Sunday, August 2, 2009


"Democracy is not an outgrowth of free markets."

That is an excerpt from the final chapter of a new book called "Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle."

The book is written by American war correspondent and Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges.

Maybe that first sentence alone should be mailed to the Fraser Institute every morning on the off chance that one day they might get it.

Hedges attacks what he sees as the self-deluding and corrupt character of American society, economics and global influence today.

In the excerpt quoted in yesterday's Globe, he ties his analysis to the recent bailouts of banks and other corporations.

Hedges points out two juicy little tidbits in his way to larger issues:

"If they quit, they quit with a golden parachute. Even [General Motors CEO Rick] Wagoner is taking away $21-million.”


"Look at Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld. Many of his investors lost everything and yet he pocketed $485-million. An economic collapse does not mean only the degradation of trade and commerce, food shortages, bankruptcies, and unemployment."

Finally this,

"The free market and globalization, promised as routes to worldwide prosperity, have been exposed as two parts of a con game. But this exposure does not mean our corporate masters will disappear. Totalitarianism, as George Orwell pointed out, is not so much an age of faith as an age of schizophrenia.

“A society becomes totalitarian when its structure becomes flagrantly artificial,” Orwell wrote. “That is when its ruling class has lost its function but succeeds in clinging to power by force or fraud.”

They have engaged in massive fraud. Force is all they have left.

There are powerful corporate entities, fearful of losing their influence and wealth, arrayed against us. They are waiting for a moment to strike, a national crisis that will allow them, in the name of national security and moral renewal, to take complete control. The tools are in place.

These antidemocratic forces, which will seek to make an alliance with the radical Christian Right and other extremists, will use fear, chaos, the hatred for the ruling elites, and the spectre of left-wing dissent and terrorism to impose draconian controls to extinguish our democracy. And while they do it, they will be waving the American flag, chanting patriotic slogans, promising law and order, and clutching the Christian cross.

By then, exhausted and broken, we may have lost the power to resist."

1 comment:

Norman Farrell said...

"Smug rich people condescend to hapless entrepreneurs on Mark Burnett's new reality show, Shark Tank."
Heather Havrilesky in writes a clever, funny and meaningful piece about the latest exercise in self-congratulation by jerks who worship money. Shark Tank is the 16th iteration of Japanese TV's ManĂª no Tora (Money Tigers).

These are the nouveau riche of modern times, shamelessly congratulating themselves on their own genius, like ventriloquists whose dummies blow smoke up their asses at every chance. A couple of Canadians appear on the USA version because they can't satisfy their insatiable egos on the lowly CBC Dragon's Den.

The Fraser Institute is loaded with similar types writing the cheques. Big money players pay for alleged intellectuals to sell a perverted view of society. Oh well, we have the Internet. So far.