Plus Ça Change, Plus C’est la Même Chose

The following is from a 1983 interview with MIT professor Noam Chomsky…

Interviewer: If you were to wake up tomorrow morning, and find yourself at the State Department, not MIT, and you were Secretary, what initiative would you take?

Noam Chomsky: First of all, I’d move towards a genuine disarmament, because I think  the current technical programs that the UnitedStates is pursuing are probably a greater danger to the United States than the policies of any of its enemies. Our new nuclear systems, the MX missile and the Pershing, are probably going to drive the Russians to some kind of launch-on-warning strategy which almost guarantees the destruction of the  United States sooner or later. The first thing I’d do is abort these programs and move toward some genuine disarmament. The  I would move at once to put an end to the American policy of supporting various neo-Nazi monsters all over the world, particularly in Central America,  which is the most striking case, and in other regions. As far as the Middle East is concerned, I’d move toward the international consensus.

However, though I could add a whole range of other policies, I should add this qualification: I couldn’t do any of these things. The fact is that the constraints of parameters within which any policy-maker operates are rather narrow, and they’re set from the outside, they’re set by real interests. The real interests in society are those of the people who own it. Objective power lies elsewhere. Decision-making power does not lie in the political sphere.

Language and Politics, p. 358

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