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Noam Chomsky on Populism and ‘Off The Spectrum’ Republican Party

Living outside of the Republican social media bubble? Take a look back at philosopher, historian and activist Noam Chomsky’s accurate warning of the success a crooked “charismatic figure,” appealing to particular sectors of society would have, while promising to cure society’s ills. Chomsky’s analysis of the Republican Party, before Mr. Trump even decided to run for the presidency.

In Power and Terror: Conflict, Hegemony,
and the Rule of Force, Noam Chomsky told Chris Hedges

“The United States is extremely lucky that no honest, charismatic figure has arisen. 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.” (Noam Chomsky to Chris Hedges, Power and Terror: Conflict, Hegemony, and the Rule of Force, 2010, Foreword)

Do You Agree With Chomsky’s Analysis

“Both Parties have shifted to the Right. The Democrats are essentially what used to be moderate Republicans. The Republicans are just off the spectrum. They’re not a parliamentary party anymore, and that’s actually recognized by leading conservative analysts, the most respected of them, Norman Ornstein, (…) describes the Republican Party today as a radical insurgency that has abandoned parliamentary politics. (…) What they’ve done is mobilize sectors of the population that have always been there, but have never been really politically motivated: like evangelical Christians; nativists (who are afraid that they are taking their country away from us); white racists; and gun-people who are so terrified, they have to carry their guns into church because maybe somebody will come after them. These sectors of the population are there, and that’s now the base of the Republican Party. It was very striking to watch the primaries, the electoral primaries. One after another person came out from the base each one crazier than the last (…) raving lunatics. The Republican establishment was frightened (…) and managed to knock them down, and get Romney, an establishment Republican. (…) The base that they’ve organized, and had to organize, because their commitments are so far to the Right (…) they’re now having a hard time keeping it under control. (..) I don’t want to draw analogies too closely, but it has some similarity to what happened to Germany in the 1930s.”

Lynn Parramore of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) recently interviewed (Mar 20, 2018) Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Laureate Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Arizona. Chomsky shared his thoughts with the INET on foreign policy, dissent in the internet age, public education, corporate predation, who’s really messing with American elections, climate change, and more in Noam Chomsky on the Populist Groundswell, U.S. Elections, the Future of Humanity, and More.

“[Lynn Parramore] You’ve been looking at politics and international relations for quite a long time. Over the decades, what are the continuities in these areas that stand out in your view? [Noam Chomsky]: Well the continuities are the message of the Athenians to Melos: “the powerful do what they wish and the weak suffer what they must” [from Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War”]…” (Noam Chomsky on the Populist Groundswell, U.S. Elections, the Future of Humanity, and More, 2018)

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