In the 1990s, as a computer science undergrad, I had to take an arts course and chose linguistics. In it, I encountered Noam Chomsky and his theory of transformational grammar which I enjoyed. Subsequently I knew that Chomsky had moved into the realm of political protest. More recently he adopted the ideology of the climate catastrophists. At that point I simply ignored him.
This morning, I dozed off in front of a YouTube video. When I recovered, the video had ended and the algos had started another. What the speaker was saying engaged me to the point that I watched the whole presentation a second time. The speaker is Noam Chomsky.
The video, long at 1:32:46 minutes, is a lecture at Durham University 6 years ago. Apart from the climate dogma that he still adhered to the rest of the video was extremely relevant to today from a sociopolitical point of view. Here’s the video:
Had I not slept through the first half hour I would have turned it off a minute after he began speaking. Skip to the 17:55 mark where he identifies the standard doctrine that drives policy: the security of the American population.
At the 19:30 mark he introduces the focus of policy as the security of state power against enemies, particularly the domestic population. To achieve this the state has to keep the population in the dark. External threats such as Russia, terrorism and other manufactured enemies are used to divert attention from the real activity of the state. He proceeds to describe the extensive surveillance of the population that the state has introduced.
In terms of influence on policy, at the 30:00 mark he describes it as coming exclusively from a fraction of 1 percent of the population. As a result, security of private and corporate interests and their power have become the focus of policy and foreign political activity rather than security of the population. This policy is created and paid for by the elites.
Around the 52:00 mark he summarizes the goals of policy and the forces that shape policy:
Policy is largely set by economic elites and organized groups representing business interests with little concern for public attitudes or public safety as long as the public remains passive and in the end, frightened by concocted ogres.
The theme is expanded in the Q&A session around 1:02:00.
It is interesting to note how fear is used in the subjugation of the population. As others have noted, we have been living in a state of constant fear beginning with the cold war in the 1950s, through the threat of external terrorists, to the present pandemic fear. To quote H. L. Mencken:
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.H. L. Mencken
Of the pandemic, we have never witnessed such an exercise of control over our Western populations, all to fight the new ogre, COVID-19. This time it is an internal threat that is being used against us rather than an external one. Ingenious!
On a lighter note, David Wesley has a new virtual choir out. The inclusion of a number of participants using American sign language is a nice feature: