Lesser of two evils: Chomsky vs. Greenwald . . . and the ignored factor


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Noam Chomsky believes that it is so imperative that Trump be defeated that he will vote for Biden, while Glenn Greenwald challenges the political strategy of the lesser-of-two-evils dictum. It is difficult to imagine anyone more intellectually commanding than Chomsky, but Greenwald is no inferior. Chomsky and Greenwald are unbroken, rational warriors who apply contrasting chessboard logic to this issue. In my day job as a psychologist, I’ve learned how people in abusive relationships can so focus on certain types of reasoning that they lose their integrity and become too broken to liberate themselves.

Noam Chomsky

In an Intercept interview, “Mehdi Hasan and Noam Chomsky on Biden vs. Trump” (April 17, 2020) we see that Noam Chomsky, at 91, continues to have his overpowering intellect and now—with his full white beard and apocalyptic warnings—resembles a Biblical prophet, and so he makes me worry that if I disregard him, I will go to Hell.

Chomsky tells us that Trump’s MAGA rallies bring up childhood memories of Hitler rallies. He calls Trump a “malignancy” several times: “The issue of greatest urgency is to get rid of the malignancy in the White House . . . . Keep this for another four years means racing to the abyss of global warming possibly reaching irreversible tipping points. . . sharply increasing the threat of nuclear war . . . stuffing the judiciary with young ultra-right mostly unqualified lawyers.”

“Never Biden” people make Chomsky think of the early 1930s in Germany when the Communist Party took the positon that there is no real difference between the Social Democrats and the Nazis, and refused to join with them to stop the Nazis. “We know where that led,” Chomsky warns.

To ensure that the Never Biden folks cannot delude themselves, Chomsky reduces it to easy arithmetic, “Failure to vote for Biden in this election in the swing states amounts to voting for Trump. It takes one vote away from the opposition, same as adding one vote to Trump. So if you decide you want to vote for the destruction of organized human life on earth, for the sharp increase in the threat of nuclear war, for stuffing the judiciary . . . then do it openly, say, ‘Yeah, that’s what I want’ but that’s the meaning of Never Biden.”

I am in Ohio, a swing state, and Chomsky makes me think that if I don’t get off my ass and vote for Biden, I will have to answer to God for enabling Trump to build his own Brownshirt paramilitary wing.

For Chomsky, “the future of humanity is at stake, this is a unique moment,” and it is beyond naïve to think that not voting is going to in any way change the DNC. For Chomsky, lesser of two evils is not the right way to frame this issue—it’s about preventing a devastating catastrophe.

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