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Venezuela and Noam Chomsky’s “We Own the World.”

“When you own everything, you fear everyone...”  and will employ violence at will.

The assumption that the U.S. has the transcendent right to use any means necessary to decide the legitimacy of representation in another country seems breathtakingly arrogant. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The assumption that the U.S. has the transcendent right to use any means necessary to decide the legitimacy of representation in another country seems breathtakingly arrogant. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

"Throughout history there is only one thing that the ruling classes have ever wanted—and that’s everything."—Michael Parenti

An especially egregious example of the MSM’s attempt to manipulate public opinion through disinformation occurred this week when the New York Times editorial board gave its lead space to Juan Guaido, Venezuela’s self-proclaimed president. Guaido wrote, “To end the Maduro regime with the minimum of bloodshed, we need the support of pro-democratic governments, institutions and individuals the world over.” In running the piece, the Times is consistent with its long record of supporting U.S. imperialism and  joins the bipartisan Congressional chorus of support for Washington’s regime change effort in Venezuela.

In running the piece, the Times is consistent with its long record of supporting U.S. imperialism and  joins the bipartisan Congressional chorus of support for Washington’s regime change effort in Venezuela.

Some thirty years ago, Noam Chomsky noted that “Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.” Starting at an early age, the doctrinal system subtlety limits the bounds of “acceptable thought.” To maintain the illusion of a functioning, free society, vigorous debate rages in the MSM all the way from points A to C, but never beyond. Although exceptions are not unheard of, elites in capitalist democracies prefer not  to employ force and fear because citizens would be less likely to believe the elite’s propaganda.  Moreover, this method is far more efficient than the Gulag because the people learn to police their own thoughts and behavior. All available evidence suggests it’s working well.

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On first hearing,  the assumption that the U.S. has the transcendent right to use any means necessary to decide the legitimacy of representation in another country  seems breathtakingly arrogant. But there’s something even more insidious going on and from a certain angle it has a diabolical logic. For example, the U.S. accusation that Cuba is interfering in Venezuela’s internal affaiirs, including the charge that Havana controls the armed forces, only make sense on one assumption, namely that “We Own  the World.” Chomsky provides a classic example from the early days of the Iraq war: A high-level U.S. official’s solution to Iraq was the “Withdrawal of all foreign forces and foreign arms.” That  official was Condeleeza Rice and her comment sounded eminently reasonable until it was clear she was only referring to Iran. 

You see, if we own the world “U.S. forces cannot be foreign forces anywhere.” Chomsky goes on to say that “The simple principle, ‘we own the world,’ is sufficient to explain a lot of the discussion about foreign affairs.”  And it follows that “When you own everything, you fear everyone...”  and will employ violence at will. Chomsky concludes, “It’s like the air you breathe. You can’t question it.”

Far better to engage with the powerless and listen, share and dialogue with them about the truth and then jointly act on that knowledge.

Finally, those responsible for U.S. foreign policy won’t be joining Liers Anonymous any time soon. They absolutely believe that what they’re saying, writing and doing is not only correct but righteous.  This why Chomsky has long maintained that it’s a waste of time to rely on tired bromides like “speaking truth to power.” The powerful already know the truth and embrace it. Far better  to engage with the powerless and listen, share and dialogue with them about the truth and then jointly act on that knowledge.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

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Gary Olson

Gary Olson

Gary Olson is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA. His most recent book is Empathy Imperiled: Capitalism, Culture and the Brain (NY: Springer, 2013.) Contact: olsong@moravian.edu

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