Hedges, Chris, America: The Farewell Tour

Reviewed by Dr. George Simons at diversophy.com

Any student of culture, who bothers to look from an unvarnished historical perspective, can see the roots of the US American “success story” clearly grounded in the prevailing values of white supremacy, cruel colonialism, perpetual racism and targeted genocides. “Westward ho!” (and every other direction, as well), these guarded truths are consciously avoided and covered by a narrative that demands we see the country’s history as God smiling upon a “Chosen People.”

Disturbing elements of the American story then and now are not taught in school and continue to be carefully obscured from popular consciousness by “the people who run things.” What is happening today, is not new. For example, millions of immigrants to the US, many of them citizens, have been deported over the last century and a half on the basis of race, ethnicity and belief. Gunboat diplomacy in the interests of acquisition has long been with us.

The disintegration of democracy and the desperate thrashing of the current regime to preserve and enhance capitalist hegemony in the USA and worldwide, in the face of seemingly inevitable decline, are themes slowly coming to light. Discussion is beginning to appear in the media and there is an audible online whine, despite the efforts of those who would control the story.

Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four has been a bit late in coming to full bloom in our consciousness, but even that fictional alarm may be an oversimplification of what is in fact coming to pass: perpetual war, omnipresent corporate and government surveillance, twisted history, and propaganda. What makes Hedges’ study unique is that it offers the reader a full and up-to-date insight into a cultural system that seems hell-bent on human and terrestrial suicide, thus, “a farewell tour.” Hedges blends human stories and verifiable facts in such a way that we hear a powerful call to action if the American and perhaps global catastrophe is to be avoided.

America: The Farewell Tour is a concatenation of first-hand personal testimonies and carefully studied evidence highlighting the increasingly shocking dynamics of present the and intensifying US dystopia:

  • First, we are provided with an overview of the decay afoot afflicting the climates in which USians live, social, urban, employment, financial, educational, political and ecological.
  • Next, the destructive force of these leading to heroin and other forms of addiction and ineffective escape rooted in self-hatred and depression among vast segments of the population, eagerly facilitated by suppliers, both corporate and on the street.
  • Thirdly, the decline of hope, meaning and opportunity in work and career and the increasing inability of individuals and families to negotiate and secure their well-being in an exploitive system.
  • The fourth chapter addresses sadism with a strong emphasis on the penetrating themes and industry of pornography and satisfaction sought in cruelty of behavior toward others and, in fact, toward oneself.
  • Fifthly, hate is explored, the mechanism which encourages us to aim blame and violence toward each other rather than unite and face those whose machinery manages our identity stories and our fate to their own advantage.
  • With seemingly nothing to lose, it is not surprising that addiction to gambling, the next theme, is rampant. Wagering our lives away in the casino or on the street confirms us in our despair. Suicidal living, with vain hopes of winning in rigged games, leads often enough to taking one’s life when nothing is left.
  • Finally, what would, or could freedom look like, and how could it be achieved in a society where we are imprisoned and exploited, whether we are behind bars or not. How do we cope with the police and militias, escape the legal and judicial forces whose purpose is to maintain twenty-first century serfdom?

What must we recognize and do to avoid Armageddon or apocalypse? Passive psychospiritualities and immersion into isolated self-discovery and affirmation, becoming a “me” contribute to the passivity of many USians and plays into the hands of the commodified surveillance state. Seeing individuality as salvation alienates us from solid and productive connection and synergy with our fellows and perpetuates our slavery to the system.

The rhetoric of right and left is just that, rhetoric. No matter how bombastic, It perpetuates division and weakness without generating the action required to force change. This action is not to be found in violence, or sabotage or larger protest events. Keeping the populace polarized into right and left, blaming each other, plays perfectly into the strategy of the dominant system which commands the force to police both to keep them from getting out of hand.

The bottom line? The decay of the USA is bound to continue apace unless human connection and solidarity, conscious of the forces of destructive exploitation, are strong enough to strike fear into the owners and perpetrators of the current system. Compliant behavior must come to an end.

Simon & Schuster, 2019. ISBN-10: 1501152688, ISBN-13: 978-1501152689

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