Monday, February 06, 2012

The Folly of Christopher Hedges

Often, when describing the inevitable scenes of major protests in the United States, I evoke the image of a person who has lost a brother in Iraq, a person who has also lost a sister to the trumped up drug war, whose father had his job outsourced, whose mother had her pension gambled away by speculators, whose grandmother lost her home of 50 years because she missed a mortgage payment, and whose grandfather died of industrial poisoning and couldn't afford health care. And make no mistake... variants of such individuals readily exist. So when such a person understandably shows up to protest the corporate oligarchy at a G8 meeting (or the national conventions of the corporate parties), they aren't there to sing kumbaya, march along a permitted path, or have their head cracked by the brutal police. And if they get so angry that they throw a brick through a bank window... I will be the last person to condemn them.

I'm not giving the condescending approval of a social worker who understands some flawed psychology behind such actions... I'm suggesting that such rowdiness is perfectly human, rational, and even inspiring. I'm not suggesting that any particular individual at any particular event engage in such actions, but I fully understand some of the motivation behind such actions and wouldn't condemn an individual engaging in them. And I don't feel that condemnation or further punishment of such individuals is beneficial to society. On the contrary, such individuals may likely prove to be on the cutting edge of actual change in this country.

Enter Chris Hedges and the privileged leftist elite trying to pacify and reign in the righteous indignation of many abused Americans. As in his latest article, they primarily prescribe as a method for social change... accepting more punishment and self-sacrifice. But that's easier to suggest for some than others. And why must they so often be quick to condemn those who aren't willing to take anymore punishment? I'd suggest this reflects a shallow understanding of the true pain already administered to so many people and the sacrifices they've already made.