Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chomsky: "“I have never seen anything like this..."

I (like many of my readers, I'm sure) was relieved when Obama was elected. I didn't think he was some sort of messiah (as the Right has claimed we believed) but the election seemed to signal a shift in the mood of the nation. And, of course, I expected a backlash. I knew the Republican machine would gear up with a vengance and try to tear him down - the way it did with Clinton. But I truly was not prepared for what has happened.

And it seems I'm at all not alone. None other than the great Noam Chomsky says much the same.

I want to call your attention to a Chris Hedges article about just that. Here's a little excerpt:

"The mood of the country is frightening. The level of anger, frustration and hatred of institutions is not organized in a constructive way. It is going off into self-destructive fantasies.”

“I listen to talk radio,” Chomsky said. “I don’t want to hear Rush Limbaugh. I want to hear the people calling in. They are like [suicide pilot]
Joe Stack. What is happening to me? I have done all the right things. I am a God-fearing Christian. I work hard for my family. I have a gun. I believe in the values of the country and my life is collapsing.”

You know, Debra Salazar mentioned in a comment a few days ago that people are mad and frightened. Looks like Chomsky agrees.

Here's something else he said:

“It is very similar to late Weimar Germany,” Chomsky told me when I called him at his office in Cambridge, Mass. “The parallels are striking. There was also tremendous disillusionment with the parliamentary system. The most striking fact about Weimar was not that the Nazis managed to destroy the Social Democrats and the Communists but that the traditional parties, the Conservative and Liberal parties, were hated and disappeared. It left a vacuum which the Nazis very cleverly and intelligently managed to take over.”

“The United States is extremely lucky that no honest, charismatic figure has arisen,” Chomsky went on. “Every charismatic figure is such an obvious crook that he destroys himself, like McCarthy or Nixon or the evangelist preachers. If somebody comes along who is charismatic and honest this country is in real trouble because of the frustration, disillusionment, the justified anger and the absence of any coherent response. What are people supposed to think if someone says ‘I have got an answer, we have an enemy’? There it was the Jews. Here it will be the illegal immigrants and the blacks. We will be told that white males are a persecuted minority. We will be told we have to defend ourselves and the honor of the nation. Military force will be exalted. People will be beaten up. This could become an overwhelming force. And if it happens it will be more dangerous than Germany. The United States is the world power. Germany was powerful but had more powerful antagonists. I don’t think all this is very far away. If the polls are accurate it is not the Republicans but the right-wing Republicans, the crazed Republicans, who will sweep the next election.”

I hope he is being alarmist; I really do. But I repsect this man's take on things even if I don't always agree with him.

No comments:

Post a Comment

New policy: Anonymous posts must be signed or they will be deleted. Pick a name, any name (it could be Paperclip or Doorknob), but identify yourself in some way. Thank you.