Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a very effective critic. His most recent criticism is directed at President Barack Obama, who is a hero to people who look to the US for leadership on climate change.
Chomsky’s criticism was preceded by his short summary of the world’s bleak situation:
“But another dire peril casts its shadow over any contemplation of the future – environmental disaster. It’s not clear that there even is an escape, though the longer we delay, the more severe the threat becomes – and not in the distant future. . . . “
Chomsky referred to a speech of President Obama’s two years ago in the oil town of Cushing, Okla., in which the President stated:
“Now, under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years. That’s important to know. Over the last three years, I’ve directed my administration to open up millions of acres for gas and oil exploration across 23 different states. We’re opening up more than 75 percent of our potential oil resources offshore. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high. We’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth and then some.”
“The corporate sector is carrying out major propaganda campaigns to convince the public that climate change, if happening at all, does not result from human activity. These efforts are aimed at overcoming the excessive rationality of the public, which continues to be concerned about the threats that scientists overwhelmingly regard as near-certain and ominous. To put it bluntly, in the moral calculus of today’s capitalism, a bigger bonus tomorrow outweighs the fate of one’s grandchildren.”
“What are the prospects for survival then? They are not bright. But the achievements of those who have struggled for centuries for greater freedom and justice leave a legacy that can be taken up and carried forward – and must be, and soon, if hopes for decent survival are to be sustained. And nothing can tell us more eloquently what kind of creatures we are.”
4RG recognizes the terrible dilemma of politicians, who must continue to retain support from a majority of today’s electorate, an electorate that too often is indifferent to solving tomorrow’s problem. No doubt President Obama has had to wrestle with this dilemma. i
But as much as we sympathize, we must side with Chomsky. The prospects of survival of civilization are under threat. Our world leaders must act!