On RAI with Paul Jay, Chris Hedges discusses the psychology of the super rich; their sense of entitlement, the dehumanization of workers, and mistaken belief that their wealth will insulate them from the coming storms
, Senior Editor, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore. And welcome to Reality Asserts Itself
. A few weeks ago, we did a series of interviews with Chris Hedges, and one of the things we talked about was the weakness of the left, the weakness of the people's movement, if you will. Well, we're going to continue that discussion now. And Chris joins us again in the studio.
Chris, as everyone probably knows by now, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and a senior fellow at the Nation Institute. Along with Joe Sacco he wrote the New York Times
bestseller Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt
. And he writes a weekly column for Truthdig.
Thanks for joining us.
, Journalist, Senior Fellow at the Nation Institute: Thank you.
So last time we talked a lot about something you had said in 2008 and you've written more recently about: one of the greatest weaknesses of the left was not creating a viable vision of what an alternative politics and economy looks like, a viable vision of a socialism. But you've written more recently about some other weaknesses, you could say, of the people's movement, and here's one. And I'll read it back. This is a piece you wrote called "Let's Get This Class War Started", which I guess is a play on Pink's song, is it? "Let's Get This Party Started". The quote is: "The inability to grasp the pathology of our oligarchic rulers is one of our gravest faults."
What are you talking about?
Because we don't understand the pathology of the rich. We've been saturated with cultural images and a kind of cultural deification of wealth and those who have wealth. We are being--you know, they present people of immense wealth as somehow leaders--oracles, even. And we don't grasp internally what it is an oligarchic class is finally about or how venal and morally bankrupt they are.
We need to recover the language of class warfare and grasp what is happening to us, and we need to shatter this self-delusion that somehow if, as Obama says, we work hard enough and study hard enough, we can be one of them. The fact is, the people who created the economic mess that we're in were the best-educated people in the country--Larry Summers, a former president of Harvard, and others. The issue is not education. The issue is greed. And I, unfortunately, had the experience of being shipped off to a private boarding school at the age of ten as a scholarship student and live--I was one of 16 kids on scholarship, and I lived among the super-rich and I watched them. And I think much of my hatred of authority and my repugnance for the ruling elite comes from having been among them for so long.