Riding the Wave? Riding the Wake?

The first line of Chris Hedges’ “Do Not Pity the Democrats” states,

There are no longer any major institutions in American society, including the press, the educational system, the financial sector, labor unions, the arts, religious institutions and our dysfunctional political parties, which can be considered democratic. The intent, design and function of these institutions, controlled by corporate money, are to bolster the hierarchical and anti-democratic power of the corporate state.

I read that and thought, hey, I’ve heard that somewhere. Oh yes, I’ve heard myself saying it. I’ve been reading it too in works like Charles Hugh Smith’s Survivial +: Structuring Prosperity for Yourself and the Nation. (His blog, the source of the ideas in his book, is worth checking out too.)

The evangelical tone of Hedges’ essay suggests this chorus is rising. Other informed voices, like Smith, Archdruid Greer, Sharon Astyk, and many others, echo themes much like what Hedges advocates. It’s time to opt out, to become as independent as possible, and not just politically. We need to become what Smith calls The Remnant, what Greer calls Green Wizards. We need to do something concrete, something to keep our own little lifeboats afloat as the titanic USA sinks.

We need to flee USA Inc.

Hedges’ plea is succinct:

Investing emotional and intellectual energy in electoral politics is a waste of time. Resistance means a radical break with the formal structures of American society. We must cut as many ties with consumer society and corporations as possible. We must build a new political and economic consciousness centered on the tangible issues of sustainable agriculture, self-sufficiency and radical environmental reform.

Things are not looking good, folks. Yet when I start talking about the enormity of our problems, the perfect storm or debt, political corruption and/or gridlock, population, resource depletion, and so on, I often get reactions ranging from blank stares to surprise or even anger. When someone asks me who I’d be voting for, I now shrug my shoulders and say, “Does it matter?” If people give me a minute or so to begin to explain the concentrated effort it’d take to change anything and the virtual impossibility of concentrating American focus, people usually prove my point by losing focus and wandering back to their business as usual (BAU)lives.

Meanwhile, people like Smith call out to The Remnant. Greer calls for Green Wizards. Help yourself. Learn practical skills. Prepare for the current cultural, social, political, economic scene to get worse.

Now I’m going back to harvesting my garden, tending to my ducks, and then sitting with my books and my favorite non-commercial media sites to ponder what may be coming next. Whatever it is may come slower than I expect or in a different form, but I fear something big and dark and scary is indeed coming. I’m afraid Chris Hedges’ tone is appropriate.



2 Responses to “Riding the Wave? Riding the Wake?”

  1. babz Says:

    It’s late. I worked for 8 hours today. I worked some more at “home.” I just got done applying for food stamps and financial assistence. Lots of paperwork. It sucks being woefully underemployed. In a county with a 40% unemployment rate. I work full-time but still qualify for some help even though I have no babies. My garden? what garden” the deer eat it all. Or the locusts. Also looking at going back to skool. Maybe it’d hep my spelling. Good post friend.

  2. MIC: The New Trinity « Uncommon Scolds Says:

    […] last couple of years. Now, alas, major commentators are starting to sound all too much like me. I commented on an article by Chris Hedges just a few posts […]

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