Sunday, November 27, 2016

Noam Chomsky interviewed by Al Jazeera

I agree with most of Chomsky’s points, but differ on at least one.* It’s true that Hitler was a true ideologue while Trump appears to have no core positions or values. The resulting lack of predictability is indeed a cause for great concern. But it’s a mistake to leave it at that, suggesting that we can’t really know which of Trump’s changing stances would come to dominate on any issue.

Trump’s psychology has been consistent for decades. His boundless greed, his constant craving for attention and approval, his vindictiveness, his sadism, his desire to dominate, his contempt for perceived weakness and admiration of repressive and autocratic regimes, his ready calls for violence, his racism and misogyny, his disregard of domestic and international law – these are all inherent facets of his authoritarianism (I’ll have much more to say about this soon). Despite his intellectual vacuity and impressionability, authoritarianism, which structures his entire personality and worldview, makes his choices and responses more predictable.

* Another: I’m not nearly as sanguine about the strength of institutions such as the media, and even if press freedoms are more powerfully enshrined now than they were in the past, they won’t survive by default, but will require organized resistance and action.

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