Chris Hedges


Chris Hedges, author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, discusses the present state of affairs, best described as a convergence of the fictional dystopias in 1984 and Brave New World; the language of tyranny, ranging from soft seduction to overt threats, depending on the audience; how working class outrage is diverted away from the entrenched elite, and focused on scapegoats and fantastic conspiracies; the destruction and co-option of traditional Leftist institutions; and how federal debt is currently serviced by issuing more debt, a problem of sustainability that neither party will address.

MP3 here. (20:10)

Chris Hedges, whose column is published Mondays on Truthdig, is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute in New York City. He spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.

Hedges was part of the team of reporters at The New York Times awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism. He also received the Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism in 2002. In 2009 the Los Angeles Press Club honored Hedges’ original columns in Truthdig by naming the author the Online Journalist of the Year and granting him the Best Online Column award for his Truthdig essay “Party to Murder,” about the December 2008-January 2009 Israeli assault on Gaza.

He has written nine books, including Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, I Don’t Believe in Atheists and the best-selling American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.

23 thoughts on “Chris Hedges”

  1. The USA and the UK have everything in common except the language. The tyranny has gone even further in the UK. A court has prohibited a man from having sex. And a court is to decide whether a woman forcibly should be prevented from having more kids. Then they have gone totally mad, bonkers, insane. The state can spend trillions on wars but can´t afford to take care of some kids. If it´s o.k. that a British court has prohibited a man having sex my brother may be right after all that it´s a good thing that we´ll soon die in Nuclear War.

  2. Chris Hedges is one of the best voices of our time.
    Thank you so much Scott for having Chris on.
    I would love to hear more of him on your show.
    Your show is amazing. Thank you so much for all that you do.

    1. I hope you are kidding.

      Hedges in the War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning:

      "And yet, despite all this, I am not a pacifist. I respect and admire the qualities of professional
      soldiers. Without the determination and leadership of soldiers like General Wesley K. Clark we might not have intervened in Kosova or Bosnia. It was, in the end, a general, Ulysses S. Grant who saved the union."

      "We in the industrialized world bear responsibility for the world’s genocides – because we
      had the power to intervene and did not. We stood by and watched the slaughter in
      Chechnya, Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Rwanda where a million people died."

      Hedges is not merely an interventionist, he is a super-interventionist. But somehow he never gets around to suggesting third parties should step in to stop far larger and more common US perpetrated or US supported slaughters.

  3. In general Chris Hedges hits on prescient points, however he appears to be a cutout, corralling thought in the very direction he professes to be against, call it the ping-pong tactic. He clearly notes Huxley and Orwell's place in identifying the scientific tyranny we face, but offers no clear cut solutions. Worse he piles on the fear wagon through fallacious logic that since weather is odd or unpredictable that is proof positive that global warming is a factor-presumably caused by anthropogenic generated carbon dioxide, while he provides no empirical evidence to support his insinuation.

    I would encourage Chris Hedges and Scott Horton, as Antiwar proponents to review techniques used to dis-empower techno-imperialism, as well be aware that a multitude of factors affect weather, such as solar energy, while carbon dioxide is a symbiotic element that life on earth requires, like oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen.

    Antiwar has followed a noticeable trend:
    defining the antiwar struggle as constant
    defining antiwar movement as a losing prospect
    defining global warming as an accepted element of the modern world

    failing to identify corporate tentacles as tools of color revolutions
    failing to identify the chaos and turmoil as a hegelian method of global imperialism
    failing to identify global warming as an enron-like tool to tax and falsely burden plebians

    Antiwar-Total failure as a clear and prescient voice toward global peace-a corporate gatekeeper of global imperialism.

    A failure to stand clear and tall for peace while under the moniker antiwar is a moral and ethical failure-Scott do not be a patsy, open your eyes, seek and speak the truth.

    1. Odd that an increasing number of Scott's podcasts now include a global warming non-sequitur and Scott glosses over the obvious fallacious logic… It's glaringly obvious, devoid of reason or common sense? It's almost like a bomb went off and Scot just sits there, like a mind controlled agent. Corporate shilling, someone decided to take the money and forgo basic reasoning, common sense and moral values! To me at least, I noticed a distinctive change at Antiwar from a voice of reason to corporate shilling a few short weeks ago! Disgusting! Scott, Angela, Justin-whether you are aware of what you are doing or not, please reconsider your current path toward nonsense and return to common sense and discussion about peace.

    2. Global warming is real and there is plenty of evidence. Just visit Alaska sometime and you'll see. As to whether the warming is caused by human activity, specifically the burning of fossil fuels, this cannot be proved. But it seems highly logical to me. The greenhouse effect is what has kept the Earth at liveably warm temperatures for a billion years. Greenhouse gases trap heat and warm the planet. So adding more of them to the atmosphere will warm things further. Why is this considered statist propaganda?

      1. The AGM (anthropogenic global warming) promoters claim that human generated CO2 is a prime catalyst of global temperature. However conversely, there are thousands if not millions of factors which affect global temperature and warming and consequently global temperature. So the conclusion that global warming is related to human behavior and therefore is bad and should be taxed and regulated is a non-sequitur, false logic, its not true or based in fact. Furthermore, those who promote AGM have been demonstrated to make doomsday predictions which are false such as the Maldives being under water in 2010, and the majorly funded climate thinktanks such as IPCC have been demonstrated to be using "tricks" to make the data meet their preconceived conclusions which is not science. So, in conclusion, there is insufficient data to link human carbon output to climate change and even if there was, that fails to justify global taxes paid to a private or public group to manage a smart grid which would only serve to profit off the people more and would not and could significantly affect CO2 output.

        The point that climate changes is a separate issue which can and should be studied, possibilities include millions of factors, including quite obviously the influence of the sun and solar flares and sunspots, fluxuations in the magnetic poles of the earth and a myriad natural cycles that benefit man by changing the environment. The conclusion that the earth's behavior is outside of man's control is a possibility whereas the absolute conclusion that man is controlling earth is not only unlikely it has not been demonstrated and quite conversely it appears to the forgone conclusion of those who wish to profit off the backs of others with a new financial bubble scheme, a carbon credit/debt market that allows wealthy investors to profit off carbon credit futures, shorts, credit default swaps, all while not reducing CO2 or improving energy systems.

  4. I don't even know what Hedges is talking about here. Best I can tell it's some intellectual sounding mumbo jumbo of an insecure wisdom guru hopelessly out of his depth. He has a talent for depriving the words coming out of his mouth of meaning himself.

  5. Revised 1984 conclusion to fit our modern world and incorporate Huxley + Orwell:

    " If you want a picture of the future, imagine a pair of breasts suffocating a smiling human face— forever."

  6. Scott.. enough of the niceties and your clever and subtle ways of sneaking in Austrian economics to your guests. Put a gun to their heads and make them read a few of the great books out there!!!! It is so sad to see so many great authors/historians/journalists be completely ignorant of the economic ignorance which plays a central theme in mankind's troubles. Anyways… great job as usual. I just had to vent

  7. Seriously Chris, "Australia struggling in droughts" mate we just had half the country under water. it was like twice the size of texas underwater, people died mate. I dont think they would support your drought theory.

  8. I want to listen to these left-oriented guests with an open mind, and I believe I do, but it is awfully hard to just accept the kind of guest who refers to 2,000 years of Christian belief as "self-delusion" and then proceeds to rave about the planet being in its "death rattle" because the weather patterns have been different in the past year. What rubbish.

  9. Chris manages to be one of the more fun interviewees to comment-on.

    Props to commenters Grandma (somewhat right), Karl (super job) and Goebbels (could have written that myself).

    Scott doesn’t argue with his guests (nowadays) because it’s not really his job to drag an interview down into a dead-end but to hit certain points.

    Particularly when discussing with a left-leaning interviewee, there are many disagreements which absolutely must let slide, in order to get-out the anti-war unity message.


    Now to to Mr. Hedges. Here he reveals himself to be a dogmatic, arrogant, semi-informed-at-best flowery word-weaver overly in love with his own sentences. His naive arrogance is the perfect mirror to NeoCon and Christian Right self-delusion; Hasn’t his Anthropogenic Global Warming long since been exposed to be a “Non-Reality Based Belief System” since the Climategate fraud?

    And aside from the Science at question here – what makes Hedges think that a political system that so completely makes careless or delusional decisions (Iraq WMDs, Afghanistan etc) is an appropriate mechanism for taking complete control of A) the economy B) the climate and C) Other nations?!?!

    The despair Hedges speaks of is his OWN, as a BELIEVER in POLITICS and SOCIAL ENGINEERING.

    We Libertarians / Agorists / Anarchists are SO far ahead of Chris Hedges, It gives me the Buddha chuckles.

  10. Did anyone else find it intensely ironic that Chris Hedges suffers from the very same Tyranny of Language he criticizes?

    He constantly referred to leftist groups and causes as “liberals”.

    If a pundit isn’t educated enough to Americanized semantic change of the word “liberal”, you can reliably ignore their pontifications.

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