"Intellectuals are in a position to expose the lies of governments, to analyze actions according to their causes and motives and often hidden intensions. In the Western world, at least, they have the power that comes from political liberty, from access to information and freedom of expression. For a privileged minority, Western democracy provides the leisure, the facilities, and the training to see the truth lying hidden behind the veil of distortion and misrepresentation, ideology and class interest, through which the events of current history are presented to us." -Chomsky (1967)
There's an ancient Chinese curse that says: "May you live in interesting times." If you follow the daily news, you'll undoubtedly appreciate that we do indeed live in "interesting times" -- times when the climate of our planet is changing in ways that are likely to prove catastrophic for life on Earth, ourselves included, and times when seemingly unending hatred and political turmoil fuel war and other forms of suffering. I've seen these changes during the course of my life and I've felt powerless to stop them. And although I may be, I can't remain silent. For that reason, I've added this short editorial to my website. And a plea to please educate yourself on what's happening in the world. We are the generation that will probably live through more changes than all previous generations of our species combined -- a sobering thought if you consider that many of these changes will be for the worst. As an American, I encourage my fellow citizens to learn more about the real history of our country and the real economic and political forces that have and continue to shape its domestic and foreign policy. A good place to start are the three books shown below. (You can learn more about them by clicking on the images.) The first, by Howard Zinn, provides a summary of real U.S. history; not the history that you probably learned in public education, but the history as lived and told by the majority of the people in our country -- the poor and disenfranchised. The second, by Noam Chomsky, provides well-documented case studies of the actual economic and political forces that determine U.S. domestic and foreign policy, with one lesson from this analysis being that current debates about such policies and how to change them remain meaningless when the two major political parties are bought and owned by the same multinational corporations. And finally, the third book, by Chris Hedges, describes the failures of U.S. policies, and how those failures have during the last four decades eroded democracy and resulted in the rampant growth of poverty and other "diseases of despair" that most Americans are aware and that are fueling a global rise in populism.