World renowned scholar, Noam Chomsky, recently sat down for an interview with Alternet and said he believes that the rise of Donald Trump’s popularity as a presidential contender is due to both a “climate of fear” and the “breakdown of society.”
Chomsky was asked if he thought the “surprising progress” of the GOP frontrunner could “be explained by a climate of fear.” He acknowledged that fear was a large part of the billionaire hatemonger’s popularity, but said he thought it was more than just fear alone. In Chomsky’s educated opinion, the “breakdown of society” also played a large role in propelling the Hitler wannabe to the front of the GOP pack.
Fear, along with the breakdown of society during the neoliberal period. People feel isolated, helpless, victim of powerful forces that they do not understand and cannot influence. It’s interesting to compare the situation in the ‘30s, which I’m old enough to remember. Objectively, poverty and suffering were far greater. But even among poor working people and the unemployed, there was a sense of hope that is lacking now, in large part because of the growth of a militant labor movement and also the existence of political organizations outside the mainstream.
Chomsky was then asked if he thought the popularity of democratic socialist Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the UK Labour Party, was the sign of a “new political age” and if he thought this was a result of austerity.
Chomsky replied that he sees Sanders as an “honest and decent new dealer,” and pointed out that the fact that he and Corbyn are seen as extreme leftists says much more about how far right both political parties have drifted in recent years than it does about their socialist views.
Sanders, in my opinion, is an honest and decent New Deal Democrat. Corbyn expresses stands of traditional Labour. The fact that they are regarded as ‘extreme’ is a comment on the shift to the right of the whole political spectrum during the neoliberal period.
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