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Paradox of Democracy

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By: MIT Press

Part of the Conclusion of Noam Chomsky's biography

March 1995

......A better way to determine where Chomsky is standing at the present juncture, to communicate a sense of his current milieu, is to look at three issues in which he has become implicated. First, Chomsky has in recent times observed a growing cynicism in the American people, a conviction that the political system is manifestly biased against them and that real political power has eluded their grasp. Out of this cynicism they have, for example, voted against their own best interests (Chomsky cites a poll in which people were asked if they voted for Reagan; the majority responded "Yes," but when asked if they thought Reagan's policies would be beneficial to them they replied "No''). Second, Chomsky has noticed a related increase in the distance between the rulers and the ruled. This is the result of both the increased accumulation of power within a shrinking segment of the population, and the widely heralded "world market economy" (frequently described by Chomsky as a fraudulent label employed by the elite), which has been expanded thanks to the European Union, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and a new General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade treaty. Third, Chomsky has begun, in his political writings, to cite primary sources and media reports rather than the influential figures to whom he had once regularly turned. This phenomenon reflects the growth of popular movements and Chomsky's involvement in them. Also, Chomsky admits, "virtually no one shared my interest in anarchism (and Spanish anarchism) . . . and the deepening of my own understanding of the (left) libertarian tradition back to the Enlightenment and before was completely isolated from anyone I knew or know of" (31 Mar. 1995).