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A couple weeks ago Christopher Hedges (American Fascists, 2007; Empire of Illusion, 2009; The Death of the Liberal Class, 2010) was interviewed on TVO’s The Agenda. TVO blogged last week that Steve Paikin’s interview with Hedges back in October of 2010 became one of their most-watched YouTube videos, with almost fifteen-thousand views. Hedges’ latest Agenda interview, with Piya Chattopadhyay as part of The Agenda in the Summer, aired last week, and has been viewed almost 8,300 times already…

He was interviewed on two days:

Day One: Chris Hedges calls them “sacrifice zones,” huge pockets of impoverished America on the verge of cementing a permanent underclass. The Pulitzer Prize winning journalist has teamed up with cartoonist Joe Sacco in his latest project “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt” to shed some light on this issue. He joins Piya Chattopadhyay for more on his warning. <link>

Day Two: Chris Hedges on what he sees as the consequences of an uneven distribution of wealth: destruction, violence and revolt. He tells Piya Chattopadhyay what the Occupy movement should be about and how best to deal with these socioeconomic issues in the public discourse. <link>

My first encounter with Hedges was during my days involved with the ‘New Atheist Movement’ in the mid-2000s. I had originally thought Hedges, having published American Fascists (2007) about the dangerous rise of religious fundamentalism in the US, was allied with the politics and views of this group (which included intellectual titans like Richard Dawkins and Chris Hitchens, among others). I was wrong. Here is the debate between Hedges and prominent advocate for the movement Sam Harris that made this clear for me and changed my thinking dramatically during my undergrad:

More recently however, here is the lecture that revitalized by passion for this man and his work:

Journalist and author Chris Hedges delivers a lecture based on his book Death of the Liberal Class. Hedges argues that there are five pillars of the liberal establishment – the press, liberal religious institutions, labor unions, universities and the Democratic Party – but that these institutions have failed the constituents they purport to represent. <link.

You can also hear these TVO talks, as I prefer, in podcast form.

“Beyond Belief: Enlightenment 2.0 was the second event of the annual Beyond Belief symposium which brings together a group of scientists and philosophers to explore questions and answers about human nature and society. The event is organized by The Science Network in association with the Crick-Jacobs Center. It was held at the Frederic de Hoffmann Auditorium of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California from October 31 to November 2, 2007.” <wiki>

“The aim of Beyond Belief: Enlightenment 2.0 is to invite participants to undertake together an ongoing reconnaissance of Enlightenment ideas in the light of advances in primarily cognitive neurosciences, evolutionary biology, physics etc. though not by any means scanting history, philosophy, law. The word reconnaissance is used advisedly. Although reconnaissance now usually means a military information-gathering exercise, the preference is for original root – recognoscere – which roughly suggests ‘to get to know again’. The hope is to explore our current sense of Reason, Truth, Belief, Human Nature, Progress, Virtue and the Good Life in this light. It could be argued that the Enlightenment was not quite the disaster that some critics have suggested, and that version 2.0, and subsequent releases, could conceivably be a dynamic improvement if we set our minds to it, guided by that eudaemonic impulse.” <about>

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