the new american discontent

05PACKER-master675-v3George Packer at the New York Times:

In the absence of any perceptible contractions of revolt, two writers — Charles Murray on the libertarian right, Chris Hedges on the apocalyptic left — have given up waiting and decided to induce labor. Their methods are different: Murray’s “By the People” administers a strong but targeted dose of Pitocin, while Hedges’ “Wages of Rebellion” counsels lots of sex, which is called “sublime madness.” But the most interesting aspect of these two books is where their authors overlap. Both are appalled by the collusion between the federal government and corporations. Both describe the legal system as essentially lawless. Neither has any faith that electoral politics, the three branches of government or the Constitution itself can make a difference. Neither fits with any sizable faction of either of the two parties. Both despise elites. Both are willing, even eager, to see Americans break the law, in nonviolent ways, to force change.

At times Murray and Hedges sound exactly the same. “It is part of our national catechism that government is instituted to protect our unalienable rights, and that when it becomes destructive of those rights, the reason for our allegiance is gone. At that point, revolution is not treason, but the people’s right,” says Murray, though it could be Hedges. “Appealing to the judicial, legislative or executive branches of government in the hope of reform is as realistic as accepting the offer made by the March Hare during the Mad Tea-Party,” writes Hedges, pulling off a pretty good Murray.

more here.