Chris Hedges: "We have to begin to prepare for collapse"

Chris Hedges believes human society is heading for inevitable collapse and there’s nothing the masses — even if we decided to call a time-out on capitalist greed that is destroying our planet — can do to prevent it — at least not “through established political or social organizations or electoral politics” — because wealthy, powerful elites hold all the real power and aren’t willing to sacrifice even a fraction of their wealth or power to save our beautiful planet.

We have to stop believing that we can effect change through established political or social organizations or electoral politics, and I think that still remains a huge hurdle for us people who in the end, through accommodation of fear and very clever advertising, are herded like sheep into a dysfunctional system, which is how so many people who should have known better voted for Obama. The environmental crisis that we’re about to face will be even more catastrophic than the economic, and we have to, on a personal level, reconsider how we relate to the society at large and to the ecosystem. We have both personal and social decisions to make. At this point most people are not willing to make those choices or take those steps….

Well, the coup d’etat is over, and they won. We lost. And now we have to learn to cope with it. It is very clear that the engines of corporatism and globalization are going to kill the ecosystem, no matter how many dead zones are created in the Gulf of Mexico or protests organized. We are going to have to make some very serious decisions about acts that dispute a system that in theological terms is a system of death and exploitation. And yet even then, it’s probably too late. If you read closely the science on global warming, it’s disrupting, even if we stop emissions, global warming will accelerate because of what has already been emitted. I think we have to begin to prepare for collapse, and if you want to survive, that’s going to mean access to a local food source. So, in the end I’m with Camus, I don’t think we’re going to fool ourselves into thinking we can make a change. It’s all hijacked, the political system, financial system … hijacked military complex, it’s hijacked, even all of our social and educational systems. I’ve taught at places like Princeton and they all function like corporations. We’ve allowed these corporations to snuff out all voices of sanity and decency and why we listen to this garbage and why we watch it. … Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow are as bad as the right wing; they are all playing the same wing, nobody is addressing the institutional methods that are strangling us. I don’t care if it’s from the left or right, it all acts as diversion to keep us in a state of self-delusion.

While I’m inclined to share Hedges' pessimism realism, I keep thinking/hoping the power elite must some day wake up and realize they (and their kids and grandchildren) also live on Planet Earth. Do they believe their vast wealth will protect them after society collapses?

Posted by James on Thursday, August 05, 2010