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Empire Abroad, Tyranny at Home + Death of the Liberal Class

Program #HEDC005-HEDC004.

First Program: Empire Abroad, Tyranny at Home

All imperial systems eventually collapse. Hubris and arrogance convince great powers the sun will never set on their dominions. Long wars kill and maim many people and deplete not just the treasury but also a nation's moral authority. The U.S. is no different from a long line of hegemons who thought they would last forever. The quest for global domination has domestic consequences. Surveillance, lawlessness, torture and violence overseas migrate home. The vast string of bases and the gargantuan military apparatus are accelerating U.S. decline. Infrastructure rots. Homes and jobs are lost. The economy sinks. No one makes the connections between the external and the internal. Liberals who were once in the forefront of defending the working class have virtually disappeared. They've turned their backs on the idea of economic justice and embrace the elixir of empire.

Second Program: Death of the Liberal Class

The gradual corruption and demise of the liberal class has occurred without much comment. For decades it was a modest curb against the worst excesses of power. Once the pillars of this class, the Democratic Party, the unions, and the liberal church, collapsed, the poor, the working class, and even the middle class no longer had a defender, thus creating a vacuum that is increasingly filled by opportunists and charlatans. The electoral process, flooded with money, is heavily influenced by corporations. The Supreme Court votes for the powerful. Dismayed citizens, fed a media diet of bread and circuses, lose their jobs, savings, homes and dignity thus becoming easy prey for demagogues who scapegoat and blame others for the problems facing the country.

Speaker(s):

Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges is an award-winning journalist who has covered wars in the Balkans, the Middle East and Central America. He writes a weekly column for Truthdig.org and is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute. He is the author of many books including Empire of IllusionDeath of the Liberal ClassThe World As It Is, and Wages of Rebellion.

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