The Tea Party is tapping into legitimate grievances

Noam Chomsky writes:

The U.S. midterm elections register a level of anger, fear and disillusionment in the country like nothing I can recall in my lifetime. Since the Democrats are in power, they bear the brunt of the revulsion over our current socioeconomic and political situation.

More than half the “mainstream Americans” in a Rasmussen poll last month said they view the Tea Party movement favorably—a reflection of the spirit of disenchantment.

The grievances are legitimate. For more than 30 years, real incomes for the majority of the population have stagnated or declined while work hours and insecurity have increased, along with debt. Wealth has accumulated, but in very few pockets, leading to unprecedented inequality.

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  1. The U.S. is in deep, deep doodoo.

    How low is the “new normal” going to go?

  2. I went to the original and noted that Chomsky quotes from a 2005 article by Fritz Stern, so I looked it up. It’s worth reading entire (Foreign Affairs, May/Jun2005, Vol. 84 Issue 3, pp. 14-18). This paragraph struck me as especially appropriate vis-à-vis the Teabaggers:

    “Let me cite one example of the acknowledged appeal of unreason. Carl Friedrich von Weizsaecker, a Nobel laureate in physics and a philosopher, wrote to me in the mid-1980s saying that he had never believed in Nazi ideology but that he had been tempted by the movement, which seemed to him then like “the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.” On reflection, he thought that National Socialism had been part of a process that the National Socialists themselves had not understood. He may well have been right. The Nazis did not realize that they were part of a historic process in which resentment against a disenchanted secular world found deliverance in the ecstatic escape of unreason.”

  3. The Greed Society has been enabled by keeping the American public confused by misinformation and outright propaganda — and still the people see that something is fundamentally wrong. The problem with being so confused is that any measures they embrace to correct the situation have a high probability of having the opposite effect.
    If Obama is more than an ’empty suit’ (A good line from one of the original Galbraith article comments) he needs to start at the bottom and start telling the truth, no matter who nor how much it hurts.