Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Noam Chomsky on George Orwell, the Suppression of Ideas and the Myth of American Exceptionalism

From Democracy Now:

In a Democracy Now! special, we spend the hour with Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned political dissident, linguist, author and institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he’s taught for more than half a century. Chomsky has written more than 100 books, including his latest, "Because We Say So," a collection of his monthly columns. On Saturday, Chomsky spoke before a sold-out audience of nearly 1,000 people at The New School’s John L. Tishman Auditorium in New York City. In a speech titled “On Power and Ideology,” he discussed the persistence of U.S. exceptionalism, Republican efforts to torpedo the Iran nuclear deal, and the normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations.

Click here to read, watch, or listen to the rest.

"American exceptionalism" essentially means "We're better than everybody else." Oh sure, there are definitely some mental gymnastics involved, namely the inclusion of the false notion that we actually adhere to our lip-service values of freedom and democracy, both domestically and in our foreign policy, making our "exceptionalism" disguised with good vibes and whatnot. Otherwise "American exceptionalism" is the exact same thing as old school European great power nationalism. You know, German "exceptionalism," French "exceptionalism," English "exceptionalism."

At least our forebears across the Atlantic had the decency to just be straight-up chauvinistic about themselves. I think we Americans are lacking in that kind of honesty.