Noam Chomsky: Societal “Breakdown” Gave Us Trump
According to one of the most outspoken members of the radical left, Donald Trump’s success can be blamed on the effects of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and others who emphasized the free market. In an interview with AlterNet, MIT professor Noam Chomsky said the answer to Trump’s rise was simple:
“Fear,” Chomsky said, “along with the breakdown of society during the neoliberal period. People feel isolated, helpless, victim of powerful forces that they do not understand and cannot influence.”
“Neoliberalism” is a scholarly term meant to encompass economic ideas that promote increased privatization and decreased government influence on the market. These ideas reached their American peak in the 1980s as Republicans pushed for a laissez-faire approach to the free market. These ideas, naturally, are despised by anyone who considers themselves a liberal, though the term itself can lead to confusion.
Chomsky said that America was now in a similar position to the 1930s, when the U.S. was suffering from the Great Depression. “Objectively, poverty and suffering were far greater,” Chomsky said. “But even among poor working people and the unemployed, there was a sense of hope that is lacking now, in large part because of the growth of a militant labor movement and also the existence of political organizations outside the mainstream.”
Chomsky, obviously, is aghast at the thought of a Trump presidency. He told AlterNet that he was a Bernie Sanders supporter, but that he would vote for Hillary Clinton over any of the Republican candidates.
No one can dismiss Chomsky as an idiot, but it’s important to remember that he has a very twisted view of America. He has often called the country a terrorist state and has criticized even the Democratic Party as being entrenched in right-wing policies. It’s no surprise to see him blame the rise of a nationalist outsider like Trump on something as nebulous as “fear.”
On the other hand, he’s not wrong about the “breakdown of society” that started happening in the 1980s. Far from being the result of the free market, though, this breakdown was given wings by an expanded welfare state, the cultural trash that invaded our homes through Hollywood, and the infection of feminism. And that breakdown has continued to this day, leading us to the point where it’s now considered racist to put a black man in prison for committing a crime.
For the last 40 years, the size and scope of our federal government has grown way out of control. And to anyone’s reckoning, it has only led to more problems and less opportunity. Maybe if we actually tried taking the reins off the free market, we would see the true power of economic conservatism.