Hedges reports that American culture has slid into a vast, narcotizing, fantasy realm that distracts us from confronting the economic, environmental, political and moral collapse that surrounds us. The argument goes beyond Neil Postman's in that media and journalism are smoking the same pipes, and have become vapid celebrities and courtiers instead of truth diggers. Financial movers and shakers are indifferent to the human suffering they are causing. It takes enormous effort for the citizenry to achieve clear sightedness since society has become a vast forum for illusion immersion. As the country hurtles toward the rocks ahead, there are demogogues lying in wait for their chance to peddle yet more illusions of healing and relief. As despair and disillusion become more acute and riots erupt, the incipient forces of authoritarian clampdown will have the excuse they've been waiting for to destroy civil liberties, restore order and make the Constitution a faded memory. As Hedges notes, "the tools are in place" and all that's needed is a national crisis to legitimize their use. The novel feature of Hedges's diagnosis is that hatred of the present elites that are leading us to destruction through greed or pipedreams is growing, and these familiar elites may be thrown overboard in favor of a new cadre we cannot imagine, but who will immerse America in a deep valley of tears with all exits blocked. The route will be blindness to our crisis, then despair, then social convulsions, then the clampdown that extinguishes our democracy for good for the sake of law and order. Hedges lists the illusions we"ve bought into that are greasing the slide.