Chris Hedges Corporate Greed Forever Wars Original

Hedges: The Triumph of Death

The global ruling class is cementing into place a world where they govern without accountability, we are reduced to serfdom, the climate crisis accelerates, and mass death is normalized.
Original illustration by Mr. Fish — “The Four Horseman”

By Chris Hedges / Special to ScheerPost

It is hard to be sanguine about the future. The breakdown of the ecosystem is well documented. So is the refusal of the global ruling elite to pursue measures that might mitigate the devastation. We accelerate the extraction of fossil fuels, wallow in profligate consumption, including our consumption of livestock, and make new wars as if we are gripped by a Freudian death wish. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – Conquest, War, Famine and Death – gallop into the 21rst century.

Those who rule, servants of corporations and the global billionaire class, accompany the suicidal folly by cementing into place corporate tyranny. The plan is not to reform. It is to perpetuate the corporate pillage. This pillage, more and more onerous for the global population, necessitates a new totalitarianism, one where the billionaire class lives in opulence, workers are serfs, rights such as privacy and due process are abolished, Big Brother watches us all the time, war is the chief business of the state, dissent is criminalized and those displaced by conflicts and climate breakdown are barred entry into the climate fortresses in the global north. Portions of the human species, the most privileged, will, in theory, hold out a little longer before they succumb to the great die off.

The persecuted and the abandoned, now in the tens of millions, know the future. For them, the future has already arrived. Julian Assange, the most important publisher of our generation, whose extradition to the US was approved on Friday by the British Home Secretary Priti Patel, is an example of what will befall all publishers and journalists that expose the inner workings of power. His imprisonment for revealing the war crimes, mendacity, cynicism, and corruption of the ruling class, including the Democratic Party, heralds a new era. Investigations into the centers of power, the life blood of journalism, will be a criminal offense.

It does not matter that Assange, who suffered a stroke and is in poor physical and psychological health, is not a U.S. citizen or that WikiLeaks is not a US-based publication. It does not matter that all of Assange’s meetings with his attorneys were recorded by UC Global, the Spanish security firm at the Ecuadorian Embassy where Assange lived for seven years, and turned over to the US, obliterating attorney-client privilege. The campaign against Assange, and I have sat in on hearings in London, is a Dickensian farce, the persecution of an innocent and heroic man, far more reminiscent of the Lubyanka than the best of British jurisprudence. He is being used to send a message — if you expose what we do we will destroy you.

Workers, whether in the vast sweatshops in China or the decayed ruins of the rust belt, struggle on subsistence wages without job protection or unions. They are cursed by trade deals, deindustrialization, austerity, rising interest rates and rising prices. They, too, know the future.

The decision to raise interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point, with new rate hikes on the way, will further depress wages, which have stagnated for decades, increase unemployment and personal debt and make food and other basic necessities more expensive. Raising interest rates usually induces a recession. But the oligarchs are more than willing to extract blood from the working class. Inflation reduces investment returns. It disrupts leveraged financial strategies.

Prices are not rising because of wages. They are rising because of supply shortages and price gouging by corporations and oil conglomerates. US corporations posted their biggest profit growth in decades by raising prices during the pandemic. Corporate pretax profits rose last year by 25 percent to $2.81 trillion, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That’s the largest annual increase since 1976, according to the Federal Reserve. When taxes are included, last year’s corporate profit rose to 37 percent, more than any other time since the Fed began tracking profits in 1948.

Antitrust laws and breaking up monopolies would ease the strain of inflation and lower prices. Rationing would break inflation. So would a wage-price freeze. Nationalization, reversing the capture of public utilities, the health care system, banking, and other services by corporations, would also blunt price rises. But the billionaire class is not about to impose measures that diminish their profits. They will keep their monopolies. They will keep their grip on what were once public assets. The message from the billionaire class is this: the economy is run for our benefit, not yours.

Ukrainians, enduring a war of attrition with the infusion of tens of billions of dollars of weapons from the US and Europe, know the future. War is the chief business of the state. It enriches the arms industry. It expands the military budget. The US now sends $130 million a day in military aid and assistance to Ukraine, part of the $55 billion in aid promised by Washington.

The US, struggling with societal breakdown and an ailing economy, sees its military as the only mechanism left to destroy global competitors, especially Russia and China. Russia, hemmed in by an expanding NATO in Central and Eastern Europe, and China harassed by a succession of carrier groups in the South China Sea, which Washington has called a “national interest,” have been united as US adversaries. China sees the waterways of Asia and the Pacific as part of its sphere of influence, as Russia sees Ukraine and other neighboring states. The aggressive military posturing of the US on the borders of China and Russia has provoked an unnecessary cold war, one many Washington policy makers nonchalantly expect may evolve into a hot war amongst nuclear armed nations that would potentially obliterate life on the planet.

There is an intensifying scramble for control, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s building of air bases from Japan to Australia along the Asian littoral, giving it the ability to attack warships, including aircraft carriers, in the western Pacific. The refusal of the U.S. to accommodate itself to a multipolar world and to chase the chimera of unrivaled global hegemony has seen Russia and China solidify an alliance, an alliance cold warriors worked hard to prevent. The hostilities, a self-fulfilling prophecy by U.S. warmongers, delights the Washington establishment whose goal is to perpetuate endless war.

You know you are in trouble when Henry Kissinger, who has called for Ukraine to cede territory to Russia and open negotiations with Moscow “in the next two months before it creates upheavals and tensions that will not be easily overcome,” is a voice of sanity.

Despotic governments need an enemy to justify the repression of dissidents, the reduction and cancellation of social programs and the iron control of information. Wars justify the unjustifiable — black sites, kidnapping, torture, targeted assassinations, censorship, and arbitrary detention — off-the-book war crimes. War induces a state of perpetual paranoia and fear. It demands mass obedience.

“The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous,” George Orwell writes in 1984. “Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. This new version is the past and no different past can ever have existed. In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very structure of society intact.”

The message of endless war is – if you defy the ruling class, the militarists and the government, you are a traitor.

The 140 million people across the globe suffering from acute hunger, a result of the pandemic, the climate crisis and the war in Ukraine, know the future, along with the families of the 15 million people who died from the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of whom with proper prevention and medical care could have been saved. The refugees fleeing failed states and climate disasters – there could be 1.2 billion climate refugees by 2050 – in the global south know the future. 

The message imparted to the poor, the vulnerable, the sick and the weak is this: your lives and the lives of your children do not matter.

The oligarchs in the Democratic Party and the establishment wing of the Republican Party are aware they are in political trouble. Is it due to Russian meddling? Is it due to Donald Trump and his proto-fascist minions? Is it caused by journalists and publishers like Assange who give them a bad name? Is it a failure of messaging? Is it a lack of rigorous censorship of the far-right and leftist critics?

The Democratic Party, now united with the establishment Republican Party, is flailing around for a solution. They are bankrolling far right candidates in the Republican primaries , a tactic that backfired on Hillary Clinton when her campaign worked during the primaries to promote Donald Trump as the Republican nominee. Retrograde Republicans, de facto members of the Democratic Party because they voted to impeach Trump, are being lionized as true patriots, as if they can lure people away from Trump and Trump-like clones. Robert Reich, along with other Democratic leaders, argues that Rep. Cheney – who voted for Trump policies 93 percent of the time as a member of the House but now looks set to lose her bid for reelection in Wyoming – has “demonstrated more courage and integrity than any other politician in America” and might just be “the best president of the United States for the perilous time we’re entering.” Jonathan V. Last, in an article headlined “Mike Pence is an American Hero” in The Atlantic, writes that Pence “did more to protect democracy — both on January 6 and since — than any other person inside the Trump administration.”

Perhaps the expected Supreme Court ruling that will overturn Roe v. Wade will work in their favor. Perhaps the televised hearings on the January 6th assault on the Capitol, an extended campaign commercial, will convince voters to support them. Perhaps the promise of more stringent gun laws will excite the electorate.

What can we expect from a party leadership that believed Michael Bloomberg, who has switched allegiance between the Democratic and Republican parties several times, would save them from progressives such as Bernie Sanders? What can we expect from a party leadership that anointed Joe Biden, who spent his political career dispossessing working men and women, building the world’s largest prison system, militarizing police, destroying the welfare system and funding military fiascos in the Middle East, as president?

The Biden administration is defined by failed expectations, from its stymied Build Back Better Plan to its refusal to raise the minimum wage. It is running on fumes, using gimmicks, empty rhetoric, spectacle and fear to intimidate the electorate.

The descent is pathetic to watch, reminiscent of the moment Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu tried desperately to placate an unruly crowd from the Balcony of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Romania building by offering to raise pension and family allowance by $2 a month. He and his wife were executed four days later. The discredited East German Communist Party, which like the Romanian revolution I also covered as a reporter, made similar empty gestures, promising to open its closed party headquarters to the public long after anyone cared.

The billionaire class, or at least many of them, would prefer to loot and pillage under the cover of the old political decorum and rhetoric. They like the fiction of paying homage to an emasculated democracy. It gives them the veneer of respectability.

But this is not to be. The rage of the betrayed is articulated by imbecilic demagogues vomited up from the social and political swamp. Corporations and the billionaire class will continue to exploit, but under a cruder and crueler authoritarianism. The social, political, economic, and environmental breakdown will accelerate. Reality, increasingly unpalatable, will cease to exist in public discourse. It will be replaced by Millenarian cults, such as the Christian fascists, and bizarre conspiracy theories, a retreat into magical thinking where evil is embodied in demonized individuals and groups that must be eradicated. Truth and lies will be indistinguishable. The vulnerable will be cast aside, blamed for their own misery, as well as ours. Those who resist will be criminals. Mass death will sweep across the planet. This is the world our children will inherit unless those who control us are wrenched from power.


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.

47 comments

    1. @Jim Gala
      I agree, and hardly anyone ever talks about that. The theft of the vice presidential nomination from Henry Wallace was the beginning of the end of anything good in the politics of this country, and the entire world is much worse off for it.

  1. Unless those who control us are wrenched from power … and replaced by others who will control us. Perhaps representative government, which is a bit like a preacher standing between us and the mystery, is the problem. It is assured to be corrupted. I don’t think our nitwit founding fathers could’ve perceived the current mess or they would’ve followed the first peoples and let circles of elder women guide affairs.

    1. @James
      You’re correct. Now take your position to its logical conclusion: only in small societies where everyone knows each other can you have good governance. Once people overpopulate, manipulation and corruption take over. Not that hunter-gatherers and other small societies don’t also have those problems, but they’re exponentially smaller in those societies than they are in overpopulated ones.

  2. When Hedges writes this: Workers, whether in the vast sweatshops in China . . . .

    He makes a grievous error.

    Equating the struggles and hardships Chinese workers endured to raise the country to in its current level are not comparable to the permanent serfdom desired and implemented in capitalist nations.

    China has and continues to raise many millions out of poverty: in the US the middle class and workers are steadily ground down.

    From Bloomberg, not People’s’ Daily.

    *********************************************************************************************************

    The sheer scale of China’s overall achievements when it comes to poverty alleviation is remarkable. More than 850 million people have been lifted out of extreme penury in under four decades. Almost 90% of the population was below the international poverty threshold in 1981, according to the World Bank; by the 2019, that was under 1%. It’s true the world as a whole has seen a dramatic improvement in poverty rates, but more than three-quarters of that is due to China. And the amelioration to individuals’ lives under the latest campaign — which involved tracking down remote villages and the very poorest families, one by one — are real and visible.

    One of China’s great advantages is that the bottom half of its population has benefited from its economic growth over the last decades. A study by economist Thomas Piketty and others last year found that average incomes for that cohort multiplied by more than five times in real terms between 1978 and 2015, compared to a 1% drop for same group in the United States.

    *********************************************************************************************************
    Sacrifices made by Chinese workers are paying off.

    The result of US workers’ productivity is pocketed by the capitalist owners.

    1. @BabaYaga
      Good catch! I noticed that comment too, but I don’t know the situation well enough to have responded to it. I did suspect something along the lines of what you wrote, but I didn’t want to go off half cocked.

      1. Thanks.

        Hedges I think has a very good analysis of the odious capitalist/imperialist thing we live in, but at the critical point goes religious and starts warning us not to be tempted to get carried away with violence, a lá the French and Bolshevik revolutions.

        I promise to get therapy after we exterminate the oligarchs 🙂

    2. Baba. Did you know that PCE, Personal Consumption Expenditure, accounts for about 66 percent of US GDP, whereas in China, it accounts for about 50 percent of GDP. The people of China consume a smaller portion of their national output than the people of the US.

    3. Baba, did you know that Personal Consumption Expenditures account of about 66 percent of US GDP while in China Personal Consumption Expenditures account for about 50 percent of GDP? The people of China enjoy a smaller portion of their efforts than the people in the US.

  3. Yes Chris, many of us intuitively “know the future”. We knowingly created this dystopian shit show under the umbrella of collective cognitive dissonance, and illusion of human supremacy. The phrase “unless those…..wrenched from power”, sound like the “hopium”, you have often criticized in the past. Who would replace them? And how would the “new boss” correct course in the eleventh hour? Here’s a thought: It’s okay if humanity (now in massive overshoot) declines or even destroys itself, so be it. We are after all (as Eckhart Tolle put it ) “a very sick and dangerously insane species”. At what point do we surrender the illusion of an endless linear procession of boundless human stupidity on this planet?

    1. @Daniel Brooks
      As I have said on other threads and elsewhere, the only tragedy here is the ecosystems and nonhumans that humans are taking with us as we go down.

      It didn’t have to be this way. There are humans, albeit a small fraction of 1% of humanity, who live properly on the Earth and focus on the right things instead of the wrong ones. They’re called hunter-gatherers and acetic monks, and they focus on expanding their consciousness, instead of wrecking the physical/natural world in order to get some perceived benefits from doing so. But instead of the shining light that those people are, the rest of the human species is a cancerous tumor on the Earth, unfortunately literally.

  4. As usual, I agree with this column, with the following exceptions or additions:

    Chris Hedges complains about our “profligate consumption,” but then he blames everything on the ruling class and their political lackeys. Sure, the rich & powerful are MORE responsible for this mess, but all I can say to Americans is, look in the damn mirror! Who do you think is doing this profligate consumption? It’s not just the ruling class. This blaming of the rich while letting everyone else off the hook is one of my biggest problems with the left. All adults have to take at least some responsibility for our actions. Most people in this country are christian, so listen to Jesus and stop being hypocrites.

    The dystopia that Hedges predicts is totally unsustainable and couldn’t last long if at all. Even that Nazi Henry Ford realized that you have to pay workers enough to buy the products that the capitalists sell. If you don’t do that, you don’t sell the product or services, and you go out of business. Pretty simple, really.

    “The aggressive military posturing of the US on the borders of China and Russia has provoked an unnecessary cold war, one many Washington policy makers nonchalantly expect may evolve into a hot war amongst nuclear armed nations that would potentially obliterate life on the planet.”

    Nuclear war is the ultimate physical evil, and avoiding it is the most important issue in this war. The U.S. is mostly responsible for this danger, but Russia isn’t innocent either, with Putin threatening the use of nuclear weapons. We have allowed a situation to develop where a bunch of Dr. Strangeloves to run the planet, and the planet may be destroyed because of that.

    “You know you are in trouble when Henry Kissinger … is a voice of sanity.”

    Yep. And you know you’re in trouble when only Republicans vote against a massive military spending bill (Ukraine) and are the only anti-war voices in Congress (to the extent that they are).

    “Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance.”

    Wrong. Hierarchical society is a result of civilization. Name one civilization that’s not hierarchical. Sure, some are more hierarchical than others, but they are all hierarchical.

    Maybe Liz Cheney has ““demonstrated more courage and integrity than any other politician in America.” That amount of courage and integrity could be just slightly above zero, because the rest of them have exhibited none. I don’t know much about Liz Cheney, but her father is as evil as it gets. Mike Pence is a christian fascist and is worse than Trump. He served as great assassination insurance when Trump was president.

    1. Jeff., your response to “Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance.” doesn’t address his statement. Explain to me how a hierarchical society would be possible if everyone had equal material and intellectual resources.

      1. @yok
        The problem is that you and Chris aren’t starting at the root of the problem, you’re starting in the middle. There has never been a civilization that isn’t hierarchical, as I said in my post. You explain to me how everyone gets “equal material and intellectual resources” in a civilized society. If you understand how civilization is created and what it is, you understand that’s not possible. Again as I said in my previous post, some societies are less equal than other, some a lot more so, but they’re all hierarchical. Even hunter-gatherer societies are somewhat hierarchical, though they’re far more democratic than civilized societies.

    2. As a Wyoming resident, my impression of Liz Cheney is that she is pretty much a chip off the old block.

      1. @Wyoming Resident
        When I was a long-distance trucker, Wyoming was my favorite state. Not because of politics, but because there were so few people living there that I’d see things like herds of antelope from I-80.

    1. I feel you salmo jack. There are days when I feel the same. Anything to bring down the Empire of Lies….

      1. @JustAMaverick
        If that’s all it would do, I’d agree with you. Unfortunately, it would kill all or almost all life on Earth and destroy ecosystems, possibly forever (meaning until the sun burns out). Can’t support that. Humans don’t deserve to be here for what they’ve done to the Earth and the other life here, but the Earth and the other life here don’t deserve to be destroyed because of humans.

    2. Ah, yes, the secularized version of the Apocalypse.
      Seems this mythological symbolism is deeply ingrained in the western collective unconscious. Immanentizing the eschaton through left/progressive benevolent utopias. Failing that, wrath. Oppenheimer, the Manhattan Project: Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.

      There are secular raptures, too.
      The group suicides of UFO cults. The passive faithfulness of the channelers who report vague messages from space bros about love and peace and ecology. Good people who will be saved by intervention from above. Or the White Knights, the brave few with their private rocket steeds who will leave the unchosen many behind.

      Whether secular or religious, the holders of these images simply assume their beliefs determine the future. Indigenous cultures and the rest of the biosphere are irrelevant.

  5. I like Hedges and agree with his views.
    Great stuff.

    I also don’t need another free-form ranting run-down on doom. This has become boilerplate for Hedges.

    Bring on the Apocalypse!

    But a litany on suffering and death is not what the Dr. orders.

    We’re here against all odds. Getting here has been shitshow. And we’re all going down in the best of times. So face it. Let’s call out for hopes and dreams and measure ourselves and our failures against these hopes.

    Skip the polemics of pure despair and shout to the ways we’re making progress.

    For example, Texas is leaving the union!

    After they go, will they still parade around in pickups with billowing American flags chanting MAGA?

    Lets celebrate all the ways we haven’t thought things through, because these reveals the gaps where hope takes purchase.

    1. Oooh, Texas gone. What would their new thoughtless slogan be? Making Texas great again might make it Mexican.

      The Texas white elephants are afraid of that. The young heirs to my family name live there–and as is typical, they are half Mexican. According to the 2020 census, 37.5% of the population is non-Hispanic white, 11.8% Black, 17.6% two or more races, and 39.3% Hispanic/Latin American. Texans of color account for 95% of the population growth.

      The big Texas industries are oil, agriculture, and military. Plus some high tech. Petro is becoming passe, as is their biggest in the world cattle industry. The US military would be gone. Austin and Houston, liberal urban centers, have top rate higher education and tech development. Which would not thrive under a repressive government. They’d leave.

      It wouldn’t be long before the longhorns rejoin the US herd.

  6. Robert Reich, former columnist for truthdig, universally hated for years in the comment section, just declared his everlasting love for Liz Cheney. Wow, what a shock. I guess the “elites” aren’t the only ones who don’t really care what the rest of us think, right Bob?

  7. “This pillage, more and more onerous for the global population, necessitates a new totalitarianism, one where the billionaire class lives in opulence, workers are serfs, rights such as privacy and due process are abolished, Big Brother watches us all the time, war is the chief business of the state, dissent is criminalized and those displaced by conflicts and climate breakdown are barred entry into the climate fortresses in the global north. Portions of the human species, the most privileged, will, in theory, hold out a little longer before they succumb to the great die off.”

    Perhaps ‘We’ have been just been one massive Cosmic-social-experiment since the instant of the Big Bang. From heaving ocean waters to dank and dark caves to the hunters and gatherers pursing beasts to workers sweating in fiery steel plants to now billions of people staring blankly into a small box in their hand that spews out dancing pixels of society-and-soul-crushing memes and other noxious forms of destructive social engineering. We are the experiment. And we’re getting the results that uncountable years on this Earth have led up to. What a letdown. All that… for THIS?

    We came in with a Great Big Bang. And we’re all going out in the eerie silence of defeat and submission to the worst among us. The final victory of the Predator Class. They, the Vultures circling over the carcass of what once was a great People with a hopeful vision. Now a broken band of lost souls with no joy in their hearts and fewer calories in their stomachs and empty spaces in their gas tanks… and in their Minds.

    A wise one once said… You shall know a Tree by its fruits.

    And today, we are surrounded by the fruits of They who lust to rule over us like false gods. Fruits that are spoiled… rotting… attracting bugs… soiling our sidewalks and filling our gutters with the stench of their spiritual rot and cosmic stink.

    Maybe this was going to be our fate from the beginning. When the worst among us are allowed to rise to the highest levels of power and influence. When ‘Resistance (becomes) Futile’. How could it have ended otherwise?

    Maybe there is a Cosmic Garbage Collector who around picking up failed planets with poisoned cultures led by false gods. Maybe our World is not unique in this regard. Maybe the Universe is littered with doomed planets such as ours.

    Some games you simply can not win. They were set up that way from the beginning.

    There are more planets out there than there are grains of sand in all the seas. Maybe someone else out there has this figured out and championed a different outcome.

    But if it is our fate to be placed in the Great Trash Bin of Cosmic history… at least we can hope that the Cosmic Garbage Collector also believes in… Recycling.

  8. Chris, you have nailed it, ‘cept for saluting the WHO with their inflated figures of death. I understand why you have stayed away from speculating on what is truth and what is factual when it comes to this pandemic.

  9. Dear Rev. Hedges:
    Please familiarize yourself with the works of the late Dr Gene Sharp.

  10. Great article once again Mr. Hedges. Only a society organized under a socialist ideology has a chance of mitigating the worst impulses of the greedy and sociopathic among the vast swaths of humanity living on this planet with it’s fragile and limited ecosystem and resources. Our civilization can’t evolve past contradictory nation states and unsustainable resource hording stuck in outdated and anti-life global capitalism. All this misery death sorrow and WASTE just so a miniscule sliver of humanity can live in a fantasyland of unlimited wealth and consumption.

  11. Chris:

    Please consider some new possibilities due to current geopolitics:

    *The US spends 10x what Russia does on its military, yet Russia has a superior army in terms of both training in combined arms and technological capabilities (missile, C4ISR). A number of experts, Col Douglas Macgregor, Andrei Martyanov (https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/), Larry C Johnson (https://sonar21.com/) and Scott Ritter have all warned that NATO is unprepared to engage Russia, that Russia is grinding Ukrainian forces into dust due to its artillery and air superiority: for example, on theDuran podcast (https://www.youtube.com/c/TheDuran/videos) they have mentioned 60,000 shells/day vs 6000/day from Ukrainians (who are low on ammunition and targeted by Russian drones and missiles).
    *The Russian sanctions have backfired and the Ruble is stronger today than before the war started. Russia is considered to be self-sufficient in terms of resources, and instead it is the US and Europe, which have committed economic suicide. The US has broken its economic and military prestige by provoking the Ukraine war. Inflation in food and fuel will grip the West, and open opportunities for political movements on the right and left as discontent grows. (see for example: https://multipolarista.com/2022/05/11/michael-hudson-dollar-sanctions-imperialism/)
    *The China-Russia alliance is allowing countries the US oppressed or destabilized in the South and East to recover and resist the neoliberal economic system. As economic prosperity shifts East, countries will gradually move away from the Dollar. Consider how Russia has asked Europe to pay for its gas in Rubles or the alternative to SWIFT developed by China (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-Border_Interbank_Payment_System). The days of the US using the world as its credit card (due to Treasury bill sales and budget deficits) are numbered.

    The United States cannot lose power quickly enough. The US prides itself as a beacon of progress and democracy, while it creates failed states and undermines cooperation on issues like climate change. The State Department in concert with the CIA has undermined progress throughout the developing world, as well as engineered the divisions between Europe and Russia . I would not be unhappy to see the US humiliated over Ukraine, once NATO has been exposed as a money laundering scheme rather than a competent force and inflation forces the US govt to actually respond to domestic needs.

  12. Snd there was a fifth horse, colorless and irreal. And it was merciless Technology.

  13. And there was a fifth horse, colorless and irreal. And it was merciless Technology.

  14. “bizarre conspiracy theories, a retreat into magical thinking”

    Hey Hedges!

    Do you believe in magic?

    https://youtu.be/zRpCwKRnL1M

    Conspiracy Theories?

    https://www.ae911truth.org/news/851-nist-confirms-its-building-7-report-is-indefensible-part-2-of-5-impossible-and-incoherent

    I think you do! Because, apparently, even after 20 years since PNAC’s, still unabated, mighty catalyst, and after all the work that the now 3,500+ Architects & Engineers have done to totally expose them and their most horrendous destructive corrosive and catastrophic event to America in it’s history, you still have not challenged the official story, which is the “bizarre conspiracy theory” and requires “magical thinking” to believe!

    Go to print! You have the power!

    Immediately call together all of your independent investigative fearless journalist colleagues(What’s left of our 4th estate) and in one powerful voice declare your solidarity with the 3,500+ Architects & Engineers For 911 Truth! There is strength in numbers! Pulitzer Prize winning journalists will not be ignored, or killed by the official story mafia, at least not all at once. But once the word is out it will instantly render the official story mafia powerless!

    Flip the catalyst/script of all the post 911 dystopia of which you speak. Flip PNAC’s Catalyst with your mighty pen!

    Justice delayed is Justice denied!

    Carpe Diem! The world ain’t saving itself!

  15. Standard Hedges. The usual litany of horrors, echoing hellfire-and-brimstone sermons for sinners in the hands of an angry god, and serving self-fulfilling prophecy to make decline, devolution, death a fait accompli. As if to reinforce “the message…your lives and the lives of your children do not matter.” Rumors of the death of empire are greatly exaggerated. It’s the death of the commonwealth, we the people, bled by empire, that’s at stake.

    The games ruling elites have been playing with humans and all life on earth are now in an endgame to transition us into final solutions for the class war waged since the dawn of ‘civilization’. But we will not be able to recognize and respond to this endgame by remaining resigned to the endless series of end-of-empire, end-of-the-world evils to which Hedges resorts. Such jaded jeremiads remain disconnected from the strategic relations among the many crises confronting us that form an agenda of controlled demolition of the old abnormal for the brave new abnormal to be born.

    That’s why Hedges’ continuing complicity with the plandemic, among other psywars (e.g., climate change), is so significant. Like any other weapon of mass distraction in the propaganda arsenal, it misdirects us from the global coup which began with covid to move us into what the “masters of mankind” (Adam Smith) have planned for us as the Great Reset, and the dark age to come.

    When Hedges highlights the acute hunger now stalking the planet as the result of a fake pandemic, rather than lockdowns laid down by global elite rule as through the WHO, he collaborates with this empire of lies, like so many other fake leftists who have abandoned poor, oppressed, and working class masses across the world. Those who have made careers warning of fascism are now revealing themselves for the professional impostors they are, blinding followers by what they pretend to see, abetting the biosecurity state and technocracy essential to the totalitarianism they claim to oppose.

    For further consideration:

    Transhumanism and the Metaverse
    https://charleseisenstein.substack.com/p/transhumanism-and-the-metaverse

    Parasites and Mind Tricks: A Story of Seduction, Gaslighting, and Poisons
    https://tessa.substack.com/p/parasites-and-mind-tricks-a-story

    1. Hedges is a gifted writer. You gotta give him that… but give him an opportunity to tell more truth than the mainstream deems permissible, and watch how fast he turns his surname into a verb.

  16. I found it interesting how few comments this article has elicited compared to previous ones by Hedges: unless a deluge of commentary is on the way, perhaps the title “Triumph of Death” has a little to do with it.

    I want to offer that when a society measures “the good life” by external goods like beauty, status, riches, they are impoverishing themselves on another level: it’s like saying without this beauty, status or riches they aren’t worth much.

    Whatever the global consequences from our industry and consumption, the natural world will continue to change long after we are departed as a species. What will life be like for people living 50 years from now, 100, 1000, 10,000? We’re not used to thinking or planning this way.

  17. I was like “wow this is an avalanche of black pills and Chomskyite bullshit” but then “oh right, Chris Hedges. Yeah ok.”

    Yup, we’re doomed. Give up now and leave the world to the fascist-idolating preppers. Believe Russia was “provoked” into attacking Ukraine and _definitely_ don’t wonder why you’re parroting Vladimir “totally an honest guy he swears” Putin. Same old bullshit from the remaining “minds” of the New Left who endorsed a new world order built on money because it let them feed their anti-Labor prejudices and anti-American fetish. Good job not doing anything useful guys; that’s a “guru” is good for: nothing.

    Maybe you should take your final cue from Chomsky one last time and shrug and say you aren’t concerned about global climate change because you’re sure your children will be fine. That’s what “the guru” said, live on tv. Live as long as you can no matter the cost and die leaving you society worse off for being part of it. Don’t be a citizen, be a parasite.

    Me, I’m going to fight. Plenty of good causes to bleed for despite Hedges Boomer-Doomer self-indulgent “it was always too late to use our massive generational power to do anything except enrich ourselves and fuck the future” masturbatory bullshit.

    Support Ukraine. Putin’s a murderer, a despot, and a thief. Russia is committing actual deliberate genocide -the murders at Bucha (hands tied, shot in the back of the head) have been replicated dozens of times since then. Go and fight if you can, if you can’t sponsor someone you trust who will. Gearing up and traveling over isn’t cheap, but neither is the collapse of the international order and Putin’s already planning on attacking Poland next. If you care, ACTUALLY CARE, about preventing nuclear war victory in Ukraine is the best chance you have.

    Russia is going to threaten nuclear war no matter what and the only real counter to coercion is courage. Sorry, but that’s the core of. There is no future in appeasement and compliance.

    Or don’t, and maybe proactively compost yourself like Noam and Chris think you should. You’re probably White and Western after all, and we all know what Whiteness does.

    Support Freedom of Speech. Don’t let anyone browbeat you into shutting up and following along, no matter how good they say their cause is. If they think intimidation is power they aren’t serious they’re just gratifying their own sense of impotence with street theater. Call them out and make them speak in actual human conversational terms about what they actually MATERIALLY want. If they call you “solutionist” walk away -you got your answer and did it with a good faith effort. Evil should not go unchallenged no matter how much “good” it intends.

    Support Gun Bans and Buybacks. The AR15 isn’t inherently evil but we’re all sick of seeing kids die. I love my country and I love sport shooting but this shit is ridiculous. Listen to your conscience. And hell, look at Ukraine! That’s what even a mediocre power like Russia can do. Rifles aren’t what’s keeping Ukraine free it’s artillery and ATGMs. Time to grow up gun people. Preserving freedom means being an actual good citizen. Vote. Learn. Think. Freedom isn’t free and that extends to your failures to be responsible citizens.

    Hard times and dark times are both coming. Being a citizen of actual moral courage (standing up to be counted as a dissenter) and intellectual courage (interrogating your own ideals for self-indulgence) will be more necessary then ever. You will be deluged in delusional mainstream “everything is fiiiiine” bullshit, sneering Hedges/Chomsky “everything is FUCKED and it’s all America’s fault” bullshit, and appeals by opportunists that if you make them the new American Stalin they’ll fix everything by torturing and slaughtering someone else you already hate.

    In the best times the bullshit at least tends to come from a single direction but where we’re going the lies and delusions will be coming from _all_ angles. Resist, Resist, Resist.

    Wherever you are when you read this is your home and you are responsible for it. Sorry, but even with no power comes genuine responsibility. Be an example of the light you want to see in others. It is NOT too late to create and preserve a world worth living in.

    …once all the Boomers are finally fucking out of power, of course.

    PS: also read Timothy Snyder, the Yale Historian. For lack of an easier way to put it what Prof. Snyder is most essentially is honest. He’s not about sneering “I told you so” from some moral mountaintop, which is a nice change of pace, he’s about making sense of both the past few decades and the 20th century as a whole. Now is a great time to start understanding what’s going on without indulging in being contrarian.

    1. CapitalB:

      Do you actually listen to how you contradict yourself? You’re really acting in good faith and kindness in your comments, and respecting your own advice, ;):
      Support Freedom of Speech. Don’t let anyone browbeat you into shutting up and following along, no matter how good they say their cause is. If they think intimidation is power they aren’t serious they’re just gratifying their own sense of impotence with street theater …

      It’s really difficult dealing with these global and historical forces much greater than ourselves. Often all we can do is try to develop a better understanding and control our own actions. Our acceptance or denial of reality, of cause and effect, doesn’t change the consequences we, or our children and grandchildren will face. I think it’s better to understand the world as best we can, but hey, I’m just another voice on the internet.

    2. You may want to better inform yourself about the truth of Ukraine. Since the US-backed coup that removed a democratically elected president there in 2014, the US has used Ukraine as an agitator and battering ram against Russia while funding and arming neo-Nazi elements that infest Ukraine’s military:

      https://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/US-lifts-ban-on-funding-neo-Nazi-Ukrainian-militia-441884

      Those same forces have been shelling and killing ethnic Russians in the Donbass ever since, which is one reason (albeit perhaps not the only reason) Putin intervened. Independent American journalist Patrick Lancaster has covered the region for eight years. His reports and interviews with citizens in the Donbass confirm the Ukrainian military aggression against its own people:

      https://www.youtube.com/c/PatrickLancasterNewsToday/videos

      1. Well put John K..

        CapitalB seems to possess the ardent zeal of the January 6th crowd, along with the same stunningly shallow understanding of history.

        You don’t need to be Putin’s apologist to know the ugly bite that a cornered rat delivers; is a little less his fault than the joker that decided to wrangle him.

        Even a cursory scan of modern history should convince us that Russia comes by it’s hard-on for Nazis honestly, and that it’s opinion of the west as an “existential threat”, holds more water, each time NATO ignores it’s peacekeeping charter to camp out on Russia’s doorstep.

        The neocons had their opportunity to fuel the “defense” industry in the middle-east; now neoliberals can provide the same service in Ukraine.

        For Christ’s sake…. Is this string-theory?

  18. Seen from 13,000 kilometres away (Australia), the US is coming apart at the seams, thanks to the ruling psychopaths and their middle class gofers.
    The only thing stopping it from bursting completely is the courage and work ethic of the working class.

  19. I’ve always respected Hedges’ take on corporate power. But he appears to have a blind spot when it comes to Big Pharma, by far the largest lobbying influence in Washington, which has also counted record profits over the past year. If war benefits the war industry, do pandemics not benefit the vaccine industry?

    A few years ago, Pfizer had to pay out $2.3 billion, the largest health care fraud settlement in the history of the Department of Justice. Yet now they are practically worshiped despite the fact their Covid vaccine did not deliver the immunity that was their selling point (though Pfizer and all vaccine makers enjoy LEGAL immunity if their products cause harm).

    Hedges linked to an article claiming hundreds of thousands of lives could have been saved during the pandemic, not with early treatment (which is the standard of care for any disease) but through more vaccination. Well, I live in the most vaccinated state in America, and our data shows that more people have died of Covid since vax rollout than before. 75% of hospitalizations this year are in the FULLY VACCINATED, and it’s getting worse by the month.

    But since the CDC changed its definition of a vaccine last year (rewriting history is also a mark of fascism) we can no longer criticize a vaccine if it doesn’t provide immunity; we just need to line up for our next booster. Then another. Then another. Turning the population into dependent lifetime customers is a great business model for these companies.

    Meanwhile, the FDA, whose vaccine regulatory budget is funded in part by the very companies whose products they evaluate, and whose committee members are littered with former Big Pharma employees, continue to approve more shots for more age groups while courageous doctors advocating early treatment are vilified and censored. Does this pattern look familiar?

  20. The pursuit of hegemony will doom the US but then again with a docile and tamed public the powers that be will just be laughing to the bank with the huge arms industry raking in the profits. Stop talking about the make believe Democracy we have –it ceased to exist once we became the National Security State. What we have folks is an increasingly delusional oligarchy who is letting the nation rot from within while it continues to fight imaginary enemies outside. The public continues to be duped and most likely won’t wake up before the nation collapses. You could not find a more sad ending in a Greek tragedy..

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