Quantcast
Connect with us

Noam Chomsky on human extinction: The corporate elite are actively courting disaster

Published

on

Climate change poses an imminent threat to human life, said political philosopher Noam Chomsky – and humans are drawing their own doom ever closer.

“This is the first time in human history that we have the capacity to destroy the conditions for decent survival, (and) it is already happening,” Chomsky told journalist Chris Hedges, writing for Truthdig.

Hedges was accused last week by the New Republic of plagiarizing some of his work in Harper’s Magazine and other publications.

ADVERTISEMENT

Chomsky said species destruction had reached the same level as 65 million years ago – when an asteroid hit the earth, ending the period of dinosaurs and wiping up many other species.

“It is the same level today, and we are the asteroid,” he said. “If anyone could see us from outer space they would be astonished.”

The noted linguist said some sectors of the global population – such as the First Nations in Canada, aboriginals in Australia, and tribal people in India – had tried to slow the march to catastrophe, while others were actively courting disaster.

“Who is accelerating it?” Chomsky said. “The most privileged, so-called advanced, educated populations of the world.”

He compared this phenomenon to a theory by Ernst Mayr, a 20th-century evolutionary biologist who speculated humans would never encounter intelligent extraterrestrials because higher life forms quickly force themselves into extinction.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Mayr argued that the adaptive value of what is called ‘higher intelligence’ is very low,” Chomsky said. “Beetles and bacteria are much more adaptive than humans. We will find out if it is better to be smart than stupid. We may be a biological error, using the 100,000 years which Mayr gives [as] the life expectancy of a species to destroy ourselves and many other life forms on the planet.”

But Chomsky remained hopeful that the corporate elite could be overthrown before they bring on environmental disaster, citing historical examples of mass movements that returned power to autonomous collectives.

“In the 1920s the labor movement had been practically destroyed,” he said. “This had been a very militant labor movement. In the 1930s it changed, and it changed because of popular activism. There were circumstances [the Great Depression] that led to the opportunity to do something. We are living with that constantly. Take the last 30 years. For a majority of the population it has been stagnation or worse. It is not the deep Depression, but it is a semi-permanent depression for most of the population. There is plenty of kindling out there that can be lighted.”

ADVERTISEMENT

A recent Ohio State University study found the politically induced decline of the labor movement in recent decades was largely responsible for growing levels of income inequality.

“Union decline and the presence of Republican presidents remained the most important explanations for income inequality,” said David Jacobs, the study’s co-author. “Even education wasn’t nearly as important as union decline.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Chomsky said state propaganda remained powerful enough to limit the terms of debate and convince Americans to support the Obama administration’s use of drones – which he called “the biggest terrorist campaign in history” – and drive the nation into war with Iraq.

“Obama is regarded as a critic of the invasion of Iraq,” he said. “Why? Because he thought it was a strategic blunder. That puts him on the same moral level as a Nazi general who thought the second front was a strategic blunder. That’s what we call criticism.”

Chomsky said social activism – particularly the Occupy Wall Street movement – had already started “breaking through the atomization of society.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“There are all sorts of efforts to separate people from one another,” he said. “The ideal social unit [in the world of state propagandists] is you and your television screen. The Occupy actions brought that down for a large part of the population. People recognized that we could get together and do things for ourselves.”

“We can have a common kitchen,” Chomsky continued. “We can have a place for public discourse. We can form our ideas. We can do something. This is an important attack on the core of the means by which the public is controlled. You are not just an individual trying to maximize consumption. You find there are other concerns in life. If those attitudes and associations can be sustained and move in new directions, that will be important.”


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘Trump brought a whole new meaning to white noise’: Colbert says president gave crackheads a bad name

Published

on

"They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting Donald Trump to shut up," said Stephen Colbert as part of his debate wrap-up on Wednesday night.

"He brought a whole new meaning to white noise," the host quipped on "A Late Show."

"I don't know what Chris Wallace was supposed to do," said Colbert. "At the next debate, they should just give the moderator a button to bring on the slime. I'm not the only one who despised last night's debate, according to a CBS poll, of the people who watched it, 69 percent felt annoyed. Annoyed? Really, evidently, 'gouging out my eyes with a grapefruit spoon' was not an option."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘Classic projection’: Mary Trump says the president was triggered when Biden called a policy ‘not smart’

Published

on

President Donald Trump's niece Mary not only spent her life around the president and his family, but she also has the benefit of being a psychologist who could legitimately assess the life and mental health of her uncle.

Speaking to MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, she explained that in one particular moment in the Tuesday evening debate, Trump seemed triggered by former Vice President Joe Biden's use of the phrase "not smart" in reference to a policy. Trump went off.

"Did you use the word 'smart?'" Trump asked after Biden insulted Trump's coronavirus plan as not being "smart."

"So you said you went to Delaware State but you forgot the name of your college," Trump continued, falsely claiming something Biden never said. "You didn't go to Delaware state. You graduated either the lowest or almost the lowest in your class. Don't ever use the word 'smart' with me. Don't ever use that word."

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Trump attacks NBC for covering a hurricane instead of his Nobel Prize nomination: ‘These people are sick’

Published

on

In a series of bizarre nonsequiturs in Duluth, Minnesota Wednesday evening, President Donald Trump unleashed on NBC News for covering a monster hurricane hitting Louisiana and Mississippi instead of talking about his friend nominating him for a Nobel Prize.

Former President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize at the start of his presidency, and like the ever-illusive Emmy Trump also hasn't won, the Nobel Prize has never been within his grasp. The Obamas were nominated for seven Emmys for a series of things they produced with Netflix. They won an Emmy for outstanding directing for a documentary/nonfiction program for "American Factory."

Continue Reading
 
 
Democracy is in peril. Invest in progressive news. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free. LEARN MORE