“The Culture of Make Believe”

by Derrick Jensen

2004 Chelsea Green

Derrick Jensen has a knack for compiling some of the most horrible atrocities ever committed and piecing them together within a compelling and provocative thread.  This book is more “socially” focused than A Language Older Than Words (which was more ecological), so in that sense I got more out of it, but it’s probably not as well written as that earlier book.

The best parts here are about the KKK, IWW, J.P. Morgan and the turn of the century big capitalists and war profiteers, the Nazis, and slave labor in the US and around the world.  as usual though, he covers about 100 topics in this 600+ page book.

The thing I struggle with when reading Jensen and other ‘anti-civ’ writers is that I agree 99% with their diagnosis of the problem (class society is inherently built on violence and must be dismantled – the industrial ‘economy’ is a machine designed to turn the living into the dead), but their solutions, or lack thereof, are difficult to accept.  Instead of organizing for social change or revolution, Jensen advocates that we basically weep for the world we’ve lost, and perhaps engage in property damage…

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