Chris Hedges Gun Violence Original

Hedges: Society of Spectacle

The televised spectacle of the January 6th hearings will not restore democracy or halt the rise of the far right. The hearings are a desperate ploy by a doomed political class.
Original Illustration by Mr. Fish — “The Pupper Master”

By Chris Hedges / Special to ScheerPost

The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, whose first of six televised hearings began last Thursday, is spectacle replacing politics. There is nothing substantially new in the accusations. The committee lacks prosecutorial power. No charges have been filed by Attorney General Merrick Garland against former President Donald Trump and none are expected. The choreographed hearings, like the two impeachment trials of Trump, will have no effect on Trump voters, other than to make them feel persecuted, especially with more than 860 people already charged (including 306 guilty pleas) for their role in storming the Capitol. The committee echoes back to Trump opponents what they already believe. It is designed to present inaction as action and substitute role-playing for politics. It perpetuates, as Guy Debord writes, our “empire of modern passivity.”

The committee, which most Republicans boycotted, hired James Goldston, a documentary producer and former president of ABC News, to turn the hearings into engaging television with slick packaging and an array of pithy sound bites. The result is, and was meant to be, politics as reality television, a media diversion that will change nothing in the dismal American landscape. What should have been a serious bipartisan inquiry into an array of constitutional violations by the Trump administration has been turned into a prime-time campaign commercial for a Democratic Party running on fumes. The epistemology of television is complete. So is its artifice.

The two established wings of the oligarchy, the old Republican Party represented by politicians such as Liz Cheney, one of two Republicans on the committee, and the Bush family, are now united with the Democratic Party elite into one ruling political entity. The ruling parties were already in lock step for decades on the major issues, including: war, trade deals, austerity, the militarization of police, prisons, government surveillance and assaults on civil liberties. They worked in tandem to pervert and destroy democratic institutions on behalf of the rich and corporations. They desperately work together now to stave off the revolt by enraged and betrayed white working men and women who support Donald Trump and the far right. 

Committee members cloyingly seek to sanctify themselves and their hearings by holding up the Constitution, democracy, the Founding Fathers, due process, the consent of the governed and the electoral process.

Bennie Thompson, chairman of the committee, talked about “domestic enemies of the Constitution who stormed the Capitol and occupied the Capitol, who sought to thwart the will of the people, to stop the transfer of power.” Liz Cheney called the Capitol “a sacred space in our constitutional republic.”

There was no acknowledgement by committee members that the “will of the people” has been subverted by the three branches of government to serve the dictates of the billionaire class. No one brought up the armies of lobbyists who are daily permitted to storm the Capitol to fund the legalized bribery of our elections and write the pro-corporate legislation that it passes. No one spoke about the loss of constitutional rights, including the right to privacy, because of wholesale government surveillance. No one mentioned the disastrous trade deals that have deindustrialized the country and impoverished the working class. No one spoke of the military fiascos in the Middle East that cost taxpayers over $8 trillion, the for-profit health care system that gouges the public and prevents a rational response to the pandemic, already resulting in over a million deaths, or the privatization of institutions of government, including schools, prisons, water treatment, trash collection, parking meters, utilities and even intelligence gathering, to enrich the billionaire class at our expense.

The gaping hole between the reality of what we have become, and the fiction of who we are supposed to be, is why spectacle is all the ruling class has left.  Spectacle takes the place of politics. It is a tacit admission that all social programs, whether the Build Back Better Plan, a ban on assault weapons, raising the minimum wage, ameliorating the ravages of inflation or instituting environmental reforms to stave off the climate emergency, will never be implemented. Those who occupy the “sacred space” of “our constitutional republic” are capable only of pouring money into war, allocating $54 billion to Ukraine, and passing ever higher military budgets to enrich the arms industry.

The wider the gap becomes between the ideal and the real, the more the proto fascists, who look set to take back the Congress in the fall, will be empowered. If the rational, factual world does not work, why not try one of the many conspiracy theories? If this is what democracy means, why support democracy? 

The right-wing also communicates through spectacle. What were the four years of the Trump presidency but one vast spectacle? Spectacle versus spectacle. The aesthetic of spectacle, as in the dying days of the Roman Empire or Tsarist Russia, is all that is left. “Our politics, religion, news, athletics, education and commerce have been transformed into congenial adjuncts of show business,” Neil Postman writes in Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. The current ruling class, blinded by their hubris and pomposity, however, is not very good at it.

The far right, which believes vaccines cause autism, angels exist, a cabal of satanic, cannibalistic sexual abusers of children that run a global child sex trafficking ring are trying to destroy Trump, and the inerrancy of the Bible, is far more entertaining, even as it accelerates the solidification of corporate tyranny. If the republic is dead, do you want to watch Joe Biden mumble his way through another press conference or the burlesque of Rand Paul chain-sawing the tax code in half and Ted Cruz accusing Barack Obama of trying to provide “expanded Medicaid” to ISIS? Do you want to wake up to the newest rhetorical outrage by Trump, who when he campaigned for president accused Obama of founding ISIS, suggested Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, argued that noise from windmills cause cancer and recommended ingesting disinfectant to fight Covid, or pay homage to a set of values long ago discarded by the ruling class for lies, corruption and greed?

In short, since the system has betrayed and fleeced you, why not take it down with the vulgarity and crudity it deserves? Why not be entertained by political arsonists? Why engage in the polite civility and political decorum demanded by those who destroyed our communities, wrecked the nation, looted the US Treasury, oversaw a series of costly military debacles and took away our ability to make an adequate living, as well as our childrens’ future? 

In 1924, the government of Weimar Germany decided to get rid of Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, or Nazis, by trying Hitler for high treason in the People’s Court. Hitler was clearly guilty. He had tried to overthrow the elected government in the botched 1923 “Beer Hall Putsch,” which, like the January 6 riot, was as much farce as insurrection. It was an open and shut case. The trial, however, backfired, turning Hitler into a national martyr and boosting the political fortunes of the Nazis.

The reason should have been apparent. Germany, convulsed by widespread unemployment, food riots, street violence and hyperinflation, was a mess. The ruling elites, like our own, had no credibility. The appeal to the rule of law and democratic values was a joke.

There was a revealing moment in the hearings when Capitol police officer Caroline Edwards, who suffered a concussion during the storming of the Capitol, related an exchange she had with Joseph Biggs, a leader of The Proud Boys who was indictedalong with four other Proud Boy leaders, for seditious conspiracy in connection with the storming of the Capitol.

The tables started turning, once the — what is now that — the Arizona group — that’s what you said — the crowd with orange hats, they came up chanting “F-U-C-K antifa!” Edwards told the committee. “And they joined that group. And once they joined that group, Joseph Biggs’ rhetoric turned to the Capitol Police. He started asking us questions like, “You’ve — you didn’t miss a paycheck during the pandemic,” mentioning stuff about — our pay scale was mentioned, and, you know, started turning the tables on us.”

The brief exchange highlighted the yawning gap between the haves and the have nots, which, if not addressed, will turn Trump, his supporters, Biggs, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers into martyrs.

Congress is a cesspool. Corrupt politicians whore for the rich and get rich in return. This reality, which the hearings ignore, is apparent to most of the nation, which is why the hearings will not bolster the flagging fortunes of the ruling political class, desperate to prevent displacement.

The old ruling class is slated for extinction, not that what follows will be better. It won’t. But the game of pillage and corruption in the name of sacred democratic values no longer works. A new game is taking its place, one where narcissistic buffoons, who stoke the fires of hate and only know how to destroy, entertain us to death.


NOTE TO SCHEERPOST READERS FROM CHRIS HEDGES: There is now no way left for me to continue to write a weekly column for ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show without your help. The walls are closing in, with startling rapidity, on independent journalism, with the elites, including the Democratic Party elites, clamoring for more and more censorship. Bob Scheer, who runs ScheerPost on a shoestring budget, and I will not waver in our commitment to independent and honest journalism, and we will never put ScheerPost behind a paywall, charge a subscription for it, sell your data or accept advertising. Please, if you can, sign up at chrishedges.substack.com so I can continue to post my now weekly Monday column on ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show, The Chris Hedges Report.

Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning NewsThe Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He is the host of show The Chris Hedges Report.

87 comments

  1. This is a very cynical commentary and makes me lose some respect for Hedges. I am hoping Garland will bring charges against Trump to prove him wrong.

    1. cynical stupid commentary, if that doesn’t do anything other than the circus the idiot is claiming, at least Americans know what a low-life goon, a rapist, a racist, a crook, a thief, a traitor, opportunistic crap, a
      former president is/was plus all his gang members deserving the GALLUS

      1. I’m afraid you’ve missed the whole point. Mr. Hedges is not defending the outrageous behaviors of the Republican party or their leaders.

        It appears quite obvious if you read the article that he is telling the truth about what has become a ruling class Uniparty rife with corruption.
        Perhaps you’re still trying to defend the other half of the corporate fascist party, despite what the last three decades have shown us in stark reality about both halves of the duopoly, which serves the Military industrial complex, international banking cabal, private pharmaceutical and health care institutions, and tech monopolies.

    2. Hedges’ bread and butter consists of demoralizing diatribes like this. He’s repetitive to the point of irritation, while never offering positive solutions or suggested action.

      1. Vic Sage:

        To my mind, Hedges has astutely assessed the state of the American governing class, and its consequences for the near future. As others have noted, the parallels to Weimar Germany are eerily present. As Hedges noted:

        “Germany, convulsed by widespread unemployment, food riots, street violence and hyperinflation, was a mess. The ruling elites, like our own, had no credibility. The appeal to the rule of law and democratic values was a joke.”

        What will inflation caused by the attempted Russian sanctions result in politically, especially in regards to food, as grain speculation soars? How will climate change increase the stress on society, creating further social and political aberrations? Inflation is being blamed on demand from the people, but my understanding is the supply of oil, for example, remains stable despite attempts to sanction supply from Russia (oil has actually increased to US and Europe, see for example: https://www.republicworld.com/world-news/russia-ukraine-crisis/us-imported-more-russian-fossil-fuels-than-india-since-ukraine-war-broke-out-report-articleshow.html). Further, many corporations are using the excuse of the Ukraine war to boost prices, without changes in supply/demand, due to monopoly positions (see: https://michael-hudson.com/2022/05/inflation-a-junk-economics-perspective/),

      2. I wanted to add, as other have mentioned, Chris advocates for mass, non-violent movements to change the status quo. This is smart, because history shows (French and Russian Revolutions) using violence to overthrow corruption begets more violence after gaining power.

        Speaking for myself, I am trying to change how I live (albeit slowly), and am trying to reach out, and learn how others are active, as I feel isolated at times. I am looking to move away, as the community I live in is heavily invested in resource development, and my neighbors will likely live as affluent a consumer lifestyle as they can, until a changing world prevents them.

      3. @Cynical Rex
        There are various reasons why people on this website disparage Chris Hedges, none of them legitimate: trolls, people who complain that he doesn’t offer solutions (totally false, and probably just another type of troll), people who don’t think he addresses their issues, etc. Hedges is in fact one of the best political commenters around, and I almost always agree with him.

    3. If Garland had intended to bring charges against Trump, he would have done so long before this. He has not, he will not, nor will anyone else. We are far too broken now – our government and our society – to be able to do that.

    4. It’s hard to hear the truth when it’s so unbearable. Many truth-tellers are labelled as cynical, but Hedges is once again one of the few voices willing to speak out in a time of “spectacle”.

      1. “The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who do not have it. — George Bernard Shaw

    5. Garland has had about two years to bring charges against Trump and he has not done so. Nor did Obama bring charges against the bank fraudsters. We do not live in a just or sane political world.

  2. Furthermore, I suppose reps like Cheney who are putting their careers on the line think this is just for show. You really believe those people on the Committee don’t want to see Trump prosecuted?

    Hedges does have a history for being snarky and a know-it-all. I haven’t seen where his work has brought about any change in our society. He’s big on criticism and very short of solutions.

    1. You haven’t seen Hedges’ work bring any change to society? What would you like for him to do? He’s not a politician. He doesn’t identify with any party because he understands that power has corrupted the duopoly. He understands, correctly, that we have been subverted by corporate power and until we hold rallies of mass civil disobedience (as he repeatedly states), there will be no change. He’s not a “snarky …know-it-all”. All of his writings and commentaries can be backed by facts you can simply search for yourself. Hedges is the last person to think he knows it all and it’s pretty clear you have never read a single one of his many books. I just don’t get why you’re even reading sheerpost. There’s always Brightbart if you’re seeking solutions, like violent overthrow of liberal faction of our government (which doesn’t exist), privatizing our education, or spreading fear about “socialized” medicine.

      1. @spero & Tom
        I fully agree with spero here. Tom clearly doesn’t like Hedges, which, combined with his comments that contribute nothing valuable to these discussions, make him a troll on this site by definition.

        As to this issue: The Democrats are working with TV networks to produce the hearings like a TV SHOW. This is not serious politics, it’s Kabuki theater for the masses, who fortunately have refused to watch in large numbers. At best, this is partisan politics at its worst. Considering who Liz Cheney’s father is, the reason that she hates Trump has nothing to do with Jan 6: it’s because he says things out loud that the ruling class and their political lackeys like her don’t want said out loud, and because he’s not militaristic enough for them.

        Jan 6 is just another phony issue to take people’s minds off the real issue. Our elections are a big fraud in the first place, with one-dollar-one-vote and no real choice (you can’t vote against Wall Street or the military/intelligence/industrial complex, for example), and that’s what needs to be address, not the Jan 6 BS which has strong hints of being a government operation at least to some extent.

      2. @Jeff:

        Thank-you for the good observations and your kindness. I have looked more closely at Russia and China, and have also found their govts more responsive, more democratic when judged by results.
        The West is a parasitic society, a rentier economy as Michael Hudson argues, that uses the skills of
        Madison Avenue to create spectacle and manipulate perception vs reality. Even if completely successful, even if a mass movement does not materialize, society would collapse from a system that is so unhealthy, so unsustainable (although I wouldn’t want the dark aspects of society Hedges describes to be sustainable even if they could be).

      3. @Cynical Rex
        Jimmy Dore said that because China only has one party, that party can’t blame anyone else for problems, so it deals with them and people generally get what they demand. He compared that to the U.S., where Democrats and Republicans constantly blame each other even when they’re in power, so nothing ever gets done for the large majority of people. Superficial democracy is meaningless; what’s important is that the people running things do what’s good for most people, the society, and the natural world. All else is Kabuki theater.

  3. Chris Hedges paints a grim picture of America’s political reality and I believe it will only become grimmer as the effects of the US war against Russia increase. Politically, Chris sees that the Democrats and Republicans have essentially merged, most clearly seen with the vote to transfer billions of dollars in support of the Ukraine.
    It seems the only opposition to the war comes from the Trump wing of the Republicans. Ironically, just as with Trump’s proposed entente with Russia and his proposal to end the war in Korea, the Trumpery is correct. At the same time, the Republicans–Tucker Carlson–may oppose the war against Russia, but they do so in favor of a war against China. Perhaps the apparent Biden wish for civilizational death by nuclear fire is the only political solution…

  4. Yikes. All those rotting CEO names left out. All those Demoncrats’ names left out. And, this is it:

    “Congress is a cesspool. Corrupt politicians whore for the rich and get rich in return. ”

    Hmm, since the One Percent and then 19 Percent control 92 Percent of the Wealth, and control 100 Percent of the Presstitutes, the Media, the Law, the Judicial, the Pigs, the Pharma-Med-Ed Complex, the MIC Bombs ‘r Us Swap Meet Titans, the Chem-Ag-Energy Thugs, well, well, we have a lot of work to do to inspire a mass insurrection.

    Against that fabled “Constitution,” and against Capitalism or Capitalism Lite.

    Again, take one piece of the gigantic putrid puzzle, and then just scale it up to all the other pieces of the puzzle in this shit hole.

    It’s also getting pretty sophisticated what the other group of perversions have planned, i.e. Transhumanism, neo-digital-colonization.

    While Rome/USA burns, while the Thespians play in their respective four branches of government, in media, in education, in the entire Complex, the world is shifting even more toward these chosen people at the helm of our enslavement!

    https://siliconicarus.org/2022/06/10/french-imperialism-vs-crypto-colonialism-the-central-african-republic-experiment/

  5. The utter lack of anything remotely resembling a real left in America spells our collective doom. In point of fact the vast majority haven’t the first clue what a real left is or what it would look like. For a large segment of the population the corporate capitalists that rule are “socialists” and “communists.” Words practically no longer have meaning, such is the state of our society. Orwell nailed it in his work 1984 as he describes doublespeak.

    What does a society like this do to avoid it’s fate? Absolutely nothing….it’s now baked into the cake and we will reap the consequences.

    Have a great day.

  6. Your failure to advocate for the violent overthrow of capitalism (for that is what we need) over all these years; your advocacy for non violence has led to a passivity which will destroy the lives of millions here and abroad. I mention all this not because I think you will change but because you need to know the consequences of failing to advise the working class of the storm your unintended passivity has caused. It is too bad. I guess we all suffer from passivity in the face of fear of retribution. But the retribution will come despite the passivity.

    1. @Richard Hirst
      It is a proven fact that nonviolent revolutions have a better chance of succeeding than violent ones. Nonviolence isn’t passivity, and it’s clear that you don’t understand it.

      Chris Hedges’s not advocating for “the violent overthrow of capitalism” is the reason that we still have capitalism? Wow, Hedges is far more powerful than I could have possibly imagined!

    2. MLK advised non-violence because he knew the asymmetry of the political class would destroy any violent uprising. The colonialists in India whom Gandhi vanquished were not so invested as the typical racist Southerner with his ‘private property’ and his guns. Until that Southerner and most of the Army belong to the movement, no violent uprising is even thinkable.

  7. “The gaping hole between the reality of what we have become, and the fiction of who we are supposed to be . . . ”

    Using the word “become” implies the fiction that we have ever been any different than we are now.

    That gaping hole between reality and our perception is an overriding issue that sticks in my gut every day when it comes to this country. The US was engaged in nonstop, full-throttle genocide for three hundred years for the land we wanted for resources. Let me emphasize the nonstop. That’s how long the “Indian wars” lasted. We broke every treaty we ever made with them, too, because as soon as any survivors resettled, we wanted that land, also. We could always find new “opportunities” in Indian territory.

    It didn’t stop until their populations were probably only 1.5% of their pre-Columbian numbers, and the US had taken all the land. We shared nothing.

    Then, per assimilation policies, we stole their children and abused and murdered children as young as six years old for almost another century, all the way until the 1970s. At one time it was estimated that more than 83% of all Native American children were sent to those boarding schools. We took them at age six. Think for one moment what that would do to you as a human, to be taken at age six, to have your child taken from you when that child was only six years old.

    We outlawed their religions until 1978. We were stealing and selling their newborns in the 1970s, and sterilizing the women without their knowledge. After we had killed 98 out of every 100 of them without any mercy whatsoever, and taken an entire continent.

    What kind of people do that? What kind of people do it for four centuries? What kind of people think it doesn’t matter?

    Maybe those so-called founding fathers were little more than wealth seeking, ambitious doctor Frankensteins, claiming to have built a miracle out of hubris and corpses. We call our monster handsome, and believe it.

    1. This is the best reply I have read in a long time. Hedges can’t quite bring himself to go all the way to the real truth, although in recent years he’s been getting much closer than most. I can’t decide whether he really still doesn’t get it or thinks that by backing off a bit from the honest truth he can reach a slightly wider audience. I suspect the former. If the latter, then he is more naïve than I thought.

      The US is the most evil nation/empire ever to have existed, although that’s mostly the consequence of opportunity. The founding oppressors managed to sell a capitalist coup by painting it as having to do with human rights—a brilliant new idea—but the only right that interested them was their own “right” to rob, rape, murder, and enslave while plundering the Earth.

      The Constitution pays lip service to rights while entrenching that power. It was so nasty that it needed ten amendments before it could be sold to enough people.

      Your comment barely scratches the surface, although to go further would be futile. Look closely at any and every aspect of “America” and you will find rot, corruption, and evil. Good luck naming even one instance of decency and kindness. As Bell says of white “kindness”, it only exists during those brief moments when aiding the victims also benefits the victimizers. As soon as that condition is void, the full victimization process proceeds apace.

      There is no fixing this, no matter how many people revolt. The true cause is buried in human nature itself, and until we can bring ourselves to acknowledge our own monstrosity and evolve beyond it, nothing will ever truly change for the better.

      Many will say, “Good luck with that”, but they miss the point. Exactly. It won’t happen. We’re done for.

      1. The US has always had an innovative, creative side and a vile, destructive, EVIL side. The manufacturing and high technology which made Americans dominate Nobel prizes and transfer our ingenuity to the world are gone. We are a paper shuffling, bank casino financial mafia war machine, stealing resources from other countries. Decent Americans barely survive in our ‘service’ economy.
        WE have failed.

      2. Your response, michael888, is evidently an attempt to relieve the cognitive dissonance produced by the awareness that the US is the most evil society ever to have existed—one that is currently engaged in the genocide of, frankly, all life on Earth—while seeming to agree with the sentiments expressed.

        It is a pernicious and vile lie that pretends that the “good” mitigates the “bad”. Evil cannot be mitigated, cannot be atoned for, cannot be undone. It is a permanent stain. Quite the reverse of what you suggest, it is a SINGLE act of evil that undoes ALL the good one has done, as everyone well knows, although we often pretend otherwise for selfish reasons.

        Can the mass murderer undo even one murder by saving another? Is the rapist off the hook because he is nice to his mother? Of course not. There is no calculus between good and evil. They stand separate and alone.

        But the most absurd irony of your comment is that the innovative and creative efforts in American society have virtually always been towards the creation of weapons of mass destruction, from the lever-action rifle to the hydrogen bomb, but also automobiles, airplanes, air conditioning, suicide seeds, GMOs, the surveillance state, anti-social media, etc. All created and embraced with no thought for the consequences, or what Virilio called the “integral accident.”

        Your exculpatory and “golden era” fantasies fool only those who demand to be fooled.

        You will likely protest that this in not what you meant, but what other reason could there be for claiming an “innovative, creative side” if not to be exculpatory? What other reason to say that our “transfer [of] ingenuity to the world” is “gone” if not to say that there was once a Golden Age of the “good” America?

        You must know that genocide, slavery, and the destruction of the biosphere preceded the formation of the American state by centuries and have continued uninterrupted into the present day. When, then, the “good” America now inexplicably lost?

        Tell you what: you tell me when this Golden Age occurred, and I’ll tell you what the US was really up to in that period.

      3. Thank you. I didn’t go far enough. Not too long ago I put a lot of energy into learning a lot about the civil war. I cannot imagine living in a society so openly depraved as southern society with its slavery.

        We have made Black Americans a permanent underclass for 400 years. Who needs to live like that? Everyone doesn’t do that.

        I agree. This is unstoppable.

      4. Your view of the Founders are a bit cynical and probably not the case. These men inherited the liberal legacy of Europe’s ‘Enlightenment’, which we see in their documentation. They were believers.
        At the same time, that Enlightenment sanctioned the murder of the Indigenous and enslavement of Africans. Part and parcel of the new philosophy was the Enclosure Acts in England that sanctioned the taking of the common lands owned by the nobility (Norman conquerors?) but worked by the peasantry (Anglo-Saxons, Celts?) in the belief that ‘profit’ was most important. That led directly to another fruit of the Enlightenment, capitalism, which ironically destroyed much of the nobility.
        It is all of a piece.

      1. @JD
        Exactly! The U.S. isn’t the only bad group of people on Earth, it’s just the worst of them.

    2. Yep. And still we look at “hubris and corpses” and call it democracy and freedom.

    3. Well, and they did it all over the world to indigeous peoples anywhere there was anything to steal. Alas, they now also have to feed on the “new” indigeous…everyone who swallows their lies and lusts after what they are told are their wants. Your savings and retirement accounts shrivel as interest rates and costs of needs skyrocket. How is unregulated and unlimited capitalism working out for you? Had enough freedom yet?? Enough democracy??Are you feeling chains tightening everywhere? Pay no mind. Jesus saves, they say. Will the shared delusions prescribed by the minority overlords ever end? Doubtful. So eat, love, dance, be merry, and read Hedges cuz he tells it like it is. We require regular reminders of our situation so as not to take the fascists too seriously and, of course, give them the regard they deserve.

      1. I agree, Rita, and I have pointed out the same at length. We wunnderful White folks of western Europe have invaded every square inch of soil outside of mainland China and eastern Russia, but only because we have failed when the British tried to invade China. They still held Hong Kong for 150 years.

        Some of it, like the Philippines and Vietnam, we invaded more than once. The French and the Spanish did it first, and then the Americans did it again.

        We have never lived and cannot live without invading and stealing from someone, not since we’ve been Europe. We have run out of indigenous people to destroy, and in the face of our fantasy failure to colonize other planets, we’re imploding and self cannibalizing.

        Except for our medicine, I wouldn’t care if I never saw anything we’ve built again. I grew up in southern California. I went to Europe for a whole summer when I was nineteen, in the early 70s. I traveled only with a younger cousin. I had never been there before, and neither had she.

        I was completely shocked to realize several weeks into my trip that the only thing I missed about the US was Mexico. I really missed Mexican food and indigenous people with a deep and relentless yearning. Dreams of crisp tacos haunted my nights. Not one other thing about this country, however, did I long for, and that has never changed.

      2. @Tupe
        I had the same experience when I sailed to Tahiti. I would never have come back here if I hadn’t run out of money. Not saying that Tahiti or anywhere else in French Polynesia was where I would want to end up — farther west on some small island would have been preferable — but even those colonized places were exponentially better than here.

  8. Chris:

    Spectacle vs spectacle along with debacle vs debacle. Iraq, Afghanistan and now Ukraine, all debacles that the US gov’t tries to stage manage. It is bittersweet to read such tragedy within such gifted prose.

    You mentioned the term “modern passivity”, and this is something I see all around me. Most of my neighbours and family live some version of the “good life”, and can still ignore the corruption of govt and the failing health of the planet.

    What you’ve illustrated in your writings is the makings of a holocaust in America, once the republic is banished and open tyranny takes its place, and perhaps a generation or two later, the collapse of the ecosystem and human extinction. What’s left is to decide how to face this, both for ourselves and for our children.

    1. @Cynical Rex
      In response to your post from June 14th which doesn’t have a reply button: I saw your comment and I thought I would reach out. I struggle to re-integrate with society after the pandemic. The life I had before 2020 vanished. Not having to return to an office is a privilege and also a handicap. It can be very isolating.

      Working from home is great for the planet. If everyone could do it for even half the week, automobile pollution would be greatly reduced…but for humans, I realized how much of our contact with each other comes from our careers. It’s a product of capitalism no doubt. It was so easy to stop for coffee on the way to and from work, or meet up with co-workers for lunch.

      I don’t have all the answers by any means, but what has helped me most is to get moving, to get up for any reason whether it’s walking the dog or even household chores. It resets my mood and helps me find balance. It sounds silly but the simplest things make a difference. I just choose one thing on days when I don’t feel motivated. The first step is the hardest, but the rest will follow. Good day to you. 🙂

      1. @Melanie
        Unless you really love your job and are totally committed to the work you do, I strongly suggest that you get a social life outside of your job. There’s no problem with having work friends, but work shouldn’t be the basis of your friendships unless you view your work as I described. I’ve always looked at jobs as just shit I have to do in this totally rotten society just to survive, and always tried to work as little as possible and get away as quickly as possible. I’ve had work friends, but we never socialized in a manner that connected us to the job.

        Just a suggestion, take it or leave it. But I think you’d be much happier if you found friends outside of your job.

  9. In 1938, my maternal grandfather was drafted to serve in the German Wehrmacht. He survived the war, but just barely. He suffered a serious leg injury in Russia that went untreated as the Germans retreated. He eventually lost the leg to amputation and almost didn’t survive the recovery. Right before he died, when I was just a boy, he gave me various artifacts from the war and cried in front of me in the way that I’ve never seen anyone do since. It was like a lifetime of guilt and sorrow poured out of him, and it is a memory that has profoundly affected my view of the world.

    America is hardly Nazi Germany — our culture is different and our citizens are more diverse — yet I see frightening parallels between the social behavior in my country today and in my grandfather’s country before the war. After the defeat in WWI, Germany was on its heels politically, economically and culturally. To the average German like my grandfather, an uneducated blacksmith from a small village, the Weimar politicians all seemed corrupt. They made way more money than the average German, came from elite and educated social circles, and were perceived as people who did not do “honest work” (which is very important in German culture). Yet for all their privileges and advantages, the politicians spent most of their time in parliament squabbling with each other over various scandals, while the people struggled for jobs, food, and community. The average German loved Hitler or, like my grandfather, tolerated him, because he was the anti-politician, the man outside the system. The Germans were so angry at the existing establishment and its lack of progress that they stopped hoping for change and vengefully wanted to see it destroyed by the person who the politicians hated the most — by a bellicose and rude imbecile.

    In 1936, during the Berlin Olympics, many countries actually displayed the Nazi salute as a sign of respect when they paraded past Hitler in the stadium. I think what this tells us is that very few people in the world foresaw what was to come in just a few years, even though the signs were there if they had looked closely enough. We should remember that the Nazis spent over a decade trying to gain total power before they actually succeeded. For us looking back, that period seems like just a moment, like the Beer hall putsch immediately preceded the building of Auschwitz, but for the people like my grandfather, it was a nearly imperceptible transformation of a culture that had once produced poets and philosophers into one that manufactured devils. But even knowing this and seeing it in America, what can be done?

    (I would recommend Victor Klemperer’s diary and Milton Meyer’s” book for more reading on the social conditions that produced Nazism.)

    1. White supremacy, for sure, running through the Anglo Saxon blood, through the European blood. Times have changed in terms of how Hitler came to power. truly. The tools of deceit, the tools of brainwashing, the tools of hate and war and sickeness of the corporate totalitarianism, it has far superceded the Nazism of Hitler and Germany and the vassals.

      Here you go:

      The Death Toll of U.S. Imperialism Since World War 2 — The Mapping Project,

      A critical disclaimer: Figures relating to the death toll of U.S. Imperialism are often grossly underestimated due to the U.S. government’s lack of transparency and often purposeful coverup and miscounts of death tolls. In some cases, this can lead to ranges of figures that include millions of human lives–as in the figure for Indonesia below with estimates of 500,000 to 3 million people. We have tried to provide the upward ranges in these cases since we suspect the upward ranges to be more accurate if not still significantly underestimated. These figures were obtained from multiple sources including but not limited to indigenous scholar Ward Churchill’s Pacifism as Pathology as well as Countercurrents’ article Deaths in Other Nations Since WWII Due to U.S. Interventions (please note that use of Countercurrents’ statistics isn’t an endorsement of the site’s politics).

      Afghanistan: at least 176,000 people
      Bosnia: 20,000 to 30,000 people
      Bosnia and Krajina: 250,000 people
      Cambodia: 2-3 million people
      Chad: 40,000 people and as many as 200,000 tortured
      Chile: 10,000 people (the U.S. sponsored Pinochet coup in Chile)
      Colombia: 60,000 people
      Congo: 10 million people (Belgian imperialism supported by U.S. corporations and the U.S. sponsored assassination of Patrice Lumumba)
      Croatia: 15,000 people
      Cuba: 1,800 people
      Dominican Republic: at least 3,000 people
      East Timor: 200,000 people
      El Salvador: More than 75,000 people (U.S. support of the Salvadoran oligarchy and death squads)
      Greece: More than 50,000 people
      Grenada: 277 people
      Guatemala: 140,000 to 200,000 people killed or forcefully disappeared (U.S. support of the Guatemalan junta)
      Haiti: 100,000 people
      Honduras: hundreds of people (CIA supported Battalion kidnapped, tortured and killed at least 316 people)
      Indonesia: Estimates of 500,000 to 3 million people
      Iran: 262,000 people
      Iraq: 2.4 million people in Iraq war, 576, 000 Iraqi children by U.S. sanctions, and over 100,000 people in Gulf War
      Japan: 2.6-3.1 million people
      Korea: 5 million people
      Kosovo: 500 to 5,000
      Laos: 50,000 people
      Libya: at least 2500 people
      Nicaragua: at least 30,000 people (U.S. backed Contras’ destabilization of the Sandinista government in Nicaragua)
      Operation Condor: at least 10,000 people (By governments of Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru. U.S. govt/CIA coordinated training on torture, technical support, and supplied military aid to the Juntas)
      Pakistan: at least 1.5 million people
      Palestine: estimated more than 200,000 people killed by military but this does not include death from blockade/siege/settler violence
      Panama: between 500 and 4000 people
      Philippines: over 100,000 people executed or disappeared
      Puerto Rico: 4,645-8,000 people
      Somalia: at least 2,000 people
      Sudan: 2 million people
      Syria: at least 350,000 people
      Vietnam: 3 million people
      Yemen: over 377,000 people
      Yugoslavia: 107,000 people

      (Source: The Mapping Project is a multi-generational collective of activists and organizers in the Boston area who are deeply engaged in Palestine solidarity / BDS work. For over a year, we’ve been tracing Greater Boston’s networks of support for the colonization of Palestine–and how these networks participate in other forms of oppression, from policing to U.S. imperialism to medical apartheid and privatization.)

      1. Yes, imperialism. Hardly anyone calls it what it is. Foreign Direct Investment backed by a perverted government of corporates using every means at its disposal to complete thefts and feed its lust. Sometimes there is no significant “investment”, just a straight-up theft, sometimes euphemistically called an “interest”.

      2. First, my people were Celts and no fan of the Anglo Saxon invasion of Britain, but the Norman invasion and subsequent social system was an aberration of the highest order. The Normans essentially enslaved a whole country and went on to Scotland and Ireland to do the same thing. If white supremacy has a national ethnic origin, I would place it on the Normans.
        Another place where ‘Normans’ made conquest was in the Ukraine and the modern Ukronazis mythologize Viking culture as their origin story. They are also virulent white supremacists, and they consider Slavs inferior, especially so as tainted by inheritance of the Mongol Conquests. These Nazis tolerate Jews because their main enemy and obsessive object of hatred are the Russians.
        About the death toll: there is no mention of the 14,000 Ukrainians killed in the fascist war on the Donbas.

    2. You should read Arendt book about origins of fascism and listen to Arendt’s interview for West German TV ( available on YT) in 1961 where she explains exactly what happened to Germans, to simple people as well as to sophisticated intellectuals before and after Hitler came to power. And it was not imperceptible, it was violent.

      Arendt who lived at that time in Konigsberg, East Prussia, was not surprised by Hitler policies as his intentions were well known and supported by German elites of Thule society that actually created DAP within days of establishment of KPD in January 1919 and few months later turned DAP into NSDAP to appeal to popular socialist ideas Goebbels believed in according to his diary. NSDAP was created to counter KPD a communist party established by Luxemburg and Liebknecht who were already dead murdered by SPD socialists who were in power.

      The fact is that workers of Germany hated Hitler as there was socialist alternative but German elites chose Hitler, ,little thug as they described him, as lesser evil than communists evil.

      And thug he was starting from Reichstag provocation and then intimidating. beating, arresting or killing trade unionists, communist party leadership, membership as well as electoral candidates for April 1933 elections. First prisoners of Dachau concentration camp were communists, any oppositionists, gays not Jews or Gypsies as a ethnic groups although many KPD communists were Jews.

      Although many liked Hitler policies and in fact actively contributed to widespread terror and aggressive propaganda of fear and loathing of enemies while vast majority was acquiescent to terror because of economy boom benefits until 1942.

      1. indeed, both Gorer and Adorno observed that amerikans far more antisemitic than were ordinary Germans of the WWII era

      2. indeed, both Gorer and Adorno -a German Jew, observed that amerikans far more antisemitic than were ordinary Germans of the WWII era

    3. Harold:

      Keen insights, thank-you. As you alluded, you could replace Germans with Americans and it would sum up Chris’ essay perfectly:

      The Germans were so angry at the existing establishment and its lack of progress that they stopped hoping for change and vengefully wanted to see it destroyed by the person who the politicians hated the most — by a bellicose and rude imbecile.

      1. @Cynical Rex
        So the conclusion is, no good guys here. It’s really messed up when the only decent side is comprised of a tiny minority that most people don’t even know about.

    4. Just yesterday I spoke with a friend who produces US news segments for a German network. She goes to most major political rallies and events. At a Trump rally in Texas, she asked a tiny geriatric woman dressed in US flag colors, “what is it you like about Trump?” The woman exploded with admiration, and said, “He’s our bully! We need a bully to beat them up.” My friend then followed up with, “who is them?” She got no answer, just a mass of excitement and agreement from those around that she found terrifying.

  10. Spectacle or not, I’m OK with the Dems trying to package the January 6th insurrection in a way that it becomes incontrovertible to anyone except the Proud Boys and their ilk that Donald Trump, like Hitler with the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch, was attempting to overthrow a legitimately elected president.

    However, appealing the January 6th insurrection comparison is with the Beer Hall Putsch, it’s clear that the Weimar government did a better job.

    Hitler was actually prosecuted and jailed. Will this happen to Trump?

    Yes, the trial did give Hitler a platform and brought him from near obscurity to full name recognition in Germany, it did not make him or the Nazis popular.

    The year after the Putsch and shortly after the trial, the Nazis got less than 6% of the national vote. Over the next five years that would decline to less than 3% of the vote.

    It took 10 years of singleminded determination formHitler to come to power and even then he was really lucky.

    Had the Nazi leaning trial judge at Hitler’s treason trial also deported him because he was an Austrian citizen, as the law required, maybe there is no WW 2.

  11. “The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, whose first of six televised hearings began last Thursday, is spectacle replacing politics.”

    The ‘Select’ Committee… of Fools-On-The-Hill. And not a ‘Shining City on a Hill’… but a Mountain of
    Corruption populated solely by a soul-less group of Swamp Scum who exist solely to sell public offices for fun and profit.

    And yes… spectacle replacing politics…

    Gil Scott-Heron told us, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”.

    Well, the Revolution may not be televised. But what IS being televised on a daily basis in The Indispensable Nation is the Collapse of a Society, aka The End of an Empire.

    It’s too bad Old Rome didn’t have television and TV producer/spin-masters. We’d all have some fun old videos to laugh at and entertain ourselves with. But, who really needs the old stuff when we have fresh atrocities to view on our big-screen narrative-shaping oh-so-Smart TVs to keep a dumbed-down population even more dumb and ever more down.

    “The gaping hole between the reality of what we have become, and the fiction of who we are supposed to be, is why spectacle is all the ruling class has left.”

    People love a good story. And many times, the best stories of all are fiction. Like the many fictions we have been living as a Nation that are now being fully exposed as the falsities and absurdities that have mostly been in place for all these years.

    Lots of newer fictions. A ‘virus’ came from a ‘market’. Toxic potions to treat the ‘virus’ are not harmful. Rich billionaires have no bad intentions and only our best interests at heart. The Great Reset is not just a Worldwide coup to fully erase personal freedom.

    And one of the funniest… that the Fools on the Hill care about our Country and the people in it. And that everything they do is not motivated by the checks slipped under their doors and is not motivated to further engorge their pathetically inflated egos.

    “A new game is taking its place, one where narcissistic buffoons, who stoke the fires of hate and only know how to destroy, entertain us to death.”

    Sure. Sort of like having a good laugh while we are slowly submerged into the cold depths of an indifferent sea as our National Titanic Ship-of-State disappears into the drink.

    We laugh. And then we cough. And then…

    Hope someone is filming all this. Will make for one hell of a good video to watch for whatever creatures come along after we’ve been fully… Reset.

  12. Guy Debord, the revolutionary who wrote Society of the Spectacle, killed himself in 1994. Several of his associates committed suicide at approximately the same time. The mostly likely reason is what Chris Hedges is citing–the utter domination of spectacle, image, simulacra, over reality

  13. Thank you for the book recommendations, Harold.

    I think Chris would say the people need to be in the streets, in regard to what can be done.

    What I’m really wanting to comment on though is how people aren’t seeing the shift in people here or recognizing what’s coming as a result, as you said about the Heil salute at the Olympics.

    I teach middle school in rural California (97% white). I’ve reported concerns about a right wing extremist cell forming on campus. I’ve said if we had more diversity people might recognize it as a gang, but the response I get is boys being boys. When I try to explain that’s not it with details about the imagery and behavior (boys chanting “men men men” as they march down the corridor and emblems on t-shirts and screen savers, etc) I can see eyes glaze over. They hear my words but don’t know what to make of it or do either.

    Flags are flying on the backs of trucks and in front of houses more and more. There are new ones, one of which was on display at a livestreamed townhall with Rubio, or Cruz, or DeSantis–can’t remember who exactly. Another new one being raised is black with 13 stars. I have no idea wtf that means but I can imagine.

    Today there was a Proud Boy at the hardware store. His regalia didn’t need an education to understand, but it’s loud and proud at the gym too if one can read the tattoos. It’s/they’re everywhere! I wonder what I can do. Like, how do I have a conversation with these people? To find common ground in terms of the despair that’s growing the mentality. In general, I know these people can’t be reasoned with, and I certainly don’t feel safe as a female attempting a random chat with them, but I wonder like you do.

    And then there’s the folks in Richastan. When I tell them what’s happening outside of their bubbles or outside their gates, it either freaks them out too much and they shut down or they make light of it. After the 2020 election they joked I didn’t need to worry about my stockpiling neighbors anymore. It wasn’t funny then and certainly not after Jan 6. “Everyone” around here looks like an FBI pic from that day.

    I’m making preparations to teach overseas while also building community ties, local networks, and a garden area (because that’s also advice Chris has given). I guess I’m basically in “what can I do” mode most of the time now, with the simple answer being “the best I can with what I know to do.” On a daily basis that has to be enough cuz it’s all I’ve got.

    1. Anonywho??:

      Interesting observations about daily life. I imagine you’d agree, that to change things, large segments of the community must work together and address basic needs, to create a caring society, basically. The desperation and neurotic behavior Chris talks about comes out of people trying to find an answer to being marginalized: where you are trying to build community. people joining the Proud Boys are answering by going the opposite direction, and forming a tribe that wants to marginalize or eliminate “others” and upend the status quo in their favor.

      Other commenters have guessed at the motives of Trump supporters, but it seems to be a spectrum of people that are truly desperate, to those that are well-off, usually white, and threatened by changes to American demographics or the economy, and trying to assert more control over their futures.

      1. @Cynical Rex

        Deep sigh. Honestly, more and more I have to default to the Kali Yuga, which could correlate with the end times for Christians except with no need to hail in the second coming. That’s not to say we give up in fighting to serve whatever purpose we are here to serve, but without it I might throw up a lot. The stress is getting to me.

        I live streamed a conversation with HH Dalai Lama in 2020 or 2021. I was looking for some solace, expecting some words of wisdom to view everyone as my mother and remember the four noble truths. A question came up about climate change and what young people could do. Here we go, I thought. This will bring me some peace. Instead, the Dalai Lama said, “All things have a beginning and all things have an end, so now we’re at the end. The earth is burning, isn’t it? So we have to be kind and help people where we live.” That’s not a direct quote, but it’s pretty darn close. I sat straight up stunned. Dalai! But there it was. Here we are. I don’t disagree. Capitalism has turned cannabilistic and the climate is collapsing so… you know…

        There *is* a real spectrum of Trump supporters. I agree with you. Some of them I understand and some make me very angry–like wtf have they been suffering?? It’s been excruciatingly painful to not let my family be ripped apart by Limbaugh, and Fox and all the rest. Sometimes I wish Trump had won the election. The country was on fire then, in a good way. People were in the streets. People were peacefully protesting and violent action was being used against them (which is how non violent civil disobedience works to get the job done) and then the people went back to sleep. I like to say Trump was a propane tank blowing up. Biden is carbon monoxide poisoning.

        Sometimes I feel like the woman in the concentration camp (Auschwitz I think) who started clawing her face when she tried to tell people that the Nazis were killing people and they wouldn’t listen. I know that’s an extreme comparison, but I get it. I feel like I read a lot of armchair pundits pontificating in the comments, while I’m in the trenches (public education and fire country California) screaming, trying to get their attention. Thank you for commenting.

      2. @Anonymous???
        I have to disagree with the Dalai Lama on that one. While I like Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism is a weird version of it, and definitely not my thing. While we need to accept things we can’t change, the Dalai Lama is wrong that we shouldn’t keep trying to fix things like global warming, which we are causing. Fighting for the right thing, especially when your species is causing the problem, is the only right thing to do. Tibetan Buddhism tends to be elitist, and I think the “oh well” attitude exhibited by the Dalai Lama here is a result of that.

      3. @Cynical Rex

        I want to correct myself. Right now, I’m closer to Hedges in Yugoslavia when he tried to tell people armed checkpoints were being set up and people dismissed him than the woman in Auschwitz clawing off her face.

      4. @Anonymous???:

        I don’t know if you’ll see this, but I wanted reflect on some of what you said. I can only speak for myself, my own struggles, but if some of this relates to you or you’d care to offer advice in return, you are welcome to. It makes sense to me to try to reach out, make new connections or try moving away from a painful environment, but it’s not easy. If we can have compassion for ourselves and others, and I think this is one gift from Buddhism, it can help us cope with a lack of compassion or understanding we can experience. It helps a lot find mutual understanding, meaning in our relationships or in our service to or work in the communities we live, but that’s not always possible. To the extent we can be a source of enlightenment, love, joy even in the presence of adversity, it’s worth trying, and sometimes that means working through despair, sometimes asking for a helping hand from others, and sometimes learning to be compassionate to ourselves.

      5. @Cynical Rex
        That’s why we always have to work on ourselves, even though we’re also fighting the rich & powerful and trying to replace the system with something much better. People who just blame others without looking at the behaviors and attitudes of themselves or their own groups are at best hypocrites, and that goes for lefties who want to blame everything on the rich & powerful without considering the attitudes, actions, and lifestyles of regular people also.

  14. I think we need to find a way to put Mr. Fish’s cartoons on billboards in every state, before the “we say so” corporation bans everything.

  15. More demoralizing drivel from the master himself. You’d almost think CH was in the pay of one of our foreign adversaries, oh wait . . .

    1. You seek to dismiss the thought of Chris Hedges because he worked for RT before it was banned, that he is “in the pay of one of our foreign adversaries…” This is a foolish ad hominem attack without basis, except it underlines a weird American psychopathy that Russia is an enemy, or adversary, whatever. This is nothing more than a fruit of the US corporate media propaganda over many years. I advise you to examine this belief. Doing so, you will find very little, if any, evidence that corroborates it. Russia as ‘enemy’ is entirely made up, unless of course, your are one of the ruling elites.

  16. @Michael888, You wrote: “The US has always had an innovative, creative side and a vile, destructive, EVIL side. The manufacturing and high technology which made Americans dominate Nobel prizes and transfer our ingenuity to the world are gone. ”

    Humans have an innovative creative side. It’s not that big a deal, except to us in this culture with our weird beliefs.

    I would like to point out that no one who is socially acceptable ever says something similar about the Nazis. No one ever says anything like, “Yeah, the Nazis were global poster children for human evil, but they were exceptionally organized and disciplined, and they had the best technology of the day.”

    You know why no one ever says that about Nazis, Michael? Because good people don’t care how organized or disciplined the Nazis were. People with a clue can’t even think that way.

    We don’t say things like that about Nazis but when it comes to our own lengthy genocide and massive theft, we do it all the time. We rationalize away the monstrousness, the greed and murder, and talk about all we got out of it – the country and land and riches, and how “great” we are.

    If people have to murder millions of people and steal land to live, then the world doesn’t need their “innovation,” and such don’t deserve the right to act on their creativity, or to be more accurate, their sick self-idolatry.

    1. Organized? For some mysterious reason this Wednesday’s Jan. 6 Hearing was cancelled at the last minute.
      Maybe they expect another insurrection.

  17. amerikans easily deluded….Socierty of the Spectacle was the French marxist Guy Debord’s examination of America

  18. amerikans easily deluded….Society of the Spectacle was the French marxist Guy Debord’s examination of America

  19. Written with the integrity and honesty we have come to expect and cherish.
    It’s hard to be a “man of the left” these days but would be damn near impossible without scribes such as yourself.
    Thanks so much for all you do Chris. Miss the show in RT a great deal.

  20. Chris does an incredible job of concisely summing up this latest political theater.
    The only thing left out is why the security state was complicit on Jan. 6.
    I guess that would have to be another article.

  21. Politics is spectacle, in fulfillment of what former CIA director William Casey said: “When everything Americans believe is false, our misinformation campaign will be complete.” Now monopolized by ruling elites in what Sheldon Wolin called inverted totalitarianism, the political system has become indistinguishable from propaganda pumping out PR cover stories under the rule of law and representative government for policy dictated by oligarchs.

    Spectacle isn’t simply about distracting the public, or amusing us to death (and now nearly from birth), having no more than entertainment value, as Hedges smugly sums up his dismissal of the ‘far right’. It’s definitive in advancing agenda inimical to our interests, getting us not only to look the other way but also managing our perceptions in such ways as to (mis)lead us down dead ends, where we are entrapped by solutions to problems, principally created by elites, worse than what they pretend to address, not least of all because these solutions typically translate into greater subjugation to a fascist corporate state.

    Hedges himself has fallen prey to spectacle, and promotes it. He still takes narrative like that associated with the ‘far right’ far too seriously and at face value. He’ll recognize the smoke and mirrors nature of the Jan. 6th con-gressional investigation, but perpetuate story lines about insurrection for a pseudo-event manufactured in the capitol center of a shadow state operating in plain sight, bearing comparison with the Nazis’ Reichstag fire rather than the Beer Hall putsch. *

    For all his seemingly radical rejection of both parties, Hedges dutifully passes on partisan politricks of left-right stereotypes for manufacturing our consent to reductionist representations of the masses of us which reinforce divide-and-rule polarization. In one corner we get “the far right, which believes vaccines cause autism, angels exist, a cabal of satanic, cannibalistic sexual abusers of children that run a global child sex trafficking ring are trying to destroy Trump, and the inerrancy of the Bible.”

    Apart from different beliefs in angels and biblical inspiration being part of Christian theology and tradition from its origins, perhaps an embarrassment for Hedges’ own ordained ministry in liberal Protestantism, this curious hodgepodge of right wingnut characterizations apes conspiracy caricature which in conveniently evading evidence of covert ops to compromise politicians and make ours “one nation under blackmail” (Whitney Webb) could have been scripted by the CIA. As for vaccines and autism – estimated at 1 in 10,000 children in the 1960s, then exploding with massive rollout of vaccines, particularly in the childhood immunization schedule with as many as 72 injections by 18 years of age, after the 1986 granting of the far more important legal immunity for manufacturers, such that the latest (2021) CDC data indicate a rate of 1 in 44, projected to reach 1 in 2 children by 2032 – Hedges apparently has no inclination to do any independent, investigative journalism, just like the corporate media he makes a routine of criticizing. In fact, he’s proven himself a faithful partisan of the Pharmafia and pandemic propaganda to push ‘vaccines’, or gene editing and biodigital Frankenscience, onto human lab rats.

    In the other corner, we have “social programs, whether the Build Back Better Plan, a ban on assault weapons, raising the minimum wage, ameliorating the ravages of inflation or instituting environmental reforms to stave off the climate emergency.” Here again, there’s no critical investigation, no peering behind these progressive fronts to recognize how they betray traditional left wing politics of the working class, his usual predication of whiteness notwithstanding, by serving as pretexts for advancing technocratic means, from smart cities and an internet of things/bodies to CBDCs and social credit scores, which aim to enslave the masses of us in biodigital prisons.

    Locked into casting fascism as a right wing threat, and forgetful of the politics of spectacle across the left-right divide, Hedges is complicit with the new abnormal’s brand of techno-totalitarianism, and a decadent liberal class which abandons working class people. Stuck in the same old end-of-empire refrains, he prophesies “the old ruling class is slated for extinction” while oblivious to how we are being engineered into their final solutions.

    *For a recent review of Jan. 6th as a false flag and shadow state construction of ‘far right’ white supremacism and domestic terrorism, particularly revealing connections to the Nazi Azov battalion and the CIA: The Patriot Front, January 6th & The “Vanilla ISIS” Psyop – https://p.feedblitz.com/r3.asp?l=186903866&f=906867&c=8427408&u=81213569.

    1. The number of vaccination stabs and the long list of ingredients in them are definitely a concern, but in regard to autism–the spike in autism can be correlated with the introduction of glysophates into food production (I can’t remember the date off the top of my head. 1989 or 1991 maybe???) There was a study published by MIT which speaks to this. When the study was released (in 2012???) is when the prediction of 50% of children being diagnosed by 2025 was made.

      The link to vaccines can also be attributed to new mothers not knowing that their child isn’t developing “age appropriately” until the same time as another round of vaccinations around age 2. It’s highly possible it’s entirely coincidental, i.e. new mothers not being aware that “my baby is so quiet or they went from sitting to walking” may not be a ‘how cool is that’ thing come the age of two and three when they start to recognize something is amiss. Non-first time mothers are more likely to pick up that something’s atypical much earlier on.

      I’m a sped teacher. There are lots of reasons for the increase in ASD. (Friendly fyi: the doctor who performed the vaccine study was discredited due to falsifying data and subsequently lost his license.) The focus on vaccines take attention away from what might be more significant causes – e.g. environmental pollutants (glysophates being just one) as well as older fathers (akin to mothers over 40 and Downs Syndrome) and wealthier populations where women can readily slather themselves in chemical beauty products. Think of where autism clusters are – in areas where older men are having babies and there are genetic predispositions to the types of neural pathways we see in ASD (engineers). Combine all of these things with increased awareness of what ASD looks like along with earlier predictive models and higher rates of diagnosis are inevitable. Just sayin’. Give the vaccine debate a rest. There are plenty of other potential causes to consider and argue over.

      1. I’d suggest you look into critical analysis of the vaccine (and virology) industry and history of medicine, including its ties with eugenics, as that has a lot to do with why the vaccine debate is of utmost importance now, not only in regard to autism but also with the sudden, astronomical increase of all-cause mortality, and sterility, following mass applications of experimental genetic engineering (‘vaccines’) upon uninformed populations (in violation of the Nuremberg Code).

    2. Niko – Thank you for both of your comments in paragraph #5. Reverend Chris might consider avoiding snide comments about the beliefs of others and for once talk to us about how he and his elite ordained “liberal protestant” brethren experience a relationship with their God. Is there any there there?

      With respect to Big Pharma, Chris might do well do read RFK, Jr’s’ “The Real Anthony Fauci” or at least make contact with the growing number of medical personnel who are aware of and fight Pharma fraud.

    3. I read a different essay. It seems you want to fill in between the lines to address subjects not in the original essay; however, neither do you offer solutions.

  22. I think this is a ridiculous commentary. Chris Hedges now speaks for the Right. I’m sure Trump would love his commentary, as would Tucker Carlson. It’s a slap in the face for everyone working for democracy in this country. It is the Putin ideology, and I’m glad RT is off the air. Democracy does matter, and it’s not the tool of the ruling class. It is what we are pushing for, despite the ruling class and commentators like Chris Hedges.

    1. Ahh, the blathering fools. Chris has done much good and educating himself. But this is a forum for know-it-all-nothings, and calling Hedges a Trumper or Putin stooge, says it all about this Himler guy, Billy-Bob,

      Check out his presentation!

      Chris Hedges, writer and commentator, was a member of the Pulitzer-winning team reporting on global terrorism for The New York Times. Hedges received an individual award from the Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism. An online columnist and the host of an Emmy-nominated television show, Hedges has been a war correspondent for The New York Times, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The Christian Science Monitor, reporting from Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has written 12 books including the bestsellers “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” and “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle” and “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt,” His book “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” was a National Book Critics Circle finalist and his most recent book is “America: The Farewell Tour.”

      Hedges talks about the rise of corporate power and the danger of fascism around the globe, based on personal experience as well as academic scholarship. He has been a teacher inside the American prison system for the past ten years; a reporter on the front line at violent coups and successful revolutions in foreign countries for the preceding two decades; and an ordained Presbyterian minister and competitive boxer in earlier years. Hedges is a graduate of Harvard University and has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University and the University of Toronto.

      1. I would suggest watching the January 6 hearings. Our democracy is in extreme danger if the Republicans regain control of the House and the Senate, and if Trump isn’t put in prison. I have respect for Chris Hedges, but the hearings are not a “spectacle,” but are revealing the truth about a neo-fascist, Republican Party that wants to take power with the help of goon squads, using any illegal tactic that they can think of. Hedges sounds like Carson Tucker regarding the January 6 Hearings. That’s what I find disappointing.

    2. @Bill Helmer
      How ironic that you say that! Your saying that Hedges speaks for the right is actually what’s right wing here. Maybe you’re under the false impression that the Democratic Party is the left, which it’s not.

      1. @Jeff
        I have non-work friends. I just meant I was more active on weekdays when I had to get up in the morning and go to an office.

        When it comes to finding new friends, however, I wouldn’t know where to begin. Hardly anyone shares my interests anymore. When I suggested recently to someone that NATO is nothing more than a gang of global neighborhood thugs, she looked at me like I had lost it.

      2. @Melanie
        I also wouldn’t base friendships on politics, unless you’re politically active and make friends there. Make friends in your hobbies or other fun stuff. Shared interests don’t have to be political, and in fact are usually better off not being so regarding friendships.

    3. Bill, what Chris Hedges points out that the ‘democracy’ in the US is an illusion. A bellwether of the lack of democracy is precisely the silencing of RT and Chris Hedges. Another is the claim that anything heard from Vladimir Putin is somehow wrong, that it must be a lie, must be just propaganda. So, Putin says there are Nazis in the Ukraine. Well, there are Nazis in the Ukraine. Is Putin wrong or is the media? And so on.
      Frankly, at this point the US corporate media is so propagandized in its warmongering that it is completely untrustworthy; thus, democracy dies.

      1. Ted, democracy isn’t dead in the US yet, but Trump and his neo-fascist followers in the Republican Party want to certainly kill it. Democracy has been suppressed in Russian, and that is why Trump loves Putin. Putin is of the extreme, authoritarian Right, and that’s where the Republican Party is heading. The January 6 Hearings are letting the American public understand that Trump allied with the neo-Nazi Proud Boys to try and overturn the election so that Trump could stay in power. Yes, there are Nazis in the US, too. If it was up to the Republicans, there would be no hearings. I hope the hearings lead to Trump being finally put behind bars. Just like the Watergate hearings, which I saw, these hearings matter. By the way, I still have a lot of respect for Chris Hedges, but I disagree with him on this.

      2. @Bill Helmer
        If you think the U.S. has a representative government, you must be in the upper 10% if not higher. Otherwise, you’re totally deluded and/or misinformed. See the 2014 Princeton study, then explain how this country is democratic by any accepted definition of that word. In fact, China is more democratic than the U.S., because the vast majority of the people there get pretty much what they want from their government, unlike in the U.S.

      3. Bill, there is a trope floating around the West that the conflict in the Ukraine is a fight of “democracy versus autocracy”, and your claim that “democracy has been suppressed in Russia” is part and parcel of that trope. To begin, the claim of Ukrainian democracy is ludicrous, not as ludicrous as the claim of democracy in the US, but still contradicts reality. For instance, the Ukrainian people elected Zelensky on a peace platform to implement something like the Minsk Accords to end the civil war in the Donbas. That never happened due to internal politics in Kyiv and external pressures from the Americans.
        In the US, we elected Biden for the very good measures of raising minimum wage, health insurance reform, student debt relief, etc. None of that happened in spite of public approval.
        So, if the people’s wishes are not implemented, the claim of democracy is void.
        I have no idea what happens in Russia in terms of democracy, but I do know that almost all reports given in the Western media are tainted by the Russia-hating, Russia-fearing Western prejudices. In other words, unless we have inside, on the ground information (& maybe you do), we don’t know anything about Russian democracy. I do know that Russians vote, that they conduct poling, that the leadership takes the people’s opinion very seriously, but all this other nonsense about Navalny and NGOs is very suspect.

  23. We the people are more desperate than the political class and we’ll keep on fighting for substantial change.

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