Chris Hedges Surveillance Video

Peter B. Kaufman and Chris Hedges on the Fight to Free Knowledge

On this week’s “On Contact,” Chris Hedges discusses censorship and new digital media with Peter B. Kaufman, author and Program Manager at MIT Learning Center. The rise of new digital technologies that are rapidly supplanting print have conspired not to make knowledge and information more accessible. But harder and harder to obtain. The ability by a handful of global digital medias platforms such as Google, Apple, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to decide what information is widely distributed, and increasingly what information is censored, presages an Orwellian world of approved speech and thought. These digital monopolies are opaque and unaccountable to the public. They know everything about us. We know nothing about them. They lack any moral compass or sense of social responsibility. They are driven solely by the twin desires for profit and unrivaled power over information systems. They are bonded with national security agencies, making us the most watched, monitored, spied upon and upon and photographed population in human history, eviscerating privacy. Are these digital behemoths ushering in a new dark age, one that will replicate the tyrannies of the past? And what can we do to protect the freedom of information and thought?

Peter B. Kaufman is author of the new book, “The New Enlightenment and the Fight to Free Knowledge.”


  1. Ours will not replicate the tyrannies of the past. Ours will make those seem like rank amateurs.

    1. Chris Hedges is a fear monger. He’s always preaching doom and gloom in America with an inevitable fall into Fascism. I don’t like his double talk and the way he always tries to change the direction of the conversation when interviewers try to pin him down and explore his many controversial ideas.

    2. What’s really Orwellian is nominal criticism of censorship while promoting plandemic propaganda and other lies of the global totalitarian takedown of humanity, as Hedges does.

  2. Fortunately for us, before such a bleak Orwellian existence can evolve completely into utter dominance; catastrophic irreversible climate change along with the meltdown of some 440 nuclear reactor sites will save us from such a plight.

  3. One way we could fight this is by no longer going to google or utube and accepting the choices and substitutions they have made for me. For example, I am finding that sites that I was able to access freely like Analysis News, and The Real News is no longer possible. Is it the fault of the site or the fault of utube? I don’t know because utube is not a person you can write to or call and receive an answer. All I can do is not watch anything that they have chosen to put on a site that I have chosen to go to and that has been substituted with a bunch of other programs utube has chosen for me to watch. Obviously utube has chosen to censor those programs, so I will choose to censor what utube chooses for me to watch.

  4. I would hope that the book goes beyond dealing primarily with the potential and sometimes real problems of “social media” platforms, to a much longer history of government secrecy (including the classification system and sealing of records for extended periods of time) as well as overt surveillance and persecution under J. Edgar Hoover, and extended and elaborated into the present to the point where unaccounted decisions can be made to determine who is or is not guilty of something, and even be killed without a trial. Julian Assange, whose case is mentioned, was not, and is not being pursued by the social media, which, unfortunately, largely ignores him, but by the government, even after charges against him were dismissed. Much of this secrecy (skullduggery is not an inappropriate term) was enshrined into law prior to the rise of social media.

  5. It’s very clear that we are facing a gargantuan wall. We stop at this wall, a wall of delusion, because we are trained to accept what we are told, and deny our will and capability to transcend this wall of delusion, with our minds, our creativity, our vision. Hedges and Co. can articulate the problem until doomsday, but we will spend all out time stopped at this wall, listening to Hedges, and ranting. Get your motors running, people. Rev up your minds. Join the gang, on the open road, toward our natural destination, total positivity. Keep it straight, no diversions, no detours. You have to think it through for yourself. Nothing is true but that which you have clarified for yourself to be true. You will fail absolutely if you adopt the strategies of others to meet your needs. Everyone moves toward total positivity together by individually thinking it through, all of it. Everything. Universal enlightenment. Full participation in nature’s order-building. Cooperation over competition. Toward zero work/cost/harm. toward total positivity. Toward our full potential.

    1. I totally agree Robert, unfortunately I don’t believe it will happen. Most are unconscious, ruled by their ego minds, unable to see the light through all their darkness.

    2. “Fail” and the implied “success” are fancy terms to toss around Robert Drury, without providing at all any definition of those terms. To own 20% of all arable land in the US as Bill Gates does? To own 7 McMansions and 5 yachts? To make your home under an expressway overpass in the dead of winter?. Your positivity smacks of Mary Baker Eddy and positive thinking. Or Science of Mind for that matter. Just think positive, rosy thoughts and so it will be. Don’t mind Deepwater Horizon leaking billions of barrels of oil on the ocean floor. Bush’s war of aggression on Iraq in 2003. The Pacific Ocean on fire just off Baja. Just think positive, rosy thoughts. Maybe even the 75% of insects we’ve lost will come back too. Some of what you close with is hopeful and attractive. And would likely be even more so under the influence of a psychedelic substance. I especially like your idea of zero work/cost/harm. Because production, the endless quest for more economic growth on a finite planet is a serious problem. think your wrong in faulting Hedges. I can’t help but think when I hear like criticism of jealousy. Hedges is one of the most gifted writers/pundits/speakers/thinkers of this time. The first step in solving a problem is first identifying it. Hedges is peerless at that, nor limited to it.

  6. When google decided decided to remove their “do no evil” principle from their credo, I am a former J&J employee, I stopped using their search and email programs. It will be interesting to see how they react to Roger Pielke Jr.’s thoughts on the recent IPCC report.

    How to Understand the New IPCC Report: Part 1, Scenarios
    Contrary to what you’ve been reading, the massive new IPCC report offers grounds for optimism on climate science and policy

  7. I have admired Mr. Hedges’ work for decades, but he lost me, hopefully not forever, when he and his interviewee dishonestly declined to acknowledge the murderous magnitude of German Nazi censorship, which under Josef Goebbels and his Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda was infinitely more oppressive than any subsequent efforts within the USSR and its possessions.

    Like the United States today, the German Nazis and their global followers sought — and seek — to exterminate entire peoples. At their very worst, the Soviets sought only to exterminate hostile ideologies.

    Just as importantly is that Nazi censorship clearly provided the ideological, experiential and technological foundations of U.S. censorship.

    Which is finally being recognized — too late — as the ecogenocidally deadliest, most omnipotent (and therefore terminal) censorship-and-surveillance regime ever imposed on this planet.

    Beyond that — as I have argued since the 1970s (and here I am back in at least tacit agreement with Mr. Hedges and Mr. Kaufman) — anyone who doubts the clandestine purpose of today’s mass-market electronic-communications technology is the compulsion of moronically voluntary self-enslavement has already been incurably stupefied to submission by our Masters.

    Doubt me?

    Reflect on how this suicidal self-liberation is pimped via the most toxically compelling advertising campaign in our species entire 200,000-odd years of experience. As to the purely Evil intent that spawned its origin, we need only note its birthplace in IBM’s work for Hitler and his Third Reich, and how that then became — with the aid of the innumerable Nazi war criminals to whom the government and its corporate owners gave sanctuary — the tyrannical model for the entire postwar United States.

    Indeed — and this has always been my core argument — anyone who controls the off/on switch also controls everything else.

    As to what we can do in response, I’d suggest at long last opening our eyes to how viciously disempowered we are and how utterly hopeless our circumstances have thus become.

    Such a step is not necessarily the abject surrender it may seem. For some — as in France c. 1940 and Russia c. 1917 and 1941 — it may instead be that moment of articulating hitherto unspeakable horror that gives birth to liberation.

  8. Speaking of secrecy, you’ve gotta wonder if the withdrawal from Afghanistan is a prelude and preparation for war (the last war?) against China.
    Psychopaths ARE guided by their paranoia.

  9. One of the best “On Contact” conversations I can recall – brilliant. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

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