Dour and insightful, Chris Hedges clarifies our greatest danger. He distinguishes the manipulative lies of past presidents from the mind-devouring Permanent Lie of today's emerging corporate totalitarianism.

The Permanent Lie, Our Deadliest Threat

The most ominous danger we face comes from the marginalization and destruction of institutions, including the courts, academia, legislative bodies, cultural organizations and the press, that once ensured that civil discourse was rooted in reality and fact, helped us distinguish lies from truth and facilitated justice.

Donald Trump and today’s Republican Party represent the last stage in the emergence of corporate totalitarianism.

The permanent lie is different from the falsehoods and half-truths uttered by politicians such as Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The common political lie these politicians employed was not designed to cancel out reality. It was a form of manipulation.

The permanent lie is not circumscribed by reality. It is perpetuated even in the face of overwhelming evidence that discredits it. It is irrational. Those who speak in the language of truth and fact are attacked as liars, traitors and purveyors of “fake news.” They are banished from the public sphere once totalitarian elites accrue sufficient power, a power now granted to them with the revoking of net neutrality. The iron refusal by those who engage in the permanent lie to acknowledge reality, no matter how transparent reality becomes, creates a collective psychosis.

“The result of a consistent and total substitution of lies for factual truth is not that the lie will now be accepted as truth and truth be defamed as a lie, but that the sense by which we take our bearings in the real world—and the category of truth versus falsehood is among the mental means to this end—is being destroyed,” Hannah Arendt wrote in “The Origins of Totalitarianism.”

The part that sticks in my craw, as it were, is

The corporate elites ...insist, however, that when we have grievances we rely on the institutions they have debased and corrupted. They ask us to invest our energy and time in fixed political campaigns, petition elected representatives or appeal to the courts. They seek to lure us into their schizophrenic world, where rational discourse is pitted against gibberish. They demand we seek justice in a system designed to perpetuate injustice. It is a game we can never win. [bold mine]

image sources: Hedges, volcano [text is paraphrase of Thomas Mann in article]

Since my main form of staying sane has been to raise my voice in objection to legislators, <sigh> he cuts at the heart of my coping mechanism. "We can never win." So much for Writing to Congress.

He is right. But his solutions lack the grand vision we need to move forward. I have glimpses of such a vision, but nobody seems to understand, hear, or care.

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Replies to This Discussion

Ruth, I no longer have grand visions. Several years of hardball politics, which included a candidacy in a primary election for a state legislative seat, “ended my innocence”.

Metaphorically, like a pendulum I swung for a while between idealism and cynicism, with each swing passing more slowly through realism.

However, I do have have a few small visions, such as:

— more Americans will become owners of the companies (even corporations) for whom they work,

— Americans who have the direct initiative and referendum are not victims of those they elect, and

— natural selection may already have produced beings more sapient than homo sapiens. For instance, fauna such as bonobo chimps, porpoises, and many species of flora.

if I lived in the part of Pennsylvania described as Alabama (not Philly or Pittsburg), I too would be pessimistic.

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