Chris Hedges blows it — apocalyptic radicalism won't save us, nor should it

I hate to rant, but I’m going to anyway.

I collect “apocalyptica” and Chris Hedges’ Life is Sacred went right into the file.  It was the lines “The planet is dying. And we will die with it” that did it.

I’m only writing this because Hedges is good.  Sometimes he’s very good.  But this is not helpful, and not just because the planet is not dying.  It will recover, as I’m sure, in our less hyperbolic moments, we all know.*  It’s also because this kind of hyperbole is based on a fatal refusal of will, and an overarching pessimism that must be refused.

Here’s Hedges’ concluding paragraph:

“Politicians, including Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, serve the demented ends of corporations that will, until the final flicker of life, attempt to profit from our death spiral. Civil disobedience, including the recent decision by Greenpeace activists to chain themselves to a Gazprom supply vessel and obstruct a Russian oil rig, is the only meaningful form of resistance. Voting is useless. But while I support these heroic acts of resistance, I increasingly fear they may have little effect. This does not mean we should not resist. Resistance is a moral imperative. We cannot use the word “hope” if we do not fight back. But the corporations will employ deadly force to protect their drive to extract the last bit of profit from life. We can expect only mounting hostility from the corporate state. Its internal and external security apparatus, as the heedless exploitation and its fatal consequences become more apparent, will seek to silence and crush all dissidents. Corporations care nothing for democracy, the rule of law, human rights or the sanctity of life. They are determined to be the last predator standing. And then they too will be snuffed out. Unrestrained hubris always leads to self-immolation”

I wish I could remember the name of the fallacy here, the one in which an opinion becomes so large and monochromatic that it overwhelms proportion.   And in this case, even hope.

We can do better than this.

* The fate of our civilization, of course, is more uncertain.

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