America Is in Need of a Moral Bailout by Chris Hedges

by Chris Hedges
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
March 24, 2009

In decaying societies, politics become theater. The elite, who have hollowed out the democratic system to serve the corporate state, rule through image and presentation. They express indignation at AIG bonuses and empathy with a working class they have spent the last few decades disenfranchising, and make promises to desperate families that they know will never be fulfilled. Once the spotlights go on they read their lines with appropriate emotion. Once the lights go off, they make sure Goldman Sachs and a host of other large corporations have the hundreds of billions of dollars in losses they incurred playing casino capitalism repaid with taxpayer money.

We live in an age of moral nihilism. We have trashed our universities, turning them into vocational factories that produce corporate drones and chase after defense-related grants and funding. The humanities, the discipline that forces us to stand back and ask the broad moral questions of meaning and purpose, that challenges the validity of structures, that trains us to be self-reflective and critical of all cultural assumptions, have withered. Our press, which should promote such intellectual and moral questioning, confuses bread and circus with news and refuses to give a voice to critics who challenge not this bonus payment or that bailout but the pernicious superstructure of the corporate state itself. We kneel before a cult of the self, elaborately constructed by the architects of our consumer society, which dismisses compassion, sacrifice for the less fortunate, and honesty. The methods used to attain what we want, we are told by reality television programs, business schools and self-help gurus, are irrelevant. Success, always defined in terms of money and power, is its own justification. The capacity for manipulation is what is most highly prized. And our moral collapse is as terrifying, and as dangerous, as our economic collapse.


via Truthdig

Copyright © 2009 Truthdig

Chris Hedges, who is an Arabic speaker and spent seven years in the Middle East, was the Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times.


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15 thoughts on “America Is in Need of a Moral Bailout by Chris Hedges

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  8. Morality, true morality that is, adorned with unadulterated compassion, that transcend our basic instincts of survival, the animalistic survival of the fittest scheme and the law of the jungle, which have permeated every aspect and venue of the world cultures and religions, have always illuminated only in very few minds throughout history, whose evolution didn’t follow the laws of nature, and in all likelihood are destined to remain an extremely rare and exclusive gift or curse, for that matter, if you weigh in peace of mind. Our modern lives have been inundated with selfish materialistic values, that the cause of morality and compassion are construed as an aberration and anomaly of sorts. Trying to reconcile morality and compassion with today’s world of jaded corporate values is an exercise in futility. Morality, in its unadulterated form is hardly understood, much less practiced by people of all cultures and religions. We seem to have a world-wide epidemic of amorality, and I just don’t see away out of it any time soon, or far for that matter. Our evolution, alas, seem to have bypassed that part, and left us with unevolved sense of morality and compassion that hasn’t improved much since we roamed the jungle with our less-corrupt cousins.

  9. Not having a defeatest attitude will aid one in the beleif that we the people can and will effect change. We were lulled in to a feeling of acceptance that no longer works, and the spirit of the 60’s is alive and I think, as do others will effect the “change” we need. the 11% reqired of the population, who are behind this shift for truth, justice and equailty, and peace, will make it happen. It will not be overnight, it will not be easy, but it will happen.
    Why, because throughtout history, it seems society has to bottom out, the on their knees, sometimes their bellies, we rise again. Oh yes for many, power of self is a very scary thing, and has been wiped out of us since our 1st day in school. But many like myself have done the work required to deprogram o those negatives that are thrown out there, and now have the “right stuff” to help lead others for our rights to
    have the best possible world, Heaven on Earth, and Peace, finally. It starts understanding the ripple effect. with ONE, and that I am you, you are me… and we are family.

  10. Our society’s lack of compassion especially can be seen in what we do to animals. In fact, I think that’s where the problem begins. Students in public schools are taught that vivisection is a “compassionate career choice,” thanks to propaganda funded by research lab suppliers and pharmaceutical companies. The attitude seems to be that if exploiting animals can make you a profit then go for it. Western religion plays into this too with the idea that “god put animals on this earth for us to use any way we want” as more than one Christian fundamentalist has told me. How can we expect our moral integrity as a society to remain intact when we rationalize our brutality to animals? It just makes it that much easier for us to treat people who are “different” from us with the same brutality.

  11. The root of all evil is “In God We Trust”, change for good is “We Trust in God”.
    same words, two different Ideals
    Why aren’t the College campus’ up in arms about the In-Humanity, because the students are either on visa’s, or too deep in-debt, to challenge the Status Quo.
    Strike Back, run the banks 4-15-09, ruin the plan.
    No work, no school, no purchases, no travel, no entertainment, take the day off and read a book.

    • I don’t see the difference in the wording or the ideal. What good comes of god? And what’s with this WE stuff. Speak for yourself.

      • The difference “In God We Trust” is Money,
        Purchases, or credit,
        Pride, “Holier that thou” or better that U.
        Greed, more, more , more is better…
        Lust, what you want to do for self,
        Envy, to take awy from “other’s”.
        Gluttony, more than necessary.
        Sloath, dis-regard of “other’s” belief’s..
        Wrath, Anger, murder
        “We Trust in God” is the Faith of w/mankind
        that does not puusue,
        Pride, you shall have no other gods before me.
        Greed, you shalll not make for yourself an “idol”…
        Lust, you shall not commiy adultry.
        Envy…covey thy neighbor’s house…
        Gluttony, you shall not steal.
        Sloath, Remember the sabbath day by keeping it Holy.
        Wrath, you shall not Kill.
        Trusting in money is fruitless for there is no substance. just peices of paper.
        Trusting in God[not corporate entities], is more humane.
        “Love the Lord thy God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind”.
        as important as it;
        “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
        You don’t have to believe in God, I’ll pray for you Walt. ?

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