Mission Possible

“Your mission, should you choose to accept it,” is to read this piece through to the end. Unfortunately whether or not you admit Chris Hedges is right, the truths he’s telling will not go away.

Here’s the thing though, ignoring this admittedly disturbing article won’t work in the long run. The fact that you’re reading here probably means you have an empathic nature. And that’s a good thing, a very good thing. Attempting to look the other way doesn’t work for people like you. I know, because I tried that for years. For a while we can involve ourselves in other things; but, as most world religions say in one way or another: “The truth hurts, but it also sets us free.”

I know, I know. “Truth is relative,” and “truth is in the eye of the beholder.” We have other facile ways we attempt to dismiss things that disturb us. One way we do that is by telling ourselves that what Hedges is saying here is merely his opinion. Well no. Not really. Virtually everything he mentions is fact, not opinion.

Important—you will have a furtive sense that Big Brother will be cracking you hard on the shoulder with a big heavy stick for repeating what you learn here. But no. That’s not going to happen. You will find, however, that friends and family will tend to turn away. Let’s face it. That’s what’s most hard about becoming an agent for change.

We all have a very strong sense of “maybe if I don’t admit and acknowledge the world is coming to an end it won’t!” Nope. That won’t work either. On the other hand, we can stop all this nonsense when we, as Chris Hedges says: “…place ourselves in direct opposition to it, [the Neoliberal Order] when we are willing to engage in the acts of self-sacrifice and sustained revolt that [will] allow us to obstruct and dismantle every aspect of the neoliberal machinery.”  Check it out:



  1. The article ends, “Those of us who seek to create a world that has hope of viability have little time left. The neoliberal order, despoiling the Earth and enslaving the vulnerable, has to be eradicated. This will happen only when we place ourselves in direct opposition to it, when we are willing to engage in the acts of self-sacrifice and sustained revolt that allow us to obstruct and dismantle every aspect of neoliberal machinery. I believe we can do this through nonviolence. But I am not blind to the inevitable rise of counterviolence, caused by the myopia and greed of the neoliberal mandarins. Peace and harmony may not engulf the Earth if we succeed, but if we do not remove the ruling elites from power, if we do not overthrow the neoliberal order, and if we do not do it soon, we are doomed.”

    And the operative words are, “do it.” But what am I to do? I can wallow in despair. And can turn red with rage. But what I really feel like I need is something actionable which is within my means. And perhaps this a missing piece of the puzzle for ACJT.

  2. Rodger Nichols says

    It seems to me there’s a key hidden assumption in this Jeremiad. It presupposes some sort of Golden Age from which we have fallen. While there have been periods of relative calm and prosperity for certain socioeconomic classes in certain countries at certain times, the gold of a so-called Golden Age was a thin wash on the surface and was anything but solid.

    Also, the author notes that the anger of the jihadists at their state in the world is not coupled with any kind of offered solution, yet the author himself is not particularly forthcoming with his own solution. Merely “overthrowing the neoliberal order” produces another kind of chaos without a clear goal.

    Author David Brin says part of the problem is that too many of us are addicted to righteous indignation: “There have been Know Nothing and righteousness rage flurries that have swarmed across America pretty much once per generation. One aspect is romanticism, the notion that not only are you right or am I right but that we are inherently by our nature right and our opponents are inherently by their nature 100 percent wrong, therefore there is no basis for negotiation. I have nothing to learn from them and I am not in error. You measure somebody in a self-righteous state, a sanctimonious snit, and they are on a high. It’s self-doped dopamine and endorphins – and you will admit it, if you are an honest person, that when you are indignant, it feels good. I am so right and everyone else is so wrong..”

  3. Cheryl manhire says

    OMG. There is a lot of truth in what he says. It is difficult to know how l can facilitate change….except to love others and to speak my mind. Is that my middle class way of being apathetic? The middle class seems to default to apathy.

  4. Catherine Alder says

    This sure is an “ain’t it awful” article by Chris Hedges. His “do something about it” is nonviolent revolution. I need steps. The whole thing makes me wonder what steps do we take that truly get us treating people and the earth as sacred that don’t end up with violent revolution? I am not going there. Voting is the great nonviolent revolution, but when the choices are literally the same, then that is really a no go. I keep thinking there will be something that will scare the people of the earth into making the changes we need to make. Maybe that is what is coming.

  5. Yep. Truth can really hurt sometimes. If ever there was a modern day John the Baptist, in my opinion it is he, and as you may recall things did not go well for the original guy, either.

    Mr. Nichols’ (above) point about righteous indignation is well taken: it can lull one into thinking he/she is actually doing something about the problem, when in fact such positions just add fuel to the fire. However, righteous ANGER (sorry for the caps, but there’s no italics) can be a potent catalyst to effect change, and that’s what I think Mr. Hedges is after.

    In my opinion, there are two very concrete steps one can take in response to the facts (yes, I believe he is on the money — although as a father and maybe someday grandfather to admit this is almost incomprehensibly painful):

    (1) Support Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid — to paraphrase Princess Leia in “Star Wars”, “Help us, Bernie-wan, you’re our only hope”. This alone won’t do it of course, but it will be a sign that radical change is Possible. So today, order a Bernie t-shirt and wear it every day. And buy ten more to give out when people stop you to ask where you got the cool shirt, and tell them they have to do the same. Hedges is right, if in the end Sanders can only support Clinton in a last ditch effort to keep the United States from turning into a Stanley Kubrick movie of insanity. This will only give us eight more years of what we just had, and that ain’t workin’.

    (2) Support Move to Amend: unless and until the money changers are thrown out of the temple, we are whizzing in the wind.

    Another “change agent” hero of mine is the Reverend Billy Talen and his Stop Shopping Choir — different style, but essentially the same message. I heard his serious side in an interview recently, where he recalled the edicts of iconic activists of the past, saying that things will only change when we, the people, you and me, are willing to get out and get arrested, busted, or worse, and THIS will only happen when things get desperate. Well folks, just wait, it’s coming; I suggest you read “The Fourth Turning” by Strauss and Howe. This Great Unraveling (“fall”) is leading to an inevitable Crisis (“winter”); but this time, whether we will yet again emerge to see another spring is anything but a given.

    In the meantime, if you’re feeling like you could use a good dose of hope, I would commend this inspiring video to you all, “Billions in Change” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YY7f1t9y9a0).

    Yep, it’s Possible.

  6. Lisa Westarp says

    Chris Hedges is a modern-day prophet. I have long admired his intellect and his moral clarity. He calls us to awaken and repent.

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