Chris Hedges: "Our Liberty Has Been Sacrificed On The Altar Of National Security"

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

The relationship between those who are constantly watched and tracked, and those who watch and track them, is the relationship between masters and slaves.

- Chris Hedges

Below you will find an extremely powerful and inspiring speech by Chris Hedges. The award winning journalist has been ahead of the curve on many issues of national and global importance, including being one of the earliest critics of the Iraq war. Chris has an unshakable moral compass and a passion to match it. He has been a shining light in a sea of darkness and cowardice when it comes to public figures speaking truth to power, including having led the charge to sue the Obama administration on the right to imprison American citizens without trial.

Thank you for all you do, Chris.


Here is Chris Hedges' infamous comparison of two frightening visions of the future...

The two greatest visions of a future dystopia were George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” The debate, between those who watched our descent towards corporate totalitarianism, was who was right. Would we be, as Orwell wrote, dominated by a repressive surveillance and security state that used crude and violent forms of control? Or would we be, as Huxley envisioned, entranced by entertainment and spectacle, captivated by technology and seduced by profligate consumption to embrace our own oppression? It turns out Orwell and Huxley were both right. Huxley saw the first stage of our enslavement. Orwell saw the second.


We have been gradually disempowered by a corporate state that, as Huxley foresaw, seduced and manipulated us through sensual gratification, cheap mass-produced goods, boundless credit, political theater and amusement. While we were entertained, the regulations that once kept predatory corporate power in check were dismantled, the laws that once protected us were rewritten and we were impoverished. Now that credit is drying up, good jobs for the working class are gone forever and mass-produced goods are unaffordable, we find ourselves transported from “Brave New World” to “1984.” The state, crippled by massive deficits, endless war and corporate malfeasance, is sliding toward bankruptcy. It is time for Big Brother to take over from Huxley’s feelies, the orgy-porgy and the centrifugal bumble-puppy. We are moving from a society where we are skillfully manipulated by lies and illusions to one where we are overtly controlled. 




The corporate state does not find its expression in a demagogue or charismatic leader. It is defined by the anonymity and facelessness of the corporation. Corporations, who hire attractive spokespeople like Barack Obama, control the uses of science, technology, education and mass communication. They control the messages in movies and television. And, as in “Brave New World,” they use these tools of communication to bolster tyranny. Our systems of mass communication, as Wolin writes, “block out, eliminate whatever might introduce qualification, ambiguity, or dialogue, anything that might weaken or complicate the holistic force of their creation, to its total impression.”


The result is a monochromatic system of information. Celebrity courtiers, masquerading as journalists, experts and specialists, identify our problems and patiently explain the parameters. All those who argue outside the imposed parameters are dismissed as irrelevant cranks, extremists or members of a radical left. Prescient social critics, from Ralph Nader to Noam Chomsky, are banished. Acceptable opinions have a range of A to B. The culture, under the tutelage of these corporate courtiers, becomes, as Huxley noted, a world of cheerful conformity, as well as an endless and finally fatal optimism. We busy ourselves buying products that promise to change our lives, make us more beautiful, confident or successful as we are steadily stripped of rights, money and influence. All messages we receive through these systems of communication, whether on the nightly news or talk shows like “Oprah,” promise a brighter, happier tomorrow. And this, as Wolin points out, is “the same ideology that invites corporate executives to exaggerate profits and conceal losses, but always with a sunny face.” We have been entranced, as Wolin writes, by “continuous technological advances” that “encourage elaborate fantasies of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, actions measured in nanoseconds: a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility, whose denizens are prone to fantasies because the vast majority have imagination but little scientific knowledge.”


Our manufacturing base has been dismantled. Speculators and swindlers have looted the U.S. Treasury and stolen billions from small shareholders who had set aside money for retirement or college. Civil liberties, including habeas corpus and protection from warrantless wiretapping, have been taken away. Basic services, including public education and health care, have been handed over to the corporations to exploit for profit. The few who raise voices of dissent, who refuse to engage in the corporate happy talk, are derided by the corporate establishment as freaks.




The façade is crumbling. And as more and more people realize that they have been used and robbed, we will move swiftly from Huxley’s “Brave New World” to Orwell’s “1984.” The public, at some point, will have to face some very unpleasant truths. The good-paying jobs are not coming back. The largest deficits in human history mean that we are trapped in a debt peonage system that will be used by the corporate state to eradicate the last vestiges of social protection for citizens, including Social Security. The state has devolved from a capitalist democracy to neo-feudalism. And when these truths become apparent, anger will replace the corporate-imposed cheerful conformity. The bleakness of our post-industrial pockets, where some 40 million Americans live in a state of poverty and tens of millions in a category called “near poverty,” coupled with the lack of credit to save families from foreclosures, bank repossessions and bankruptcy from medical bills, means that inverted totalitarianism will no longer work.




The noose is tightening. The era of amusement is being replaced by the era of repression. Tens of millions of citizens have had their e-mails and phone records turned over to the government. We are the most monitored and spied-on citizenry in human history. Many of us have our daily routine caught on dozens of security cameras. Our proclivities and habits are recorded on the Internet. Our profiles are electronically generated. Our bodies are patted down at airports and filmed by scanners. And public service announcements, car inspection stickers, and public transportation posters constantly urge us to report suspicious activity. The enemy is everywhere.




“Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating?” Orwell wrote. “It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself.”

And while Hedges nails it, we leave it to Emmet Scott to sum up the present in relation to Huxley and Orwell's prophecies:

The most striking parallel of course is that both men foresaw the future as totalitarian rather than democratic and free. Neither presumably believed their vision of the future to be inevitable, though it is equally clear that each saw aspects of mid-twentieth century life which clearly pointed in the totalitarian direction. Thus 1984 and Brave New World may be seen as warnings against what might be if the trends identified by the two authors persisted. What these trends were and why the authors saw them leading towards totalitarianism is an important question and one that will be addressed presently.


The totalitarian states described by Orwell and Huxley differed in most details, though there were also many correspondences. Both Big Brother’s world and the Brave New World are ruled by authoritarian elites of a basically socialist/communist nature, whose only real purpose is the maintenance of their own power and privileges.

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kchrisc's picture

I was going to write something, but could not find the words better to convey the truth than what Hedges wrote:

The relationship between those who are constantly watched and tracked, and those who watch and track them, is the relationship between masters and slaves.

- Chris Hedges

Stackers's picture

Where's Ben Franklin when you need him ?

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

SilverIsMoney's picture

This quote has been mangled so many ways so many times I think it's important we all get on the same page with the best interpretation of it lol...

"Those who would give up essiential liberty for temporary security deserve neither and lose both"

is my prefered usage... :)

asdasmos's picture

They are increasing the cost to renounce US citizenship to $2,350 after record renunciations.

The amount of people renouncing are undercounted. Waiting times around the world do not add up as they can process many per day. In Toronto, Canada, the amount they can process in a year is just about the same as the official number of renunciants and relinquishments for the wolrd per year.

CH1's picture

Tyranny, plain and simple.

The founding fathers are dead.

So What's picture

Chris Hedges, be more courageous why don't you? Your liberty has been sacrificed for the Jews.

Four chan's picture

nobody creates more freedom.

Drunk In Church's picture

Liberty is vastly overrated.  Plus it's always been a myth.  What America needs is a strong dictator.  I believe that Hillary Clinton is man enough for the job.

Nobody For President's picture

Hey, Drunk in Church - people don't get you, even on zh. Wish I coule give you a 100 ups,,..

StandardDeviant's picture

That's because he/she/it is just here to pimp a blog.  Ignore the troll.

Keyser's picture

Hedges is short-sighted at best if he believes that the NSA is spying on every man, woman and child on the planet for the sake of US security... If that were the case, our emperor in chief would not leave the fucking borders standing wide open, nor would he be granting amnesty to 5,000,000 illegals from 75 different countries... 

SuperRay's picture



Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Alternatively, do it like in the Old Testament and send them a Registered Letter that says: "I renounce and divorce thee!" 3 times. Done!

If they persist, claim "Religious Persecution" and report them to various Human Rights groups. Given that most nations allow for far easier and cheaper processes, you might make a good case for Religious Prosecution.

If you live abroad, make sure you don't travel to the US until you have a foreign passport -- thus showing that you are still beholden to someone, but to a different Someone, i.e. a Dictator/Sovereign/Prince/Monarch (and their group of Oligarchs).

Grinder74's picture

Why would anyone be stupid enough to pay a fee to renunciate?  Just leave, and burn your passport.

mtl4's picture

See that's probably where Al Capone went wrong........might work during the next major EMP event though.

mtl4's picture

You can count on that price to continue going up and to increasingly have no bearing on any "true" costs for processing these CLN's.......same with lowering the bar on the exit (estate) tax.  When you set up a modern fuedal system you certainly don't want your would be serfs walking away without a good financial beating, right.  Best way to defend against it is to simply purchase hard assets outside the borders and then tell them to come and get it.  This is why countries are currently playing busy beavers installing capital controls to prevent this.  Most living in the US have no idea this is going on at all and ignorantly relate it to tax dodging while anyone living outside the border knows that all this dusted off Civil War law BS started right around 2008 (hmmmm, must just be a coincidence?!)

ACP's picture

"Those who would abolish our liberties deserve to be shot. Several times."


My preferred usage.

luckystars's picture

Hedges is late to the game.  This was said by the founders.

It just creeps me out how the left is now trying to run from the guy they put into power, and how they turned their backs on the destruction of Libya. They traded it for gay marriage and obamacare. Turned a blind eye to NDAA, NSA spying, drones.

Fuck them.

I have nothing for these creepy POTUS worshipers, nothing at all.

James_Cole's picture


Chomsky in 2008:


Hedges & Chomsky in 2012 (NDAA)

Turned a blind eye to NDAA, NSA spying, drones.

It's almost been SOLELY people on the left reporting / challenging on these issues from the start to the present.  



Syrin's picture

You are wrong.   Alex Jones, Michael Snyder, Breitbart, drudge have ALL been reporting on this stuff asy a MUCH greater rate than the left.   Not even fucking close.  How much has the left discussed EO 13603?

James_Cole's picture

Jones wasn't even born until the end of the vietnam war. This shit didn't start with obama contrary to popular belief among goofballs. 

MalteseFalcon's picture

That's why the "left's" abdication is so creepy.  They knew the score as early as the Viet Nam war era.  But with Clinton and Obama they sold out for a pittance. 

Right wingers turned libertarians have carried the ball since Waco.

buyingsterling's picture

James, you seem like a nice fellow, and your persistence here shows patience. But try to at least pretend not to be politically retarded.

There's been zero party backlash against Obama, the press is still fluffing him, and a leftist blogosphere that went batshit over a few foreign intercecpts with the prior regime - is silent, or essentially so. I missed the legions of democraats who spoke along with Rand Paul when President Pimp refused to rule out drone executions of citizens on US soil. Ron Wyden might have been there, the rest are just gobbling Satan's privates as fast as they can. People like Hedges, Seymour Hirsch, James Corbett and others who hated Bush all concede that Obams is worse. Alex Jones had almost nothing good to say about Bush but says Bush and Obama aren't even in the same league. Obama is a big time dictator, wanna be fuhrer. If Bush essentially said 'Congreas wont pass what I want, so I will change the law myself" the left would have gone batshit.

If you're a good hearted liberal who sees that the system (not capitalism) is exploitive in nature, and that the weakest and dumbest will be exploited the most without protections, carry on. If you're going to carry water for President Pimp, and apologize for things he does that would make liberals want to kill Bush if he did them, then you're just a pimp for a pimp, and I won't bother any longer.

So lets test it: Has Obama strengthened or weakened the bill of rights?

James_Cole's picture

There's been zero party backlash against Obama, the press is still fluffing him, and a leftist blogosphere that went batshit over a few foreign intercecpts with the prior regime - is silent, or essentially so.

Party loyalty tends to be independent of political belief, i.e. people who are 'loyal' to dems or repubs tend to overlook (putting it charitably) when their party goes in direct opposition to their personal espoused beliefs. 

Criticizing the party often leads to marginalization so people on both sides of the political spectrum are less likely to do it. There are those who do it, and you can see how they are treated. i.e. tea party / ows.

If you open glenn greenwalds twitter you can see A LOT of criticism of the dems, he tends to point out that the most intense criticism he has received over the snowden leaks is almost entirely from the 'left' media. In fact, just looking now and his most recent tweets are very critical of the DNC's statements on rand paul.

However, if it were a republican president you would likely see it go the other way. Again, party loyalty superseding political ideology. 

Has Obama strengthened or weakened the bill of rights?

Obviously weakened.

On another point, one of the main pillars of liberalism is the idea of a free press. Quick scorecard of where I think Obama stands overall is summed by James Risen on that issue:

“It’s hypocritical,” Risen said. “A lot of people still think this is some kind of game or signal or spin. They don’t want to believe that Obama wants to crack down on the press and whistleblowers. But he does. He’s the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation.”

hairInTheSoup's picture

alex jones is a shill

("to control dissent, lead it")

buyingsterling's picture

I gave you a down arrow because what you're really complaining about is Jones' effectiveness. Short of advocating revolution, Jones offers listerners a variety of ways to get involved, and doesn't profit from them. He makes a shitload on his supplements, but you can't sustain a braind with one time orders, so they must benefit people (or prodce a placebo effect). So Jones isn't really leading anyone anywhere in particular.

Jones problems are twofold, I listen to him daily. His personaility grates on many people; I think he's a real guy, but some people won't get past the yelling to see that. And he doesn't do enough, IMO, to actually funnel energy in a specific direction. If he got behind something like the convention of the states, it might be possible to judge his effeciveness and reach.

If this is a Jew thing, forget it. If Jews are producing problems, rail against the problems, if they are criminal in nature, the perps will pay after the reset, regardless of lineage.

MalteseFalcon's picture

"They traded it for gay marriage and obamacare."

LOL.  So true.  Fuck them.

Raging Debate's picture

Lucky Stars - I remember the 1990's well. There was a massive push on the concept of equality. I remembered thinking that America was trading liberty for equality. I wondered to what end. Now I know. Speaking out against a group of robbers insinuates that somehow you are racist or homophobic or what-not while the political insiders looted the place blind.

The only good news is that events run in cycles and this one will also end.
The CFR and BIS run the world. I am confident they will end the United States government as it is insolvent. That is when 100 M people living off the dole get forty cents on the dollar and realize they were swindled. All those enforcers get there wake up call as well in reduced pay and benefits and so will end the police state. Let's pray we get no world war but I do believe we'll see regional ones with some nukes involved which wakes up leadership the hard way. I hope I am wrong.

The reorganization period in America will be tough for awhile but I do not think it will be as challenging as the reorganization of the Soviet Union. Better infrastructure and the Internet helps.

hairInTheSoup's picture

it's a quote from the elite for the elite to justify treating the mass as a senseless & idiotic herd

SillySalesmanQuestion's picture

+ 1000 Well done WB7! Your representation perfectly illustrates what Chris Hedges has told us what happened to Lady Liberty at the altar of the banksters and politicians... May they soon too, be swinging from lamp posts.

WillyGroper's picture

Powerful images WB7. 

Thanks for fighting the good fight!

Abitdodgie's picture

Seeing the statue of liberty hanging there , I thnk thankyou, someone has killed that bitch Issis.

Ghostbusters's picture


Wasn't this statue presented as a gift from French Freemasons, aka the same globalists who run Wall Street and the District of Columbia, to American masons doing Lucifer's work?  

It is an interesting image if you believe that it is the Statue of Liberty rather than a statue of Isis/Ishtar/Queen Semiramis of esoteric fame.  If you prefer the latter then the image is nonsensical unless it is prophecy.  Will DC and their banker overlords hang the occult brotherhood to which they belong?  Doubtful at best.  

Is this misinformation from the Banzai Institute, an honest mistake, or am is something being lost on me?



Bloppy's picture

Obama-supporting journalist on gun range instructor death: ‘Is the 9yo going to the funeral of the guy she killed?’

snodgrass's picture

Hedges just likes to hear himself talk. The idea that govt. will reform itself is ridiculous. He says the intelligence agencies failed on 911. Hello! They are the ones who pulled 911 off. Until he gets that, the rest is just so much blather.

90's Child's picture

Welcome to Amerika bitchez.

Now bend over and take it.

darteaus's picture

Our liberty has been sacrificed by tryants using the guise of National Security.

Syrin's picture

Any time they do something for our "safety", run.   They are now building FEMA domes all over TX, again, for our "safety".   No telling which ine they named "Auschwitz"

SeminoleBob For Truth's picture

Obama: False Hope False Messiah.

We have suffered these changes for years but the last six years have seen the worst, fastest moving and dramatic changes that I've ever seen. This YouTube video helps explain it. 

pocomotion's picture

I CALL Bull Sh__!  Go back to 1972-- when Nixon took us off the gold standard. 


Do not waste our time!

Syrin's picture

Everything has MASSIVELY accelerated since the American Fuhrer took office.   You gotta be smokin' crack mixed with meth to argue otherwise.   Almost any graph of a horrible economic indicator or loss of freedom has it's greatest slope in 2008 and beyond. 

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Messiahs are a bogus and fraudulent concept, as History does not produce them, but myth makers conjure them up constantly.

Messiahs are about as useful to humans as fake rabbits are to Greyhounds at Greyhound races: both serve a purpose that's different than advertised.

nmewn's picture

You can't be "democratic" AND free Chris.

All it takes is 51% to take your liberty away.

SilverIsMoney's picture

This is why it's so important for people to remember we are a Republic and not a Democracy. You would think after having to recite the pledge our entire lives ("and to the republic for which it stands") people would remember but they do not because politicians so cleverly avoid using the word and instead garble up their democracy crap so they can justify their mob rule.

nmewn's picture

Yes...a republic...but don't be fooled by the pledge, the pledge is nationalism which contorts the rule of law against individuals.

Ralph Spoilsport's picture

When we started reciting the pledge, there were Commies with Migs, Bear bombers, ICBMs and a space dog named Laika. Wearing that nationalism these days is an uncomfortable fit.