with Chris Hedges
Writer, Dandelion Salad
July 17, 2013
TheRealNews on Jul 17, 2013
On Reality Asserts Itself, Chris Hedges tells Paul Jay about his criticism of the Iraq War and the events that led to him leaving the New York Times.
Pt 2 of 7
Chris Hedges spent two decades as a foreign reporter covering wars in Latin America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. His latest books are Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, Death of the Liberal Class, and The World as It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.
From the archives:
Chris Hedges: Urban Poverty in America Made Me Question Everything, Part 1
Locking Out the Voices of Dissent by Chris Hedges
The Myth of The New York Times, in Documentary Form by Chris Hedges
War Is A Soulless Void by Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges and David Zucchino On War Reporting
Chris Hedges: War is a Force that Gives us Meaning (2004; must-see; transcript)]
Chris Hedges Booed off the Stage as He Delivered a Graduation Speech on War and Empire (2003)
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I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Chris Hedges, and I can sympathize with him wholeheartedly. A couple of months ago, I took the time to watch his entire speech at Rockford College and was pretty disturbed by what I saw coming out of about one thousand seemingly average, mostly Caucasian on this particular occasion, everyday American citizens. at a commencement speech at a small college in the Midwestern United States. It’s only till today, a couple of months after watching the disturbing videos of what took place there, that I can actually chuckle a little bit when I think about the images that come to mind of what might have taken place there if Chris, a truly conscientious person and heralded journalist at the time, had of been the first of his race and stature in modern U.S. history to be publicly lynched, with him dangling from a tree by a rope for his beliefs in Christ-like fashion, lynched by a group of his white peers in what’s supposed to be a peaceful, liberal and aggressively open-minded institution within our supposedly “free and democratic” society.
Our colleges and institutions were meant to be places where new ideas and intellectual ferment of all kinds, no matter how seemingly strange or bizarre those ideas might seem, can be discussed openly without fear of persecution or repercussions of any kind. In reality, we have institutions where the educational processes in some of the departments of most, if not all, of our institutions of higher learning, which were intended to be vast repositories of useful and highly valuable knowledge that go back thousands of years in the long, storied history of human civilization, have been completely subverted and undermined to promote little more than Nazi-like propaganda, in a country that was supposed to have soundly defeated the dark forces of Fascism on two fronts and crowned herself victorious well over a half century ago for all the world to see and presumably to follow in her noble pursuit of a world where “freedom and democracy” would reign supreme so that every nation and its citizens on this Earth could reap the rich rewards of having a government run of the people, by the people, and for the people.
It is especially within these very institutions, where it is of the utmost importance that the most stringent safeguards should be taken so that freedom of speech is to be upheld at all costs to ensure that discussions and debates about the future of humanity can take place in a relaxed atmosphere and never have one’s ideas crushed or silenced in any way, shape or form even remotely like the near-lynching of an individual who’s spent the better part of a lifetime dedicated to the steadfast pursuit of truth and wisdom and who has made unbelievable personal sacrifices, even putting his own life on the line for a large portion of his life, to ensure that the truth gets told without fail and without ever being watered down or diluted.
I was appalled and amazed to hear one young female graduate in the crowd that afternoon question why such a speech was being given on her graduation day, as if, somehow, it wasn’t the time or place for such an event in her mind, which in her infinite wisdom must have been functioning under the “all-knowing assumption” that we are all supposed to be happy and just float along with the way things are going, never questioning authority and, therefore, never knowing, with obvious catastrophic results, that that final destination would lead us all to our eventual destruction and the destruction of all life on this planet.
As Noam Chomsky so eloquently stated in just six words, “This is the age of Orwell.” For those of you who want to begin the ascent out of a lifetime of brainwashing and indoctrination, into the light, into the truth, in a way that is non-threatening and seems almost fantasy-like in nature, get your hands on Orwell’s book, 1984. Funny, I was asked to read his other masterpiece, Animal Farm, growing up in school, because it obviously dealt with the lies of the communist system in the U.S.S.R., a tactic of focusing on the lies of their corrupt political system, instead of our own, which worked to promote and advance our way of life here in the West over theirs during the height of the Cold War. However, again, I was never asked to read, for reasons that are obvious to me, today, or even heard of 1984 until later in my life, which deals with some of what’s going on in Amerika.
I can safely warn you, in advance, that the end results of your journey will be stranger than the book, itself, for the truth, as has been said many times before is, indeed, stranger than fiction. I would also add that the truth becomes a little easier to deal with as time goes by because as, Mencken once pointed out, although never acceptable, “The truth would quickly cease to be stranger than fiction, once we got as used to it.” My advice is to get used to it now, while you still have a choice, rather than later, when you won’t.
Its to your credit that you did not mention the overthrow of establishment, who do you think creates the culture of what you are allowed to say and what you should not say.
Orwell’s book of 1984, confirms do not speak harshly of government, its better the devil you know?
Charles, I think we’ve reached institutional log-jam redundancy through the massive complicity of academic sophists & legalistic tricksters.
My recommendation is that to educate ourselves out of imposed ignorance we must talk to each other, and listen well. Also just do stuff, like improving the community, supporting children and animals, planting anything useful or attractive to bees, helping birds, or making something out of reclaimed materials.
Sometimes simplicity is a more powerful force than overly sophisticated “engineered” solutions that require patents and consumer support.
We can buck this corporate-ecocidal gluttonous reflex by asserting our right to an honest life and livelihood.
The US is now the victim of its own litigious appetite.
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