Noam Chomsky: We’re ‘Lucky’ Trump Is a Clown—but Our Luck May Be Running Out
The linguist and philosopher says a more “charismatic” figure could be a “real danger.”
Noam Chomsky is one of America’s preeminent intellectuals.
Chomsky comments on a number of things in this in depth interview including: Democrats are putting too much emphasis on Russia’s interference in the election, US policy in Korea ignores a Chinese/North Korean peace proposal, the Doomsday Clock ticks closer to midnight, Trump possibly pulling the US out of the new START Treaty, Blue Collar discontent, the Powell Memo, NeoLiberalism, Terrorism, Syria, Egypt, Israel/Palestine, Latin America, Fascism, Hitler, and more.
Here are a couple of excerpts:
“A major topic in academic political science is comparing popular attitudes with public policy. Pretty straightforward public policy. You can see popular attitudes, we know a lot about from extensive polling. And the results are pretty startling. It turns out about 70% of voters (which is maybe half the electorate) about 70% of voters are literally disenfranchised, (the lower 70% on the income scale) meaning their own representatives pay no attention to their attitudes and preferences. If you move up the income scale you get a little more correlation. A little more influence. The very top (which is probably a fraction of one percent if you could get the data) that’s where policy is set”
“How are they maintaining support of the people they are kicking in the face? That’s not uninteresting, and if you look into it there are a number of factors.”
“What happens when there is an opposition? That’s very striking. The most astonishing fact about the last election which is the Sanders achievements. That’s a break from a century of American political history. As I said you can pretty well predict electoral outcomes simply by campaign funding alone. There’s other factors that intensify it. Here comes Sanders somebody nobody ever heard of, no support from the wealthy, no support from corporations, the media ignored or disparaged him. He even used a scare word: ‘Socialist’. Came from nowhere. He would have won the Democratic Party nomination if it hadn’t been for the shenanigans of the Obama/Clinton party managers who kept him out. He might have been President. From nothing! That’s an incredible break! It shows what can happen when policies are proposed that do meet the general, just concerns of much of the population”
If there had been a charismatic figure in the United States who could mobilize the fears, anger, racism, a sense of loss of the future that belongs to us, this country could be in real danger. We’re lucky that we’ve never has been an honest charismatic figure. McCarthy was too much of a thug, you know, Nixon was too crooked, Trump I think is too much of a clown, so we’ve been lucky, but we’re not going to be lucky forever necessarily.