Richard Moore,
Escaping the Matrix:
How We the People
Can Change the World

(Cyberjournal, 2006)

Think Michael Moore but more cogently argued. Think John Pilger with an American slant. Think Oliver Stone but more widely focused. Consider all these and you have an idea what it might be like to read how to escape from the matrix.

Richard Moore is American born and now resides in small-town Ireland, but he thinks globally. He also does more than catalogue the woes of modern society, he suggests ways that we can change it. In almost 190 pages of minutely argued facts and suggestions, he awakens readers to the world around them. And then it all seems so obvious.

A primary value of a book like this is that very illumination. We tend to move through life seeing what is happening but failing to register the precise nature of the occurrences until someone like Moore points it out in print.

The initial sections of the book take us on a quick trawl through the historical background to the modern world. In particular he enlightens us about why nations go to war. No, it's not to free the downtrodden or liberate the subjugated. From the days of empire to today, it is basically to bolster the financial institutions -- the only real winners in conflict regardless of casualties or victors.

Some of the arguments will be familiar to readers of "Guns, Germs & Steel," but Moore states them in a fraction of the space. He reminds us of the significance of the German plan for a railway from Berlin to Baghdad prior to the Great War. His recounting of the financing of that war is fascinating. Likewise, he tells us of American firms opened in Germany supplying planes and tanks to Hitler's army.

There are gems of information, like the California law prohibiting cancer-causing additives to petrol being rescinded because a Canadian manufacturer called it "protectionist."

But he does not just come across as a naysayer. He follows up the demonstration of a world in crisis with closely argued possible remedies. This is a constructive book.

It is also an excellent source of cogent quotations from Reagan to Goering to Cree prophecy. I particularly liked the one attributed to Desmond Tutu: "When they arrived, we had land and they had the bible. They told us to close our eyes and pray. When we opened our eyes they had the land and we had the bible."

The volume is rounded off with a list of sources in print and cyberspace that will have you intrigued for the foreseeable future.

Moore uses popular culture to enlighten us. He uses the obvious analogy from the movies, whereby taking one pill will show you reality. Escaping the Matrix is the red pill.

by Nicky Rossiter
23 September 2006

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