Chris Hedges, who recently interviewed Julian Assange in London, said, "The world has been turned upside down. The criminals have seized power. It is not, in the end, simply Assange or Bradley Manning they want. It is all who dare to defy the official narrative, to expose the big lie of the global corporate state. The persecution of Assange and Manning is the harbinger of what is to come, the rise of a bitter world where criminals in Brooks Brothers suits and gangsters in beribboned military uniforms—propped up by a vast internal and external security apparatus, a compliant press and a morally bankrupt political elite—monitor and crush those who dissent."
And yet in many ways it seems that world is already here.
Hedges continues, "Assange, Manning and WikiLeaks, by making public in 2010 half a million internal documents from the Pentagon and the State Department, along with the 2007 video of U.S. helicopter pilots nonchalantly gunning down Iraqi civilians, including children, and two Reuters journalists, effectively exposed the empire’s hypocrisy, indiscriminate violence and its use of torture, lies, bribery and crude tactics of intimidation. WikiLeaks shone a spotlight into the inner workings of empire—the most important role of a press—and for this it has become empire’s prey."
But the story is not over. We are in the midst of it. And it's a clear there's a huge movement building that believes another world is possible, which is centered on human values rather than merely money, power and profit.
Where we went astray was failing to distinguish greed from self-interest. Self interest is human nature-- greed is missing the mark. Our entire system was pumped full of the ideology that there is no difference between greed and self-interest. We ignored the hypocrisy of exalting greed while considering it a sin according to our oldest religious traditions. We took the bait and the result: we saw it morally acceptable that some become rich even if it meant that others in poor countries worked in buildings that were unsafe, or that we kept in place dictators that abused their own citizens, or went to war to steal the resources of other nations. We believed the booty would trickle down to us. And now it is coming full circle. What we have accepted to happen to others is happening to Americans. Our freedoms are diminishing. Our infrastructure is crumbling.
Thomas Jefferson said, "If a law is unjust a man is not only right to disobey, he is obligated to do so". We need more of this spirit-- this moral self-confidence-- that understands it is not the government which is ordained by God to decide what is right and what is wrong--what is ordained is the will of the people.
We do not need to be afraid to give up a world that is set up to not work for us. The American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson said "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds". Indeed it is entirely American-- as well as entirely human-- to boldly seek out and create a new world, a new way of seeing reality and participating. This same impulse is what began the nation that is our home, the nation we love so much, that has given so much.