cj#512> Chomsky on anti-government propaganda

1996-03-25

Richard Moore

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Date:          Wed, 20 Mar 1996
From: Francisco Lopez <•••@••.•••>

Too much power in the hands of a federal government can be bad, too much
power in the hands of the people can be bad.

The problem is to define what and how much is "too much." As in most
things in nature, there is a trade off.

The following is from  Noam Chomsky.

"Imagine yourself in the office of a public relations firm trying to turn
people into the ideal state, namely manipulatible atoms of consumption,
who are going to devote their energies to buying things they don't want
because you tell them that that's what they want (advertising) and are
never going to get together to challenge anything and won't have a thought
in their heads except for doing what they're told -- another perfect
utopia.  Suppose you're trying to do that.  Well, what you do is get them
to hate the government and fear the government and fear the bigness of the
government.  But not look at the Fortune 500, or even medium-size
businesses.  Not ask how they work, not understand what were truisms to
mainstream political economists like Robert Brady 60 years ago, or in fact
the working class movement throughout it's history that these things are
just tyrannical systems -- totalitarian systems.  You don't want people to
see that.  You want them to worry about the one thing that they might get
involved in and that might even protect them from the depradations of
private power.

"So what would make sense would be to develop a mood of "anti-politics".
And it's worked, people hate the government, fear the government, are
worried about the bureacrats. [...] Even what is going on now with the
attempt of "devolution" -- reduce decision making to the state level.
That makes great sense if you believe in tyranny.  There are circumstances
in which regionalization would be a very good move -- I think there are
all kinds of circumstances. In fact devolution, lowering the level of
power and decision-making closer to the popular level, could be a step
towards democracy, but *not* when you've got private tyrannies around.

"When you've got private tyrannies around, the only institution that (at
least in part) reflects public involvement that can cope with them is a
very powerful one, namely the federal government.  You move decisions down
to the state, say send block grants down to the state, thats a way of
guaranteeing that they're not going to get to poor people.  Any even
middle size business has all kinds of ways of pressuring states, not that
they'd have to pressure very hard, to make sure that that money ends up in
their pockets rather than the pockets of hungry children. [...] The
devolution under *these* circumstances is a great way to increase tyranny
and to decrease the threat of democracy as well as to shift resources even
more dramatically towards the rich and away from the poor.  Thats the
*obvious* consequence of devolution.  I've never seen it discussed in the
mainstream. [...] [...what's discussed everything except] the obvious
overwhelming fact that distributing government resources to lower levels
will simply make them more susceptible to private influence and control by
private power.  That's the major effect, and it's part of the same
anti-politics to weaken the federal government."

                          -- Noam Chomsky, "Robbing People Blind" interview
                             with David Barsamian, Nov/Dec 1996.

From: Lamont Granquist <•••@••.•••>

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    Posted by Richard K. Moore  -  •••@••.•••  -  Wexford, Ireland
     Cyberlib:  www | ftp --> ftp://ftp.iol.ie/users/rkmoore/cyberlib
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