Note: replaced video
TheRealNews | November 17, 2010
Noam Chomsky: Liberal-conservative divide no more than an illusion amongst ordinary Americans
CHOMSKY: I think there’s very little truth to it. What’s happened over the past roughly 35 years is that both parties have drifted to the right. I don’t think the terms liberal and conservative mean much. In fact, if you take a look at the—there’s quite serious inquiry into the actual attitudes of people who call themselves conservatives. So the group of people who say, I’m in favor of small government, cutting back taxes; put aside the social issues, they’re different; well, it turns out most of them have more or less social democratic attitudes. You know, they think there should be more money spent on health, more on education, more on assistance to the poor, but not welfare. Reagan succeeded in blackening the term welfare with his tales about, you know, black women in limousines that are coming to the welfare offices and so on. So no welfare, but assistance to the poor. No foreign aid, but then when people are asked how much should we be giving, they typically say considerably more than we actually are. And what you basically have among the so-called conservatives in the population is what we call liberal attitudes on issue after issue. Take, say, the health-care reform that Obama passed, which is the real fighting issue. Well, a majority of the population’s opposed to the health-care reform. If you take a look at the reasons, a substantial number are opposed because it didn’t go far enough, and on particular matters that Obama gave away, like, say, a public option. There’s pretty strong support for allowing the pharmaceutical corporations to get away with murder, because the government’s not allowed to negotiate prices with them—overwhelming opposition.
Chomsky on Post-Midterm America