Video Victorianism

Dennis R Redmond dredmond at OREGON.UOREGON.EDU
Mon Oct 5 14:04:53 PDT 1998

On Mon, 5 Oct 1998, Brad De Long wrote:

> [Chomsky's] underlying point, after all, is that America's "taxpayers"
> were and are being looted by their government to advance the interests
> of sinister foreigners and the shadowy masters of America's
> corporations. (If you throw in a reference to Goldman Sachs, it could
> have come straight out of the mouth of Pat Buchanan.) We've seen this
> rhetorical pattern--good, hard-working people who play by the rules and
> pay their taxes on the one hand; sinister shadowy figures who don't look
> like us, talk funny, and live by manipulating symbols in ways honest folk
> can't understand on the other--in the past. We are seeing it more and
> more on all sides of the political debate--right, center, and
> left--today.

Oh, come on. Chomsky is not a bigot, a racist, or an anti-Semite; his point is that the system itself is the problem, and that you have to change the system instead of blaming individual businesspeople or political leaders. You're describing the screenplay of Oliver Stone's "JFK", not Chomsky's work.

You seem to think that the current delegitimation of the US political system leads inexorably to fascism. Well, the European Union has responded to political crisis with more democratization, a greater role for the European Parliament, etc. What have *we* done? Zip. Zero. Nada. Zilch. Hell, even Poland and the Czech Republic, with per capita GDPs of one-tenth of America's, have more modern political systems (run on proportional representation) than we do. Meanwhile, the US continues to stumble along with its 18-century first-past-the-post electoral system, as if nothing has changed since the days of the thirteen colonies.

We're talking 1792 political technology, folks. Would you want your *dentist* to work you over with 18th century instruments? Nope. Why should the business of Government be any different?

-- Dennis

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