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Noam Chomsky on U.S. Rage, Ruin

A conversation with Noam Chomsky, legend of the left, on Obama, America, and the world.

Noam Chomsky at the On Point studio, Sept. 28, 2010 (WBUR's Jesse Costa)

Noam Chomsky is a blazing critic of just about every mainstream sacred cow on the planet. If it’s war for security, corporate power, free trade or complicit media, Noam Chomsky is at its throat, and has been for a long time.

An Old Testament-style angry prophet with a huge intellectual pedigree. He’s 81 now, and says he’s never seen anything like today’s politics. The anger and the fear.

He’s listening to talk radio. He’s listening to the Tea Party. He’s watching. He’s thinking. We hear what’s on his mind.

-Tom Ashbrook


Noam Chomsky, intellectual, social critic, and professor emeritus of linguistics at MIT. His latest book is “Hopes and Prospects.” His other books include “Manufacturing Consent” and “Hegemony or Survival.”

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  • michael

    Woot, :)

    Can’t wait to hear your show with Norm Chomsky, Tom if you still don’t know or realize whats in the Likud Charter, “Greater Israel myth”,and how Russian emigrants to the west bank(illegal under the laws of occupation,and the same U.N. that created israel)

    Norm can surely inform you. As well dispel the “Obama is a socialist,communist etc, etc, and how he’s more of a Corporatist than the others, “

  • michael

    “representative press” often sites and follows Chomsky even when he was refused entry into the west bank cause he was not going to lecture in israel.

    can be found on you-tube, and you can Google it as well.He sites all his source.

  • cory

    Batton down the hatches On Point!! The usual right wing posters are gonna come at you guns a blazing over your choice of guest!

    Seriously though, I’ve read “Hegemony or Survival” and repect Chomsky’s perspective. The catch 22 about his writing is that the people who would benefit most from reading him are the exact people who would never consider reading him.

    I look forward eagerly to this interview.

  • jeffe

    Noam Chomsky is one of the most brilliant people around and his knowledge on language and how it is used and so on is fascinating. I need to read more of him.

    I’ve listened to lectures and debates by and with him and all of them have been enlightening. I don’t agree with everything he says, and he can be intimidating and sometimes down right condescending. But I think this is more about him not suffering fools lightly more than anything else. The Chomsky-Foucault Debates are a must for those who are into some interesting discourse on philosophy. I think you can find them on You Tube.

    I look forward to this show.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    Tom et al: I urge you to watch this three minute video before the Chomsky segment:


    Even those of us who have seen this video on concision and attempt to listen to shows like this with an open mind toward guests no doubt make judgements of credibility not just on content but on a speaker’s ability to make a point clearly and quickly.

    This is why there’s little room for nuance in today’s media world.

    I too look forward to this interview, Tom will no doubt have his hands full like he did with Hitchens.

  • Grady Lee Howard

    Dr. Chomsky is getting older. Howard Zinn is gone. How long can Chomsky continue performing this key necessary role?
    There is room in media for many lecturers at the Chomsky level but they are being censored out. It is just as he has always said: “Our government and economy are illegitimate, and consent is manufactured.”
    People know better than the imposed discourse but they are muzzled and intimidated.
    Thanks Noam for your struggle in our behalf.

  • Grady Lee Howard

    P.S.- Limit the calls and let him speak. Pick the best emails, comments and tweets to complement his message.

  • Mark N.

    I, too, am really looking forward to listening to today’s show. Noam Chomsky is one of the most brillant minds in the United States and I want to hear his perspective on the mess (economic and political) that this country finds itself in.

  • jeffe

    Bill Buckley and Noam Chomsky 1969, this is part one of six.


    After watching this I was left thinking this would never happen today. Not on TV. Although this was PBS.

    The civility of this debate is wonderful and they are arguing. Now place this against the screaming heads on FOX.

  • Larry

    The Left is angry too.

    We are angry that Wall Street stole trillions of dollars from the American taxpayers and no one went to prison.

    We are angry that corporations own our government.

    We are angry we are being poisoned and robbed and outsourced by corporations whose god is profits at all cost.

    We are angry at the rich who won’t be happy until the middle class has been ground down into the dirt and are nothing but their serfs.

    The corporate media makes sure the Left is not heard.

    But I can assure you, we are angry.

  • Figures

    FIgures yuo would invite a neo nazi and supporter of holocaust deniers like Chomsky.

    Shame on you!

    “Chomsky ventures into the quagmire of Holocaust deniers – again ”


  • Jameson

    Om Point Chomskyites and the Tea Party deserve each other. You are both cut from the same cloth.

  • Martin Voelker

    I’ve learn major lessons from Noam:

    1) Who needs conspiracy theories? The facts are available in the business press and in the back pages of the NYT.

    2) Look at what governments/corporations/parties do, don’t spend too much time on what they say. (As I. F. Stone and Howard Zinn said: Governments lie.)

    3) Look at the system structure: what is it geared to produce? Ignore the rhetoric.

    4) To analyze a political incident, do a thought experiment and replace the actors with friends or foes, and watch how the perceived morality or heinousness flips.

    5) Elites are trained to sustain the existing power structure, so don’t count on the intelligentsia to be progressive

    6) If political science departments were worth their salt, the Pentagon Papers – frank and uncensored accounts of what the power brokers really thought – would be studied in PSci 101, but instead they’re fawning over Kissinger’s memoirs.

    Armed with simple guidelines like these one has the tools to understand politics and overcome the blinders of one’s respective cultural socialization.

    David Barsamian’s Alternative Radio has created an outstanding archive of Chomsky (and Zinn!) recordings, as well as authored several books with very readable Chomsky interviews, I highly recommend it: http://alternativeradio.org

  • Mark

    Tom, thank you for giving Dr. Chomsky a spot on your show. I do recall the last time he was on, you were quite challenging, which is good. I look forward to what Dr.Chomsky has to say. I look forward to him drilling down into exactly where we are as a nation, as a society, economy, etc. today.

    I’m expecting many ridiculous, un-articulate, responses to what he has to say.

  • Lon C Ponschock

    I had not seen the clip called Chomsky on Concision before by Jeff Greenberg. Thanks to Richard above.

    On the university of the air which is the internet we now have access to ideas usually reserved to the intellectual class.

    Another consistent speaker of truth is Robert Fisk who made a presentation on behalf of the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) this past week. It is about language and it’s use in US journalism.


  • Ellen Dibble

    Who does he think William F. Buckley’s best successors are? Does he see others like himself coming up?

  • Sven

    I am a life-long far-left democratic party voter / activist and am embarrassed that Noam Chomsky is accepted by the Left as credible. He is an unbalanced defamer of the Middle-East’s only true democracy, Israel. Israel is multi-racial, pluralist, respects women’s and gay rights, has a flourishing free press, and should be the paradigm for the Left’s prayers for the people of the region. Instead, Chomsky ignorantly attacks Israel on every conceivable trumped-up charge. The occupation is the not the culprit in the ongoing conflict. The occupation grows out of the actions of the Arab neighbors who repeatedly tried to commit genocide against the Jews. When they abandon that goal, the occupation can end and peace will come to all the peoples of the region.

  • Kevin

    Hey Sven,

    Israel seems to respect the rights of everyone except for the people they ethnically cleanse. The Palestinians.

    How is Israel a real democracy if they’re afraid that another ethnic group is becoming too large, and will therefore outnumber Jews?

    Would America still be a democracy if we were afraid of having too many Blacks or Mexicans?

    Israel is a disgrace.

  • jeffe

    It’s interesting how some people have this knee jerk reaction to Chomsky. As I said, I don’t agree with everything he says or believes in. That said to deny this man a voice is absurd. I’m Jewish and I don’t like what Chomsky has said about Israel, but I do agree with other things he has to say on our government and the corporate influence.

    I suspect this forum will start to explode with the anti-Chomsky comments. We should all the Buckley and Chomsky debate if nothing else to learn how to have civil discourse while being from opposing sides of the political spectrum.

  • jeffe

    Would America still be a democracy if we were afraid of having too many Blacks or Mexicans?

    Israel is a disgrace.
    Posted by Kevin

    Your not serious, what do call all the anti-immigration rhetoric and the law in Arizona? The history of discrimination towards Latinos in this country is pretty much a reality that is happening right now, as I type.

    As the African American population, well I suppose the first 400+ years of slavery and segregation don’t count, at least in your overview.

  • Kevin


    Thank you! The Arizona law and our history of slavery DO count very much. They are stains on our history and American went (and is still going through) pains to correct.

    Yet we seem to be rewarding and admiring Israel when it commits the same atrocities that we should have learned from.

  • hookedonsonics

    Thanks to On Point for having Noam Chomsky on the show. The left is systematically excluded from mainstream discourse, which has resulted in an extremely narrow, right-wing mainstream political spectrum. Public radio & television is necessary for critical views to find space. I would also suggest inviting David Harvey from NYU as a guest on your show.

    To Sven’s comments above: If I walk around “out-and-proud” in certain orthodox neighbourhoods in Israel, I could be beaten to death. To say Israel “respects gay rights” is simply untrue. To say Israel is a “true democracy” is also simply untrue. Under the Israeli constitution, non-Jews can never achieve the full rights of citizenship.

  • Sally Strange

    Can you please ask Dr. Chomsky whether he sees up-and-coming intellectuals who are continuing the sort of work he does, and who will take the place of Howard Zinn?

  • Gordon

    So slavery justifies Israeli policy!? Israel’s defenders often use injustices from US history as somehow vindicating its actions. “The US displaced the native Americans, how is Israel different?” Well, if that’s your standard, no wonder there are problems!

  • http://www.thirdcoastkites.com Chad

    Comparisons between the tea party and the civil rights opponents may make some uncomfortable, but doesn’t this blind, angry rejectionism spring from the same well?

  • jeffe

    Gordon I guess you are aiming this diatribe at me.
    I never said one act of social injustice justified the other, did I. I was pointing out that using one country as an example to make the other look bad is a fools errand.
    This is not the way to debate Israel. Anyway this show is not about Israel.

  • Sally Strange

    Sven seems to be implying that the Israelis will abandon their settlements and return occupied land once Palestinians and Arabs stop launching attacks. That seems utterly laughable. The Israelis aren’t going to give any land back voluntarily. Not to mention that Sven seems to be trying to reverse the chain of causality here, and asserting that resistance to occupation is what creates the occupation.

    Perhaps I’ve misunderstood his sentiment, but that’s the conclusion that I reach when I read, “The occupation grows out of the actions of the Arab neighbors who repeatedly tried to commit genocide against the Jews. When they abandon that goal, the occupation can end and peace will come to all the peoples of the region.”

  • John

    That is an interesting comment about Hitler and Germany in the 1930′s. I wonder if he is trying to tie that to current day USA and the rise of Obama.

  • http://www.thirdcoastkites.com chad

    Can reason survive, much less breakthrough, the anarchy of the web and the lack of an arbiter of truth and reason?

  • http://www.billhobler.com Bill Hobler

    The Tea Party has been taken over by professional politicians. What we need in America is a Constitutional convention that restructures the political environment so that the “people” have more control than money and business..
    Bill Hobler

  • Dave

    What troubles me about the “tea party” is the level of misinformation the members operate within. You’ll recall that the rallies of last Summer (2009) were widely organized and encouraged by the folks at Fox News. If that is where they get their information, it’s no wonder they are confused. Most of the members seem to be angry about the Obama tax increases. In fact, income taxes have been lowered during Obama’s term. These same people who are outraged about deficits were silent as President Bush drove up the national debt. It’s either hypocrisy or ignorance or both.

  • Karen Sutton

    It seems like it is a part of human nature to look for a strong leader during times of uncertainty. It’s happened before in Germany and Iraq and is happening now in Russia with Putin. There is a lot of anger here in America and Pres. Obama was elected mainly because of his charisma, not his past performance. What hope is there for America to escape the record of past history?

  • Isabel

    Thank you for having Dr. Chomsky on today. I don’t agree with a lot of what he says but it’s good to have a point of view other than those of yet another economist from the University of Chicago.

    I too am frightened by the Tea Party movement because of the lack of solidarity. There doesn’t seem to be empathy with others in that movement but a lot of blaming and scapegoating. I fear some of the language coming out of that movement is seditious, this hatred for the government. To be replaced with what?

    Please lets talk about the economic motivation and interests that are behind people like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. These people do not exist in a vacuum.

  • Sharon

    A question:

    What role do you think the internet plays here – the ability to communicate propaganda to many very quickly combined with anonymity seems to be quite dangerous today.

  • James L. Beede

    Professor Chomsky’s criticism is superb but he never says anything positive about the U.S., let alone Israel. Even if his criticisms are factual, (and I believe they are) the lack of anything like balance has placed him in a similar category to Mr. Beck who says out right: the guy I criticise has done nothing right. Really Professor, you are hard to take.

  • http://challenginglachesis.blogspot.com Dave Eger

    Could Noam describe what his ideal political system would be, and then explain how feasible it could be to achieve it?

  • Larry

    Wait a second. The illegal immigrants are taking those jobs. 30 years ago young people cold live on those jobs. Not well. But they could live. Today they can not get those jobs.

    Send all the illegals home as well as the H1-B and J-1 visa holders.

  • Sally Strange

    Placing Chomsky in the same category as Beck reveals that the person doing so is living in a dream world, just as Chomsky was describing. The Professor may be hard to take, because his conclusions disturb you on an emotional level, but he is unfailingly accurate and precise in his use of language. Unlike Beck, who deliberately uses obfuscating and ambiguous language to promote misinformation.

  • Jemimah

    Could Professor Chomsky do a little prognosticating and paint a picture of what the States would be like IF the Tea Party-ers were to get their wish of a skelton government and a kind of wild west mentality? thank you. Great show!

  • Marc

    So disappointing – another very bright, well spoken academic. He “doesn’t hear anything from the T party that’s constructive”. Maybe it’d be more accurate to say he hasn’t heard anything from them that he agrees with. Doesn’t take much searching to find that they believe in cutting taxes, stopping the health care bill, ending Wall Street bail-outs, etc. He may disagree with them, but it’s dishonest to give the impression they aren’t trying to be constructive. Then he says that illegal immigrants are doing a huge amount of work, but not taking away jobs. He says that citizens won’t do it for the money and benefits. Well, maybe it’s because he’s not an economist, but even I know that wages would rise and then citizens will take on more of these jobs. At least recognize this basic principle of supply and demand.

    Just once, it’d be nice to hear one of these professors display a balanced or at least a nuanced view instead of selectively choosing facts and analogies that support their bias.

    But I do agree with his feelings about Beck, republican’s view on warming, and the appetite for demagogues (my words not his). Maybe he’s just gotten too comfortable. But it’s disappointing to see such a one sided view from someone who teaches.

  • Cammy

    Noam Chomsky is so intelligent. I am listening to him live now.

    I love that he is willing to call un-educated people out on their BS (i.e. with the ignorant Construction worker whose primary concern is immigrants).

    Noam, I want to have your babies. :) I agree with you on pretty much everything!

  • http://www.thirdcoastkites.com chad

    The best the tea party can do is impede or destroy, but unification is beyond them – we’ve past the diversity tipping point.

  • Mark

    Larry stated “Today they can not get those jobs.”

    Yes, they can get those jobs if they really want them. The problem is, those jobs do not support the “American” way of life as they once did. The cost of everything has outpaced wages. This is the issue, not illegal immigrants. The cost of education, healthcare, food, not to mention the guy from the Tea Party rally probably has cable, 3 cell phones and an expensive truck payment.

    The illegal immigration debate is a smoke screen.

  • ThresherK

    The Tea Party has been taken over by professional politicians. What we need in America is a Constitutional convention that restructures the political environment so that the “people” have more control than money and business.

    The Teabaggers were organized by the professionals. And the professionals, the elite, were the only people at the first Consitutional convention. You’re fooling yourself (but nobody else) with the idea that inviting the feces-flinging Professional Right into a new Constitutional convention is going to be anything but suck.

  • gala

    What is Professor Chomsky’s view on blogging and such a widespread of that trend now and how unprofessional blogging is “supposedly” replacing professional journalism.

    Thank you

  • Alan

    When so few people even know your name,and are instead burried to their eyebrows in corporate media, how can we find a path to the future that doen’t just look like crowds with pitchforks and torches burning books?

  • Mark

    Brilliant question Jim. Way to point out that the tea party arose 1 month after Obama’s inauguration. What a simple, yet poignant question.

  • http://notyet Charles A. Bowsher

    While Mr Chomsky is highly intlelligent and educated, it boggles my mind that he can sit their and claim that the employment of illegals does not take away jobs from us legals. I keep hearing people proclaim that they are doing the jobs we won’t. The truth is a false economy has been created on the backs of the illegals and out of the working mans pockets. It is absolutely deflationary to pay less than market wages as is being done. The jobs that the illegals are doing for less than market wages could and should be filled by legals. If the illegals were gone, wages here would rise to reasonable levels. Yes, it would be inflationary, but that is just reality. I suspect Mr. Chomsky has blinders on about illegals because of an unrevealed personal bias.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Some of us normal plebeians are beginning to think of ourselves as global citizens (partly in a degree of disgust/disenchantment with the United States and its politics), and I’m wondering if Chomsky sees a future, an organization or leadership, for people who feel they are global citizens first.

  • http://fromhome Iris Alpert

    There is so much I agree with – viscerally, fully – that Prof Chomsky says, and yet I still don’t understand fully his position on the Jewish people in the land of Israel. Does he feel they have any rights to the land? and if so, doesn’t he have a critique of the Arab world’s behavior toward Israel and the Jewish people?

  • cool

    Larry said: Send all the illegals home as well as the H1-B and J-1 visa holders.–

    Hey ! include everyone who came to this country legally or illegally, since the Pilgrims.

  • Russ

    Fritjof Kapra wrote in the “Dao of Physics” of the paradox of “Cultural Epoch” The rise of a “new” way of thinking. I am curious as to his view on where as a culture the US is headed and how does it relate to the political and financial future of the US

  • steve weiss

    I’ve thought for some time that the rise of the Tea Party and allied sentiment is due in large part to the fact that people have finally figured out how to make money – a lot of money – by praying on people’s fears. They have a ripe landscape due to the poor ecomony, and the development of Fox News and social media allows them to greatly stir the pot beyond what was possible in prior years.

  • Bruce

    Bring back usury laws to reduce the huge profits that drive the financial “industry”.

    Add regulations to put handcuffs on the banks and go to a system similar to Canada where there were very few ups and downs, and more sensible lending.

  • http://notyet Charles A. Bowsher

    Tom, don’t let it be called Global Warming, It is Global Climate Change.

  • Iris Alpert

    (continuing above comment)…and if he doesn’t believe they have a right to the land, why not? and how does he see the relationship between the creation of the state and the true tragedy in europe? and what about the fact that no German or Axis blood was ever spilled by Jewish hands in retaliation…?

  • http://notyet Charles A. Bowsher

    To the caller Mike. Try looking up the Rally to Restore Reason. That is what you are looking for. Start a satellite rally near you for October 30.

  • Matthew O’Connor

    Mr Chomsky has made a fallacy of argument in the he related the Tea Party to Fascists. Fascism requires high levels of state control and involvement. The major push behind the Tea Party, though it is made up of very disparate elements, is to get away from state involvement and encourage more personal responsibility. The idea that the state should think for and take care of the people is far more likely to lead to a fascist state as opposed to a more libertarian state. The idea that the government can help people by offering ladders but people are going to always have to climb out on there own.

    Otherwise we will end up as an infantile state with a number of cronies preying on our dependence.


    Matt O’Connor

  • Gordon

    Great discussion! I think Tracy articulates well what is a major problem in this country. How is it that an intelligent person can think these things? It seems like there is a tremendous disconnect between academia and the general public because academic writing is walled off from public distribution, and must be disseminated by journalists who take a he said/she said perspective which can be spun. Add deliberate propaganda to the mix and policy becomes unhinged from reality, which is extremely dangerous for everyone.

  • ThresherK

    Chomsky seems to have stayed exactly where he’s always been. The reason he sounds so much more sensible and grounded now is that hardly anybody in the mainstream media is saying what he is. The MSM has a soft spot for angry, white, male, RealAmericans™ and a blind spot for all those market-based upper-level insiders who deregulated and bubbled our economy into the ditch.

    It is tiring to have our host try to draw a few chalk lines between a true intellectual like Chomsky, who got all these major issues correctly ahead of time, with
    the Teabaggers, who were fine with everything up until a black Democrat gained the White House.

    And it’s nice to have the Peasant Mentality represented by caller Tracy, 52 minutes in. Don’t worry about how the powerful have tilted the gaming table–the minute you start thinking they don’t have your interests at heary, you’re guilty of the worst of all American sins, Class Warfare!

    Just keep blaming the government for everything, and expecting the very wealthy to get the economy going again after our right-wing overlords extend that “Loaves for the Riches, Crumbs for the Rest” tax giveaway.

  • http://analogousdesign.blogspot.com Dave Eger

    To your caller Tracy, if everyone needs a house, it’s not about paying for them, it’a about building them. The financer doesn’t have the strength. Money is an illusion. The skilled worker has the actual strength but that have convinced that they don’t because the misinformation being put out by the financers is so confusing.

    Global warming has had a lot of misinformation put out about it, but I agree with Chomsky. The climate of the planet has been fluctuating, but human production has definitely been tipping the scales. All of the talk about CO2 has gotten way out of hand because i’s made people forget to talk about toxic pollutants which are also being introduced to the environment, which has definitely not been happening at this rate through history. The myth that global warming doesn’t exist is evidence of the kind of mindset that has allowed people to sell the rights for Haliburten to hydrofrak the life out of their land and poison their air and water. There are serious environmental crimes going on around us every day, and it’s people like Tracey who can be hurt by them the most, because they’re skepticism is misdirected.

  • Ellen Dibble

    To Tracy or whoever the caller was who said the strong will always blot out the weaker; why not let it happen?
    Why not let the bullies dominate the human race? With that kind of selfishness? We might end up toast, literally.
    There are species that try to control the non-social members of the species, and species that flourish by making a point of nourishing and taking advantage of the various talents and abilities that might in other species be squelched. So we have quadriplegic scientists and so on. Among the cockroaches, maybe not. And they will probably outlast us by billions of years.

  • Wendy

    I never heard Mr. C before on the radio, but find him much more moderate that they typical loudmouth radical liberal. I wish Pelosi and company would become more moderate like Mr. C.

  • Larry

    Larry stated “Today they can not get those jobs.”

    Yes, they can get those jobs if they really want them. The problem is, those jobs do not support the “American” way of life as they once did. The cost of everything has outpaced wages. This is the issue, not illegal immigrants. The cost of education, healthcare, food, not to mention the guy from the Tea Party rally probably has cable, 3 cell phones and an expensive truck payment.

    The illegal immigration debate is a smoke screen.
    Posted by Mark

    Years ago, people did live on those jobs. Not well, bad apartments and houses and no entertainment and credit card living like today but they lived on them. Illegals have driven down the wages so much that no one can live on them anymore unless you are living 10 to a house. Get rid of the illegals and see what happens. Wages will rise. Enough so that at least young kids can take these jobs.

  • Ruth Trussell

    Noam Chomsky was absolutely dynamite this morning! The clearest and truest voice I’ve heard on the radio in some time, including on NPR! There need to be more men and women like him in our society! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you… Noam Chomsky and Tom Ashbrook for making your/his message heard today!! I am deeply grateful!

  • Jerry

    Questions to skeptics (such as Tracy) of anthropogenic global warming.

    Is it a hoax that we are extracting and burning large quantities of fossil fuel?

    Is the chemical equation for burning gasoline (balanced for your benefit):
    2 C8H18 + 25 O2 –> 16 CO2 + 18 H20
    a conspiracy?

    Is the measured increase in the concentration of CO2 (which is carbon dioxide) from 280 to 388 ppm over the past 200 years in dispute?

    Are physical chemists confused in understanding carbon dioxide as having a higher greenhouse nature than the other major components of the atmosphere?

    The sum of the above indisputable facts is an anthropogenic promotion of higher temperatures. A skeptic of anthropogenic global warming must first disprove one of the above components.

  • Steven

    Sally Strange writes “Sven seems to be trying to reverse the chain of causality here, and asserting that resistance to occupation is what creates the occupation.”

    I’d simply point out that the PLO was formed in 1964 with a charter that called for the destruction of Israel. They carried out many brutal raids into Israel to kill innocent civilians on a regular basis. That was BEFORE the 1967 Six Day War in which Israel defensively captured the West Bank and Gaza, intending to swap it for a peace agreement with the Arab states. So, the idea that Arabs fight Israel because they’re occupied is wrong, until you realize that the “Palestine” they want to “liberate” is Israel itself. Hamas still talks openly about it and has killed hundreds of Israeli civilians to make their point.

    And to the point that Israel is unwilling to give up land, I have one word: Gaza.

  • Kevin


    Israel didn’t give up Gaza. They just put the prison guards on the OUTSIDE of the concentration camp.

    The PLO was violent and brutal? So were the Zionist forces that established Israel in 1948. They forced unarmed Palestinian mothers and children out of their homes at gunpoint. I know this because some are my relatives. That happened before the 1968 war, too.

    Yes, the Palestine they want to liberate is Israel itself. That is a correct statement. Before 1948, Israel didn’t exist. It was Palestine. So, what’s your point? They shouldn’t liberate it because it’s called Israel now?

    Also, don’t talk about death tolls. If you mention the number of Israelis killed by Palestinians, why not mention the number of Palestinians killed by Jews. If you’re keeping “score”, Israel has killed MANY times more.

  • jeffe

    I’m sure the good people of the Solomon Islands would like to beg to differ with caller who called global warming a myth. That manifest destiny attitude and survival of the fittest nonsense is really a sign of moving backwards.
    As a nation we need to grow up.


  • michael

    ““I am a life-long far-left democratic party voter / activist and am embarrassed that Noam Chomsky is accepted by the Left as credible. He is an unbalanced defamer of the Middle-East’s only true democracy, Israel. Israel is multi-racial, pluralist, respects women’s and gay rights, has a flourishing free press,”

    Sorry, but Israel (that liberal democracy) disallows jews and non-jews to marry(which is anti-democratic) disallows of threat of violence for women to read the torah(which is anti-democratic). Controls all land within Israel and does not allow people to own land or lease(again anti-democratic) also as laws where arabs outside of Israel cannot lease land within Israel(anti-democratic). Israel courts have convicted an arab man for sleeping with a consenting jewish women for rape, because it turned out he was not jewish(anti-democratic) denies arabs the right to return(anti-deomcratic) promotes. Is moving and occupying areas of the West Bank creating a two tier system for roads,water,building permits, based solely on being or not being jewish(anti-democratic). Over 40% of its teens and youths believe that arabs Israeli should not have equal rights as jewish Israeli this poll was conducted and easily can be Google(anti-deomcratic).Many in israel believe Israel must maintain a jewish majority at all cost(anti-democratic). Since someone in the U.S. would state that America must maintain its White Protestant Majority at all cost and will allow any White Protestant to come to America but muslims, jews, catholitics are denied(anti-democratic). Don’t forget a man was whipped for singing for a crowd of jewish man and women, many Israeli jews believe a arab man and jewish women together is treson and have mobs that go around in many such cities preventing such(anti-democratic) “

  • michael

    To bad tom can’t Challenge other guest like he did Chomsky(esp the ones throwing out simpleminded talking points with no answers).

  • TomK

    Jerry, not only is the increase in CO2 not in dispute, it is clear from the isotopes of carbon present that it is caused by human activity.

    The right isn’t interested in the science. They want it to be impossible for humans to change the climate, so they simply latch on to anything that helps them do that. For example they like to pretend that Al Gore is behind the “conspiracy” and attack him. Gore is irrelevant to the case for GW, but it’s a lot easier to make fun of him than a serious conservative scientist Like James Hanson. They are very excited about “climategate”, even though it doesn’t change the evidence one iota. And, of course, they have infinite $ from the O&G industry.

    The USA has careened so far to the right that mainstream republicans of 20-30 years ago look like leftists today (Nixon was more liberal than Obama), so it’s great to hear from a real liberal like Chomsky.

  • Alex

    “So disappointing – another very bright, well spoken academic. He “doesn’t hear anything from the T party that’s constructive”. Maybe it’d be more accurate to say he hasn’t heard anything from them that he agrees with. Doesn’t take much searching to find that they believe in cutting taxes, stopping the health care bill, ending Wall Street bail-outs, etc.”

    The problem with the Tea Party is that “cutting,” “stopping,” and “ending” is all they seem to stand for. There is really nothing constructive coming out of them that I know of. I have to agree with Chomsky on that one.

  • John Myers

    Adjusted for inflation, wages have not increased in 30 years. That’s an important point.
    What has increased enormously is the cost of health care. If you’re wondering where your raise went, look no further than that.
    We have to get at the root of the problem: why are we as a country so sick? I think that’s the most important question.
    The diseases of civilization are ravaging our lives.

  • TomK

    It certainly is an important point that wages have not increased in 30 years. Those are the 30 years in which we adopted “reaganomics”, cutting taxes and deregulating corporations.

    Results carry more weight than speculation. If wages did not increase with reaganomics, but were showing strong growth during the high-tax 50s and 60s, why do we still pay any attention to the tax cutters? Tax cutting has done nothing but transfer wealth to the top.

    If you’re worried about the cost of health care, consideration #1 is that we have the world’s most expensive system and some of the worst outcomes in the developed world. The only reason to not be borrowing ideas from the rest of the world is ideology.

  • loninappleton

    Jemimah said,

    “Could Professor Chomsky do a little prognosticating and paint a picture of what the States would be like IF the Tea Party-ers were to get their wish of a skelton government and a kind of wild west mentality? thank you. Great show!
    Posted by Jemimah, on September 28th, 2010 at 11:38 AM”

    The makeup of Arizona’s government gives the example of what refusal to make public spending has done to cripple all aspects of society in that state. Harper’s magazine gave an extensive report on what an old age segregated all white population can do by voting against anything that doesn’t affect them personally.
    The article is called “Tea Party in Sonora.”

    Conclusion: the state is falling apart.

    I can cite other examples.

  • Lou

    Chomsky is the hero of the out of touch, liberal, left wing Democrats,

    No wonder Osama Bin Laden, admires quotes and reads Chomsky at length.

  • Rob

    @Cory noted “Batton down the hatches On Point!! The usual right wing posters are gonna come at you guns a blazing over your choice of guest!”

    I disagree and encourage fellow conservatives to listen to what Chomsky has to say, despite the fact that we disagree with much of his political philosophy. While I tend to be conservative on a lot of issues (particularly economic, law and order, and defense related matters), I look forward to hearing this interview later. I used to enjoy listening to Chomsky and Buckley debate on another. There is nothing wrong with listening to use with whom we disagree. By the way, I see far fewer in way of derogatory comments from conservatives denouncing Chomsky then I saw from the other side when NPR interviewed Paul Ryan last week. Just an observation. I know NPR tends to attract more in the way of a liberal audience.

  • http://www.talknationradio.org Dori Smith

    Let’s put the whole thing off! Maybe in time people will come to understand more about the candidates. To vote based on some kind of “anger” quota seems like a non vote, seems to be more of a a no vote from the Party of No against any kind of self interest.

    As usual I found Dr. Chomsky’s views insightful. They meant a lot to someone watching Connecticut politics.

    In Connecticut the poll above at Quinnipiac University shows political unknown, Republican Linda McMahon, in a virtual dead heat with long time AG Richard Blumenthal. In documenting their polls, Quinnipiac found that people were “angry”.

    Is that a reason to vote for/against someone? Angry at what? What areas of concern will McMahon address better than Blumenthal. The argument of “anger” has no “there there”.

    What would the outcome be if McMahon the Senator votes on national policy? No one seems to know. Her ad says she is running because of a “lunch box”.

    So “jobs” is the message, but what is the platform? What does she plan to do to get jobs for CT? Does she understand domestic and foreign policy?

    The voters seem to be saying that they are not going to consider the question of issues, or background and experience in terms of being a political leader.

    My question is, can’t they see that they are essentially voting for big corporations in some instances? It’s like saying that a vote for a CEO is a vote for the little people. It is truly amazing.

    Attorney General Blumenthal has been very good on corporate issues, standing up to Tobacco and for clean water, helping Lyme Disease victims trying to get insurance companies to extend more coverage for medications. He appears to know a lot about what the people of Connecticut need, and while there are some who want to know more about his positions on foreign policy… he’s at least more of a serious candidate.

    I wonder if Dr. Chomsky has considered the impact of the internet, social web sites like Facebook and the lack of solid news reporting on major TV and radio networks? They appear to be having a major debate on setting the tone for language being used in discussing the issues.

    I hope to see this site well attended, and the discussion to go far beyond the old cold war rhetoric I noted above. Remember it was Nixon and then many other US politicians who reached out to China, others then formed alliances with the former USSR, Reagan helped merge the goals of CIA with those of KGB..we see the outcomes. They got more involved with the Communists than peace activists in the US who were persecuted as “commies” ever did.

    So-called journalists like Glenn Beck are pushing us back to the red baiting era for lack of a better argument to make. They are essentially living out the cold war fantasies of shifting America to the far right. Palin, Beck, others, have this tendency to make light of their lack of background and news experience. Just like the candidates running as “tea” partiers. I guess the exception would be Rob Simmons, however, he is now on the outside in CT running as a write in. Fascinating that he chose this marginal wing of the Republican Party, as if to celebrate his long standing right wing roots after years of pretending to be a moderate. So politics here in New England are interesting, scary.

    There has been such a major shift away from reality, from the hard news in general. We see a complete decline in the local channels as they cover Hollywood more than politics… and all people get are campaign ads plus debates when they are trying to figure out which candidate to choose.

    Voters are angry, understandably, the economy has been in decline since Bush/Cheney opened up the White House doors to the multinationals and allowed them to write the energy bill… push for contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan…But it seems they might vote against themselves as they vote against certain politicians.

    Where Chomsky says he’s worried, I’m verging on terrified. What damage will this new group of candidates swept in by ‘anger’ do when they get to Washington?

    Free trade seems to equate to opening up the Congress and White House to more corporate influence.

  • Will H

    As a former immigrant and a naturalized citzen, I am truly disheartened to see the direction this country has taken. Reading the posts on this column only serve to augment my fears. The message is loud and clear: “immigrants go home”, and leave us our $50-an-hour construction jobs. Illegal or not, immigrants built this country and brought wealth to all Americans, much the same way that the chinese laborers are doing for China. Rather than fixing the Corporate and Financial machinery that serve to benefit to fortunate few at the expense of all others, Americans are blaming the immigrants!!?? Becareful what you wish for. Already, immigration is way down and an exodus is underway. When there are no immigrants left in this country, maybe Uncle Sam will borrow still more from China and from the future generations to pay your $50/hr. Best of Luck.

  • Rob

    I wanted to provide a response to the comments above regarding “stagnant middle class wages”. This is not entirely accurate. Based on DOL statistics, total compensation (defined to include wages AND fringe benefits) has in fact continued to increase over the past 30 years. Unfortunately, we have a broken health system and the rise in health insurance premiums has far outstripped inflation in other areas so fringe benefits constitute a much larger percentage of compensation for many workers. However, employer provided health insurance and other fringe benefits are part of compensation and should be viewed as such.

  • Zeno

    I found the responses from Mr. Chomsky both rational and contradictory. But I’m listening to him as just another guest and not with idolatry.

    It could be his age, or perhaps the rushed format of On-Point, but his assessment of illegal labor being helpful and not a problem is either biased or woefully ignorant. I perceive that his opinion is formed from the ignorance so common among academics, where he cannot truly understand the issue from such a great height, and dismisses opposing views as ignorance or bigotry.

    The labor issues in this country around illegal immigrant labor are deeply complex. Although I found the construction worker to also be absurdly simplistic, both men were examining the same issue but with wholly different perspectives.

    “The major push behind the Tea Party, though it is made up of very disparate elements, is to get away from state involvement and encourage more personal responsibility. The idea that the state should think for and take care of the people is far more likely to lead to a fascist state as opposed to a more libertarian state. The idea that the government can help people by offering ladders but people are going to always have to climb out on there own.” – Matt O’Connor

    The tea party has legitimate issues which keep them in existence, but the only solution they have offered so far is slash and burn, and as we all know that formula only provides one season of productivity. The problem with the libertarian ideal, is that it requires that every citizen to have a full and very very robust and well rounded education with an intellect to manage it.

    The opposite of this is what the Tea Party offers. Individuals setting the laws that will benefit themselves at any given moment to maximize their survival of the fittest paradigm. In short and in practice Somalia.

    If the construction worker had all of the deregulation he desired as per his beliefs, then he would simply start killing illegals and and taking whatever he wants, and then expand from there.

    Without rules and regulations, there is no society, no security, and no civilization. Anarchy is not an agreeable political platform, and this is what is so reminiscent of the Brown Shirts.

  • michael

    ““I see far fewer in way of derogatory comments from conservatives denouncing Chomsky then I saw from the other side when NPR interviewed Paul Ryan last week. Just an observation. I know NPR tends to attract more in the way of a liberal audience”

    While Paul Ryan was vague, inaccurate, misinforming about his plan(the tax center did the math and it would rise not lower the budget) and much more while Chomsky was none of the above.

    Just an observation when someone like Ryan is pretty dishonest in more way than one the comments are not going to reflect respect for Ryan doing such. “

  • assiske campion

    quite an interesting point about mike castle being the only of 48 republicans running (now defeated by primary) accepting the science of global warming. interesting because the very large influx of unsourced money ( koch or energy related?) came into the odonnell campaign at the very end. (shades of scott brown) now she has some really slick ($)promo litter around town. i think i see where this is going. the koch guys won’t be around much longer, certainly not when our grandchildren are confronted with an even more degraded environment. but their money and its effect will outlive their criminal corporate conceits.
    yes the anger is being manipulated with slogans that are touching but that’s about all there is. the real activity is to distract confuse and protect business, especially hypocritical financial manipulations, energy business manipulations and the business of war. fear and anger help to persuade that something is happening without real facts.
    there is already real grassroots and commited green and local ethical transformation organizing. the money and the media aren’t following. we can scale down wisely but: (as my husband says: we haven’t owned a tv in twenty years: and they’re still broadcasting!)thousands have gone to prison in protest of nuclear plants/weapons in the last ten years. (i heard nine thousand a bit more than a year ago.) peace demonstrations are neglected, and counterbalanced with orchestrated counter demonstrations small groups of hype organized by lies like schills. false facts are continuously reported, and even campaigned on unchecked. (ask mike castle, even though he’s not my favorite.) there’s a sulpurous stench at the crossroads. with a history of computer fraud in ohio and a dead witness and we’re back in an era of government snooping on the left. it’s heating up uncomfortably in our physical/psychological survival space, more rapidly than our biology or capacity to integrate for change. it may take a catalyst. good consenual goverment may lead to preserve the habitat and the continuance of democracy. but it may need to be inspired even visionary. strangely real, not political islam may have a vision we need now and “illegal” workers (many are likely to have a stronger claim than we if we were to survey dna of ancestry) may envision land and family in ways that permitted generations of economic stewardship before european class exploitation arrived. war is the biggest polluter of all and after that the military. of course there seems to be a revolving door with business, war, financial markets and government. (of course foreign investors count here.) [why do we fear islamic fundamentalists and bend security to reverence saudi billionaires?]
    here in delaware we worry about healthcare but not the hightest rate of child cancers.
    munitionsindustry then chemistry… a riverside dioxin dump… the finance industry… (that devoured our finaces) it’s so about serving corporate clients and entertaining the rest with crumbs and pictures of their private party.

  • John C

    About the illegal workers in the nation. When ever I drive by a Home Depot, I only see immigrants standing there waiting to try and pick up a day-labor job. I don’t see any white men “stooping” to that level.

    The other thing I think people forget is that housing prices have to account for everything that goes into them. It’s not just the land and materials that you buy, you also buy the labor that went into it. If it costs someone $10,000.00 in labor using illegal workers that price gets rolled into the house, if it costs $20,000 to use American workers that cost also gets rolled in. This is the same reason why American people buy goods from China instead of “Made in the USA”. It’s cheaper…

    Now people will say we need to shut down the boarder and lock those people out, but is that really a practical solution? If you look at the conservative agenda do you think that can be done if we are cutting taxes? I guess if we cut all social safety nets we might be able to come close….

  • Steve V

    Perhaps one reason so many people find what Mr. Chomsky has to say upsetting is the fact he peers behind the veneer(denial)of society and speaks his mind. Look back on his interviews when we invaded Iraq, as an example, and try to argue with his logic. We have become so comfortable with living in denial of so many important issues we’re upset when someone like him comes along to upset the cart (or reality does it for him). Mr. Chomsky believes we have the ability to turn this around. I agree, “Yes we can”. But based on what I’ve heard lately I’d say “No we won’t”.

  • Natalie Rosen

    This show is fascinating. I am listening to it now at 5:00 p.m. because my friend just made me aware of it. I wish I had known. I would have LOVED to ask Prof. Chomsky a question.

    I am surely worried I would say EXTREMELY worried about the emergence of a fascist state in the form of the Tea Party movement and those who enjoin it. My question for Prof. Chomsky would be that both he and Howard Zinn (whom I ADORED) utterly, I think, UNDERESTIMATE the racist nature of the white population in this country. I believe part of the Tea Party movement is attached to the economically DISMAL Great Recession BUT the OTHER and MUCH MORE disturbing part is that this economic recession has been captured by a right wing racist faction and almost as a parasite takes over the host has taken over the Republican party. I believe that both he and Howard Zinn underestimated significantly the grass roots of this nation. Prof. Zinn pointed to the civil rights movement and the women’s movements and others as indicative of change coming from the bottom up not the top down. The BOTTOM UP change is now in the hands of an angry rather pedestrian under educated anti-reason whites group who are organizing and WILL gain this fall significant political power.

    Unless the base that ushered in Obama and many other Democrats lights a fire cracker under their posteriors the consequences of the alienated progressive base will be to hand power to these science denying, religious extremist racist-to-the-core venomous group. It is CHILLING. I wondered if Prof. Chomsky could respond but since I am listening to this late that question will have to remain unanswered or hope if I listen more he will explain his analysis.

  • Jim in Omaha

    Of course the anger of the tea party should not have been written of and ridiculed by Dems or any left-leaning groups. The first response to their anger should have been: “So you’re angry now? Well we’ve been pissed off for years and have been trying to get you to pay attention. Thank you for finally getting on board and demanding change!” Such an approach may have prevented the tea party from being totally captured by and used by the corporate-controlled right wing, so well exemplified by the birthers and faux libertarians, and turned into a truly populist entity. Too late now.

  • Alex

    Chomsky has very little use for Obama. Maybe, we need a Theodor Roosevelt-type leader now, again.

  • Michael Batchelder

    @Iris Alpert’s questions about Chomsky’s views on Israel.

    First, Chomsky supports a “two-state solution” to the Israel/Palestine conflict. So that tells us something about his vision for Israel’s future, though not a complete discourse on his views.

    You can also find other audio/video on the Internet where he mentions being a teen-aged Zionist. He saw a migration of European Jews to (at the time) Mandate Palestine as moral if done according to principles that were democratic and inclusive with respect to the rights of the indigenous people, rather than proceeding on a colonialist basis.

    As to the relationship between founding of the state of Israel and the Holocaust, I think he would point to many facts. One might be that the movement to establish Israel started almost a century before the Holocaust, with Theodore Hertzl, Jabotinsky, etc… He would probably also cite some lesser known history of the immediate post-war period that shows how anti-Semitism drove the British and US governments to push for relocation of European Jews to Mandate Palestine. Neither government wanted the Jewish refugees of Europe to resettle in the US and Britain, which is a serious blot on both countries’ histories.

    In sum, I’d caution against accepting a view of Chomsky advanced by his critics. His views are specific and reasoned, and it’s worth taking the time to find out what he says, rather than accepting critics’ interpretations of what he says.

  • Rob L

    How can Chomsky say in the same sentence that the Illegals are doing needed work and that they’re not taking construction worker jobs? It makes no sense.

    He says the numbers of illegals aren’t high – well they’re not in Cambridge, MA. Go to Southern California – there’s not a native born construction worker in the whole area. And that’s new – in the 80s there were plenty of Americans working construction jobs in California.

    Chomsky is interesting, but he lets his ideology guide his facts.

  • Ken Rubenstein

    I think we’re underestimating the significance of the Tea Party movement. The Dr. Frankensteins that formed and funded the movement seem to have created a monster they can no longer control and no longer fully serves their interests. There is madness here (as opposed to simply anger) and it appears to be spreading like the flu.

  • http://www.ceasefiremagazine.co.uk Ceasefire Magazine

    NEW: Ceasefire Interviews Noam Chomsky
    In an exclusive major interview, Noam Chomsky, considered by many to be the world’s greatest public intellectual, responds to questions posed by Ceasefire Editor Hicham Yezza on the Middle East, global warming, the financial crisis, the future of the left, Iran, and much more.

    Read it at: http://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/2010/09/interview-noam-chomsky/

    Please feel free to forward.

  • Bush’s fault

    I must say I enjoyed Mr Chomsky’s remarks today, especially his harsh assessment of Obama. Tom you tried really hard to call him out on Obama, but let’s face it, you’re out of your league with an intellect like Chomsky, as are most liberals and progressives.

  • cory

    A suggestion for the producers of On Point;

    Hold a weekly or monthly hour called “Israel… Rants and Raves” Let the pro and anti Israel zealots get it out of their systems. That way you could justifiably delete all of the out of place, off topic Israel “stuff” that pops up on topics ranging from poverty to pet ownership.

    Thanks for your consideration. I love the show.

  • Bush’s fault – Part II

    Tom…thanks to you and your staff for bringing this man to speak to us. Listening to his cadence and tone as he forwards his thoughts helps us understand the position of someone who is woefully misrepresented in the press. I pray that I will be as coherent at 81, no matter what my positions/beliefs as Mr Chomsky.

  • cory

    A great guest and great hour of radio.

    I have only one disagreement with what professor Chomsky said during his hour. I believe Sarah Palin could be the charismatic “white knight” he fears. It isn’t that she is flawless or righteous, it is that her rise will be directly proportionate to the fear and stupidity in our society. Another economic downturn or a terrorist attack could easily propel Fraulein Palin to the presidency.

  • Alan Capewell

    Loved Noam’s last 30 second “Hope” manifesto! Let’s get organized people before the elites mess up middle and lower class civilization as we know it.

  • VinceD

    Mr Chomsky is very well versed on most issues, but he really has his head in the sand on illegal immigration.

    To make the statements that he made on the show shows that this is not an area of competence for him. It is patently obvious that illegal aliens are displacing American workers and being used by employers to drive down wages.

    Other than that, good show.

  • Liberal Democrat but not a leftist

    Chomsky is a cult leader. Nothing he says stands up to scrutiny but leftist people follow him as blindly as they did Stalin.

  • Irene Moore

    Taking care of business every day.

    Corporate and bank profits are soaring, they’re making out like bandits. A great American tradition.

    America, America. What’s all the uproar about – it’s business as usual. Major corporations and banks don’t care about America or any other nation – they are stateless users of the world who see the earth and all its life as resources for the creation of wealth for those who own and operate them. Period.

    We’re all just pawns in their game.

  • miro

    This segment was easily the most cogent discussion of our current economic and political predicament that I have heard anywhere.

    I am glad that this discussion on domestic issues did not get derailed by the whole Israeli-Palestinian morass (which I think is totally insoluble).

    Thank you Tom Ashbrook and On Point for a very illuminating program!

  • Ron Reimer

    I am surprised that someone as critical of sustaining the intellectual elites supporting the status quo of corporate and finance hegemony, that he is so enamored with the scientific intelligentsia, that he buys their majority opinion about “global warming.” (I wonder what percentage of scientists believed the world was flat before Galileo, and, since when is science a popularity contest?) It is clearly in the economic interest of the scientific elite, not to mention those corporations who are licking their chops over the prospects of green technology, to promote an anthropomorphic “global warming” where evidence actually seems to indicate that the earth is cooling, and that there are more scientifically valid explanations for climate CHANGE than fossil fuels combustion, explanations that rely on history rather than computer model prognostication.
    As a true advocate for the environment, I think there are many better reasons for us not to burn fossil fuels besides the carbon they emit, and question Chomsky’s advocacy of green technology, which burn cheap and dirty fossil fuels in Asian factories and mines to keep our environment “clean.” Since when have technological fixes for past technology’s indiscretions ever done anything but create profits for technologists, including Mr Chomsky’s colleagues at MIT?

    The solutions for all our ills is to ditch that insidious ideological basis for all of our doomed institutions: greed. It is competition that is doing us in, not the unequal distribution of wealth. Can’t we still, within a socialist framework with institutions based on love and cooperation, have incentives for people to overcome laziness without making our lives so cutthroat, wasteful, and contentious?

  • http://www.musingsonpoliticsandotherthings.blogspot.com/ Todd

    First of all, allow me to say that I greatly enjoyed this intelligent and insightful, is rushed, discussion.

    I appreciated the comments regarding Mr. Chomsky’s views on the Israel/Palestine question posted by Michael Batchelder, on September 28th, 2010 at 5:57 PM. Mr. Chomsky is by no means the only Jewish scholar with serious disagreements with Israel’s history and current policies. The conflict in that region over the existence of the State of Israel and the Palestinian territories is a product of many factors, including U.S. and Western European anti-Semitism, the rising tide of anti-colonial movements around the globe, the shift from Arab secular nationalism to Islamic extremism as an organizing principle in many countries in the region, and the view of much of the Arab street that Ashkenazi Jews are European, not indigenous. The exclusively Jewish character of the state and the right for all Jews to live there coupled with no right of return for Palestinians (in this already overcrowded strip of land) only feeds the resentment. If the West had played a more constructive role, perhaps a homeland for Sephardim (who faced discrimination themselves in muslim countries but can more readily claim to be indigenous by appealing to an ethnic, rather than religious, notion of Jewishness) could have been created and protected, alongside a Palestinian Arab state. The sad thing is that Islamic extremism will only feed the view that Israel has no right to exist at all. Earlier Arab nationalist movements (comprised of Christians and Jews and not supportive of Israel) still had a more nuanced (or at least less nihilistic) view than Hamas and others of their ilk. Funny how extremism and lack of understanding of complexity appears to feed the irrationality of all sides in these questions.

    As for the illegal worker issue, I disagree with most of the criticisms of Mr. Chomsky posted here. During this interview he never said that people who have illegally immigrated are not taking jobs. What he said is that they are the ones taking jobs that are being offered at illegal, sub-minimum or at best low, wages. That dynamic would persist even in the absence of a large supply of illegal workers, because the economic/regulatory incentives are structured to encourage all work that can be outsourced to be so. The U.S. worker has one of the highest productivity rates in the world, on a par with Japan and Germany. However, the wage differential and the ability to send production abroad makes it worth the increased costs incurred by the inferior quality of many Chinese and Mexican manufactured products. It would be more constructive to look at the government’s inability to prosecute employers who routinely exploit both the economic insecurity of illegal immigrants and state and federal labor laws designed to protect wage levels and U.S. workers.

    That being said, I wish this show had been another hour in length. Please keep up the good work. And I wouldn’t mind having a reasoned intellect from the right end of the spectrum to debate. Alan Greenspan on economics (since Milt Friedman has passed on), Henry Kissinger on Foreign Policy or someone of that caliber. This was still better than the rage-filled race-baiting that passes for discourse on Fox and much (but not all) of talk radio. And I extend that to most of the comments posted here as well. Thank you for an enlightening read.

  • Bryan T

    Congratulations to OnPoint’s producers and Tom Ashbrook for having the courage to air Noam Chomsky’s sober assessment of life in the vaunted USA. Chomsky has been marginalized for decades in the mainstream media, principally because he understands the Golden Rule of economics: he who has the gold, rules. Chomsky’s gloves-off scrutiny of the contemporary scene reveals how pervasive corporate dominance of our lives has become and how it is implicated in a myriad of social and economic problems. His plea for making the effort to free ourselves from propaganda perpetrated by the wealthy and powerful is a challenge to us all. Once again, many thanks to WBUR for some much-overdue exposure to the mind of a world-class thinker, who implores us to take our share of responsibility for our current woes and make a commitment to alleviating them through collective action. May we all be so inspired.

  • Mark

    This man rules! Speaking the truth about how the rich are taking over! I wonder how much longer he’ll be alive?!

  • Chad

    While a brilliant pioneer in linguistics, Chomsky, like many brilliant people, suffers from a paroxysm of irrationality when his sphere expands into politics: “Columbus was one of the main specialists in genocide…” is just one specious example of the inanity of his leaps of logic, which dismiss variables and the organic progression of historical and real world events. His broad over generalizations and hyperbole, espoused as through a disinterested sage, convince a lot of dupes that his word can be taken seriously.

  • Carole Oleniuk

    Privateers prowling the planet for profits.

  • http://www.venturacommenter.org F. William Bracy
    Yes, they can get those jobs if they really want them. The problem is, those jobs do not support the “American” way of life as they once did. The cost of everything has outpaced wages. This is the issue, not illegal immigrants. The cost of education, healthcare, food, not to mention the guy from the Tea Party rally probably has cable, 3 cell phones and an expensive truck payment.

    The illegal immigration debate is a smoke screen.
    Posted by Mark,

    The ignorance of so many millions of Americans is absolutely breathtaking.

  • http://ibelieveinbutter.wordpress.com/ Soli

    I have two requests for this discussion.

    1. Can people PLEASE stop using the term “illegals.” Way to dehumanize.

    2. For the people claiming global warming is not happening, hope you don’t mind some tropical islands (and nations) like the Maldives and Solomon Islands disappearing underwater in your lifetime.

  • http://www.dogoodgauge.org SilenceDoGoodGauge

    I’ve been peddling a new technology for public journalism for nearly four years. In this journey, I’ve discovered those with cement hearts protect their ways. Tenure allows them to spread unchecked opinion to public forums. They are calloused in thinking the rest of us are unworthy of expression.

    The Do Good Gauge abstract is intended for the young of mind whose concern is public opinion. It is for those with the realization that solutions can come from the masses.

    The abstract is a work in progress describing a method where the reader participates in public discourse. Feedback tools such as public measurement, fallacy detectors, constitutional relevancy, and mechanisms to assign quotes of wisdom are ways to motivate understanding. Similar to a college level composition 101 course, the reader plays the role of a professor in assisting the author with his or her subject.

    I am not a Tea Partier, Libertarian, Republican, Born Again Christian, or even a Democrat. I am me, just as we are us. Our points of view are not reflected in the uniform sound bites of the GOP, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Public Radio, or the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

    Democracy cannot survive when opinion is corporately funneled. The people must be provided an opportunity to express a respectful point of view. The Do Good Gauge describes the technology to give democracy a political chance.

    The agenda is not to monopolize an idea. If you like the concepts expressed in this abstract, you are free to implement them. If you are interested in the idea, but technically incapable of developing a solution, please volunteer your time and thoughts to the author of the Do Good Gauge.

  • Samuel Angol

    I really enjoyed listening to Chomsky last night. He comes across as something of an oracle. I liked what he said about how the Far Right and the Tea Party are ultimately inconsequential because they lack the sort of charismatic, demagogic leader a la Hitler who can mobilize a majority of the population to bring their visions and aspirations to fruition. His comments about America’s crumbling infrastructure were redolent of Arianna Huffington’s a few weeks ago.

  • GaryP

    Outstanding. Many Americans believe as Mr. Chomsky, but their concerns are never expressed through most news outlets. A good part of this reason is that we have a system geared for short term selling of noise. Our local six o’clock news is filled with car accidents and an occasional kidnapping, but has little substance of the kinds of things that make real positive changes in the mid and long terms: poor education, unhealthy diets (obesity, diabetes), looming debt, pollution (habitat loss, global warming), crime, inequalities.

    Another reason for this straightjacket American conversation is an unwillingness for news to confront sacred cows and interests. Investigative journalism is essentially dead, except for exploitive tv shows on unsolved murders. The reasons are many, including a loss of corporate funding or a fear of being silenced in the marketplace. Even worse is that Americans don’t talk with one another. Of course we talk to those that share our opinions, but few of us venture to develop a real dialog with people who have a different view, religion, or social status. If we could build a broad sense of community, we could see each other as Americans, and start talking and solving our myriad of problems instead of finding someone else to blame.

    Mr. Chomsky’s comments about the Tea Party are right on. They have passion but lack real solutions to move America forward. Glen Beck stokes anger by harkening back to a conservative approach to the U.S. Constitution with a small federal government, whereas the truth is America’s progress was forged by an active federal government. Nor is a return to some old-time Christianity a solution in a pluralistic world where science, not religion, is enlightening the world. Glen Beck and Sarah Palin grab the headlines, and do influence some, but the individuals and movement doesn’t have resonance with many Americans.

    Noam Chomksy tells truths that Americans and our power structures don’t want to hear. In the past, he’s been singled out as hating America for his honest critiques, but I’ve found that he doesn’t hold back when critiquing any country. His message is the same, the same truths, talked about for decades. Maybe more of us will start thinking, start understanding, and start doing something about it. This is possible if our populace finds the passion that the Tea Party shows and starts using it to build a better, more inclusive America where we really do appreciate one another, and our collective future. It was a great show and I only wish there was more…

  • Nanette in Wisconsin

    Matt Taibbi’s Rolling Stone piece on the Tea Party is one of the best analyses I’ve seen yet. I think he’s exactly right on what really troubles these people, and how they’re being used by the right. Ultimately, they will be disappointed. The GOP will keep spending as before, just not on programs that actually help the average citizen.


  • Dave

    How about as a start to get us out of our proverbial hole, we stop digging.


  • Dave

    “Mr. Chomsky’s comments about the Tea Party are right on. They have passion but lack real solutions to move America forward. Glen Beck stokes anger by harkening back to a conservative approach to the U.S. Constitution with a small federal government, whereas the truth is America’s progress was forged by an active federal government.”

    Alot of good sentiments. But when people say things like this, how can it not scream Free Lunch? Just because we come up with ideas, and visions that are Fair, or Just, or simply Sound Good, where does it follow that we can just will them into being? We can’t. We have to pay to implement them. Do you not think debt matters? Is money not real? Maybe you believe in an ideal world with no money, where we can enact and build anything we want for free. But we live in a real world, of scarcity, where things have a price because products and labor have value that needs to be paid for.

    That is why people are outraged at the growing sense that well-intentioned idealists have be using our government for achieving Utopian ideals for a LONG time now, with the corrupt help of Both parties. Real people who live with real economic constraints are furious that we are destroying the country with debt and inflation, through Low interest bubbles driven by an unaccountable Fed, Bail outs after the inevitable crash, and Government spending Keynsian Rescues of the victims after the crash, and over and over and over. Pigs at the Trough, and real people of the US suffer the inevitable economic damage.

    I always liked Noam Chomsky, telling bold truths about our imperialist tendencies and forcing us to face that reality, and at the same time I find the message in The Road to Serfdom by Hayek, very compelling.

    You are all aware that “Austrian Economics” as its called, reflecting Hayek, and folks like Ron Paul, are against that whole cycle mentioned above.

    It one thing to be honest and say you don’t believe in the whole concept of money, and so you will use the government to achieve all your Utopian ideals, never expecting the money ever to be paid back.

    Is China going to one day say, Ok America, you were just trying to do right by humanity, so you don’t have to pay us back.

    If you agree we live in a true economic world, with debts that will be repaid one way or another, I think we need to realize we can’t just spend our way to Utopia.

    Lets at least stop digging, and stop with all the engineered solutions from the left and the right, that do nothing but build our debt, and threaten our true freedoms.


  • http://onpointradio.org bev brown

    America needs to teach their youth to critic their representatives and governments, understand the fundamentals of how government works and the impact policies have on their lives. Listening to some of the clap trap that is fed by representatives of their parties it is no wonder that fear is becoming a dominant force in peoples lives. Learn about how you can get out of this situation and vote for those who will strive to do this for you, question them all the way and demand that they achieve.

  • Thoughtful Cambridge02140

    Love Howard Zinn and Noam’s concepts of “Manufacturing Consensus”, but his writing and speaking style is purely academic…meandering, rambling, droning on and on.

    He needs to be tutored by a good editor who can write consisely, crisply and with great embedded meaning.

    IOW, if Chomsky could write bumper stickers like the Teapublicans do, but with meaning, content and consise meaning–we wouldn’t be in this boat we’re in right now!

  • michael

    Can any of the Apologist and critics of Norm C. views on israel explain how in a democracy(which israel claims to be)promote a transfer of legal citizens soley base on race(i.e. arab) to keep its purity of jewishness stated by Israel current F.M. he’s not the first to state such and worst in the Likud Coalitions.


    “Mr Lieberman said a permanent Mid-East settlement could take decades and pressed a plan for transferring Israeli Arabs to any Palestinian state.”

    “That is why the solution should also be a two-staged one,” he said. “We should focus on coming up with a long-term intermediate agreement, something that could take a few decades.”

    so the goal is to colonize as much land as possiable and than trade it for arab israeli populations

    “He also said the guiding principle for a final agreement should not be “land for peace, but rather exchange of populated territory”.

  • millard_fillmore

    “Noam Chomsky is a blazing critic of just about every mainstream sacred cow on the planet.”

    Has he criticized the supremacist and bigoted Islamic ideology?

    If and when he does so, then I will accept that he is intellectually honest.

  • millard_fillmore

    “Matt Taibbi’s Rolling Stone piece on the Tea Party is one of the best analyses I’ve seen yet. I think he’s exactly right on what really troubles these people, and how they’re being used by the right. Ultimately, they will be disappointed. The GOP will keep spending as before, just not on programs that actually help the average citizen.”

    Yeah, just as Obama used the progressives to come to power, and then instead of implementing some real progressive agenda, continued with President Bush’s policies. Gullible people can be found on both sides of the political spectrum. I mean, what can be more empty and vacuous than that silly slogan “Hope and Change” which so many chanted with sincerity not so long ago?

  • millard_fillmore

    “2. For the people claiming global warming is not happening, hope you don’t mind some tropical islands (and nations) like the Maldives and Solomon Islands disappearing underwater in your lifetime.”

    That is one of the most illogical statements I’ve read. Are you implying that if people agree that the global warming is happening, it will actually stop from these islands from disappearing underwater??

    I’m not sure how claiming that global warming is happening or not happening, has any logical connection to:
    a. the likelihood of some island going underwater, or
    b. liking or disliking whether an island goes underwater.

    BTW, what’s wrong with using the word “illegal”? If someone breaks the law, then that is illegal, so I disagree that using the term “illegal” in reference to those who break the law, is dehumanizing. Maybe in your world-view, laws don’t really matter and can be broken at your convenience. Next, you’ll come up with more political correct trash and say that we shouldn’t use the word “criminal” as it will hurt the feelings of such people. *rolling my eyes*

  • millard_fillmore

    BTW, Soli, if an island does go underwater, it won’t be the first time that it has happened in the history of the planet, and neither will it be the first time in the history of human beings. People will pool together their resources and find a way around this problem if it happens. It’s called life.

    Why such a whining and guilt-laden attitude? are you sure you’re not projecting your malcontent and grievances unrelated to global warming, on to this issue?

  • millard_fillmore

    Kevin wrote:
    “Yet we seem to be rewarding and admiring Israel when it commits the same atrocities that we should have learned from.”

    Kevin, and how do the atrocities commited by Israel compare to the atrocities done in Muslim-majority countries? Or do you not care for the victims of Muslims, because it throws a monkey-wrench into the nice and clean narrative of Muslims as victims?

    To help you start, there’s the recent Ahmaddiya massacre as well as state-persecution of Ahmaddiyas in Pakistan over the decades. You do know the term that’s used by (other) Muslims to label Ahmaddiyas, don’t you? Here’s a hint: wajib-ul-qatl. Google it.

    At least Ahmaddiays consider themselves Muslims. Let’s also look at what happens to non-Muslim minorities in Muslim majority countries (Bah’ai, Sikhs, Buddhists, Hindus, Coptics). Did you forget how the Taliban destroyed Bamiyan Buddhas and why?

  • Zack

    Perhaps Chomsky’s views are a breath of fresh air to those that digest a steady diet of NPR and other mainstream media – but as I see it Chomsky mostly just repeated conventional wisdom with a statist/leftist slant. We got the typical attacks on conservatives based on their ridiculous social views, selectively ignoring valid points on out-of-cotrol government spending. I would have liked to hear Dr. Chomsky comment on the Obama administration’s record on civil liberties, which I find to be atrocious.

  • Brenda

    I am deeply angry at Noam Chomsky’s demagogic and false allegation that those who are actually concerned about LEGAL U.S. workers (both citizens and LEGAL immigrants) losing jobs to illegals are like the Nazis. Wanting LAW followed and respected is nothing like the Nazi treatment of the Jews. Wanting the law followed doesn’t indicate that one wishes any harm to illegals. Indeed, the law needs to protect the illegals from the bosses hiring them and using them as slaves. Working people concerned about jobs lost to illegals deserve an apology from Noam Chomsky for his hateful and inaccurate comments.

    I must add that I was extremely annoyed, disheartened and disturbed that Noam Chomsky refuses to admit the problems that hiring illegal aliens cause & that those hires are jobs STOLEN from the legal residents and citizens who NEED those jobs. It seems almost as if the refusal to use the differentiating terms has caused conflation of the difference between illegals & between immigrants. Calling illegals “immigrants” is false terminology and it is insulting to those who legally immigrated to this country. If Mr. Chomsky truly supports workers and unions he would not pretend that illegals are not taking jobs from those in need in this country. If he weren’t a demagogue on this issue he would not have made those rude and hateful assertions that those concerned about illegals are like the Nazis. If he weren’t lazy he would have wanted more people to get out there and oppose the tea party.

  • Ishmael

    Great interview. Prof. Chomsky is a wonderful observer (I first discovered him via his LAD). Aside from some contradictory material (how can the teabag party be both widely politically unattractive and very popular/attractive simultaneously?), some great observations about the nihilism that totally pervades the US political right. Absolutely, as the professor observes, the teabaggers are against just about everything (everything that is intelligent and makes sense, that is) but aren’t “for” anything at all.
    Noam Chomsky does a great job of describing the Republican party for what it is: an anti-science, pro-fantasy brand of US politics. Indeed people who deny that the Republikan party is filled with racial bigotry (particularly evident since the Obama administration) aren’t living in sane reality.
    Prof. Chomsky has an incisively accurate perception of some aspects of US society and does an admirable job of providing internatiol perspective (ie why — the reasons why — Europe is rationally accepting of intelligent social programs, and why the US right wing has an irrational fear of them.)

  • http://www.GeneRimmerPhotography.com Gene Rimmer

    Wow, Noam’s comments really make sense. For those of us out here in the real world, there is so much sense of distrust and futility with the political parties being FAR more concerned about playing politics than with helping us. I can’t comprehend why the Middle doesn’t find something better than those far right & far left extremists. All I’ve seen, too, even from the Democrats is keeping the rich people rich and keeping the politicians in their offices. His comments about the leaders, the parties, really struck a true chord that is never heard. I also wish so much that the media would do a fair job of presenting issues instead of just throwing us the overly dramatic stuff. They are being so biased about getting their “products” sold that they can’t truly “report.”

  • Janny

    I’m about to listen to this archived program (can’t listen to “On Point” live as it’s broadcast in my area at night), but I’m going into it with the belief that anyone who would vote for republicans –tp-wing or otherwise — suffers from a form of battered-spouse syndrome and that the corporate/industrial complex that is financing it/its candidates would have the country devolve into yet another civil war — if it meant protecting and enhancing its democracy-sucking power, economic interests and obscene profits. If my view is moderated or changed by this program, I’ll post another comment.

  • Ken Smith

    Thanks for the comments, everyone. I listened to the program while mowing my lawn this afternoon, and enjoyed hearing Mr. Chomsky’s voice again. Years ago I used to listen to him fairly regularly, and I have even spent a few hours listening to an online stream that runs Chomsky’s talks 24-7. Chomsky is like a reliable landmark, and that’s oddly comforting for me, even though it may surprise the previous poster to know that I often vote Republican and am a big fan of the Tea Party movement.

    Why is Chomsky oddly comforting? Because his positions are predictable, coming as they do from a worldview that is essentially static and far more Platonic (i.e., he wizened sage who believes he has emerged from the cave) than empirical. That’s why Chomsky always speaks with such authority.

    Chomsky’s take on illegal workers (which I’ve heard from him several times before) is clearly ideological contradictory to evidence. As one poster pointed out, low-paid illegal workers undercut the job market and depress manual labor wages across the board. But Chomsky won’t hear of it.

    Chomsky’s take on man-made global warming (call it climate change or global wierding or global climate disruption of whatever catches your fancy)–that it represents a catastrophic danger that’s preventable by green policies–I see as clearly ideological and authority-based. He cited some folks from MIT as authorities for the “worse than we thought” meme, but neither he nor Tom Ashbrook has either the guts, wits, or knowledge to confront the findings of Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, also of M.I.T.

    I will take Tom Ashbrook’s frequent discussions on climate change seriously as soon as he has Lindzen as a full-hour guest on his program. But I pretty much guarantee that Tom will never do that, because 1) dangerous man-made climate change is a core conviction with Tom (that is, for him it is a _moral value_ rather than a scientific idea that can be critiqued), and 2) Tom would catch hell from his peers and listeners for so much as suggesting that a heretic like Lindzen be given any sort of recognition. The day Tom Ashbrook interviews Lindzen will be the day Massachusetts freezes over in July.

    Chomsky’s analysis of the Tea Party is likewise ideological, in that he is simply unable to comprehend the idea that an 800 billion dollar dump of borrowed money into the black hole of the American economy could be anything but beneficial. No, Chomsky wanted a whole bunch more–double? triple? quadruple?–that amount to be dumped in.

    Both Chomsky and Tom Ashbrook (to a somewhat lesser extent) analyze the Tea Party through deductive reasoning, reminiscent of the thinking of a platonic guardian. Their fixed principles–firmly cemented in the same fundamental truths–are what inform them about the nature of the Tea Party. The Tea Party is judged to be racist and to possess fascist genetics, not on the basis of empirical evidence but on the basis of deduction from first principles.

    For Chomsky, ideology trumps investigation most of the time. I find it interesting that Chomsky seems incapable of contemplating the concept that the President’s race has worked in his favor–to insulate him from criticism–more than it has worked against him. Chomsky’s world view doesn’t so much _detect_ racism as _require_–as an inevitable certainty–that it must be a motivating factor for the Tea Party.

    To sum up, Chomsky is sort of comforting to me, because he is predictable. For his fans (they are many and they are loyal!) this predictability and authority are like an oasis in a harsh desert. To use another analogy, Chomsky always navigates with reference to a solidly fixed constellation of presuppositions, so he can always offer serene guidance amid the great complexities of the world as it empirically exists. Oddly enough, I find his speech a bit pleasantly hypnotic, despite my conservatism. I entirely understand why he has such devoted fans.

    This program was a few days ago so I doubt hardly anybody will read this rant. But thanks for letting me air it anyway. Maybe a devoted Chomsky fan will slash into me for pointing out a few things that have long seemed obvious about their hero. That’s cool! Cheers, everyone!

    Ken in North Dakota

    • Vioguy

      Stop listening to him so much and read one of his books, read the footnotes and investigate yourself. Chomsky is a certified genius. Politics, though he mentions are complex, especially today, are not so hard for him since, as a scientist, he deals with many complexities of the natural world. I wouldn’t say I’m hypnotized by him, he is rather a factual person that allows you to seek the evidence yourself. I take it you haven’t done that. One book I recommend is the Essential Chomsky. Or, if you insist on listening to him, I wonder if you’ve seen this interview:

  • http://www.earthgood.org Obi Won

    N Dakota

    Who will mind the Commons?

    They say Communism has never worked. Then Why is China kicking our collective Ass?

  • Joyce Maughan

    Thank you Noam Chomsky. Thank you Tom Ashbrook, WBUR, and NPR.

    For the common good we need to hear more from Chomsky in mainstream press USA. How about a monthly hour long program featuring Chomsky on NPR or CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC? It is a relief to hear Professor Chomsky’s concise protrayal of the facts.

    Chandler Brooks, Salt Lake City, Utah

  • http://none sam

    Noam Chomsky is the typical leftist. Here he talks a lot about the rise of the nazis and tries to SNEAK in aligning Tea Party and American conservatives as the new nazis. This is an old communist trick that goes back for the past century. With Chomsky teaching at MIT, it is no wonder so many college students come out supporting socialist causes. This guy’s slick delivery is more propaganda than historical facts.

  • http://none Sam

    This is to ad to my last posting.
    Noam Chomsky is the typical leftist. Here he talks a lot about the rise of the nazis and tries to SNEAK in aligning Tea Party and American conservatives as the new nazis. This is an old communist trick that goes back for the past century. Another trick this professional leftist does is aligning conservatives to anti Semitism. This trick is meant to turn the decent American away from conservative alternatives to the on going socialist movement. With Chomsky teaching at MIT, it is no wonder so many college students come out supporting socialist causes. This guy’s slick delivery is more propaganda than historical facts. You listen and judge for yourself.

  • http://none sam

    As usual, NPR promotes another socialist. Intellectuals like this guy is what has infuenced Democrat politicians like Obama. This guy was obviously influenced by the 30s depression and thnks the FDR is sitting at the right hand of God in the Trinity. You would think by now, at age 81, Chomsky would realize that socialism is a failure and the only fair system is capitalism. But then, some folks never learn and are stuck in their disinformation and will never change. Very very sad

    • Denise_recalde

      Socialism is a failure? Tell that to the Scandinavians who consistently have the highest standard of living in the world. These are SOCIALIST countries. The truth is a lot of countries are socialist in the world today and its working great for a lot of them. The US postal system, educational system, medicare, medicaid, social security are all socialist programs. Socialism is very alive and well my friend. Get a brain and use it.  

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