3 May 2012
In this interview and Q&A session broadcast on C-Span2’s Book TV‘s In Depth Chris Hedges provides a devastating analysis of what’s gone wrong with America and, by extension, the world. It is long, but it is rewarding viewing.
Hedges, a former Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times foreign correspondent and author of books including Death of the Liberal Class, Empire of Illusion and The World As It Is, argues that the US is on a road to nowhere and explains why centrist politicians such as Barack Obama are powerless to change anything.
Hedges’ core messages include that unless America has succumbed to a “corporate coup d’etat”, in which both the Republicans and the Democrats are “hand-maidens to corporate interests”, and unless the country overcomes its addiction to “rampant consumption” it is finished. He suggests that the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has been reincarnated in the last couple of days, offers “a glimmer of hope”, partly because it is a non-violent movement.
He argues that Americans need to focus their energies on overthrowing the oligarchy of their “corporate overlords” – giant corporations such as ExxonMobil and banks like Goldman Sachs. He believes that, as a result of the way in which US political parties are funded, as a result of political lobbying, as a result of the revolving door between government and business, organizations such as these have been able to subvert the democratic process and stage what he calls a “corporate coup”. Hedges stresses that he is not anti-capitalist. He’s just against ‘supra-national corporate capitalism’.
In an earlier article published on TruthDig, (The Implosion of Capitalism) Hedges wrote:
“The demented project of endless capitalist expansion, profligate consumption, senseless exploitation and industrial growth is now imploding. Corporate hustlers are as blind to the ramifications of their self-destructive fury as were Custer, the gold speculators and the railroad magnates. They seized Indian land, killed off its inhabitants, slaughtered the buffalo herds and cut down the forests. Their heirs wage war throughout the Middle East, pollute the seas and water systems, foul the air and soil and gamble with commodities as half the globe sinks into abject poverty and misery.
I don’t agree with everything that Hedges writes or says but I agree with significant chunks of it.
Talking about the media, Hedges says that, with the rise of outlets like Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation’s Fox News:
“we are seeing the rise of a non-reality based media – that’s Fox News, cable news channels – that are not rooted in verifiable fact and this frightens me very much.
“Whatever the limitations of the New York Times, and they have them, … they are rooted in verifiable fact. Their discussions are based around verifiable fact. With the rise of so-called media outlets that discard fact, where opinion becomes inter-changeable with fact, then you enter a kind of totalitarian state, because people are allowed to believe whatever they want to believe, or whatever they are made to believe.
“I see the kinds of attacks that are made by the right-wing against the New York Times not so much as ideological – I don’t think the New York Times at this point can be classified as a liberal newspaper – but I think it’s much more pernicious. What they’re attacking is reality-based media and essentially trying to destroy it before they drop that sort of ‘iron curtain’ or propaganda around all of us.”
Among much, much else, Hedges laments the fact that Israel has become “captive to a really rapacious right wing” since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in November 1995 and that invading Iran would be a disaster.
I strongly recommend you watch this interview. Chris Hedges is an Orwell de nos jours.
See my earlier blog on Chris Hedges from October 2011, Chris Hedges on the Alyona Show