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America’s depraved politics ignores two imminent existential threats: environmental catastrophe and nuclear war

Noam Chomsky: Moral Depravity Defines US Politics  BY C.J. Polychroniou, Truthout, NOVEMBER 21, 2018 

……..Noam Chomsky: The most striking features are brutally clear.

Humanity faces two imminent existential threats: environmental catastrophe and nuclear war. These were virtually ignored in the campaign rhetoric and general coverage. There was plenty of criticism of the Trump administration, but scarcely a word about by far the most ominous positions the administration has taken: increasing the already dire threat of nuclear war, and racing to destroy the physical environment that organized human society needs in order to survive.

These are the most critical and urgent questions that have arisen in all of human history. The fact that they scarcely arose in the campaign is truly stunning — and carries some important, if unpleasant, lessons about our moral and intellectual culture.

To be sure, not everyone was ignoring these matters. They were front and center for those who are constantly vigilant in their bitter class war to preserve their immense power and privilege. Several states had important ballot initiatives addressing the impending environmental catastrophe. The fossil fuel industry spent huge, sometimes record-breaking, sums to defeat the initiatives — including a carbon tax in the mostly Democratic state of Washington — and mostly succeeded.

We should recognize that these are extraordinary crimes against humanity. They proceed with little notice.

The Democrats helped defeat these critically important initiatives by ignoring them. They scarcely mentioned them “in digital or TV ads, in their campaign literature or on social media,” a New York Times surveyfound. Nor, of course, were they mentioned by the Republicans, whose leadership is dedicated to driving humanity off the cliff as soon as possible — in full knowledge of what they are doing, as easily demonstrated……….

The concentration of wealth and enhancement of corporate power translate automatically to decline of democracy. Research in academic political science has revealed that a large majority of voters are literally disenfranchised, in that their own representatives pay no attention to their wishes but listen to the voices of the donor class. It is furthermore well established that elections are pretty much bought: electability, hence policy, is predictable with remarkable precision from the single variable of campaign spending, both for the executive and Congress. Thomas Ferguson’s work is particularly revealing, going far back and including the 2016 election. And that is a bare beginning. Legislation is commonly shaped, even written, by corporate lobbyists, while representatives who sign it have their eyes on funding for the next election………..

How do we explain the fact that while US politics seems nastier, more polarized and more divided than any other time in recent history, both parties stay away from addressing the most critical issues facing the country and the world at large?

In 1895, the highly successful campaign manager Mark Hanna famously said: “There are two things that are important in politics. The first ismoney, and I can’t remember what the second one is.”

Those who control the wealth of the country have their own priorities, primarily self-enrichment and enhancement of decision-making power. And these are the priorities that prevail in a neoliberal democracy with the annoying public dismissed to the back rooms where they belong.

The CEOs of major banks surely understand the extraordinary threat of environmental catastrophe but are increasing investment in fossil fuels because that’s where the money is. Like the energy corporations, they are hardly eager to support candidates warning of the serious crimes they are committing. Lockheed-Martin and its cohorts are quite happy to see vast increases in the military budget and are surely delighted with such declarations as the Trump administration’s new National Defense Strategy, just released by the US Institute of Peace (lacking a sense of irony, the bureaucracy is quite happy to caricature Orwell).

This somber document warns that our dangerously depleted military, which almost overwhelms the rest of the world combined, might not be able to prevail in a two-front war against Russia and China. Of course, neither military industry nor the distinguished authors of the report believe that such a war could even be fought without terminal destruction, but it’s a great way to siphon taxpayer dollars away from absurdities like health and education and into the deserving pockets of the captains of industry and finance……….

the actual constituency of the Republican Party remains great wealth and corporate power, even more dramatically so under Trump. It is quite an achievement to serve this actual constituency with dedication while maintaining a hold on the voting base.

As their voting base shrinks, Republican leaders understand that the GOP is becoming a minority party, which is why they are so dedicated to finding modes of voter suppression and packing the courts with reactionaries who will support their efforts………..

November 22, 2018 - Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA


  1. Amen to citizen Chomsky. But he does not follow his logic to the end … which is to suggest the corrective action that the rules of the USA, give the People. That We must now must now take, now that it is clear that our employee-representatives in all three Branches of government, are corrupted by greed and power. When our government employees and officials betray us, the rights and authority we gave them revert to us, the People. That is, to individuals who have educated and studied enough to understand their duty … to throw out, to fire, these hirelings and ‘bad servants’ and take back our society.
    And to do it by whatever means is required to save the lives of the People and their children. By whatever means is required.
    The evil persons who have stolen power by theft of wealh from the People who produce it, or by silent theft by counterfeiting our currency, now threaten us with death and slavery… by bad laws, which in truth are no laws at all. The excessively wealthy have the authority — and the concommitant responsibility — that comes with authority, The RESPONSIBILITY … for all the man-made evils that now are hurting mankind. They wealthy are responsible, and must face the judgement and penalties applied by the individual citizens of our contractual society, by We, the People… by individual citizens… who created this society: the People signed our Constitution with these words — “do Ordain and Establish”.

    Noam, by taking the weealth-authority for pwoer, they alo took the Responsibility for all they they do … unethically.
    The People now must take back what is theirs: the United States of America, which is the People, free, and ethical.

    Terrence, a citizen of the United States of America

    Comment by troneill | November 22, 2018 | Reply

  2. When are people going to wake up to the fact that the Military Industrial Complex is running and ruining their lives? Continue to ignore them at your peril.

    Comment by zeekduff | November 22, 2018 | Reply

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