Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Chris Hedges' Introduction to Inverted Totalitarianism from “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt”

As Chris Hedges has pointed out on numerous occasions, referring to Sheldon Wolin’s work in ‘Democracy Incorporated’ (article, book), the system that best describes the ideology that the government of the United States functions as is inverted totalitarianism - a system where economics trumps politics. In his book “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt”, which Hedges co-authored with Joe Sacco, he describes this system as:
“The political philosopher Sheldon Wolin uses the term inverted totalitarianism in his book Democracy Incorporated to describe our political system. In inverted totalitarianism, the sophisticated technologies of corporate control, intimidation, and mass manipulation, which far surpass those employed by previous totalitarian states, are effectively masked by the glitter, noise, and abundance of a consumer society. Political participation and civil liberties are gradually surrendered. Corporations, hiding behind this smokescreen, devour us from the inside out….

“Corporations, who hire attractive and eloquent spokespeople like Barack Obama, control the uses of science, technology, education, and mass communication…. We busy ourselves buying products that promise to change our lives, make us more beautiful, confident, or successful, as we are steadily stripped of rights, money, and influence…. Civil liberties, once guaranteed under our Constitution, have been stripped away….

“They build ever more elaborate walls and security systems to protect themselves, including the vast internal security apparatus of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, with some one million employees. The elites are lashing out with such disproportionate force, fury, and viciousness againt peaceful protestors, many of whom come out of the middle class, as well as Muslims in the Middle East, that they are turning ever greater numbers of an alienated mass, at home and abroad, against them….

“George Orwell wrote that all tyrannies rule through fraud and force, but that once the fraud is exposed they must rely exclusively on force. We have now entered that era of naked force. The internal security and surveillance state, justified in the name of the war on terror, will be the instrument used against us….

“Fear is the psychological weapon of choice for totalitarian system of power. Make people afraid. Get them to surrender their rights in the name of national security. Demonize all who dissent. And then finish off the few who aren’t afraid enough.

“The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed into law on December 31, 2011, authorizes the military, for the first time in more than two hundred years, to carry out domestic policing. The military can detain, without trial, any U.S. citizen deemed to be a terrorist or an accessory to terrorism. And suspects can be shipped by the military to our offshore penal colony in Guantanamo Bay until ‘the end of hostilities.’ It is a catastrophic blow to civil liberties.”

“Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt”, p. 238-240, 263

Chris Hedges on the 'inverted totalitarian' corporate state


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