This is juicy stuff from Hedges but unfortunately the basic framework is wrong: we are not living at the end of a ‘civilization’ but still close the beginning of a political system that is flawed and requires re-foundation. We are not close to the decline of the Roman Empire nor is the comparison to Nero appropriate.
To toss in the towel at this point means we are doomed to a new medieval era, for centuries, not so. We are close (two centuries) to the beginning of a new era and our failures are an opportunity, via possibly revolutionary means, to correct mistakes. Look at the period at the end of the eighteenth century: the overall analysis was of a democratic revolution and a challenge from the left to at some point recreate this on a new basis, e.g. socialism. The american system is not in ‘decline’ but in a state of dysfunction created by rampant capitalism…It could be true that the ‘american republic’ shows the stages of the breakdown of the roman republic, but it is still early into a new era and the outcome ought not to be a ‘roman empire’…
It is more useful to think in terms of Athenian democracy: within two centuries after Solon, the experiment was in trouble. Ditto for the american…!
The idiots take over in the final days of crumbling civilizations. Idiot generals wage endless, unwinnable wars that bankrupt the nation. Idiot economists call for reducing taxes for the rich and cutting social service programs for the poor, and project economic growth on the basis of myth. Idiot industrialists poison the water, the soil and the air, slash jobs and depress wages. Idiot bankers gamble on self-created financial bubbles and impose crippling debt peonage on the citizens. Idiot journalists and public intellectuals pretend despotism is democracy.