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The Rule of the Uber-Rich Means Either Tyranny or Revolution

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At the age of 10 I was sent as a scholarship student to a boarding school for the uber-rich in Massachusetts. I lived among the wealthiest Americans for the next eight years. I listened to their prejudices and saw their cloying sense of entitlement. They insisted they were privileged and wealthy because they were smarter and more talented. They had a sneering disdain for those ranked below them in material and social status, even the merely rich. Most of the uber-rich lacked the capacity for empathy and compassion. They formed elite cliques that hazed, bullied and taunted any nonconformist who defied or did not fit into their self-adulatory universe.

It was impossible to build a friendship with most of the sons of the uber-rich. Friendship for them was defined by "what's in it for me?" They were surrounded from the moment they came out of the womb by people catering to their desires and needs. They were incapable of reaching out to others in distress -- whatever petty whim or problem they had at the moment dominated their universe and took precedence over the suffering of others, even those within their own families. They knew only how to take. They could not give. They were deformed and deeply unhappy people in the grip of an unquenchable narcissism.

It is essential to understand the pathologies of the uber-rich. They have seized total political power. These pathologies inform Donald Trump, his children, the Brett Kavanaughs, and the billionaires who run his administration. The uber-rich cannot see the world from anyone's perspective but their own. People around them, including the women whom entitled men prey upon, are objects designed to gratify momentary lusts or be manipulated. The uber-rich are almost always amoral. Right. Wrong. Truth. Lies. Justice. Injustice. These concepts are beyond them. Whatever benefits or pleases them is good. What does not must be destroyed.

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The pathology of the uber-rich is what permits Trump and his callow son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to conspire with de facto Saudi ruler Mohammed bin Salman, another product of unrestrained entitlement and nepotism, to cover up the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whom I worked with in the Middle East. The uber-rich spend their lives protected by their inherited wealth, the power it wields and an army of enablers, including other members of the fraternity of the uber-rich, along with their lawyers and publicists. There are almost never any consequences for their failures, abuses, mistreatment of others and crimes. This is why the Saudi crown prince and Kushner have bonded. They are the homunculi the uber-rich routinely spawn.

The rule of the uber-rich, for this reason, is terrifying. They know no limits. They have never abided by the norms of society and never will. We pay taxes -- they don't. We work hard to get into an elite university or get a job -- they don't. We have to pay for our failures -- they don't. We are prosecuted for our crimes -- they are not.

The uber-rich live in an artificial bubble, a land called Richistan, a place of Frankenmansions and private jets, cut off from our reality. Wealth, I saw, not only perpetuates itself but is used to monopolize the new opportunities for wealth creation. Social mobility for the poor and the working class is largely a myth. The uber-rich practice the ultimate form of affirmative action, catapulting white, male mediocrities like Trump, Kushner and George W. Bush into elite schools that groom the plutocracy for positions of power. The uber-rich are never forced to grow up. They are often infantilized for life, squalling for what they want and almost always getting it. And this makes them very, very dangerous.

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Political theorists, from Aristotle and Karl Marx to Sheldon Wolin, have warned against the rule of the uber-rich. Once the uber-rich take over, Aristotle writes, the only options are tyranny and revolution. They do not know how to nurture or build. They know only how to feed their bottomless greed. It's a funny thing about the uber-rich: No matter how many billions they possess, they never have enough. They are the Hungry Ghosts of Buddhism. They seek, through the accumulation of power, money and objects, an unachievable happiness. This life of endless desire often ends badly, with the uber-rich estranged from their spouses and children, bereft of genuine friends. And when they are gone, as Charles Dickens wrote in "A Christmas Carol," most people are glad to be rid of them.

C. Wright Mills in "The Power Elite," one of the finest studies of the pathologies of the uber-rich, wrote:

"They exploited national resources, waged economic wars among themselves, entered into combinations, made private capital out of the public domain, and used any and every method to achieve their ends. They made agreements with railroads for rebates; they purchased newspapers and bought editors; they killed off competing and independent businesses and employed lawyers of skill and statesmen of repute to sustain their rights and secure their privileges. There is something demonic about these lords of creation; it is not merely rhetoric to call them robber barons."

Corporate capitalism, which has destroyed our democracy, has given unchecked power to the uber-rich. And once we understand the pathologies of these oligarchic elites, it is easy to chart our future. The state apparatus the uber-rich controls now exclusively serves their interests. They are deaf to the cries of the dispossessed. They empower those institutions that keep us oppressed -- the security and surveillance systems of domestic control, militarized police, Homeland Security and the military -- and gut or degrade those institutions or programs that blunt social, economic and political inequality, among them public education, health care, welfare, Social Security, an equitable tax system, food stamps, public transportation and infrastructure, and the courts. The uber-rich extract greater and greater sums of money from those they steadily impoverish. And when citizens object or resist, they crush or kill them.

The uber-rich care inordinately about their image. They are obsessed with looking at themselves. They are the center of their own universe. They go to great lengths and expense to create fictional personas replete with nonexistent virtues and attributes. This is why the uber-rich carry out acts of well-publicized philanthropy. Philanthropy allows the uber-rich to engage in moral fragmentation. They ignore the moral squalor of their lives, often defined by the kind of degeneracy and debauchery the uber-rich insist is the curse of the poor, to present themselves through small acts of charity as caring and beneficent. Those who puncture this image, as Khashoggi did with Salman, are especially despised.

And this is why Trump, like all the uber-rich, sees a critical press as the enemy. It is why Trump and Kushner's eagerness to conspire to help cover up Khashoggi's murder is ominous. Trump's incitements to his supporters, who see in him the omnipotence they lack and yearn to achieve, to carry out acts of violence against his critics are only a few steps removed from the crown prince's thugs dismembering Khashoggi with a bone saw. And if you think Trump is joking when he suggests the press should be dealt with violently you understand nothing about the uber-rich. He will do what he can get away with, even murder. He, like most of the uber-rich, is devoid of a conscience.

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The more enlightened uber-rich, the East Hamptons and Upper East Side uber-rich, a realm in which Ivanka and Jared once cavorted, look at the president as gauche and vulgar. But this distinction is one of style, not substance. Donald Trump may be an embarrassment to the well-heeled Harvard and Princeton graduates at Goldman Sachs, but he serves the uber-rich as assiduously as Barack Obama and the Democratic Party do. This is why the Obamas, like the Clintons, have been inducted into the pantheon of the uber-rich. It is why Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump were close friends. They come from the same caste.

There is no force within ruling institutions that will halt the pillage by the uber-rich of the nation and the ecosystem. The uber-rich have nothing to fear from the corporate-controlled media, the elected officials they bankroll or the judicial system they have seized. The universities are pathetic corporation appendages. They silence or banish intellectual critics who upset major donors by challenging the reigning ideology of neoliberalism, which was formulated by the uber-rich to restore class power. The uber-rich have destroyed popular movements, including labor unions, along with democratic mechanisms for reform that once allowed working people to pit power against power. The world is now their playground.

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Chris Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.

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Jerry Lobdill

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"The dark pathologies of the uber-rich, lionized by mass culture and mass media, have become our own. We have ingested their poison. We have been taught by the uber-rich to celebrate the bad freedoms and denigrate the good ones. Look at any Trump rally. Watch any reality television show. Examine the state of our planet.

We will repudiate these pathologies and organize to force the uber-rich from power or they will transform us into what they already consider us to be -- the help."

There it is, the obvious. It's like saying "The sun will either continue to burn forever, or it will burn out, transforming us into cold lifeless matter." If "we" repudiate these pathologies that "we" have ingested, how will "we" escape domination and launch a revolt?

I suspect that most OEN members are not part of the"we" Hedges is calling out. An actionable plan is needed.

Submitted on Monday, Oct 22, 2018 at 3:49:17 PM

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Hosea McAdoo

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I agree with Mr. Hesdges and have thought this for a long time. It may sound simplist5ic but I am having trouble finding a realistic alternative.


You say "an action plan is needed", OK, I'm ready to see it. Give it to me but leave out all the shoulds, coulds, oughts, theys etc and give us your action plan. I may not be bright but I have been thinking on this subject since I got very serious about USA problems during the early Bush II reign and have come up only with these two directions


I am an OEN member and am part of the "we".

Submitted on Monday, Oct 22, 2018 at 5:49:46 PM

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What directions might those be?..if I can be so bold. I'm completely fed up myself and maybe a public post isn't the wisest...what a miserable state of affairs.

Submitted on Monday, Oct 22, 2018 at 8:51:21 PM

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Lance Ciepiela

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With Trump looks like #Reaganomics ("killed America's middle class") is "alive and well" and "here to stay" as Trump crusades for Republicans in the 2018 Mid-Term Elections in November and another bid for the Presidency in 2020.

"The main reason he's (Reagan then/Trump now) remembered as a tax-cutter is because of what he did to tax rates for the Uber-Rich: He slashed the top rate from 70 percent to 28 percentand income inequality has soared ever since so that today, the top 1 percent of Americans control a quarter of the nation's wealth, as opposed to 8 percent when Reagan became president".

What can we do? - not much to "buck", "the Powers that be", except #SignThePetition. However, "If Donald Trump truly wants to fix the economy, he must shut down the Federal Reserve and 'start issuing debt-free money'. If he just tries to patch up our current system he will fail because it has been fundamentally flawed from the very beginning". #CenturyOfEnslavement.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 3:41:11 PM

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Let's see if Trump can put his money where his mouth is. He's been complaining about the Fed this week and apparently the idiot doesn't know he can abolish the Fed with his signature and have the government exercise its Constitutional right to mint money. That one action alone could put the first check mark in the MAGA column.

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 1:51:55 PM

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#ForSure - Trump has "infiltrated" himself in "the Swamp". He's highly critical of "rising interest rates" and his Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. The Stock Market is "tanking" ("Stock Market Crash") with all of 2018 Gains lost today because of "rising interest rates". Trump is risking a "Stock Market Run" and a "recession" with a rising budget deficit unless "he walks the walk", i.e., "ditch" the Fed and start issuing debt-free money (create a Public Central Bank) owned exclusively by the American people.

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 11:52:44 PM

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Putting his signature on abolishing the FED would have only one result -- his life would end aka JFK -- after which Pence would tear up that document and life would go on for the FED aka LBJ.

Submitted on Thursday, Oct 25, 2018 at 10:01:11 AM

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That's likely also true. Apparently Presidents are just puppets for the banksters. The frickin' elite in charge are reprehensible. It's a sick joke that this country is a democracy.

Submitted on Sunday, Oct 28, 2018 at 1:40:27 PM

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"Public post isn't the wisest", indeed. If only "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" was an option! It will probably come instantaneously when the rage against the machine reaches critical mass, the question is when and will the lamp post/s survive the criminal cabals self defense preparations of status quo? Or maybe outside multilateral forces bring reality front and center? Survival and it's state of human quality is the only remaining question to be answered.

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 9:30:44 PM

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Reply to Hosea McAdoo:   New Content

It is Hedges' job to offer a solution plan as part of his article. We all agree on what the diagnosis is and don't need to have it reiterated for us over and over again.


Submitted on Monday, Oct 22, 2018 at 9:39:54 PM

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Chris Hedges has told us in his writings over and over that we need to hit the streets en mass and perform acts of civil disobedience if we are to have any hope of reversing this life threatening trend.

Beyond that, I don't think it really is his responsibility to invent THE solution. It's up to us to do that.

I attended Cindy Sheehan's Women's March on the Pentagon on Sunday. At the start of the March we had about 1,500 people which was OK considering how tuned out most people are to the real danger they face under this criminal system. It was a cold windy day and by the time the rally ended there might have been 50 hearty souls who stuck it out. The US public has been rendered politically impotent via entertaining distractions and creature comforts. If they can't withstand a little wind and cold, how do they expect to topple a militarist state intent on keeping us powerless?

This march is supposed to be the beginning of a new anti war movement. We are a core group of people committed to bringing down this lethal system. Are you with us?

As usual of course, the media ignored us even though there were some well known people there including Ray McGovern, Jill Stein, Ann Wright, Ajamu Baraka, Bruce Dixon, Lee Camp and more. This brave peace mom is trying her best to get us moving. If people who say they don't know what to do continue to ignore her and our efforts, they have no one to blame but themselves.

Submitted on Monday, Oct 22, 2018 at 11:38:19 PM

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Lois, I have read everything Chris Hedges has written on OEN. I agree with his diagnosis 100%. He is an excellent writer and a brilliant guy. And he never fails to stir up my righteous indignation (as if I wasn't already mad as hell).

I suppose there are still people who need to become indignant, because that is Hedges's schtick. But many of us (I hope) have moved significantly beyond that point. There must be a solution short of treason, but I am not the seer who can define it.

Re Cindy Sheehan--I was there at GWB's Crawford Texas ranch with her and Ray McGovern when Cindy came for the first time, and I was there for the later demonstrations when Ann Wright managed the activities, including the time when Joan Baez was there. And then I traveled to D.C. and marched with thousands along with Joan Baez, Ann Wright, Veterans for Peace, and, I believe, Ray McGovern. So, yes, I am with you. I am not, however, financially able to travel around the country anymore.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 4:14:46 PM

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Next time the opportunity arises, give me a call! I want to go with you!

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 2:11:59 AM

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Sorry about the duplication. It does this with OpEdNews and no other site. Suggestions?

(edit) Well, it didn't this time.

Submitted on Monday, Oct 22, 2018 at 6:10:05 PM

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Sorry about the duplication. It does this with OpEdNews and no other site. Suggestions?

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 9:25:22 PM

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Aside from many of us "ingesting" the pathologies of the rich, there is another serious problem. Our CIA and military have been crushing progressive movements throughout central and south America for over 150 years. We regularly train the police and military in how to set up connection trees of leftest and progressives. These trees then supply the names and addresses of the targets for the next pogrom. You and I and most of our friends have been on those lists for decades. Any attempt at a violent revolution will trigger that pogrom. The uber rich are exquisitely prepared for violence. What they have trouble with is being laughed at (see Trump's UN speech).

Submitted on Monday, Oct 22, 2018 at 8:16:17 PM

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I agree with you that the uber rich are thin skinned which is why ridicule is an effective weapon we are nor employing nearly enough.

Submitted on Monday, Oct 22, 2018 at 11:42:08 PM

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General strike, folks. Hit 'em where it hurts--in their wallets. (Sadly, this can only be done by those who still have jobs, who are most likely reluctant to risk those jobs by striking. A fact which the plutocrats are, no doubt, banking on.)


Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 12:49:35 AM

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World 5.0 is our new operating system. As the notion emerges we'll see systemic change, and Chris can maybe sing a happier

tune. Love his work, but he's no optimist... :)

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 2:23:02 AM

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