Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Chomsky: Anarchism Interview: "Even democracy is feared. It is so deep-seated that people can’t even see it. If we take a look at the Boston Globe on July 4th - July 4 is of course Independence Day, praising independence, freedom and democracy – we find that they had an article on George Bush’s attempt to get some support in Europe, to mend fences after the conflict. They interviewed the foreign policy director of the “libertarian” Cato Institute, asking why Europeans are critical of the US. He said something like this: The problem is that Germany and France have weak governments, and if they go against the will of the population, they have to pay a political cost. This is the libertarian Cato Institute talking. The fear of democracy and hatred of it is so profound that nobody even notices it. In fact the whole fury about Old Europe and New Europe last year was very dramatic, particularly the fact that the criterion for membership in one or the other was somehow not noticed. The criterion was extremely sharp. If the government took the same position as the overwhelming majority of the population, it was bad: “Old Europe – bad guys.” If the government followed orders from Crawford, Texas and overruled an even larger majority of the population, then it was the hope of the future and democracy: Berlusconi, Aznar, and other noble figures. This was pretty uniform across the spectrum, just taken for granted. The lesson was: if you have a very strong government you don’t have to pay a political cost if you overrule the population. That’s admirable. That’s what governments are for – to overrule the population and work for the rich and powerful. It is so deep-seated that it wasn’t even seen."

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