The United States run to the disaster, because of the absence of a federal strategy against the pandemic, to health insurance for all, and of their contempt for the climate change, indicated to the AFP the american philosopher Noam Chomsky, considered one of the fathers of modern linguistics.
Very committed to the left, this influential intellectual of 91 years, author of a hundred books, and a professor at the University of Arizona, is confined for two months in his hometown of Tucson, with his wife, a brazilian, their dog and their parrot. Excerpts of the interview.
Question : How would you analyze what is happening in the United States, the country most severely affected by the coronavirus ?
Answer : there is no consistent direction. The White House is held by a sociopathic megalomaniac, who is only interested in his own power, the electoral deadlines. It is of course necessary to maintain the support of his base, which includes the big fortunes and the big bosses.
Q. : What is the political landscape will emerge, according to you, the crisis, the United States and in the world ? Va-t-on to a more democratic world, or, on the contrary, a strengthening of nationalism and extremism ?
R. : after coming to power (Donald) Trump has dismantled the whole machine of the prevention of pandemics, and cutting the funding of the Centres for disease prevention (CDC), and undoing the programs of cooperation with chinese scientists to identify potential viruses. The United States were particularly ill-prepared.
The company (american) is a private, very rich, with great benefits (…), but dominated by private interests. There is no system of health care for all, absolutely crucial today. It is the ultimate neoliberal system.
In many ways, Europe is worse, with the austerity programmes that amplify the danger, the attacks brought to democracy, the transfer of decisions in Brussels and the bureaucracy of the ” troika “, the non-elected (european Commission, ECB, IMF, editor’s note). But at least it has a remainder of structure sociodémocrate which provides a certain support, and which is lacking in the United States.
But as serious as the pandemic, this is not the most serious. It is recovering from the pandemic, with a very high cost. But we do not provide the melting of the icecaps of the poles and of the sea-level rise and other deleterious effects of climate change.
What are we doing here ? Each country does something, not enough. The United States them are doing a lot, running to the cliff, eliminating programs and regulations that could mitigate the disaster.
This is the current situation, but that may change. There are global forces that are struggling against. The question is how these forces will emerge. It is this that will determine the fate of the world.
Q. : many countries use the technology to monitor their population to fight the virus. Are we in a new era of digital surveillance ?
A. : there are companies that are developing technologies that allow employers to see what their employees have on their computer screen, checking your keystrokes on the keyboard, and, if you are away from your screen, recognize it as a break. The” internet of things ” is running. Any household object contains the electronics. It is convenient (…), but the information also goes to Google, Facebook and the government. This gives a huge potential of control and monitoring, and it is already there, what is not in the future.
If we let these tech giants control our lives, this is what will happen. Ca will look like China, where there are systems of “credits” the social, of the technology of facial recognition everywhere. Everything you do is monitored. You cross in the wrong place, you can lose credits.
This is not inevitable, as climate change is not inevitable. We can let that happen, or stop it.