Chris Hedges Opinion Original

Chris Hedges: The Politicians Who Destroyed Our Democracy Want Us to Vote for Them To Save It

We should have walked out on the Democratic Party and mounted a serious opposition movement while we still had a chance.
The Body Politic – by Mr. Fish

By Chris Hedges / Original to ScheerPost

The bipartisan project of dismantling our democracy, which took place over the last few decades on behalf of corporations and the rich, has left only the outward shell of democracy. The courts, legislative bodies, the executive branch and the media, including public broadcasting, are captive to corporate power. There is no institution left that can be considered authentically democratic. The corporate coup d’état is over. They won. We lost.

The wreckage of this neoliberal project is appalling: endless and futile wars to enrich a military-industrial-complex that bleeds the U.S. Treasury of half of all discretionary spending; deindustrialization that has turned U.S. cities into decayed ruins; the slashing and privatization of social programs, including education, utility services and health care – which saw over one million Americans account for one-fifth of global deaths from Covid, although we are 4 percent of the world’s population; draconian forms of social control embodied in militarized police, functioning as lethal armies of occupation in poor urban areas; the largest prison system in the world; a virtual tax boycott by the richest individuals and corporations; money-saturated elections that perpetuate our system of legalized bribery; and the most intrusive state surveillance of the citizenry in our history.

In “The United States of Amnesia,” to quote Gore Vidal, the corporate press and the ruling class create fictional feel-good personas for candidates, treat all political campaigns as if it is a day at the races and gloss over the fact that on every major issue, from trade deals to war, there is very little difference between Democrats and Republicans. The Democratic Party and Joe Biden are not the lesser evil, but rather, as Glen Ford pointed out, “the more effective evil.”

Biden supported the campaign to discredit and humiliate Anita Hill to appoint Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. He was one of the principal architects of the endless wars in the Middle East, calling for “taking Saddam down” five years before the invasion of Iraq. He rehabilitated the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, after vowing to make the country a pariah because of the assassination of the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Biden is a fervent supporter of Israel, calling the apartheid state “the single greatest strength America has in the Middle East” and declaring “I am a Zionist. You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.” His campaigns have been lavishly funded by the Israel lobby for at least two decades. 

In the 1970s, he fought school busing, arguing that segregation was beneficial for Blacks.  He and South Carolina’s racist senator, Strom Thurmond, sponsored the Comprehensive Crime Control Act, which eliminated parole for federal prisoners and limited the amount of time sentences could be reduced for good behavior. Biden sponsored and aggressively pushed the 1994 crime bill, which he also helped draftcalling for its passage because “We have predators on our streets that society has in fact, in part because of its neglect, created.” The bill expanded the death penalty for dozens of existing and new federal crimes and mandated life imprisonment for a third violent felony, also known as the “three strikes and you’re out” rule, more than doubling the nation’s prison population. The bill provided funds to add 100,000 new police officers and build new prisons, on the condition that prisoners serve their entire sentences. He pushed through the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which gutted the federal writ of habeas corpus, abolished the rights of death row prisoners and mandated harsh federal sentencing rules. 

Biden takes credit for writing the 2001 Patriot Act, which expanded the government’s ability to monitor anyone’s phone and email communications, collect bank and credit reporting records, and track activity on the Internet. He backed austerity programs, including the destruction of welfare and cuts to Social Security. He fought for NAFTA and other “free trade” deals which fueled  inequality, deindustrialization, a significant drop in wages and the offshoring of  millions of manufacturing jobs to underpaid workers who toil in sweatshops in countries like Mexico, Malaysia, China or Vietnam. 

He also backed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act that, as Human Rights Watch writes, “eliminated key defenses against deportation and subjected many more immigrants, including legal permanent residents, to detention and deportation.” 

Biden long opposed abortion, writing in a letter to a constituent: “Those of us who are opposed to abortion should not be compelled to pay for them. As you may know, I have consistently — on no fewer than 50 occasions — voted against federal funding of abortions.” 

He was at the forefront of deregulating the banking industry and the abolition of Glass-Steagall, which contributed to the global financial meltdown, including the collapse of nearly 500 banks, in 2007 and 2008. He is a favorite of the for-profit insurance and pharmaceutical industry, which contributed $6.3 million to his 2020 presidential campaign, almost four times more money than they channeled to Donald Trump’s campaign. Biden and the Democrats annually increase the military budget, approving $813 billion for fiscal year 2023. He and the Democrats have provided over $60 billion in military aid and assistance to the war in Ukraine, with no end in sight. In the Senate, Biden abjectly served the interests of MBNA, the largest independent credit card company headquartered in Delaware, which also employed Biden’s son Hunter.

The decisions of politicians like Biden have a staggering human cost, not only for the poor, workers and the shrinking middle class but for millions of people in the Middle East, millions of families ripped apart by mass incarceration, millions more forced into bankruptcy by our mercenary for-profit medical system where corporations are legally permitted to hold sick children hostage while their frantic parents bankrupt themselves to save them, millions who became addicted to opioids and hundreds of thousands who died from them, millions denied welfare assistance, and all of us barreling toward extinction because of a refusal to curb the greed and destructive power of the fossil fuel industry, which has raked in $2.8 billion a day in profit over the last 50 years.

Biden, morally vacuous and of limited intelligence, is responsible for more suffering and death at home and abroad than Donald Trump. But the victims in our Punch-and-Judy media shows are rendered invisible. And that is why the victims despise the whole superstructure and want to tear it down.

These establishment politicians and their appointed  judges promulgated laws that permitted the top 1 percent to loot $54 trillion from the bottom 90 percent, from 1975 to 2022, at a rate of $2.5 trillion a year, according to a study by the RAND corporation. The fertile ground of our political, economic, cultural and social wreckage spawned an array of neo-fascists, con artists, racists, criminals, charlatans, conspiracy theorists, right-wing militias and demagogues that will soon take power.

Decayed societies, such as Weimar Germany or the former Yugoslavia, which I covered for The New York Times, always vomit up political deformities who express the hatred a betrayed public feel for a corrupt ruling class and bankrupt liberalism. The twilight of the Greek, Roman, Ottoman, Habsburg and Russian empires were no different. 

These political deformities play the role of the Snopes clan in William Faulkner’s trilogy “The Hamlet,” “The Town” and “The Mansion.” The Snopeses wrested control in the South from a degenerate aristocratic elite. Flem Snopes and his extended family — which includes a killer, a pedophile, a bigamist, an arsonist, a mentally disabled man who copulates with a cow, and a relative who sells tickets to witness the bestiality — are fictional representations of the scum that hijacked the Republican Party.

“The usual reference to ‘amorality,’ while accurate, is not sufficiently distinctive and by itself does not allow us to place them, as they should be placed, in a historical moment,” the critic Irving Howe wrote of the Snopeses. “Perhaps the most important thing to be said is that they are what comes afterwards: the creatures that emerge from the devastation, with the slime still upon their lips.”

“Let a world collapse, in the South or Russia, and there appear figures of coarse ambition driving their way up from beneath the social bottom, men to whom moral claims are not so much absurd as incomprehensible, sons of bushwhackers or muzhiks drifting in from nowhere and taking over through the sheer outrageousness of their monolithic force,” Howe wrote. “They become presidents of local banks and chairmen of party regional committees, and later, a trifle slicked up, they muscle their way into Congress or the Politburo. Scavengers without inhibition, they need not believe in the crumbling official code of their society; they need only learn to mimic its sounds.”

Biden and other establishment politicians are not actually calling for democracy. They are calling for civility. They have no intention of extracting the knife thrust into our backs. They hope to paper over the rot and the pain with the decorum of the polite, measured talk they used to sell us the con of neoliberalism. The political correctness and inclusivity imposed by college-educated elites, unfortunately, has now become associated with the corporate assault, as if a woman CEO or a Black police officer is going to mitigate the exploitation and abuse. Minorities are always welcome, as they were in other species of colonialism, if they serve the dictates of the masters. This is how Barack Obama, whom Cornel West called “a Black mascot for Wall Street,” became President.

Freedom for millions of enraged Americans has become the freedom to hate, the freedom to use words like “nigger,” “kike,” “spic,” “chink,” “raghead” and “fag;” the freedom to physically assault Muslims, undocumented workers, women, African-Americans, homosexuals and anyone who dares criticize their Christian fascism; the freedom to celebrate historical movements and figures that the college-educated elites condemn, including the Ku Klux Klan and the Confederacy; the freedom to ridicule and dismiss intellectuals, ideas, science and culture; the freedom to silence those who have been telling them how to behave; the freedom to revel in hypermasculinity, racism, sexism, violence and patriarchy.

These crypto-fascists have always been part of the American landscape, but the disenfranchisement of millions of Americans, especially white Americans, has inflamed these hatreds. Voting for the architects of what political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls our system of “inverted totalitarianism” will not make them go away; in fact, it will further discredit liberal ideas and liberal democracy. This puts liberals in a terrible bind. They have every right to fear the far right. All the dark scenarios are correct. But by backing Biden and the ruling corporate party, they ensure their political irrelevance.

The Democratic Party has spent millions funding far-right “pied piper” candidates assuming they would be easier to defeat, a tactic foolishly copied from the Clinton campaign, which secretly “elevated” Trump in the hopes that he would win the Republican nomination. They have worked to censor critics from the left and the right on social media. They claim they are the last bulwark against tyranny. None of these subterfuges will work. America will descend into a Viktor Orbán-type of authoritarianism without profound political, social and economic reform. 

After the Iraq war went sour, I, as someone who publicly opposed the invasion and had been the Middle East Bureau Chief for The New York Times, was often asked what we should do now. I answered that Iraq could no longer be put back together. It was broken. We broke it. Those who ask if we should support the Democrats as a tactic to halt our descent into tyranny are in a similar dilemma. My answer is no different. We should have walked out on the Democratic Party while we still had a chance.


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.


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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.

60 comments

    1. I must read or listen to Hedges too often..I’ve seen this article before ! But it’s brilliant !!!

    2. The Demoncrats and Reprobates are 2 cheeks of the same backside, complete tools of the deep state. Voting in the USA has been reduced to fake “lesser evilism”. Why vote for Biden? Because at least he will not deny the realities global warming and COVID and do something about it (only he didn’t). Why vote for Trump 2.0 in 2024? Because at least he will not lead us into nuclear armageddon (only he will).
      Nothing short of revolution can save the USA and the world

      1. Defending Trumpism means supporting the worst of Fascism. As Eric Alterman said: “Trump belongs in a prison psyche ward because he is a dangerous lunatic!” Be honest. Trump lives in a world of lies where he acts like a mad king supported by a lemminglike lizard-brain cult who as Jan. 6th proved will even kill for him. He is a confessed sexual predator, likely rapist, anti-Semitic, terroristic, self-dealing, anti-health care, anti-environment, pro-fascist violence, paranoid, ignorant, vulgar, anti-law, narcissistic, cruel and childish buffoon with an evil heart of darkness. If you support these Trumpian traits the psyche ward is your best bet.

  1. I am so Thankful for your honest, intuitive and poignant analysis. You nailed the true nature of the Demon-crats.

    Agree with your assessments on ‘Minorities are welcome…’ I am quietly horrified when I have human interactions with college and Masters Degree adult children of 1st and 2nd generation immigrants from Asia and Latin America as well as adult children of refugees from the Middle East here in California. Their intellectual conditioning and expressions emulate ‘corporate rhetoric’. And I cringe everytime I observe a bleached blonde $300 hair saloned Latina, Middle Eastern or an Asian woman in a conference or seminar.

    Whatever happened to Common Sense, Ability to Research, Analyze, Think a subject thru, Align with Humanity then Speak and Do the Right Action?

    Sometime ago, I read that politicians attend their Ritual Church or Synagogue Services, I often wondered: does this Faith ‘parisioner/member’ have a discreet/secret appointment with their trusted Rabbi or Priest or Deacon for a Private Confessional Vomit for their Atrocious decisions affecting human lives?

    Happy Early Holidays, Chris & your team.

    1. Excellent comment. Constant garbage from the MSM leads to this. Chris Hedges has it right.

    2. As a descendant of a Middle Eastern man who arrived before the notion of refugees, I am forever grateful to live in a place where I have the choice of what to wear. I am chilled seeing women wearing a symbol of oppression on their heads, while others are dying daily fighting to take it off. If anyone suggested that my grandmother could not choose to have her hair done in a salon, she’d have told them to go straight to h*ll.

  2. On Election Day Eve you tell your readers not to vote for Democrats? Your revolutionary purity is way off base.

    1. Agreed. I greatly admire Chris Hedges work but why in god’s name put this article out now? Couldn’t it have waited a couple days? I believe it’s extremely important to defeat as many republicans as possible Tuesday. And Biden is obviously a long time corporate puppet but he’s not running in this election.

      1. You believe it’s important to vote blue. There is never a good time not to vote blue, correct? Every election is the most important one. My email is full of requests from blue candidates for money, so they can forget their campaign promises and kowtow to party leadership. Voting districts are largely gerrymandered. In my district, the Democrat will always win and not serve the people. Political power has changed hands between red and blue, back and forth, over the years and will continue with no benefit to the citizenry, only to the corporations, military and rich. Biden, the Clintons and Obama are monsters. My blue senators serve the other right wing war party. You can’t vote for peace or against Goldman Sachs in the two party system.

      2. You completely missed the point. Voting for democrats will not help. They are not the lesser of two evils. The democrats are half the problem, not the solution. Voting for a democrats to defeat a republican only makes the problem worse. Put down the blue pompoms and vote third party or stay home.

    2. And that is why the US will continue to be the most violent and terrorist nation in the world…

    3. I do not think it targets this election, it is a push (for us lazy people) to stand up and work on something for the next big election in 2 years (without general strikes and boycotts NOTHING in this country will change … just have a look at the COP 27 in sharm-el-sheikh – guess what the outcome there will be besides blah blah blah)

    4. Bravo!
      Calling as you see it — truthfully and morally.
      Keep writing.
      Stop Wars!
      Protest Loudly!

  3. americans have always despised freedom and justice—democracy is a fake slogan something americans have never possessed…the problem is not politicians…”americans despise politicians with principles”. G Gorer
    “americans prefer to be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom”. Tocqueville
    “the problem w americans is not Orwellian it is huxleyan: americans love their oppression”. Neil Postman

  4. As usual,another gem of logic and passion that will.never see.the light of day for the mass populace that needs to hear the truth.for.a change I knew Biden was and is dumb and.evil.but not to.this degree.

  5. When Hedges quotes Irving Howe ““They become presidents of local banks and chairmen of party regional committees, and later, a trifle slicked up, they muscle their way into Congress or the Politburo. Scavengers without inhibition, they need not believe in the crumbling official code of their society; they need only learn to mimic its sounds” I picture in my mind Bill and Hillary Clinton as portrayed by historian and investigative journalist Roger Morris in his brilliant, masterful work (and please do read it) ‘Partners in Power: The Clintons and Their America’ One could not find better examples of what Chris Hedges has demonstrated in his piece ‘The Politicians Who Destroyed Our Democracy Want Us to Vote for Them to Save It’ Once again, thank you Chris for putting into words what I have in my mind.

    1. Was just watching Morris on CSPAN in a bookstore in NM, discussing the book in ’96.

      Like Chris Hedges the foretelling was completely accurate, it is right here with us now.

  6. Chris; When was the last time you actually heard someone say the N word ?
    No, if you’re not black, you are censored from using that word.
    You nailed everything else but, sadly, you just can’t get past you’re obsession with racism.

    1. I’m not black and hang out with black folks. I’ve heard, in person!, black people say the n word and some scummy white people too. It’s rare for whites but depends on their personalities.

  7. Once again Chris is on the mark! Brilliant piece, if voting changed anything it would be illegal! Good night America.

  8. I promised my grandmother, who was a suffragist, that I would always vote, and I always have, but I walked out on the Dems when Nancy Pelosi and my congressional rep walked on to Tawain. It was an unforgivable display of American arrogance. I voted for the local school board so as to keep my promise to Gram.

  9. Thank you for this. This country is blinded by its reality. The clones of fraudulent democracy think they can vote themselves out of this mess. LOL. Really appreciate this article and the time it was released, someone has to be the smarter carbon unit, and it’s CH for the win 🏆

  10. “We should have walked out on the Democratic Party while we still had a chance.”

    We’ve had chances for over 30 years, and we still do – so where are you? Did you give up after Nader (for whom I voted 4 times), who now gives free PR advice to Ds as to how to refine their messaging..
    Where are you when it comes to advocating for 3rd parties who are the alternatives –

    I learned a long time ago that you can’t just keep saying NO to something, you have to say YES to something – so what do you say YES to – “mass demonstrations in the streets”? Been there, done that – got the T-shirt – so how massive and for how long must these demonstrations be?

    Among all the perversities of the DP, you fail to mention perhaps the most destructive re our “democracy” – the systematic efforts to keep 3rd parties off ballots and out of debates, ensuring the only choices we have on the ballot are D/Rs

    Your failure to support and raise support for these alternatives (your appearance on a Matt Hoh chat and $100 bucks is rather like Trump throwing paper towels to the folks in PR after the hurricane) helps ensure that this Party you so rightfully castigate remains one of the 2 choices we are continually told are the only ones we have ..

    Sorry, Chris – you are not helping – your neglect of alternatives is only helping the status quo – you may well have “given up” fighting for something better, but don’t rain on the parade of those who haven’t …

    1. I have tried for 60 years and this is what we got. When you see the system is fixed your only choice is to not engage.

  11. It’s interesting to point out that in addition to his other anti-women views, Biden has destroyed title IX and has essentially dismantled all sex based rights for women and girls. Men are now being housed in women’s prisons. Female prisoners are being given condoms and are punished for even trying to speak up about it. In some prisons they sleep in shifts because of this. Men and boys are competing in women’s sports and taking scholarships and awards from women and girls. Men are being housed and are working in women’s shelters with women who have been raped and abused. Men are permitted in all changing, locker and rest rooms as long as they state that they are female. Stating that a woman is an adult human female is now considered hate speech. This is open censorship! Women speaking out or questioning gender ideology are being fired, cancelled, harassed, and attacked. So, if any women are planning on voting blue no matter who because they are under the illusion that the democrats are going to protect women’s rights, think again. We much get out of the mind set that we have to vote for either of the twin parties.

  12. Chris, I consider you a modern day prophet and appreciate that you write on topics no one else will touch. But do you ever write anything hopeful? How about including specific actions we can take? I’m always left despondent after reading your articles.

    1. Absolutely. Hedges only criticizes, condemns and complains, but NEVER offers any solutions. I am mystified why he tears down the Democratic Party more than the treasonous Republican Party that attempted the violent overthrow of the US government. The Democrats are certainly not perfect but are vastly preferable to the Republicans who attacked and trashed the capitol building.

  13. Since I live in Alaska and we now have ranked choice voting I will take part in this year’s charade. Otherwise I would sit at home drinking copious amounts of cheap liquor and laugh as the empire burns to the ground.

  14. While nearly everything said about Biden is true, he is hardly of “limited intelligence”. Personal insults weaken any argument. I totally disagree that we should not vote for Democrats or Republicans. Democrats (most) are clearly better than Republicans (all) in providing small amounts of gain for the middle and working classes. No, they are not socialists. But allowing full blown fascists to take power in order to be politically pure is madness.

  15. Mr. Hedges:
    With much respect from this communist California criminal defense
    Attorney of 1/2 century of experience, your complete failure to address
    the deadly spike protein jab mandates – which drove me from any further
    Relationship with the ACLU and your failure to publicly acknowledge that
    ONLY republicans and libertarians were censored by the CIA/MEDIA on this (for me)crucial and dominant issue in this 2022 election is a signal failure on your part. Sad to see you join the Regressives of the so called left in this silence that is the lie

  16. The best evidence of the extensive mind-control capabilities deployed upon the American populace was during the 2020 primaries, especially S. Caroliana, when suddenly it was agreed by all African-Americans that Joe Biden was a ‘friend to black people’.

    Once I stopped laughing at the very notion of the Senator from MasterCard being a friend to black people, it became obvious that powerful mind control was being used upon America.

    For me, its been over two decades since I left the Democratic Party, although I have in recent times temporarily rejoined to vote for Pro-War-Gressives in an futile hope to moderate the evil. But as for that, my attitude is now Never Again. If you want my vote, you’d better lose that (D) after your name as a starting point for discussions. If I see (D), I know it is for evil. Easy to remember as (D)evil.

    1. Blacks voted 92% for Biden, 8% for Trump and others in 2020. Biden is THEIR politician. And while only 13% of the population, voting in bloc with a 84% preference for a candidate is a much more powerful than the white population, 75% , voting with only a 10% preference. Simple math.
      And while Blacks leverage their power proudly and willfully, they never seem to benefit much from THEIR politicians.
      Biden has always been an elitist, smug megalomaniac who cares only for his rich donors, despite his promises to the Poor. Fifty years in DC have made him extremely efficient at delivering for HIS people.

  17. “The bipartisan project of dismantling our democracy”

    Finally, a true statement by one of the most insidious left-ish, Neo Progressive demagogues and propaganda buffs.

    The conservative/Neo Progressive project “of dismantling our democracy” is without a doubt one of the most bizarre, and dangerous, alliances in human history!

    1. YOUR SHAMEFUL DEFENSE OF DEVASTATION
      to DGA and the Dem party elite:

      We’re not “leftish,” we’re the actual democratic left! What’s left of the left. We witnessed the destruction of the New Deal and abandonment of the majority working class by New Dems who usurped the party in a very unfriendly take-over.

      The current Dem oligarchical elite is comfortable with the econopathy of trickle-up late stage capitalism. With an econ system where corporations are people while ecosystems and humans are mere things (“resources”) to be used up, the remnants tossed aside.

      As if collusion with plutocracy weren’t bad enough, the Dem elite is now aligned with the neocons. Desperate defenders of empire, of unipolar dominance. Macho claims like those of schoolkids and sports fanatics insisting their team is # 1. Can’t sell the idea of making the world safe for democracy? Then settle for military occupation and selling them weapons. Who cares about the deaths of irrelevant humans and invisible biota?

      The real slogan of the D party: BUILD BOMBS BETTER!

      What Joseph Nye Welch asked of Sen. Joe McCarthy should be asked of the Dem party and its obsequious defenders like DGA: “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

      No, they don’t. Because there is no left left in the D party, there is no longer a sense of justice, no sense of solidarity with all life, no sense of what is in the Declaration called “a decent respect for the opinions of mankind.”

      1. Rafi, You hit the bullseye dead center! Well said, my friend!

        I’ve been listening to Democratic Party so-called progressive writers and radio and television personalities talk about reforming the D Party ever since the election of 2000, and still make excuses for the actions of the DemoRATS in power over the past 22 years. Diehards they are! At least with the reactionary Repulsive Party, we know where they stand on important issues, so they don’t have to play the “con (fidence) game like the D’s do every election cycle.

        The nation is in decline and all we do is threaten the world with death, destruction, misery and suffering in a perpetual war-stance on this planet.

        I like the “trickle-up” phrase too, as we have seen over the past four decades plus and especially during the pandemic scam of the past two and a half years.

      2. @Rafi

        Thanks for exemplifying the kind of lame-a** left-ish, Neo Progressive response to their utter electoral impotence for which they not only never took any responsibility and blamed everyone else, but are preaching along similar lines to far right bigots like Trump and his MAGA cohorts who actively work to dismantle the institutions of democracy in the name of imaginary populism that is claimed by both groups.

        For the record:
        only an ignorant, twisted, and/or cynical mind would call criticism of demagogues and propaganda buffs like Hedges, who oppose liberal democracy itself with a collection of rubbish and unsubstantiated alt-facts (e.g., the lies about the ever-growing liberal-conservative divide, and the inability to distinguish the genuine Democrat efforts to not simply preserve democracy but progressively improve on it, from the GOP active attempt to destroy it) a defense of .. ‘devastation’ they themselves are party to its unleashing.

        The left-ish, Neo Progressive pundits and flock adaptation of the far right fake and false ‘us-them’ dichotomy, evident clearly in your BS comment and in Hedges’ pile of demagogic bile above is perhaps the most dangerous one. “If you are not with us you are against us”, perhaps the oldest fascist battle cry, is a quip adopted all heatedly by radical extremists on the right and left alike. It is also why all historical samples of its adaptation – from Nazis and communists alike – are replete with the most atrocious behavior ever recorded.

        As I said in my original comment, “The conservative/Neo Progressive project of dismantling our democracy is without a doubt one of the most bizarre, and dangerous, alliances in human history!”.

  18. Chris:

    My understanding is people are as much a product of their environment as their genetics, so if you put most people into a psychopathic system, as seen from the heights of power, you’re going to get some form of disease or corruption. Humans are in many ways opportunists and survivors, not angels or saints, but something in between, again depending on environment or circumstances.

    As a species, we’ve been really successful in creating technologies and systems that exploit people and the environment, and funnel the benefits upward. Nature is impartial, made up of cause and effect, but we are not. Trying to better the world and ourselves is a long term process, and America is one experiment I hope the world and future generations have the chance to learn from.

    The US is faltering, diseased in some ways as a gov’t and culture, but other parts of the world, like China and Russia, South America and Africa, are taking that decline as an opportunity to gain independence and connections with the rest of the East. Chris, your concern is largely America, but there’s 85% of the world population beyond the West and they can help stop US imperialism and provide some hope for a saner future.

  19. Here in Canada new political parties are formed regularly. I don’t know what problem causes AmeriKKKans to think they only have two political choices. Oh right, the inability to learn, to even recognize reality, or read centuries old wisdom. US-NAYOYO were warned:

    Chris Hedges: “Shutting down critics in a decayed and corrupt society is equivalent to turning off the oxygen on a seriously ill patient. It hastens mortality rather than delaying or preventing it. The convergence of a looming economic crisis, fear by a bankrupt ruling class that they will soon be banished from power, the growing ecological catastrophe and the inability to thwart self-destructive military adventurism against Russia and China have set the stage for an American implosion. Those of us who see it coming, and who desperately seek to prevent it, have become the enemy.

    Anna Wiener (Uncanny Valley: A Memoir): “Certain unflattering truths: I had felt unassailable behind the walls of power. Society was shifting, and I felt safer inside the empire, inside the machine. It was preferable to be on the side that did the watching than the side being watched.”

    Eduardo Galeano: “My great fear is that we are all suffering from amnesia. It’s not a person. It’s a system of power that is always deciding in the name of humanity who deserves to be remembered and who deserves to be forgotten.”

    Robert Mitchum was making a movie in Trinidad with John Huston. Mitchum walked around a lobby corner and found Huston masturbating the hotel’s pet monkey. Mitchum asked, ‘Why? Why do you do this, John?’ ‘The monkey likes it’, said Huston, ‘He really likes it!’

    William Casey (CIA Director 1981-1987): “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

    Uttered at Reagan’s first cabinet meeting as the mark of ultimate CIA success.

    Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1936: ‘They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.
    Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me – and I welcome their hatred.’

    H. L. Mencken (1880 – 1956): “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

    Mark Twain, “Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.”

    Art Buchwald, “I always wanted to go into politics, but I wasn’t light enough to make the team.”

    George Carlin, “It’s called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”

    Jackie Robinson, 1972 biography: “I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world…I know that I never had it made.”

    You will never hear this quote when every Yankee watches baseball players wear ’42’ on their backs. They won’t get down on one knee for human rights. Yankees would rather get down on both knees, and beg.

    Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, 1933: “We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”

    H. L. Mencken (1880 – 1956): “The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.”

    Alexis de Tocqueville : “I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.”

    Alexis de Tocqueville: “All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish it.”

    Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1936: ‘We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace – business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.’

    Sounds familiar doesn’t it: 1980 Volcker Recession, 1990 Fed Rate Recession, 2000 Tech Bubble, 2008 Great Mortgage Fraud Bubble, 2023 US Dollar Hyperinflation Collapse, 2030 Climate Catastrophes, 2040 Sixth Mass Extinction.

    In Canada, the 1990 recession crushed PM Brian Mulroney who was forced to resign with extra stink caused by the Canada–United States Free Trade Agreement (CUSFTA), and the GST sales tax. His CONservative Party went from a dominant majority of 156 MPs to 2 MPs. It also marked the rise of two new political parties: Reform Party and Bloc Quebecois.

    Harry S. Truman: “I never would have agreed to the formation of the Central Intelligence Agency back in forty-seven, if I had known it would become the American Gestapo.”

    Dwight D. Eisenhower: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.”  A militarized world “is not spending money alone.  It is spending the sweat of its labourers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”

    Andrew Jackson, Farewell Address, 1837: “It is one of the serious evils of our present system of banking that it enables one class of society–and that by no means a numerous one–by its control over the currency, to act injuriously upon the interests of all the others and to exercise more than its just proportion of influence in political affairs. The agricultural, the mechanical, and the laboring classes have little or no share in the direction of the great moneyed corporations….”

    George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796: “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.”

    Lactantius, (late 3rd century) (The Divine Institutes): “In order to enslave the many, the greedy began to appropriate and accumulate the necessities of life and keep them tightly closed up, so that they might keep these bounties for themselves. They did this not for humanity’s sake (which was not in them at all), but to rake up all things as products of their greed and avarice. In the name of justice they made unfair and unjust laws to sanction their thefts and avarice against the power of the multitude. In this way they availed as much by authority as by strength of arms or overt evil.”

    Homer: “Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.”

    1. Re: “in Canada new political parties are formed regularly.”

      Similarly here in Australia where in the recent federal election the ultra-conservative party of (now former PM) Scott Morrison lost seats down the east coast to a bunch of independent women candidates, who the MSM grouped together and labeled ‘teals’ (go figure).
      We have yet to see what colour they really are, but my inclination is that they’ll expose themselves as green capitalists; they’re being elected to conservative seats indicating that economically they are not that far removed from neo-liberalism.

      The greens have established themselves as a party of influence, garnering 14% nationally in the election of May this year.
      Independents and other minor parties have long been a fixture of federal and state parliaments.

      I am not sure of how the Canadian system is structured.
      But in Australia there are some guarantees of voters’ rights that seem to be missing in the US; namely, once you are on the electoral rolls, which are managed by a nonpartisan government body (the Australian Electoral Commission) you cannot readily be kicked off it

    2. Ricardo 2000: Great quotes and post!

      In Dr. Michael Parenti’s masterpiece, “THE ASSASSINATION OF JULIUS CAESAR,” it had less to do with Caesar but more about the greed of the rich filth in ancient Rome and the correlation of the mega rich greedsters of today.

      “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

  20. While this piece might rightfully be judged as ‘woe-is-me’, some issues of history need to be pointed out to counter some of its grosser distortions, especially for those who appear to not know or understand history (like Hedges, apparently). The chief distortion centres on this:

    “Decayed societies, such as Weimar Germany or the former Yugoslavia, which I covered for The New York Times, always vomit up political deformities who express the hatred a betrayed public feel for a corrupt ruling class and bankrupt liberalism. The twilight of the Greek, Roman, Ottoman, Habsburg and Russian empires were no different.”

    Then we’re asked to believe these produced Snopes-clan type monsters(!).

    First, on Yugoslavia: how on earth was Yugoslavia ‘decayed’ when in fact it was bombed into oblivion by US/NATO forces? The balkanisation of Yugoslavia was always explicit US/NATO policy post-1992, and that was achieved, with all the attendant social pathologies and monsters arising directly as a result. Yugoslavia was not ‘decayed’, but rather it was imperialism that caused the destruction of Yugoslavia and revived its historic national antagonisms which live on and are promoted to this day.

    Second, Russia: which decaying ‘Russian empire’ is Hedges referring to? Was it the Tsarist empire? If so, is Hedges implying that the rise of political opposition as manifested in Socialist Revolutionaries (both ‘right’ and ‘left’), Social Democrats (both Menshevik and Bolshevik) and various other political oppositions were expressions of ‘political deformities’ in a decaying Tsarist empire that was shattered by the first inter-imperialist (‘Great’) war? Ridiculous rubbish, especially when many of the leaders of these organisations made fundamental contributions to political analysis, Marxist theory and written histories (eg, Lenin, Trotsky, Bukharin). Again, we see the dead hand of imperialism at work, and no evidence of ‘political deformities’ but the opposite.

    Perhaps the post-Tsarist ‘monsters’ weren’t these at all, but rather Stalin and the corrupt and brutal bureaucratic caste he personified? Was this the result of ‘decay’ of an empire then? Hardly. While the inherent backwardness of Russia provided fertile soil for the rise of the Stalinist bureaucracy administering universal scarcity, the main reasons stemmed directly from relentless imperialist encirclement, blockades and military build-ups against the USSR, and of course the failure of the revolution to spread to any advanced capitalist country didn’t help either. But again, it’s the dead hand of imperialism at the root of it.

    However, if Hedges is referring to the ‘decay’ of the so-called Russian ’empire’ of the USSR in its last days, which is what I suspect, then that ‘decay’ was simply the end result of the decades-long continuance of all the imperialist encirclements, blockades, sabre-rattling and war mongering. The soviet bureaucracy could no longer maintain its lies and repression to be sure, and Yeltsin and the resulting post-1991 Russian capitalist oligarchy certainly were pernicious and monstrous, as was the ensuing rise of fascist bands throughout Eastern Europe. The counterrevolution carried out against the USSR, with major input from the imperialist powers, produced horrifying socio-economic-demographic outcomes including mass unemployment, catastrophic declines in production and an unprecedented 6-year drop in life expectancy. That’s the result of counterrevolution, the shock-therapy of the reimposition of capitalism (that Hedges likes to call a ‘revolution’). Not soviet ’empire’ decay.

    Finally, ‘bankrupt liberalism’ had nothing to do with the twilight of the Greek, Roman or Ottoman empires, and very little to do with the twilight of the Hapsburg and (Tsarist) Russian empires. This piece is ahistoricism run amok.

    1. Mr. Morrell: Excellent corrections to the Chris Hedge article. I, like many others share Hedges’ frustration with the “one-party” (with two-halves) political system in the U S and Chris is usually right on the mark on most of his articles, but I disagree with him on Yugoslavia, whether he was there as a reporter or not.

      I think Dr. Michael Parenti, in his book, “TO KILL A NATION,” published in 2000, about American and European NATO member states destroying that sovereign nation, is an accurate account, and also of one of the greatest journalists in my lifetime, Diana Johnstone, (not to be confused with Caitlin, another writer I also admire) who has written many articles on Yugoslavia and a book on it as well, which is on my list to read.

      Thank you for your well-written comments, Stephen!

  21. Another genuine & brutally honest column by Hedges. I for one would rather read doom & gloom (as Hedges is normally accused of) that’s rooted in reality than anything that has any level of false hope in it (Ralph Nader). I don’t disagree with him much at all, but if one believes he’s thoroughly wrong on this or that, all one needs to do is read Nader’s column published the same day as this one where Nader charges people to vote blue. There’s far more rooting in reality with Hedges here than in Nader, who is damn near detached altogether.

    Yes Ralph, the Republicans are thoroughly repugnant, you won’t get a disagreement with me on that. I was born & raised in the south, I’ve seen the likes of Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms. The worst of the worst. But while their repugnance is largely on them, the fact is the Dems deliberately do nothing at all to stop them and thus enable their idiocy and hostility in no small way. This is a repetitive fact you have never gotten through your thick skull, Ralph.

  22. Perhaps a better way to say it, America is no longer the “center” of the world, especially after the damage it is doing to Europe (see for example: https://sonar21.com/did-the-former-soviet-union-experience-what-awaits-europe/) and its attempts to isolate China and Russia, which are backfiring. What happens to the US matters, and is the concern of Hedge’s articles, but as much attention needs to go to understanding the other 85% of the world, as it does to understanding the US and the West.

    At what point does the US cease to be dominant on the world stage? Russian success in Ukraine will signal how weak the US ability to project force has become.

  23. Wonderful article.

    You could do more than just write articles.
    Plenty of people in this country agree with you. Use your soapbox to push for the formation of a third party. Obviously this election is almost over, but the 2024 election has already started. If the thought of a 2nd Biden or Trump presidency troubles you then do something more!

  24. Love the first sentence — hilarious!
    Love the last sentence — absolutely true.

  25. “There is no institution left that can be considered authentically democratic. The corporate coup d’état is over. They won. We lost.”

    We didn’t stand a chance. The destruction was accomplished before many of us even knew we were in a Battle for the Ages. They had fully emptied out the vault before we realized there was ongoing theft going on. The best way to steal something is grab it all before anyone knows you’re taking it. Yes, there were some that saw the thievery and tried to warn others. But as Rod Stewart sang years ago… ‘But there ain’t no point in talking when there’s nobody list’ning…’

    The Dark State had scored ten touchdowns before we looked up and suddenly realized that somehow we were in the middle of an important football game.

    “The Democratic Party and Joe Biden are not the lesser evil, but rather, as Glen Ford pointed out, ‘the more effective evil’.”

    They say the Two Parties don’t agree on anything. That is false. Both of them believe in evil as a central governing principle.

    “Biden takes credit for writing the 2001 Patriot Act…”

    Not so sure he really wants to take credit for that National atrocity and embarassment.

    “The decisions of politicians like Biden have a staggering human cost…”

    These guys ‘decide’ nothing. They are fetch dogs and water carriers for their Dark State bosses.

    “Biden, morally vacuous and of limited intelligence…”

    These are also core principles for anyone considering a career in politics or Corporate business… not to mention ‘The Science!’ Medical Cartel.

    “Biden and other establishment politicians are not actually calling for democracy. They are calling for civility.”

    That’s like the bully who is pulverizing you asking you not to breathe on him as he pummels you with glee.

    “We should have walked out on the Democratic Party while we still had a chance.”

    The Democrat Party walked out on US before we were given that choice.

  26. I am so confused why you bash Democrats more than the Republicans under Trump. Trump is the one who instigated a violent demonstration in an attempt to overthrow what is left of our once-strong democratic system. The Democrats are certainly not perfect but are better than the mobs who have invaded the Republican Party. Sometimes you have to support the lesser of two evils. The Trump gang are the most dangerous force who have ever come to power in this country. Since we are tied to a two-party system, Biden was the best choice in 2020. Going forward, we need to support younger Progressives to run for office. I liked Bernie but there are several younger candidates who would champion what he stood for. I used to think of this site as progressive but you seem to have switched sides to the right. Very disappointing.

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