Leftwing anarchist Noam Chomsky believes conservative talkers like Rush Limbaugh are blaming America's problems on "rich liberals" in much the same way the Nazis blamed Germany's problems on Jews.
I kid you not.
Speaking in front of the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on October 6, Chomsky told attendees that Americans "who for the last 30 years have seen their wages, income stagnate or decline, their benefits decline, services decline" are being told by "Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, the rest of them" that "rich liberals own everything" and "they don't care about people like you."
To Chomsky, "the memory that comes to my mind...is late Weimar Germany" (video embedded below the fold with transcript, h/t Mediaite):
I'm not really thinking about the entertainment aspect of the media, though, yes, it's significant. I'm thinking about the part that has substantive content, crazy content. But it is substantive. It does give answers. I mean, the people who for the last 30 years have seen their wages, income stagnate or decline, their benefits decline, services decline, there's nothing for the children. World's out of control. These are the people who on polls maybe 80 percent of them say the country's going in the wrong direction. The government's run by the few and the special interests not the people and so on.
You know, they're not wrong. This is all happening to them, and the answers that they're getting from say Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, the rest of them, are, "Well, we have an answer. The rich liberals own everything. They own the corporations. They run the government. They run the media. And they don't care about people like you. They don't care about the flyover people between the east coast and the west coast. They only care about giving everything you work for away, to, you know, to illegal immigrants or gays or something. So we gotta protect ourselves from them. And furthermore, they run the government. When they put up a health program, it isn't to give you health. It's to kill your granny, you know." And that's an answer to something. It's a terrible answer, but it is an answer. And if you do suspend this belief, you forget about what's happening in the world really, it's a coherent answer.
Now they're not hearing anything else. And the memory that comes to my mind - again, I don't want to press the analogy too hard - but I think it's worth thinking about - is late Weimar Germany. There were people with real grievances. The Nazis gave them an answer: "It's the fault of the Jews and the Bolsheviks and we've got to protect ourselves from them, and that'll take care of your grievances." And we know what happened. Germany in the 1920s was you know the most civilized, at the peak of Western civilization, in the arts, in the sciences, highly democratic, functioning democratic institutions. A decade later, it was, you know, the pits of human history.
Again, the analogy is not, it's not close, but it's frightening. And unless an answer can be given to these people, unless they can be led to understand what's really happening to them, we could be in for trouble.
Actually, Noam, we're already in trouble because people like you get paid to voice such invective.
Be afraid, America. Be very afraid.