Humanity Imperiled–The Path to Disaster by Noam Chomsky

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Dandelion Salad

by Noam Chomsky
June 4, 2013

What is the future likely to bring?  A reasonable stance might be to try to look at the human species from the outside.  So imagine that you’re an extraterrestrial observer who is trying to figure out what’s happening here or, for that matter, imagine you’re an historian 100 years from now — assuming there are any historians 100 years from now, which is not obvious — and you’re looking back at what’s happening today.  You’d see something quite remarkable.

For the first time in the history of the human species, we have clearly developed the capacity to destroy ourselves.  That’s been true since 1945.  It’s now being finally recognized that there are more long-term processes like environmental destruction leading in the same direction, maybe not to total destruction, but at least to the destruction of the capacity for a decent existence.

And there are other dangers like pandemics, which have to do with globalization and interaction.  So there are processes underway and institutions right in place, like nuclear weapons systems, which could lead to a serious blow to, or maybe the termination of, an organized existence.


“The Most Dangerous Moment in History”

The other issue is nuclear war.  It’s been known for a long time that if there were to be a first strike by a major power, even with no retaliation, it would probably destroy civilization just because of the nuclear-winter consequences that would follow.  You can read about it in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.  It’s well understood.  So the danger has always been a lot worse than we thought it was.


[Note: This piece was adapted (with the help of Noam Chomsky) from an online video interview that Javier Naranjo, a Colombian poet and professor, did for the website What, which is dedicated to integrating knowledge from different fields with the aim of encouraging the balance between the individual, society, and the environment.]



Updated: added the videos June 12, 2013

Noam Chomsky – WHAT about the future – 01

infiniteinfiniteinfi·Jun 12, 2013



from the archives:

Noam Chomsky: Wrecking Nature For Short-Term Profit + Q&A

Helen Caldicott: Chernobyl: The Biggest Cover-Up In The History of Medicine

If We Love Our Children, Why Are We Dooming Them? by Ed Ciaccio + The Campaign to Mislead the Public on Climate Change

Spinning Out Of Control by Lesley Docksey

The Last Possible Refuge by Tristan A. Shaw

Robert Jensen: We Are All Apocalyptic Now: Moral Responsibilities in Crisis Times

Noam Chomsky: Two Major Crises Looming: Nuclear War and Global Warming

6 thoughts on “Humanity Imperiled–The Path to Disaster by Noam Chomsky

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  5. What’s so great about Noam Chomsky is his dogged attention to the little known record, the uncomfortable details that are so critical yet so often ignored or conveniently elided, even erased ~ miraculously sanitised away…

    I believe I’ve heard most of this before somewhere. This is yet another supremely important narrative. The collected extant video works of Professor Chomsky, should keep an awful lot of progressive students of American history extremely well occupied, for a very long time.

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