re/ Noam Chomsky interviews Yanis Varoufakis


Richard Moore

Bcc: FYI

Janet M Eaton wrote:
Thanks Richard
Will watch with interest- big fan of Yanis and have been listening to other interviews when I come across them.
Also did you see the latest by Noam two parts on TomGram- Masters of Mankind from his latest book Who Rules the World? (Metropolitan Books).
[This piece, the first of two parts, is excerpted from Noam Chomsky’s new book, Who Rules the World? (Metropolitan Books). Part 2 will be posted on Tuesday morning.]
When we ask “Who rules the world?” we commonly adopt the standard convention that the actors in world affairs are states, primarily the great powers, and we consider their decisions and the relations among them. That is not wrong. But we would do well to keep in mind that this level of abstraction can also be highly misleading…..
Part II Chomsky – Masters of Mankind (Part 2): The Costs of Violence
all the best,

Nice to hear from you Janet. Isn’t Yanis amazing? Such a breath of fresh air, speaking truth to power – with real style. He reminds me of Putin, the other breath of fresh air on the global stage. (Has anyone noticed how much the latest James Bond resembles Putin? Accident?) Getting back to Yanis: I don’t go along with his advocacy of EU political union. We need decentralization, not greater centralization. The more remote the seats of power, the less in touch with the people. This is the Great Liberal Error – thinking that greater power at the center makes for more democracy.

As regards Chomsky, it’s hard to believe he is still so prolific after all these years, and remains as incisive as ever. I read through the material you referenced above. As usual, he gives us a hard-hitting critique of US policy, and in this case goes on to propose his preferred set of policies.  

When it comes to the topic of who rules the world, however, he thinks at the level of puppets rather than rulers. He understands the Machiavellian moves made by those who hold positions of power in the game, but he doesn’t grasp the back story, of who decides what the rules of the game are going to be, and when they’re going to be changed. His choice of title, given what his material actually covers, confirms his cluelessness regarding the inner sanctum of global power. 


Greg Maybury wrote:
G’Day Richard,
Great to hear from you again. Will most def give this a look.
I’ve been a bit quiet of late due to a death in the family. But now back with a vengeance. You will see my latest piece — on Hillary Clinton. Notwithstanding your comment about “politics”, I thought you might find of interest. I published this piece on Op Ed News, and the feedback was excellent, as was the discussion it generated…, which as a writer I’m sure you appreciate is what it makes the whole exercise worthwhile. … 

My condolences Greg on your bereavement. And good on ya, coming back with a vengeance. You’re writing is so colorful! Having watched several seasons of House of Cards, I appreciated how you used that in your  treatment of the Clintons.  Yes, feedback is everything. Else how do we know if anyone is hearing us?


Robin Mutoid wrote:
Hi Richard,
Thanks for this.. it was informative and enjoyable.
Over the past 12 years or so I have observed the waxing and waning here of interest and theory regarding many topics – Sociology, Spirituality, Exopolitics, Climate Change and Geo-Politics included – and occasionally I have contributed. 
Now, if we can finally walk the fine line between ‘extreme’ and ‘normal’ without being political.. I am interested in how you at least view the ‘popularism’ that appears to be propelling the likes of Trump and Duerte to positions of great power and responsibility?
Are ‘The People’ simply driven by a desperate desire for change – of any sort, some might argue – are they being cleverly duped yet again, or are we actually seeing the beginnings of a Global Consciousness upliftment, an unstoppable and sweeping ‘rebellion’ establishing itself ~ and will the Humans they voted for finally effect these changes on a global scale?
Interesting times indeed Richard.
I remain, as always, optimistic! 😉

I’m sorry Robin, but I see no evidence that any Global Consciousness upliftment is beginning. I know a lot of people talk about such a thing, and there are self-proclaimed leaders with website podiums, but I must say I see it all as wishful thinking. It’s like we know in our guts the Titanic is sinking, and so we desperately swim toward anything that remotely resembles a lifeboat, even if its only a mirage. If you know of some evidence for an upliftment, please let me know.

Not everyone is desperate for change. Those who are reasonably well off, such as the employed middle class, are more desperate to maintain stability than they are eager for change. They are much more worried about defeating Trump than they are excited about electing anyone. For many the real preference might be Bernie, but in the end they’ll vote for whoever they believe can defeat Trump. 

Why liberals hate Trump is an interesting question. If you actually listen to his speeches, you find his primary agenda is about re-industrializing America – making it economically viable again. He wants to reverse globalization, which is ironically the same thing many of his haters want. In foreign policy he makes a great deal of sense, as regards for example finding a way to work with Russia, rather than always working at cross purposes. If he stuck to these points, his program would make a great deal of sense to all of us.

But he doesn’t. He expresses racist sentiments, and he calls for a bigger military. Both are peripheral to his main agendas, and the two are guaranteed to alienate liberals and minorities. He’s left only with those conservatives who can go along with the whole package. All of this doesn’t make a lot of sense in terms of political strategy, if the fellow really wants to win. It’s not that he can’t afford professional campaign advisors. 

Why conservatives like Trump is rather obvious. He’s talking about going back to better times, and he flagrantly violates political correctness. If you’re a conservative, what’s not to love? And why conservatives hate liberal reformers is also rather obvious. They are aware of the dark side that has accompanied all liberal reforms, and how they always lead to greater state power.

But whether one supports Trump, Bernie, Hillary, or whoever, it’s just another case of swimming toward a mirage lifeboat. Campaigns are theater. Their purpose is to divide, to supplant real issues by fear of the ‘other’, and to generate a sense of participation, a sense that democracy is real and elections matter. It’s not and they don’t. If you consider the continuity of policy, from Bush to Obama – despite the radical difference in their stated values, positions, and constituencies – this should be obvious. For those of us older, we might recall that Johnson ran on a peace platform, and then implemented the policies of the one we feared, Barry Goldwater. Tip your hat to the new boss, same as the old boss. 

Many years ago, when I was young and naive, and Reagan won the Presidency, I couldn’t see how being an actor was relevant to the job of President. As time went by and I learned more, I realized that a good actor, or preacher, or salesman, are all likely prospects to make good Presidents. For in truth the job description is Public Relations Officer for USA Inc. It’s not about making policy; it’s about selling policy.

Optimism, pessimism, what do they really mean? I suppose an optimist is someone who believes the outcome will be better than the evidence suggests, while a pessimist believes the outcome will be worse. Or perhaps an optimist is someone who has a positive attitude toward life generally, and a pessimist is the opposite. We can be talking either about intuitive situational awareness, or psychological predilection. We might also be talking about denial.

For myself, I prefer to know what’s real, wherever that leads. Since the future is unknown, I entertain both optimistic and pessimistic perspectives, to get a range on the possibilities. But I’m neither and optimist nor a pessimist. I’m just happy to be alive, to have a roof over my head, and to be able to do whatever I want. 


rkm wrote:

I’ve kind of given up on political stuff.

Tasha Polak responded:
Hi. Forgive me for asking, but is it depression at the magnitude of disarray in our systems? Or ennui? General malaise? Maybe you will again be impassioned…. or perhaps tranquility has its own rewards. a friend of mine, a 73 year old man, married a woman he met on a bus in Quebec three weeks after first meeting her. He was very political. And may yet be. But they enjoy Salsa dancing.

When I say I’ve given up I’m not talking about burnout or depression. Rather, after 20 years, I’ve simply run out of ideas. As regards analysis I’ve got material already out there that is still ahead of its time, and I could only repeat myself. And I’ve learned people rarely change their mind about anything anyway. 
     As regards activism, I’ve worked with lots of people and tried lots of things, and I can’t think of any new initiatives that make sense to me. And there are no existing movements that I’d want to join. Almost without exception they’re led from above and are going nowhere, not that the participants would believe it. Sheep in wolves clothing for the most part.

I can find other things to be passionate about. 


best wishes to all,