Nov 20, 2021 • 1HR 11M

Noam Chomsky

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Ralph Nader talks about what’s happening in America, what’s happening around the world, and most importantly what’s happening underneath it all.
Episode details

Ralph spends the whole hour with the incomparable Noam Chomsky to discuss a whole raft of issues, including the climate crisis, the military budget, healthcare, challenging the corporate structure, reforming both the tax system and our elections, how the Democrats have abandoned the working class, and whether the U.S. will be able to fend off fascism.

Noam Chomsky is a linguist, political philosopher, and one of the world’s foremost public intellectuals. His latest book, interviews by C. J. Polychroniou,  is The Precipice: Neoliberalism, the Pandemic and the Urgent Need for Social Change.

The Trump tax cut, what Joseph Stiglitz called the “Donor Relief Bill of 2017”, [was a] massive gift to the very rich and the corporate sector. Stab in the back to working people and the poor. And for the current Republican Party, a red line that can’t be crossed.

Noam Chomsky, Author of The Precipice

[A reduced US military budget] would cut back pollution enormously. The military alone produces as much greenhouse gas as about 140 medium-sized countries.

Noam Chomsky, Author of The Precipice

When you have a criminal state, you can be as illegal as you want. Nothing happens… [Labor historians have found] that about 50% of organizing efforts were undermined by these illegal tactics, which the government just winked at. Criminal state says “Fine, if you want to destroy unions.” The so-called “right to work” laws… are basically “right to scrounge” laws.

Noam Chomsky, Author of The Precipice

Just think about the spectrum of possible societies. Extreme totalitarian society at one end, functioning democracy at the other end. In these systems, how would people react to taxes? Well in the pure totalitarian system, they’d say, “Nothing’s inevitable but death and taxes. somebody stealing our money from us. An alien force, the government, is stealing our money. We can’t do anything about it.” That’s the way it would be in a pure totalitarian system. What about a functioning democracy? Tax Day would be a day of celebration. “We’ve gotten together, worked out what we think should be done in our community… We’ve decided what we wanted. We decided on an equitable way to fund it. Now comes the day in which we fund it the way we decided. So, it’s a day of celebration.” It’s a kind of rough measure of the extent to which democracy functions. Simply by looking at attitudes towards taxes.

Noam Chomsky, Author of The Precipice

What does that mean [that the Congress refuses to go after Presidents for violating the Constitution]? It means clearly that the Presidents are above the law. They can start wars unconstitutionally. They can violate statutes and they’re above the law… So, they’re all complicit. So why don’t we just start with the process of public discussion, that right now, presidents are above the law. Period. And then go from there. Instead of the myth that is perpetuated in law schools and editorial boards that “no one is above the law.”

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 402 Transcript
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