|this is from 2007 but it is still relevant.
Noam Chomsky on Ron Paul
>From the znet sustainers forum:
Questioner: Hello Mr. Chomsky. I'm assuming you know who Ron Paul is.
And I'm also assuming you have a general idea about his positions.
Here my summary of Mr. Paul's positions:
- He values property rights, and contracts between people (defended by
law enforcement and courts).
Noam Chomsky: Under all circumstances? Suppose someone facing
starvation accepts a contract with General Electric that requires him
to work 12 hours a day locked into a factory with no health-safety
regulations, no security, no benefits, etc. And the person accepts it
because the alternative is that his children will starve. Fortunately,
that form of savagery was overcome by democratic politics long ago.
Should all of those victories for poor and working people be
dismantled, as we enter into a period of private tyranny (with
contracts defended by law enforcement)? Not my cup of tea.
- He wants to take away the unfair advantage corporations have (via
the dismantling of big government)
Noam Chomsky: "Dismantling of big government" sounds like a nice
phrase. What does it mean? Does it mean that corporations go out of
existence, because there will no longer be any guarantee of limited
liability? Does it mean that all health, safety, workers rights, etc.,
go out the window because they were instituted by public pressures
implemented through government, the only component of the governing
system that is at least to some extent accountable to the public
(corporations are unaccountable, apart from generally weak regulatory
apparatus)? Does it mean that the economy should collapse, because
basic R&D is typically publicly funded? like what we're now using,
computers and the internet? Should we eliminate roads, schools, public
transportation, environmental regulation? Does it mean that we should
be ruled by private tyrannies with no accountability to the general
public, while all democratic forms are tossed out the window? Quite a
few questions arise.
- He defends workers right to organize (so long as owners have the
right to argue against it).
Noam Chomsky: Rights that are enforced by state police power, as
you've already mentioned.
There are huge differences between workers and owners. Owners can fire
and intimidate workers, not conversely. just for starters. Putting
them on a par is effectively supporting the rule of owners over
workers, with the support of state power itself largely under owner
control, given concentration of resources.
- He proposes staying out of the foreign affairs of other nations
(unless his home is directly attacked, and must respond to defend it).
Noam Chomsky: He is proposing a form of ultra-nationalism, in which we
are concerned solely with our preserving our own wealth and
extraordinary advantages, getting out of the UN, rejecting any
international prosecution of US criminals (for aggressive war, for
example), etc. Apart from being next to meaningless, the idea is
morally unacceptable, in my view.
I really can't find differences between your positions and his.
Noam Chomsky: There's a lot more. Take Social Security. If he means
what he says literally, then widows, orphans, the disabled who didn't
themselves pay into Social Security should not benefit (or of course
those awful illegal aliens). His claims about SS being "broken" are
just false. He also wants to dismantle it, by undermining the social
bonds on which it is based, the real meaning of offering younger
workers other options, instead of having them pay for those who are
retired, on the basis of a communal decision based on the principle
that we should have concern for others in need. He wants people to be
able to run around freely with assault rifles, on the basis of a
distorted reading of the Second Amendment (and while we're at it, why
not abolish the whole raft of constitutional provisions and
amendments, since they were all enacted in ways he opposes?).
So I have these questions:
1) Can you please tell me the differences between your schools of
Noam Chomsky: There are a few similarities here and there, but his
form of libertarianism would be a nightmare, in my opinion, on the
dubious assumption that it could even survive for more than a brief
period without imploding.
2) Can you please tell me what role private property and ownership
have in your school of Libertarianism?
Noam Chomsky: That would have to be worked out by free communities,
and of course it is impossible to respond to what I would prefer in
abstraction from circumstances, which make a great deal of difference,
3) Would you support Ron Paul, if he was the Republican presidential
candidate, and Hilary Clinton was his Democratic opponent?
Noam Chomsky: No.