Over time, all systems eventually come to be ruled by sociopaths. This is because sociopaths are precisely the people who will do whatever it takes to gain and keep power.

This is why, after some 5,000 years or so of recorded history, there are examples if all kinds of political and economic systems that flourish for a while and then perish, as the sociopaths take over.

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The United States is a shithole country

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"Free Market Capitalism" is working as designed: extracting from the bottom 99% and enriching the top 1%. Carnival barkers like Trump and Bannon and the howling jackals on Fox, OAN, and Newsmax are depraved opportunists. Unfortunately the DNC is no better, kneeling before Wall Street and Silicon Valley and both parties and all corporate media kneel before the MIC.

Orwell was correct, he just got the date wrong.

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This is a fine piece, but one thing sticks out to me: “Gender non-conforming people”. In the same way that Gore Vidal claimed that all people are bisexual, all people are also gender nonconforming. To emphasize something about oneself which is actually universal is as divisive as discriminating against it. I don’t need to know if you’re vegan unless we’re going to have dinner, and I don’t need to know what kind of people you like to have sex with unless we’re going to have sex. I don’t care what gender you think you are any more than I care what race you think you’re a part of. These things only separate people. My oldest friend is a woman who lives with another woman and dresses more or less like a man. If you ask her whether she feels like she’s in the “wrong body” she’ll say “How could this even be possible? It’s my body. How could I possibly know what it is like to be a man?” She’s a strong independent human being, and is no more or less gender fluid than anyone else. She just is. She gets all the attention she needs by being a fine artist, nothing else need be discussed in public.

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Regrettably, everybody is told that their worth is measured by how much money they have. It's the best way for the plutocracy to perpetrate itself.

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Corporate America, at all levels, is dominated by sociopaths. So is academia. So are churches. So is government. I never framed my feelings of rage and despair as trauma. Chris, this was a great piece. I will read the references you cited. As always, thanks for your insightful opinion.

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I've read Chris Hedges' work for a long time and believe he has accurately, and presciently, chronicled the splintering of America as well as the replacement of empathy with indifference and often cruelty. We're nearly a half century down this road of corporate ascendancy, private profit as the sole measure of value, and one only has to look at the political and environmental degradation to realize where it's going. The cruel bent took on steam in the aftermath of 9/11; that was a turning point in my view. Please share Chris's work as widely as you can. We're desperate for sane and honest voices.

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“This trauma is as destructive to us personally as it is socially and politically. It leaves us in a state of dysphoria where confusion, agitation, emptiness and loneliness define our lives.… Trauma also drives many to flee into the arms of those who are orchestrating the abuse.”

YES, YES, and YES, again, Chris. What you’ve captured in this salient piece reflects much of what I have been trying to awaken people to since my first Substack essay, “A Primer for the Propagandized: Fear Is the Mind-Killer” (https://margaretannaalice.substack.com/p/a-primer-for-the-propagandized), where I write:

“A textbook example of Problem Reaction Solution, the current tsunami of worldwide hysteria is the latest and potentially most threatening example of mass control in history.

“The recipe is simple. Take a naturally occurring phenomenon, say a seasonal virus, and exaggerate its threat far beyond every imagining—despite exhaustive evidence to the contrary. Suppress, silence, ostracize, and demonize every individual who dares present facts that expose the false mono-narrative.

“Whip up a witches’ brew of anger, envy, and, most importantly, fear, escalating emotions to a boil so as to short-circuit our faculties of reason and logic.

“Isolate us from one another, supplant real-world interactions with virtual feuds, label nonconformists as a threat to the group, and pump the public with a disinformation campaign designed to confuse and atomize. In essence, foster a cultlike mentality that shuts down thought to guarantee assent.

“Cultivate and wield our cognitive biases—especially ingroup bias, conformity bias, and authority bias—against us in a comprehensive divide-and-conquer policy that keeps us too busy squabbling amongst ourselves to recognize and unite against those corralling us into a Matrix-like collective delusion that enables the powerful to extract our resources for their own gain.

“This ideological mass psychosis is religion—not science. If this were about science, the Media–Pharmaceutical–Big-Tech complex would not be memory-holing every dissenting voice, vilifying every thought criminal, and censoring every legitimate inquiry in quest of the truth.”

As you rightly observed, Chris, this collective trauma is not happenstance. It is induced through messaging crafted by behavioral psychologists to corral us into preplanned “solutions” that serve the self-appointed “elites,” corporations, and governments while eviscerating the middle class, poor, small businesses, and local economies so we become increasingly dependent on the State for our subsistence and thus will be coerced into compliance with ever-escalating levels of surveillance, subjugation, and slavery.

What we have been witnessing is a straightforward implementation of Biderman’s Chart of Coercion, which you will find in this piece:

• “Letter to a Tyrant” (https://margaretannaalice.substack.com/p/letter-to-a-tyrant)

I highly recommend you read Laura Dodsworth’s “A State of Fear” as well as her newly released “Free Your Mind,” which provides solutions for helping us overcome the engineered menticide of the populace. It is the book-length version of the 12-step recovery program I outline in this piece:

• “Letter to the Menticided: A 12-Step Recovery Program” (https://margaretannaalice.substack.com/p/letter-to-the-menticided-a-12-step)

I think you would enjoy interviewing Laura as well—let me know if you would like me to connect you with her.

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"We are caught up in pursuits of all kinds that draw us on, not because they are necessary or inspiring or uplifting, or because they enrich or add meaning to our lives, but simply because they obliterate the present"

Because the present is not a good place to be. Look at the preponderance of this thought in the slogans Make America Great Again - Build Back Better

Empty promises to steal hope and continue the status quo

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I feel like Hedges is in the minority of leftists who feel immense empathy and compassion for Trump voters and other right wingers. I love this about him. I hear other leftists strongly disparage the notion of mending fences- of forming or maintaining or mending relationships with people who don't share our political beliefs. I suppose they got that attitude by reading other smart leftists from the past. Maybe I'm naive. Maybe I need to read more.

Or, maybe Hedges is right. Perhaps I don't understand the notion of hating poor and working class white people because hating those people is bad strategy (let alone morally bad.) From a numbers perspective, refusing to engage with right wingers makes no sense. It also makes no sense in terms of leftists' compassion for the oppressed. Why is it good to care about Palestinians but hate our own neighbors?

Ideas or norms or systems in economics and politics are often just gobbledy gook bullshit. Words were crafted to make a simple idea appear complicated. The purpose? To make me feel like I'm too dumb to understand something.

That's what makes me think Hedges is correct about unity. Why would I need to read economic or political history and theory to understand why hating my neighbor will lead to effective revolution? Perhaps because it's a stupid idea, and my gut was correct.

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Thank you, Chris Hedges, and thank you for everyone who cares to have a civil conversation about tyranny. Merry days might overtake oppressive ways with such efforts.

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All of our ills can be traced to the shit show of Abrahamic Capitalist enslavement. God is pure shit thinking and Capitalism is for morons called business people, the lowest scum on earth.

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For a superb intellectual history of how we got here, see BBC documentarian Adam Curtis:

The Century of Self


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Great comments, and "Thank you", Chris Hedges and Mr. Fish. Yep, real community is out the front door.

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This is an excellent article. It describes perfectly the trauma inflicted by the Country being under the Domination of big money and ultimately those who insist on their twisted plan . The Federalist Society and those that support the power of big polluters. The six conservative judges who operate from their own perverse and corrupt aggrandizement. Donald Trump supplies more psychosis all by himself, with those ill enough to support him.

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Excellent - thank you.

I have one disagreement and that is that you portray ALL pornography as abusive and its very existence symptomatic of the decay of society. Yes, some pornography has all those dysfunctional aspects but you should realize that consuming pornography that depicts consensual sexual activity which is tender and loving is not harmful at all. In fact, what I would call 'ethical pornography' can help heal the trauma you describe as a harmless way of satisfying healthy sexual urges. Also, many couples in a committed relationship use pornography to enhance their sex lives and that, surely, is a good thing?

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