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(77,421 posts)
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 10:18 AM Feb 2016

Chris Hedges: The Graveyard of the Elites

from truthdig:

The Graveyard of the Elites

Posted on Feb 28, 2016
By Chris Hedges

Power elites, blinded by hubris, intoxicated by absolute power, unable to set limits on their exploitation of the underclass, propelled to expand empire beyond its capacity to sustain itself, addicted to hedonism, spectacle and wealth, surrounded by half-witted courtiers—Alan Greenspan, Thomas Friedman, David Brooks and others—who tell them what they want to hear, and enveloped by a false sense of security because of their ability to employ massive state violence, are the last to know their privileged world is imploding.

“History,” the Italian sociologist Vilfredo Pareto wrote, “is the graveyard of aristocracies.”

The carnival of the presidential election is a public display of the deep morbidity and artifice that have gripped American society. Political discourse has been reduced by design to trite patriotic and religious clichés, sentimentality, sanctimonious peons to the American character, a sacralization of militarism, and acerbic, adolescent taunts. Reality has been left behind.

Politicians are little more than brands. They sell skillfully manufactured personalities. These artificial personalities are used to humanize corporate oppression. They cannot—and do not intend to—end the futile and ceaseless wars, dismantle the security and surveillance state, halt the fossil fuel industry’s ecocide, curb the predatory class of bankers and international financers, lift Americans out of poverty or restore democracy. They practice anti-politics, or what Benjamin DeMott called “junk politics.” DeMott defined the term in his book “Junk Politics: The Trashing of the American Mind”:

It’s a politics that personalizes and moralizes issues and interests instead of clarifying them. It’s a politics that maximizes threats from abroad while miniaturizing large, complex problems at home. It’s a politics that, guided by guesses about its own profits and losses, abruptly reverses public stances without explanation, often spectacularly bloating problems previously miniaturized (e.g.: Iraq will be over in days or weeks: Iraq is a project for generations). It’s a politics that takes changelessness as its fundamental cause—changelessness meaning zero interruption in the processes and practices that, decade after decade, strengthen existing, interlocking American systems of socioeconomic advantage. And it’s a politics marked not only by impatience (feigned or otherwise) with articulated conflict and by frequent panegyrics on the American citizen’s optimistic spirit and exemplary character, but by mawkish fondness for feel-your-pain gestures and idioms.

He went on: “Great causes—they still exist—nourish themselves on firm, sharp awareness of the substance of injustice. Blunting that awareness is a central project of junk politics.” ...............(more)


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Chris Hedges: The Graveyard of the Elites (Original Post) marmar Feb 2016 OP
'maximizes threats from abroad while miniaturizing large, complex problems at home' snagglepuss Feb 2016 #1
It is called Old Codger Feb 2016 #2
Hedges nails it again. CrispyQ Feb 2016 #3
I'll go with Mr Twain on this. malthaussen Feb 2016 #4
Sooner or later a dumb one comes along and destroys the racket. bemildred Feb 2016 #5


(12,704 posts)
1. 'maximizes threats from abroad while miniaturizing large, complex problems at home'
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 10:50 AM
Feb 2016

Will read entire article later but it's just one line that jumped out at me. I've not heard about Junk Politics, the book quoted but it's now at the top of my Must Read list.



Old Codger

(4,205 posts)
2. It is called
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 10:56 AM
Feb 2016

"Misdirection" if they can frighten us they manage to put our focus on the "threat" from abroad to the extent that we are blind to the domestic problems.

Be afraid, be very afraid..


(36,989 posts)
3. Hedges nails it again.
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 11:14 AM
Feb 2016
Corporations control the three branches of government. Corporations write the laws. Corporations determine the media narrative and public debate. Corporations are turning public education into a system of indoctrination. Corporations profit from permanent war, mass incarceration, suppressed wages and poor health care. Corporations have organized a tax boycott. Corporations demand “austerity.” Corporate power is unassailable, and it rolls forward like a stream of lava.

The seeds of destruction of corporate power, however, are embedded within its own structure. The elites have no internal or external constraints. They will exploit, manipulate, lie and oppress until they create an ideological vacuum. No one but the most obtuse, including the courtiers who have severed themselves from reality, will sputter out the inanities of neoliberal ideology. And at that point the system will implode. The revolt may be right wing. It may have heavy overtones of fascism. It may cement into place a frightening police state. But that a revolt is coming is incontrovertible. The absurdity of the election proves it.

Not a great article for getting out the vote, though, huh? After reading it, I wonder, can I really hold my nose & vote for Clinton?


(17,400 posts)
4. I'll go with Mr Twain on this.
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 11:30 AM
Feb 2016

There is life in the old corpse yet. By this time in 2017, this whole "Revolution" shtick will be a bad dream (in both parties), and it will be back to Business As Usual. Oh, this doesn't mean Mr Hedges is wrong -- and nor is Mr Sanders nor Mr Trump -- but it does mean that inertia still overwhelms any movement. I think it will take a few more years before the bonfires and pitchforks. It's pretty much moot, anyway. The nation-state is an obsolete entity, good only as a sandbox to keep the underclass entertained and at play with their meaningless "elections" while the ruling class piles up the lucre. That's the real lesson of the TPP, and the endless "wars" against adversaries that are as powerless as they are chimerical.

-- Mal


(90,061 posts)
5. Sooner or later a dumb one comes along and destroys the racket.
Mon Feb 29, 2016, 12:54 PM
Feb 2016

Bush the Lesser for example, Kim Jong Eun and the Saudi Boy King are well on their way too. The dipshits that ran the British Empire before WWI. It's the old three generation rule, but sometimes it's one generation, and other times it takes ten.

I was reading this OP and thinking about Gibbon's writing about the late Byzantine period (in TDAFOTRE), it just seemed so much alike, the sports riots, the intrigue, the contrast between private corruption and the pretense of public morality.

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