Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch
cbertsch

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Real World

As noted previously, I often have major disagreements with Noam Chomsky. But I'm glad he's in the public eye, doing what he's doing, supernaturally unflappable.

Anyway, Noam recently weighed in on the options facing the American electorate in 2004. I' m heartened to see that he's advocating a Realpolitik for leftists. Given a choice between "whether we want to pay attention to the real world, or prefer to keep to abstract discussions suitable to some seminar," he prefers the former. "It's a matter of judgment, of course, but mine is that those who favor electing Bush are making a very serious error. The people around him are likely to cause very serious, perhaps irreparable, harm if given another mandate." His critique of misplaced idealism highlights the peril of what the Bad Subjects manifesto -- almost ten years old! -- called "self-marginalization":
Those who prefer to ignore the real world are also undermining any hope of reaching any popular constituency. Few are likely to pay attention to someone who approaches them by saying, loud and clear: "I don't care whether you have a slightly better chance to receive health care or to support your elderly mother; or whether there will be a physical environment in which your children might have a decent life; or a world in which children may escape destruction as a result of the violence that is inspired by the Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Cheney-etc. crowd, which could become extreme; and on, and on. Repeat: "slightly better." That matters to sensible people, surely the great mass of people who are the potential victims. So those who prefer to ignore the real world are also saying: "please ignore me." And they will achieve that result.
I suppose that means that even Chomsky is getting on the John Kerry bandwagon.
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