The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress by Chris Hedges; Nation/Truthdig, 407 pages ($16.99).
Just so you know, with no equivocation, where Chris Hedges is coming from, here from the introduction to this new edition of a collection from one of the more bracing journalists and commentators of our time, is Hedges parsing our future before our last presidential election:
“We will all swallow our cup of corporate poison. We can take it from nurse Romney, who will tell us not to whine and play the victim, or we can take it from nurse Obama, who will assure us that this hurts him even more than it hurts us, but one way or another the corporate hemlock will be shoved down our throats … Corporate power, no matter who is running the ward after January 2013, is poised to carry out U.S. history’s most savage assault against the poor and the working class, not to mention the Earth’s ecosystem. And no one in power, no matter what the bedside manner, has any intention or ability to stop it.”
In other words, with Hedges we are talking about the remorseless, unreconstructed left – a fellow, for instance, whose most brilliant book (aside from this collection) was titled “Death of the Liberal Class.”
This compilation of Hedges’ original pieces for Truthdig.com was published originally to much acclaim in 2001. There are nine much newer pieces by Hedges appended here along with his new introduction: on the aftermath of the Iraq War, the Occupy movement and, from two years ago, a piece called “A Decade After 9/11: We Are What We Loathe.”
“War creates a world without empathy,” writes this journalist after two decades’ experience as a foreign (and war) correspondent. “We live in a world at home and in the Middle East, hardened and distorted by hate. We communicate in the language of fear and violence … The only question left is how many more people are going to die needlessly in Israel, in Palestine and in Iraq before Israeli and American leaders begin to deal with our world as it is, not as they wish it to be.”
A rare and eloquent figure on the left during our era.
– Jeff Simon