I’m skimming through Empire of Illusions: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges, who wrote the best-seller War Is A Force That Gives Life Meaning. In it he explores the “mechanisms used to divert us from confronting the economic, political and moral collapse around us. “
From Chapter V – The Illusion of America
I used to live in a country called America. It was not a perfect country . . . but there was always hope that it could be better. It was a country I loved nad honored. It paid its workers wages envied around the world. . . . it offered good public education . . . it held in regard the rule of law including international law, and respect for human rights. It took care of the weakest among us . . it had a system of government that, however flawed, worked to protect the interests of most of its citizens. It offered the possibility of democratic change. It had a diverse and independent press that imparted to us unpleasant truths and challenged the powerful. . . we had much to atone for, but there was so much that was good, decent and honorable in our country. . .
The country I live in today still uses the same civic, patriotic, and historical language to describe itself, the same symbols and iconography, the same national myths . . . but only the shell remains. The America we celebrate is an illusion.
The country of my birth, of my fathers back to the founding generation, is so diminished as to be unrecognizable.
Our nation has been hijacked by oligarchs, corporations, and a narrow selfish, political and economic elite – a small and privileged group . . . who in the name of patriotism and democracy, in the name of all the values that were once part of the American system . . . has systematically destroyed the manufacturing sector, looted the treasury, corrupted our democracy, and trashed the financial system.
. . . the government, stripped of any real sovereignty, provides little more than technical expertise for elites and corporations that lack moral restraints and any concept of the common good.
I could go on but I don’t need to. You get it. Bread and circuses forever.