Empire of Illusion Ch. 5: In Conclusion, We’re Doomed


Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does a bunch of other stuff.

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7 Responses

  1. Avatar Mike Farmer says:

    We’ve been in worse shape before, and it’s not really impossible to scale back government and end the enmeshment with big corporations — we just need the will to do it. The biggest lie in history is that people are powerless against the oligarchy — we can topple protected power.Report

  2. I also found Hedges’ last several paragraphs extraordinarily weak. Whether as a solution or as a consolation, Hedges wrote what were intended to be beautiful words about love and its power to ennoble the human spirit. While I agree that love does have an ennobling power, the idea that people will continue to love one another seems like amazingly weak ketchup compared to the cultural issues Hedges had just spent tens of thousands of words railing against.

    Love also leads to gradations of concern about other human beings, which leads to tribalism. Hedges wants us to not become a collection of tribes but to become an integrated civilization; it takes more than interpersonal love to do that. Genuine, deep love may be a worthwhile consolation in the midst of the awfulness Hedges rails against, but it is not a solution.

    Then again, as Rufus pointed out early on in our discussion, Hedges was once a seminarian and maybe he sees some kind of mystical power or the subtle hand of the divine at work through love. I am an atheist, so if he was using that kind of language I may have missed it — and if that is his message, I’ve even less reason to find either solace or solution in it.Report

    • @Transplanted Lawyer,
      Of course on the flip side one may ask, “If what we are doing now isn’t working, ought we try and fix it?” As such we see the popularity of the books like The Secret, The Power of Now, etc. and authors like Dr. Wayne Dryer and Ken Wilber. Being on the post side of Post Modernism maybe in the ebb and flow of Western Civilization we are returning to “love”. I don’t know, but I do know we currently excel in presenting our ideological differences with anger. Of course holding hands and singing Cum Bye Ya probably isn’t the answer either.Report

  3. Avatar Will H. says:

    So, if you find out that the world is made up of meat loaf, write an unwieldy book stating that they said there was going to be filet available.
    Got it.

    I’m wondering how much of this decline the very presence of Hedges’ book indicates.
    The book itself should at least provide material for an appendix, I’m thinking.Report

  4. Avatar dexter45 says:

    With as much psuedo swiftian satire as I can muster, I have to say what this country needs is an honest Huey Long.Report