Thursday, July 01, 2010

"Chomsky's Nightmare"

In a recent post, I noted ever so briefly how some of the people leading the anti-foreign language crusades in the US are tied pretty directly to the extreme right, closing with acknowledging that the connection to linguistics was pretty tenuous.

Here's a closely parallel situation in a way: The June issue of The Progressive has a big article by Matt Rothschild, the editor, called: "Chomsky's Nightmare: Is Fascism coming to America?" (excerpt available here).

Chomsky lays out here a point that people had been saying that he made in his appearance here in April (which I missed), and one he's made elsewhere, quoted here:
Ridiculing the tea party shenanigans is a serious error. [The attitudes of the tea party people] are understandable."
He talks, as so often, about the deterioration of life for the big majority of Americans or recent decades -- falling income, etc. -- while bankers suddenly get extra billions. And:
People want some answers. They are hearing answers from only one place: Fox, talk radio, and Sarah Palin.
Agreed to an extent: The rise of non-far-right voices in the media remains still very slow, but I think that Rachel Maddow and progressive radio are working hard to counter that noise.

But the bigger argument, that the US is in danger of becoming a fascist country, is a tougher sale. In fact, Rothschild devotes a lot of the article to evaluating that and arguing that it's unlikely. Agreed again. Still, I'd agree with Chris Berlet, quoted in the article, that this is "time for a conversation about it."

In particular, and here's the tie to the earlier post, it seems beyond question right now that there are major party candidates openly expressing anti-democratic views. Arizona state senator Pearce forwards Nazi emails to his supporters and a pretty conservative (from what I know) paper can say about a US Senate candidate "Armed revolt part of Sharron Angle's rhetoric", with this passage in the article, starting with a quote from her that's pretty well known now:
"In fact, Thomas Jefferson said it’s good for a country to have a revolution every 20 years. I hope that’s not where we’re going, but you know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies.”

Also that month, she told Reno conservative talk show host Bill Manders she hoped her opponent, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, would be defeated at the ballot box before the electorate resorted to more aggressive measures.
If you read the right news, you see that there are dozens of people out there saying this stuff, candidates for national and state office. These views have long been around but mostly at the margins, although hardly always (remember Jesse Helms?).

So, I don't fear that the fascists out there are actually about to take over, but we have to recognize that there's a set of people out there in power or close to power who would push as hard as they can in that direction.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OMG. I saw 'Chomsky's nightmare' and was afraid that this was about linguistics.