Is Western Civilization, as we know it, about to end? That’s been the haunting question we’ve all had to face for the last few decades. Now, Chris Hedges, the Pulitzer prize-winning columnist and activist, is suggesting that we may really and truly be in the end game.
Writing in TruthDig, he argues that we are facing The Coming Collapse of the United States, if we don’t do something about it, and now. In particular, he says, “The Trump administration did not rise, prima facie, like Venus on a half shell from the sea. Donald Trump is the result of a long process of political, cultural and social decay. He is a product of our failed democracy. The longer we perpetuate the fiction that we live in a functioning democracy, that Trump and the political mutations around him are somehow an aberrant deviation that can be vanquished in the next election, the more we will hurtle toward tyranny. The problem is not Trump. It is a political system, dominated by corporate power and the mandarins of the two major political parties, in which we don’t count. We will wrest back political control by dismantling the corporate state, and this means massive and sustained civil disobedience, like that demonstrated by teachers around the country this year. If we do not stand up we will enter a new dark age.”
In “Collapse,” he argues that, basically, the system as we know it is just not savable. The Democratic Party, he says, is as much a creation of the corporations as the Republicans, it just says things a bit more elegantly. The press, meanwhile, is no better. Rather, it spends its time nattering on about the Trump’s shortcomings as a human being, while ignoring the fact that for a great many people in America, those shortcomings are irrelevant so long as “the peasants” — ordinary people — are facing genuine economic hardship. And, soon it is going to get much worse for all of us. He foresees an economic crisis in the near future which Central Bankers and their ilk will simply not be able to handle.
Should we believe him? Well, Mr. Hedges is not a man entirely without blemish. Frankly, anyone who says that the GOP and the Democratic Party…even the Democratic Party at its worst…are alike is simply spouting nonsense. While the Democratic Party elites…the DNC, the DCCC, etc. … are hardly progressive and healthy, still, they are a damn sight better than Trump, Mitch McConnell, and the Koch Brothers. (But, then again, so is leprosy.)
Still, if Mr. Hedges is to be taken with a grain of salt…he does have a point. High Capitalism, Neo-Liberalism, call it what you like, has been in full flower at least since the 1980s. The question, increasingly, is how much longer can we find solutions to its ever more existential problems — like, what are we going to do when people, even working multiple jobs in the promised land of “full employment,” can’t pay to feed themselves and their children? And what happens when automation renders a great many people obsolete? Including some among the MBAs and bankers who currently run the world?
Ergo, even if Mr. Hedges’ prophecy isn’t true in the short run…there is all too great a possibility that in the long run he will be right on target.