Sep 14, 2018
Chris reported from Latin American, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He was a member of the team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for The New York Times coverage of global terrorism, and he received the 2002 Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism.
Hedges, who holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School, is the author of the bestsellers American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle and was a National Book Critics Circle finalist for his book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. He is a Senior Fellow at The Nation Institute and writes an online column for the web site Truthdig. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University and the University of Toronto.
A profound and provocative examination of America in crisis, where unemployment, deindustrialization, and a bitter hopelessness and malaise have resulted in an epidemic of diseases of despair—drug abuse, gambling, suicide, magical thinking, xenophobia, and a culture of sadism and hate.
America, says Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter Chris Hedges, is convulsed by an array of pathologies that have arisen out of profound hopelessness, a bitter despair and a civil society that has ceased to function. The opioid crisis, the retreat into gambling to cope with economic distress, the pornification of culture, the rise of magical thinking, the celebration of sadism, hate, and plagues of suicides are the physical manifestations of a society that is being ravaged by corporate pillage and a failed democracy. As our society unravels, we also face global upheaval caused by catastrophic climate change. All these ills presage a frightening reconfiguration of the nation and the planet.
Donald Trump rode this disenchantment to power. In America: The Farewell Tour, Hedges argues that neither political party, now captured by corporate power, addresses the systemic problem. Until our corporate coup d’état is reversed these diseases will grow and ravage the country. A poignant cry reported from communities across the country, America: The Farewell Tour seeks to jolt us out of our complacency while there is still time.
It is better to be an outcast, a stranger in one’s own country, than an outcast from one’s self. It is better to see what is about to befall us and to resist than to retreat into the fantasies embraced by a nation of the blind.
Battling evil, cruelty, and injustice allows us to retain our identity, a sense of meaning, and ultimately our freedom
We are the most illusioned society on the planet. We have to become adults. And it’s hard; it’s painful. I struggle with despair all the time. But I’m not going to let it win. It is incumbent upon all of us that at the same time we recognize how dark the future is, we also recognize the absolute imperative of resistance in every form possible.
I’m not saying we’re going to win. I am saying rebellion becomes a way to protect your own dignity. Corporations are, theologically speaking, institutions of death. They commodify everything – the natural world, human beings – that they exploit until exhaustion or collapse. They know no limits.
The corporations that profit from permanent war need us to be afraid. Fear stops us from objecting to government spending on a bloated military. Fear means we will not ask unpleasant questions of those in power. Fear permits the government to operate in secret. Fear means we are willing to give up our rights and liberties for promises of security. The imposition of fear ensures that the corporations that wrecked the country cannot be challenged. Fear keeps us penned in like livestock.
There are two sets of principles. They are the principles of power and privilege and the principles of truth and justice. If you pursue truth and justice it will always mean a diminution of power and privilege. If you pursue power and privilege, it will always be at the expense of truth and justice.
The more we retreat from the culture at large the more room we will have to carve out lives of meaning, the more we will be able to wall off the flood of illusions disseminated by mass culture and the more we will retain sanity in an insane world.
I don’t fight fascists because I’ll win. I fight fascists because they are fascists.
The belief that rational and quantifiable disciplines such as science can be used to perfect human society is no less absurd than a belief in magic, angels, and divine intervention.
Chris Hedges, America: The Farewell Tour, Pulitzer Prize, Journalist, freedom advocate, civil rights, author, economic collapse, tyranny, democracy, justice, truth, Outer Limits of Inner Truth