deeply grateful for his calling out the truth of corporate governance, his deeply felt calls for prison reform, and more. I envy his writing skills, in a good way. :O)


Thank you for this Ennio Morricone composition. Reminded me of the most beautiful of movie endings:


We can see corporate interests taking over education in the name of "ed-reform" "college and career readiness" - Slogans. What they want is the money and power over our next generations. http://weaponsofmassdeception.org/


11 Ways The World Got Better In 2015 https://www.popularresistance.org/11-ways-the-world-got-better-in-2015/ via @PopResistance


Hello Chris,

You have a nice day too!


Chris, your analysis is spot on. 13 years ago I wrote a 3-part series of articles directed towards the peace movement and the delusion they were/are mired in. Of the people I knew closely it had an effect.

In addition to going to the root of oppressive institutions as you describe, there are additional options for aware and decolonized (or trying) people. Pick a place, preferably outside of a city, and get rooted in that place, build a relationship (or heal your relationship) with the natural world. Commit yourself.

Around the world so-called third world and fourth-world peoples have a fundamental relationship to their place and that is why they will defend their land, which is their identity, at all costs. In the U.S. and 'developed' nations, such a thing is an idea that lacks sentient depth (instead of thinking of your relationship to the natural world, you feel it because it is you).

It will take some time but in this part of the world we can create rooted communities, truly local economies (social, economic, spiritual) and work to both resist and transcend capitalism and all of its cultural colonizing ways.

Another option is to go to a place that will invite you in and you assimilate into their place/culture and resist the empire.

Thanks to Commondreams for posting Chris's writings. One of the few sane voices out there I see on the internet.

For the Bernie Sanders fans, you want someone and/or something to believe in, a leftist messiah to take us out of the darkness. You don't like hearing elders say you are deluded. Take a clear look at Bernie Sanders career vis a vis the military, for instance, and you will see him for what he is, not what you want him to be.


"Those who did not conform were disappeared linguistically and then literally."

Think Chelsea Manning; think Anwar al-Awlaki [and his son]; think Aaron Swartz (I think he committed suicide b/c our government harassed him to the point where he couldn't stand it any longer).


His essay is an insightful good weave of the reality. If the reality is bleak, then so is the description. As for his stance on Bernie. My take is that Hedges is focused on the big picture and on systemic issues, and within that framework, he sees Bernie (who is limited to system improvement), as not a radical solution or a systemic solution. Which is overly true. It does not seem to me that he has an issue with Bernie as an individual, it just that as a thinker he looks above small changes within an existing system, and brings us the entire anatomy of a system. Whether Bernie, is just the best current option, for a current election i.e. a little remedy for a small part of the system. So, I see no contradiction in his Bernie position.


I felt the way you do with the run up to the first election of Obama and I have not recovered from the betrayal I felt and continue to feel. For me the lesser of two evils is failure it is just someone's planned success.