Monday, May 18, 2009

The Disease of Permanent War

By Chris Hedges

"The embrace by any society of permanent war is a parasite that devours the heart and soul of a nation. Permanent war extinguishes liberal, democratic movements. It turns culture into nationalist cant. It degrades and corrupts education and the media, and wrecks the economy......

The hollowness of our liberal classes, such as the Democrats, empowers the moral nihilists. A state of permanent war means the inevitable death of liberalism. Dick Cheney may be palpably evil while Obama is merely weak, but to those who seek to keep us in a state of permanent war it does not matter. They get what they want. Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote Notes from the Underground to illustrate what happens to cultures when a liberal class, like ours, becomes sterile, defeated dreamers. The main character in Notes from the Underground carries the bankrupt ideas of liberalism to its logical extreme. He becomes the enlightenment ideal. He eschews passion and moral purpose. He is rational. He prizes realism over sanity, even in the face of self-destruction. These acts of accommodation doom the Underground Man, as it doomed imperial Russia and as it will doom us.....

We have been drawn into the world of permanent war by these fools. We allow fools to destroy the continuity of life, to tear apart all systems, economic, social, environmental and political, that sustain us. Dostoevsky was not dismayed by evil. He was dismayed by a society that no longer had the moral fortitude to confront the fools. These fools are leading us over the precipice. What will rise up from the ruins will not be something new, but the face of the monster that has, until then, remained hidden behind the facade. "

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