Rebel Without a Pause

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There was a nice piece in Planet Green last week on one of my intellectual heroes, the inimitable Professor Noam Chomsky. I first came across him more than 20 years ago when I read The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, a long time before people started talking about the so-called Washington Consensus. I have read a lot of his stuff since, and listened to countless interviews, and he has never wavered from his radical position; one reason, perhaps, for the ‘rebel without a pause’ tag given to him by Bono.

As the Planet Green article notes, the environmental movement needs to take a resolute, Chomskyesque approach if it is to achieve its aims. Chomsky himself puts the case very succinctly in the 1992 Manufacturing Consent documentary:

“Modern industrial civilization has developed within a certain system of convenient myths. The driving force of modern industrial civilization has been individual material gain. Now it’s long been understood–very well–that a society that is based on this principle will destroy itself in time. It can only persist–with whatever suffering and injustice it entails–as long as it’s possible to pretend that the destructive forces that humans create are limited, that the world is an infinite resource, and that the world is an infinite garbage can. At this stage of history, either the general population will take control of its own destiny and will concern itself with community issues guided by values of solidarity and sympathy and concern for others or–alternatively–there will be no destiny for anyone to control.”