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Noam Chomsky predicts Trump phenomenon in the 1990s

posted by drew

03.28.16

In the book, Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky, based on interviews from the nineties, are the following paragraphs in which Chomsky describes the incipient fascist dynamics in Republican party politics at the time, and foretells a scenario with remarkable similarities to the current Trump phenomenon.

Noam Chomsky:

"There are other things to worry about too, like the fact that the United States is such an extremely fundamentalist country--and also such an unusually frightened one.... [There is a lot of] extreme irrationality and fear... in the U.S. population.

And that's a very dangerous phenomenon--because that kind of deep irrationality can readily be whipped up by demagogues, you know, Newt Gingriches. These guys can whip up fear, hatred, they can appeal to fundamentalist urges--and that's been scaring the rest of the world for a while... For example, if you recall the Republican National Convention in 1992, it opened with a 'God and Country' rally, which was televised and seen around the world. In Europe particularly it really sent chills up people's spines--because they remember Hitler's Nuremberg rallies, at least older people do, and it had something of that tone. Well, the Republicans were able to insulate the Convention from it that time around and keep most of that stuff confined to the first night, but in the future they might not be able to do that--in the future those people might take the Convention over, in which case we'd be very close to some American version of fascism; it may not be Hitler Germany, but it'll be bad enough....

Actually, I think that the United States has been in kind of a pre-fascist mood for years--and we've been lucky that every leader who's come along has been a crook.... But if somebody shows up who's kind of a Hitler-type--just wants power, no corruption, straight, makes it all sound appealing, and says, 'We want power'--well, then we'll all be in very bad trouble. Now, we haven't had the right person yet in the United States, but sooner or later somebody's going to fill that position--and if so, it will be highly dangerous."

--Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky (2002), based on interviews mostly from 1989-1999. 

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drew dellinger

Drew Dellinger

Drew Dellinger is a speaker, poet, writer, teacher, and founder of Planetize the Movement. He has inspired minds and hearts at over 1000 events around the planet, performing poetry and keynoting on justice, ecology, cosmology, activism, democracy and compassion.
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"That should be the world's national anthem, the world's global anthem."
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