A disturbing story in today’s Salon indicates the way in which US prosecutors are using the ever-expanding powers of Homeland Security to stifle legitimate dissent.
The attached photo, courtesy of savebriana.org, shows Briana Waters, with her partner and daughter. She was accused and found guilty of taking part in the firebombing of an office at the University of Washington. Charged with acting as a lookout for the arsonists, based on the testimony of two conspirators, there is evidence to indicate that she was nowhere near the scene of the crime at the time in question. Briana faces the possibility of 20 years in jail, for allegedly holding a walkie-talkie, which seems rather disproportionate to the alleged crime.
From “I Don’t Believe in Atheists” by Chris Hedges:
The greatest danger that besets us does not come from believers or atheists; it comes from those who, under the guise of religion, science or reason, imagine that we can free ourselves from the limitations of human nature and perfect the human species. Those who insist we are morally advancing as a species are deluding themselves. There is little in science or history to support this idea. Human individuals can make moral advances, as can human societies, but they also make moral reverses. Our personal and collective histories are not linear. We alternate between periods of light and periods of darkness. We can move forward materially, but we do not move forward morally. The belief in collective moral advancement ignores the inherent flaws in human nature as well as the tragic reality of human history. Whether it comes in secular or religious form, this belief is magical thinking. The secular version of this myth peddles fables no less fantastic, and no less delusional, than those preached from church pulpits. The battle under way in America is not a battle between religion and science; it is a battle between religious and secular fundamentalists. It is a battle between two groups intoxicated with the utopian and magical belief that humankind can master its destiny. This is one of the most pervasive forms of self-delusion, as Marcel Proust understood, but it has disastrous consequences. It encourages us to ignore reality.
Also see his opening comments in a debate last year with Sam Harris.
IMHO, Hedges’ previous book, American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, gives him a fair amount of credibility in this seemingly never-ending and increasingly raucous debate.