Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky
by Noam Chomsky (2002)
Reading this lets you fully understand a band like Rage Against the Machine, and that their album title “Evil Empire” wasn’t just about being provocative. It makes you realize that all of the mindless action movies or cartoons that you watched as a kid, where the villain is some cruel, Machiavellian tyrant, or maybe some alien invaders, that they were less about subconscious fears and more about projecting our own guilt and shame onto our enemies.
Because those villains are us, and the U.S. is the cruel Machiavellian power that rules the world in pure, ravenous self-interest.
It has been hilariously ironic to read this during the shit-show that is the 2016 GOP primary race. First of all, Chomsky essentially predicted the phenomenon that was initiated by Reagan’s handlers, perfected by Dubya’s, and has now been utterly detonated by a human H-bomb named Donald Drumpf. Secondly and more hilariously, however, was hearing Mitt Romney come out against Drumpf — what a sad fact that Romney is the GOP’s “big gun” — and talk about Drumpf ruining the U.S.’s status as the “city on the hill.”
That, my dear sirs and madams, is fucking hilarious. And outrageous. And depressing, that a large amount of people still believe that the U.S. somehow possesses such a status. If you are one of those people you should do us all a favor, but especially yourself, and read Noam Chomsky. Out of the three books I read this is by far the best place to start because his talks and conversations are much more accessible than his dense, dry writings.
The word that most applies to Chomsky is “vital.” The man is a global treasure, and may the gods help us when he’s no longer with us. At least we’ll still have his thoughts recorded. Just hide them when Drumpf and his acolytes begin the book burnings.