As the 2008 election was in the final days and the economic crisis was on rapid boil, the BBC sat down with Noam Chomsky on October 24, 2008 to get his impressions on where our particular brand of Theater was heading.
Noam Chomsky: Elections in the United States have become almost farcical. They’re run by the public relations industry, which has a commitment, often explicitly stated, to marginalize issues and to focus on personalities, where you quote qualities, slanders and lies about the opponent. But certainly to put issues to the side. And there’s some good reasons for that. We know a lot about public opinion in the United States. Very intensively studied. And it’s dramatically the case that on many crucial issues, domestic and international, both political parties are well to the right of the population. That’s why about 80 percent of the population in the United States feels, and I’m quoting the polls, that the government is run by a few big interests looking out for themselves and without concern for the population. And they’re not entirely wrong. So elections are designed not to give a choice.”
Even in that short period of time between then and now the political climate has changed - the farce has become a shade more deadly, the noise ramped up beyond threshold of pain, the insanity gone off the register.
It really begs the question where this will all lead, if in fact it will lead anywhere or implode into mindless wreckage.
Newstalgia Reference room with an interview for Harper's Magazine and their At Issue radio series with Socialist Michael Harrington discussing the differences between Socialism and Liberalism. From February 1970. Read more...