In a recent interview with Al Jazeera, political activist and linguist Noam Chomsky talked about his research and political activism, and The responsibility of privilege.
His popularity – or notoriety as some would say – endures because he is still criticising politicians, business leaders and other powerful figures for not acting in the public’s best interest. At the heart of Chomsky’s work is examining the ways elites use their power to control millions of people, and pushing the public to resist.
In talking about U.S. politics, Chomsky
… attributes the growing popularity of the Tea Party movement, and the fanatical opposition to President Barack Obama in some quarters, to what he calls ‘pathological paranoia’.
‘It’s something that exists in the country. It’s a very frightened country, always has been,’ he says.
Regarding Obama, Chomsky
… sees Obama himself as a man without a ‘moral centre’.
‘If you look at his policies I think that’s what they reveal. I mean there’s some nice rhetoric here and there but when you look at the actual policies … the drone assassination campaign is a perfectly good example, I mean it’s just a global assassination campaign.’
Chomsky also pointed to “Israel’s continued expansion of settlements in the West Bank” and Obama’s response.
‘[Obama’s] telling Netanyahu and the other Israeli leaders: I’ll tap you on the wrist but go ahead and do what you like …. So in fact, Obama is actually the first president who hasn’t really imposed restrictions on Israel.’
“Neoliberal programmes” and the “large part” they play “in the ongoing global financial crisis” is another focus of the interview. (emphasis added)
But Chomsky also feels that ‘nothing’s ever gone too far. Anything can be reversed; these are human decisions.’
He emphasises: ‘The more privilege you have, the more opportunity you have. The more opportunity you have, the more responsibility you have.’
That responsibility thing — as related to Electeds and Elites — now there’s a radical idea …
Closing with a question: Is Obama without a moral center, or does he regularly reveal it? You know, Obama being Obama, in his “pragmatic” sort of way?
(Noam Chomsky photo via Chomsky.info)