Captain Ahab & U.S. Empire
The demonic Captain Ahab in Melville’s epic novel Moby Dick represents a quest for power and domination that is a death wish. Hubris will doom Ahab and his Pequod crew, all perish except for Ishmael. Is there a larger lesson to be learned? Is the United States much different? The U.S. with its obsessive drive for control of oil and other resources, its relentless hunger for profits, its garrisoning the globe with military bases, its arrogant disregard for the environment, is on the same suicidal path as Ahab. Washington’s policies, under both political parties, are always imbued with benevolence and noble intentions. It is innocent of imperialistic designs. Freedom and democracy are its goals. A well-disciplined media and intellectual class rarely challenge these embedded assumptions. We continue to ignore all warnings as to the destruction we are wreaking on the planet.
Recorded at the University of Montana.
Chris Hedges is an award-winning journalist who has reported from war zones around the world. Cornel West calls him, “The greatest radical writer and journalist of our generation.” He writes a weekly column for scheerpost.com. He is the host of The Chris Hedges Report. He is the author of many books including War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, Empire of Illusion, Death of the Liberal Class, Wages of Rebellion, Our Class, and The Greatest Evil is War.
he Ahab talk by Chris Hedges is very relevant to our time and situation. It is a fascinating analysis
Oh how I love Chris Hedges. Thank you for broadcasting him again!!
terry koch –
I heard this talk on the way to an art class this morning. i am an artist having spent 20 years as a ballet dancer trying to figure out what the forms of ballet communicate, another 25 years as a 2d figurative artist, again spending most of my life questioning the purpose of art, the utility of art and the meaning of art. Art is like Love, very few of us know or understand what it means any more….
i am very disciplined . I have worked 3- 6 hours a day every day for the last 45 years trying to achieve something, i know not what.
Basically, as an artist i found this article Extremely informative, not only about our culture versus the corporate mentality but purely and simply inspiring about being an artist and creating art. It brought me to tears because fundamentally it answered my doubts about the purpose of art and why i am an artist.
Thank you so much, Chris Hedges
Victor Foia –
Whether you agree or don’t with Chris’s perspective on the inescapable and relatively imminent demise of the human race, you can’t avoid being charmed by the tapestry of literary and historical references he weaves. Having grown up behind the iron curtain, where revolutionary “thought” was force-fed to us, I have a tendency to bristle at the mention of Lenin, Marx, et al. Fortunately, my upbringing at the hands of Communist educators has not rendered me overly close-minded, thus allowing me to listen to, and enjoy, a high-spirited, eclectic thinker like Chris, even when I don’t agree with the core of his thesis. Regardless of your leanings, you should listen to Chris’s use of Moby Dick as a metaphor for the nefarious manifest destiny we, humans, have wrought for ourselves through an immoderate penchant for “more”. The lecture will challenge your recollection of literature, history, and philosophy in a way that makes you tingle with excitement. It will also exhaust you like a satisfying meal that abandons you, a willing victim, to post prandial lassitude. But ultimately, in a fulfillment of your own manifest destiny, it will leave you wanting for “more” of Chris. I am buying the mp3 program under the pretext of wanting to share it with my wife and two sons. But in reality I am doing it so I can nibble at it at my leisure, and digest it in a solitary intellectual exercise, the way I’d do with a block of fois gras stuffed with black Perigord truffles. If I were selfish, that is.
K. Shimberg –
EXCELLENT program today by Chris Hedges — “Captain Ahab & U.S. Empire.” (Most all of AR programs are good. Some, like this one, stand out for their urgency.) Very ironic that NPR, to which we’re very grateful for carrying AR, also insists on having Amer. Nat. Gas. Assn. as one of its underwriting sponsors, so that ANGA’s “Think about it” campaign announcement sometimes flanks AR programs, as well as its news and other public-affairs programming on my local station.
Frank Hogg –
An amazing speech. Chris really nails it. I wish every thoughtful American would hear this.