Ever since #OWS began, I have grown particularly attracted to Chris Hedges’ columns , often peppered with scathing observations about the professsionals who run and enable and tweak the systems that have led to the increasing inequalities and insane denials of the effects of “human progress” on all of our ecosystems. In our present day media environment, such scathing indictments are often looked upon as “inappropriate”, or “radical” . For me, however, this is an often neccessary attribute of the prophetic to which the church is constantly called. In this week’s column on TruthDig, Hedges takes aim at “The Careerists” whose job it is to “do the bidding” and provide the cover and justification and mythology to prop up and enable the systems of exploitation being increasingly hoisted upon our world by the overlords of the oligarchy:
The god of profit and exploitation. The most dangerous force in the industrialized world does not come from those who wield radical creeds, whether Islamic radicalism or Christian fundamentalism, but from legions of faceless bureaucrats who claw their way up layered corporate and governmental machines.
[These] Political and military careerists, backed by war profiteers, have led us into useless wars, including World War I, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. And millions followed them. Duty. Honor. Country. Carnivals of death. They sacrifice us all.
Another deeply cutting observaiton in the article:
Facts that interfered with plans were impertinencies.
We see this in the almost complete disregard and even outright hotility to the introduction of facts into the equation. Our media have become lifeless drones in the face of the exploitation of audio and video in the service of a narrative that bears no resemblance to facts on the ground. The GOP and Fox News glibly circulate known hatchet jobs that edit out entire contexts of speeches to artificially support the persona they wish to use to mark their opponents, and the mainstream media say hardly anything, as if this is not an outright assault on the very core of their calling. And in the face of such neglect to call the Right on their deliberate deception, the Right carries on with more of the same. The mainstream media bows to the pressure of the fundamentalist mind set that sees nothing wrong or amiss with lifting sentences completely out of context and meaning and placing them in an echo chamber as more proof text. It seems that this is a clear indication of the close relationship between religious/theological fundamentalism (and their proclivity to proof text by lifting “verses” out of complete narratives) and the political right wing.
But the more serious matter here is not with deliberate misinterpretations of speeches, but with the system of propaganda that strive to “reinterpret” what is happening to our economy and to our ecosystems. They display a dangerous hostility to the science’s finding s that the scientists INTEND as a warning and treat it as a political game. And the denial; the hubris, of continuing to persist in the ultimately doomed assumption that we can never irreparably harm the very systems we depend upon for life itself! Hedges, again:
They [the ruling elites] cannot intellectually or emotionally recognize that the system might implode. And so they do what Napoleon warned was the worst mistake a general could make—paint an imaginary picture of a situation and accept it as real. But we blithely ignore reality along with them. The mania for a happy ending blinds us. We do not want to believe what we see. It is too depressing. So we all retreat into collective self-delusion.
Blaise Pascal wrote in “Pensées,” “We run heedlessly into the abyss after putting something in front of us to stop us from seeing it.”