Does Corporate Capitalism 'Exploit Human Beings and the Ecosystem to Exhaustion or Collapse'? Watch Kmele Foster's Fiery Q&A with Chris Hedges


"It's corporate capitalism that has commodified human beings and commodified the ecosystem that [it] then exploits to exhaustion or collapse," Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Chris Hedges told Kmele Foster (who was reporting for Reason TV) at yesterday's Flood Wall Street protest.

That was the begining off a fiery must-watch exchange between the two journalists over the merits of free market capitalism. The debate touched on Reconstruction, Aristotle, factories in Bangladesh, agribusiness, grocery shopping in New York City, and much much more. Click above to see the full 12-minute back and forth!

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  1. Johnson, not Jackson. Among other things…

    1. Actually Rutherford B. Hayes ended Reconstruction and withdrew Federal troops from South per the Compromise of 1876.

      But Andrew Johnson was a Southern sympathizer and white supremacist who did his best to thwart Radical Republican plans for Reconstruction.

      1. Yeah, Johnson wasn’t all bad when you look at it.

        1. Yeah, all those lynchings and voter disenfranchisement kept dem darkies in their place, right?

          1. That was sarcasm, friend.

            However, why would you jump from Reconstruction in general, to lynchings and voter disenfranchisement in particular?

            Did you not watch the video above?

            1. Apologies for misconstruing your sarcasm, but I am dismayed by the number of Lost Cause believers present among libertarians and paleocons.
              And my opinion is that Reconstruction should have had the dismantling of the old slave plantation system and antebellum Southern way of life as its goal. There was no greater moral evil in the history of our country than slavery and the system that perpetuated it.

              1. Well, you should know then that Reconstruction wasn’t what it “should have been” (even the Radical Republicans unedited version) and libertarians and Lost Causers can still hold genuine grievances.

              2. Eh, I don’t blame those in power for taking a moderate approach to Reconstruction. The South was unruly and could have been a big pain in the ass had they so chosen; we were lucky that Reconstruction merely ended with a discriminatory system which was eventually worn down, instead of as a constantly-rebelling province of the northern states.

              3. I dunno, genocide seems pretty bad too.

    2. And not to nitpick, but Aristotle was no advocate of democracy.

      1. Kmele should have yelled “slaver!” as soon as Chris brought him up positively.

      2. He liked mixed systems, if I remember correctly, which we sort of have.

  2. Why waste your time talking to an idiot like Hedges? This is not an interesting back and forth. It is 12 minutes of a rational human being wasting his time talking to a pig ignorant fascist. The time for reasoning with people like Hedges is past. All that can be done now is ridicule and ignore them or take whatever steps are necessary to limit the damage they do

    1. I about puked when NPR had Naomi Klein on for commentary yesterday.

      1. This is why I hate people like McArdle so much. The only thing worse than animals like Klein are people like McArdle who should know better but insist on acting like the animals are reasonable human beings.

        1. McArdle’s not bad, she’s just misunderstood. She needs to refine her message for the masses so they understand how much she cares.

          1. Read her apology for the Greens up on Bllomberg right now. She is an authoritarian fascist apologizing half wit

            1. I’m just mocking her and the way she provided intellectual cover for the Obama administration and Obamacare.

            2. Frankly, I used to think your criticisms of McArdle were over the top.

              But when I saw her hysterical overwrought reaction to the “government shutdown” a year ago it made me physically ill, and then I realized you were right all along.

        2. Citation?

          you make this comment on all her pieces, but do you have a exemplary ‘case study’ of what you mean?

            1. ” I don’t think that environmentalists are necessarily hypocrites when they advocate more radical action than they are willing to take on their own.

              .. But I think that they should be as clear-eyed about the limits of foreign policy as they are about the limits of their own personal influence.”

              Which is odd, because her latest piece on “Universities Divesting from ‘Fossil Fuel’ while simultaneously consuming tons of the stuff DOES call them out as hypocrites.


              “…that leaves a university in the same moral position as a drug addict who wants to tut-tut at his dealer. If you think that fossil-fuel companies are immoral, then you should stop giving them money. And the primary way that universities fund the activities of fossil-fuel companies is not by investing in their securities; it is by buying their products….
              If you want to stop doing business with the fossil-fuel companies because you think that they do great wrong, that’s a stand I can respect. But you have to actually stop. As long as you continue to give them money, then you have no right to complain about what a sordid business you’re both in.”

              I’m not sure your first example really says what you think, given she makes the point = hypocrites or not, they’re idiots if they think their song and dance is going to change Chinese industrial development.

              1. But she goes on to sing their praises for wanting to force people to live in dense urban environments and how reasonable they are

                1. I think there’s a large contingent of city people who just can’t believe that any right-thinking person would NOT want to live in a city, or at least anywhere less dense than a Long Island town close enough to walk to a LIRR station.

                  1. Yes, everybody in the suburbs are middle class playing as rich, and everybody in rural areas are an ungainly hybrid of the clampetts and Larry the Cable guy.

                    Of course, rural types generally have disdain for those city slickers who think they know how the world works, but that’s more reactionary than anything.

                2. “John|9.23.14 @ 12:21PM|#

                  But she goes on to sing their praises for wanting to force people to live in dense urban environments and how reasonable they are”

                  I guess your beef is that she doesn’t damn the lot of them, hook line and sinker?

                  Urbanist-Futurists have a point when they argue that population density is actually more resource-efficient.

                  it seems she grants them their case *in the abstract*. But then points out that they’re fucking idiots in any practical sense.

                  If you look at Michael Specter @ the New Yorker, he’s in sort of a similar position: he’s the science critic for a hard-liberal publication. He’s the guy who slammed that Indian anti-GMO guru the other month.

                  His pieces are routine takedowns of leftist myths: however, he does so while coating the pill with sugar. He always sells his point as a ‘trade off’, conceding one thing while damning another.

                  Look at his ‘straplines’:

                  A Better Ice-Bucket Challenge
                  Every life has equal value, but every cause does not.

                  The Problem with G.M.O. Labels
                  G.M.O. labels may be a political necessity, but they make no scientific sense.”

                  I think if you’re going to bash mcardle, you at least have to acknowledge that her job requires her to similarly soft-pedal the criticism.

    2. “It is 12 minutes of a rational human being wasting his time talking to a pig ignorant fascist.”


      1. Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. I was trying to watch the video and I only got as far as his admission that he is a Marxist. How fuckin’ stupid do you have to be to be a Marxist? Hedges has nothing to say worth listening to. The guy needs to sit down and set himself on fire in protest. Now that I would pay attention to.

    3. I thought it was pretty good. Those people are zealots. But when he starts talking about the green revolution you could tell it was making people think constructively at the very least to try and make the gymnastic leap that it was a bad thing.

      1. He just reacted by getting angry and further retreating into his cone of ignorance. The only value in talking to him is to show people what a hideous human being Hedges is.

        1. Well, yes. I don’t think objective is necessarily to change his mind, but to change the minds of some marginal people who might otherwise be tempted to agree with him.

      2. I almost puked when he made the statement that you couldn’t question him on agricultural policy because he had grown up in a farm town and seen farmers kill themselves because of big Ag.

        If I was Kmele I would have a) made him give me the names of at least two farmers from his home town that killed themselves and b) asked why Hedges didn’t stay down on the farm to continue that noble profession.

        Fuck, I grew up in a rural area and there ain’t anything that is more noble about farming than there is about running a hardware store. In fact, it is hard hard work. I can see why kids would want to go to the city and become a software developer.

        1. He should at least make up his own lies instead of stealing them from Vandana Shiva.

        2. Could have lambasted him with the fact that the inheritance tax destroys family-run farms.

        3. I can see why kids would want to go to the city and become a software developer.

          Not wanting to look at the south end of northbound livestock all day has been one of the major driving forces in the advancement of humanity. Right behind not starving, which is what put so many people in the situation of staring at the ass end of an ox far too often.

          1. I wonder what improvement the desire not to have to stare at a computer screen all day will bring us.

          2. P. J. O’rourke said something like this to explain why there were so many rebels in 3rd world countries:

            “It will always be more fun to carry a gun around in the hills and sleep with ideology-addled college girls than to spend life behind a water buffalo or rotting in a slum”.

            I think it applies to agriculture in any country though.

        4. Farmboy turned programmer checking in.

    4. “Why waste your time talking to an idiot like Hedges? ”

      For one thing, it provides additional evidence that the CAGW movement is, in fact, a watermelon movement.

      Quite a few people still do not understand this, or refuse to recognize it. Not too many of the ignoranti are inclined to watch Reason videos, but it can’t hurt.

    5. From the link:

      “The plagiarism at Harper’s was not an isolated incident. Hedges has a history of lifting material from other writers that goes back at least to his first book, War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, published in 2002.”…..plagiarist

      Ends always justify whatever means.

  3. During the whole Occupy Wall Street nonsense I always posed this question to the Progressives. Who the fuck has the guns? Jamie Dimon or Tim Geithner?

    1. But, EdWuncler, unless Tim Geithner uses those guns to make Jamie Dimon do whatever we want him to, what good are they? And if we’re not making make Jamie Dimon do whatever we want him to, that means he obviously has too much control of things.

      /progressives actually believe this

  4. I love how the bashes the very capitalistic system that made him a star leftist writer: The government didn’t require anybody to read his nonsense. He wrote things that people liked and bought, and that provided him with fame and a good living.

    1. Which is exactly why he can’t change his branding now . . .

    2. I watched half of this yesterday and was a bit ticked Kmele didn’t point out =

      “if the capitalist puppet-masters are so ubiquitous and omnipotent as you claim, why is it you are a best-selling author and have a prime time TV spot? shouldn’t the Corporation that pays you be directing you to sell people Koch-branded soylent green?”

      i.e. I can’t accept these people making the claim that the ‘CORPORASHUNS’ are anything like the demons they claim when they’ve got their own Prog president in power, shoving idiotic prog legislation down our throats and telling me that the only reason they fail is because of some invisible Corporation-monsters.

      1. But that’s exactly it. It’s animism and superstition. Even your use of the word “demons” is right on the money. Everything would be wonderful if it weren’t for the presence of the evil demons whose only purpose is to ruin people’s lives. And the demons are coordinated by Lucifer the Koch Brothers. Why else is this not heaven on Earth?

        1. Why else is this not heaven on Earth?

          I’m going with “people like Nicole”.

        2. Original sin occurred not when Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of Knowledge. No. The actual sin was when they formed a limited liability corporation to peddle fruit of knowledge to the other animals.

          1. I did not know this!

            1. What’s worse is that after they formed this limited liability abomination, they perverted God’s gifts to them and made it a person. That person’s name? SATAN, INC.!!!!!!!!!!

  5. “Why should we always have poor people?” LOL. What imaginary system do these people envision where there won’t be a class system?

    1. The one where everyone is equally poor. Basically, cave man times.

      1. Even then some cavemen got more breeding partners and more to eat than other caveman. If you think there was a tiered class system in a tribe, your probably wrong.

      2. OOG very rich, OOG have rock, OOG have fire, OOG have pointy stick, OOG have smelly OWS hippy girl in cave to berate him and complain about OOG fire not as nice as GONGA fire.

        OOG spend lot of time hunting.

        Maybe OOG get lucky, get eaten by saber-tooth.

    2. Why should we always have sick people? Why should we always have people who lack the talent to play the organ? You can’t over state how emotional, ignorant and ultimately murderous and evil these people are. If the government decide to murder you and your family to further socialism, hedges and people like him would be there cheering.

  6. The fact that he brought up the sweat shop meme is a huge red flag that this clod doesn’t know wtf he’s talking about. What’s your alternative, Chris? And people in China who work in “sweat shops” are gaining a higher standard of living. Some of them use the money to start their own businesses even. Some are able to send their kids to college. Crap like that. Same goes for places like Bangladesh. Their standard of living is increasing. Yes, it’s a slow process. It took, what, 100 years in the US?

    1. Chinese and Bangladeshis don’t want to stand in a rice paddy staring at an ox’s ass 12 hours a day, every day, for the sake of arrogant Western anti-capitalists like Chris Hedges anymore than one of us would.

    2. I’ve been traveling to China since the mid-80’s.

      Anyone who says that there has not been a vast improvement in the standard of living for the nation’s poor, whether rural peasants or urban workers, is either lying or abysmally ignorant.

      The same applies to all of SE Asia.

      I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

  7. The Soviet environmental disasters that could come to haunt us

    His interest was first kindled in 1999 with a visit to a remote area of Semipalatinsk in east Kazakhstan known as the Polygon. It was the testing zone where the former Soviet Union exploded more than 600 nuclear weapons between 1949 and 1990.

    “The legacy of these horrific experiments is everywhere to see,” recounted Stevenson. “Seepage from the underground tests has polluted watercourses and streams. Farmland has been heavily irradiated. Radioactive contamination has entered the food chain.”

    The resulting ill-health has been shocking. “Cancers run at five times the national average. Birth defects are three times the national average. Babies and farm animals are born with terrible deformities,” he asserted.

    “Children are mentally retarded and Downs Syndrome is common. Virtually all children suffer from anaemia. Many of the young men are impotent. Many young women are afraid to become pregnant in case they give birth to defective babies.”

    What was that about corporate capitalism (whatever that is)?

    1. Didn’t VICE do a segment on this place?

      1. I had forgotten about that. It’s called Atomic Lake

    2. See Jesse Myerson and his ilk. It wasn’t that bad.

    3. I brought that up in a grad school discussion. A friend of mine, a very talented Environmental Historian responded in all sincerity: “Well, I think those disasters were caused by the capitalist components of the Soviet system.”

      At that point, you change the subject to your plans for Christmas vacation.

      1. I am continually infuriated by the meta-context that says that totalitarian collectivisim from the left is something we’re supposed to make excuses for, while understading the evil of totalitarian collectivism when it putatively comes from the right.

        1. Totalitarian collectivism cannot, even putatively come from the ‘right’. Collectivism is wholly leftist.

      2. Because nuclear bombs are a product of capitalism.

  8. It’s always interesting to note that people who rail against capitalism are, fundamentally, railing against human nature itself. They use “capitalism” as a proxy word/concept for the way that humans naturally interact, all the way down to two kids trading snacks in their lunches in a schoolyard. These people actually hate human behavior (and probably themselves) and wish to utterly suppress, control, and ultimately change it–by force if necessary, of course.

    What’s chilling is how many people agree with them, even in part. There are a lot of humans who seem to detest their very own nature.

    1. Capitalism is nothing but evolution and natural selection in the market place. Do these not believe in evolution? Consensus, consensus. I like how he disregards the fact that scarcity exists and that humans aren’t a commodity.

    2. They hate competition. They hate the competitive fire that drives human innovation and evolution. They would love it if everyone was just struggling to subsist day-to-day.

      1. They are terrified of change and hate the world for not recognizing their own perceived genius. They are always deeply broken and hateful people

    3. It’s even worse when you realize that people detest the profit motive along with not really knowing what free enterprise actually entails.

      1. The thing is, they only detest the profit motive in other people. You give any of these people a chance to get rich easily and they will take it in a heartbeat.

        Sometimes I think that it’s just another manifestation of their overwhelming envy. They hate the profit motive because, as always with them, that’s just a proxy word for drive and ambition–which most of them lack. And they hate that others have it, and that they succeed and do well.

        Envy is possibly the fundamental root of these people’s lives, world views, and motivations. This is why they hate people who have more than them, people who have ambition, people who are independent, and pretty much anyone who doesn’t want to sit in the loser’s pen with them.

        1. Yep. Envy, and an overwhelming desire for fairness and equality.

          What they fail to understand is that forced equality is a race to the lowest common denominator.

          Yet they rail against capitalism as a “race to the bottom.”

          They’re so emotional they make Kirk look rational.

          1. And a race to the bottom is hardly a bad thing when the bottom means producing things as efficiently and inexpensively as possible. No, it doesn’t always lead to good outcomes for everyone, but nothing works that way.

        2. Envy is a lot of it. These people tend to be half asses intellectuals like Lenin or failed artists like Hitler or just common criminals like Stalin. The are nearly always people with an inflated ego who are angry at the world for not recognizing their genius.

        3. “Envy is possibly the fundamental root of these people’s lives”

          – ‘Faith in a holy cause is to a considerable extent a substitute for the lost faith in ourselves’;

          – ‘The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause’;

          – ‘A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people’s business.’;

          – ‘There is no doubt that in exchanging a self-centered for a selfless life we gain enormously in self-esteem. The vanity of the selfless, even those who practice utmost humility, is boundless.’;

          Eric Hoffer

          1. Yeah, Hoffer was really on the money.

        4. There is a great classic article on why Intellectuals tend to be leftists.

          Essentially, they spend their entire life being told that they are valuable because they are smart. Because they try hard.

          But Capitalism rewards people for being valuable- providing valuable services and products to others.

          They want a world where it is good enough to be smart like them. They see a (to their mind) stupid person succeeding because they got lucky or (more likely) because their hard work and trial and error before their success is never talked about. And that seems inherently wrong to them.

    4. Well, to be fair, these jumped-up wannabe goons are pretty detestable, so I can’t really argue with them hating themselves.

      They are hateful people. Why shouldn’t they hate themselves?

    5. Exactly that. The difference is that the old Marxist were at least smart enough to understand their system required a new kind of man. These idiots are so stupid they think things will just work by magic or something. They are fucking animals. Just animals who act on instinct, hate and emotion

      1. Also Marxists actually believed capitalism to be a necessary stage of development. Calls to “rein it in” are counterproductive from a classical Marxist standpoint. They should want it to spread globally.

        Of course, I can’t fault anyone for not wanting to actually read Marx.

        1. My communist social studies teacher complained about this when I was in high school in the 80s – he was chagrined that no one seemed to understand that you needed a successful capitalist society to provide the raw material for redistribution if you’re going to have a successful communist society.

          The tragedy was that it was always poor countries that had communist revolutions, where there was no wealth to distribute, and thus everybody got trapped in permanent poverty. He always said the hardest thing would be starting a revolution in a prosperous country, which is the only thing that could work.

          I had another, smarter, social studies teacher, who pointed out that that’s exactly why communism can’t work.

          1. Right, *actual* Marxism and being a revolutionary just don’t mix, saying “sit and wait” doesn’t really motivate people. Lenin deserves credit (and blame) for basically re-writing the rules.

            1. It’s as if the who stupid idea was invented by lazy, bitter, failure of a man.

              1. Proof that the capitalist system(s) can provide charity for even the most undeserving though.

                I don’t know if that’s a point in favor of capitalism or not.

          2. The tragedy was that it was always poor countries that had communist revolutions, where there was no wealth to distribute,

            Compare a poor country in the year 2000 with the ‘countries’ (such as they were) in the year 1000. My guess is that after magically being transported in time, our poor country would find itself in the top 5 in terms of wealth… easily!

            Your commie social studies teacher was making an idiotic argument. If Mohammed had imbued Islam with marxist teachings, the Caliphate headquartered in Baghdad would have started out very very rich, and would have ended up dirt poor nonetheless.

          3. He always said the hardest thing would be starting a revolution in a prosperous country, which is the only thing that could work.


            Of course, eventually you run out of other people’s money (or resources to exploit) and the revolution fails anyway. After the failure of socialism one of two things happens, either they double down, or they back away from it, more-or-less back into capitalism. Much like Sweden.

            In the end, communism as practiced is doomed to devolve into manorialism, its supporters just like to think it is something else and come up with ridiculous buzzwords and phrases to label it something other than peasants under the thumb of a local warlord.

            1. Entropy is a reactionary bitch.

            2. “Of course, eventually you run out of other people’s money (or resources to exploit) and the revolution fails anyway”

              Yes – this is definitely where he wasn’t thinking it through all the way, and I think this is tied to the apocalyptic nature of Marxism.

              Since Marxism is a narrative of human history, the “Revolution” is the end – the “happily ever after.” At that point the accumulated wealth can just be endlessly redistributed, throughout the New Eternity.

    6. Actually, I’d take it a step further. All “capitalism” means is “people free to act on their own judgement in the economic sphere”. When the veils are all pulled aside, what they hate is freedom.

      1. Yes all capitalism is is the freedom for people to do as they like.

      2. They hate liberty.

        They believe freedom means asking permission and obeying orders.

        They want everyone to be free to do as they are told.

        1. I might amend this a little:

          They hate your liberty.
          They believe freedom means your asking permission and obeying orders.
          They want everyone you to be free to do as they are told.

          Every one of these two bit bastards fancies him or herself holding the whip. None of them relegate themselves to the slave state they dream of for everyone else. There’s nothing particularly developed or (dare I say) progressive about these guys. What they fancy is the oldest arrangement in the book, a goon with a club making everyone else do their bidding.

          1. They want to ask permission and obey orders. What are you talking about? Freedom means being free from responsibility and consequence. As long as you have asked permission or are obeying orders, you’re not responsible. You’re free!

            1. Yeah, but they imagine that they will be ordered to do what they’ve always wanted to do, and to refrain from what they would never want to do.

              Few of them imagine that they will be ordered to clean the latrines in a gulag, though I wouldn’t be surprised if a goodly number of them would like being a sadistic guard.

      3. I think there really is an element of not understanding the concept of production.

        He speaks as if there are x number of things in the world, and when those things run out, we all die.

        If capitalism causes us to consume things faster, that means we are all going to die faster.

        They don’t understand why capitalists don’t see that.

        1. An awful lot of people like to ignore the fact that people change and adapt and innovate. It’s probably true that if people keep doing things exactly as they are done right now we will run out of something important before too long. But that isn’t how anything ever happens.

          It’s also funny that these are the people who tend to think that recycling is going to save the world, but fail to see that the possibility of recycling pretty much means that you never really run out of anything.

    7. Capitalism has been a part of human nature since Gog traded a couple of deer skins for a sweet set of prime arrowpoints knapped by Thog from the tribe down the valley.

      1. Thog just pawn of big Flint!

        1. And socialism has been a part of human nature since Ooog clubbed Gog on the head and took those sweet arrowpoints because EQUALITY!

    8. Well, that’s certainly how I think of capitalism. I’m not so sure about the protesters. They see capitalism as another system that can be imposed on people like socialism or fascism (actually, I think what they imagine capitalism to be is more like fascism). But I argue that capitalism is not a system like the others, but the natural result of human interaction. It always exists in spite of any attempt to prevent it.

      1. Capitalism is the emergent order that comes as a result of people engaging in voluntary economic activity.

        “Political tags ? such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth ? are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”

        ? Robert A. Heinlein

        They’re not interested in emergent order. They’re interested in control.

  9. Hedges is correct that the US (and world) doesn’t have a free market, though he’d hate the system even more if we did. So he should smile more.

    1. To them, the government shouldn’t be interfering in the economy in the favor of corporations.

      Instead, the government should be interfering in the economy in the favor of left-wing socialists.

      1. Corporations have been pushing the left-wing interferences from the beginning.

        They just don’t appreciate it.

      2. And left wing corporations.

  10. Man, that was painful.

    Good on Kmele for scoffing at Hedges’ anachronistic bullshit about Aristotle. Talk about moving the fucking goalposts.

    Am I doing it right: “If capitalism leads to oligarchy by necessity, and Aristotle denounced oligarchy in the Politics, then Aristotle was anti-capitalism.”

    Derp. Perhaps it’s been a while since Hedges read the Politics. Aristotle actually does denounce the communistic elements of Plato’s Republic quite explicitly.

    1. I really don’t give any credit to people like Hedges whipping out “Aristotle” to bolster his case, while in the same breath supporting Teachers Unions who’d prefer such ‘dead white men’s’ materials were banished from the earth.

    2. Yes, but Aristotle also had no problem whatsoever with the idea of the king telling you what you can and can’t buy.

      Aristotle criticizes oligarchy, democracy, and free markets because *ALL* of them put too much power in the hands of common people, who are inferior to the ruling class, which is the richest part of Hedges’ invocation of him.

      They con’t call it “aristocracy” for nothin’.

      1. They con’t call it “aristocracy” for nothin’.

        Well, yes, they call it that because people name political organizational paradigms using greek words, on account of greeks pioneering political science. But what does that have to do with anything? Aristocracy means “the best have power”. Aristotle means “best of all”.

        1. Thar two o’you is just trying a confuse me.

          My memory is that Aristotle opposed Plato’s overly communitarian ideas as being a recipe for disaster, since people would inherently chafe at any false equivalence when there is natural disparity. but – he allowed that resource-sharing was a common convention *where it proved beneficial* as part of any voluntary community.


          “. Property should be in a cer?tain sense common, but, as a general rule, private; for, when every one has a distinct interest, men will not complain of one another, and they will make more progress, because every one will be attend?ing to his own business; and yet among the good, and respect of use, ‘Friends,’ as the proverb says, ‘will have all things common.’ Even now there are traces of such a principle, showing that it is not impracticable, but, in well-ordered states, exists already to a certain extent and may be carried further. For, although every man has his own property, some things he will place at the disposal of his friends, while of others he shares the use with them…. It is clearly better that property should be private, but the use of it com?mon; and the special business of the legislator is to create in men this benevolent disposition.””

          he provided as his example, ‘sharing of horses’ in different tribe.

          I would posit that Aristotle is basically saying, “BUT ROADZ!!!

  11. Not that Hedges would end forced into doing prole work in his glorious vision of the future, but I’d really like to see a spoiled ass like him even try to engage in subsistence agriculture as a means of survival.

    1. Send his sorry ass out into the fields to farm for the collective.

        1. And if we can just eliminate use of fossil fuels, we’ll all be out on the farms trying to grow enough to eat. What a wonderful future to contemplate!

          (shh–don’t tell them about fertilizer and the Haber-Bosch process producing 1% of the CO2 output).

  12. Love how the leftist cites Aristotle, claims capitalism isn’t “reality based.” Would have loved to see him have a back and forth with Ayn Rand.

    Awesome job Kmele. Wish I could buy you a beer. You have more guts wading into the shark tank than I’ll ever have. Cheers!

    1. Yes! It was interesting to watch the woman filming from the opposite side–by the end she couldn’t help but start shouting down Kmele. Such a tolerant, open-minded bunch.

  13. Take a look at the Drug War with its massive backing by major American corporations from the medical field to prisons to surveillance equipment to weaponry and then tell me corporations naturally resist exploitation.

    1. And just look at all the wars corporations have caused.

      1. The Opium Wars?

      2. And just look at all the wars corporations have caused.

        EIC did some pretty heinous shit. Of course, it was given carte blanche to do as it pleased in India by the Crown and became, in effect, a government in its own right.

        1. EIC is definitely a very weird case and hard to suss in terms of free market ideas.

          They were so successful as a corporation that they became one of the most tyrannical and incompetent governments in history.

          On the other hand, the line between “the English government” and the EIC was never super-duper clear, and it seemed like a diplomatic fiction in many ways to pretend that the EIC wasn’t primarily held and run by members of the British ruling class.

      3. Chiquita Banana?

  14. One of the more annoying things about these idiots is how they forever think central control is something we and the wave of the future. Ever since the first ape figured out how to use a bone as a weapon there have been too men running things and directing and controlling society. If anything is new or progressive or rare in human history is the idea of individual freedom and commerce.

    1. Aw, come on John! How can you know someone is doing something properly if they haven’t asked permission and aren’t obeying orders? How do you know that that little girl’s lemonade stand is serving real lemonade if she doesn’t have a license and hasn’t gotten her recipe approved? Huh? How do you know? It could be poison, John! Poison! Why do you want to poison people? Huh? Why?!?!?!

    2. If anything is new or progressive or rare in human history is the idea of individual freedom and commerce
      The notion that people could be free to manage their own affairs without a thug placing demands and taking his cut is really maybe 400 years old. Not surprisingly, the conditions in which people lived have improved more in that 400 years than all the centuries before.

    3. time to trot out a Coolidge quote:

      If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just power from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth and soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction cannot lay claim to progress. . . . . .

      1. That is an AWESOME quote.

        +1 second greatest president?

      2. And there’s the rub, Hedges and his ilk DON’T believe in inalienable rights, or equality (in the sense of equality before the law, etc.) They believe there is a superior class of men, in which they include themselves, who should rule over all other men, for their own good.

  15. OT: Oh god, Joe the Clown goes to U of Texas, fails to understand that the “Hook’em” sign is directional. Instead, looks like he’s at a thrash metal concert.

    1. whut Jewilluminati!!?

    2. One in the pink, one in the stink?

  16. I love how socialists think that a society where the minority who wield unchecked political power use it to acquire control over most capital is fundamentally different from a society where the minority who have control over most capital use it to acquire unchecked political power.

    A = A*, unless you’re a socialist.

    *Note to Chris Hedges, “A=A” is Aristotle, not Rand. But on that note…

    “If there is a philosophical Atlas who carries the whole of Western civilization on his shoulders, it is Aristotle. He has been opposed, misinterpreted, misrepresented, and?like an axiom?used by his enemies in the very act of denying him. Whatever intellectual progress men have achieved rests on his achievements.”

    1. You don’t understand! The corporations control the government because the government doesn’t have enough power! We need to give more power to the government so it can control the corporations that control it! Because the government is We The People, when the government controls the corporations it’s We The People controlling the corporations! Not some minority with unchecked political power, but We The People! Those corporations aren’t people, the government is The People! It’s us versus the corporations! Power to the people!

      1. Ok, you believe that “the government is The People” in a “democracy” like the US. Then don’t be surprised when an enemy uses your ridiculous assertion to justify killing civilians in their resistance to your fucking government, because the logical conclusion of your ridiculous assertion is that there are no innocent civilians.

  17. It’s very hard to combine PC liberalism with support for lassiez faire capitalism as this website tries to do. Because no matter how many times they cover their ears and scream “I can’t hear you” they know that under capitalism the richest and most successful are the White men.

    1. We are pretty awesome.

      1. I don’t think that’s fair, because there are rich white women who achieved their wealth through capitalism, too.

        1. Fair? We are talking about results achieved in a free economy.

          1. There is no freedom when limited liability artificial persons walk the streets, sleeping with rich white women without notarized consent.

          2. No shit, fuck ‘fair’!

            Fair is for five year olds.

            1. Look, the proper allocation of resources to identity groups must be honored, or corporations win.

        2. That’s White women Prol not white women.

    2. LOLCat|9.23.14 @ 12:48PM|#
      …”under capitalism the richest and most successful are the White men.”

      I guess Brown is the new White:
      “Carlos Slim Hel? is a Mexican business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. From 2010 to 2013, Slim was ranked as the richest person in the world,. The position was regained by Bill Gates in 2014 before Slim reclaimed the position again…”

      1. Did you know that on the Forbes 400 there is only one Black person? Blacks are 13% of the population, 13 percent of 400 is 52.

        1. LOLCat|9.23.14 @ 1:16PM|#
          “Did you know that on the Forbes 400 there is only one Black person? Blacks are 13% of the population, 13 percent of 400 is 52.”

          Gee, how many White players are there on NFL teams? I’m sure a racist such as yourself keeps careful track of that.

      2. Carlos Slim is of Lebanese descent.

        1. LOLCat|9.23.14 @ 1:17PM|#
          “Carlos Slim is of Lebanese descent.”

          So to racists like you, that makes him White?

        2. “Arabs are brown when raping underage girls but white when the appearance of one might disprove some ridiculous racial point I’m trying to make.”

          1. The “One Drop” rule! Racists love it; you can prove anything now.

    3. Particularly if you keep redefining White more and more broadly to try to keep that statement true. I can envision a day not too far in the future when (successful) people of all cultures and races can be considered white, or might-as-well-be-white, or acting-white, and share in the bounty of hate that comes from not failing at life.

    4. PC Liberalism is dominated by white men as well.

    5. Go fuck yourself, racist.

    6. I’m not sure what point you are trying to make here. Yes, for historical reasons many of the richest people are white men. So let’s get rid of the unfair rules that led to that situation and let people succeed on their merits. Any attempt to right the wrongs of the past will just create more victims and more resentment for the future. Every bit of property in the world has at some point been stolen from someone. The best we can do now is just to say “no more stealing from now on” or you just keep recreating the problems of the past.

  18. Odds on Hedges using racist terms like “oreo” or “Uncle Tom” to describe Kmele later that day?

    1. He seemed quite uppity.

  19. As I said the other day the fact that this whole climate protest is dominated by the usual array of leftist hacks, loons, and assorted camp-followers should be good news. It means that it can be safely ignored, since it has not attracted a reasonable mainstream following.

    These people aren’t any more mainstream than they were at the WTO summit in 1999. 15 years later and it’s the same crowd, with a slightly more “green” spin on the signs. (You have to modify things a bit to stay in theme).

    1. since it has not attracted a reasonable mainstream following

      It doesn’t really have to, this is being taken care of gradually through the public school system. Every generation ends up a little bit to the left of the previous one.

      1. I grew up in Canada being fed propaganda about how much better we were than those fat, ugly, gun-loving, American piggies and how great our socialized healthcare system was.

        I got over my programming, and so can they.

        1. That’s cool in theory, but that’s not how it’s working. If it was starting from the same base every time then there would be some kind of stability but what is happening is that the educational base keeps shifting left and the % that deprogram is reduced in each edition. There are fluctuations, but the broad trend has been economically left for a century.

          1. Deprogramming is voluntary. It can’t be done for you. You have to do it yourself and want to. I think that for many it’s a popularity thing. If you allow yourself to be deprogrammed, if you think instead of feel, then you’ll be tossed out of the hive. Many of your friends and family will reject you. So there is a lot of social pressure to resist deprogramming because it will make you unpopular.

            1. This is very much to the point. Group pressure will maintain even behaviors that result in negative outcomes if they are pervasive enough. For people who suggest “well, I deprogrammed so what’s the big deal?” I ask “if that were good enough then how did we end up in the situation we are in?”

              The left’s long march through the institutions of control and education started a process where the starting point keeps shifting in their direction. The only thing I think that can reverse it is a negative event or series of events that provides enough pain to short circuit the feedback loop .

        2. My father is a committed leftist. So I was totally programmed. Thing is, I learned how to ignore my emotional reactions and instead deliberately think things through. That deprogrammed me real quick.

          Because that’s what most of this socialistic crap is based upon: emotional reactions.

          The only thinking these people do is reverse engineer excuses for their emotional reactions.

          I don’t even consider them to be human beings. They’re animals. Human beings think. These people are just reactionary animals.

          1. The only thinking these people do is reverse engineer excuses for their emotional reactions.

            More or less correct. Although the trouble is that they have an entire superstructure of leftist political and economic theory to help them in their rationalizations. So not only can they rationalize their emotional reactions, they can convince themselves that THEY are the ones who are really being rational.
            It’s not just lone individuals confabulating justifications for their emotional responses, it’s an entire integrated intellectual system dedicated to justifying and rationalizing pre-existing beliefs.

            1. “Why do I feel this way? I know I must be right because I feel it so strongly! How do I rationalize this? What? Some really smart people feel the same way? Maybe they can explain it to me! Oh wow! That like makes total sense! I knew I was right!”

            2. Generally speaking, Rand’s takedown of Kant dismantles their entire philosophy. Not that most of them know anything about Kant.

    2. But but but Naomi Klein and Chris Hedges??

      this is a fair point. whats so pathetic about these 2 in particular is that they are such desperate hucksters. It would make me feel better if younger people were more critical of these sort of ‘Barnes & Noble revolutionaries’, and mocked it for what it is: cheap commercial opportunism. I was sickened by Chris’ pretension that he was making ‘great sacrifices to participate’ (he’d much rather be ‘teaching in prisons: his normal Monday evening’). Whatever buddy. You weren’t about to miss the biggest retard-convention of the year.

      1. “he’d much rather be ‘teaching in prisons: his normal Monday evening'”

        He really *like* to go to jail this week, like he’s done before and will again, but, you know, *this* week he has an important standing commitment.

        But maybe next time.

      2. Exactly, both of these dopes were shilling the same swill back in 1999.
        Anyone who thinks this is a new wave of some avant garde movement hasn’t been around very long. All of these people are tired retreads of movements past.

        I’m sure they have giant puppets, a bunch of stilt walkers dressed in business suits, and Code Pink is running around somewhere.

        They create this carnivalistic atmosphere to take the edge off of all the santimonious moralizing.

        1. You left out the drum circles! Can’t have lefty street theater without drum circles.

          1. Tribes need to express themselves tribally. (Ringo was NOT there. Just sayin’)

          2. Tribes need to express themselves tribally. (Ringo was NOT there. Just sayin’)

  20. The thing I always like to say to socialist hippies bitching about commodifiation is to ask why they don’t just go form their own society sans money and see how well it works. What’s stopping them?

    The truth is they don’t want to “drop out” and form a communist society. What they want is to force communism upon everyone else.

    1. “why they don’t just go form their own society sans money and see how well it works”

      Well, someone need to buy them some land, don’t they?

      1. I’d be happy to give them all land grants from the nation’s large supply of federally owned lands if it meant we would be rid of them.

        1. Golf courses. Give them all the golf courses.

          1. Fuck. Give them Nevada.

            I mean seriously, just getting the lands out of federal hands would be a benefit by itself. Two or three generations later, the whole place would be privately owned townships. Cause you know the communes aren’t going to last.

            1. They’d never agree. BLM land gives them a narrative of rape and plunder. You and me would agree it’s a corporatist environment we’d both like to see go but it is too important to the narrative of pseudo-environmentalism to let go.

    2. One thing Marxist have pretty much always known is that if people are free to leave their utopia, the whole system would collapse in short order. Marxist, being either retarded or evil, have never seemed to understand what an indictment it is of their system that almost no one would chose to live in it long term. Even among the hippie communes populated by true believers, the system broke down pretty quick.

      1. Those who rob Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

        Socialism can only survive if Peter is prevented from going somewhere where he can enjoy the full fruits of his labor, and Paul sure as shit ain’t going anywhere.

      2. “either retarded or evil”

        At this point in my life, I think that evil is nothing more than applied stupidity.

    3. History Channel did an excellent documentary on the hippies (the original ones). They talked about the communes that were formed in the later stages of the “movement” and how they all failed miserably.

      They also talked about how the hippies’ co-optation of the civil rights movement and black-dominated neighborhoods pretty much fucked over black people in the late 60’s/early 70’s.

      1. At least those hippies were willing to work! These modern ones won’t even bother to do (back breaking) labor on a commune for a few months until they become rightfully disillusioned.

        Blame capitalism for the degeneration of hippy culture too.

        1. At least those hippies were willing to work

          I don’t think they were, hence the failure of the communes.

          1. I think that there were a lot of them who were willing to work, just very few who were ready to engage in the desperate, ceaseless, grinding toil that was the condition of humanity for much of history.

          2. Work alone doesn’t mean success. (Otherwise Mises’ contribution was a waste, for an extreme counterpoint)

          3. It’s not that they weren’t willing to work, it’s that the ones that did all the work soon discovered that they got no benefit from picking up the slack left by the slackers.

            Communism, by it’s nature, kills initiative, because it explicitly refuses to reward merit or hard work.

            The only communes that survived have strict rules that demand that everyone work.

            Even at Burning Man, for example, the ten principles include “self-reliance” and “participation”.

            1. back in the 1980s my mom took students to spend a week at a commune in VA. Its still the only successful one from the 1960s


              Apparently the reason its successful is because they incorporated, and are basically a co-op that ‘makes and sells stuff’. we had one of their hammocks for like 2 decades. It was nice!

              1. I visited them once back when I lived in Richmond. They are also extremely selective on who can join, not exactly egalitarian in my opinion, very nice people though.

                And “success” for a commune basically means persistence.

                1. It’s really questionable whether they deserve to be called a “commune” anymore if they are (a) super-selective about membership, and (b) make stuff to sell on the free market.

                  Where exactly is the communism? It’s more like a group house that runs a factory.

                  1. Or maybe Henry Ford had a commune and didn’t realize it.

                    1. Fordlandia? It is in Brazil. Can we call them ‘rubber hippies’?

      2. Communes still exist, they just survive on a revolving door of young idealistic (but dumb) kids to work their asses off for a few years before they realize they’re being scammed and have to leave.

        One of the properties neighboring me is a commune. The process for becoming a “full-member” is essentially impossible, because everything (including membership) is done by consensus.

        Their process is as follows:

        1-2 week meet and greet visit, followed by application.
        6 months probationary residency.
        2.5 years voting residency (but voting is restricted to certain members for certain things, economic decisions are only made by “full community members).
        3 years probationary membership.

        At every transition point they are reviewed “by the community” and their continued presence is voted on by all voting residency and above. One veto means banishment.

        In the 9 years I’ve been living next door not one person has made it to full membership. Not one. In fact, the “youngest” full member has been there over 20 years and is the daughter of one of the founders.

        It’s a scam, and I’ve found nearly every commune has some similar system. When people leave these places they leave with nothing. They were literally voluntary slaves, “wage slaves” at least have something to show for their slavery after a few years. Yet the people who run places like this are beloved by the left.

        1. It’s not a scam, it’s an educational establishment.

          1. Yes, people definitely leave with an education about communism.

      3. But that was good genrification!

    4. why they don’t just go form their own society sans money and see how well it works.

      They do every year, in Black Rock. Of course, absent money, trade still occurs, the medium of trade just varies and it’s wildly inefficient. They also refuse to call it trade, it’s “gift-giving.”

      1. Gift economies, blood donation in America, open-source/freeware, Wikis, etc., can work but not as closed systems. The prosperity that comes with free markets affords individuals the luxury to participate in such ventures without risk to their standard of living.

      2. The barter economy still exists at Burning Man, it’s just underground. People still trade drugs for, mostly, other drugs.

        Usually on the order of here’s a sheet of acid in exchange for an ounce of weed.

        It blends into gift giving when you have something like a bottle of hand-crafted absinthe, because nobody knows how to value that.

    5. You want to see the commodification of people? Try getting rid of money or free enterprise. I’ve got news for you, Citizen Alpha946832, without the money as a store of value or unit of exchange, you’re pretty much nothing more than the balance of another mouth to feed and unit of production.

  21. I see Reason has discovered my favorite prog. I salute your good taste in derp.

    So he went off on commodity trading again. Does this dipshit understand why commodity traders exist? They help stabilize prices as well as help farmers have a more predictable income.

    The idea that some nefarious businessmen are bidding up the price of food and starving people is ludicrous.

    1. It’s the same circular reasoning used by the climate believers.

      In the climate case, industrial activity is bad. It must be harming the planet. Look! Temperatures are going up! Because industrial activity is bad, it must be the cause!

      In the commodity case, profits from commodity trading are bad. I mean, what do these people do other than buy and sell stuff? That’s not real work. So those profits must be harming people. Look! Someone is hungry! Commodity trading must be the cause!

    2. It’s derivative Marxist drivel.

      You listen to these people and if you know any Marx, it’s immediately obvious that every single thing they utter is some kind of dumbed down folklore Marxism. They havn’t actually studied Marx, they’ve just absorbed his ideas by osmosis from the cultural milieu they circulate within.

      1. True, its basically Marxism for ten year olds. That’s what passes as intellectual discourse these days.

        1. But Hedges won a Pulitzer!

    3. One of the most interesting economic topics is how coffee came into existence as a trade good…

      …and why ‘coffee houses’ melded into ‘insurance firms’ and ‘options brokers’ because of the volatility in price of the product between production, distribution and sale …. the risks in shipping, and the uncertainty of crops… and so on. Coffee ‘as a product’ was almost besides the point: it provides a perfect case example by which the business of ‘trading large quantities of a commodity’ on a global scale required all these intermediary markets to guarantee predictable delivery and price.

    4. Just saw the video after wading through the commentary and thought: why hasn’t anyone addressed that absurd comment (about commodity trading). Remember the Hunt Bros.? That goes on, seriously, with every commodity, especially those that can make people starve.

  22. Kinda OT but, for fun, guess (without googling) which country had this in their constitution:

    Article 50. …citizens of … are guaranteed freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly, meetings, street processions and demonstrations.

      1. Got it in one. The folks over at TP took about 6 tries and a dozen rationalizations.

        1. I didn’t know that specific provision, but I do recall learning back when they were still a going concern that their written constitution had all sorts of lovely paeans to liberty that weren’t practiced in the least within the empire.

          1. Indeed:

            Article 54. Citizens of the USSR are guaranteed inviolability of the person. No one may be arrested except by a court decision or on the warrant of a procurator.

            Article 55. Citizens of the USSR are guaranteed inviolability of the home. No one may, without lawful grounds, enter a home against the will of those residing in it.

            Article 56. The privacy of citizens, and of their correspondence, telephone conversations, and telegraphic communications is protected by law.

            Article 57. Respect for the individual and protection of the rights and freedoms of citizens are the duty of all state bodies, public organisations, and officials.

            I think they used “re-education” and “treatment” to get around this. You weren’t arrested, bozhmoi nyet, you’re totally free to say anything you’re just nuts to want to!”

            1. Or, just yebat’ vy , vot pochemu

            2. This is instructional to those who think having a written constitution means anything if everyone just lets the government ignore it.

  23. Who owns Whole Foods? Now there is a smart capitalist.

    1. John Mackey? He’s a smart libertarian, too.

  24. They co-opted Twisted Sister’s ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ over The Who’s take of not taking it. Says a lot.

  25. Kmele has the patience of a saint, bravely done sir.

    I had hoped that people such as Chris Hedges had mostly died out, but it seems that some of them still linger on.

    1. Another demerit for capitalism.

    2. He doesn’t eat GMO. He’s living proof. If the sample size is one but that one is really really important then it’s scientific.
      Earlier he demonstrated this by acknowledging that he watched two farmers kill themselves over Gov’t big AG policies. Was the popcorn he was eating while watching buttered or unbuttered. I’m guessing buttered since he associated with dairy farms.

  26. Hedges doesn’t agree that any progress has occurred in China since the Great Leap Forward. He seemed to wince greatly at Kmele’s assertion of non-Progressive progress in the world’s most populous country.

  27. Never realized Hedges was such a reality denier . Kmele Foster , great job deconstructing his willful ignorance .

  28. Yea those communist countries have such a great environmental record. Lets see be poor here and go to the store and guy what I can afford or be poor is his utopia and stand in a bread line where it takes all day to get a handful of groceries

  29. Reason’s video is viewed in an entertaining and entirely different perspective @ Truthdig:…..n_20140924

    1. The comments prove that leftists are stupid.

  30. Gotta love the irony of him saying that he won’t get arrested that day because he has to be in a prison.

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