The Power of Words

I’m reading Death of the Liberal Class by Chris Hedges. The book’s been on my shelf for a year and for some reason, I took it down two nights ago and began reading it.

Actually, I’ve been on a bit of a Hedges kick the past few weeks, having reread his engrossing and enlightening, Losing Moses on the Freeway: The 10 Commandments. It’s a book about theology, or at least theological concepts without being religious—if that makes any sense. It’s at least a theology that is rooted in this world and one I can stomach.

Hedges, and a few other writers—Morris Berman, James Kunstler, John Michael Greer, Dmitry Orlov—tend to burn away any dross and illusions that any thinking person might harbor about the future and the reality of the world we are living in. Of course, voices like these and the news all around us confound the notion that we’re living during any kind of golden age, and it kicks the myth that humans are progressing towards something grand, squarely in the teeth.

I was reminded of this Sunday night while circling the Interwebs while reading the following review of a couple books on guns, by David Cole, in the NYRBs.

Back to Hedges and how we should attempt to live in a world as beset with problems as ours. This resonated with me and perhaps it will with a few other readers. It summarizes well some of the things I’ve been thinking about lately.

Perhaps things will only get worse. But this does not invalidate our efforts. Rebellion—which is different from revolution because it is perpetual alienation from power rather than the replacement of one power system with another—should be our natural state. And faith, for me, is a belief that rebellion is always worth it, even if all outward signs point to our lives and struggles as penultimate failures. We are saved not by what we can do or accomplish but by our fealty to revolt, our steadfastness to the weak, the poor, the marginalized, and those who endure oppression. We must stand with them against the powerful. If we remain true to these moral imperatives, we win. And I am enough of an idealist to believe that the struggle to live the moral life is worth it.