Chomsky: America in Decline

I agree with Prof. Chomsky that America is in decline, but only insofar as we’ve tied our future to multi-national corporations and the bad paper peddlers of Wall Street, both of which are dinosaurs dying a hard death. If the public can avoid getting crushed when they fall — and I won’t give odds on that — we might emerge as a new nation with a commitment to our original ideals, the same ideals that spurred the French Revolution that we inspired: Liberty, Equality and Fraternity (including women and people who aren’t caucasian this time around). We might also add ‘Privacy’ and ‘Justice’ to that list.

America in Decline

by Noam Chomsky
In These Times
August 5, 2011

“It is a common theme” that the United States, which “only a few years ago was hailed to stride the world as a colossus with unparalleled power and unmatched appeal is in decline, ominously facing the prospect of its final decay,” Giacomo Chiozza writes in the current Political Science Quarterly.

The theme is indeed widely believed. And with some reason, though a number of qualifications are in order. To start with, the decline has proceeded since the high point of U.S. power after World War II, and the remarkable triumphalism of the post-Gulf War ’90s was mostly self-delusion.

Another common theme, at least among those who are not willfully blind, is that American decline is in no small measure self-inflicted. The comic opera in Washington this summer, which disgusts the country and bewilders the world, may have no analogue in the annals of parliamentary democracy.

The spectacle is even coming to frighten the sponsors of the charade. Corporate power is now concerned that the extremists they helped put in office may in fact bring down the edifice on which their own wealth and privilege relies, the powerful nanny state that caters to their interests.

Corporate power’s ascendancy over politics and society—by now mostly financial—has reached the point that both political organizations, which at this stage barely resemble traditional parties, are far to the right of the population on the major issues under debate.

Read the rest here.

Copyright 2011 Noam Chomsky and In These Times.

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