In a Truthdig interview from 2010, intellectual lion of the left Noam Chomsky compared the then-current mood of division to Germany just before Hitler.
In the wake of Donald Trump‘s surge to the presidency this Tuesday, the interview started popping up again around the internet, framed as an almost-prophetic look to the rise of Trump.
Chomsky’s words to journalist Chris Hedges are as follows:
“… What are people supposed to think if someone says ‘I have got an answer, we have an enemy’? There it was the Jews. Here it will be the illegal immigrants and the blacks. We will be told that white males are a persecuted minority. We will be told we have to defend ourselves and the honor of the nation. Military force will be exalted. People will be beaten up. This could become an overwhelming force. And if it happens it will be more dangerous than Germany. The United States is the world power. Germany was powerful but had more powerful antagonists. I don’t think all this is very far away. If the polls are accurate it is not the Republicans but the right-wing Republicans, the crazed Republicans, who will sweep the next election.”
As someone who’s usually underwhelmed with most chance predictions, Chomsky’s words here are scarily prescient, and the urgency in which he described the coming times were even more unnerving.
“I have never seen anything like this in my lifetime. I am old enough to remember the 1930s. My whole family was unemployed. There were far more desperate conditions than today. But it was hopeful. People had hope. The [Congress of Industrial Organizations] was organizing. No one wants to say it anymore but the Communist Party was the spearhead for labor and civil rights organizing. Even things like giving my unemployed seamstress aunt a week in the country. It was a life. There is nothing like that now. The mood of the country is frightening. The level of anger, frustration and hatred of institutions is not organized in a constructive way. It is going off into self-destructive fantasies.”
Read the entire Truthdig interview here.