5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Brilliant with One Possible Flaw and Some Minor Oversights, May 10, 2015
I am a huge fan of Chris Hedges and consider Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle one of his most interesting works, a real complement to David Korten's The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community.
This book can be seen as a logical follow on to The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan and Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, among other works.
This is a five star book with one major point: revolutions don't succeed from mass power, they succeed when mass power is no longer confronted by the armed power of the state because the individual soldiers and police stop defending the status quo. Since I myself have studied revolution extensively, and < Graphic: Preconditions of Revolution in the USA Today > is easily found online, I am both impressed by the author's blend of journo-scholarship, and a tad disappointed that he missed some key bits.
There is in my view one possible flaw in the author's thinking, his call for mobilizing us to force the elites into panic. That is in my humble opinion as a life-long student of revolution, the worst possible thing we could strive for. While the author is an extraordinary gifted intellect, and he may be calling for this precisely to put Oath Keepers and others “on the spot” so they will “turn” against the elite and for We the People, I believe his leadership on this point needs to be adjusted. I briefed Occupy NYC on Electoral Reform (the 6 minute YouTube is still popular) and went on the develop — after running briefly for President precisely to attract inputs from across the country — the BigBatUSA.org concept for retiring the two-party tyranny (see Theresa Amato's superb Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny and have since published an eight point plan for achieving OpenPower — Electoral Reform in 2015 — in time to elect an Independent ticket and a coaltion cabinet in 2016. That, in my view, is where the author and MoveOn and Facebook and Tom Steyer and others need to end up.
The elite need an exit strategy – Truth & Reconciliation is the way to go. If dynamic personalities such as Chris Hedges and Tom Steyer could combine forces, there is no question in my mind but that we could get Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and Angus King to introduce the Electoral Reform Act of 2015 to Congress; we could Occupy the front lawns and home officers of every Senator and Representative over the summer recess, and we could achieve a non-violent revolution by November 2015 in time for November 2016.
As Sun Tzu puts it so well, the acme of skill is to defeat the enemy without fighting. In my view, the author has offered us a brilliant analysis of the past and a flawed prescription for the future, one that will cost us blood, treasure, and spirit and fail to produce the restoration of integrity to our electoral process, government, economy, and society that we are capable of achieving without violence.
I have posted an online essay and blurbs with links to over 100 core book reviews here at Amazon on the topic of Democracy Lost [and how to get it back.] It is easily found at Tiny URL forward slash Steele-Reform. Five more books here within my ten book limit:
Arsonist: The Most Dangerous Man in America
Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism
Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions)
The Big Disconnect: Why the Internet Hasn't Transformed Politics (Yet)
Best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas
Open Power: Electoral Reform Act of 2015 – Open Source Activist Tool-Kit