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Bill Moyers and Chris Hedges: How Whole Regions of America Have Been Destroyed in the Name of Quarterly Profits

Hedges discusses his new book with Moyers and the totally unchecked corporate power that is destroying our democracy.

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BILL MOYERS: But are we all then therefore, and I come back to this, aren't we all part of this system that in some way produces Pine Ridge, Immokalee, the coal fields, the inner-cities, and the starving children in Africa? Aren't we all who have jobs and participate in the culture and are in the economic game, aren't we all, in a way, as complicit as those people looking down on you from those windows at Goldman Sachs?

CHRIS HEDGES: No. Because you know, the people who actually run the commodities index are very tiny, elite, and extremely wealthy group. And they're highly compensated. These people make hundreds of thousands, often millions of dollars a year. And most of us don't make that. And that personal enrichment, I think, is a powerful inducement to ignore their complicity in what is clearly a crime against other human beings.

BILL MOYERS: But do you think what you did made any difference? Goldman Sachs hasn't changed.

CHRIS HEDGES: Well, that doesn't matter. I did what I had to do. I did what I believed I should've done. And faith is a belief that it does make a difference, even if all of the empirical signs around you point otherwise. I think that fundamentally is what faith is about. And I'm not a very good Christian anymore. But I retain enough of my Christian heritage and my seminary training to still believe that.

BILL MOYERS: What are you?

CHRIS HEDGES: A, you know, a sinner.

BILL MOYERS: Welcome to the clan.

CHRIS HEDGES: You know, a doubter.

BILL MOYERS: But you're driven by something. I mean, I talked to you when you wrote your first and remarkable book “War is the Force that Gives Us Meaning.” I haven't seen anyone as affected in their life after their experience as a journalist as you had been. I mean, there have been others, I just don't know them. But somehow what you're doing today goes back to what you saw and did and felt and experienced in all those years you were overseas and on the frontiers of trouble.

CHRIS HEDGES: Well, because when you spend that long on the outer reaches of empire, you understand the cruelty of empire, what Conrad calls, "The horror, the horror." And the lies that we tell ourselves about what is done in our name. Whether that's in Gaza, whether that's in Iraq, whether that's in Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, El Salvador, I mean, there's a long list.

And when you come back from the outer reaches of empire, you are, and I think, you know, many combat veterans feel this who come back, you're forever alienated. And you to speak a very unpleasant truth about who we are, a truth that most people don't want to hear. And yet I think to hold that truth in and to remain silent and not to speak that truth destroys you.

That it's better to get up and speak it even as you correctly point out, you know that Goldman Sachs, you know, everyone at Goldman Sachs gets up the next morning and does it. I mean, this was also true as a war correspondent. I mean, the Serbs would kill.

They'd block all the roads into the village, we'd walk in with our satellite phones, we'd file it, we never believe they weren't going to do it again the next day. But somehow not to chronicle it, not to take the risks to report it, was to be complicit in that killing. And I think that same kind of thought goes into what's happening here.

 
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