Chomsky on Right Wing Protesters

The full interview is here.

First of all, don’t believe anything you hear from power systems. So if Obama or the boss or the newspapers or anyone else tells you they’re doing this, that, or the other thing, dismiss it or assume the opposite is true, which it often is. You have to rely on yourself and your associates—gifts don’t come from above; you’re going to win them, or you won’t have them, and you win by struggle, and that requires understanding and serious analysis of the options and the circumstances, and then you can do a lot. So take right now, for example, there is a right-wing populist uprising. It’s very common, even on the left, to just ridicule them, but that’s not the right reaction. If you look at those people and listen to them on talk radio, these are people with real grievances. I listen to talk radio a lot and it’s kind of interesting. If you can sort of suspend your knowledge of the world and just enter into the world of the people who are calling in, you can understand them. I’ve never seen a study, but my sense is that these are people who feel really aggrieved. These people think, “I’ve done everything right all my life, I’m a god-fearing Christian, I’m white, I’m male, I’ve worked hard, and I carry a gun. I do everything I’m supposed to do. And I’m getting shafted.” And in fact they are getting shafted. For 30 years their wages have stagnated or declined, the social conditions have worsened, the children are going crazy, there are no schools, there’s nothing, so somebody must be doing something to them, and they want to know who it is. Well Rush Limbaugh has answered – it’s the rich liberals who own the banks and run the government, and of course run the media, and they don’t care about you—they just want to give everything away to illegal immigrants and gays and communists and so on.

Well, you know, the reaction we should be having to them is not ridicule, but rather self-criticism. Why aren’t we organizing them? I mean, we are the ones that ought to be organizing them, not Rush Limbaugh. There are historical analogs, which are not exact, of course, but are close enough to be worrisome. This is a whiff of early Nazi Germany. Hitler was appealing to groups with similar grievances, and giving them crazy answers, but at least they were answers; these groups weren’t getting them anywhere else. It was the Jews and the Bolsheviks [that were the problem].

I mean, the liberal democrats aren’t going to tell the average American, “Yeah, you’re being shafted because of the policies that we’ve established over the years that we’re maintaining now.” That’s not going to be an answer. And they’re not getting answers from the left. So, there’s an internal coherence and logic to what they get from Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and the rest of these guys. And they sound very convincing, they’re very self-confident, and they have an answer to everything—a crazy answer, but it’s an answer. And it’s our fault if that goes on. So one thing to be done is don’t ridicule these people, join them, and talk about their real grievances and give them a sensible answer, like, “Take over your factories.”


4 Responses

  1. Simple answers for small minds!

    “more guns, less crime!”

    I guess that makes sense. Also see my posts on brainwashing. It isn’t complex, it can be stupid slogans and lots of us v. them.

    • Yep. If someone makes a list (as HuffPo did recently…I think they called it “Game Changers” or some stupid fucking thing) of significant thinkers alive today, and Chomsky isn’t AT LEAST in the top three (if not #1 with the second spot left vacant to indicate the gulf between him and the rest of the field), it’s bullshit.

  2. I’ve had enough of this liberal media shit. I’ve worked for the media – well, one medium, newspapers – for years. The employees may be liberal, but the owners are Roger Ailes, Rev. Moon and bunch of right-wing twits born with silver spoons up their asses. How do you think they bought a newspaper in the first place? And liberal bank owners? Fuck me.
    Yeah, I know he’s saying Rush says that, not him. I need a Vicodin. Maybe a liberal drug company owner will give me one.

  3. I laugh my ass off every time I hear the accusation that society is run by a “rich, liberal, elite” that controls everything.

    The only way you can believe this is if you have little or no knowledge of rich people or human nature in general.

    As a group, rich people are not liberal. There is a decent amount of “socially liberal” rich folk, but probably no different than the percentage in the overall population.

    As for economically liberal rich folk, there are some, but they are the exception that proves the rule. They take refuge in powerless little clubs like the NDP and are the odd-man-out at every Rich Person Secret Society meeting. I suspect most of them are probably driven by guilt, a need not to be seen as The Bad Guy, or a desire to score with hippie chicks.

    Rich people are economically conservative. Why? It’s very simple. If you asked people the following question, it would become blazingly obvious:

    “Would you want to replace a system that has given you incredible wealth with a system that won’t, but will be fairer?”

    If you think even 1/3 of people will say “yes” and mean it, I want some of what you’re smoking.

    Upon becoming rich, the vast majority of people become consumed with only 3 things.
    1) Protecting their riches.
    2) Increasing their riches.
    3) Spending their riches.

    Yet somehow, right wing propagandists have convinced much of the public the opposite is true, that rich liberals’ #1 goal is to destroy the system that resulted in them becoming rich. That they want to tax and spend themselves -and everybody else- into poverty to give it to the poor. They also have convinced people that most rich people are either liberals or that the rich liberal minority is powerful than rich conservatives.

    At the same time, the propagandists have convinced these same people that rich liberals propose left wing ideas as a way of keeping people poor and powerless, whereas the conservative rich folk have the common man’s best interests at heart.

    I think some people need to look up the word “conservative” in the dictionary. While they’re at it, they should look up Orwell’s word “doublethink”, the ability to hold two contradictory beliefs at the same time and accept both of them.

    How can rich conservatives benefit the “common man” by keeping him exactly where he is? And why would rich liberals deceive the poor into helping them change the system, a change that would result in the rich remaining rich and the poor remaining poor? If that’s their real goal, why don’t these rich liberals save themselves the trouble and become conservatives?

    Some people will believe anything they’re told.

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