Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wisdom From Our American Left

  • Chris Hedges stands before "a temple where greed and profit are the highest good, where self-worth is determined by the ability to amass wealth and power at the expense of others, where laws are manipulated, rewritten and broken, where the endless treadmill of consumption defines human progress, where fraud and crimes are the tools of business" — Throw Out the Money Changers. "Fyodor Dostoyevsky in 'Crime and Punishment' understood the radical evil behind the human yearning not to be ordinary but to be extraordinary, the desire that allows men and women to serve systems of self-glorification and naked greed," he later writes, then saying, "When Dante enters the 'city of woes' in the Inferno he hears the cries of 'those whose lives earned neither honor nor bad fame,' those rejected by Heaven and Hell, those who dedicated their lives solely to the pursuit of happiness."

  • Tom Engelhardt writes, "I don’t know what it felt like to be inside the Roman Empire in the long decades, even centuries, before it collapsed, or to experience the waning years of the Spanish empire, or the twilight of the Qing dynasty, or of Imperial Britain as the sun first began to set, or even of the Soviet Empire before the troops came slinking home from Afghanistan, but at some point it must have seemed at least a little like this -- truly strange, like watching a machine losing its parts" — Sleepwalking into the Imperial Dark. "It must have seemed as odd and unnerving as it does now to see a formerly mighty power enter a state of semi-paralysis at home even as it staggers on blindly with its war-making abroad."

  • "Henry David Thoreau, the iconoclastic, nineteenth century New England writer, has long been associated with simple living, solitude, independent thinking, environmental integrity, civil disobedience, nonviolence, and passive resistance," writes Thomas Naylor, "[b]ut few seem to have noticed that he was also a card-carrying secessionist" — Henry David Thoreau Versus the United States. "Best known for its influence on Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., the South African anti-apartheid movement, and the Eastern European anti-communist movement in the 80s, Thoreau’s famous 1849 essay 'Civil Disobedience' reads like a secessionist's manifesto."

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    2 Comments:

    Blogger pandora said...

    Chris Hedges, always worthwhile reading. As we say in Australia, A True Believer.

    You may find the following links of interest - there is a common theme - democracy and the elites.

    Top rated economic blog, Naked Capitalism:
    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/04/musings-on-plutocracy.html

    Noam Chomsky:
    http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175382/tomgram%3A_noam_chomsky%2C_who_owns_the_world/#more

    Finally, this paper from QB Partners, fascinating read as to the future of the reserve currency, democracy and even Libya (go to pg 23 onward). And that is the real reason there is war in Libya. Bodies don't count. Money does.
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/53526093/QBAMCO-Apropos-of-Everything-II-III

    4:25 PM  
    Blogger The Western Confucian said...

    A True Believer indeed! His biography tells us he went to Union Theological Seminary. Our Anglophone lefties often have a religious angle.

    Thanks for the links. Will read when I get a bit more of a chance.

    11:31 AM  

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